The ‘Pandaras’ are descendants of the Paramar Rajput of the ‘Paramara’ clans of Agnikula Kshatriyas once formed a prominent ruling dynasty in medieval India. Paramara rulers ruled central India from the 9th century to the 14th century with their capital at Dhar (Now in western Madhya Pradesh). According to a popular myth, the mythical man ’Paramar’ was created out of the fire by Indra Devta, the god of fire, at Mount Abu by the prayers of saints to rule over the people. It is said that as the newly created mythical man had come out from the fire saying “mar, mar” loudly, he came to be known as ‘Paramar’, consequently, the territory of Abu, Dhar, and Ujjain were assigned to him as the seat of his empire.

A myth depicted in The Navasahasanka Charitra of Padmaguta (11th AD) mentions that the first of the Paramara clan was created by saint Vashishta as a hero from his Agnikunda to get back the cow that Vishvamitra had taken from him. Vashishta then said: “you will become a lord of the kings called Paramara”. Here Paramara indicated killer of others. However both the myth implied that ‘Paramara’ was a ruling clan mythically created for the purpose of ruling over the people.

Whatever the origin, the Paramaras established themselves as the rulers of Malwa in Central India in the 9th Century, ruling from their capital at Dhar. During their reign, the Paramars enjoyed great political power and clout in ancient India. The Paramaras ruled until 1305 when Malwa was conquered by Ala- ud- din Khilji, the Khilji Sultan of Delhi.

The main seat of the Paramara dynasty was Ujjain (Ujjayini). The Paramar clan has a genealogical chart of 238 generations descended from Raja Agnipalak who ruled more than 4,000 years ago. Vikramaditya was the greatest ruler of this clan and the founder of the Vikram era started during his reign at Ujjain. During the Paramara rule, their territory extended beyond the Narmada River and encompassed all of Central and Western India starting with the Indus being their boundary in the West. They carried their rule into the Deccan, perhaps the first to extend the Hindu religion, south of the Narmada. In the following centuries, the ruling clan endured great vicissitudes of fortune. The descendants of Vikramaditya established themselves as Raja of Bijolya, in Mewar and Dhar in Malwa. Another King Raja Bhoj, who ruled from about 1010 to 1060 in Malwa, was a great polymath and philosopher-king of medieval India. His extensive writings cover philosophy, poetry, medicine, phonetics, yoga and archery. Under his rule, Malwa became an intellectual centre of India. King Bhoj also founded the city of Bhopal to secure the eastern part of his kingdom. 

During the last part of the 12th Century Paramar dynasty was targeted by the invading Muslims. Muslim attacks were at their peak during the reign of King Mahan Dev (around 1300) who refused to give in to Alauddin Khilji so easily. He gathered 20,000 horsemen and 90,000 infantries to fight with Alauddin’s army. Harnanda Koka was the general of his army. On the other hand, Ain-ul-Mulk Multani was on the head of a 160,000 Muslim army. After a bloody war, Harnana Koka was killed by treachery and the Rajput forces retreated. The Muslims were decimated but due to larger numbers were able to prevail. Paramar territory Malwa along with Mandu, Dhara and Chanderi came in the hand of Alauddin Khilji and due to fear of Muslims many Paramars dispersed across all over India (Punjab, Uttarakhand, Wain-Ganga Valley of Maharashtra, Western part of erstwhile Madhya Pradesh and western Odisha). The ‘Pandara Rajputs’ of western Odisha are descendants of a section of the Paramara army who fled to the western Odisha during this period.

It is heard from the ancestors of ‘Pandara’ that a Rajput called Jagdish Singh Puar migrated to the ‘Koshal’ area as the first Pandara around 1330. Pandaras were first given patronage by the then Khastriya rulers of the ’Patnagarh’. Pandaras were offered village pattas (Gountia tenure) by Patnagarh king Ramai Deo as chiefs and soldiers of his army. During 1605, when Balram Deo became King of Sambalpur, he brought some trustworthy soldiers with him from Patnagarh and it is believed that some of the soldiers were of Pandara origin. The fourth king of Sambalpur (1650-1666) King Baliar Singh imported around 10,000 soldiers from central India to capture 18 Garhs of Odisha and during this stint; many Pandara chiefs/soldiers backed him in this expedition. 

Another myth stress that ancestor of the ‘Pandara’ community were migrated to Koshal region of western Odisha as soldiers along with the Paramar Queen of Dhar, Rani Jayanti during the attack of Alauddin Khilji in 13 th Century. Later on Queen Jayanti’s son Ramai Deo established the Khastriya Chouhan dynasty by controlling the ‘Ath Mallick’ of the Koshal region and gave patronage to Pandara soldiers and engaged them in different royal services. A scientific analysis of ‘Pandara’ blood samples by famous Anthropologist Irawati Karve also proved that Pandaras were the descendants of erstwhile Paramar Rajputs rulers of western India. 

At present ‘Pandara’ as a community concentrated in the Koshal area of Odisha. In the changing condition, Pandaras are primarily become agriculturists in the districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Sonepur, Bolangir, Boudh, Kalahandi and Angul district. As they own Gountia patta for most of the villages, they remain head (Gountia) in the villages in the revenue matter till the end of British rule. After independence Pandaras are maintaining their livelihood through agriculture and allied activities.  Recently, they are also active in local politics and proved their stint in various secondary and tertiary activities in Odisha, India and abroad.