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Bundelas and Mughals

 
  The soaring Ram Raja temple in Orchha

Although the early Bundelas appeared in 13th century AD, we don't know much about them till the middle of the 16th century when a Bundela chief called Rudra Pratap established base on the banks of the Betwa in  Orchha (literally 'hidden place'), near Jhansi, at a time when the Mughals were yet to establish their supremacy over North India.

Rudra Pratap and his immediate descendants built many magnificent structures including the Jhansi fort; the enormous Orchha fort that encloses most of the village even today;  and a soaring Ram Raja temple, the only place in India where Ram is worshipped as a king even today with martial honours.

The Bundela rulers of Orchha continued the Chandela tradition of building tanks.

Mughal rule in India was firmly established in the reign of Akbar. At this time, Orchha was ruled Rudra Pratap's grandson, Madhukar Sah, who increased the kingdom's territories and challenged the emperor's authority.

When Akbar's son, Salim (later known as Jehangir) rebelled, a son of Madhukar Sah, Bir Singh, sided with Salim and arranged to kill Abul Fazl, a high ranking advisor of Akbar.

When Salim alias Jahangir ascended the Delhi throne, he rewarded Bir Singh by granting him Orchha and a high rank in the Mughal court.

In his later years, Bir Singh quarelled with his Mughal patron and there were feuds within the family itself, leading eventually to the creation of another Bundela state, Datia. Another state, Chanderi, had been formed even earlier.

These states were eventually recognised by Mughal rulers, in return for armed support supplied by Bundela in wars fought by the Mughal rulers in other parts of India, notably the Deccan.

While the Bundela states occupied parts of Chhatarpur, Lalitpur, Jhansi and Datia districts, much of the rest of Bundelkhand was under Mughal rule, under the subahs or provinces of Agra, Malwa and Allahabad.

Akbar's favourite minister, Birbal, held Kalinjar as his jagir.  Islamic religious and cultural centres came up at Kalpi (Hamirpur), Banda and Mahoba.

| Early History | Chandela Period | Khangars and Early Bundelas | Bundelas and Mughals | Gond Kingdom | Maharaj Chhatrasal | Entry of Marathas | Entry of British | 1857 Revolt | British Rule | Freedom Movement | Bundelkhand State? | Hold of Dacoits |

 
History
> Early History
> Chandela Period
> Khangars and Early Bundelas
> Bundelas and Mughals
> Gond Kingdom
> Maharaj Chhatrasal
> Entry of Marathas
> Entry of British
> 1857 Revolt
> British Rule
> Freedom Movement
> Bundelkhand State?
> Hold of Dacoits