Origin of Name of District
The District that forms a part of Allahabad Divison is named after its headquarters town Bela Pratabgarh, commonly know as Pratapgarh. Pratap Singh, a raja of the locality who flourished between 1628-1682, fixed his headquarters at Rampur near old town of Aror. There he built a garh (fort) and called it Pratabgarh after his own name. Subsequently the locality around the fort came to be known as Pratapgarh. When the district was constituted in 1858 its headquarters was established at Bela which came to be known as Bela Pratapgarh, the name Bela presumably being derived from the temple of Bela Bhawani on the bank of river Sai.The early history of region covered by the present history of Pratpagarh is not with put interest. The region was already inhabited in pre-historic age.
Several human skeletons along some animal bones and a number of a small stones implements, belonging probably to the Neolithic, have been unearthed in Archaeological exploration at Sarai Nahar in Kunda. It is the only site in the entire valley of Ganga which has yielded human skeleton of such an early age as also the Stone Age implements. On the left bank of river Sai there stand a ruined “Kot” representing a Buddhist Stupa.
River Sai-This river rises to the north of Hardoi and after traversing that district, as well as Lucknow, Unnao and Rae Bareli, enters Pratapgarh on the west at Mustafabad in Ateha. Its course at first is exceedingly tortuous, consisting of numerous bends and contortions which form loops large and small, and enclose fertile upland. After forming the boundary between Rampur and Ateha, it passes eastward for some kilometers through the upper part of the central pargana of Pratapgarh, then descending and ascending in a series of large curves reaches the district headquarters. From this point it turns south and then south-east, as far as the extreme eastern boundary of the Pratapgarh tahsil. Entering tahsil Patti at Khambhor,village it bends north as far asfar as the ancient fort of Kot Bilkhar, and then south-east,leaving the district at the village of Danwan and entering Jaunpur after a course of 72 kilometres through Pratapgarh. It finally joins the Gomati about 32 kilometres south-east of the town of Jaunpur.
In the dry season the Sai is narrow, shallow and easily fordable, while its tributaries become mere ravines; but in the rains the latter carry a large volume of water into the river, which rises to a considerable level and acquires a great velocity. The zigzag twists of the river,though frequent at intervals along its whole course, are most marked at its entry into the district. It would seem that they are formed by the resistance of hard soil and kankar reefs, which compelled the river to
turn aside to pierce the softer surrounding land. The banks of the Sai are in many places high and are generally well defined. At places they are broken and pierced by ravines which sometimes extend for several hundred meters, while elsewhere they slope down gradually to the river bed in long parallel undulations. In this tract they are usually cultivated,but ordinarily the banks consist of high and broken ground with a crumbling soil, the more elevated parts standing like steep isolated mounds, bare of vegetation or covered with coarse grass. The brokenground spreads inland for varying distances and sometimes is about a kilometer in breadth. In places the banks are covered with dense mango and mahua groves, a little distances beyond the reach of floods.