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Far East Kingdoms

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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 (or Odisha since 2011) 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. This specific group of Indo-Europeans called themselves Aryans (meaning the 'civilised' or 'respectable', although the rather tainted 'Aryan' term has been replaced by modern scholars with the more accurate 'Indo-Aryan'). This rather elitist naming was presumably in reaction to the apparently barbarous people they encountered, with them displacing (or sometimes integrating with) the native Elamo-Dravidian peoples.

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
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

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

? - c.324 BC

?

Unnamed last king of the ancient Kalinga kingdom.

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, as a region of the great Magadhan kingdom.

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.

Another matter is the name of the king at the time at which the kingdom was reconquered by Ashoka Maurya. Guha-Siva has been shown as a king who may have restored the kingdom to independence in the early third century and may still have been ruling at the reconquest. However a 'Kumar' has also been claimed as the king who was defeated by Ashoka, as has Raja Anantha Padmanabhan. So far no definitive answer has emerged.

(Additional information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

? - c.261 BC

Guha-Siva

Restored the kingdom to independence?

c.261 BC

Kumar

Defeated by Ashoka Maurya.

c.261 BC

Anantha Padmanabhan

'Raja'. Defeated by Ashoka Maurya.

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 / Mahameghavahana 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 the reign of the dynasty's first king, Megavanavarman, was not a smooth one.

The Chedi 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), from a History of Jainism, Kailash Chand Jain (2010), and from A Textbook of Medieval Indian History, Sailendra Sen (2013).)

c.232 - 197 BC

Maha Megavanavarman

Former sardar of Chedi.

c.197 - 177 BC

Vakradeva / Kudela

Son?

c.177 - 152 BC

Kharavela / Kharvela

Brother. 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, which is the main source of information about Kharavela, the most famous of the Chedi kings of Orissa

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. Some modern online sources have stated the fifth century for the kingdom's disappearance, but without providing any supporting evidence. Kalinga is divided into separate petty states under regional chieftains, some of whom may be subject to the authority of the others. Each of these chieftains bears the title kalingadhipathi, meaning 'Lord of Kalinga'. One of those kingdoms may be that of Utkala, in northern Kalinga.

Coincidentally, perhaps, the late fifth century is also when the kingdom of the Eastern Gangas first appears in Kalinga. A chieftain by the name of Indravarma defeats the Vishnukundin ruler, Indrabhattaraka, and establishes his own expanded kingdom.

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 in India (Odisha since 2011), and the northern region of Kalinga. It seemingly arose during a period in which a single kingdom within Kalinga had ceased to exist, and any centres of power were little more than petty tribal power bases. This new 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.

(Original information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, with additional information from A Textbook of Medieval Indian History, Sailendra Sen (2013).)

c.400s?

The preceding Chedi kingdom of Kalinga appears to linger on in obscurity until the fifth century. Following that, Kalinga is divided into separate petty states under regional chieftains, some of whom may be subject to the authority of the others. Each of these chieftains bears the title kalingadhipathi, meaning 'Lord of Kalinga', and one of those kingdoms may be that of Utkala, in northern Kalinga.

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)

Sudyumna

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.

Utkala

Eponymous founder, mentioned in Brahmanotpatti-martanda.

c.496

The late fifth century is also when the kingdom of the Eastern Gangas first appears in Kalinga. A chieftain by the name of Indravarma defeats the Vishnukundin ruler, Indrabhattaraka - occupier of southern Kalinga - and establishes his own expanded kingdom, with Kalinganagara as his capital. The Utkalas may fall under the domination of this new, powerful kingdom, but they survive with their own separate identity intact for at least the next three hundred years.

810 - 850

Devapala of the Palas defeats the Utkala, whose king (read 'tribal chieftain') flees from his capital city (read 'principal settlement, village'). No other information on the kingdom appears to be available, along with any idea of the effect the defeat may have on the regionally powerful Eastern Gangas.

1224

During his rule of nearby Bengal, Sultan Ghiyasuddin Iwaj Khilji builds up a powerful navy and takes on Vanga (a former Iron Age state in eastern Bengal), Kamrupa (Assam), the Utkalas, and Tirhut (northern Bihar). The Utkalas clearly still exist as a minor but notable regional force. The Eastern Gangas to the immediate south of the Utkalas appear to escape any major attacks.

Eastern Gangas (Orya / Orissa)
c.AD 496 - 1434

The Eastern Ganga kingdom was comprised of regions in Orissa (Odisha since 2011), West Bengal, Chattisgad, Jharkand and Andhra Pradesh in India. The ruling dynasty emerged around AD 500 and held regional power for almost a millennium. During that time they constructed the famous temples of Jagannatha and Konark (a world heritage site) which are a testimony to the level of architecture supported by the Gangas and also to their grandeur.

The Eastern Gangas have been claimed as 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). Opinion over their relationship to the Western Gangas seems to be divided down the middle. They appeared while the Western Gangas were relatively powerful, but seem not to have flourished themselves until the end of the ninth century. Orissa is a great deal removed from Mysore, far to the north-east and abutting West Bengal. If they were indeed related then it must have been a relationship that was severed when (if) the Western Gangas migrated southwards at an unknown date before the Western Ganga kingdom emerged. However, opponents to this theory point to epigraphical evidence that supports a southern origin for all Gangas, so it seems likely that the Eastern Gangas proceeded northwards from Mysore to found their own kingdom.

As far as the Ganga kings are known, their early representatives are little more than a list of names, mostly taken from inscriptions which are dated to the Ganga era. The Regents of Nations list is very similar to that of the History of Odisha website down AD 895, and is alluded to by Chakravarti with his eighty-four kings plus seven more to 895. All names shown below are from Regents, but where History shows the name in a different form, this has been added. After 895, Mukunda Rao's work seems to be the best for kings between 895 and a little after 1211. After that all available lists are more or less the same. The early dates can be somewhat variable between sources. Samantavarman, for instance, has also been placed at AD 562, with a corresponding knock-on effect to the dates for his successors.

(Original information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, with a complete revision by Stephen Barr, and with additional information from Regents of Nations, Part 3, Peter Truhart (Antiquity Worldwide), from Eastern Ganga Kings of Orissa, M Chakravarti, from the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Volume 72, Part 1 to Volume 73, Part 1, M Chakravarti, from Kalinga Under the Eastern Gangas, Mukunda Rao (1991), from A Textbook of Medieval Indian History, Sailendra Sen (2013), from Literary and Historical Studies in Indology, Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi, from Ancient India, Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, and from External Links: History of Odisha, and a rival site, History of Odisha.)

c.496 - 535

Indravarman I

Early Eastern Ganga king. Dynasty founder. 'Trikalingadhipati'.

c.496

The preceding Chedi kingdom of Kalinga appears to linger on in obscurity until the fifth century. Following that, Kalinga is divided into separate petty states under regional chieftains, some of whom may be subject to the authority of the others. Each of these chieftains bears the title kalingadhipathi, meaning 'Lord of Kalinga', and one of those kingdoms may be that of Utkala, in northern Kalinga.

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)

Coincidentally, perhaps, the late fifth century is also when the kingdom of the Eastern Gangas first appears in Kalinga. A chieftain by the name of Indravarma (actually shown as Adhiraja on the Godavari plates) unites with other chieftains to defeat the Vishnukundin ruler, Indrabhattaraka - occupier of southern Kalinga. A notable fighting method employed by Indravarman which makes mention of him recognisable in more than one source is the use of 'four-tusked' elephants, although this is fairly conventional anyway. Then he establishes his own expanded kingdom. Kalinganagara (better known today as the village of Mukhalingam in northern Andhra Pradesh) becomes his capital, while Dantapura serves as the kingdom's second 'city'.

c.535 - 554

Samantavarman / Sartlantavarman

'Trikalingadhipati'.

c.537/538

A Devendravarman is known from the issuance of a grant in the 'thirty-ninth year of the Ganga era'. The thirtieth year of the Ganga era can be equated to AD 528/529, which is also the calculated latest date for the accession of the Vishnukundin king, Indrabhattarakavarman (at least, according to the scholar, Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi, who seems to have a good grasp of the complexities of these calculations).

This would appear to place the issuance of the grant two years after the death of Indravarman and during the reign of Samantavarman. However, reconciling this with the lists of kings that can be assembled is rather tricky as none of them show a Devendravarman here. Could it simply be a misreading of Indravarman, with the dating being two years adrift?

c.554 - 583

Hastivarman / Ranabhita Rajasimha

'Lord of [all] Kalingas'.

c.583 - ?

Indravarman II

Son?

Danarnava

Chakravarti places him at c.770. May not have ruled.

606 - 647

Harshavardhana of the Thaneshwar kingdom becomes one of the most illustrious of Indian emperors. At the peak of his reign, his kingdom covers Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Bengal and the entire Gangetic belt as far as the River Narmada. Whether or not his conquests in the Orissa region deliver him the subjugation of the Eastern Gangas is unknown.

Eastern Ganga copper plates
The early story of the Eastern Gangas is recorded to some extent on copper plates like the ones shown here, although how historically accurate that story is cannot be confirmed

fl c.624

Indravarman III

Son of Danarnava.

Gunarnava (I)

Probably did not rule, but did supply the next ruler.

fl c.679

Devendravarman I

Son.

fl c.700

Anantavarman I

Son.

fl c.717

Nandavarman

Son.

fl c.734

Kamarnava I

Shown on the Chakravarti list only.

fl c.747

Devendravarman II

Brother of Nandavarman.

fl c.770

Rajendravarman I

Chakravarti has Danarnava here.

fl c.780

Anantavarman II

Son.

fl c.803

Devendravarman III

Brother.

fl c.809

Rajendravarman II

History has Anantavarman II here.

fl c.810

Kamarnava II

Shown on the Chakravarti list. Regents has him at 880.

810 - 850

Devapala of the Palas defeats the Utkalas of Orissa, whose king flees from his capital city. No other information on the kingdom appears to be available, along with any idea of the effect the defeat may have on the Gangas.

fl c.845

Devendravarman IV

History has Rajendravarman II here.

fl c.847

Satyavarman

Son. History has Devendravarman IV here.

fl c.856

Anantavarman III / Sri Vajrahasa  I

Brother. History has Satyavarman here.

fl c.860

Madhu-Kamarnava I

History has Anantavarman IV here.

fl c.810

Ranarnava

Shown on the Chakravarti list only.

fl c.865

Vajrahasa II

Shown on the Chakravarti list only.

fl c.870

Anantavarman IV

History has Bhupendravarman here.

fl c.875

Devendravarman V

History has Anantavarman V here.

fl c.877

Virasimha

History has Devendravarman V here.

bef 880

Kamarnava II / III

Chakravarti has him at c.810 and a Kamarnava III here.

aft 895?

Gunarnava (II)

Duplicated as the Gunarnava of pre-679?

c.895

One online source of dubious reputation has Gunarva's reign (which is not shown there) coinciding with the reign of Devendravarman IV, placing the latter king around half a century later than is shown here. Chakravarti shows Gunarnava as being the second such incumbent. Mukunda Rao shows him as Gunamaharnava but fails to provide a date for him. This form of the name is repeated by the History of Odisha website. From this point the Regents list appears to become less reliable. Instead, Rao's list provides the best reading between now and about 1211, although most of his names are repeated in one or more of the other lists.

Map of India c.AD 900
India of AD 900 was remarkably unchanged in terms of its general distribution of the larger states - only the names had changed, although now there was a good deal more fracturing and regional rule by minor states or tribes (click on map to view full sized)

fl c.896

Vajrahasta I

Also listed as Vajrasta III.

10th century

Kalinga (Orissa) 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 under Vajrahasta Anantavarman in the early eleventh century. So intensely obscure are the Ganga kings (more probably regional chieftains, at best), even the ancestry of the later Gangas cannot definitively be linked to the earlier kings.

These obscure Eastern Ganga kings can be found in charters issued by Vajrahasta Anantavarman from 1038 onwards. Altogether, seven copper plate grants have come to light and these grants present an identical genealogy for this group along with the number of years in which they reigned. To better illustrate the period of intense obscurity in which the Gangas fall, their 'kings' are shown in light grey text.

fl c.921

Potankusa

Shown only in Regents. A 'Gunarnaharnava' is an alternative.

fl c.936

Kalinglankusa

Shown in Regents & by Chakravarti. A 'Vajrasta' is an alternative.

940 - 943

Gundama I

Son.

943 - 978

Kamarnava (I) IV

Brother. The numbering for this name has become confused.

978 - 981

Vinayaditya

Brother.

981 - 1015

Vajrahasta II / Aniyankabhima

Family connection unknown.

1000/1004

The Cholas under Rajaraja Chola I capture Talakad and force the Western Gangas to accept their overlordship (AD 1004 is an alternative date for this event). The devastating defeat begins a decline of Western Ganga authority until they fade away entirely.

1015 - 1018

Kamarnava (II) V

Son. Again, two options are provided for numbering.

1018 - 1019

Gundama II

Brother.

1019 - 1038

Madhukamarnava / Madhu-Kamarnava II

Brother.

1038 - 1070

Vajrahasta III Anantavarman

Later Eastern Ganga king and founder of the resurgent dynasty.

1038

The Gangas are resurgent under Vajrahasta Anantavarman, the son of Kamarnava (II) V. They emerge as powerful rulers within Kalinga during his reign and re-establish themselves. Vajrahasta himself is titled the trikalingadhipati, showing his domination of the three main regions of Kalinga. He is also claimed as the ruler during the founding of the Madhukeshwara Temple in Mukhalingam.

1070 - 1078

Rajaraja Devendravarma

Son.

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. However, the Kalingan kingdom of the Eastern Gangas appears to remain independent of his rule.

1078 - 1147

Anantavarman Chodaganga

Son. Co-ruler with his father.

1078

Anantavarman formally ascends the throne after a period in which he assists his father in the rule of the kingdom. He assumes the descriptive title of trikalingadhipathi, which denotes him as being the ruler of the three Kalingas - Kalinga proper, Utkal in the north north, and Koshal in the west.

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).

The temple of Jagannatha at Puri
Not content with restoring the Eastern Gangas to regional greatness, Anantavarman also oversaw the construction of the famous temple of Jagannatha at Puri, a sacred Hindu centre on India's eastern coast

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'.

1147 - 1157

Kamarnava VI / VII

Numbering here becomes even more confused, omitting a VI?

1157 - 1170

Raghava

1170 - 1190

Rararajadeva II

1190 - 1198

Anangabhima II

Son of Anantavarman. Regents has him ruling from 1182.

1198 - 1211

Rajaraja II / Rajarajadeva III

Grandson. Rao shows his reign ending in 1207/

1205

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. The kingdom of Kalinga is reduced in status and power.

1211 - 1238

Anangabhima III

Son.

1224 - 1227

During his rule of Bengal, Sultan Ghiyasuddin Iwaj Khilji builds up a powerful navy and takes on Vanga (a former Iron Age state in eastern Bengal), Kamrupa (Assam), the Utkalas, and Tirhut (northern Bihar). The Eastern Gangas themselves appear to escape any major attacks to start with.

However, Anangabhima is soon forced to resist these Mohammedan attacks from 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.

1238 - 1264

Narsimha I / Narsinghadev

Son.

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.

Mukteshwar Temple
Mukteshwar Temple (or Mukteshvara) at Bhubaneshwar represents an ultimate development of previous forms of temple construction - it was build during Ganga rule of the region, at some point around AD 950-975

1257

After repulsing the king of Orissa (presumably Narsimha) from south-western Bengal, the ruler there, Malik Ikhtiyaruddin Iuzbak, proclaims himself to be independent and adopts the title 'Sultan Mughisuddin Abul Mujaffar Iuzbak'. The ambitious Iuzbak then makes the mistake of taking on the sultan of Delhi when he attacks and occupies Bihar. Buoyed by his success, he invades Kamarupa (Assam), but this proves disastrous and Iuzbak is killed in battle.

1264 - 1279

Bhanudeva II

Son. Possibly also known as Vira Bhanu Deva I.

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. Bhanudeva II is the first of a series of weaker Ganga kings who oversee a slow decline in the kingdom's power.

1279 - 1306

Narsimha II

Son.

? - 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

Son.

1324

Bengal is attacked by Sultan Tughlaq Shah of Delhi and its king is taken prisoner and hauled off to Delhi. Bengal becomes a governed province. The sultanate of Delhi also attacks the Eastern Gangas in Kalinga under the command of Ulugh Khan, but they are repulsed by Bhanudeva II.

1328 - 1352

Narsimha III

Son.

1353 - 1378

Bhanudeva III

Son.

The Eastern Gangas suffer greatly during repeated invasions by 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

Son.

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, effectively taking over the king's duties.

1424 - 1434

Bhanudeva IV

Son. 'The mad king'.

1434

With Bhanudeva apparently unfit to rule, his throne is usurped by his minister, Kapilendra. The minister 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.)

1427

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.

1436

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.

1441

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.

1466

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

Hamvira

Brother. Gained kingdom after succession war.

1476

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

Restored.

1491

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

Son.

1540 - 1541

Kalua Deva

Son. On the throne for barely a year.

1541

Kakharua Deva

Brother. Last Gajapati king

1541

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 - ?

Chakrapratap

Son. Killed by his son and throne usurped.

 

Narsingha

Son. Usurper.

 

Raghuram

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.

1592

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.

1732

Ramchandra Deva II

Also had to fight the Moghuls.

1732

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.

1818

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.