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Chandela Period

 
  A massive shiv ling in a Chandela temple at Khajurao

The Chandelas, the first major independent rulers of the Bundelkhand region, who reigned for around 300 years, rose in the 10th century AD.

The original seat of the clan is believed to have been Maniyagarh, a large ruined fort on the banks of the Ken in Chhatarpur district. Their tutelary deity was called Manya Deo. Later, the Chandelas made Mahoba their capital.

As rulers, the Chandelas were integrated with mainstream Hindu tradition. While the early rulers of the family were devout worshippers of Vishnu, later rulers were worshippers of Shiva.

The early Chandelas were contemporaries of the Pratiharas of Kannauj, one of the major powers of North India.

In the 9th century, Deogarh fort (Lalitpur) was part of the kingdom of the great Pratihara king Bhoja, as is evident from an inscription in the temple complex inside the fort.

Historians are divided over whether the first Chandelas started as independent kings or vassals of the Pratiharas.

However, there is no doubt that they emerged as a major, independent power during the reigns of Yashovarman and his son Dhanga, or Dhangadev, who ascended the throne in the middle of the 10th century.

From the early part their reign, the Chandelas started building tanks in different parts of the kingdom and in their capital, Mahoba.

Chandela tanks invariably adjoined temples. From the absence of canals, one can surmise that were primarily meant to gain spiritual boons than provide surface irrigation.

The Chandelas were also great temple builders. Yashovarman is believed to have initiated the construction of one of the large Vishnu temples in Khajurao (Chhatarpur), the Lakshman temple.

Irrespective of their personal religious beliefs, the Chandelas tolerated other beliefs; there are several Jain temples in Khajurao.

Brahmins enjoyed great status and power in Chandela rule. This is amply clear from several Chandela records of lands, dwellings and valuable gifts donated to Brahmins.

The majority of the Brahmins honoured by the Chandelas were of the Yajurved school, which gave primary importance to performance of sacrifice or `yajna’.

From this association, the Chandela kingdom is believed to have derived its popular name, 'Jejabhukti’; `jeja’ is believed to be a corruption of `yagna’ and `bhukti’ was a term for province since Gupta times. 

As people who claimed royal Kshatriya descent, the Chandelas, and later the Bundelas, put great emphasis on honour. Capture of women of the family by the enemy was considered a matter of great shame. On the other hand, if a woman committed sati after her husband’s death, she virtually became a goddess.

Across Jejabhukti are found numerous sati stones (or shrines) from Chandela times, some of them bearing inscriptions of the date of immolation and the name of the woman and her husband. Scores of these shrines are worshipped even today.

From 1008 AD onwards Mahmud of Ghazni launched attacks to north western India year after year. The Chandelas strongly resisted Mahmud, who turned back after a long siege of the fort of Kalinjar in Banda district.

Over half a century later, the Chandela ruler Paramardideva, also known as Paramardi or Parmal, was engaged in conflict with another formidable opponent, Prithviraj Chauhan, ruler of Delhi.

The conflict between the two, won by Prithviraj Chauhan, led to the generation of two conflicting bardic accounts, known as the Prithviraj Raso and the Parmal Raso.

Prithviraj Chauhan was himself defeated and killed by Muhamad Ghor in 1192, and ten years later Kalinjar fell to the Turkish Muslims, who destroyed the temples on the fort and converted them to mosques, and proceeded to do the same in Mahoba.

Vestiges of Chandela rule continued till the first decade of the 14th century, when a large part of North India including much of Bundelkhand came under the rule of Ala-ud-din Khilji.

| 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