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The Vengi kingdom extended from the Godavari River in the north to Mount Mahendragiri in the southeast and to just south of the banks of River Krishna in the south of India. This area was part of Kalinga until that kingdom was conquered by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire in the mid 200s BC. After the Mauryan Empire collapsed in 185 BC, the region was dominated by the Satavahanas, who were succeeded in Vengi by the Andhra Ikshvakus. Around 300 AD the Andhra Ikshvakus were replaced by the Salankayanas, who were vassals of the Pallavas of Southern India. In the late 400s the Salankayanas were annexed by the Vishnukundinas.

King Pulakesin II of the Chalukya conquered Vengi from the Vishnukundinas in the early seventh century CE and installed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana as the viceroy. He eventually established the Eastern Chalukya dynasty. The Eastern Chalukyas acted as the buffer between the Chola kingdom and the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani during the 9th and the 10th centuries. During the reign of the Kulothunga Chola I the Vengi kingdom became part of the Chola empire.

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Satavahana period

The Vengi territory was part of Asoka's empire and Satavahanas were the Mauryan feudatories administering the area. Following Asoka's death and the decline of the Mauryas, Satavahana Simuka established the Satavahana dynasty, which came to include even the Magadha and Bengal at its height.The Satavahanas lasted for the next four hundred years after which the local chieftains like Pallavas and Eastern Chalukyas took control of the kingdom.

Vengi Chalukyas

The Eastern Chalukyas of the seventh and eighth century, were a branch of the Chalukyas of Badami. Pulakesin II, the renowned ruler of Chalukyas conquered Vengi (at a battle near Eluru) in 624 CE from Vishnukundinas and installed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana (624- 641 CE) as its ruler. His dynasty, known as the Eastern Chalukyas, ruled for a century. Vishnuvardhana extended his dominions up to Srikakulam in the north and Nellore in the south. They had faced many wars for the next three centuries from Rashtrakutas and others. The Western Chalukya king Satyasraya tried to amalgamate the two dynasties, but was not successful due to the constant battles with the Paramaras and the Cholas.

To counter the interference of the Western Chalukyas, Rajaraja supported Saktivarman I, an Eastern Chalukya prince who was in exile in the Chola country. He invaded Vengi in 999 C.E. to restore Saktivarman to the Eastern Chalukya throne. Saktivarman finally got his throne back in 1002 C.E. and consented to recognise the Rajaraja overlordship.

Chalukya Cholas

Vengi was part of kingdom of Chalukya Cholas during the 12th century. The Western Chalukyas under the king Vikramaditya VI first successfully overthrew the Cholas and were driven out after 2 years by Vikrama Chola of Chalukya Cholas in 1120 C.E. with the help of the local chieftains like Velanati Chodas of Tsandavolu.

Later kingdoms

Between 1135 and 1206 C.E., several other minor kingdoms ruled over parts of Andhra Pradesh accepting the authority of the Velanati Cholas. By 1208 C.E., Vengi was part of Kakatiya Empire and later became part of the Vijayanagara Empire in 14th century C.E.

Literature

Vengi has occupied a prominent place in the history of Andhra Pradesh since the time of Eastern Chalukyas. They patronised Telugu. Since the time of the Eastern Chalukya Gunaga Vijayaditya, inscriptions show Telugu prose and poetry, culminating in the production of literary works. Later on, in the 11th century under the patronage of the then Vengi king, Rajaraja Narendra, the great epic, Mahabharata was translated partly by his court poet, Nannaya.

References

  • K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India (Madras, 1976).
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