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Thursday, October 27, 2005


 

South Indian Inscriptions


 

BOMBAY-KARNATAKA INSCRIPTIONS

VOLUME I - Part I

INTRODUCTION

The Part which is now placed before the scholars comprises texts of 118 inscriptions secured from the Dharwar and Bijapur districts of the Bombay-Karnatak during the years 1925-30.  Of these one belongs to the Pallavas of Kanchi, four to the.  Early Chalukyas of Badami, thirty-nine to the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed while the remaining seventy-four refer themselves to the Western Chalukyas of Kalyana up to the end of the reign of Bhuvanaikamalladeva Somesvara II.  Most of these inscriptions are not previously noticed or published by that pioneer scholar Dr. Fleet whose Dynasties of the Kanarse Districts published in Part II of Volume I of the Bombay Gazetteer remains even to-day, though out of date, a monumental work on the historical account of the ruling dynasties of the Kannada districts.  The discoveries of fresh epigraphs made in recent years by myself and Messers.  R.S. Panchamukhi and N. Lakshminarayana Rao, furnish some new and important details in connection with a few kings of the families represented in them.

THE PALLAVAS:

The earliest important epigraph in this volume is the Badami Rock Inscription (No. 1), engraved in the Pallava-Grantha characters of the 7th century A.D.  The record is unfortunately mutilated owing to the effects of wind and rain to which the rock is exposed.  But from what remains of it, it may be made out that Mahamalla [Nara?] simh who is described in the last 3 lines as the foremost Pallava king [Nara]-simhavishnu of the Bharadvaja-gotra occupied Vatapi and (probably seized) a pillar of victory standing in that place, in the 13th year of his reign.  It is to be regretted that the next two lines which are in the Chalukyan alphabet of the period, and contained to Saka year combined with the regnal year of the king are completely damaged except the portion ‘Sakavarshe shashtyu’ i.e., Saka year . . . . . . .(increased by) sixty …. This date, to fall in the 7th century A.D. may be interpreted to range from Saka 560 to 569 in which case the lacuna may be supplied as shashty-uttara-pancha-satatame eka (up to nave)dhike.  This would definitely place the occupation of Vatapi by Narasimhavarman I some time before or within the period Saka 560-69 (=A.D. 638-647), which must have corresponded to the 13th year of his reign.  Since the Chinese pilgrim Hieun Tsiang visited Maharashtra when Pulakesin II was at the zenith of his power, i.e., in about A.D. 639, the above mentioned event must have taken place only after that date.  Fleet has, on the strength of the non-mention of the sovereign power in the Kaira grant of Vijayavarma-raja, assigned the Pallava occupation of Vatapi to sometime before A,D. 643 and this apparently receives direct support from the expression shashty-utta[ra], etc., occurring in lines 7-8 of the present epigraph.

Another important point deserving notice in this inscription is that Narasimhavarman who is called in line 5 by the name . . . . simhavishnu evidently [Nara]-simhavishnu is stated apparently to have seized (?) a pillar of victory (jayastambha) at Vatapi.  In the Velurpalaiyam plates of Nandivarman III, he is similarly described as having seized the pillar of victory standing in the centre of Vatapi (Vatapi-madhye vijit-ari-varggah sthitan=jaya-stambham=alambhayad=yah).  It is, however, worth noticing that in no inscription of his family is this king called narasimhavishnu, whereas his name is specifically mentioned as Narasimhavarman.  This pillar appears to have been planted by the Chalukyas at badami after having conquered the Kadambas of Banavasi to whose sway, the Badami region belonged.  It may be noted that Mayurasarman, the progenitor of the Kadambas, was placed, by the Pallavas, in charge of the country bounded by Srisaila in the east and Prehara(?) in the west and as such the Pallavas appear to have claimed allegiance from the kadambas from the beginning of the latter’s political  career.  The Kadambas are, however, stated in their inscriptions to have waged constant wars with the Pallavas (cf. Pallava-pralayanalah applied to Mrigesa varman in his Halsi plates)  When the Kadamba power was on the decline at the end of the 5th century A.D. the Pallavas might have attempted to establish their authority once again in that region which was apparently resented by the Chalukyas who were probably the growing subordinate chiefs ruling over the Vatapi region under the Kadambas.  The Chalukyas then meted out a crushing blow to their nominal overlords the Kadambas and other enemies, and as a signal of their unchallenged victory, planted the jayastambha in the heart of Vatapi.  That the Pallavas had attempted to nip in the bud the rise of the Chalukyas is explicitly mentioned in the expression akrantatma-balonnatim Pallavanam patim, i.e., “the Pallava king who had opposed the rise of his (i.e., Chalukya King’s ) Power” occurring in the Aihole inscription of Pulakesin II.  The must refer to the conflict of the two powers before the campaign of Pulakesin II against the Pallava kinds as recorded in the Aihole inscription. This is supported by the statement in the Mahakuta pillar inscription of Kirtivarman I that the king had vanquished the Dramila, among the several chiefs of South India, who must be no other than the Pallava.  The jayastambha mentioned in the rock inscription must therefore be taken to refer to the commemoration of the victory won by the Chalukyas over their enemies the Kadambas and Pallavas and it is but meet to infer from the sequence that the Pallavas attempted to recover their original territory by capturing the pillar of victory planted in their enemies, capital.

THE CHALUKYAS OF BADAMI:

Only three kings are represented in the inscriptions published here, viz., Vijayaditya-Satyasraya, vikramaditya II and Kirtivarman II.  No. 2 which belongs to the reign of Vijayaditya comes from Kurtakoti in the Gadag taluk, Dharwar district, and states that the kings, officer Loketinimmadi was administering Kuruttakunte, i.e., modern Kurtakoti where the inscription is found.  The name Loketinimmadi is made up Loketi and immadi of which the first component word is apparently a corrupt form of Lokaditya.  If this surmise is correct Loketinimmadi would be a male officer.  This receives an indirect support from similar names of officers, i.e., Lokate or Lokate occurring in Mysore Archaeological Report, 1911, page 38, and in the Byadgi inscription of Rashtrakuta Krisha II where in Lokate is mentioned as the son of Bankeya.  The suffix irmmadi or immadi appears to have been applied to the names of female persons also as in the case of Revakanimmadi and Singannanimmadigal.  No. e. refers to the siege of Jakkili by king Vijayaditya-Bhatara but does not mention  the circumstances under which the event occurred.  The Anniegeri inscription (No. 5) of Kirtivarman recounts that a Jaina temple chediya was constructed by Gamunda Kaliyamma at Jebulageri evidently a suburb of Annigeri, in the 8th year of the king’s reign and that a kirttana (sculpture or more probably a statue) was set up in front of it by Kodisulara Kuppa alias Kirttivarma-gosasi.  This incidentally testifies to the practice, then in vogue, of erecting statues in public places which is a common feature of perpetuating the glory of great persons, in modern times.

THE RASHTRAKUTAS:

The earliest inscription of the Rashtrakuta dynasty is the Belhod record (No. 6) of Prabhutavarsha jagattunga, ie., Govinda II or II both of whom bore that epithet.  It records a gift of gosasra made by Echamma and Erevasa at Belhode.  Gosahasra is mentioned in Hemadri’s Danakhanda as one of the 16 great gifts such as Tulapursusha-dana, Hiranyagarbha-dana, etc., and does not necessarily mean thousand cows though the chief object of the gift was a particular number of cows.  While editing the Gudigere inscription of Maharaja Marasalba Fleet suggests that gosahasra is different from gosasa which meant  ‘a cowpen, a station of cowherds.’  It may, however, be noted that the Chinchli inscription (No. 15) which he quotes in support of his opinion does not use the word gosahasra at all whereas the term gosasa is used twice in line 3 of the same record.  Further the word always governs a predicate meaning ‘give, grant, etc.” as kotton, ildon, etc., indicating thereby that gosahasra was a kind of gift.  In some places gosasa is substituted by gosahasra from which we have to deduce that sasa is a variant Kannada tadbhava of sahasra though according to kannada grammarians the latter should become sasira.  In any case, gosasa cannot be considered an amplified form of goshtha as suggested by Fleet but is in all probability a variant Kannada rendering of gosahasra as suggested by Mr. N. Lakshminarayan Rao in his article on the “Two Stone inscription of Krishna II’ : Saka 805 (Ep. Ind., Vol. XXI, page 207).

The son and successor of Govinda III was Amoghavarsha I who ascended the Rashtrakuta throne in A.D. 814.  He is represented in this volume by 12 inscriptions ranging I date from Saka 759 (=A.D. 837) to Saka 796 (=A.D. 874).  The earliest date is furnished by the Kesarbhavi inscription (No. 7) which, though badly damaged, seems to record details of some skirmish in Saka 759.  This record reveals for the first time that king had a daughter name Revakanimmadi who was administering Edodore district under her father.  It is interesting to note that royal ladies were enjoying a good share in the administration of the country as early as the 9th century A.D.  The Ededore country over which Revakanimmadi was ruling, is evidently identical with the Ededore-nadu of the Yewur inscription of A.D. 1077 (E.P. Ind., Vol. XII, page 269) which is specified as Ededore-2000 in an inscription of Western Chalukya Vikramaditya VI, dated in A.D. 1084 and in the Miraj plates of Jayasimha II bearing a date in A.D. 1024 (ibid. page 303).  Fleet has identified this district with “a stretch of country between the rivers Krishna on the north and Tungabhadra on the south comprising a large part of the present Raichur district.”  The village Kesarbhavi where the present inscription is secured, seems to have been included in this district though it does not find mention in the body of the record.  For, there would, otherwise, be no relevancy in the inscribed stone being set up outside the limits of the Edodore country which Revakanimmadi was administering.  Further Karatikally-300 which was a subdivision of Edeodre-2000 (ibid. page 304) must have extended into the interior of the Hungund taluk up to at least Kesarbhavi which is situated within fifty miles from Karadikallu in the Lingasgur taluk of the Raichur district after the division Karadikally-300 was named.  In this case the south-west limit of the Edore country would be pushed back by a few miles to the west of 76, 15’ which the Ededore country on the south-western side.

Revakanimmadi is a hitherto unknown daughter of Amogavarsha I who, as stated in the inscription, had been married to a certain Erega[niga].  It is tempting to identify this Ereganga with the Western Ganga chief of that name, son of Rachamalla I, who flourished during this period.  But this is rendered impossible by the fact that Amogavarsha I had married his another daughter Chandrobbalabbe to Gunaduttaranga Butuga son of the above-mentioned Ereganga and brother of Rachamalla II.  (Circa A.D. 870-90).  It is therefore not certain who the Ereganga of the present inscription was.  It is probably from the name of the prince, that he was a member of the Western Ganga family, but in what way he was related to the main ruling line, remains to be determined by future discoveries.  It is worthwhile to mention here that the queue of Butuga II was also known as Revakanimmadi who happens to be the daughter of Amogavarsa Baddega.  Since the date and paleography of the Kesarbhavi inscription are indisputably to be assigned to the reign of Amogavarsha I, there would be absolutely no justification to connect the princess Revakanimmadi of the present record with the daughter of Amogavarsha III.  The latter princess appears to have been named after her great-grand-aunt Revakanimmadi, sister of Krishna II.

The next inscription in chronological order hails from Huvina-Hippargi (No. 8) in the Bagevadi taluk of the Bijapur district.  It is dated in Saka 784 during the reign of the Amogavarsha I whose genealogy is traced for four generation from Kannarasa, ie., Krisha I.  Of  the Yadava family.  The donee Goleya-Bhatta who received a gift of the whole village Pipparage in Kannavuri-vishya, for his ability in the science of great-grandson of Kannapera.  It is not unlikely that Goleya-Bhatta’s family enjoyed a special privilege of being State astrologers to the Rashtrakuta family for the generation  previously and now himself received this royal gift in the presence of the Mahasamantas and the Mandalikas which fact bears testimony to the high status which the donee must have enjoyed in the court of Amogavarsha I. From the description of the gift as Rattamaltandana-datti in the record, it may be presumed that Amogavarsha bore a hitherto unknown biruda Rattamarttanda.  In the fragmentary inscription of this king found at Aihole (No. 18), reference is made to his ‘new administration’ in the expression navarajyam geyye which perhaps suggests his abdication of the throne through renunciation and re-assumption of the reins of Government as tration’ soon after his accession to the throne.  This surmise receives confirmation from a verse[1] in the Ratnamalika or Prasnottararatnamalika which states that Amoghavarsha composed the Ratnamalaika after he had abdicated the throne ‘in consequence of the growth of the ascetic spirit in him.

The biruda Rattamarttanda applied to the king calls for a few remarks.  The name Ratta given to the family or race to which the king belonged, appears to be a Dravidian word and must have been sanskritised into Rashtrakuta and not vice versa.  If the  contrary is the fact, the tadbhava or the corrupt form of Rashtrakuta should have been not Ratta but Rashtraudha which latter is still preserved in the name of the Rashtraudhabhayudaya, a Mahakavya describing the achievements of the Rashtraudha chiefs of Rajputana.  Fleet has in a lengthy paper on this subject arrived at the same conclusion on quite different grounds (Ep. Ind., Vol. VII, pages 214 ff.).  Hence Ratta must have been the original family name of the kings of Malkhed.  This further points to the family being Dravidian in stock or at any turies.  That their home was the Kannada country is suggested by the kannada poem Kaviranamarga of Nripatunga Amogavrsha I wherein the author shows his bias for the chaste Kannada language current in the territory between Muduvolal and Kupananagara, and by the sign-manual of the princes of the Gujarat Rashtrakuta branch wherein the Kannada script-the alphabet of the Kannada country where the main branch ruled-is used in preference to the Gujarat or Valabhi script in which the whole record is engraved.

The records of Amoghavarsha in the volume show that Purigere-nadu was under the administration of Ahavaditya Kuppeyarasa of the Yadava family-also spelt as Adva in the Soratur inscription (Ep. Ind., Vol. XIII, page 77) in A.D. 865-67 and that Belvola-nadu was held by Devannayya in A.D. 869-73.  During the reign of Krishna II the same division were respectively governed by Indapayya in A.D. 883 and by Mangatorana in A.D. 892.  From an undated inscription of Krishna II. at Mevundi we find again Mahasamnta Kuppeyarasa holding charge of Puligere-300 in addition to Kogali-500 and Masavadi-140, while in his other inscription at Mevundi dated in Saka 818 the chief is introduced as the Beloval country appears to have passed into the hands of Mahasamnta mahasrimanta or mahasirivanta who held it from A.D. 901 to 909.

The latest year for king Amoghavarsha known from the inscriptions under publication is Saja 799 which fell in March 878 A.D.  This must have been the last year of amoghavarsha, for his son and successor Krishna II’s earliest known record secured recently at Hirebidri in the Ranebennur taluk of the Dharwar district (Bombay Karnatak List for 1935-36, No. 100) bears a date in Saka 800.  The last year of Krishna II is furnished by the kavajageri inscription in the volume, which has the Saka date 834.  Among his officers, Indapayya, Mangaorana, Mahasirivanta, Vatsayya and Mayirma are brought to light for the first time.  His Venkatapur inscription applies to the king, curiously enough, the epithet Amoghavarsha which was borne by his father Nripatunga.  If this is not a mistake, we have to suppose that the epithet had been assumed by both father and son just as Indra II and his son Govinda IV had borne the distinguishing epithet Nityavarsha (A.R. Nos. 277 of 1918, 235 of 1937-38 and Arch.Sur. Report for the 1929-30, page 173, ibid. 1930-34, Part I, pages 235 and 244) which is actually applied to the king in a record from Asundi, dated in Saka 847 falling in the reign of Govinda IV.  Similarly, Krishna III and his father Baddega are known to have borne the biruda Amoghavarsha (Arch. Sur. Report for 1937-38).  It may therefore be concluded that the birudas or surnames such as Amoghavarsha, Nityavarsha, etc., were not personal titles of the respective kings as suggested by Fleet in his discussion on “The appellations of the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed” (Ep. Ind., Vol. VI, pages 167 ff.).

A well-preserved record of Govinda IV at Kavajageri (No. 35) who is introduced by the biruda Suvarnavasha mentions a number of temples such as those of Bhatari, Vinaka (Vinayaka), Matavamadeva (?) Kesavaditya, etc., built by Ballajja, the Gavunda of Kovujagere.  It also states that Ballajja constructed stone (tombs) for his grandfather and his two sons who were evident y dead and also got a gavi-kalu prepared for himself.  This testifies to the practice of erecting stone-chambers in memory of the dead in the 10th Century A.D.  The inscription further makes an interesting reference to the coins gadyana and  dharana which must have been current in the Rashtrakuta dominion.  Though gadyana or gadyanaka, suvarna and dramma are met with in the records of this period, dharana is of reared occurrence and as such deserved to be noted.  The weight and value for the several coins are, however, not definitely known.  It is unfortunate that not a single coin which can be indisputably ascribed to the Rashtrakuta mintage is discovered so far.  Mention of the temple of Aditya (Sun-god) and of the images of nandi and Makara in this record is noteworthy.

The next king after Suvarnavarsha represented in this volume is Akalavarsha Krishna III , who is introduced in the Ron inscription (No. 36) with the epithets Samastabhuvanasraya and Prithvivallabha which were subsequently adopted by the Western Chalukya of Kalyana became the Characteristic  terms in the latter’s inscriptions.


[1] Vivekat=tyakta-rajyena rajn=eyam Ratnamalika Rachit=Amoghavarshena sudhiyam sad alamkritih-Prasnottararatnamalika. 

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