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Bundelkhand

Bundelkhand lies between the Indo-Gangetic plains and the Vindhya mountain range in India. As per mythological texts, Dandaka, the son of Ishwaku (one of the earliest Aryan kings), set up this kingdom of Bundelkhand. His descendents set up the Chedi kingdom, which is even mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. In the historical period, Bundelkhand came under Mauryan rule. Their rule was followed by the Vakatakas and subsequently the Kalachuris. Then in the medieval period, there was the rule of the Chandelas, followed by the Bundela Rajputs, while the Gurjara Pratiharas, Gonds, Moghuls, and Marathas provided overlordship for the region. Finally the British governed the area in the nineteenth century.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

Chandelas
AD 831 - 1569

The Chandelas were a Rajput clan which ruled Bundelkhand between the tenth and thirteenth centuries. They began their rise to power as vassals of the Pratihara kings. Claiming descent from the moon they were called Chandravanshis (just as kings claiming lineage from the sun were Suryavanshis), and ruled from their capital, Khajuraho, then known as Khajuravatika (or the 'garden of dates').

fl 831

Nanuk

Dynasty founder.

855 - c.860s?

Vakapati

Son. Annexed regions in the Vindhya Mountains.

Jaishakti

Son. Annexed several areas.

Vijayshakti

Son. Annexed several areas.

Rahil

Son.

900 - 925

Harshdev

Son.

c.910

During his short reign, the vassals of Bhoja II of Kannauj, which include the Parmaras of Malwa, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, declare themselves to be independent.

Devi Jagdamba Temple
Devi Jagdamba Temple at Khajuraho, constructed by Ganda (1002-1017)

925 - 950

Yashovarman / Kakshavarman

Son.

Yashovarman is said to conquer many kingdoms during his reign. He is also credited with being the builder of the famous Laxman Temple.

950 - 1002

Dhangadev

Son.

Kalinjar becomes the kingdom's second capital. Dhangadev builds the famous temples of Parshwanath and Vishwanath during his reign.

1002 - 1017

Gauda

Constructed the Jagdamba and Chitragupta temples.

1017/1018

With Rajputana divided amongst small warring states, there is no central authority to prevent Islamic incursions from the west. Mahmud of the Afghan Ghaznavids (based in modern Kandahar) sacks Kannauj, and its Gurjara Pratihara king, Rajapala, flees, only to be killed by the Chandela king, Gauda. Gauda takes control of the Pratihara kingdom, placing Trilochanpala on the throne.

1017 - 1029

Vidyadhara

Son.

Vidyadhara is one of the most celebrated of the Chandela kings. He repulses attacks by the Afghan king, Mahmud of Gazni. He also patronises temple architecture and sculptures especially in Khajuraho Temple and Kalinjar Fort.

1029 - 1045

Vijaypal

Son. Shifted the capital to Mahoba.

1045 - ?

Devavarman

Son. Lost some territory to the Kalachuris.

Kirtivarman

Brother.

? - 1115

Sallakshanavarman

Son.

1115 - 1119

Jaivarman

Son.

1119 - 1129

Prithvivarman

Uncle. Repulsed Kalachuri and Chalukya attacks. An able ruler.

1129 - 1162

Mandarvarman

Son.

Mandarvarman revives the glory of the Chandelas by annexing several regions. He also constructs Dulhadev Temple.

1162 - 1164

Yashovarman II

Son. Died soon after ascending the throne.

1164 - 1199

Parmardidev

Parmardidev is probably the last independent Chandela king. He rules for thirty-five years and in that time he faces down an invasion by the Rajputs of Amer, under Prithviraj Chauhan (his generals, Ahal and Udal, are particularly famous for the resistance they show against the invaders). Thereafter, the Chandela kingdom weakens and they rule as vassals of the various dominant kings of the region.

1199 - 1203

Trailokyavarman

1203 - 1245

Veervarma

1245 - 1282

Bhojavarma

1282 - 1300

Veervarma II

fl 1470

Mohan Singh

1470

Surja Ballal of the Gond kingdom of Chandrapur assists the Delhi emperor in attacking Fort Kaibur, which belongs to Mohan Singh. In return the Gonds are granted the territory of Bundelkhand.

Devi Jagdamba
Khajuraho's Devi Jagdamba Temple, built by the Chandelas

fl 1520

Keeratrai

Gond vassal.

1524 - 1564

Rani Durgavati

Dau. m Gond king.

Chandela glory is briefly revived by Rani Durgavati, the daughter of the vassal Chandela king, Keeratrai. Rani Durgavati is married to the Gond king, Dalpat Shah (the Gonds are the new rulers of Bundelkhand). She dies on the battlefield facing the Khwaja Abdul Majid Asaf Khan, a general of Moghul Emperor Akbar.

fl 1569

Ramchandra

Bundela Rajas of Bundelkhand (Orcha)
AD 1501 - Present Day

Bundelkhand was a province under the Moghul empire in India during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, ruled directly by their vassals, the Gond kings of Garha Mandla and the Upper Narmada Valley. The Bundelas were (and still are) Chhatri Suryanvanshi Rajputs by origin. In the early fourteenth century, their earliest known ancestor, Sahanpal Bundela, first came down into southern India, along with the armies of the Rajput Parmara and Chauhan kings and captured the regions forming what we now know as Bundelkhand (in the present states of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh). The Bundela clan settled down in this region as vassals of the other two Rajput clans.

Subsequently, there were many small principalities and fiefdoms that arose from these main Bundelkhand kingdoms (such as Ajaigarh, Banda, Banka, Banpur, Bijna, Chanderi, Chirgaon, Chatrapur, Datia, Durwai, Jhansi, Khaniadhana, Mahewa, Mahoba, Panna, Shahagarh, Tori Fatehpur, etc), mainly as inheritances of the various Bundela princes.

1501 - 1531

Rudra Pratap

Founder of the Orcha kingdom (in modern Madhya Pradesh).

1531

When Rudra Pratap dies, his sons, Bhartichand and then Madhukar Shah, succeed him in order at Orcha while his other son, Udayjeet Singh rules the minor sub-kingdom of Mahewa.

1531 - ?

Udayjeet Singh

Son. Raja of Mahewa.

1531 - 1554

Bharatichand

Brother.

1545

Bharatichand captures Chanderi, and in 1545 tries to stop Sher Shah Suri (bÍte noire of Moghul emperor Humayun) from attacking Kalinjar, albeit unsuccessfully.

1555 - 1592

Madhukar Shah

Brother.

1592

Madhukar Shah fights against the Moghuls, but eventually has to flee to the jungles where he dies a natural death.

1592 - 1605

Ram Shah

Son. Deposed.

Orcha is annexed by the Moghuls but is later restored after the Bundelas accept vassalage and the raja is granted the fiefs of Chanderi and Banpur. Later he is replaced by Emperor Akbar with his brother.

1605 - 1627

Vir Singh Dev

Brother.

The king builds several monuments, forts and temples. His son, Jhujhar Singh, succeeds him while another son, Bhagwanrao, forms his own kingdom at Datia, and yet another son, Hardaul, forms his own kingdom at Baragaon. His descendents later form their own small Bundela principalities such as Banka Pahari, Bijna, Chirgaon, Durwai, and Tori Fatehpur.

1627 - ?

Bhagwanrao

Son. Raja of Datia.

1627 - ?

Hardaul

Brother. Raja of Baragaon.

1627 - 1641

Jhujhar Singh

Brother.

1641

Jhujhar Singh rebels against the Moghuls, but is killed in battle against Emperor Shah Jahan.

1636 - 1641

Devi Singh

1641 - 1653

Pahar Singh

Son of Vir Singh. Raja of Orcha and Kaniadhana.

1653 - 1672

Sujan Singh I

Son.

1672 - 1675

Indramani Singh

Brother.

Chatrasal, a relative of the king, begins his struggle against the Moghuls with an open revolt.

1675 - 1684

Jaswant Singh

Son.

During this period, Chatrasal, son of Champatrai, continues to struggle against the Moghuls.

1684 - 1689

Bhagwat Singh

Son.

1689 - 1735

Udwat Singh

Son.

1707

Upon the death of Aurangzeb, Chatrasal removes himself from Moghul vassalage with help from the Marathas and proclaims an independent Bundela kingdom at Panna.

1735 - ?

Amar Singh

Son. Raja of Khaniadhana.

1735 - 1752

Prithvi Singh

Brother. Lost much territory to Marathas.

1752 - 1765

Mahendra Sanwant Singh

Granted title of Mahendra by Moghul Emperor Alamgir II.

1765 - 1768

Hati Singh

1768 - 1775

Man Singh

Ancestor of Garauli royal family.

1775 - 1776

Bharti Singh

Adopted from the Bundela state of Bijna.

1776 - 1817

Vikramjit Singh

Adopted from the Bundela state of Bijna.

1812

Vikramjit Singh becomes a vassal of the British.

1817

The raja abdicates the throne in favour of his son, Dharampal, but after Dharampal's death in 1834, he once again becomes king, only to die in the same year.

Sir Pratap Singh
Sir Pratap Singh (1874-1930) shown after receiving his knighthood from Britain

1817 - 1834

Dharampal

Son.

1834

Vikramjit Singh

Re-ascended the throne following the death of his son.

1834 - 1841

Tej Singh

Adopted from the Bundela state of Bijna.

1841 - 1854

Sajjan Singh

Adopted from the Bundela state of Bijna.

1854 - 1874

Hamir Singh

Adopted in 1862, crowned in 1865.

1874 - 1930

Sir Pratap Singh

Received knighthood and seventeen gun salute from the British.

1930 - 1956

Vir Singh

Acceded to India in 1949.

1947 - 1950

India gains independence from Britain on 14 August 1947 and by 1949 all the princely states (barring one or two) have been merged, one by one, into the Indian state, signing the instrument of accession with the new Indian national government. India is declared a republic on 26 January 1950, leaving the princes holding their titles and little more.

1956 - Present

Devendra Singh