During the 10th and 11th century AD the territory of Jejakabhukti or modern Bundelkhand was ruled by the Rajput rulers of the Chandella dynasty under whom a great school of architecture flourished. The finest specimen of the architecture is a group of temples at Khajuraho in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The Khajuraho temples have been declared World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Three most important cities in the Chandella dominions were Khajuraho (Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh), Kalinjar (Banda district in Uttar Pradesh) and Mahotsavanagar (Mahoba district in Uttar Pradesh). About these cities eminent historian Vincent Smith remarks, “The first-named town with is magnificent temples may be regarded as the religious, the second with its strong fortress as the military and the third with its palace as the civil capital.”
The Chandellas are believed to have been a clan of aboriginal chiefs related to the Gonds or Bhars and later graduated to the rank of Kshatriyas. The name of their kingdom Jejakabhukti was named after the one of the early Chandella rulers known as Jeja or Jejjaka. the Chandella were once the feudatories of the Partiharas of Kanauj. In fact, their chief Harshadeva(c 900-25) had helped Mahipala in regaining his kingdom. Yashovarman, son of Harshadeva, threw off the allegiance. However, the Chandellas became independent formally of the Partihara Empire under Dhanga, son and successor of Yashovarman. In AD 990 When Jayapala, the Shahi king of Udabhanda (present day Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, Pakistan) invited important northern states to help him in repelling the aggression of Subuktigin, Dhanga along with other Hindu rulers promptly responded with men and money and shared the disaster suffered by the coalition army. Dhanga was succeeded by his son Ganda, who also joined the confederate army formed by Shahi king Anandapala (son of Jayapala) in A. D. 1008 to repel the invasion of Mahmud Ghazni (son-in - law of Subuktigin).
Ganda was succeeded by his son Vidyadhara, who was the greatest ruler of the Chandella dynasty. He attacked and killed the Pratihara ruler Rajyapala in A. D. 1019for having submitted to Mahmud Ghazni. However in 1023, when Mahmud Ghazni attacked Kalinjara, Vidyadhara was unable to defend Chandella dominions. After him, the power of the Chandellas declined. There was a revival of the fortunes under Kirtivarman who successfully resisted an invasion of the Chandella territory by a Ghazanvid army in A. D. 1090. Kirtivarman was the patron of famous poet Krishna Misra.
Among later Chandella rulers, Madanavarman (c.1129-63) and Parmardi or Parmal (c1165-1203) were the most important kings. Madanavarman defeated the Parmara ruler of Dhara, the Chedi king of Tripuri and the Gahadavala king Vijayachandra. But during the reign of Parmardi, the Chandella power began to decline. He was defeated in 1182-83 by Prithviraj III, the Chauhan king of Ajmer and Dlehi. Mahoba came under the control of the Chauhan rulers. Subsequently in 1203, he suffered comprehensive defeat at the hands of Qutb-ud-din Aibak (the first Muslim ruler of India) during the latter’s invasion of the Kalinjar. Parmardi was killed and Qutb-ud-din Aibak occupied Mahoba. A. L. Bhasham writes, “The conservative kings of India had learnt no lessons from Mahmud’s raids. They were still incapable of serious co-operation, and their enormous armies were slow and unwieldy. At the end of the twelfth century, the three chief kings of northern India - Prithviraj of Chauhan, Jayachandra Gahadavala and Parmardi of Chandella dynasty- were in a state of tripartite war.”