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The Sena Empire (Bengali: সেন,Shen) was a Hindu dynasty that ruled Bengal through the 11th and 12th centuries. At its peak the empire covered much of the north-eastern region in the Indian Subcontinent. They were called Brahma-Kshatriyas, as evidenced through their surname, which is derived from the Sanskrit, for "army". The Senas belonged to the 'Gaur Kayastha' sub-caste of the Chitraguptvanshi Kayastha[1] and they were Brahma-Kshatriyas (those who were Brahmanas first and became Kshatriyas afterwards).

The dynasty's founder was Hemanta Sen, who was part of the Pala dynasty until their empire began to weaken. He usurped power and styled himself king in 1095 AD. His successor Vijay Sen (ruled from 1096 AD to 1159 AD) helped lay the foundations of the dynasty, and had an unusually long reign of over 60 years. Ballal Sena conquered Gaur from the Pala, became the ruler of Bengal and Delhi as well as made Nabadwip the capital. Lakshman Sen succeeded Ballal Sena in 1179 and ruled Bengal for approximately 20 years. He expanded the Sena Empire to Assam, Orissa, Bihar and probably to Varanasi. In 1203-1204 AD, the Turkic general Bakhtiyar Khilji attacked Nabadwip. Though he defeated Lakshman Sen, he failed to conquer Bengal.

The Sena rulers were Hindus. During this period Buddhism that had dominated Bengal for centuries was in decline due to the loss of its institutions at Nalanda University and Vikramshila University [2]. The dynasty is famous for building Hindu temples and monasteries including the famous Dhakeshwari Temple in what is now Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Sena dynasty were also great patrons of literature. During the rule of Pala dynasty and Sena dynasty, major growth of Bengali was witnessed. It is believed by some Bengali authors that Jayadeva, the famous Sanskrit poet and author of Gita Govinda, was one of the Pancharatnas (meaning 5 gems) in the court of Lakshman Sen. After the Sena dynasty, the Deva dynasty ruled in eastern part of Bengal. The Deva dynasty was probably the last independent Hindu dynasty of Bengal.




Edilpur Copperplate

A copperplate was found in the Adilpur or Edilpur pargana of Faridpur District in 1838 A.D. and to have been acquired by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, but now it is missing from collection. An account of the plate was published in the Dacca Review and Epigraphic Indica. The copperplate inscription written Sanskrit and in Ganda character dated 3rd jyaistha of 1136 samval which represents 1079 A.D. The Asiatic Society’s proceeding for January 1838, an account of the copperplate describes that 3 villages were given to a Brahman in the 3rd year of Kaesava Sana. These three villages cannot be identified now, and thought it is impossible enough that they have been long ago washed away by Meghna, which flows past Edilpur paragana. The grant was given with the landlord rights, receives the power of punishing the chandrabhandas or Sundarbans, a race that lived in the forest.[3] It records the grant of the land in the village of Leliya in the Kumaratalaka mandala situated in shatata-padamavati-visaya. The copperplate of Kaesava Sana tells that the king Vallal Sena carried away the goddesses of fortune for the enemies on palanquins (Shivaka) supported by staff made of elephant tusk. It also claims that his father Lakhman Sena (1179-1205) erects pillars of victory and sacrificial posts at Benaras and Allahbad and Adon Coast of South Sea. The plate also describes the villages with smooth fields growing excellent paddy also noticed about the dancing and music in the ancient Bengal and ladies of that period used to adorn their bodies with blooming flowers. The Edilpur copperplate of Kaesava Sena records that the king made a grant in favor of Nitipathaka Isvaradeva Sarman for the inscae of the subha-varsha.

The Sen rulers

Preceded by
Pala dynasty
Bengal dynasty Succeeded by
Deva dynasty

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)

External links


  1. ^ W. Crooke of the Bengal Civil Service in his book on the Tribes and Castes of the North−Western Provinces and Oudh, Vol. Ill, pages 184 to 213
  2. ^ Taranatha's History
  3. ^ Hunter, William Wilson (1875), "A statistical account of Bengal, Volume 1", Google Books, Edinburgh: Murry and Gibbs,, retrieved 2009-10-03  

Simple English

The Sena dynasty (সেন,Shen) ruled Bengal through the 11th and 12th centuries.


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