What Is India News Service
Thursday, October 27, 2005


South Indian Inscriptions




Of the inscriptions on stone collected between 1926 and 1931 in the Karnatak area of the former Bombay Presidency, as many as 211 epigraphs were published in the South Indian Inscriptions, Volume XI (Bombay Karnatak Inscriptions, Volume I), Parts I and II.  Almost all the remaining inscriptions of this five years collection have been incorporated in the present volume.  The total number of inscriptions now published runs to 771.  These inscriptions can be divided broadly under the following sections with reference to their subject-matter;

(1)The Chalukyas of Kalyana, (2) The Kalachuris, (3) The Yadavas, (4) The Hoysalas, (5) The Sindas, (6) The Kadambas, (7) The Vijayanagara Kings, (8) The Muslim rulers, (9) The Marathas, (10) The East India Company and (11) Miscellaneous.

A detailed study of these records will surely yield many fruitful results for the scholars working in various fields, such as epigraphy, dynastic history, chronology, ancient, geography, social life, religion, education, literature and language.  However, within the limited scope at our disposal, it is proposed to review here briefly some of the main facts of political history brought to light by these epigraphs for the benefit of the students of history.

The Chalukyas of Badami

Although this dynasty is not directly represented in the present collection and no inscription can be assigned definitely to any particular ruler of this family, a number of short inscriptions comprising descriptive labels, found at Badami proper and in the adjoining places like Mahakuta, Aihole and Pattadakal fall within the regime of these rulers and some of them seem to contain interesting contemporary references to the members of the royal house, feudatory chiefs, artists, teachers, and persons distinguished in other walks of life.  For instance, Nos. 441-42 speak of one and the same individual Bhimasakti, a chief of the Sendraka family.  He figures once again in No.443, whrrein he is described as one devoted to the pair of feet of the illustrious Satyasraya.  As the title Satyasraya was commonly attributed to the princes of the early Chalukya family, it is difficult to identify this king with any particular ruler, although it is tempting to surmise that he might be Pulakesin II on account of his more familiar association with it.  His subordinate Sendraka Bhimasakti is not known from any other source and his relation with the known members of this family cannot be ascertained in the absence of more details (of. Arch.Surv.An. Rep., 1928-29, p. 117;Ep.Ind., Volume XXVIII, p.199).  Among the records of this category may be noted a few more, such as Sri-Juddha-vikraman (No.424), Sri-Vikkarasan (No.426), Sri-Ranaparakraman (No.430) and Prati-Vikrama (No.401), Sarvasiddhi-acharya (No.488) and Nirmanadeva Pullappan (No.487) appear to have been renowned as great artists.

The inscription (No.489) on a pillar at Pattadakal in the Badami taluk seems to shed some welcome light on the dark period of the history of this family after the subjugation of Kirtivarman II by Dantidurga, the founder of Rastrakuta sovereignty.  It is engraved in archaic Kannada characters of about the 8th century and purports to state that the pillar was the gift of Maharaja  Taila who was an administrative officer of the region (Pergade).  The association of the high-sounding title Maharaja once more with this dignitary in this brief epigraph points to his exalted position and it would not be unreasonable to identity him with Taila I, nephew of Kirtivarman II (of. Arch.Sur.An.Rep.,loc.cit.).

There is an inscription at Sondekola in the Chitaldrug District (Ep.Carn.,Vol.XI, Cd.25), which mentions a Vikramadityadeva and cites the date Saka 893, Pausha su. 13, Sunday, Uttarayana-sankranti.  This date is irregular; but it can broadly be equated to 971 A.D. Rice has sought to identify this Vikramadityadeva with Vikramaditya IV, father of Taila II (ibid., Introduction, p.10).  The grounds for such an identification are not quire convincing.[1]

Very little is known about the other members of this family until we come to Tailia II who re-established Chalukya supremacy in Karnataka.  An epigraph from Narsalgi in the Bagewadi Taluk shows that Taila II was a. subordinate of Rashtrakuta Krishna III and that in 965 A.D., he was governing the tract of Tardavadi Thousand represented by the modern Bijapur District (S. I.I., Vol. XI, Part I, No.40).  It might be this same Taila II who figures nine years earlier in an inscription from Karjol in the Bijapur taluk, dated 956 A.D. , which mentions Tailapayya as governing the Nadu (i.e., territory) under the same Rashtrakuta monarch (B.K. No.178 of 1933-34).  From these notices, though scanty, it appears that the sphere of activity of the members of the Chalukya house, after they had lost their independent status, was confined mainly to the Bijapur territory which was their ancestral home.

The Rashtrakutas of Malkhed

As in the case of the Chalukyas of Badami, the present collection contains no record having a clear bearing with the rulers of the dynasty.  But incidentally some interesting side lights on the history of this family are furnished by the records of a  later period. No.

No.46 from Salavadigi belongs to the reign of Jagadekamalla II.  But in its preliminary description it narrates events that took place in the times of the Rashtrakutas.  In this context we are introduced to a dignitary named Horeyama serving under Subhatunga-Vallabha Akalavarsha Krishnaraja who has to be identified with Krishna II.  This Horeyama is praised as Samantagrani (supreme among the feudatories)  and the fierce sword in the hand of his master Krishnaraja.  He is also said to have been holding the office of  Talara of Manykheda.  In the early period, the Nagarjunikonda inscriptions of the Ikshvaku kings containing allusions to officials of the state, designated Mahatalasvara (Ep.Ind.,Vol.XX, p.32).  The epigraph under reference points to the fact that this office was held in esteem as late as the ninth century and that it was also in vogue in the areas of Karnataka.  Subsequently, this office lost its dignity and the term talavara denoted a village of a low cadre.

An interesting reference to Bankapur as the capital of Indra-Vallabha is found in No.585 from Boganur in the Navalgund Taluk.  This Indra-Vallabha can easily be identified as the Rastrakuta prince Indra IV, grandson of Krishna III, on account of his well-known association with the town.  Banapur was a seat of reputed Jaina teachers and Indra IV being a devout follower of the faith must have had great attraction forit.  As the Rashtragkutas ceased to wield political power by 973 A.D., Indra IV could not have ruled in reality.  He was, however, crowned to the Rashtrakuta throne about 973 A.D. by his maternal uncle Marasimha III of the Western Ganga family (Ep.Carn., Vol.II, No.59).  Claiming himself to be the master of the Rashtrakuda kingdom, Indra IV appears to have settled at Bankapur until his death in 982 A.D. In this manner, this town came to be known as the capital of Indra-Vallabha.  This genuine historic association handed down in popular tradition seems to have been recorded more than a century later in the present epigraph of about the 12th century.

The Chalukyas of Kalyana

This section commences with an epigraph of the time of Ahavanmalla Somesvara I, followed by those of his successors, Bhuvanaikamalla Somesvara II and Tribhuvanamalla Vikramaditya VI. For the reign of the last mentioned ruler, we have about a dozen records, nine of which bear dates in different years of the Chalukya-Vikrama era.  Examination of these dates shows that three (Nos.6,9 and 80) out of the eight counted the first year of his reign from 1077 A.D. and the rest reckoned it from 1076 A.D. No.4 which seems to cite Parthiva as the 29th year of the king (19th being obviously a mistake of the engraver)  yields 1077 A.D. and Pingala as the first year.  This kind of divergency has been notices in the inscriptions of Vikramaditya VI, published in the S.I.I., Vol.XI, Part II, as well as in those edited or notices in various other publications.  After a careful survey of almost all the inscriptions, dated in the Chalukya-Vikrama reckoning, and on the explicit evidence of an epigraph from Nidugundi (ibid., Part I, No.117), reinforced by that the Chalukya-vikrama era actually commenced from the date of the king’s coronation on Chalukya-Vikrama era actually Pingala, corresponding to 1077 A.D., February 26, Sunday.[2] In this context I have scrutinised  the divergent views advanced by scholars, explained the historical factors that were responsible for these differences in the reckoning and offered a solution for reconciling the conflicting statements.[3]

Vikramaditya VI seems to have ruled until his 51st regnal year and died sometime in Megha or Phalguna of the cyclic year Parabhava.  This is evidenced by an inscription from Chikkavadavatti of his reign citing the year 51, Magha su.5, Wednesday, equated with 1127 A.D., January 19, (S.I.I., Vol.XI, Part II, No.178).  As his son Bhulokamalla Somesvara III is known to have counted Parabhava as his first regnal year according to the majority ofinscriptions (Bomb. Gaz., Vol. I, Part II, p.455), the demise of the father and the accession of the son might have taken place between January 19 and March 14 in 1127 A.D. In the light of the above testimony, the statement that Somesvara III came to the throne on a day between July 24 and October 5, 1126 A.D. in The Historical Inscriptions of Southern India, p.99, needs to be corrected. 

The reign of Bhulokamalla Somesvara III commenced, as mentioned above, in the cyclic year Parabhava.  But No.13 showsthat it was also counted from the previous year Vishvasu or 1125-26 A.D. which was the last year of his predecessor Vikramdaditya VI.  No.31 from Amminbhavi of the reign of Jagadekamalla II, dated 1146 A.D., referes to the king as having been at Kotitirtha on the Gautama-Ganga (i.e. Godavari) river and performed the Tulapurusha ceremony.  The purpose of the king’s visit to he holy place in the north, whether it was actuated by a political mission or religious sentiment, is not known from the epigraph.  It is interesting to note in this connection that accordking to an inscription of circa 1097 A.D. from Hunasi-Hadagali in the Gulbarga District, Vikramaditya VI, performed the Tulapurusha ceremony at Kotitirtha is on the bank of the Narmada, the reference to Gautama-Ganga or Godhavari in both these cases is apparently a mistake[4].  The inscriptions of the reign of Trailokyamalla Taila III range from 1151 to 1159 A.D. No.48 seems to suggest that the title Tribhuvanamalla was also associated with his name.  This reign is follwed by the Kalachuri interregnum which is discussed below.

The earliest inscription of the reign of Tribhuvanamalla Vira-Somesvara IV is dated 1184 A.D., April 25 (No.56).  This is followed by another of July 9 in the same year (No.57).  Among the early inscriptions of this king some mention the cyclic year Krodhi as his second year and some refer to the same as his third year.  This would mean that his reign started from 1182 or 1183 A.D. But no record of his directly assignable to either of these years has been discovered so far.  This leads us to surmise that the efforts of this king to restore the Chalkukya authority began to bear fruit by 1182 A.D. and that he ultimately succeeded in overthrowing the regime of the Kalachuri usurpers in the early months of 1184 A.D.  Somesvara IV seems to have been hailed as the rightful master in some parts of the country even prior to 1182 A.D., as indicated by an interesting epigraph from Malayanur in the Anantapur District, dated 1179 A.D., which speaks, without specifying his name, of a Chalukya-chakravarti endowed with the imperial titles, as ruling the kingdom (S.I.I., Vol. IX, Part I, No.273).  In No.58, from Minajigai, Somesvara IV is stated to have been camping at Manjara-tirtha on the Godhavari.  the last date available from our records for this king is 1194 A.D. (No.74).  No.76 prefixes the title Trailokyamalla to his name, which is unusual.  It is not unlikely that Somesvara IV inherited this title from his father Taila III, besides the familiar Tribhuvanamalla.

The Kalachuris

This dynasty[5] is represented by 49 inscriptions.  Many new facts about the history of this family have been brought forth by the inscriptions surveyed by the Epigraphical Branch in the areas of the former Bombay Karnatak and these have been supplemented by a study of a few more inscriptions secured byme privately some years ago in the areas of the former Hyderabad State.  An outline of the new historical data regarding this family has been briefly indicated in my article on the Harasur inscription of King Soma (Ep.Ind., Vol.XXVIII, pp.23.ff), and the same have been elaborately discussed in my lectures on he Kalachuries of Karnataka, delivered in 1951 at the Kannada Research Institute, Dharwar[6].  This account has again been summarised  in A Corpus of Inscriptions, etc., op.cit., pp.9 ff.  Therefore, it is unnecessary to repeat here what has already been said before.

In No. 12 from Ingalesvar, dated 1128 A.D.,  Hermadi or Permadi figures as governing the province of Tardavadi as a subordinate of Chalukya Somesvara III.  In marked contrast to this stands out an epigraph from Tadalbagi, dated the next year, i.e., 1129 A.D. (B.K. No.66 of 1938-39).  This inscription, though it belongs to the time of Chalukya Somesvara III, does not refer to this overlord.  Further, it introduces Permadi without his subordinate title Mahamandalesvara, and strangely enough cites his 12th reignal year.  This tendency of insubordination to the Chalukya suzerainty evinced by Permadi seems to have forged the way of his son Bijjala II who usurped his master’s throne. 

Bijjalla II was enjoying a responsible position in the administration by 1147 A.D. as disclosed by an inscription at Muttigi of the time of Jagadekamalla II (No.32).  In this record, he is addressed characteristically as Kumara, i.e., ‘prince’, a title usually applied to the members of the royal family.  But an inscription of the same king from walasang, dated 1142 A.D., shows that Bijjalla, had started his career as a Mahamandalesvara five years earlier and that he was governing the province of Karahada Four Thousand in this year (B.K. No.128 of 1940-41).  This epigraph, for the first time, discloses the blood relationship that subsisted between this Kalachuri chief and the Chalukya house by calling Chandaladevi, the queen of Vikramaditya VI, as his grandmother.

On account of his success in overthrowing the Chalukyas, Bijjala II seems to have considered himself mightier than the great Chalukyas and exhibited his sense o pride by assuming a number of high-sounding titles.  His most familiar titles are Tribhuvanamalla and Bhujabala-Chakravarti. He is often referred to in the inscriptions merely by his titles.  For instance, in Nos.103, and 108 he is introduced only by his title Bhujabalamala.  A few more grandhiloquent titles attributed to him in various records are Bhuvanaikavira, Tribhuvanaikavira and Mahabhujabala-chkra-varti.

According to Fleet, Bijjalla II abdicated the throne in favour of his second and favourite sonRayamurari Sovideva in 1167 A.D., which was his last reignal year.  But an inscription from Muttigi (No.111) seems to indicate that, by the date of the epigraph falling in 1165 A.D. July, Sovideva had assumed independent charge of the kingdom.  It is not clear whether he was supported by his father in the move.  But it is now known that the mutual relations amount the sons of Bijjala were never smooth and that they seem to have prepared to seize the Kalachuri throne as their father’s reign was drawing to a close.  It is significant to note in this context that this inscription extols the prowess of Sovideva and compliments him for securing the kingdom by the edge of his word.

Another inscription from Muttigi 9No.115), dated 1170 A.D. in the reign of Rayamurari Sovideva, incidentally furnishes interesting information about one of his younger brothers.  This was Mailugi, also called Mallugi and Mallikarjuna, who raised the standard of revolt about the end of Sovideva’s reign and ruled simultaneously over a part of the Kalachrui kingdom in 1175-76 A.D.  As I have shown elsewhere, he is already known from nine inscriptions, three  of which directly refer to his rule[7].  In the present inscription we are told about Kesava-dandanayaka, a trusted minister and general of the king, that at first he was in the service of Mailugi whom he deserted on account of his treacherous activities and subsequently joined the side of Sovideva.  Evidently, this must be an earlier attempt made by Mailugi before 1170 A.D. to usurp the throne about the beginning of the reign of his elder brother Sovideva.  This inscription states that the king was residing at Modeganur.

An epigraph from Talikoti (No.143) belongs to the reign of Ahavamalla and cites Pallava as his third reignal year, corresponding to 1181 A.D., This means that he counted his reign from Vikari or 1179 A.D.  which falls in the early period of the reign of his senior brother Sankam.  Such duplicate or paraller reigns are notices throughout the Kalachuri period, which can be attributed either to the rivalry and struggle for power or co-regency and division of responsibility among the claimants for the throne.  The former assumption seems to be more probable. 

An inscription of Sankama from Managoli (No.133), dated June 27, 1178 A.D., states that the king was residing at Navile.  Another inscription of the king from Katgeri (No.134), dated July 31, 1178 A.D., shows that the king was ruling from Modeganur.  This place is mentioned as Modeganura-kuppa in some records, the suffix kuppa in this expression denoting ‘locality’.  Fleet took the whole as a place name, but could not suggest its identity (Bomb.Gaz., Vol.I, Part II, p.485)[8].  Modeganur is modern Madinur, a village about four miles from Koppal in the Raichur District.  the identity is proved by an epigraph from Madinur itself, edited by me in A Corpus of Inscriptions, etc., op.cit., No.11.  The inscription describes it also as Modeyanur, Modanur or Moditagrama.  The other variants of the name noted elsewhere are Modenur and Muduganur.  It must have been a strong and well-fortified town of strategic importance, since it figures along with Bellary, Uchchangi and Raichur among the forts and cities conquered by Hoysala Vishnuvardhana in the course of his triumphant northern expedition (Ep.Carn., Vol. IV, Nagamangala 70;Vol. V, Belur 137 and 193, etc.).  According to an inscription from Gadag (No.140), Sankama’s reign extended upto the end of 1184 A.D., which is unusual.  The last of the Kalachuri princes was Singhana who rules for a short time in 1184 A.D. He must be identical with Simha-bhupala figuring as a subordinate of Chalukya Somesvara IV in an inscription of the same year from Minajigi (No.58).

The Yadavas

Different dates are quoted by the epigraphs for the commencement of Bhillama’s reign.  On the evidence of a limited number of records then accessible to him, Fleet noted 1187-88 A.D., or Plavanga as the first year of his reign (Bomb. Gaz., Vol. I, Part II, p.518).  No.145 from Hallur citing Kilaka as his third year pushes back his reign by one year.  But two inscriptions, one from Muttigi (No.152) and another from Nimbal  (B. K. No.49 of 1937-38) show that he started his reign in Visvavasu or 1185-86 A.D. The scene of the early activities of Bhillama, it seems, was confined to the Bijapur District[9] and Devagiri became the capital of these rulers about 1192 A.D.  I have discussed these points in more details in my article on the Methi inscription of Yadava Krishna (Ep. Ind., Vol. XXVIII, pp.315 ff.)

Passing over Jaitugi, we go to Singhana the earliest date of whose reign, furnished by a Sudi inscription (No.154), is 1202 A.D. But Nos. 156-57 and others start it from 1200 A.D. No.177 yields 1197-98 A.D. as his initial year.  As I have shown elsewhere (loc.cit.), there are other records which lead us to the same conclusion that his regnal reckoning commenced from 1197 A.D. This fact can be explained on the assumption that he was long associated with the administration of the kingdom during the lifetime of his father Jaitugi (ibid., p.317).

Singhana’s son and successor Krishna or Kannara also must have been endowed with royal authority prior to the former’s demise in 1247 A.D. No.186 of 1248 A.D. from Hebli cites Kilaka as the third year of Kannara, indicating thereby that his reign was counted from Parabhava or 1246-47 A.D. The next two rulers Mahadeva and Ramachandra are each represented by a few records.

[1] A Similar conclusion is arrived at by A.Venkatasubbiah who has tried to examine this possibility from all aspects.  See Ind.Ant., Vol. XLVII (1918),  p.206, n.3 But his verification of the date does not seem to be correct.

[2] The Wadageri inscription dated the Chalukya Vikrama year 1, Nala, Phalguna su.5, Thursday, refers to the Mahadanas bestowed by the king on the occasion of his coronation.  According to Govind  Pai this date is based on the Purnimanta calculation and considering the auspicious jucture as prescribed by astronomy for the ceremony, the coronation must have taken place on chaitra su. 1 of  Pingala, corresponding to 1077 A.D., February 26, Sunday.  This is also the initial date of the Chalukya-Vikrama era.  See Bomb. Gaz. Vol. I, Part II, pp.446 and n.3; Karnataka Sahitra Parishat Patrike, Vol. XV (1931), pp.200 ff.

[3] See Hyderabad Archaeological Series No.18 : A Corpus of Inscriptions in the Kannada Districs of Hyderabad, pp. 5-8. Also see Karnataka Number (Q.J.M.S. XLVIII, pp. 6 ff.

[4] See my Jainism in South India, and Some Jaina Epigraphs, No.2 pp.241 ff.

[5] Fleet called this dynasty ‘The Kalachuryas of Kalyani’  (Bomb. Gaz Vol. I, Part II, pp. 463 ff). This nomenclature is not adequately justified by facts that have come to light subsequently.  Firstly, the Kalachuris of the Dekkan are only an offshoot of the northern branch of he family, which is commonly known, as Kalachuri.  Secondly, in the inscriptions of this family the name Kalachuri is largely used side by side with Kalachurya.  Thirdly, Kalyani was not the principal and permanent headquarters of this family.  Hence the Southern Kalachuris or Kalachuris of  Karnataka would be the correct denomination of this family.  I have discussed this topic elaborately elsewhere.  See Ep. Ind., Vol. XXVIII, p.23 ; Ka. Sa. Pa. Patrike, Vol. XXXVI, Nos.1-2, pp.108 ff.

[6] Kannada Sahitya Patrike, Vol. XXXVI, No. 1-2, pp. 100 ff.;Vol.XXXVII, Nos.1-,2 pp.83 ff.

[7] See Ka, Sa, pa, Patrike, Vol. XXXVII pp.103 ff.  For three inscriptions mentioning his rule, see B.K. No.81 of 1937-38; and Arch.Surv. An. Rep., 1929-30, p.175.

[8] According to Fleet, the name is actually ‘Modeganura-kuppade’.  The form kuppade is the locative singular of the Kannada word Kuppa having its variant its in Koppa.

[9] There is a hill called Bhillamarayana gudda or ‘the hill of king Bhillama’, near Karadkal in the Raichur District.  An inscription of Bhilama, dated 1191 A.D., is found in the temple of Somesvara outside the village.  The significance of the historic name given to the hill is noteworthy.  See A Carpus of Inscriptions., etc., op. cit.,p.13.

Click here to continue to.. Introduction

Home Page

Archives | Links | Search
About Us | Feedback | Guestbook

© 2005 Copyright What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd. All Rights Reserved.