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Rewa (princely state)

Rewa State
Rewah State
रेवा रियासत
Princely State of British India
c. 1790–1948
Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Location of Rewa
Rewah State in the Imperial Gazetteer of India
 •  Established c. 1790
 •  Independence of India 1948
 •  1901 33,670 km2 (13,000 sq mi)
 •  1901 1,327,385 
Density 39.4 /km2  (102.1 /sq mi)
Today part of India
Columbia-Lippincott Gazeteer. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952) p. 369
The Govindgarh palace of the Maharaja of Rewa in 1882
Flag of Rewa State in the 19th century[1]
Elephant Carriage of the Maharaja of Rewa, Delhi Durbar of 1903.

Rewa State, also known as Rewah, was a princely state of India, surrounding its eponymous capital, the town of Rewa.[2]

With an area of about 13,000 mi², Rewa was the largest princely state in the Bagelkhand Agency and the second largest in Central India Agency. The British political agent for Bagelkhand resided at Satna, on the East Indian railway. The Bagelkhand Agency was dissolved in 1933 and Rewa was placed under the authority of the Indore Residency.


  • Description 1
  • History 2
    • Post-independence period 2.1
    • Rulers of Rewa 2.2
      • List of Rulers 2.2.1
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Rewa State was bordered to the north by the United Provinces, to the east by Bengal and to the south by the Central Provinces. On the west, it met other princely states of Bagelkhand, namely Maihar, Nagod, Sohawal, Kothi Baghelan and Panna. The south of the state was crossed by the BengalNagpur railway, the branch between Bilaspur and Katni which taps the Umaria coal-field.

In 1901, the population of the state was 1,327,385, showing a decrease of 12% over a decade; the population of the town that year was 24,608. Many of the inhabitants of the hilly tracts were Gonds and Kols. The estimated revenue of the state was Rs. 200,000/- p.a. The staple crops were rice, millets and wheat. More than one-third of the area was covered with forests, yielding timber and lac. The state suffered from famine in 1896-1897 and again, to a lesser extent, in 1899–1900.

Rewa is also famous for its white tigers; the first one, nicknamed Mohan, was caught in Rewa. Sitar virtuoso Pandit Ravi Shankar studied music from Alauddin Khan of Maihar, who was born in Rewa state.


According to tradition Rewa state was founded around 1140. On 5 Oct 1812 it became a British protectorate. Rewa state became part of the British India administration between 1 Apr 1875 and 15 Oct 1895.[3]

The Rajas of Rewa were of the Baghela(vaghela) branch of the Baghela Rajput[4] or Chalukya clan (Hindu Agnivanshi clan of Indian stock), and claimed descent from the founder of the Anhilwara (Patan) dynasty in Gujarat.They ruled from Bandhavgarh under the first ruler Raja Vyaghradev who was direct descendant of famous Gujarati King and Warrior Vir Dhawal . In the mid 1550s, Raja Ramachandra Singh Baghela maintained a musically talented court, including the legendary Tansen. In 1617, Maharaja Vikramaditya Singh moved his capital to Rewa. Maharaja Martand Singh was the last ruler of Rewa who acceded to the Union of India after the country became India. Birbal was born in Sidhi District of Rewa Kingdom. The Emperor Sher Shah Suri, died fighting with Ruler of Rewa Vir Singh at Fort of Kalinjar.

Emperor Akbar was given refuge at Rewa, at age 10, after his father Humayun fled India after a defeat in war. Prince Ramchandra Singh and Akbar grew up together as royal heirs. Maharaja Ramchandra Singh and Akbar stayed friends. Two of the Navratnas of Akbar, Tansen and Birbal(original name Mahesh Das.) were sent from Rewa by Maharaja Ramchandra Singh once Akbar became the Emperor of India.

Rewa is the first princely state in India to declare Hindi as a national language in times of Maharaja Gulab Singh. He is also credited for declaring the first responsible government in modern India, providing citizens of Rewa state a right to question monarch's decision. The state came under British paramountcy in 1812 and remained a princely state within the Raj until India's independence in 1947.

During the long minority of Raja Venkat Raman Singh (b. 1876, ruled 1880-1918), the administration of the state was reformed. In 1901 the town boasted a high school, a "model jail" and two hospitals: the Victoria hospital and the Zenana hospital. However, it was still adjudged among the most backward areas of the country by V.P. Menon, after he visited the state in 1947.

Post-independence period

Upon India's independence in 1947, the maharaja of Rewa acceded unto the dominion of India. Rewa later merged with the Union of India and became part of Vindhya Pradesh, which was formed by the merger of the former princely states of the Bagelkhand and Bundelkhand agencies. Rewa served as the capital of the new state.

In 1956, Vindhya Pradesh was merged with other nearby political entities to form the Indian constitutive state of Madhya Pradesh. The Maharaja's Raj [i.e. colonial]-era palace has now been converted into a museum.

In February 2007, the most extensive book on history of Rewa was published. Published by Oxford University Press, it is named "Baghelkhand, or the Tigers’ Lair" and is authored by Dr D.E.U Baker, ex H.O.D, History Department, St Stephen's College, New Delhi after 12 years of gruelling research in which the author consulted numerous sources of information for Rewa's history like the state and national archives as well as old records of Rewa state.

Bagheli is local language of Rewa.

Rulers of Rewa

The predecessor state was founded c. 1140. The chiefs of Rewa were Baghel Rajputs descended from the Solanki clan which ruled over Gujarat from the tenth to the 13th century. Vyaghra Deo, brother of the ruler of Gujarat, is said to have made his way into northern India about the middle of the 13th century and obtained the fort of Marpha, 18 miles north-east of Kalinjar. His son Karandeo married a Kalchuri (Haihaya) princess of Mandla and received in dowry the fort of Bandhogarh which, until its destruction in 1597 by Akbar was the Baghel Capital. In 1298, Ulugh Khan, acting under orders of emperor Alauddin drove the last Baghel ruler of Gujrat from his country and this is believed to have caused a considerable migration of the Baghels to Bandhogarh. Until the 15th century the Baghels of Bandhogarh were engaged in extending their possessions and escaped the attention of the Delhi kings, in 1498-9, Sikandar Lodi failed in his attempt to take the fort of Bandhogarh.[5][6]

List of Rulers

  • Maharaja SHAKTIVAN Deo 1495/1500
  • Maharaja VEER SINGH Deo 1500/1540
  • Maharaja VIRBHAN SINGH 1540/1555
  • Maharaja RAMCHANDRA SINGH 1555/1592
  • Maharaja DURYODHAN SINGH [Birbhadra Singh] 1593/1618 (deposed), 19th Raja of Bandhogarh
  • Maharaja VIKRAMADITYA 1618/1630, his accession gave rise to disturbances, Akbar intervened and captured and dismantled the Bandhogarh fort in 1597 after a siege of eight months. It is after this that the town of Rewa started gaining in importance. It is said to have been founded by Raja Vikramaditya in 1618 (which perhaps means that he undertook the construction of palaces and other buildings there because the place had already assumed importance in 1554 when it was held by Jalal Khan son of emperor Shershah), married and had issue, four sons.
    • Maharaja AMAR SINGH II (qv)
    • Kunwar Indra Singh, he was granted Patharhat Estate.
    • Kunwar Sarup Singh, he was granted Panasi Estate.
    • Kunwar Angad Rai, he was granted Chandiya Estate.
  • Maharaja AMAR SINGH II 1630/1643, married and had issue.
    • Maharaja ANOOP SINGH (qv)
    • Raja FATEH SINGH, rebelled against his father and established himself in Sohawal.
  • Maharaja ANOOP SINGH 1643/1660, married and had issue, three sons.
    • Maharaja BHAO SINGH (qv)
    • Kunwar Yashwant Singh, he was granted the Jagir of Gudh, married and had issue, two sons.
      • Kunwar Mukund Singh, he was granted the estate of Semariya.
      • Kunwar Anirudh Singh, adopted by his uncle and succeeded as Maharaja ANIRUDH SINGH (qv)
      • Kunwar Jhujhar Singh, he was granted the estate of Ramnagar Itma.
  • Maharaja BHAO SINGH 1660/1690, married 1stly, Maharani Ajab Kunwar, daughter of Maharana RAJ SINGH I of Udaipur, married 2ndly, 1668, Maharani Kunj Kumari, a daughter of Raikwar Thakur Sadan Singh of Nadan in Rewah State, and had adoptive issue. He died sp 1690.
  • Maharaja ANIRUDH SINGH 1690/1700, born as Kunwar Anirudh Singh, son of Thakur Yashwant Singh of Gudh, adopted by his uncle; married and had issue, one son.
    • Maharaja AVADHUT SINGH (qv)
  • Maharaja AVADHUT SINGH 1700/1755, the state was sacked by Hirde Shah of Panna in about 1731, causing the Raja to flee to Pratapgarh in Oudh; married (amongst others), (a), Maharani Ratan Kumari Devi, married (b), Maharani Sagun Kunwar, daughter of Umara-i-Uzzam Maharaja Mahendra GOPAL SINGH of Bhadawar, and his fifth wife, the daughter of Raja Madho Singh Sirnet of Bansi, and had issue, one son.
    • Maharaja AJIT SINGH (qv)
  • Maharaja AJIT SINGH 1755/1809, married Maharani Kundan Kunwar, died 1802, daughter of Chandel Thakur Vikram Singh of Silpatra, and had issue, one son. He died 1809.
    • Maharaja JAI SINGH (qv)
  • Maharaja JAI SINGH 1809/1835, born 4 January 1765; in 1812 a body of Pindaris raided Mirzapur from Rewa territory. Upon this Jaisingh was called upon to accede to a treaty, in which he acknowledged the protection of the British Government, and agreed to refer all disputes with neighbouring chiefs to their arbitration and to allow British troops to march through or be cantoned in his territories; married 1stly, a daughter of Gaharwar Raja Udhhat Singh of Manda, married 2ndly, a daughter of Dikhit Raja Madhav Singh of Goraiya, and had issue, three sons and one daughter. He died 1835.
    • Babu Laxman Singh, he was granted the estate of Madhavgarh estate, married and had issue, two sons.
      • Kunwar Ran Bahadur Singh, married a daughter of Sirnet Raja Prakash Singh of Bansi in U.P. He died sp.
      • Kunwar (name unknown), succeeded his brother in Madhavgarh, died without issue, and the estate was merged into Rewah.
      • Kumari (name unknown), married Maharana JAWAN SINGH of Udaipur.
      • Kumari (name unknown), married 1834, Maharana JAWAN SINGH of Udaipur.
    • Babu Balbhadra Singh, he was granted the estate of Amarpatan; married Rani Chhavinath Kunwari, daughter of Gaharwar Thakur Manbodh Singh of Kaithaha estate in Rewah (a relation of the Raja Saheb of Manda in U.P.), and had issue.
      • Kumari (name unknown), married 1837, Maharaja SARDAR SINGH of Bikaner.
    • Maharajkumari Sahodar Kunwar, married 1823, Maharana JAWAN SINGH of Udaipur.
  • Maharaja VISHWANATH SINGH 1835/1854, born 1789, married and had issue, one sons and three daughters. He died 1854.
    • HH Maharaja RAGHURAJ SINGH Bahadur (qv)
    • Maharajkumari (name unknown), married Maharaja RAM SINGH II of Jaipur.
    • Maharajkumari (name unknown), married Maharaj Mahabat Singh of Jodhpur.
    • Maharajkumari Subhadra Kumari, married 2 July 1821, Yuvraj (later) Maharana JAWAN SINGH of Udaipur.
  • Lt.Col. HH Maharaja Sir RAGHURAJ SINGH Ju Deo Bahadur (1876–1918)1854/1880, born 1831, Maharaja Raghuraj Singh helped theBritish in quelling the uprisings in the neighbouring Mandla and Jabalpur districtain the mutiny of 1857, and in Nagod which is now a part of Satna district, for this,the Maharaja was rewarded by restoration to him of the Sohagpur (Shahdol) and Amarkantak parganas, which had been seized by the Marathas in the beginning of thecentury, Maharaja [cr.1857]; married eight wives, including 1stly, 1845, daughter ofBisen Raja of Bhadri in Oudh, married 2ndly, 1851, HH Maharani Sobhag Kanwar, daughterof Maharana SARDAR SINGH of Udaipur, and had issue, one son and several daughters. Hedied 5 February 1880.
    • Lt.Col. HH Samrajya Maharajadhiraja Bandhavesh Shri Maharaja Sir VENKAT RAMAN RAMANUJ PRASAD SINGH Ju Deo Bahadur (qv)
    • Maharajkumari Vishnuprasad Kunwar, born 1846, married 1864, Maharaj Kishore Singh of Jodhpur.
    • Maharajkumari (name unknown), married 1903, HH Maharao Raja Sir RAGHUBIR SINGHJI Sahib Bahadur of Bundi. She died 1904.
  • Lt.Col. HH Samrajya Maharajadhiraja Bandhavesh Shri Maharaja Sir VENKAT RAMAN RAMANUJ PRASAD SINGH Ju Deo Bahadur 1880/1918, born 23 July 1876, G.C.S.I. [cr.1897], married 1stly, 1892, HH Maharani Shivraj Kumari Devi,


  1. ^ Princely States of India K-Z
  2. ^ RewaCityOnline - Information about Rewa City
  3. ^ Princely States of India
  4. ^ Rewah (Princely State)
  5. ^ Genealogy of the ruling chiefs of Rewa
  6. ^ REWA ,The Baghel Dynasty - Genealogy

External links

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