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Wheel of Konark Sun Temple in Orissa, India

The Sun Dynasty or Solar Dynasty (Sūrya-vaṃśa) is one of the most prominent dynasties in the history of Hinduism, along with the "Chandra-vaṃśa" or Lunar Dynasty.

Contents

Introduction

"Suryavanshi" means a person belonging to this dynasty. This clan was the oldest and biggest kshatriya clan of India which was also known by many synonyms as Adityavamsha (आदित्यवंश), Mitrawamsha (मित्रवंश), Arkawamsha (अर्कवंश), Raviwamsha (रविवंश), etc. The early Suryavanshis considered Sun-god ('Surya', 'Aditya' or 'Arka') as their kul-devta (clan God) and mainly practised sun-worship.

The clan founder, Vivasvan or Manu (Hinduism), also known as Arka-tanaya (अर्क तनय) or son of Arka (Surya), is supposed to have lived coeval with the origin of the world. The name Vivaswan literally means master of the rays. That is, The Sun or Sun God. The first historically important king of this dynasty was Vivaswan's grandson Ikshvaku, so the dynasty is also known as the Ikshvaku dynasty [1].

The solar clan is especially associated with Rama, the King of Ayodhya whose story is told in the Ramayana. Rama was the rightful heir according to the rule of primogeniture, but because his father had made a promise to his second queen, Kaikeyi, who asked for Rama to be exiled to the forest for 14 years and her own son crowned in Rama's place, Rama was disqualified from ruling, however, Kaikeyi's son Bharata never accepted the throne but ruled as regent till Rama came back from exile.

The last important king of Ayodhya was Brihdbal, who was killed by Abhimanyu in the Kurukshetra war. The last ruling king of the dynasty at Ayodhya was Sumitra in the 4th century BC, who, after being forced out of Ayodhya by emperor Mahapadma Nanda of Magadha's Nanda Dynasty, continued the royal line at Rohtas.

As laid down by Manu, the kings of the solar dynasty followed the rule of primogeniture. Only the eldest male offspring of the king could succeed to the throne, unless disqualified by the priests for being physically disabled or some other reason. The younger sons also produced many prominent historical Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, but these are not included in the following list of monarchs. The list, however, does include some rightful heirs who were disqualified by the priests.

Source of the lineage

The Puranas, particularly Vishnu Purana,The Ramayana by Valmiki and the Mahabharata by Vyasa gives accounts of this dynasty.The Raghuvamsha of Kalidasa also mentions the names of some of the kings of this dynasty.[2][3][4], other important sources are the Mahabharat and the Ramayana

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The List of Monarchs

The following is the list, in chronological order, of the monarchs of the solar dynasty.

King Sagar's great-great-grandson, Bhagiratha in penance.
  1. Brahma created 10 Prajapatis [5], one of whom was Marichi.
  2. Kashyapa is the son of Marichi and Kala. Kashyapa is regarded as the father of humanity. His sons from Aditi, the sky goddess, and the daughter of Daksha Prajapati are called Adityas (Sons of Aditi), they were, Aṃśa, Aryaman, Bhaga, Dhūti, Mitra, Pūṣan, Śakra, Savitṛ, Tvaṣṭṛ, Varuṇa, Viṣṇu, and Vivasvat or Vivasvan [6].
  3. Vivasvan or Vaivasvata (one of the sons of Lord Sun) - the Sun God, progenitor of the clan. His parents were the sage Kashyapa, father of all beings, and Aditi, Aditi's 12 sons, the Adityas, are the sun deities, and both Vivaswan and Aditya mean sun. Therefore another name for Vivaswan is Surya or the Sun, hence the name, Suryavansha. Vivaswan's sons include Shrraaddev and Shanishchar.
  4. Manu or Vaivasvata Manu - the King of all mankind and the first human being. (According to Hindu belief there are 14 Manvantaras; in each, Manu rules. Vaivasvata Manu was the seventh Manu [7]. Manu is referred to as a Rajan (King) in the Shatapatha Brahmana scripture. He had nine sons, Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, Prishadhru, Nabhagarishta and one daughter, Ila, who was married to Budha of the Lunar Dynasty). He left the kingdom to the eldest male of the next generation, Ikshvaku, who was actually the son of Manu's brother Shraaddev.
  5. Ikshvaku - the first prominent monarch of this dynasty, giving the dynasty its another name the Ikshvaku dynasty.
  6. Vikukshi - He is said to have eaten the meat of a rabbit at the time of Shraddha and was known as Shasad. (Some records claim him to be grandson of Ikshvaku.) His son was Kakuthsa or Puranjay.
  7. Kakutstha or Puranjaya - He was a brave king and fought in the Devasur Sangram. His original name was Puranjaya. But after he annihilated Asuras (demons) (or "Ahuras" ie Persians)while sitting on the hump (Kukud) of a bull, he was known as Kakuthstha, which means seated on the hump. His dynasty was also known as Kakuthstha after him.
  8. Anena or Anaranya
  9. Prithu
  10. Vishvagashva
  11. Ardra or Chandra
  12. Yuvanashva I
  13. Shravast - He founded the town of Shravasti near Kosala.
  14. Vrihadashva
  15. Kuvalashva - He killed a Rakshasa named Dhundh. It is said that Dhundhar region and the Dhund river are named after Dhund. Eighteen of Kuvalashva's sons died in the battle with Dhund. Thereafter, Kuvalashva was called "Dhundhumara".
  16. Dridhashva
  17. Pramod
  18. Haryashva I
  19. Nikumbh
  20. Santashva
  21. Krishasva
  22. Prasenjit I - His daughter Renuka was married to sage Jamdgni. She was mother of Parashurama.
  23. Yuvanashva II - He was married to Gori, daughter of the Chandravanshi king Matinaar.
  24. Mandhata - He became a famous and Chakravarti (ideal universal ruler) king. He defeated most of the other kings of his time. He married Bindumati, a daughter of the Chandravanshi king.
  25. Ambarisha - Great devotee of Vishnu.
  26. Purukutsa & Harita - Purukutsa performed the Ashwamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice). He married Nagkanya "Narmada". He helped Nagas in their war against the Gandharvas. Harithasa gotra linage starts from here.
  27. Traddasyu
  28. Sambhoot
  29. Anaranya II
  30. Trashdashva
  31. Haryashva II
  32. Vasuman
  33. Tridhanva
  34. Tryyaruna
  35. Satyavrata or Trishanku - His original name was Satyavrata, but he committed three (tri) sins, and hence got the name Trishanku. First, while he was a prince, he misbehaved and was temporarily exiled from the kingdom. Next, he killed the milch cow of his preceptor Vasishta. His third sin was that he used the unsanctified meat of his kill as food. Trishanku also had a desire to ascend to heaven in his mortal body. After Vashistha refused him this boon, since it is against nature to ascend into heaven as a mortal, the sage Vishwamitra, Vashistha's rival, created another heaven for him, called "Trishanku's Heaven", and located in mid-air. His sons were Dhundumara, and Harishchandra, who was borh of the princess of "Kaikaya" named "Satyaraksha".
  36. Harishchandra - He is known for his honesty, truth and devotion to duty or Dharma.
  37. Rohitashva - He was the son of Harishchandra. He founded town of Rohtas Garh in Rohtas district, Bihar and Rohtak, originally Rohitakaul, meaning from the Kul (family) of Rohit
  38. Harit
  39. Chanchu
  40. Vijay
  41. Ruruk
  42. Vrika
  43. Bahu or Asit - He was attacked and defeated by another clan of Kshatriyas. After this, he left Ayodhya and went to the Himalaya mountains to live as an ascetic with his queens. At that time Yadavi queen was pregnant with Sagara.
  44. Sagara - He recaptured Ayodhya from the "Haihaya" and "Taljanghi" Kshtriyas. He then attempted to perform the horse sacrifice, Ashwamedha Yajna. However, the sacrificial horse was stolen by the god Indra on the south eastern shores of the ocean, which was at that time an empty bed with no water in it. At least sixty of Sagara's sons died attempting to recover the horse, also causing great destruction by their reckless search. Puranic legends say the number of his sons was 60 thousand.
  45. Asmanja - Sagara's surviving son was not made king due to his bad conduct.
  46. Anshuman - He was the grandson of Sagara, and his successor as king. He did penance in an attempt to bring the holy river Ganges to earth, that she might wash away the sins of his ancestors.
  47. Dileepa I - He also tried to bring Ganges to earth, but also failed.
  48. Bhagiratha - Sagara's great-grandson, after strenuous penances, at last succeeded in bringing Ganga down from heaven. When she flowed over the remains of his ancestors, their souls were redeemed, and the ocean was refilled. Ganga also bears the name "Bhagirathi", in honour of his deed.
  49. Shrut
  50. Nabhag
  51. Ambarish - According to Buddhist legends, he went to Tapovana to be a renunciant but after a public outcry returned and ruled for some time.
  52. Sindhu Dweep
  53. Pratayu
  54. Shrutuparna
  55. Sarvakama
  56. Sudaas
  57. Saudas or Mitrasah - He performed the Ashwamedha Yajna, but as the rituals were concluding a Rakshasa tricked him into serving human meat to Brahmin,s including Rishi Vashishta. He was then cursed by the Brahmins. He wanted to curse them back, but his wife prevented him. He spent twelve years in exile in the forest.
  58. Sarvakama II
  59. Ananaranya III
  60. Nighna
  61. Raghu I
  62. Duliduh
  63. Khatwang Dileepa
  64. Raghu II or Dirghbahu - He was a famous king, who conquered most of India. The great epic Raghuvamsa describes his victories. After him the Sun dynasty was also known as the dynasty of Raghu.
  65. Aja
  66. Dasaratha
  67. Rama - He is considered the seventh Avatar of the god Vishnu. He is worshiped by every Hindu. Many Hindus include his name in either their first or last name. Rama's story before he became king of Ayodhya is recounted in the Ramayana. After he ascended the throne, he performed the Ashwamedha Yajna. Bharata, his younger brother, won the country of Gandhara and settled there.
  68. Lava and Kusha - They were the twin sons of Rama and his wife Sita. Lava ruled south Kosala while Kusha ruled north Kosala, including Ayodhya. Kusha married "Nagkanya" "Kumuddhati", sister of Kumuda. After Kusha the following kings of the solar dynasty ruled Ayodhya:
  69. Atithi
  70. Nishadh
  71. Nal
  72. Nabha
  73. Pundarika
  74. Kshemandhava
  75. Dewaneek
  76. Ahinagu, Roop and Rooru
  77. Paripatra
  78. --(unknown name)
  79. Bala
  80. Ukta
  81. Vajranabh
  82. Shankh
  83. Vishvashaha
  84. Hiranyanabha
  85. Pusya
  86. Dhruvsandhi
  87. Sudarshan
  88. Agnivarna
  89. Shighraga
  90. Maru
  91. Prasut
  92. Susandhi
  93. Amarsha
  94. Vishrutwan
  95. Vishravbahu
  96. Prasenjit I
  97. Takshaka - Laid the foundation of Nagavansh
  98. Brihadbal - He fought in Battle of Kurukshetra (see Mahabharata) on the Kaurava side and was killed in battle.
  99. Brahatkshtra
  100. Arukshay
  101. Vatsavyuha
  102. Prativyom
  103. Diwakar
  104. Sahdeva
  105. Vrihadashwa
  106. Bhanuratha
  107. Pratitashwa
  108. Supratika
  109. Marudeva
  110. Sunakshtra
  111. Antariksha
  112. Sushena
  113. Anibhajit
  114. Vrihadbhanu
  115. Rawats
  116. Dharmi
  117. Kritanjaya
  118. Rananjaya
  119. Sanjay
  120. Prasenjit II - He was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha and King Bimbisara of Magadha. His sister, Koushala Devi, was married to Bimbisara. The city of Kashi (Varanasi) was given as a dowry to her. After Bimbisara was murdered by his own son Ajatshatru, Prasenjit undertook a long series of wars with Ajatshatru. He also respected Buddha, who was also a Kshatriya from solar dynasty. In Buddhist literature he is addressed as "Pasenadi".
  121. Kshudrak
  122. Kulak
  123. Surath
  124. Sumitra - He was the last king of Ayodhya from solar dynasty. In the fourth century BC, emperor Mahapadma Nanda of the Nanda Dynasty forced Sumitra to leave Ayodhya. He went to Rohtas with his sons. His son Kurma established his rule over Rohtas.

References

  1. ^ Ikshaku tribe The Mahabharata translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli (1883 -1896), Book 3: Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section CVI, p. 228 'There was born in the family of the Ikshaku tribe, a ruler of the earth named Sagara, endued with beauty, and strength...".
  2. ^ Pargiter, F.E. (1972). Ancient Indian Historical Tradition. New Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass. pp. 90–91.  
  3. ^ Ramakatha Rasavahini. Prasanthi Nilayam: Sri Sathya Sai Books and Publications Trust. 2002. ISBN 8172081324.  
  4. ^ The Ramayana. New Delhi: Penguin Books. 1996. ISBN 0140298665.  
  5. ^ Vyas, R.T. (ed.) (1992). Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Text as Constituted in its Critical Edition. Vadodara: Oriental Institute, Vadodara. pp. 91–2, 255–56.  
  6. ^ Vishnu Purana: Book I: Chapter XV
  7. ^ List of Manus

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