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Rudrapratap founded Orchha, the oldest State in Bundelkhand on the 3 of April, 1531. Before him some form of the State existed but its capital was at Gadh Kundar. Maharaja Rudrapratap vastly improved the state, which had been ravaged by wars firstly with the Chandelas, and then between the Muslims and Khangars who ruled the area before him. The famous fort of Orchha was constructed by him in 1539(and took 8 years to be completed).

Amongst others his contemporaries were the first Mughal emperor Babur, Sikandar and Ibrahim Lodhi with all of whom he fought many battles to protect and extend his kingdom. Maharaja Rudrapratap died while trying to ward off a tiger that had attacked a cow. The cow is the most sacred animal for the Hindus and the Rajputs consider it their duty to protect it.

Maharaja Rudrapratap was succeeded by his son Bhartichandra around 1545. It was during the time of Bhartichandra that the famous Sher Shah Suri conquered (with great difficulty) the virtually impregnable fort of Kalinjar and finally lost his life there. After ruling for 23 years Raja Bhartichandra died in 1554 and was succeeded by his brother Madhukarshah.

The Mughals had strengthened their hold in Bundelkhand by the time Madhukarshah came to the throne. Under Akbar the Mughals had become a force to reckon with in Central India as they tried to establish themselves in Bundelkhand. Raja Madhukarshah bravely resisted the repeated attacks by Nayamat Kuli Khan, Ali Kuli Khan, Jam Kuli Khan, Saiyyed Kuli Khan, Aaskaran Tomar (then ruler of Gwalior), Abdullah Khan and finally Murad (Akbar's eldest son) to whom he lost in 1591. The Mughals at last gained Orchha but their occupation was short lived. Madhukarshah died a year later in 1592.

His eldest son Ramsingh (Ramshah) succeeded him. The other 7 sons were given Jagirs. Amongst them was Virsinghdeo, one of the most important names to figure in the history of Bundelkhand. Repeated battles with the Mughals had debilitated the strength of the Bundela's and consequently the ruler of Orchha (and his brothers) could not contain their Jagirs which finally split into 22 Jagirs out of which 8 were with the ruling family and the rest were shared between the Pawar Rajputs, Gonds and Kachwahe's.