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Seuna dynasty
Official languages Kannada, Marathi, Sanskrit
Capital Devagiri
Government Monarchy
Preceding state Western Chalukyas
Succeeding state Deccan Sultanates
Asia in 1200 AD, showing the Yadava Dynasty and its neighbors.

The Seuna, Sevuna or Yadava dynasty (Marathi: देवगिरीचे यादव, Kannada: ಸೇವುಣರು) (850 - 1334) was an Indian dynasty, which at its peak ruled a kingdom stretching from the Tungabhadra to the Narmada rivers, including present-day Maharashtra, north Karnataka and parts of Madhya Pradesh, from its capital at Devagiri (present-day Daulatabad in Maharashtra).

The Yadavas initially ruled as feudatories of the Western Chalukyas. Around the middle of the 12th century, they declared independence and established rule that reached its peak under Singhana II.

The foundations of Marathi culture were laid by the Yadavas and the peculiarities of Maharashtra's social life developed during their rule.[1]



The Seuna dynasty claimed descent from the Yadavas and are often referred to as the "Yadavas of Devagiri". The correct name of the dynasty, however, is Seuna or Sevuna.[2 ] The inscriptions of this dynasty, as well as those of contemporary kingdoms, the Hoysala, Kakatiya dynasty and Western Chalukyas call them Seunas.[3 ] The name is probably derived from the name of their second ruler, "Seunachandra".

The "Sevuna" (or Seuna) name was brought back into use by John Faithful Fleet in his book The dynasties of the Kanarese districts of the Bombay Presidency from the earliest historical times to the Musalman conquest of A.D. 1318.[4 ]


Scholars are divided regarding the origin of the Suena dynasty.


North India

The Suena dynasty claimed descent from the Chandravanshi Yadavas of north India.[5][6] According to verse 21 of Vratakhand (a Sanskrit work by Hemadri), the Seunas were originally from Mathura and later moved to Dwaraka. Hemdari calls them Krishnakulotpanna (i.e. descendants of Lord Krishna).[7] The Marathi saint Dnyaneshwar describes them as yadukulvansh tilak. Some Suena inscriptions call them Dvaravatipuravaradhishvaras ("masters of Dvaravati or Dwaraka"). Modern researchers, such as Dr.Kolarkar, also believe that Yadavas came from North India.[8]


According scholars such as Prof. George Moraes,[9] V. K. Rajwade, C. V. Vaidya, Dr. A.S. Altekar, Dr. D.R. Bhandarkar, and J. Duncan M. Derrett,[4 ] the Suena rulers were of Maratha descent who patronized the Marathi language.[10] Digambar Balkrishna Mokashi noted that the Yadava dynasty was "what seems to be the first true Maratha empire".[11] In his book Medieval India, C.V.Vaidya states that Yadavas are "definitely pure Maratha Kshatriyas".

A stone inscription found at Anjaneri, near Nasik, suggests that a minor branch of the Yadava family ruled a small district, with Anjaneri as its chief city. The inscription indicates that a ruler called Seunadeva, belonging to the Yadava family, called himself Mahasamanta and made a grant to a Jain temple.[12 ] Scholars such as Dr. O. P. Varma, state that Yadavas were Marathi speakers and the period of their rule was very important for the history of the Marathi.[13]

Jijabai (the mother of Shivaji, who founded the Maratha Empire) belonged to the clan of jadhavas of Sindkhed Raja, who also claimed descent from the Yadavas.


There is a belief that Deoghur or Doulatabad was built in 1203 AD by a Dhangar or herdsman who acquiring by some unusual good fortune vast wealth was named by his brother shepherds Raja Ram and soon after assumed the rank of a Raja.[14]

Immigrants from Karnataka

Scholars such as C M Kulkarni,[15] Colin Masica and Shrinivas Ritti believe that the Seuna rulers were originally Kannada-speaking people. Linguist Colin Masica believes that they originally used Kannada (along with Sanskrit) in their inscriptions, but, by the time of the Muslim conquest, they had begun to patronize Marathi, and Marathi phrases or lines began to appear in their inscriptions.[16] Dr. Shrinivas Ritti's speculates that Seunas were originally from a Kannada-speaking region and migrated northwords due to the political situation in the Deccan.[17]

Many Seuna rulers had Kannada names and titles such as "Dhadiyappa", "Bhillama", "Rajugi", "Vadugi" and "Vasugi" and "Kaliya Ballala". Some kings had names like "Singhana" and "Mallugi", which were also used by the Southern Kalachuri dynasty. Records show that one of the early rulers "Seunachandra II" had a Kannada title Sellavidega. The Seunas had very close matrimonial relationships with royal Kannada families throughout their rule.[3 ]. Bhillama II was married to Lachchiyavve, who was from a Rashtrakuta descendant family in Karnataka. Vaddiga was married to Vaddiyavve, daughter of Rashtrakuta chieftain Dhorappa. Wives of Vesugi and Bhillama III were Chalukya princesess.

Over five hundred inscriptions belonging to the Seuna dynasty have been found in Karnataka, the oldest being of the rule of Bhillama II. Most of these are in Kannada language. Others are in the Kannada language but use Devanagari script[3 ]. The Seuna coins from the early part of the rule have Kannada legends. Scholars such as Dr. O. P. Varma, believe that Kannada was a court language, used along with Marathi and Sanskrit.[18]

During the rule of the Seunas, ruling chieftains who were related to the Seuna kings were from Kannada-speaking families, like the Seunas of Masavadi in present day Dharwad. Dr. A. V. Narasimha Murthy opined that during the later part of the Rashtrakuta rule from Manyakheta, Seuna chieftains were despatched from the Karnataka region to rule near Nasik.[4 ]



Devagiri fort-The capital of Yadavas

Seunas were once the feudatories of the Rashtrakutas and then of the Western Chalukyas[2 ]. The founder of the Suena dynasty was Dridhaprahara, the son of Subahu. According to Vratakhanda, his capital was Shrinagara. However, an early inscription suggests that Chandradityapura (modern Chandor in the Nasik district) was the capital.[12 ]

The name Seuna comes from Dridhaprahara's son, Seunachandra, who originally ruled a region called Seunadesha (present-day Khandesh). Bhillama II, a later ruler in the dynasty, assisted Tailapa III in his war with the Paramara king Munja. Seunachandra II helped Vikramaditya VI in gaining his throne.

Bhillama V

Bhillama V (1173-1192), son of Mallugi, established the sovereign Seuna kingdom. He took over the Chalukya capital of Kalyani in 1190 and founded Devagiri (now Daulatabad) as the capital of the Yadava dynasty.

The Seunas were bordered by aggressive neighbours on all sides: Paramara Rajputs of Malwa in the north, Kakatiya dynasty in the east, Hoysalas in the south and Solanki Rajputs of Gujarat in the west. As a precaution, they built their citadel at Devagiri. The citadel was situated on a hill rising 183 meters[19 ] (300 meters according to John Keay[2 ]). The hill was enclosed by three lines of walls, each of which was defended by moats and turrets. The outermost wall had a circumference of 4.4 km.

Singhana II

Singhana II 1200-1247 C.E. is considered the greatest ruler of the Yadava dynasty. During his rule the kingdom expanded from Narmada to Tungabhadra, reaching its zenith at the expense of Hoysalas in the south, Kakatiya dynasty in the east, Paramaras and Chalukyas in the north.[20]

He founded the town Shinghanapur (or Singhanapur). He was a great patron of learning and literature. He established the college of astronomy to study the work of celebrated astronomer Bhaskaracharya.

Sangit Ratnakar, an authoritative Sanskrit work on Indian music was written by Sharangadhar (or Shrangadeva) during Singhana II's reign.[21 ] He also patronized Changadeva, the Kannada poet Kamalabhava.


There is a belief that Deoghur or Doulatabad was built in 1203 AD by a Dhangar or herdsman who acquiring by some unusual good fortune vast wealth was named by his brother shepherds Raja Ram and soon after assumed the rank of a Raja.[14]

Ramachandra (or Ramadevarava or Raja Ram), the grandson of Singhana II, ruled from 1271 to 1309 CE.

Hemadri (or Hemadpant) was Ramachandra's Shrikaranadhipa (Chief Minister). He compiled the encyclopedic Sanskrit work Chaturvarga Chintamani. He is said to have built many temples in a style known after him - Hemadapanti.[11] He also invented the Modi script for writing Marathi.[21 ] Hemadri wrote many books on vaidhyakshastra (medical science) and he introduced and supported Bajra cultivation.[8]

In 1294, Ala-ud-din Khalji captured Devagiri. Khalji restored it to Ramachandra in return for his promise of payment of a high ransom and an annual tribute.[19 ] However, this was not paid and the Seuna kingdom's arrears to the Khalji dynasty kept mounting. In 1307, Khalji sent an army commanded by Malik Kafur to Devagiri. Ramachandra was taken to Delhi. Khalji reinstated Ramachandra in return for a promise to help Khalji subdue the Hindu kingdoms in South India. In 1309, Malik Kafur mounted an assault on the Kakatiya dynasty from Devagiri.[2 ]

Fall of the kingdom

Ramachandra's successor Singhana III challenged the supremacy of Khalji, who sent Malik Kafur to recapture Devagiri in 1310. Singhana III was killed in the ensuing battle[22] and Khalji's army occupied Devagiri. Muhammad Tughluq subsequently renamed the city Daultabad. The kingdom was annexed by the Khalji empire in 1317.[20]

The Seuna Yadava rulers

Among the Seuna Yadava rulers, Sindhan, Krishnadev, Mahadeva and Ramdev are considered as having been 'able'.[8]

Feudatory of Western Chalukyas of Kalyani

Independent kingdom

Tributary status under Khilji dynasty



The Yadavas of Devagiri patronised Marathi[10] which was their court language.[23][24] Kannada may also have been a court language during Seunachandra's rule, but Marathi was the only court-language of Ramchandra and Mahadeva Yadavas. The Yadava capital Devagiri became a magnet for learned scholars in Marathi to showcase and find patronage for their skills. The origin and growth of Marathi literature is directly linked with rise of Yadava dynasty.[25]

Their reign also saw the literary development of Marathi.[26] The origin and growth of Marathi literature is directly linked to this period.[27]

Some historians believe that prior to the Yadava rule, both Marathi and Kannada had been used in Maharashtra; subsequently, at least partly due to their efforts, Marathi became dominant.[28] Historian José Pereira has credited Yadavas with overthrowing the rule of Kannada-speaking dynasties in Maharashtra.[29]

Bhillama V's son, Jaitrapal (or Jaitugi) had Mukundaraja, the author of Paramamrita and Vivekasindhu as his spiritual teacher.[21 ] Paramamrita is considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vendantic principles in Marathi. Vivekasindhu is another exposition of Vedantic principles. Mukundaraja's earliest works were completed in 1190 C.E. and Mahimabhatta wrote Lilacharita in 1238.

The famous Marathi saint-poet Dnyaneshwar wrote Dnyaneshwari, a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita in 1290, during Ramachandra's rule. He also composed devotional songs called abhangas. Dnyaneshwar gave a higher status to Marathi by translating the sacred Geeta from Sanskrit. He proudly said about Marathi:

माझा मर्हाटाची बोलु कवतिके|
परि अमृतातेहि पैजा जिंके|
ऐसी अक्षरे रसिके-

which means I will speak my Marathi (language) only with pride and I will give such Marathi words to the ardent listeners which will even win bets against the nectar (amRit).[30][31] Hemadri invented the Modi script during this period. Chakradhara propagated the Mahanubhava cult, using Marathi as the medium for his religious teachings. The work of his followers are counted among the first works of Marathi literature.[32]


Many scholars believe Kannada was one of the court languages during early Seuna times, as is evident from a number of Kannada-language inscriptions (see, Origin section). Kamalabhava, patronised by Bhillama V wrote Santhishwarapurana. Achanna composed Varadhamanapurana in 1198. Amugideva, patronised by Singhana II, composed many Vachanas or devotional songs. Chaundarasa of Pandharapur wrote Dashakumara Charite.


The Sanskrit literary works created during the Seuna period include:

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)


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Keay, John (2001-05-01). India: A History. Atlantic Monthly Pr. pp. 252–257. ISBN 0-8021-3797-0.   The quoted pages can be read at Google Book Search.
  3. ^ a b c Kamat, Suryanath Upendra. A Concise History of Karnataka.  
  4. ^ a b c Murthy, A. V. Narasimha (1971). The Sevunas of Devagiri. Rao and Raghavan. p. 32.  
  5. ^ Chapter 8, "Yadavas Through the Ages" J.N.S.Yadav (1992)
  6. ^ Robin James Moore. Tradition and Politics in South Asia. 1979. Vikas Publishing House.
  7. ^ Madhyayugin Bharat (Marathi translation of Medieval India) written and published by Chintaman Vinayak Vaidya, pg.468
  8. ^ a b c Marathyancha Itihaas by Dr.S.G Kolarkar, pg-4, Shri Mangesh Prakashan,Nagpur
  9. ^ Professor George Moraes. "Pre-Portuguese Culture of Goa". International Goan Convention. Retrieved 2006-10-01.  
  10. ^ a b Kulkarni, Chidambara Martanda (1966). Ancient Indian History & Culture. Karnatak Pub. House. p. 233.  
  11. ^ a b Mokashi, Digambar Balkrishna (1987-07-01). Palkhi: An Indian Pilgrimage. SUNY Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-88706-461-2.  
  12. ^ a b "Nasik District Gazetteer: History - Ancient period". Retrieved 2006-10-01.  
  13. ^ Onkar Prasad Verma. Yadavas and their Times. Vidarbha Samshodhana Mandal, Nagpur. 1938, pg.265
  14. ^ a b The Asiatic journal and monthly register for British and foreign India, pg 355. Published in 1827.
  15. ^ Kulkarni, Chidambara Martanda (1974). Studies in Indian History. Sri Dvaipayana Trust. p. 111. "Yadavas of Devagiri who originally belonged to Kannada stock"  
  16. ^ Masica, Colin P. (1991). "Subsequent Spread of Indo-Aryan". The Indo-Aryan Languages. Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0521299446.  
  17. ^ Shrinivas Ritti. The Seunas : the Yadavas of Devagiri. Dharwar : Dept. of Ancient Indian History and Epigraphy, Karnatak University. 1973
  18. ^ Onkar Prasad Verma. Yadavas and their Times. Vidarbha Samshodhana Mandal, Nagpur. 1938
  19. ^ a b Bennett, Mathew (2001-09-21). Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare. Stackpole Books. p. 98. ISBN 0-8117-2610-X.  . The quoted pages can be read at Google Book Search.
  20. ^ a b "Yādava Dynasty" Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite
  21. ^ a b c Mann, Gurinder Singh (2001-03-01). The Making of Sikh Scripture. Oxford University Press US. p. 1. ISBN 0-19-513024-3.  
  22. ^ Michell, George (1999-006-10). Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates. Cambridge University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-521-56321-6.  
  23. ^ India 2000 - States and Union Territories of India
  24. ^ "Yadav - Pahila Marathi Bana" S.P.Dixit (1962)
  25. ^ BhashaIndia
  26. ^ "History of the Marhattas" Grant Duff
  27. ^ [Marathi - The Language of Warriors]
  28. ^ Talbot, Cynthia (2001). "Towards a New Model of Medieval India". Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra. US: Oxford University Press. p. 212. ISBN 0195136616.  
  29. ^ Literary Konkani: a brief history By José Pereira, pg2, Konkani Sahitya PrakashanOnline view
  30. ^ Marathi language
  31. ^ Maharashtra Government's page on Yadavas
  32. ^ "Ancient History, Part VII". Retrieved 2006-10-01.  
  33. ^ "ITCSRA FAQ on Indian Classical Music". Retrieved 2007-12-11.  

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