History of Panna National Park
Panna, located in the north western part of Madhya Pradesh, was a princely state of pre independent India and was ruled by the Bundela Rajput leader, Chattrasal. Pre independence, Panna was ruled by the Bundela kings and covered an area of 67,200 sq kms with almost 1,008 villages in it’s arms. It was named Panna after the capital of the state.
Mythology states that Pandavas of the Mahabharata spent a significant part of their exile in the erstwhile Panna forests. The Pandava Falls, 11 km. east of Madla, has a beautiful lake and shrines dedicated to Lord Rama, Laxmana & Sita in the surrounding cliffs
Historically, the state was first founded by one of the intial Gond chieftains of the area in around 1450. About 300 years later, the immensely popular Bundela Rajput leader of the area, Chattrasal founded Panna as the capital of it’s regime. In 1680, after his conquest of Mahoba, Chhatrasal flourished his rule over the entire Bundelkhand. He breathed his last in 1732, and subsequently, his kingdom was divided amongst his son’s and son-in-law, Peshwa BajiRao, who was a general to the fifth Maratha Chhatrapati Shahu ( Emperor ) from 1720 till his death.
Panna was handed over to Harde Sah, the eldest son of King Chhatrasal.
In the initial years of the 19th century, Panna aligned with the British and became a princely state. Harde sah gradually took control over the neighbouring smaller states like Nagod and Sohawal.
Maharaja Yadvendra Singh acceded to the Indian Government on1st jan ‘1950 and the kingdom became a part of the newly formed Vindhya Pradesh.
Vindha Pradesh was later amalgamated to form Madhya Pradesh on 1st Nov ‘1956.
Panna National Park was formed in 1981. Parts of the protected forests that comprise the park were originally the hunting preserves of the former kingdoms of Panna, Chhatarpur and Bijawar princely states. In 1994, this park was included as India’s 22nd tiger reserve .
Adjoining areas from the neighbouring Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary contributes to a significant part of Panna National Park. Wildlife Sanctuary, which was formed in 1975, combined the forest habitat of the existing North and South Panna Forest Division to which a portion of the adjoining Chhatarpur forest division was added later.