Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vishnukundina Dynasty

380 AD - 624 AD  

Ruled most of the Telangana region Rangareddy, Medak, Khammam, Karimnagar, Warangal, Nalgonda, Mahabubnagar

Like many other dynasties that rose to imperial power during 4th to 8th Century AD, the origins of Vishnukundina Dynasty are also shrouded with mystery.  

Started as vassals to Vakatakas and became independent Kings.

Vishnukundina dynasty defeated palavas and occupied karma kingdom.

All the inscriptions were written in sanskrit. Tummallagudem inscriptions have become the chief sources to reconstruct the dynasty.


Founder   : Indravarma (380 AD - 394 AD)
Capitals  : Amrabad in Mahaboonagar
            Indrapala, Bhuvanagiri in Nalgonda
            Keesaragutta in Rangareddy
            Eluru,  Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh
Languages : Telugu, Sanskrit
Religion  : Hinduism (Vaisnavism)


380 AD - 394 AD : Indravarma 
Started his rule from Amrabad in Mahaboonagar and extended it to Bhuvanagiri, Ramannapeta in Nalgonda and Keesaragutta in Rangareddy.

394 AD - 419 AD Madhavavarma I
Conducted thousands of rituals and sacrifices like Ashwamedha, Bahusuverna, Poundraka and vajapeya.
His kingdom was limited to Nalgonda and Mahabubnagar districts. Alt that time remaining areas of Telangana was under the rule of Vakatakas.

419 AD - 456 AD Govindavarma I
He was the most famous of early rulers, married Parama Bhattarika, daughter of Mularaju who was the ruler of  Gunapasapura and expanded his kingdom with the support of his father-in-law nd declared independence from Vakatakas.

Issued First Inscription of Tummalagudem that he treated all castes and creeds in his kingdom equally and described himself as koustuba (jewel) of sriparvata region.

Govindavarma I was a follower of Budhism and also a great scholar in Buddhist texts and other sciences. Built Govinda Vihara on the banks of river Musi at Hyderabad (Chaitanyapuri).

456 AD - 503 ADMadhavavarma II
Son of Mahadevi and Govinda Varma I.
The reign of Madhavavarma was a golden age in the history of the Vishnukundins. It was during this period, the small Vishnukundin dynasty rose to imperial heights. A princess of the then powerful ruling family of the Deccan the Vakatakas was given in marriage to Madhav Varma's son, Vikramendra Varma.

This alliance gave them great power and made it easy for them to extend their influence to the east coast and vanquishing the petty chieftains lingering on in that area. Madhav Varma II led his arms against Ananda Gotrikas who were ruling over Guntur, Tenali and Ongole, probably enjoying subordinate position under the Pallavas of Kanchipuram.

Madhav Varma II next turned his attention against the Vengi kingdom which was under the Salankayanas. The Vengi region was annexed. The Godavari tract became part of the Vishnukundin territory. After these conquests the capital might have been shifted to Bezwada (Vijayawada), a more central location than Amarapura. These extensive conquests entitle him to the title of the lord of Dakshinapatha (southern country). After these various conquests Madhav Varma performed many Asvamedha, Rajasuya and other Vedic sacrifices.

Madhava Varma has 2 sond Deva Varma and Vikramendra Varma I. Devavrama came rule after his rule for a short period of time and died fighting with Simhavram-III of Pallava Dynasty.

503 AD - 528 ADVikramendra Varma I 
Worshipper of Budha and son of Vakataka Princess. As the purina branch has no heir, Vikramendra has become the ruler of whole of vakataka kingdom.

Madhava Varma III 
After the death of Devavarma, his son Madhava Varma III came to rule as simhva varma-III of the palavers died. Madhavavarma with the support of vakatakas defeated Anantavarma of vasishti dynasty. He ruled for 3 years and bought the fame of vishnukundin dynasty up to the peak again.

528 AD – 555 ADIndra Bhattarakavarma or Indraavarma II
Son of Vikramendra Varma I and succeed in suppressing the dominance of Madhava Varma III.

The first king to form and conduct Ghatikas (parishads) in the field of education and a devote follower of veridic religion and was called as a great Brahmin.

He formed a new type of army wing with the powerful elephants defeated all the sub-ordinate rulers like pridhvimula and others who declared independence during his fathers reign with the backing of Indravarma of Ganga Dynasty.

Wiped off the Mathara, vasishta, Ramakasyapa and pitrubhakta dynasties. Later he also defeated Madhava Varma III from trikuta and other regions.

But, Indra Bhattarakavarma was defeated by Ishana Varma, the Moukhari ruler. He gave his daughter to Sarva Vrama, son of Ishnavarma in marriage and made a peace agreement with them.

Pulikesin-I declared independance against the vishnukundinas.

555 AD - 569 ADVikramendra Varma II 
Issued Second Tummalagudem inscription.
He had a title Bhuvana Raksha Bharanaikasraya and fought battles with challenge royal families and palavas.

While he was fighting a battle with the Pallavas, Pridhvi Maharaja of Ranadurjaya dynasty declare independence. So, Vikramendra invaded pisthpur (Pithapuram) and died in the battle. 

569 AD - 573 ADGovinda Varma II 
He had a title called Vikramarka. Hunan invaded North India during his reign and ended the rule of Gupta empire.

573 AD - 621 ADMadhavavarma IV
Vishnukundina Empire expanded under its able ruler Janssraya Madhav Varma IV. He consolidated his position in Vengi. He suppressed the upheaval of his subordinate chief the Durjaya Prithvi Maharaja in Guddadivishya.

Madhav Varma IV had to face the Chalukyan assault in his last years of rule. It is believed that Madhava's son Manchana Bhattaraka might have been expelled by the Chalukyas.

It is likely that the Chalukya Pulikesin II 
(610– 642 AD) defeated Madhav Varma IV  in 617 - 18 AD. 

621 AD - 624 ADManchana Bhattaraka 
It is believed that Madhava's son Manchana Bhattaraka might have been expelled by the Chalukyas by the end of 624 AD.


Adminstration
Rashtras and Vishayas were the provincial divisions for administrative convenience. Each one was headed by Viceroys chosen from the Royal family. Elephants, horses, Chariots, cavalry and infantry formed the major chunk of army. The Agrahara villages (villages set aside exclusively for the development of Brahmin caste) was exempted from tax levies. However, taxes and duties were levied heavily to meet the administrative expenses by the Rulers. 

Education
Telugu and Sanskrit languages flourished during this period. The Rulers themselves authored certain book while other poets also flourished. A number of Vedic schools were established to impart Vedic education. Lands were also gifted to further the educational needs.

Religion
The Rulers of Vishnukundina Dynasty were ardent followers of Lord Shiva and hence took over the responsibility of constructing a number of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Undavalli caves, Caves at Vijayawada, Mogalirajapuram and Bhairavakonda are examples of cave temples constructed during the Rule of this Dynasty. Pallava Mahendra Varman-I also contributed significantly for the purpose.

Mahendra Varma also went to the extent of having inscriptions and art on the walls of these cave temples which are the source of information today to ascertain the time periods of these temples.





References

History of Andhras by Durag Prasad




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