Panna was a sanad state of the Bundelkhand Political Agency. The state covered an area of 2,492 square miles. Presently, it is located in Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. It lies between Banda district, Ajaigarh district and Bhaisaunda in the north, Kothi, Nagod, Sohawal and Ajaigarh in the east, Jubbulpore and Damoh district in the south and Chhatarpur, Charkhari, Bijawar and Alipura in the west. Panna state was entitled to an 11 gun salute by the Imperial rule of India.
The Panna chiefs were Bundela Rajputs from the Orchha family. After the death of Orchha ruler, Jhular Singh in 1635, entire Budelkhand experienced anarchy. Champat Rai, a grandson of Udot Singh, the brother of Madhukar of Orchha took advantage of anarchy and recognised himself as a leader of cause for unifying Bundela. In the beginning, he earned the favour of Aurnagzeb but afterwards was disfavoured and attacked by the Mughal forces. To escape from Mughal’s capture, he requested his wife to kill him and immediately after killing, she herself committed suicide. He was succeeded by his son, Chhatarsal.
In 1671, he got inspired by Shivaji and raised his army against the Mughals in Bundelkhand. He defeated Mughal generals such as Rohilla Khan, Kaliq, Munawwar Khan, Sadruddin, Sheikh Anwar, Sayyid Latif, Bahlol Khan and Abdus Ahmed etc. He conquered the territory between Chitrakoot and Panna on the east and Gwalior on the west. In 1680, he captured Mahoba region. He married his daughter, Mastani to Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao I. Historian D.G. Godse stated that Chhatrasal and Baji Rao I shared father-son like relationship. He made Kalinjar town as his capital. He died at the age of eighty-nine in 1732. He left 22 legitimate sons and 30 illegitimate sons. Therefore, his son, Hardesah ascended the throne. He shifted his capital to Panna.
Later, he was succeeded by his son Sabha Singh. During his reign, famous diamond mine was used for the first time. The next ruler was Aman Singh who was murdered by his brother Hindupat and then he succeeded the throne. He passed away in 1777 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Anirudh. He was succeeded by his brother Dhokal Singh. In 1789, it became easy prey of Ali Bahadur. He assumed suzerainty over Bundelkhand and proceeded to grant sanads to all the local chiefs, including Dhokal Singh. Next successors were Kishor Singh, Harbans Rai and Nripat Singh. During Revolt of 1857, Nripat Singh assisted the British. In return, he was rewarded with a khilat of Rs. 20,000 and the Simaria pargana. In 1869, he received the grant of the title of Mahendra and from 1875 it was made hereditary. He donated the land of his estates for East Indian Railway. He was succeeded by Rudra Singh. He was made a K.C.S.I. [Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India] in 1876 and received an addition of two more gun salute in 1877.
The chief was succeeded by his brother Lokpal Singh who was followed by Madho Singh. The next ruler was Yadvendra Singh Judeo who was the last acting ruler. He ruled from 1902 to 1947. In 1916, he was awarded with Kaiser-i-Hind Medal. On 1st January 1950, he acceded to the Union of India. Later, he was appointed as an Uparajpramukh of Vindhya Pradesh of Indian republic. In 1946, he also served as president of Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha.