Mahoba (महोबा) is a city and District of Uttar Pradesh, in the Bundelkhand region. Mahoba is known for its closeness to Khajuraho, Laundi and other historic places like Kulpahar, Charkhari, Kalinjar, Orchha, and Jhansi.
Associated Jat Gotras
Mahoba was the capital of the Chandels, who ruled Bundelkhand from the 10th to the 16th centuries. The Chandel king Vijaypal (1035–1045) built the Vijay-sagar reservoir, one of several artificial lakes in Mahoba created by the Chandel rulers. During the reign of king Paramardi (c. 1165-?), the Chauhan king Prithviraj III of Delhi and Ajmer captured Mahoba c. 1182, despite the resistance of his generals Alha & Udal. The Chandelas recaptured Mahoba a few years later, but the city was captured by the Muslim general Qutb-ud-din Aybak, later Sultan of Delhi, in 1203.
The Chandel ruler Keerat Pal Singh recaptured Mahoba in the 14th century. Emperor Sher Shah Suri campaigned against the Chandelas, and captured Mahoba before dying while besieging Kalinjar in 1545. The Mughal emperor Akbar captured Mahoba a few decades later.
The Bundela leader Maharaja Chhatrasal captured Mahoba in 1680, during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Upon his death in 1732, Chhatra Sal bequeathed Mahoba and the surrounding area to the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao I in return for Baji Rao's assistance against the Mughals. The Marathas ruled Mahoba until 1803, when it was ceded to British India by the Treaty of Bassein. Mahoba was made a subdivision of Hamirpur District.
The name Mahoba is derived from 'Mahotsav Nagar', the city of great festivals, which were celebrated here by Chandra-Verman or Nannuka, The traditional founder of the Chandella Dynasty.
The Bardic tradition preserves three other names of the City: Kekaipur, Patanpur and Ratanpur. These names are said to have been current in the Treta and Dwapar Yugas. The existence of the sacred 'Ram-Kund' and 'Seeta-Rasoi' cave at the Gokhar hill here are said to be monumental to the visit of Rama who widely treated this hilly region while in 14-year exile at Chitrakoot.
Before the rise of Chandels, Mahoba was held by the Gahadvala and Pratihara clans. The Chandela ruler Chandra-Verman, who hailed from Maniagarh, his birth place near Panna, took it over from Pratihar rulers and adopted it as his Capital. Later, Vakpati, Jejja, Vijai Shakti and Rahila-deva succeeded him.
Among the later Chandel rulers whose names are particularly associated with the local monuments are Vijai-pal (1035–1045 AD) who built the Vijai-sagar lake, Keerti-Verman (1060-1100 AD) built Keerat sagar tank and Madan-Verman (1128-1164 AD) who built Madan Sagar. The last prominent Chandel ruler was Parmardi-deva or Parmal whose name is still popular due to the heroic deeds of his two Generals Alha and Udala who own many battles. The court poet Jagnik Rao has made their names immortal through his popular ballad (Veer-Kavya) 'Alha-Khand'. It is recited throughout the Hindi speaking masses in the country. In 1860 AD an English Officer of the East India Company, Mr. William Waterfield was so impressed with the ballad that he translated it into English under the title name of 'Lay of Alha' which was published by the Oxford University Press of England. Another prominent scripture which has an account of Mahoba's grandeur is the Jain text 'Prabhandh-kosh' which refers to its magnificence which could only be realized and not described.
The reign of Parmardi-deva or Parmal, the Fifteen ruler of the dynasty, witnessed the fall of Mahoba. In 1182 A.D.differences arose between Parmala and Delhi king Prithviraj who gave an ultimatum lying certain conditions to be fulfilled by Parmala or to surrender. He made seize of Mahoba and his General Chaumund Rai even made a surprise attack on the Kajli procession of queen Malhna who hadgone to Keerat Sagar tank to offer Kajli Pooja on the Raksha-Bandhan day. A grim fight ensued in which Mahoba warriors:Udala, Brahma, Ranjeet, and Abhai (son of Mahila) repulsed the attack and Chaumund-Rai had to flee to his base camp at Pachpahara. The Kajli-Pooja was consequently celebrated the next day and that tradition continues to be followed even to this date. The third day is observed as a Victory Day and a thanks-giving Pooja is performed to Lord Shiva, Gajantak Shiva idol on Gokhar hill.
Later, the Chauhan King Prithvi Raj captured Mahoba despite the brave fight put up by the Banafer brothers, Alha and Udal. Other warriors of Mahoba, viz. Udal, Brahma, Malkhan, Sulkhan, Dheba and Tala Saiyyad, etc., laid down their lives in the battle. Parmala had to retreat to Kalinjar leaving Mahoba in the hands of the conqueror. Prithvi Raj appointed his Thanapati Pajjun Rai as his administrator. A few years later, he was driven out by Samarjeet, son of Parmala. This, however, could not stop the beginning of the end of Chandella rule. Two decades later, Qutubuddin Aibek vanquised Mahoba and Kalinjar in 1203 A.D. Aibk took away immense booty with thousands of artisans as prisoners. He deported most of them to Ghazni as slaves, who constructed beautiful buildings there. Later, Trailokya Verman, another son of Parmala, recovered Mahoba and Kalinjar but the Chandellas lost their eminence. Mahoba lost its independence and became part of the Delhi Sultanate.
After about two centuries of obscurity a notable Chandel ruler Keerat Pal Singh rose to power and re-established his domain over Kalinjar and Mahoba. His illustrious daughter Durgavati was married to Gond ruler Dalpat-shah of Garh Mandla(near Jabalpur) in 1543 A.D. Later, Keerat Pal Singh battled bravely with Sher Shah Suri, while defending Kalinjar fort in 1545. Sher Shah, however, captured the fort after a prolonged fight but was killed in an explosion while directing final assault on the fort.
Rani Durgavati's deeds
The account of Rani Durgavati's deeds is most glorious. She administered her territory admirably well after the death of Raja Dalpat Shah and in 1564 A.D. gallantly resisted the unprovoked aggression of Mughal emperor Akbar, whose general Asif Khan attracted Garh Mandla to annex Rani's territory. The Rani gave a brave fight but lost her life in the battle-field.
In the post Chandella period the history of Mahoba gets obscure. It was under the reign of Delhi Sultans. Local traditions ascribe and associate Bhars, Gonds and Khangar clans who held its administration from time to time. However, during the reign of Akbar, it was constituted into a 'Mahal' in the Sarkar of Kalinjar within the Suba of Allahabad. According to 'Aine-Akbari, it had an area of 82000 Bighas yielding a revenue of over 40,42000 Dams in addition to 12000 Pans (Betel-leaves) to the Moghal Darbar. Mahoba has been famous for its betal-leaves cultivation ever since the first Chandella ruler Chandra-Verman who adopted it as his capital. During the Moghal period the revenue assessment of Mahoba suggests a high degree of prosperity in comparison to the neighbouring 'Mahals'.
Later, with the rise of Chhatrasal Bundela, Mahoba passed under his sway but failed to acquire and kind of pre-eminence. In the 17th century Chhatrasal declared independence and put a stiff resistance against Aurangzeb. He established a Bundella Principality and Bahadur Shah Moghal had to confirm all his acquisitions in the area called 'Bundelkhand'. There was a revival of hostilities during the region of reign of Farrukhsiyar when his general Mohammed Khan Bangash invaded Bundelkhand in the year 1729 AD. and the aged ruler Chatrasal had to seek aid from Peshwa Baji rao. His 'Maratha' army of 70,000 men dashed from Indore (Malwa) and encamped at Mahoba. They surrounded forces of nawab Banghash who had captured Jaitpur, Belatal, Mudhari and Kulpahar etc. The Peshwa inflicted a crushing defeat over the Nawab by annihilating his forces in the dense forests of Jaitpur, Mudhari and Salat etc. In return for this help, Chhatrasal bequeathed one third of his dominion to the Maratha Chieftain. That part included Mahoba, Shri Nagar, Jaitpur, Kulpahar etc. Later, under the treaty Bessien in 1803 AD the marathas ceded Bundelkhand area to British rulers. Its administration was, however, carried over by the subedar of Jalaun until 1858 AD when it was finally annexed by the East India Company. Mahoba was made the head-quarter of a sub-division in the district of Hamirpur. Its later history is un-eventful except for the local revolt in the first freedom struggle of 1857 AD when the British Sub-divisional Magistrate, Mr Carne, had to flee and seek refuge in the nearby Charkhari estate which was being ruled by Raja Ratan Singh. The Rani of Jhansi, got annoyed over this betrayal of Raja and deputed her general Tantia Tope to attack Charkhari and capture Mr. Carne.Raja Ratan Singh surrendered and entered into a treaty with Tantya Tope. Mahoba was then under the rule of rebels whom the British General Whitloack defeated and restored British rule. He arrested a large number of local rebels and hanged some of the prominent men on the trees in the vicinity called Haveli Darwaza. A "Shaheed Mela" is now annually held there to commemorate the memory of those rebels.
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