Chandela: Wikis


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Krishna Chandravanshi lineage.
Rajput clan: Chandel
Vanshi Chandravanshi
Descended from: Bundelkhand
Branches: Chamarkate, Mohabiye
Ruled in Bundelkhand
Princely states: Jaijikbhukti (till 1680)

The Chandela are a Rajput clan found in Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, a dynasty, who ruled much of the Bundelkhand region of central India for long periods between the 10th and the 13th centuries AD.

The Chandela dynasty is famous in Indian history for King Vidyadhar, who repulsed the attacks of Mahmud of Ghazni. His love for sculptures is shown in the world heritage site temples of Khajuraho and Kalinjar fort. Chandela Rajputs are found in large numbers in India and are staunch Hindu in their religious faith.



From the ninth century to the 13th century, the Chandelas ruled over central India. Their first capital city was Khajuraho, which was later shifted to Mahoba. They are regarded to be Chandravanshi; i.e., the descendents of the Som (Sanskrit literal meaning: moon). The roots of Chandela Rajput can be traced to Sapai, which was popularly known as Samapada Nagar. The title given to them was Rao. They are the only hereditary title holders of Kanpur district. After the Muslim invasion the royals resided in Sapai. It was also called Sampada Nagar.

Emergence of Chandelas

The small kingdom of the Chandels of Khajuraho were always a part of this large empire of the Pratiharas, the extent of which varied with the fortunes of the kings. The Chandela rulers for about hundred years that is, from Nannuk till Harsh Dev, were but vassals of the Pratiharas. They proclaimed themselves independent when the Pratihara empire weakened and disintegrated. Earlier, the Pratiharas helped the Chandelas and other kings of the region in defending the country from the aggression of Muslim invaders from the Middle East. This collective defense against the invaders rendered security in the region which created favorable circumstances for encouraging art and culture.

The founder of the Chandela dynasty, Nannuk was the ruler of a small kingdom. According to inscriptions, he was the chief of his clan in the first quarter of the ninth century. Epigraphic records show that Khajuraho, then called Khajuravatika -Bearer of Dates or Khajuravatika - Garden of Dates, was the stronghold of Nannuk and his people. Later on, his descendants linked their lineage with the Moon or with Chandratreya of the legend, in order to attribute some divine links to the origin of their dynasty. Vakapati succeeded his father Nannuk during the second quarter of the ninth century.

The celebrated Gurjar king, Mihir Bhoja was his contemporary. Samrat Mihir Bhoj had to fight many battles against his two deadly enemies, the Devpal of Bengal and Kokal, the Kalchuri king. Vakapati the ruler of Khajuraho, had to often assist Pratiharas in the battle field, because he was a vassal of the Pratiharas. The inscription mention the Vindhya Hills, one of the frequent places of warfare, as the pleasure mount (Krida-giri) of Vakapati. It can be inferred on the basis of this inscription that Vakapati managed to extend his territory so as to include some hills of the Vindhyas, Jaishakti and Vijayshakti, the two sons of Vakapti, succeeded him, one after the other. Both the princes were strong and valorous and annexed considerable territories to their kingdom.

Jaishakti, the elder brother who ruled first, was also called Jai Jak and from this name the region ruled by the Chandelas acquired the name of Jaijikbhukti. He was succeeded on the throne by his younger brother, Vajaishakti. According to Khajuraho inscriptions, Vijaishakti fought many battles and subjugated a number of neighboring areas. The exploits and deeds of bravery of Jai and Vijai are oftern sung in ballands as if the two were joint rulers. Nannuk, Jai and Vijai over a period of time added large chunks of adjoining territories to their domain, and whatever was their status viz a viz the Palas of Bengal and Pratiharas their overlords, they always were the master of the land they held. Rahil, the son of Vijaishakti, ascended the throne after him.

The village Rahilya which is 3 km south west of Mohaba was named after him. There he also built a tank known as Rahilyasagar and a temple on its banks, which is now in ruins. The period of rule of Rahil is said to be of only twenty years and is credited to the end of the ninth century. He was succeeded by his son Harshdev around 900 A.D. Harshdev earned for himself a memorable place in the history of Chandela rulers. In the 25 years or so of his rule, he extended his territory and enhanced the prestige of his dynasty. He was the first Chandela prince whose power was to be reckoned with in those times.


During his reign, when the Rashtrakuta King Indra III, invaded and captured Kannauj, it was Harshdev who helped the Pratihara King Mahipal I to regain his throne of Kannauj. This memorable even took place around 915 A.D. and was presumably commemorated by Harshdev with construction of the Matangeshwar Temple. Harshdev consolidated his position further by marrying Kanchuka, a princes of a Chauhan clan of the Malwa region. Harshdev died in 925 A.D. Yashorvarman, also known as Kakshvarman, the illustrious son of Harshdev succeeded him. When the power of the Pratihara and Rashtrakuta kings began to decline Yashovraman decided to defy their authority.

Not only did he proclaim himself as an independent king, he began to attack and annex the contiguous areas of the Rashtrakuta kingdom. Several inscriptions record with elequence his tales of military conquests. He engaged himself in many expeditions and proved to be an able general and a brave warrior. He captured Kalinjar and extended the frontiers of his kingdom both in the north and in the south. He reached the banks of the Yasmuna in one direction and the borders of Chedi and Malwa in the other. With these conquests, Chandelas became a greater power and Yashovarman was grateful to the gods for their favours. In his gratitude, he constructed the magnificent Lakshmana Temple, the golden pinnacle of which "illuminated the sky became, it is said, the object of attraction for even the inhabitants of the heaven."

Though Yashovarman was tolerant of all religious sects, he himself was devotee of Vishnu, hence the idol had been received by him as a gift from Devpal, the son of Herambpal, who had got it in exchange for elephants and horses from Sahi, the king of the Kirs, near Kashmir. This had been given to him by the lord of Bhotnath (Tibet) who had found the idol at Mount Kailash.

Dhanga to Devavarmana

Dhangdev ruled over Khajuraho from 945 A.D. to 1002 A.D. It is said that he voluntarially relinquished both his throne and his life. Dhangdev was a greater ruler and the Chandelas reached the zenith of their power and prosperity during his reign. He not only consolidated whatever his father bequeathed to him but also expanded the territory.

The power of Prathiharas was declining and he annexed the eastern part of their kingdom lying north of the Yanmuna. The Imperial Bargujars were called Chandila in those times, were now completely independent and Dhangdev called himself as Maharajadhiraj Kalinjaradhipati, lord of Kalinjar. Kalinjar had acquired great importance after Khajuraho and was regarded as the second capital of the kingdom. Dhangdev was also a great patron on art and learining in addition to being a great ruler and a great comqueror. He built the two of the more important temples the Vishwanath and the Parshwanatha temples. After the death of Dhangdev in 1002 A.D. Gand ascended the throne of Khajuraho. He ruled for 15 years only. His reign was one of peace and prosperity.

He was able to maintain the prestinge and power of the kingdom. The construction of the Jagadamba and the Chitragupta Temples are attributed to him. Vidyadhar succeeded his father Gand, and he was a great king. Muslim invaders from the Middle East had started attacking and plundering India. Vidyadhar was called upon to muster all his strength and bravery in defending his country against the attack of Mahmud Ghazni. After two attacks, peace returned and as a temple of Kandariya Mahadeva, which is really a gem of a temple. Vidyadhar was followed by his son Vijaipal to the Chandela throne. Kalchuris who were now growing in power took away some of the Chandela territory.

Yet, by and large, Vijaipal was able to maintain his remaining kingdom and was also able to provide such conditions that were conductive to the temple building activity. Vaman Temple might be ascribed to him and can be dated towards the close of his reign (1051 A.D.). Devvarman the son and successor of Vijaipal also uses the title of Kalinjaradhipati. However, there is little to his credit but it seems that somehow he was able to keep his hold on Kalinjar. He died in 1060 A.D.

Kirtivarman to Prithvivarman

Kirtivarman, the brother of Dev Varman who had no issue, ascended the throne and "recreated the Chandela power like the creator". He defeated the Kalchuri Lakshmi Karan in battle and had a long reign of about forty years. He was a great patron of arts, the well known play Prabodha Chandrodya was composed during his reign.

During his rule, which ended around 1100 A.D. the famous temples of Adinath, Javasri and possibly of Chaturbhuj, were built. The struggle for supermacy in Northern and Central India among the Chandelas, Kalchuris and others gained ground after the death of Kirtivarman. In those days the history of the Chandelas is a tale of wars with their neighbors. Kirtivarman's successor was his son Sallakshan Varman, also known as Hollakshan Varman from the coins he minted. He seems to have reigned for a short period of time and is recorded in history as a leader of those versed in the sacred love, kinsman of the virtuous, a stone of arts, and an abode of good conduct and a tree of paradise to all supplements for support.

According to the bards, he always kept the enemies awake by the weight of his prowess, and taking away the riches of this enemies and bestowing them on all his reign or that of his sons. Jaivarman, his son succeeded him in 1115 A.D. According to an inscription darted 1117 A.D. he was ruling and was, "dwelling place of generosity, truth, policy and heroism, whose majesty, like the rising sun, deprived the other princes of their luster". But his reign had little luster and possible he was defeated by the Gaharwar ruler Govind Chandra, who conquered a part of the Chandela territory in 1120 . By these events he felt so humiliated that he abdicated his throne and started living in a jungle on the banks of river. Prithvivarman, his uncle, ascended the throne of Khajuraho after him. His reign was of a short duration of ten years.

Kalchuris and Chalukyas were threatening the security of his kingdom. It goes to his credit that Prithvivarman in such hard times was able to keep his kingdom intact and pass it on without damage to his son and successor, Madanvarman. Ascending the throne in about 1130 A.D., he discarded the passive policy of peace and fought battles to revive the lost reputation of the Chandelas. He was a strong ruler of central Indian territory which included the four strongholds of the Chandelas viz., Kalinjar, Mahoba, Ajaigarh and Khajuraho. The temples building activity was once again seen in Khajuraho.

The exquisite Dulhadeo Temple was constructed during his reign which ended around 1163 A.D. Yashovarman II succeeded Madanvarman but had a very brief reign of two years.

Parmardidev and Prithviraj Chauhan's invasion

After Yashovarman II died, Parmardidev, his son, occupied the throne of Chandelas. As the last of the greater Chandela rulers, he was crowned when he as still a child. An inscription of one of his successors refers to him as, "A leader even his youth who struck down the opposing heroes, and to whom the fortune of universal sovereignty quickly came, like an enamoured damsel, choosing him for his own free will." He ruled for a long period of nearly thirty five years. The first few years of his reign were of peace. The storm came in the shape of a conflict with Prithviraj Chauhan, who was returning to Delhi after marrying the daughter of Palnsen when he was attacked by Turkish soldiers.

In the fierce battle that ensured Prithviraj's army suffered heavy causalities, though they were able to beat back the enemy. In the process they lost their way and arrived at Mahoba, the Chandela capital and encamped in the royal garden. By this act of his great generals to attack the Chauhans. Udal much against his will carried out the kings orders but without much success. However, Prithviraj returned to Delhi at that time but continued to nurse a grievance against the Chandela ruler. Actually, Parmardided was instigated to attack Prithviraj by his brother in law Pratihar Mahil who was more of an enemy than a friend. Alha and his brothers Udal chiefs of the Banaphar clan, sensed that the air of Mahoba was too foul for them to stay on.

They left the Chandelas to take up residence and services under Jai Chand of Kannauj. This vital information was quickly converyed by Mahil to the Chauhan king and invited him to attack the Chandels, which Prithviraj did soon after. Parmardidev started losing the battle hence he asked for truce. Subsequently he sent for Alah and Udal, and they were persuaded by their mother to go and fight for Mahoba. Fierce battle raged after their arrival. The two brothers played such an heroic role that their exploits have become a part and parcel of the Rajput annals and are sung with relish to this day. Prithviraj however, was victorious and he ransacked the city of Mahobal. In the battle, many lives were lost including that of Udal.

Parmardidev retreated to Kalinjar, from where he as brought back as prisoner by a general of the Chauhan armya who stormed and plundered the fort of Kalinjar. Prithviraj returned to his capital, Delhi, after appointing Pujjan Rai, one of his generals, as the governor of Mahoba. Parmardidev, according to the bardic accounts, put an end of his life due to a sense of shame and degradation. Some say that he lived twenty years after the war with Chauhans

Muslim invasion and aftermath

Taj-ul-Ma'asir provides another account of the Islamic invasion of Kalinjar in detail, "In 599 H, i.e, 1202 A.D. Kutabuddin accompanied by Altamash marched against Kalinjar. The accursed Parmar fled into the fort but after a desperate resistance submitted and accepted the same ternms as had been imposed upon his ancestry by Mahmud.

He, however, died and his Mehata Ajudeo was not disposed to surrender as easily and gave much trouble. He too was compelled and captured because a severe drought dried up all the reservoirs of water in the fort. The fort of Kalinjar, celebrated throughout the world, was taken and the temples there were converted into mosques. Fifty thousand men were carried into spoils. The reins of victory were then directed against Mahoba. The government of the country was conferred upon Hasan Arnal." Thus the sun of the Chandelas set forever, but Khajuraho continued to be the religious capital of the darkest days. According to the testimony of Ibne-Batuta, Khajuraho temples continued to shine in their glory until 1335 A.D. Trailokyavarman, the successor of Paramardidev, wrested the fort of Kalinjar from the Muslims.

But the Muslims were again trying to annex it and a general Malik Nusratuddin led an army from Gwalior. The struggle was avoided by Trilokyavarman and the invaders plundered the city and took away a large booty, though, Kalinjar still remained in the hands of the Chandelas but they were no more than local Virvarman and Bhojvarman, but they were no more than local chieftains. Kirat Raja of Kalinjar in 1545 A.D., when Sher Shah laid siege of the fort, was definitely a Bargujar King.[citation needed]

The last glimpse is afforded by the romantic history of the princess Durgavati, daughter of the Chandela Raja of Mahoba, who married the Gond Raja Dalpat Sa of Mandla, and was killed in battle with Asaf Khan in 1564 A.D. Thus ends the saga of brave and valorous, patron of art and culture, rich and devout kings of the Chandela dynasty who ruled over central India for half a millennium. Their kingdom decreased and expanded in size in accordance with the valour and fortune of the individual ruler. But the most important objects which nearly every king left behind are the magnificent and exquisitely carved temples, thereby engraving their names in history in the golden letters.

Current Royals

In recent times, the Rana Royal Family of Nepal married their daughter to a Chandela ruler who died at a very young age. Following the death of the King, her highness was active in politics. They had two daughters (Shobhita and Poonam ) and three sons ( Ajay , Vishal and Himanshu ). The elder son , Rao Ajay Pal Singh passed away at the age of 30 and the second Rao Vishal Singh had Rajya Abhishek on 24 January 2007.

The biggest chandela princely state in U.P - SAHASPUR BILARI-RAJA-KA SAHASPUR - consisting of over 500 villages and one town belonged to a Chandela Raja.current head of the STATE- rajkumari reena kumari singh

Chandel States and Kingdoms


Gidhaur was founded by Raja Puran Mal Chandel around 1596. Its a state in present day Bihar in India. there are many places of bihar where chandels still reside such as siwan,saran,gopalganj,etc.

Agori Barhar

Originally it was comprised of the present districts of Sonbhadra and part of Marzapur district. It was divided into two parganas of Agori, which was 18,477 km2 and Barhar, which was 11,290 km2 in area, thus making it the largest estate in area in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh. Raja PARAMARDI DEVA of Mahoba, ancestor of the family and contemporary of Raja Prithviraj III of Delhi, who attacked Mahoba as the Raja was the ally of Raja Jaichand of Kannauj, and occupied it for a time.

Raja Paramardi Deva fled for his life with his friends and family, and though Mahoba was re-occupied by the Raja with the help of Jaichand of Kannauj, the glory of the capital never returned. During this time one of the sons of Raja Paramardi Deva, called Ashajit, fled eastwards in the turmoil that followed. His sons or grand sons called Barimal and Bharimal, captured Agori from the Kaharwar Raja and made them selves the independent rulers of Agori and Barhar. The elder brother Barimal took the kingdom of Agori and Barhar, and the younger brother Bharimal became the independent ruler of Bardi.


The rulers share a common line of descent with the founders of Ghund and Madhan, who were all together sons of a Chandel Rajput of Jaipur. The state was made subordinate to Keonthal by a sanad of September 1815.


AREA: 1,909 km2 REVENUE: 1,300,000Rs (1934) ACCESSION: 1952 STATE: Uttar Pradesh DYNASTY: Chandel-Kahluria RELIGION: Hindu VILLAGES: 484 (+1 town)

Sahaspur was the largest Zamindari in Moradabad and Badaun districts of Uttar Pradesh. An ancestor, Prithvi Singh, went along with the Lodi kings when they were at Sambhal, Moradabad district, and after their defeat in 1526 at Panipat, by the Moghul Emperor, Babur, they settled quietly in Punjab. They kept in touch with Badaun and Katehr (old name of Moradabad) and at the insistence of Rao Pahar Singh Gaur, a relative, came back at the end of Aurangzeb's reign to receive the title of 'Rai' and were made 'Chakladars' of Bijnor District in 1713.

Raja JAGAT KUMAR SINGH died in 1934, leaving a widow RANI INDRA MOHINI MISRI CHAND and young daughter (mother of the present Rajkumari), current head of the family RAJKUMARI REENA KUMARI(the palace sahaspur bilari)son RAJKUMAR DIGVIJAY SINGH JHALA and daughter RAJKUMARI CHANDRIKA KUMARI. Rajkumari Reena Kumari's father's family is from Bilaspur State (founded about 880AD). About 200 years ago an ancestor (the younger brother of Raja Udai Chand) was exiled from Bilaspur, and whose family ultimately found their way to serve as hereditary Prime Ministers of Bahawalpur (Pakistan), till the grandfather of the present Rajkumari preferred service in the Indian Civil Service (1894 batch) and her father served the army being commissioned from Sandhurst in 1927 .


The outstanding contribution of the Bargujar-Chandelas was to build the famous temples (and town) of Khajuraho between the mid-10th and mid-11th centuries. The temples provide a rare and striking example of north Indian temple architecture in this era. The Chandelas have left a number of other inscriptions. They are known to have endowed a large number of Jain and Hindu temples.

List of rulers of Jejaka-bhukti

  • Nannuka (Founder)
  • Rahilya
  • Harsa (900-925): built the Chausath Yogini — ("64 Yoginis") and Lalguan Mahadeva temples
  • Yasovarman or Lakshavarman (925-950) — built the Lakshman temple
  • Dhanga (c. 950-1008) — built the Parsvanatha and Vishwanath temples
  • Ganda (1002-1017) — built the Jagadambi and Chitragupta temples
  • Vidyadhara (1017-29) — built the Kandariya Mahadeva temple
  • Vijayapala (1035-1045) – moved his Capital to Mahoba
  • Devavarman – was defeated by the Kalachuris
  • Kirttivarman
  • Sallaksanavarman
  • Jayavarman
  • Prthvivarman
  • Madanavarman (1129–1162) – constructed the Madan Sagar lake
  • Yasovarman
  • Paramdidev (his generals Alha and Udal fought Prithviraj III Chauhan
  • Trailokyavarman
  • Viravarman
  • Bhojavarman
  • Hammiravarman

Chandelas reduced to local chiefs

  • Keerat Pal Singh (father of Rani Durgavati)

See also

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