The history of the Gondwana Kingdom of mid-India is too old. This empire was founded in the second century. Many brave kings and queens emerged in this kingdom which is known in the history of India. the states of mid-India were quiet and prosperous during the reign. Citizens and merchants were not taxed unnecessarily. The women had vital partnership along with the men in war and make for a living. These were all the factors for easy life to survive all class citizens. There were ina dependent states of Gond kings from different clans. The reign of the King Yadavrai dynasty remained for the very long period.
The Lanji tahsil is located in Balaghat district of Madhyapradesh. Around 1800 years ago, a king used to rule here. The range of the Lanjigarh state was extended up to Garha(Jabalpur district) in the North. A mighty warrior from South India came to Lanjigarh. Yadavrai was the name of this mighty warrior. Yadavrai started serving in Lanjigarh state. He was deployed at Garha area. Yadavrai was mighty and skilled in political affairs. The king was very much impressed by the ability and heroism of Yadavrai. The king decided to marry his daughter with Yadavrai. Yadavrai got married to the princess. The king of Lanjigarh gifted the Garha area to Yadavrai after the marriage. Yadavrai had become a King now. They made capital to Garha and started their reign. And this is how the Garha kingdom and the dynasty of King Yadavrai Maravi/Madavi started.
The dynasty of Yadavrai proven to be greatest among the other dynasties. From Yadavrai to last King Narharishah, 63 Kings of this dynasty ruled continuously for more than 1300 years. the most magnificent king Sangram Shah emerged from this dynasty. He conquered many states by attacking them and established his empire. The King Sangramshah was the only emperor who established his kingdom to 52 Garha and ruled for his lifetime. King Hirdaishah of this dynasty got built Moti Mahal and made capital to Ramnagar(Mandla). There is a rock inscription in Moti Mahal where the King Hirdaishah got inscribed his ancestors’ name and duration of their reign.
King Gorakshdas was a far-sighted person. The king recruited a huge army and extended the boundaries of the kingdom. After King Gorakshdas, his son Arjundas became the King. Sangram Singh was the son of King Arjundas. Sangram Singh received kingdom in inheritance from Arjundas. King Sangram Singh was scholar and ambitious. Kaalbhairav temple is located at Bajnamath in Garha state. This temple was the center of Tantric practice. King Sangram Singh used to practice Tantric practice in this temple also. An Aghori Kapalik came to Bajnamath temple for Tantric practice. The Aghori Kapalik made a commitment to become the ruler of Garha kingdom as he was influenced by the glamor of the state. Aghori Kapalik wanted to kill the King during the Tantric practice in the temple and become the king of Garha kingdom. The King found out the intentions of Aghori but did drama of being unacquainted of it. The King and the Aghori started Tantric rituals in Kaalbhairav temple of Bajnamath. At the end of the Tantric ritual, Aghori Kapalik tried killing the King but the King sacrificed the Aghori using the weapon brought by hiding under the clothes. The king received the powers of Aghori Kapalik after the sacrifice of Aghori and the King became invincible. Due to these powers, no King or enemy could defeat the King Sangramsingh. The King defeated many kingdoms by attacking them and extended his kingdom to 52 Garhas. This is how the King Sangramsingh entitled himself with the title “Maharaja”. The details of 52 Garhas are given in the “52 Garha” page.
Maharaja Sangram Singh, Sultan of Delhi Ibrahim Lodi and King of Rewa Virsingh Baghel were friends in their youth. Jalaluddin Lodi revolted against Ibrahim Lodi and tried seizing the kingdom. But, Jalaluddin Lodi didn’t succeed. Jalaluddin ran away from Delhi and kept wandering for gathering army support from independent Kings. No King helped Jalaluddin. Jalaluddin came to Garha kingdom for military assistance. Maharaja Sangram Singh arrested Jalaluddin Lodi and sent back to Sultan Ibrahim Lodi. Sultan Ibrahim was too happy from this act of Maharaja Sangram Singh and entitled him with the title “Shah” which was equivalent to sultan itself. Now the Maharaja Sangram Singh had become Maharaja Sangram Shah. When Babar seized the throne of Delhi sultanate of Sultan Ibrahim Lodi, the Afghans accepted enlisting in the army of Maharaja Sangram Shah. Maharaja Sangram Shah ruled for 50 years at the Garha Kingdom.
The invaluable contribution of Heroic Queens was for their development and management of Gondwana Kingdom. Dalpat Shah, son of Maharaja Sangram Shah continued further the empire of Garha Kingdom. Unfortunately, the Maharaja Dalpat Shah died in early age due to prolonged illness. He ruled for 18 years only. Maharani Durgavati got crowned the teenager prince Vir Narayan and started ruling the Garha Kingdom. She had a vast kingdom and could make capital to any of the Garha. Maharani did many works for the prosperity of her inherited kingdom and public welfare. They made ponds and wells for water supply. Thereby, there has been a substantial development in agriculture and other areas and the glory of the state also increased. In those days the ruler of the Mandu was the Bazbahhadur. Bajbahadur attacked the Gadha Mandla several times, but every time he had to face the defeat of the Queen Durgavati.
Now, Delhi had a reign of youth King Akbar of Mughal Sultanate. King Akbar was told about the prosperity of Garha Kingdom. Akbar wanted to conquer Garha state so that his power would be enhanced. King Akbar sent commander Asaf Khan to invade in Garha kingdom but they lost it because y the Gond warriors were specialized in Gorilla war. Asaf Khan returned to Delhi and the process of reconciling started from both the parties. Diwan Aadhar Singh Kayasth went Delhi as a representative of Queen Durgavati from the Garha Kingdom. The efforts of reconciliation went in vain. King Akbar had a huge armed force and he wanted the Queen Durgavati should surrender. But surrendering was not tolerable to this great ruler of Gondwana. The Queen decided to fight. In the month of June, the Gond and the Afgan soldiers of Garha state set a front near the Narrai jungle. The queen herself was leading the army while fighting in a white elephant called Sarman. There was a fierce battle between the Mughal army and the army of Garha. Mughal army lost again. The next day, on 23 June 1564, the artillery of Asaf Khan reached. Mughal forces used indiscriminate guns, which caused huge damage to the Queen's army. Mughal forces used indiscriminate guns, which caused huge damage to the Queen's army. The Queen and Diwan Adhar Singh Kayasth along with the soldiers crossed Narrai River and kept outmarching. The Mughal army began enclosing the Queen. In this situation, it was necessary to get out of the enemy-army circle. When she returned, unfortunately, there was a fierce flood on Narrai River and even the reliable Sarman Elephant couldn’t cross it. The Queen began fighting to Mughals again. An arrow pierced the body of the Queen. She removed the shaft but the arrowhead broke inside. The second arrow also pierced the queen. She was injured severely and bleeding. The Queen did not want to die by the enemies and not to be captured by them. The Queen ordered Adharsingh to chop-off her own head. But it was not possible for Adhaarsingh to do such an act. So he denied of doing that and eventually, the Queen sacrificed her own life by stabbing a knife. After some moments of the death of the Queen, Sarman Elephant passed away. In this way, the Empress Durgavati Maravi of Gondwana Kingdom became immortal in history.
After the death of Queen Durgavati, prince Vir Narayan died by fighting bravely against the Mughals in Chouragarh. Mughals seized the Garha Kingdom. Maharaja Chandrashah, the King of Chandagarh and younger brother of late King Dalpatshah, was called and crowned as a King of the Garha State. King Chandrashah had to give 10 Garha to Emperor Akbar for the agreement. The Mughal sultanate kept spreading, the disintegration of the Gondwana Kingdom continued and the burden of taxes at the public kept increasing. With the speed of time, the powers of the Mughal rulers began to decrease but the Maratha kingdom was rising. Garha Mandla was occupied by the Marathas in the year 1781. The descendants of the King Yadavrai also ruled the Garha Mandla state under the subjection of Maratha Kingdom. The last king of this Gond dynasty was King Narharishah. Thus the Gond Kings of Garha Kingdom ended, but the prince Shankarshah and his son Raghunathshah of this dynasty appeared in the revolt of 1857 CE against the British Government. Due to their rebellion act, Shankarshah and Raghunathshah were punished with the death penalty.
Gondwana Kingdom (M.P)