Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi and The Yadavs of Devgiri

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Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi

 The Chalukyas formed a powerful Southern dynasty which was founded in 543. At its height between the sixth and twelfth centuries, the Chalukya Kingdom ruled large areas of Central and Southern India, mostly towards the western coast.

During this period, they ruled as three related, but individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the ‘Badami Chalukyas’, ruled from their capital at Vatapi from the middle of the sixth century.

The Chalyukan king, Pulakeshi II, conquered territory corresponding to the coastal districts of modern Andhra Pradesh from the Vishnukundina kingdom in 615, and appointed his brother, Kubja Vishnuvardhana, as viceroy. Kubja very quickly declared his independence, ruling the Eastern Chalukyas as a separate kingdom.

The Eastern Chalukyan capital was at Vengi and their dynasty lasted for around five hundred years from the seventh century until 1075, when the Vengi kingdom fell to the Chola empire. They originally had a capital at Vengi, but this was later moved to Rajamahendravaram (Rajamundry).

The Yadavs of Devgiri

 The Seuna, Sevuna or Yadava dynasty (850 – 1334) was a dynasty, which at its peak ruled a kingdom stretching from the Tungabhadra to the Narmada rivers, including present-day Maharashtra, north Karnataka and parts of Madhya Pradesh, from its capital at Devagiri(present-day Daulatabad in Maharashtra).

The Yadavas initially ruled as feudatories of the Western Chalukyas. Around the middle of the 12th century, they declared independence and established rule that reached its peak under Singhana II.

The foundations of Marathi culture were laid by the Yadavas and the peculiarities of Maharashtra’s social life developed during their rule.

The Seuna dynasty claimed descent from the Yadavas and therefore, its kings are often referred to as the “Yadavas of Devgiri”. The name is probably derived from the name of their second ruler, “Seunachandra”.

According to verse 21 of Vratakhand (a Sanskrit work by Hemadri), the Seunas were originally from Mathura and later moved to Dwaraka. Hemdari calls them Krishnakulotpanna (i.e., descendants of Lord Krishna).

According to scholars the Seuna rulers were of Maratha descent who patronized the Marathi language.  the Yadava dynasty was “what seems to be the first true Maratha empire”.

A stone inscription found at Anjaneri, near Nasik, suggests that a minor branch of the Yadava family ruled a small district, with Anjaneri as its chief city. The inscription indicates that a ruler called Seunadeva, belonging to the Yadava family, called himself Mahasamanta and made a grant to a Jain temple.

Jijabai (the mother of Shivaji, who founded the Maratha Empire) belonged to the clan of Jadhavas of Sindkhed Raja, who also claimed descent from the Yadavas.

The founder of the Suena dynasty was Dridhaprahara, the son of Subahu. According to Vratakhanda, his capital was Shrinagara. However, an early inscription suggests that Chandradityapura (modern Chandor in the Nasik district) was the capital.

Bhillama V (1173-1192), son of Mallugi, established the sovereign Seuna kingdom. He took over the Chalukya capital of Kalyani in 1190 and founded Devagiri (now Daulatabad) as the capital of the Yadava dynasty.

The Seunas were bordered by aggressive neighbours on all sides: Paramara Rajputs of Malwa in the north, the Kakatiya dynasty in the east, Hoysalas in the south and the Solanki Rajputs of Gujarat in the west. As a precaution, they built their citadel at Devagiri. The citadel was situated on a hill rising 183 meters. The hill was enclosed by three lines of walls, each of which was defended by moatsand turrets. The outermost wall had a circumference of 4.4 km.

Singhana II 1200-1247 C.E. is considered the greatest ruler of the Yadava dynasty. During his rule the kingdom expanded from Narmada to Tungabhadra, reaching its zenith at the expense of Hoysalas in the south, Kakatiya dynasty in the east, Paramaras and Chalukyas in the north.

He founded the town Shinghanapur (or Singhanapur). He was a great patron of learning and literature. He established the college of astronomy to study the work of celebrated astronomer Bhaskaracharya. The Sangita Ratnakara, an authoritative Sanskrit work on Indian musicwas written by Sharngadeva (or Shrangadeva) during Singhana II’s reign. He also patronized Changadeva, the Kannada poet Kamalabhava.

There is a belief that Deoghur or Doulatabad was built in 1203 AD by a Dhangar or herdsman (Yadav Cowherds) who acquiring by some unusual good fortune vast wealth was named by his brother shepherds Raja Ram and soon after assumed the rank of a Raja.

Ramachandra (or Ramadevarava or Raja Ram), the grandson of Singhana II, ruled from 1271 to 1309 CE.

Hemadri (or Hemadpant) was Amachandra’s Shrikaranadhipa (Chief Minister). He compiled the encyclopedic Sanskrit work Chaturvarga Chintamani. He is said to have built many temples in a style known after him – Hemadapanti. He also invented the Modi script for writing Marathi. Hemadri wrote many books on vaidhyakshastra (medical science) and he introduced and supported Bajra cultivation.

In 1294, Ala-ud-din Khalji captured Devagiri. Khalji restored it to Ramachandra in return for his promise of payment of a high ransom and an annual tribute. However, this was not paid and the Seuna kingdom’s arrears to the Khalji dynasty kept mounting.

In 1307, Khalji sent an army commanded by Malik Kafur to Devagiri. Ramachandra was taken to Delhi. Khalji reinstated Ramachandra in return for a promise to help Khalji subdue the Hindu kingdoms in South India. In 1309, Malik Kafur mounted an assault on the Kakatiya dynasty from Devagiri.

Alauddin Khilji invaded Devagiri once when he was the crown prince. Alauddin Khilji once again invaded Devagiri in 1306. The invincible Malik Kafur was on the spearhead of the army. He was accompanied with Khwaja Haji. The governors of Malwa and Gujarat were ordered to help Malik Kafur. The huge army conquered Devagiri almost without a battle. Alauddin Khilji appointed Raja Ramchandra the governor of Devagiri. The kingdom was annexed by the Khalji Empire in 1317.

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