History Files


Far East Kingdoms

South Asia




Kalinga / Orissa

Many small kingdoms existed in northern India while the powerful kingdom of Magadha dominated in north-eastern India during the first millennium BC, and occasionally extended its influence across the entire Ganges Plain towards the modern border with Pakistan. Like Magadha, the kingdom of Kalinga (roughly the Puri, Ganjam and Cuttack districts of modern Orissa in central south-eastern India and part of Andhra Pradesh), was founded by Indo-Europeans who migrated into India from around 1500 BC, but who were originally from Central Asia.

Mentioned in the Mahabharata, Kalinga probably played host to more than one small kingdom. Two early capitals were at Dantapura and Rajapura, but its historical beginnings are very hazy. The royal line of Kalinga is said to have originated from King Vali, who may have been the king of Magadha, along with the originally non-Vedic lines of Anga, Pundra, Suhma, and Vanga.

(Additional information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, and from External Link: Ancient Orissa.)

Srutayus / Srutayudh

c.1300? BC

Srutayus is one of the leaders in the Kurukshetra War in the Mahabharata on the side of Kauravas. Other allies include Jayatsena of Magadha. Bhagadatta of the Naraka kings is also involved in the war, as are the Utkalas of Kalinga, who only form their own kingdom after Kalinga's fall in the third century BC.

Srutayus is killed by Bhima, one of the heroes of the Mahabharata, who slays him at the Battle of Kalingas on a black day for all of Kalinga's heroes.

Orissa has a rich cultural and architectural heritage, but in terms of major kingdoms it seems to be regarded as something of a backwater

c.1260? BC

The Kalinga kingdom based at Dantapura is defeated by Sahadeva, prince of Indraprastha, one of the five Pandeva brothers.


Chitrangada has a capital at Rajapura. His daughter marries Duryodhana.

by 324 BC

The kingdom is defeated by the Nanda king of Magadha, Mahapadma Nanda. This is the point at which it emerges from obscurity and semi-mythology into history.

Toshali Dynasty

In 273-269 BC there was a war of succession in the Mauryan empire. Kalinga probably took this opportunity to reassert its independence, apparently recreating a powerful Kshatriya (Vedic warrior caste) state with a capital at Toshali. Almost nothing is known of this state, so the matter of any links back to the Kalingan kingdom conquered by 324 BC is completely speculative. Also unknown is whether there was one king or several during its short life span, or whether the 'kingdom' was in fact a republic, quite a popular theory.

(Additional information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

? - c.261 BC


c.261 BC

Perhaps due to its Jain religion, the kingdom is crushed by the Buddhist Mauryans in a destructive conflict which devastates large swathes of the Kalinga populace and the Mauryan army under Ashoka. Around 100,000 people are killed, while 150,000 are taken away into captivity. The kingdom is not able to regain its independence until the Mauryan empire begins to decay. The Utkala people, previously part of Kalinga, eventually emerge with their own kingdom in what is now eastern Orissa.

Chedi Dynasty of Kalinga

In 185 BC, with the fall of the Mauryans, the Macedonian kings of Bactria annexed the western half of the former empire and the Sungas took over the remaining territory in northern India. In former Kalinga itself, according to the Hatigumpha Pillar inscription, the Mauryan-appointed Sardar of Chedi assumed control as an independent king. However, the kingdom was apparently struck by severe weather events and then troubled by the Dravidian kings of southern India, so Megavanavarman's reign was not a smooth one.

The dynasty is also known as the Mahameghavahana. Its greatest king was Kharavela, who took what was a small, poor and disgraced state and created a strong, powerful and vast empire. At its height it extended from Takshashila and Nepal in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. Kharavela's fame spread across the length and breadth of India. Dates for all kings in this dynasty are very approximate, and much of the information comes from the Hatigumpha Pillar inscription, which was created by Kharavela himself. Although it states he opposed Demetrius, it doesn't say which of the three Indo-Greek Demetrius' it was, although the likelihood is that it was the first. If it was the last, that would place the meeting at around 105 BC (however, some scholars place Kharavela as late as 50 BC), but this would make Kharavela too young to have faced the Sunga king, Brihaspathimitra. It is possible that Kharavela claimed some of the achievements of his predecessors as his own, but until more evidence comes to light to swing the argument conclusively, Kharavela has been left to meet Demetrius I, and the timescale means that Maha Megavanavarman proclaimed independence against the weakening Mauryans, rather than following their destruction.

(Additional information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, and from A History of the Early Ganga Monarchy and Jainism, Hampa Nagarajaiah (1999), and a History of Jainism, Kailash Chand Jain (2010).)

c.232 - 197 BC

Maha Megavanavarman

Former sardar of Chedi.

c.197 - 177 BC

Vakradeva / Kudela


c.177 - 152 BC

Kharavela / Kharvela

Brother, or son of Megavanavarman? Born 209 BC.

c.175 BC

Kharavela is claimed as Kalinga's greatest Jain warrior king, responsible for promoting Jainism in eastern India. In the second year of his reign he makes a raid against King Shathakarni, from a kingdom in the Sattavahana territory bordering Kalinga to the west. Subsequently, during an attack by Kharavela against the Sungas of Magadha, Demetrius of Bactria invades Magadha from the west, crossing the Ganges for the first time. Rather than press home his own attack, Kharavela turns on the Bactrian king and forces him to retreat. (This must be towards the very end of Demetrius' reign and at the beginning of Kharavela's for them to be ruling simultaneously.)

Hatigumpha Pillar inscription
The Hatigumpha Pillar inscription in modern Orissa, ancient Kalinga

c.173 BC

Kharavela takes the areas of Berar, Ahmednagar and Khandesh from Sattavahana.

c.167 - 166 BC

Attacked by the Dravidians from the south in the tenth year of his reign, Kharavela defeats them soundly and then turns against the kingdom of Takshashila, annexing the capital, Uttarapatha. His army then marches towards the old enemy, Magadha, and its Sunga king, Brihaspathimitra, who agrees peace terms before any blood is shed.

fl c.152 BC

Vadukha / Koodepa

MapLittle is known about the death of Kharavela or the rule of his descendents. Several generations of Chedis continue to rule Kalinga and parts of neighbouring Andhra, but afterwards the Kalinga kingdom is apparently swallowed up by its neighbours.

Utkala Kingdom of Orya / Orissa

The Utkalas took part in the Kurukshetra War as depicted by the Mahabharat, as part of Kalinga's ancient peoples. They fought on the side of the Kauravas and faced the Pandava Prince Nakula in battle. The Utkala kingdom was located in the eastern portion of the modern state of Orissa. The kingdom's borders were formed by the River Ganga in the north and the River Godavari in the south, and by the Amarkantak Hills to the west and the Bay of Bengal in the east.

Mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, the Utkala kingdom is referred to by the names Utkala, Utpala, Okkal and Okkali. The Sanskrit text, Brahmanotpatti-martanda, states that a king named Utkala invited Brahmins from the Gangetic Valley to perform a yajna in Jagannath Puri. When the yajna ended, the visiting Brahmins laid the foundations of the worship of Lord Jagannath there, and settled down to continue serving the Lord. Shlokas (hymns) in another Sanskrit text mention a king named Sudyumna, who was born of King Ila of the Ishkvaku dynasty. Sudyumna had three sons who founded their own kingdoms. One son, Utkala, founded Utkala state, with its capital at Puri. Another son, Gaya, founded Gaya in Bihar, while the third son, Haritasca, founded a state in the east.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)


Son of King Ila of the Ishkvaku dynasty.

King Sudyumna has three sons who found their own kingdoms. One son, Utkala, founds the kingdom of Utkala, with its capital at Puri. Another son, Gaya, founds the kingdom of Gaya in Bihar, while the third son, Haritasca, founds a state in the east.


Eponymous founder, mentioned in Brahmanotpatti-martanda.

810 - 850

Devapala of the Palas defeats the Utkalas, whose king flees from his capital city. No other information on the kingdom appears to be available.

Eastern Gangas (Orya / Orissa)
AD 890s - 1434

The Eastern Gangas were probably an offshoot of the Western Gangas, who themselves ruled the Mysore regions of Karnataka. The Eastern Gangas had their capital at Kalinganagara (Mukhalingam in the Ganjam district of modern Andhra Pradesh and Srimukhalingam in the Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh), with a secondary capital at Dantapura (Palur). Their kingdom was comprised of regions in Orissa, West Bengal, Chattisgad, Jharkand and Andhra Pradesh. The ruling dynasty emerged around AD 550 and held power for around four hundred years. They constructed the famous temples of Jagannatha and Konark (a world heritage site) which are a testimony to their architecture and grandeur.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

? - c.893


Early Eastern Ganga king. Dynasty founder.

c.893 - ?

Devendravarman IV


Devendravarman is the last known early Eastern Ganga king and is known from the issuance of a grant in the thirty-ninth year of the Ganga era. This is the same year in which Indravarman also rules, indicating that a change in kingship occurs in this year.

10th century

Kalinga is conquered by the Eastern Chalukyas and subsequently by the Chola kings, Rajaraja the Great and Rajendra. The Eastern Gangas remain in obscurity until their re-emergence in the early eleventh century.

1038 - ?

Vajrahasta Anantavarman

Later Eastern Ganga king and founder of the resurgent dynasty.

? - 1078



1070 - 1075

During the rein of Pala king Mahipala II, the Sena king, Vijaya Sena, takes advantage of a revolt in the Varendra region of Samatata (in modern Bangladesh). He gradually consolidates his position (through a matrimonial alliance with the daughter of the king of Orissa, presumably Rajaraja) in western Bengal and ultimately assumes a fully independent position for the Sena dynasty.

1077 - 1130

Pala king Ramapala restores much of the past glory of his lineage and then extends his empire farther, reaching as far as Orissa.

1078 - 1147

Anantavarman Chodaganga



Anantavarman formally ascends the throne after a period in which he assists his father in the rule of the kingdom.

The king gives shelter to the Eastern Chalukya king, Vijayaditya, which provokes the wrath of his rival, Chola King Kulotunga, who twice attacks Kalinga. However, Anantavarman recovers his kingdom and also wrests Vizagapatnam from the Cholas (this is recovered later by Kulotunga Chola).

Later in his reign, Annatavarman invades the Pala territories, taking territory as far as the Hooghli district (although after Anantavarman's death, these territories are conquered by the Sena kings). The Gangas of this period also conquer other parts of Orissa and the king titles himself 'Lord of Utkala' and 'Lord of Trikalinga'.

The temple of Jagannatha at Puri
Anantavarman constructed the famous temple of Jagannatha at Puri

1147 - 1178

There is a gap in the list of known Eastern Ganga kings here, during which an unknown number of kings are presumed to have ruled.

1178 - 1198

Anangabhima II (son)1178-1198

Son of Anantavarman.

1198 - 1211

Rajaraja II



Rajaraja resists attacks by Mohameddans under Muhammed Bakhtyar who invade Orissa after occupying formerly Sena-controlled Bengal. The conquered areas become a province under the control of the slave dynasty at Delhi.

1211 - 1238

Anangabhima III



During his rule of Bengal, Ghiyasuddin builds up a powerful navy and takes on Vanga (eastern Bengal), Kamrupa (Assam), the Utkalas, and Tirhut (northern Bihar).

1224 - 1227

Anangabhima is also forced to resist Mohammedan attacks in this period, this time under the leadership of Khilji Ghiyasuddin Iwaz, the ruler of Bengal. Furthermore, he successfully fights the Kalachuris of Tumanna but is defeated by Kakatiya King Ganapati.

1238 - 1264

Narsimha I / Narsinghadev


1243 - 1246

Narsinghadev invades southern Bengal, and the ruler there, Tughral Tughan Khan, tries to counter the Oriyan army. Although initially successful, the Oriyan army strikes back and Tughral finds himself cornered. He seeks help from Delhi, and the sultan, Allauddin Masud Shah, asks the governor of Oudh, Tughlaq Tamar Khan, to go to Bengal's rescue. But after having repulsed the Oriyan attack, Tughlaq himself assumes the governorship of Bengal, forcing Tughral to flee to Delhi. In compensation, the sultan makes Tughral governor of Oudh.


After repulsing the king of Orissa from south-western Bengal, the ruler there, Malik Ikhtiyaruddin Iuzbak, proclaims himself to be independent.

1264 - 1279



1279 - 1281

Mughisuddin Tughral of Bengal ransacks Jajnagar in Orissa and recovers a large amount of booty, before being attacked himself by Sultan Balban and a huge army from Delhi.

1279 - 1306

Narsimha II


? - 1296

Narsimha recovers Ganga territories from Islamic Bengal. He also advances as far as the banks of the Ganges, from where he issues various land grants in 1296.

1306 - 1328

Bhanudeva II



Bhanudeva repulses a Mahomedan attack led by Ulugh Khan sometime in this year.

1328 - 1352

Narsimha III


1353 - 1378

Bhanudeva III



The Eastern Gangas suffer greatly under repeated invasions from Shamsuddin Ilyas Shah of Bengal, Bukka of the Vijayanagar empire (by 1374), and lastly Firoz Tughluq of Delhi. Bhanudeva submits to the Tughlaqs, but reaffirms his independence after the Delhi sultan's departure.

1379 - 1424

Narsimha IV


1406 - 1422

During Narsimha's reign the Muslim rulers of the Deccan (the Vijayanagar empire), Jaunpur and Malwa lead military expeditions into Orissa, but Narsimha stoically resists their attacks. The rising Gajapatis in Orissa launch their own attacks against the Vijaynagar empire.

1424 - 1434

Bhanudeva IV



Bhanudeva's throne is usurped by his minister, Kapilendra, who starts his own independent dynasty called the Suryavamsas, marking the end of the Ganga dynasty in Orissa.

Suryavamsa (Suryavansha) Gajapati Kingdom of Orya / Orissa
AD 1435 - 1541

The Suryavansha Gajapati kingdom was established in Orissa in the fifteenth century and lasted only until the following century, surviving for barely a hundred years. Their rule was built on the ruins of the Eastern Ganga kingdom of Orissa, and they began taking a more prominent role in the region as early as the reign of Narsimha IV, when it was they and not the fading Eastern Gangas who launched attacks in retaliation for the attempted invasion by the Vijaynagar empire.

Kapilendra Deva claimed descent from the solar dynasty and because of this name Suryavamsa (or Suryavamsha) came to be associated with his line of rulers. The kings also took the ancient royal title of Gajapati. Kapilendra was a minister of the Eastern Gangas to begin with, until he rebelled in the face of their decline and established his own rule. The borders of his territory extended into regions of Bengal, which was under the Raja Ganesha dynasty, and Andhra Pradesh.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)


While Kapilendra Deva is still a vassal of the Eastern Gangas, the Vijaynagar ruler Deva Raya II defeats the Gajapatis three times, starting in this year. This is in retaliation for the Gajapati attacks against the empire shortly before.

1435 - 1466

Kapilendra Deva

Former minister and Suryavamsa dynasty founder.


The newly-established kingdom is defeated again by the Vijaynagar ruler, Deva Raya II. This is just one in a series of battles that the new kingdom has to fight to ensure its survival. During Kapilendra's reign there are also attacks from the sultans of Bengal (the Iliyas Shahs) and Jaunpur but these are warded off. There is also an attack by the Rajamundhari king from the Andhra region. The king's son, Hamvira, wards off most of them, and the kingdom gains territory in Andhra Pradesh and Bengal.


As part of a continuing series of attacks and counter-attacks, Vijaynagar ruler Deva Raya II defeats the Gajapatis in battle for the third time.

Rath Yatra
The Rath Yatra festival still takes place in the sacred land of Jagannath Puri in Orissa

1454 - 1463

The Gajapatis conquer Rajamahendri in 1454, taking it from the Vijaynagar empire. They also capture Udayagiri and Chandragiri in 1463.


After the death of Kapilendra there follows a succession war between his younger son and chosen heir, Purshottam, and Hamvira, the effective protector of the kingdom. The war takes six years before Hamvira declares himself the victor and king.

1466 - 1472

Purshottam Deva

Son. Official heir but challenged by elder brother.

1472 - 1476


Brother. Gained kingdom after succession war.


Purshottam Deva regains the kingdom, but the details are not known. Nor is the fate of Hamvira. During his reign, Purshottam defeats the Vijaynagar ruler at Kanchipuram, which is under his control, and marries his daughter, Padmavati.

1476 - 1497

Purshottam Deva



Despite taking firm hold of the reigns of power, Vijaynagar ruler Saluva Narasimha faces continual rebellions and uprisings, and between 1489-1491 he loses Udayagiri to the Gajapatis.

1497 - 1540

Prataprudra Deva


1540 - 1541

Kalua Deva

Son. On the throne for barely a year.


Kakharua Deva

Brother. Last Gajapati king


Kakharuadeva is killed by his own prime minister, Govinda Vidyadhara. Govinda goes on to establish his Bhoi ruling dynasty in Orissa. The Gajapati dynasty still manages to survive in a reduced fashion in Parlakhemundi, but does not rule again.

Bhoi Dynasty of Orissa (and Khurda)
AD 1541 - 1818

The Bhoi dynasty was established by Govinda Vidyadhara, who served as the prime minister of the last of the Gajapati kings of Orissa before killing him. However, the independence of the kingdom was short-lived and Orissa soon became the plaything of greater powers in India. In 1566, the region was conquered by the sultan of Bengal. Orissa came under Moghul rule as a result, via the authority of the governor of Bengal. In the mid-eighteenth century Orissa was ceded by Nawab AlÓwirdi Khan to the Marathas (in the form of Raghuji Bhosale of Nagpur).

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

1541 - 1549

Govinda Vidyadhara

Former prime minister. Founded the dynasty.

1549 - ?


Son. Killed by his son and throne usurped.



Son. Usurper.



Son. A weak king. Throne usurped by Mukunda.

? - 1566

Mukunda Deva Harichandan 'Gajapati'

Former commander of Cuttack fort. Killed by Ramchandra.

During his reign, Mukunda is challenged for his control of the usurped throne by one of his ministers, Danardana Vidyadhara (who also has Bhoi blood). However, the king retains the throne and even fends off Afghan attacks on the kingdom from Bengal. The king may use 'Gajapati' as a title or nickname to indicate his legitimacy and rightful inheritance of power from the Gajapatis themselves.

Jagannath Temple of Puri
A modern view of the Jagannath Temple of Puri showing little change before a clean-up

1565 - 1566

Suleiman Khan Karrani of Bengal sends his son, Bayazid Khan Karrani, and the famous general Kala Pahada against Mukunda. Orissa is defeated and brought under Bengal's control. However, Mukunda is not killed by the Bengalis. He is killed by Ramchandra, his successor.

1566 - 1600

Ramchandra Deva I

Son of Danardana Vidyadhara. Probably a vassal of Bengal.

With control of the kingdom now compromised by Bengal's intrusion and overlordship, Ramchandra moves his capital to Khurda (otherwise known as Khorda, between Puri and Cuttack). Following him there are further Bhoi rulers, all seemingly insignificant. The kingdom appears to remain a vassal state for the rest of its existence.


Overlordship of Orissa is removed from Syed Khan of Bengal and passes directly into the hands of the Moghuls. Despite being vassals, the Bhoi kings fight Moghul overlordship, and it seems that the Bengalis still retain an interest in the region.

1600 - 1622

Purshottam Deva

Faced Moghul attacks.

1622 - 1646

Narasingh Deva

During his reign, Narasingh Deva establishes Biranarsingpur Sasan and divides the sasans into four types; Batchsa, Nandsa, Bajpei, and Gotriya.

1646 - 1655

Gangadhar Deva

1646 - 1655

Balabhadra Deva

Co-ruler. Constructed Fort Balabharapur Gar and sasan.

1655 - 1693

Mukunda Deva I

Faced further Moghul attacks.

In his time, Mukunda Deva I faces a problematical reign. He moves the capital to Rathipur, but faces rebellions by the Paiks (a local militia) and a famine.

1693 - 1720

Divyasingha Deva I

Contemporary of Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb.

1720 - 1725

Harekrishna Deva I

Established the Harekrishnapur sasan.

1725 - 1732

Gopinath Deva I

Established the Rautarapura sasan.


Ramchandra Deva II

Also had to fight the Moghuls.


Ramchandra's reign is brief and tumultuous. He is forced to marry the daughter of the late Murshid Quli Khan, nawab of Bengal, and is declared an outcast. Thanks to this he forfeits the right to enter the Jagannath temple. After his marriage he remains at Narsingarh, but even during his brief period on the throne, he had faced an attack by one Taki Khan against Puri.

1732 - 1743

There appears to be an interregnum in the kingdom, perhaps due to the expulsion of Ramchandra. There is no known king for a span of eleven years, until the region has undergone a change of overlord.

1740 - 1742

Under the command of the Peshwa, the Maratha army reaches Rajasthan in 1735, Delhi in 1737, and Orissa and Bengal by 1740. In 1742, Orissa is ceded by Nawab AlÓwirdi Khan of Bengal to the Marathas (in the form of Raghuji Bhosale of Nagpur).

1743 - 1773

Birakishore Deva

Ceded territory to the Marathas and became their vassal.

1773 - 1791

Divyasingha Deva II

Constructed the Bhogamandapa of the Jagannath temple.

1791 - 1818

Mukundadeva II

Last Bhoi king. Constructed Fort Khurda.


British rule of Orissa commences when Mukundadeva II is imprisoned by the East India Company. The Bhoi family thereafter becomes the supervisors of the Jaggannatha temple at Puri.