The Chandellas—a Rajput clan, claimed descent from a Kshatriya. But most modern scholars think that they sprang from the aboriginal Gonds and/or Bhars and were promoted to the rank of Kshatriyas on the assumption of royal powers by their leaders. They flourished in what is now known as Bundelkhand lying between the Jumna on the north and the Vindhyas on the south in the modern state of Vindhya Pradesh. It was then known as Jejakabhukti or Jajhoti. Khajuraho with its magnificent temples, Kalanjar with its strong fortress, Ajaygarh with its palace and Mahoba with its natural beauty were the centres of the culture and achievements of the Chandellas. The Chandellas were Hindus and devout worshippers of Shiva and Krishna but Buddhism and Jainism also had many followers. They developed a magnificent school of architecture, examples of which are still found at Khajuraho where the main temple dedicated to Siva as Mahadeva, is 109 ft. in length, 60 ft. in breadth and 116 ft. in height and contains excellent sculptures. The Chandellas had a monarchical form of government and the succession not only to the throne but also to the office of the ministers was hereditary. The Chandellas had an opportunity of seizing the control of northern India after the decline of the Pratihara power towards the close of the tenth century, but they proved unequal to the task.

The Chandella dynasty was founded early in the ninth century A.D. by one Nannuka Ghandella who overthrew a Pratihara chieftain and became lord of the southern part of Jejakabhukti, or modern Bundelkhand. From Nannuka sprang a dynasty of twenty kings, the earlier of whom were probably feudatories of the Gurjara-Pratiharas. It was the seventh king Yasovarman who occupied the fortress of Kalanjar and forced the contemporary Pratihara king Dcvapala to surrender a valuable image of Vishnu, who was the first practically independent ruler in the dynasty. His son Dhanga (c. A.D. 950-1008), the eighth in the line of succession, was the most notable Ghandella king. He extended his dominion over the whole of Jejakabhukti and took an active part in the Indian politics of the time. In A.D. 989 or 990 he joined the league formed by Jaipal, king of the Panjab, to resist Sabuktigin of Afghanistan and shared in his defeat. Dhanga attained the age of one hundred years and then gave up his life by drowning himself at Prayaga. Dhanga’s son Ganda shared in the defeat of Anandapal, king of the Panjab, at the hands of Sultan Mahmud. The tenth king Vijayapala (c. 1030-50) attacked Kanauj and defeated and killed its king Rajyapal, lor having submitted to Sultan Mahmud, but he himself in his turn was defeated soon afterwards by Sultan Mahmud. Though Sultan Mahmud did not retain his conquest the defeat of Vijayapala so compromised the position of the dynasty that none of the later twelve kings could play any important part in contemporary politics and the dynasty gradually declined in power. The twelfth king Kirttivarman {c. 1060-1100) was the patron of the author of the celebrated mystical drama Prabodha Chandrodaya. The last Chan della king to play any considerable part upon the stage of history was Paramardi, the seventeenth king (c. 1165-1202) who was first defeated by Prithviraj, the Chauhan king of Ajmer and then by Kutubuddin Ibak who captured the fort of Kalanjar. Chandella Rajas lingered on in Bundelkhand as purely local chiefs until the beginning of the 14th century when with the death of the last king Hammiravarman the dynasty came to an end.

The Chanella kings ruled over Bundelkhand—the region between the Jumna on the north and the Vindhyas on the south and between the Betwa on the east and the Tons or Tamasa on the west. The name is derived from the Bundellas who established their rule there in the fourteenth century. Previously it was known as Jijhoti or Jejakabhukti and was ruled by the Chandellas from the ninth to the fourteenth centuries. The principal towns of the kingdom were Khajuraho in Chhatarpur District, Mahoba in Hamirpur District and Kalanjar in the Banda District of U. P. Khajuraho still contains many beautiful architectural monuments while Kalanjar had a strong fortress which strengthened the defences of the state. Slier Shah was killed in 1545 when lie was directing the siege of Kalanjar. Bundelkhand is now a part of Vindhya Pradesh which lies between Uttara Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh within both of which some parts of the old Bundelkhand have been merged.