The Kushwaha (also spelled as Kachavāhā,Kachawaha,Kacchavahas, Kachhawa, Kuchhwaha,Kachhawaha, & Kushwaha, Keshwala including Kacchapghata, Kakutstha, and Kurma) are a Suryavanshi Rajput clan who ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in India such as Alwar, Maihar, Talcher, while the largest kingdom was Jaipur (Jainagara) which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. The Maharaja of Jaipur is regarded as the head of the extended Kachwaha clan.
Outside of Rajasthan Kachwahas are found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, but are chiefly found in Muzaffarnagar, Meerut, Muttra, Agra and Cawnpore. A number of Kachwaha adventurers from the Gwalior also emigrated to Jalaun, where settlements were established in Etawah. Kachwahas from Bulandshahr are said to have descended from Narwar, while the Kachwahas of Muzaffarnagar call themselves Jhotiyana.
The Kachhawas(Kushwaha) belong to the Suryavanshi lineage, which claims descent from the Surya (Sun Dynasty) or Suryavansha of the ancient Kshatriyas. Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha eldest of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed. Indeed, the name Kachawaha is held by many to be a patronymic derived from the name "Kusha". However, it has been suggested that Kachwaha is a diminutive of the Sanskrit conjoint word 'Kachhahap-ghata' or 'Tortoise-killer'; Tortoise in Sanskrit being Kashyapa, although there may be several connotations for the interpretation of these terms.
According to Vishnu Purana, bardic chronicles and popular tradition; Sumitra was the last king of this dynasty in Ayodhya. In the fourth century BC Mahapadma Nanda of Nanda Dynasty included Ayodhya in his empire and Kushwahas were forced to leave. Kurma was son of Sumitra thus migrated from their parental abode and established them self at the bank of the river son, where they constructed a fort called the Rohtas (Rahatas) fort.
T.H. Henley, states in his Rulers of India and the Chiefs of Rajputana (1897) that the Kachwaha clan is believed to have settled in an early era at Rohtas(Rahatas) on the son river in present-day Bihar. He notes however that their notable seats of power were Kutwar, Gwalior, Dubkhund, Simhapaniya and Narwar (Nalapura), all in present-day Madhya Pradesh. This second westwards migration to Madhaya Pradesh is said to have been initiated under Raja Nala, the legendary founder of Narwar.
James Tod, has recorded the view as being prevalent in his time, that the clan occupied Narwar in the 10th century and remained there until Narwar was captured by Parihara Rajputs in the 12th century, however local history suggests that the Kachwahas were in Narwar several centuries earlier than the date given by Tod's arbitrary view. Many historians aver that the Kacchapaghatas, like the Chandellas and Paramaras, originated as tributaries of the preceding powers of the region. They point out that it was only following the downfall, in the 8th-10th century, of Kannauj (the regional seat-of-power, following the break-up of Harsha's empire), that the Kacchapaghata state emerged as a principal power in the Chambal valley of present-day Madhya Pradesh. This view is largely supported by archaeological artefacts and Kacchapaghata coinage (minted in Gupta-fashion) discovered in Madya pradesh, as also by inscriptions of Gopasetra (Willis). It is interesting to note that according to popular legend, the rise of the Kachwahas in Madhya Pradesh is closely associated with Suraj/Surya Sen, a Kachwaha prince of the 8th century, whom is said to have been responsible for the building of Gwalior fort and the founding of that city. In the oldest section of Gwalior fort there still exists a sacred pond known as the Suraj-Kund . It may thus be logical that the Kachwaha rule in Chambal valley predates the dates ascribed in the Sas-Bahu inscription.
According to an inscription in the Sas-Bahu temple within Gwalior fort, Vajradaman (Vazradaman) (964-1000 AD), the successor of the Kacchapaghata ruler Laksmana (940-964 AD) "put down the rising power of the ruler of Gandhinagara (Kannauj) and his proclamation-drum resounded on the fort of Gopadri (Gwalior)." Lakshmana father of Vajradaman was son of Dhola or Salhkumar (It is thus believed that Vajradaman was grandson of Dhola or Salhkumar).
According to bardic chronicles and popular legend, Vazradaman was succeeded by his son Mangalraja. Mangalraja had two sons Kirtiraj(Kirtirai) and Sumitra. While Sumitra got Narwar in succession, Kirtiraj got Gwalior. Kirtiraj, also founded the temple city of Simhapaniya (present-day Sihonia), there he had a Shiva temple constructed to fulfil the wish of his queen Kakanwati. Built between 1015 to 1035 A.D., the Kakan Math temple is 115 ft (35 m). high and rivals in splendour the temples of Khajuraho. Interestingly Simphaniya like present day Jaipur, was a flourishing center of Jainism. The affix of Pal was adopted by the Kachwaha rulers of Narwar for many centuries, and it was 8 centuries later that this epithet was changed to Singh.
After Sumitra, Madhubramh, Kanh, Devanik, and Isha Singh ruled Narwar. The Sas-Bahu inscription is dated to 1093 AD and it gives the genealogy of the ruling family up to Mahipal who died sometime before 1104 AD.