Panna was a Gond settlement until the 13th century. When the Gondi were defeated by the Chandelas they migrated to other parts of Madhya Pradesh. Until that date, there were many rulers of the area. The famous mandir of Padmavatipuri Dham, adorned with divine lustre, is located in Panna town at the centre of Vindhyachal in Madhya Pradesh. The itinerant sage Mahamati Prannath and his disciples reached Panna with a divine message of awakening one's soul. Seeing a desert island, he decided to unfurl the flag of Jagani there. He helped the king Chhatrasal and adorned him with the title of Maharaja. He remained there for eleven years, and took samadhi inside the dome. The place, therefore, is known as the seat of salvation [Muktipitha] or Padmavatipuri Dham.
Panna was the capital of Chhatar Sal, the Bundela Rajput leader who led a revolt against the Mughal Empire. Upon his death in 1732, his kingdom was divided among his sons, with one-third of the kingdom going to his ally, the Maratha Peshwa Baji Rao I.
The Kingdom of Panna went to Harde Sah, the eldest son of Chhatar Sal. In the early 19th century, Panna became a princely state of British India, and gained control states of the states of Nagod and Sohawal. Raja Nirpat Singh assisted the British in the Revolt of 1857, and the British rewarded him with the title maharaja. Maharaja Mahendra Yadvendra Singh acceded to the Government of India on January 1, 1950, and the kingdom became Panna District of the new Indian state of Vindhya Pradesh. Vindhya Pradesh was merged into Madhya Pradesh on November 1, 1956.