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Kalachuri Empire

Kalachuri Empire during Bijjala II (1167 CE)
Official languages Northern kingdom : Sanskrit
Southern Kingdom :Kannada
Capitals Northern Kingdom: Tripuri
Southern Kingdom: Basavakalyana
Government Monarchy
Preceding state Western Chalukyas
Succeeding state Seuna, Hoysala
Asia in 1200 AD, showing the Yadava Dynasty and its neighbors.

Kalachuri Empire (Sanskrit and Kannada: ಕಲಚೂರಿ) is this the name used by two kingdoms who had a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan) and were called Chedi or Haihaya (Heyheya) (northern branch)[1] and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka. They are disparately placed in time and space. Apart from the dynastic name and perhaps a belief in common ancestry, there is little in known sources to connect them.

The earliest known Kalachuri family (550–620 A.D) ruled over northern Maharashtra, Malwa and western Deccan. Their capital was Mahismati situated in the Narmada river valley. There were three prominent members; Krishnaraja, Shankaragana and Buddharaja. They distributed coins and epigraphs around this area[2 ].

Southern Kalachuris (Kannada: ದಕ್ಷಿಣ ಕಲಚೂರಿ) (1130 - 1184) at their peak ruled parts of the Deccan extending over regions of present day North Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. This dynasty rose to power in the Deccan between 1156 and 1181 A.D. They traced their origins to Krishna who was the conqueror of Kalinjar and Dahala in Madhya Pradesh. It is said that Bijjala a viceroy of this dynasty established the authority over Karnataka. He wrested power from the Chalukya king Taila III. Bijjala was succeeded by his sons Someshwara and Sangama but after 1181 A.D, the Chalukyas gradually retrieved the territory. Their rule was a short and turbulent and yet very important from a the socio - religious movement point of view; a new sect called the Lingayat or Virashaiva sect was founded during these times[2 ]. A unique and purely native form of Kannada literature-poetry called the Vachanas was also born during this time. The writers of Vachanas were called Vachanakaras (poets). Many other important works like Virupaksha Pandita's Chennabasavapurana, Dharani Pandita's Bijjalarayacharite and Chandrasagara Varni's Bijjalarayapurana were also written.

Northern Kalachuris ruled in central India with its base at the ancient city of Tripuri (Tewar); it originated in the 8th century, expanded significantly in the 11th century, and declined in the 12th–13th centuries.

Contents

Origin of Kalachuris

Natives of Central India

Historians such as Dr. P.B. Desai are emphatic about the central Indian origin of the Kalachuris. Before the arrival of Badami Chalukya power, they had carved out an extensive empire covering areas of Gujarat, Malwa, Konkan and parts of Maharashtra. However after their crippling defeat at the hands of Chalukya Magalesa, they remained in obscurity for a prolonged period of time. A 1174 CE. records says the dynasty was founded by one Soma who grew beard and moustache, to save himself from the wrath of Parashurama, and thereafter the family came to be known as "Kalachuris", Kalli meaning a long moustache and churi meaning a sharp knife. Historian have also pointed out that several Kalachuri kings were related to Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas by matrimonial alliances and ruled from places like Tripuri, Gorakhpur, Ratnapur, Rajpur. They migrated to the south and made Magaliveda or Mangalavedhe (Mangalavada) their capital. They called themselves Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara, which indicates their central Indian origin. Their emblem was Suvarna Vrishabha or the golden bull. They must have started as modest feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani.

Legends

According to legends, Kalli meaning long moustache and Churi meanoing Sharp knife is the source of their dynastic name. They were also referred to as Katachuris (shape of a sharp knife), Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara (Lord of Kalanjara) and Haihaya (Heheya). Mount Kalanjara is in north central India, east of the Indus Valley floodplain.

This name Haihaya is supposed to be derived from haya (a horse). Other theories are,

  • A prince of the Lunar race, and great-grandson of Yadu.
  • A race or tribe of people to whom a Scythian origin has been ascribed. The Vishnu Purana represents them as descendants of Haihaya of the Yadu race, but they are generally associated with borderers and outlying tribes.
  • In the Vayu and other Puranas, five great divisions of the tribe are named as Talajanghas,

Vitihotras, Avantis, Tundikeras, Jatas, or rather Sujatas.

  • They conquered Bahu or Bahuka, a descendant of King Harish Chandra, and were in their turn conquered, along with many other barbarian tribes, by King Sagara, son of Bahu. According to the Mahabharata, they were descended from Saryati, a son of Manu. They made incursions into the Doab, and they took the city of Kasi (Benares), which had been fortified against them by King Divo Dasa; but the grandson of this king Pratardana by name, destroyed the Haihayas, and re-established the kingdom of Kasi. Kaartaveerya-arjuna, of a thousand arms, was king of the Haihayas, and he was defeated and had his arms cut off by Parasurama.
  • The Vindhya Mountains would seem to have been the home of these tribes; and according to Colonel Todd, a tribe of Haihayas still exists “near the very top of the valley of Sohagpur, in Bhagelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage, and though few in number, still celebrated for their valor.”

Northern Dynasty

First dynasty

The ancient temples of Kalachuri period at Amarkantak, built by Maharaja Karnadeva (1042-1072 AD)

Some historians identify several Kalachuri ruling families in Tripuri, Gorakhpur, Ratnapur, Rajpur (eastern Gujarat) regions of central India. They established their kingdom in Madhya Pradesh with their capital at Tripuri near Jabalpur. Kokalla I was the founder of the dynasty. The Chedis had to face the rulers of Kannauj and Malwa, the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. They also had to defend their territory against the Palas and rulers of Kalinga. One of the most important rulers of Kalachuri dynasty was Gangeya Deva. He tried to make the Chedis the paramount power of Northern India. He was succeeded by his son Karan Deva.

Second dynasty

After the decline of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, Laksm Karna (1041-1072) of Kalachuri dynasty of Tripuri, who came to power, brought under his control almost the entire region covered by the present district of Gorakhpur. But his son and successor Yash Karna (1073-1120), was unable to check the process of disintegration. The Kahla inscription indicates that Sodha Deva, a feudatory of another branch of Kalachuri dynasty, had proclaimed his independence in a portion of Gorakhpur district. During the same period the Kalachuri rule was supplanted by that of the Gahadvalas of Kannauj over this region. According to epigraphic evidence the kingdom of Govind Chandra (1114-1154) of the Gahadvala dynasty extended to Bihar including the area now comprising Gorakhpur. Two inscriptions ascribed to Govind Chandra have also been found one each at Magdiha (Gagha) and Dhuriapar in Bansgaon Tehsil mentioning the genealogy of the Gahadvalas and the charity given by him for the prosperity of his family. A number of mounds of bricks, ruins and masonry wells found at these places go to establish their antiquity.

The defeat of Jaya Chandra (1170-1194) grandson of Govind Chandra, at the hands of Shihab-uddin Ghuri in 1194, paralyzed the Gahadvala power and brought to an end their dominance over the district. As a result a number of small principalities held by Sarnet, Donwar, Kaushik Rajputs and Bhars came into existence in different parts of the district.

Southern Dynasty, Immigrants in Karnataka

Legends

This dynasty which overthrew the Kalyani Chalukyas in the early part of the 12th century, had a relatively short but stormy rule[3]. According to a record pertaining to the year 1174, the founder of the family was Soma, who was a disciple of Ashwathama (the heroic character of the Mahabharata). According to legends, he grew a beard and a moustache to conceal his visage, in a bid to escape the wrath of the fiery Parashurama (another famous character of the Mahabharata). Thereafter his family and kinsmen came to be known as Kalachuris. However, the later records of the dynasty claim that they descended from Brahma, the Creator of the universe.

The Southern Clan

The Kalachuris of the south were Jains and encouraged Jainism in their kingdom. The first notable chief of the Kalachuri family of Karnataka was Uchita. While there were several kings who followed him ruling as feudatories of the Kalyani Chalukyas, it was Jogama who became an influential vassal of Vikramaditya VI, being related to the great Chalukya king by matrimony.

Decline Of Kalachuris

Even though the earliest of the Kaluchuri dynasties declined with the rise of the Badami Chalukyas during the 7th century, the Kaluchuris lingered around until a much later date[2 ]. The Southern Kaluchuri kingdom went into decline after the assassination of Bijjalla. The rulers who followed were weak and incompetent, with the exception of Sovideva, who managed to maintain control over the kingdom. Western Chalukyas ended the Kalachuri Dynasty. Many Kalachuri families migrated to Kanara districts of Karnataka. The Kalachuris are the principal characters in the Andhra epic The battle of Palnadu

The Kalachuri Clan (feudatory of Kalyani Chalukyas)

  • Uchita
  • Asaga
  • Kannam
  • Kiriyasaga
  • Bijjala I
  • Kannama
  • Jogama
  • Permadi
  • Bijjala II (1130 – 1167): proclaimed independence in 1162.
  • Sovideva (1168 – 1176)
  • Mallugi --> overthrown by brother Sankama
  • Sankama (1176 – 1180)
  • Ahavamalla (1180 – 1183)
  • Singhana (1183 – 1184)

Kannada Inscriptions and Coinage

Hampi was ruled not only by Vijayanagara empire, but earlyer ruled by Kadambas, Badami Chalukyas Hoysalas, Kalachuris and Yadavas. As per the 1163 AD inscription which records a religious offering (mahadana) in the presence of Hampi Lord Virupaksha by Bijjala the Kalachuri King[4].

Coinage

The Southern Kalachuri kings minted coins with Kannada inscriptions on it. In the link provided, notice the coin from Barma Bhupala, Kalachuri-feudatory 1187 - 1188.

  • Gajasaradula type: They were mostly gold or copper. Some of the common ones were the the seated goddess type along with the name of the issuer which is generally prefixed with Srimat and suffixed with Deva[5 ].

Virashaiva Movement and Emergence of Basavanna

Kudalasangama in Bagalkot district, where Basavanna's samadhi is located
Sangamanatha temple at Kudalasangama, North Karnataka
Basaveshwara Statue in Bangalore

The Veerashaiva movement evolved in an attempt to simplyfy religion and create social order. Tradition wrongly claims that the sect was started by five saints namely, Renuka, Daruka, Ekorama, Panditaradhya and Vishwaradhya. Latest research has proved that there was no person called Renukacharya. Few selfish Jangamas created Renukacharya out of Revanasiddha. Revanasiddha was elder contemporary of Basavanna. It was Basavanna, the prime minister of king Bijjala who gave it momentum and inspirational direction, in the process he established a new religion called Lingayat.

Basaveshwara was born in 1105 in the town of Bagevadi in present day Bijapur district in Karnataka state. He was a Brahmin and the son of Madiraja and Madamba. He is generally believed to have founded the veera saiva sect. He travelled to Kalyan a place near modern Bombay, India during the rule of King Vijjala (1157-1167 A.D). From an early age, Basavanna disliked religious rituals and tried to distance himself from it. He refused to undergo the brahminical thread ceremony[6 ]. He left Basavana Bagevadi and went to Kudalasangama, a near by town to study spirituality under Isanya Guru. He found employment in the treasury of king Bijjala and his efforts and hard work did not go unnoticed. He married the daughter of minister Baladeva. He often gathered around him large number of devotees of lord Shiva[6 ].

His maternal uncle Baladeva was a minister in the court of King Vijjala. There are multiple theories attributed to the appointment of Basava as a minister in the court of Vijjala. There are multiple theories attributed to the appointment of Basava as a minister in the court of Vijjala[6 ]:

  • When his uncle Baladeva fell sick and was bedridden, the latter's responsibilities was transferred to Basavanna.
  • Another theory suggests that Basavanna successfully deciphered an inscription that disclosed the location of a treasure. This pleased King Vijjala who appointed Basava as a minister.

According to Basavapurana, when Basavanna assumed power, he began distributing gifts to all the devotees of Lord Shiva. The other people felt left out and began instigating King who later cruelly punished two devotees of Siva. Much to the discontent of the orthodox Brahmins of Kalyani, Basavanna preached his casteless beliefs even in the regal capital, Kalyani[6 ].

The Anubhava Mantapa[7], an academy of mysticism, a great centre of religious discussions, was founded at Kalyani. It was from here the Basavanna taught his teachings to a growing number of devotees of lord Shiva. During this time, he conducted a marriage between a lower caste man and a brahmin girl, something the orthodoxy in Kalyani could not accept. They complained to King Bijjala II about this and wanted the parties involved punished. The king had Haralayya and Madhuvayya, the fathers of the groom and the bride executed. This atrocity of the ruler stunned the followers of Basavanna, and soon it became a signal for a widespread anger and discontent. In order not to kindle a raging fire among his followers, Basavanna moved back to Kudalasangama.

In the capital however, chaos reigned. King Bijjala was assassinated by Jagadeva, a cousin of Basavanna[6 ]. This led to widespread resentment against the Virashaiva community which seemed to have suffered a setback, though only temporarily. The movement that had been inspired by Basavanna would regain its regal patronage during the days of the Vijayanagar Empire.

Vachana sahitya, Virashaiva Saints and Vachanakararu

A unique feature of the Virashaiva movement was the large number of woman saints and poetesses it produced. Basavanna believed in equality of both sexes. The contribution of Basavanna to Kannada language and literature is immense and enduring. He couched his teachings in simple, terse, verse forms of rare felicity known as Vachanas. They were frank, vigorous and incisive. Dr. Mugali regards the Vachanas as "Spiritual lyrics" and "springs of beauty flown from the peak of devotion". Basavanna is considered as one of the great saints of Karnataka, who rose above caste, creed, religion and sex. His vigorous yet simple teachings endeared to him people of "lower castes" and "lower creed". It is for this reason that Dr. Arthur Miles called him Martin Luther of Karnataka.

Some well known and saints and vachanakaras were

  • Nilambike
  • Gangambike
  • Siddarama
  • Madivala Machayya
  • Madara Channayya
  • Sakalesha Madarasa
  • Ramanna
  • Sujikayakada Ramitande
  • Medara Ketayya
  • Kayakada Basappa

Research Notes

Historians have also pointed out that several Kalachuri kings were related to Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas by matrimonial alliances and had ruled from places like Tripuri, Gorakhpur, Ratnapur, Rajpur. They migrated to the south and made Magaliveda or Mangalwedha (Mangalavada) their capital. They called themselves Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara, which indicates their central Indian origin. Their emblem was Suvarna Vrishabha or the golden bull. They started out as modest feudatories of the Kalyani Chalukyas.

See also

Middle kingdoms of India
Timeline: Northern Empires Southern Dynasties Northwestern Kingdoms

 6th century BCE
 5th century BCE
 4th century BCE

 3rd century BCE
 2nd century BCE

 1st century BCE
 1st century CE


 2nd century
 3rd century
 4th century
 5th century
 6th century
 7th century
 8th century
 9th century
10th century
11th century









(Persian rule)
(Greek conquests)





(Islamic conquests)

(Islamic Empire)

Notes

  1. ^ "Kalachuri Dynasty". http://gloriousindia.com/history/kalachuri_dynasty.html. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  2. ^ a b c Students' Britannica India By Dale Hoiberg, Indu Ramchandani.
  3. ^ "Chalukyas of Kalyana (973- 1198 CE)". http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/chalukya/kalyani.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-31.  
  4. ^ "The cosmic site of Vijayanagara". ABHA NARAIN LAMBAH. http://www.india-seminar.com/2007/572/572_abha_narain_lambah.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-01.  
  5. ^ The Coinage of Northern India By P. C. Roy
  6. ^ a b c d e A History of Indian Philosophy By Surendranath Dasgupta
  7. ^ "Basaveshvara and his Socio - Religious Movement". http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka26.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-01.  

References

  • Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath (2001). A Concise History of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002)

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