Jean Deloche in a series of valuable publications has given an overall view of the Indian road network in the period up to about 1820 when the general pacification that followed the collapse of the Maratha kingdom gave British engineers the chance to transform the communications of India, first with military roads and later with railways. This transformation was nowhere more complete than in Central India and particularly in Malwa, the Mughal subha through which led the great road from Delhi and Agra to Burhanpur and the Deccan – a road which was followed by many of the European merchants and diplomats travelling between Surat and Agra and in part by the Maratha armies in the eighteenth century as they first raided and then conquered territory all the way up to Delhi. The other route from Surat to the north lay through Gujarat and the semi-deserts of Rajasthan (Deloche, 1980, pp. 55–7) and will not concern us here. Our route follows the Tapti valley east to Burhanpur, through the gap guarded by Asirgarh and then, after the unavoidable difficulties of the Narmada crossing and the climb up the Vindhya escarpment, takes an easy line through the flat well-cultivated Malwa plateau from Sironj to Narwar, following the grain of the country between the north-flowing tributaries of the Chambal.