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Diocese of Khandwa

Diocese of Khandwa
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In a land area of 24,000 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the revenue districts of Khandwa, Burhanpur, Khargone and Barwani.

Khandwa District is situated to the south-west of Madhya Pradesh. Located 900 meters above the sea level. Khandwa lies on the uplands between the valleys of the two major rivers, the Narmada and Tapti, which flow parallel to each other from east to west. Khandwa has an area of 6,200 square kilometers and a population of 1.2 million in the Khandwa municipal area.

Khandwa is an ancient town, with many Hindu worship places. Khandwa is located on the Main Train Junction, with daily connections to Bombay, Delhi, Goa, Kochin, Kolkatta, Indore, Bhopal, Patna, Allahabad, Lucknow, Jammu, Hyderabad, Bangalore.

It is the birth place of famous Bollywood singer Kishore Kumar Gangopadhyay and his actor brother Ashok Kumar. 


Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. In Khandwa, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.


Hindi is the popular medium of communication in the urban parts. Nimari is spoken in the rural areas in the north-west parts whereas Korku and Bhili are the languages in the tribal area. Gujarati and Rajasthani are spoken in several social circles.


The mission activities in Khandwa region began with the coming of the Missionaries of St. Francis De Sales to Asirgarh Fort in 1866. Initially the mission activities were operated from Nagpur. In 1870 Father J. Thevenet MSFS built a small chapel at Khandwa and in 1880 he built a Church in Gothic style, which was solemnly blessed by Dr. Meurin, Vicar Apostolic of Bombay, in the presence of Bishop Tissot of Vishakpatanam.

Gradually Khandwa became the headquarters of mission work. The Franciscan missionaries contributed a major share to this cause especially in places like Khandwa, Aulia, Sirpur, etc.

In 1932 the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) missionaries came to India and this area was then entrusted to their care. Then onwards the Divine Word Missionaries, active in both East and West Nimar, were instrumental in spreading the Word of God and establishing the local church.

The Diocese of Khandwa came into existence formally on Feb. 3, 1977, by the Apostolic bull of Pope Paul VI. It comprises of four civil districts of Khandwa, Khargone, Burhanpur and Barwani. Father Abraham Viruthakulangara was appointed the first bishop of this newly erected diocese on March 4, 1977 and ordained bishop on July 13, 1977. He later became Archbishop of Nagpur in 1998. On June 29, 1999, Father Leo Cornelio, SVD was elected the new Bishop of Khandwa by Pope John Paul II and was consecrated on Sept. 8, 1999 by Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara. Bishop Leo was appointed as the Archbishop of Bhopal on June 15, 2007. On July 16, 2009, Khandwa Diocese celebrated the ordination and installation of Bishop Alangaram Arokia Sebastian Durairaj, SVD as the new bishop of the diocese.

Khandwa Diocese is a suffragan of Bhopal Archdiocese.


The climate of the District is generally pleasant and healthy. Average annual rainfall in the district is 980.75 mm. The monsoon season starts by the end of June and extends up to early September. The days are quite humid. The maximum temperature during the summer reaches up to 45 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature during Winter drops to 4 degrees Celsius.


The major crops of the district are soyabean, cotton, jowar, groundnut, banana, wheat, sugarcane, chilly etc. Major occupation is agriculture.


Khandwa has an average literacy rate of 71% and the male literacy is 77%, while the female literacy is 66%.


Eighty percent of the total population are Hindus. Other major populations are Muslims, SIKH, Jains and Sindhis.

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