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Far East Kingdoms

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Western Deccan

The Deccan plateau in India covers much of the country's central and southern land mass below the River Namada. The Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats form its two coastal boundaries, against the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal respectively. The name derives from the Sanskrit word 'daksina', which means 'south' (of the Ganges and the early Indo-European kingdoms in northern India).

While the earliest known kingdoms in India were in the north, following the ending of the Mauryan empire, minor kingdoms sprang up elsewhere. The most powerful of these were in the south, on the Deccan plateau, and in the west, while the north remained most culturally active. The southern kingdoms were not fully documented until the first centuries of the second millennium AD.

Vakatakas
c.AD 250 - 550

The Vakataka dynasty ruled parts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Malwa in western-central India, including Bundelkhand. The dynasty rose to prominence after the fall of the Satvahanas and was a contemporary of the Guptas, ruling sometime in the third to fourth centuries, although dates for all rulers in the dynasty are approximate.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

c.250 - 270

Vindhyasakti

Founder of the dynasty.

Vindhyasakti is said to have been a Brahmin, and his name can be found in the Cave XVI inscription at Ajanta. Nowhere he is mentioned as a ruler, but apparently has a large body of cavalry at his disposal and takes part in many battles. His name also figures in the Puranas.

c.270 - 330

Pravarasena I

Pravarasena is the only emperor of the dynasty. His kingdom includes a large part of central India and the whole of the Deccan. He carries his arms to the Narmada in the north and occupies the kingdom of Purika. He also wages wars against the Nagas, building an empire which stretches from Bundelkhand in the north to the present Andhra Pradesh in the south, an empire over which he reigns for almost sixty years.

The Puranas say that Pravarasena has four sons. He marries his heir, Gautamiputra, to a daughter of King Bhavanaga of the influential Bharsiva family. However, Gautamiputra predeceases him and his own son, Rudrasena, becomes the heir to the Vakataka domains.

Ajanta Caves
The monastic complex at the Ajanta Caves saw a great deal of activity at this time, but it came to a sudden end with the death of the last-known king, Harisena

Gautamiputra

Son and heir. Predeceased his father.

c.330

Pravarasena's death apparently brings about the division of his empire into four sections, one each for his sons. His heir, Rudrasena, gains Pravarpura-Nandivardhana, while his second son, Sarvasena, sets up his own capital at Vatsagulma. Details for the other two divisions are unknown.

Pravarpura-Nandivardhana (Vakatakas)
c.AD 330 - 480

Following the death of Emperor Pravarasena, his domains were apparently divided four ways, one section for each of his sons. While details of two of these sections seem to have remained completed unrecorded, one of the other two was ruled by Pravarasena's heir, his grandson Rudrasena I, while his uncle ruled his own kingdom from Vatsagulma. Rudrasena ruled from Nandivardhana, near Ramtek Hill, about 30 km (20 miles) from Nagpur.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

c.330 - 355

Rudrasena I

Son of Gautamiputra.

c.355 - 380

Prithvisena I

Son.

c.380 - 385

Rudrasena II

Son.

c.385

Rudrasena II dies early but in his short reign he is said to marry Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of the Gupta ruler, Chandragupta II. Prabhavatigupta rules as a regent on behalf of her two sons, Divakarasena and Damodarasena (Pravarsena II), for twenty years, and during this time the Vakataka empire is part of the Gupta empire.

c.385 - 400

Divakarasena

Son.

c.385 - 405

Prabhavatigupta

Widow of Rudrasena II and regent for Divakarasena.

c.400 - 440

Damodarasena / Pravarasena II

Son.

c.440 - 460

Narendrasena

Son.

During Narendrasena's reign the Vakataka empire spreads further into India. Narendrasena himself marries the daughter of Kakushthavarman, the Kadamba king of Banavasi.

c.460 - 480

Prithvishena II

Son.

c.480

Following Prithvishena's death, his kingdom is probably annexed by Harisena of the Vatsagulma branch.

Vatsagulma (Vakatakas)
c.AD 330 - 550

Following the death of Emperor Pravarasena, his domains were apparently divided four ways, one section for each of his sons. While details of two of these sections seem to have remained completed unrecorded, Pravarpura-Nandivardhana was ruled by Pravarasena's heir, while his uncle, Sarvasena, ruled his own kingdom from Vatsagulma.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

c.330 - 355

Sarvasena

Son of Pravarasena I.

c.355 - 400

Vindhyasena / Vindhyashakti II

The relationships of the Vatsagulma rulers is unknown.

c.390 - 400?

Vindhyasena defeats the Kadamba king of Banavasi, who at this time is probably Kangavarman. He occupies the rival kingdom for a time before being defeated in turn by the previous king's son, Bagitarha.

Map of India c.AD 500
The vast empire of the Guptas encompassed much of northern India at this time, although the south remained a fairly stable patchwork of smaller but persistent kingdoms which constantly strove to outdo each other when it came to expanding their own borders (click on map to view full sized)

c.400 - 415

Pravarasena II

c.415 - 450

?

Name unknown.

c.450 - 475

Devasena

c.475 - 500

Harisena / Harishena

Killed by his own vassals.

c.480

Following the death of Prithvishena of Pravarpura-Nandivardhana, his kingdom is probably annexed by Harisena.

c.500 - 550

Harisena is a powerful ruler who controls the entire eastern coast of the Deccan, central India, Malwa, southern Gujarat, Konkan, and north Kanara. He is killed by some of his own vassals while fending off an attack by the Ashmakas and the Banavasi kingdom.

Nothing is known about the later rulers, but the kingdom obviously declines and ends before 550, although the reasons are unknown. The core territory of the kingdom seems to be inherited by the Badami Chalukyas in the Deccan as overlords to the local Kalachuri rulers, while the Silharas later emerge as rulers of Konkan, and the Rajputanas control Malwa.

(Early) Kalachuri Kingdom
AD 550 - c.608?

According to legends, 'kalli' meant 'long moustache' and 'churi' meant 'sharp knife', and this was the source of the name of a ruling dynasty in central India. They were also referred to as Katachuris (the shape of a sharp knife). From early beginnings as a minor regional kingdom, the Kalachuris later divided to form two kingdoms, the Northern and Southern branches.

The Kalachuris, who were also known as the Haihayas, were an ancient people known from the Epics and Puranas from AD 249 or 250. Several branches of the clan were settled across various regions of northern India. By the later half of the sixth century, one branch ruled over northern Maharashtra, Malwa and the western Deccan, between about 550-620. Their capital was Mahismati, which was situated in the Narmada river valley.

(Information by Madhu Nimkar. Additional information by Manjiri Bhalerao.)

Krishnaraja

Earliest-known Kalachuri king.

Krishnaraja is generally credited with creating the Elephant Caves that are later patronised by the Silharas of North Konkan and South Konkan more than a century later.

Shankaragana / Samkaragana

Son.

? - c.608?

Buddharaja

Son. Forced to flee.

These three kings, amongst the most prominent of the early Kalachuris, have to defend themselves against two powerful neighbours; the Maitrakas of Valabhi and the Chalukyas of Badami. At some point during his reign (and probably later rather than sooner, between 605-609) the Chalukyan king, Mangalesa, manages to chase off Buddharaja and conquer his domain.

Evidently the Kalachuris are not exterminated, however, as a later Chalukya king, Vinayaditya II, marries two Haihaya princesses (Northern Kalachuris). Various minor Kalachuri splinter branches spring up in the region, including the Sarayupara branch in Gorakhpur district, and the Chedi branch (kings of Dahala) in Bundelkhand.

Northern Kalachuri Kingdom (Chedi / Haihaya / Dahalas / Tumanna)
c.AD 845 - 1200

Following the fall of the early Kalachuri kingdom in central India, and the region's occupation by the Chalukyas of Badami, it took a while for the local rulers to re-emerge. By the time they did they had divided to form three kingdoms which had a succession of dynasties between the ninth to twelfth centuries. One of these, the very powerful northern branch, ruled in Chedi country in Bundelkhand and in western Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, and were called the Haihaya (Heyheya), or the Dahalas, while another, the Southern Kalachuris, ruled over parts of Karnataka. The third was the minor Sarayupara branch of Gorakhpur district. The northern capital was at Tripur, which is represented by the modern village of Tewar, six miles to the west of Jubulpore, but it seems there was little connection between them and their southern relatives.

There was also a branch of the Kalachuris at Tumanna. These appear to be extremely obscure, and are mentioned (it seems) only briefly in history, in 1227 (see below). Prithvideva, their ruler appears to be no more than a feudatory chief of his relatives, the Kalachuris of Dahala who themselves are conquered by outside forces just before his appearance in the historical record. This would suggest that this local chief now has to act on his own account as a minor king. His status is indicated by his other titles such as 'samadhigata panchmahasabda', 'mahamandalesvara maharajadhiraja', and others.

(Information by Madhu Nimkar.)

c.845 - 885

Kokalla I

Dynasty founder.

c.845 - 885

Kokalla defeats the Pratihara king of Kannauj, Mihira Bhoja, to establish his kingdom. In a distinguished reign, Kokalla also defeats the Kalachuri king, Sankaragana of Sarayupura, the king of Mewar, Harsharaja, and the Chahamana king, Guhaka of Sakambhari near Ajmer in Rajasthan (all three are vassals of Bhoja). Kokalla goes further to defeat some of the Turkish troops of the king of Sindh. He also plunders Vanga (in Bengal), and invades North Konkan to help his son-in-law, the Rashtrakuta king Krishna II.

c.885 - ?

Samkaragana I

Son.

c.910

During the short reign of Bhoja II of Kannauj, his vassals, which include the Parmaras of Malwa, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, declare themselves to be independent.

fl c.925

Balaharsha

Son.

c.915 - 945

Yuvaraja I

Brother.

c.940 - 990

During the reigns of Gopala II and his successor, the Pala have to face new threats from northern India in the Chandellas and the Kalachuris, both of whom have established themselves in former Pratihara empire territory. It is in around 940 that Yuvraja defeats and drives out the Rashtrakuta forces of Krishna III. In order to celebrate this great victory the famous poet Rajasekara stages his drama, Viddhasalabhanjika.

fl c.975

Lakshmanaraja

Son.

Samkaragana II

Son.

? - c.990

Yuvaraja II

Brother.

c.990

Yuvaraja's maternal uncle, the Western Chalukyan king Tailapa II attacks his kingdom, perhaps weakening Yuvaraja's position. When the Parmara king, Munja of Malwa, attacks his kingdom, Yuvaraja flees the battlefield. Though the enemy later withdraws, the king's ministers refuse to allow him to return and instead place his son Kokalla II on the throne.

c.990 - 1015

Kokalla II

Son.

c.1015 - 1040

Gangeyadeva / Gangeya Deva

A strong ruler.

The Kalachuris of Dahala rise to be the greatest political power in India during the eleventh century. This is mainly due to the military genius of Gangeyadeva. Perhaps an important factor contributing to his success is the fact that his kingdom escapes the devastating raids of the Ghazni king, Sultan Mahmud, which affect most of the other great powers to the north and north-west. In the token of his great victory the king assumes the proud title of Trikalingadhipati, 'Lord of Trikalinga'.

1041 - 1072

Laksm Karna / Lakshmikarna

Son. Abdicated in favour of his son.

1048 - 1049

It seems possible that the Chandra king, Govindachandra, or his unknown successor suffers an attack by the Kalachuri king, Karna by this date. It is this attack which may well be responsible for the fall of the Chandras.

Kalachuri Amarkantak temple
The Kalachuri Amarkantak temple was built by Laksm Karna

1073 - 1123

Yash Karna / Yasahkarna

Son.

c.1079

The kingdom of the Kalachuris of Sarayupara disappears while at its height, hinting at a calamitous end.

1123 - 1151

Gayakarna

Son.

Gayakarna probably aids Soma-deva of the Kadambas of Nagarkhanda to throw off his vassal status and assume a degree of independence. Soma-deva subsequently transfers his allegiance to the Kalachuris.

1151 - 1159

Narasinha

Son. Died childless.

1159 - 1177

Jayasimha

Uncle.

1177 - 1211

Vijayasimha

Son.

1200

The Western Chalukyan king, Somesvara, makes a short-lived attempt to revive his kingdom by defeating the waning Kalachuri kingdom. He manages to capture Basavakalyana but fails to prevent the other vassal states, the Seuna, the Hoysala, and the Kakatiya dynasty, from completely overwhelming the Chalukyan empire. In the end, the three former vassal states divide the vast territory between the River Kaveri and the River Narmada between themselves.

1211 - 1212

Mahakumara Ayayasimha

Son.

1212

The Kalachuri success is short-lived. The Chandella king, Trailokyavarman, conquers nearly the whole of the kingdom, including Bundelkhand and Dahala Mandala.

1227

Anangabhima III of the Eastern Gangas is forced to resist Mohammedan attacks from Bengal the north as Ghiyasuddin Iwaz Khilji attempts to expand his territory. Apparently successful, Anangabhima also successfully fights the Kalachuris of Tumanna, but he finds himself defeated by the Kakatiya ruler, Ganapati.

fl 1227

Prithvideva

Ruler of the Kalachuris of Tumanna.

1227

The branch of Kalachuris at Tumanna appear to be extremely obscure. Prithvideva, their ruler, is known to bear the title 'rajasrimat Prithvidevah' in one of his records. That he is no more than a feudatory chief of his relatives, the recently-conquered Kalachuris of Dahala, is indicated by his other titles such as 'samadhigata panchmahasabda', 'mahamandalesvara maharajadhiraja', and others. It may be the case that, now that the protection of Dahala has been removed, Prithvideva must act independently and is not especially successful.

Southern Kalachuri Kingdom
AD 1130 - 1184

Following the fall of the early Kalachuri kingdom in central India, and the region's occupation by the Chalukyas of Badami, it took a while for the local rulers to re-emerge. By the time they did they had divided to form three kingdoms which had successive dynasties between the ninth to twelfth centuries. One of these, the Northern Kalachuris, ruled over western Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, another was the minor Sarayupara branch of Gorakhpur district, while the last was that of the Southern Kalachuris, who ruled over parts of North Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra.

The Kalachuris of the south were Jains and were strong proponents of Jainism throughout their kingdom, but that kingdom went into decline after the assassination of the driving force behind its creation, Bijjalla. They were also the principal characters in the Andhra epic, The Battle of Palnadu. Two further Kalachuri branches emerged, one in Kasia in Garakh district, and another which started of as vassals of the Kalyani Chalukyas, and which went on to conquer the Deccan, defeating the Western Chalukyas and ruling for a brief period (during the reign of Southern Kalachuri king, Bijjala).

(Information by Madhu Nimkar.)

Uchita

Chalukyan vassal.

Asaga

Kannam

Kiriyasaga

Bijjala I

Kannama

c.1079

The kingdom of the Kalachuris of Sarayupara disappears while at its height, hinting at a calamitous end.

fl c.1100

Jogama

Chalukyan vassal who became influential with Vikramaditya VI.

? - 1130

Permadi

Son.

1130 - 1167

Bijjala II

Son. Chalukyan viceroy. Established the kingdom. Assassinated.

1157

The Kakatiya king, Prolla II, defeats Western Chalukyan king, Tailapa III, and takes him captive. This results in other vassal states rising against the Chalukyas. The Seuna and the Hoysala start to take territory, and the Kalachuri vassal, Bijjala II, captures the royal capital at Kalyani in 1157, forcing Tailapa III to flee to Annigeri (in Dharwad district).

Kalachuri coin
A Kalachuri coin

1163 - 1183

The reign of the succeeding Western Chalukyan king, Jagadhekamalla, is completely overshadowed by the emergence of the Southern Kalachuri under Bijjala II, who takes control of Basavakalyana and rules from there. His assassination leaves the throne to his mostly weak and incompetent sons, and the kingdom starts to decline.

1168 - 1176

Sovideva

A stronger king who maintains the current borders.

1176

Mallugi

Immediately overthrown by Sankama.

1176 - 1180

Sankama / Sangama

Brother.

1180 - 1183

Ahavamalla

1183 - 1184

Singhana

1183 - 1184

The Western Chalukyas begin to regain their lost territory in North Karnataka at the expense of the Southern Kalachuri. The dynasty falls into obscurity, but its descendants re-emerge within the Saluva dynasty of the Vijaynagar empire in fifteenth century northern Karnataka.

Hoysala Kingdom
c.AD 940 - 1343

The Hoysala kingdom emerged in medieval India, during the 'middle kingdoms' period. Originally hill people from the Malnad area close to Mysore, the Hoysalas claimed kinship with the Yadavas. Setting up their own kingdom independent of the Yadevas, they ruled Karnataka from the tenth to fourteenth centuries, with a capital at Belur (later Halebidu). The once-independent Western Gangas were subjects of theirs, now reduced to nothing more than regional governors at best - Gangavadi swapped hands between the Hoysalas and Cholas at least twice.

Their progenitor was said to be Sala. The term Hoy-sala means 'strike-Sala', after Sala, upon the instruction of his teacher, Sudatta Muni, killed a tiger. He later established his kingdom which had an agrarian economy but which also saw the arts, literature (both Kannada and Sanskrit), and architecture all flourish. The Hoysalas patronised Jainism and Vaishnava Hinduism.

One historian, Dr Ramchandra Dhere, has claimed that the origins of the later Marathas can be traced back to the Hoysalas of Karnataka, with the Bhosale-Bhosala Maratha name being a distortion of Hoysala.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha & Madhu Nimkar.)

Sala

Established the kingdom.

fl c.950

Arekalla

Maruga

1006 - 1026

Munda

1026 - 1047

Nripa Kama II / Permanadi

Vassal of the Western Gangas.

1047 - 1098

Vinayaditya

Vassal of the Western Chalukyas.

c.1080?

The obscure kingdom of the Kadambas of Belur falls under the suzerainty of Vinayaditya.

Tumkur in Karnataka
A large section of the modern Tumkur was part of Gangavadi of the Western Gangas, but following their extinction the north-eastern section - Nolambavadi of the Nolambas - was semi-independent for a time, although under either Chola or Hoysala dominance

1098 - 1102

Ereyanga

Son.

1102 - 1108

Veera Ballala I

1108 - 1152

Vishnuvardhana / Bittideva

Brother.

1116 - 1123

Previously an ally of the Western Chalukyas, Vishnuvardhana changes sides and makes inroads into Chalukyan territory. King Vikramaditya eventually drives him out, and he submits in 1123. However, his rebellion has briefly allowed the Kadambas of Goa to regain their independence, and King Vikrama of the Cholas to recapture Gangavadi from him (the land of the former Western Gangas).

c.1130?

Somesvara III of the Western Chalukyas has to face an invasion by Vishnuvardhana, but is able to fend him off.

c.1140 - 1145

Taila II of the Kadambas of Hangal assists the Hoysalas against the Pandyas, defeating the latter.

1152 - 1173

Narsimha I

Son. Overthrown by his own son.

1162

Western Chalukya king, Tailapa III, is killed by Narsimha, virtually ending any claims to overall power by the Chalukyas.

1173 - 1220

Veera Ballala II / Vir Ballala / Vira-Bailala II

Son.

The Pandyas are again overthrown by Veera Ballala II, consequently eclipsing the rule of their vassals, the Kadambas of Uchchangi.

Korvangala Temple
The Hoysala temple at Korvangala was built in 1173 by Veera Ballala II

c.1188 - 1189

The Hoysalas are overrun by their kin in the form of Bhillama V of the Yadavas. He extends the borders of his kingdom as far as Seringapatam on the River Kaveri. He even defeats the Chola king, Kulotunga III. But the Hoysala king, Veera Ballala II, turns the tables on Bhillama, driving him out of Hoysala territory by around 1188. Ballala even manages to capture some Yadava territory, and gains the allegiance of the Kadambas of Nagarkhanda. However, he and the Yadavas bury their differences and the following year they join together to defeat the people of the former territory of the Eastern Chalukyas.

1200

King Somesvara of the Western Chalukyas makes a short-lived attempt to revive the kingdom, but the Seuna, the Hoysala, and the Kakatiya dynasty completely overwhelm him. In the end, the three former vassal states divide the vast territory between the River Kaveri and the River Narmada amongst themselves.

1207

The Hoysalas appear to dispossess the Kadambas of Nagarkhanda at about this point. Instead, a certain Malli-deva of the Kaysapa Gotra is installed as the governor of Nagarkhanda, and he makes the city of Bandhavapura his capital.

1220 - 1235

Vira Narsimha II

Son.

1235 - 1254

Vira Someshwara

1254

Vira Someshwara divides his kingdom between his two sons. Ramanatha gains Kannanur and Narsimha III rules from Halebidu. The two brothers do not get along and it is their continued struggles against one another which significantly weaken the kingdom.

1254 - 1291

Narsimha III

Elder son. In Halebidu.

1254 - 1295

Ramanatha

Younger brother. In Kannanur, and then Kundani.

1279

Ramanatha is driven out of his half of the kingdom by the Pandyas. He invades Narsimha's territory and seizes a section of that as his new domain, ruling from Kundani.

1291 - 1343

Veera Ballala III

Son of Narsimha III. Last Hoysala king.

1295

With the death of his uncle, Ramanatha, Veera Ballala III is able to reunite the remaining Hoysala territory solely under his rule, but it is a much weaker kingdom.

1343

Harihara of the growing Vijayanagar empire has controlled the northern section of the Hoysala kingdom for a time, but now, upon the death of Veera Ballala III, he takes full control of the entirety of the kingdom's territory.