Burhanpur, a town of British India in the Nimar district of the Central Provinces, situated on the north bank of the river Tapti, 310 m. N.E. of Bombay, and 2 m. from the Great Indian Peninsula railway station of Lalbagh. It was founded in A.D. 1400 by a Mahommedan prince of the Farukhi dynasty of Khandesh, whose successors held it for 200 years, when the Farukhi kingdom was annexed to the empire of Akbar. It formed the chief seat of the government of the Deccan provinces of the Mogul empire till Shah Jahan removed the capital to Aurangabad in 1635. Burhanpur was plundered in 1685 by the Mahrattas, and repeated battles were fought in its neighbourhood in the struggle between that race and the Mussulmans for the supremacy of India. In 1739 the Mahommedans finally yielded to the demand of the Mahrattas for a fourth of the revenue, and in 1760 the Nizam of the Deccan ceded Burhanpur to the peshwa, who in 1778 transferred it to Sindhia. In the Mahratta War the army under General Wellesley, afterwards the duke of Wellington, took Burhanpur (1803), but the treaty of the same year restored it to Sindhia. It remained a portion of Sindhia's dominions till 1860-1861, when, in consequence of certain territorial arrangements, the town and surrounding estates were ceded to the British government.
Under the Moguls the city covered an area of about 5 sq. m., and was about 10&FRAC12; m. in circumference. In the Ain-í-Akbari it is described as a "large city, with many gardens, inhabited by all nations, and abounding with handicraftsmen." Sir Thomas Roe, who visited it in 1614, found that the houses in the town were "only mud cottages, except the prince's house, the chan's and some few others." In 1865-1866 the city contained 8000 houses, with a population of 34,137, which had decreased to 33,343 in 1901. Burhanpur is celebrated for its muslins, flowered silks, and brocades, which, according to Tavernier, who visited it in 1668, were exported in great quantities to Persia, Egypt, Turkey, Russia and Poland. The gold and silver wires used in the manufacture of these fabrics are drawn with considerable care and skill; and in order to secure the purity of the metals employed for their composition, the wire-drawing under the native rule was done under government inspection. The town of Burhanpur and its manufactures were long on the decline, but during recent times have made a slight recovery.
The buildings of interest in the town are a palace, built by Akbar, called the Lal Kila or the Red Fort, and the Jama Masjid or Great Mosque, built by Ali Khan, one of the Farukhi dynasty, in 1588. A considerable number of Boras, a class of commercial Mahommedans, reside here.