(Last Updated on : 02-01-2013)
Bundelkhand is a geographic region of central India, lying in the Indo-Gangetic Plain
and divided between the states of Uttar Pradesh
and Madhya Pradesh
. It is a gently sloping upland with barren hilly terrain having sparse vegetation. The region is traversed by three mountain ranges, the Vindhya Mountain Range
, Fauna and Bander chains beyond which there are isolated hills. The main rivers are the Sindh River
, Betwa River
, Ken River
, Bagahin River, Tons River
, Pahuj River
, Dhasan River
and Chambal River
. There are also many artificial lakes. The Kali Sindh River
, rising in Malwa, marks the western edge of Bundelkhand. The major towns of this place are the Jhansi
, Datia, Lalitpur
, Sagar district
, Orai, Panna district
, Banda Narsinghpur and Chhatarpur district
Bundelkhand's most renowned place is Khajuraho which has a number of 10th century temples. The mines of Panna are famous for magnificent diamonds. Bundelkhandi is the most common Hindi dialect spoken in the area. The region is predominantly Hindu, but there are also a number of Jain Tirthas. The region is a fraction of the Narmada River
Valley dry deciduous forests eco region. The original vegetation consisted of tropical dry forest. The Panna Tiger Reserve (Panna National Park
) in Panna and Chhatarpur districts boasts of tigers and a variety of other wildlife.
The Bundelkhand region has considerable historical significance. The Chandela Rajput clan ruled Bundelkhand from the 10th to the 16th centuries. One of the notable rulers, Vidyadhar
(1017-29) expanded the kingdom of Chandella dynasty
to its supreme extent, extending the Chandela dominions to the Chambal River in the northwest and south to the Narmada River
. The Chandelas built the famous temple-city of Khajuraho between the mid-10th and mid-11th centuries.
During the Chandela period, Bundelkhand became a flourishing Jain community and numerous Jain temples were constructed in that period. In the 12th century, the Rajput Chauhan monarchs of Ajmer
challenged the Chandelas. The Muslim conquests of the early 13th century curtailed the Chandela domains, although they survived until the 16th century as minor chieftains. Bundela Rajputs grew to prominence starting in the 16th century. The region came under Mughal rule during the 16th and 18th centuries. Akbar's governors at Kalpi
maintained a nominal authority over the surrounding district, and the Bundela chiefs were in a state of unending revolt, which culminated in the war of independence under Chhatrasal. The region subsequently went under the rule of Maratha Empire
but by the end of the 18th century, the Bundelas had freed themselves to some extent from Maratha power.
After 1802, a major part of Bundelkhand passed in British hands. In 1853 the Raja of Jhansi
died childless, and his territory was annexed to British East India Company
. Bundelkhand according to Lord Dalhousie
's Doctrine of lapse
. The widow of the Raja of Jhansi, Rani Lakshmi Bai
, remonstrated against the annexation because she was not allowed to adopt an heir, and because the slaughter of cattle was permitted in the Jhansi territory.
The Great Revolt
of 1857 found Jhansi ripe for rebellion. Bundelkhand is the home place of two great Indian freedom fighters and the father of the freedom movement in the entire region, Dewan Shatrughan Singh, and his wife Rani Rajendra Kumari. After Indian independence in 1947, the princely states of Bundelkhand were combined with those of the former Bagelkhand Agency to form the province of Vindhya Pradesh, which became an Indian state in 1950. On November 1, 1956, Vindhya Pradesh
was merged into Madhya Pradesh.