[(a) The section on Ancient History is contributed by Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. V. V. Mirashi of Nagpur University.
(b) The sections from mediaeval period onwards are contributed by Dr. B. G. Kunte, M.A., Ph.D. (Economics), Ph. D. (History), Joint Editor, and edited by Shri P. Setu Madhava Rao, M.A., I.A.S., Executive Editor and Secretary. A part of the material for the same is supplied by Dr. M. S. Agaskar, Professor and Head of the History Department, R. R. College, Bombay-19.]
UNLIKE THE NAGPUR DISTRICT, THE AMRAVATI DISTRICT HAS NO
SUCH VESTIGES OF PREHISTORIC HABITATION as dolmens and other
sepulchral monuments. For the most ancient history of this
region we have therefore to depend on legends recorded in the
Epics and the Puranas. According to them, the country to the
south of the Vindhya was then covered by a thick jungle.
Agastya was the first Aryan who crossed the mountain and fixed
his abode on the bank of the Godavari. This memorable event
is commemorated in the mythological story which represents
Vindhya as bending before his guru Agastya when the latter
approached him on his way to the south. The sage asked the
mountain to remain in that condition until he returned from the
south, which he never did. There are temples of Agastya in
several places in the south such as the Mahendra and Malya
mountains and even in distant Ceylon, but not in North India,
which lends colour to this legend. Later, he married Lopamudra,
the daughter of the king of Vidarbha.
Agastya was followed by several other sages who established their hermitages in several regions of the south. They were constantly harassed by the original inhabitants who are called Raksasas in the Ramayana. " These shapeless and ill-looking monsters testify their abominable character by various cruel and terrific displays. They implicate the hermits in impure practices and perpetrate the greatest outrages. Changing their shapes and hiding in the thickets adjoining the hermitages, these frightful beings delight in terrifying the devotees. They cast away the sacrificial ladles and vessels, they pollute the cooked oblations, and utterly defile the offerings with blood. These faithless creatures inject frightful sounds into the ears of the faithful and austere hermits. At the time of the sacrifice they snatch away the jars,
the flowers, the fuel and the sacred grass of the sober-minded men [Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, quoted in the previous edition of the Nagpur
In course of time a large kingdom was founded in this region by king Vidarbha, and the son of Rsabhadeva, which became well-known by his name. Its capital was Kundinapura in the Amravati district, which is still known by its ancient name. It is situated on the bank of the Wardha in the Candur tahsil. It continued to be the capital of this region throughout the Pauranic period. Later, though the capital was shifted to other places, Kundinapura retained its importance for a long time. Recently some hoards of Ksatrapa coins have been discovered there which testify to its flourishing in the fourth century A.D. [J. N. S. I.,Vol. XXIII.] Kundinapura has several mounds indicative of its antiquity, which, if excavated, will yield valuable information about the early history of Vidarbha.
As stated before, Agastya married Lopamudra, a princess of Vidarbha. He is the seer of some hymns of the Rgveda. His wife Lopamudra is also mentioned in Rgveda, I, 179, 4, though Vidarbha is not named therein. The country of Vidarbha became well-known in the age of the Upanisads. The Brhaddranyaka Upanisad mentions the sage Kaundinya of Vidarbha. In the Prasnopanisad is mentioned one Bhargava of Vidarbha, who asked questions about some philosophical matters. In the Ramayana Uttarakanda, there occurs the story of king Danda, in whose time Vidarbha was devastated by a terrible dust-storm. Danda was a son of Iksvaku and grandson of Manu. He ruled over the country between the Vindhya and Saivala mountains from his capital Madhumanta. He led a voluptuous life and once upon a time violated the daughter of the sage Bhargava. The sage cursed the king that his whole kingdom would be devastated by a terrible dust-storm. The whole country between Vindhya and Saivala mountains, extending over a thousand yojanas, was consequently turned into a great forest which since then came to be known as Dandakaranya. It was in this forest that the Sudra sage Sambuka was practising penance. As this was an irreligious act according to the notions of those days, Rama beheaded him and saved the life of a Brahmana boy who had died prematurely. That the region north Vidarbha was included in the Dandaka forest is shown by the tradition which states that Sambuka was practising austerities on the hill near Ramtek about 28 miles from Nagpur. The site is still shown on the hill near Ramtek and is marked by the temple of Dhumresvara. This tradition is at least seven hundred years old, for it is mentioned in the stone inscription of the reign of the Yadava king Ramacandra, fixed into the front wall of the garbhagrha of the temple of Laksmana on the hill of Ramtek [Ep. Ind.,Vol.XXV,p.7f.].
The Ramayana, the Mahabhrata and the Puranas mention several sacred rivers of Vidarbha such as the Payosni (Purna),
the Varada (Wardha). and the Vena (Wainganga). Of these, the Payosni was regarded as the most sacred. From the description in the Vanaparvan (adhyaya 85, verses 40-41), it seems that it flowed near Dandakaranya. The Epic says that in holiness it was equivalent to all the sacred rivers including the Ganga put together and that he who worships the gods and manes on its banks gets the religious merit of the Mahadana of a thousand cows. The Payosni flows through the Amravati district.
The royal house of Vidarbha was matrimonially connected with several princely families of North India. The Vidarbha princesses Damayanti, Indumati and Rukmini, who married Nala, Aja and Krsna, respectively, are well-known in Indian literature. Several great Sanskrt and Marathi poets from Kalidasa onwards have drawn the themes of their works from their romantic lives. Some places in this district are intimately connected with the life of Krsna. He is said to have abducted Rukmini from the temple of Indra where she had gone for worshipping Indrani. This temple is popularly identified with the temple of Amba in the town of Amaravati. The identification is, however, unlikely as from the description in the Harivamsa, the temple was situated on the outskirts of Kundinapura, while the distance of Amravati from Kundinapura, the capital of Vidarbha, is more than 25 miles. When Rukmini was abducted by Krsna, Rukmin, her brother, vowed that he would not return to Kundinapura unless he killed Krsna and rescued his sister. As he did not succeed in this, he refused to return to the capital, but founded a new city named Bhojakata, where he fixed his residence. Bhojakata is usually identified with Bhatkuli, a village about 8 miles from Amaravati, where there is still a temple of Rukmin. Bhojakata was the head-quarters of a division (rastra) in the age of the Vakatakas and is mentioned in the Cammak plates of Pravarasena II [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. V, p. 22 f.].
Coming to historical times, we find that the country of Vidarbha was included in the empire of the great Asoka. The thirteenth rock-edict of that great Emperor mentions the Bhojas among the people who follow his religious precepts. The royal family of Bhoja was ruling over Vidarbha in ancient times. Since then the people came to be known as the Bhojas. An inscription, probably issued by the Mahamatra appointed by Asoka to rule over Vidarbha, has been found at Devtek in the Canda district of Vidarbha. It records an order promulgated by his Svamin (i.e., Asoka) interdicting the capture and slaughter of animals. It is dated in the fourteenth regnal year, evidently of Asoka [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 109 f.]. The inscribed stone is now deposited in the Central Museum, Nagpur.
After the overthrow of the Maurya dynasty in circa 184 B. C, the imperial throne in Pataliputra was occupied by the Senapati Pusyamitra, the founder of the Sunga dynasty. His son Agnimitra
was appointed viceroy of Malva and ruled from Vidisa, modern Besnagar, a small village near Bhilsa. Vidarbha which had
seceded from the Maurya Empire during the reign of one of the weak successors of Asoka, was then ruled by Yajnasena. He imprisoned his cousin Madhavasena, who was a rival claimant for the throne. The sister of Madhavasena escaped to Malva and got admission as a hand-maid under the name of Malavika to the royal harem. Agnimitra, who had espoused the cause of Madhavasena and sent an army against the king of Vidarbha, fell in love with Malavika and married her. The Malava army defeat-ed the king of Vidarbha and released Madhavasena. Agnimitra then divided the country of Vidarbha between the two cousins, each ruling on either side of the Varada (modern Wardha). Western Vidarbha thus comprised Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Yeotmal, Parbhani and Nanded districts. It was bounded on the west by the Rsika and Mulaka countries and on the south by the A'smaka country. The story of Malavika forms the plot of the play Malavikagnimitram of the great Sanskrt poet Kalidasa.
Kalidasa does not state to what royal family Yajnasena and Madhavasena belonged and these names do not occur anywhere else. Still it is possible to conjecture that they might have been feudatories of the Satavahanas. From the Hathigumpha inscription [Ep. Ind.,Vol. 29, p. 79.] at Udayagiri near Bhuvanesvar, we learn that Kharavela, the king of Kalinga, who was a contemporary of Pusyamitra sent an army to the western region, not minding Satakarni. The latter evidently belonged to the Satavahana dynasty as the name occurs often in that family. Kharavela's army is said to have penetrated up to the river Kanhabenna and struck terror in the hearts of the people of Rsika [Jayaswal and Banerji's reading Musika in line 4 of this inscription is incorrect. Barua reads Asika, which seems to be correct. For the identification of this country see A. B. O. R. I., Vol. XXV, p. 167 f.]. The Kanhabenna is the river Kanhan which flows about 10 miles from Nagpur. Kharavela's army therefore invaded Vidarbha. He knew that as the ruler of Vidarbha was a feudatory of king Satakarni, the latter would rush to his aid. When Vidarbha was thus invaded, the people of Rsika (Khandes, which bordered Vidarbha on the west) were naturally terror-stricken. No actual encounter seems, however, to have taken place and the army retreated to Kalinga perhaps at the approach of the Satavahana forces.
The Satavahanas, who are called Andhras in the Puranas, held Vidarbha for four centuries and a half from circa 200 B. C. to A. D. 250. Their earliest inscriptions, however, which record their performance of Vedic sacrifices and munificent gifts to Brahmanas arc found in the Poona and Nasik districts. Towards the close of the first century A.D. they were ousted by the Saka Satraps from Western Maharastra. They then seem to have found shelter in Vidarbha. No inscriptions of the Satavahanas have indeed been found in Vidarbha, but in one of Nasik inscriptions Gautamiputra Satakarni, who later on exterminated the Sakas and reoccupied Western Maharastra, is called Benakatakasvami, the
lord of Benakata [Ep. Ind.. Vol. VIII, p. 65 f. Benakataka is also mentioned in a Bharhut inscrip-tion, E p. Ind., Vol. XXXIII, f. 59.]. No satisfactory explanation of this expression
was possible until the discovery of the Tirodi plates of the
Vakataka king Pravarasena II [Ibid., Vol. XXXII, p. 167 f.]. These plates record the grant of a village in the Bennakata, which must have comprised the territory on both the banks of the Benna or Wainganga, now included in the Balaghat and Bhandara districts. Gautamiputra was, therefore, ruling over the country of Benakata (or Venakata) before he reconquered Western Maharastra from the Saka Satrap Nahapana.
Gautamiputra was a very powerful king whose kingdom extend-ed from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and comprised even Malva, Kathiavad and parts of Rajputana in the north. His son Pulumavi was similarly the undisputed master of the whole Deccan [Pulumavi's inscriptions have been discovered at Nasik, Karle (Poona district)
and Amravati. A large number of his coins have also been discovered at Amravati.
(The Age of Imperial Unity-Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan-pp. 204, 105.)]. Yajnasri also, a later descendant of the family, retained his hold over the whole territory as his inscriptions and coins have been found in the Thana district in the west and the Krsna district in the east.. Two hoards of Satavahana coins have been found in Vidarbha, one in the Brahmapuri tahsil of the Canda district [P. A. S. B. for 1893, pp. 116-17.] and the other at Tarhala in the Mangrul tahsil of the Akola district [J. N. S. I., Vol. II, p. 83 f.]. The latter hoard which was discovered in 1939 contains coins of as many as eleven kings, beginning from Gautamiputra Satakarni. Some of them such as (Gautamiputra) Satakarni, Pulumavi, Sivasri Pulumavi, Yajnasri Satakarni and Vijaya Satakarni are mentioned in the Puranas, while some others such as Kumbha Satakarni and Karna Satakarni are not known from any other source. This hoard shows that the Satavahanas retained their hold over Vidarbha to the last.
The Satavahanas were liberal patrons of learning and religion. As stated above, the early kings performed Vedic sacrifices and lavished gifts on Brahmanas. Gautamiputra, Pulumavi and Yajnasri excavated caves and donated villages to provide for the maintenance clothing and medicine of Buddhist monks. They also patronised Prakrt literature. The Sattasai, an anthology of 700 Prakrt verses is, by tradition, ascribed to Hala of the Sata-vahana dynasty. Many of the poets and poetesses who contribut-ed to it came from the rural population. Its gathas therefore depict mostly rural scenes and are most interesting.
About A.D. 250 the Satavahanas were supplanted by the Vakatakas in Vidarbha. This dynasty was founded by a Brahmana named Vindhyasakti (I), who is mentioned in the Puranas as well as in an inscription in Cave XVI at Ajanta. [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. V, p. 102 f.] His son Pravarasena I ruled over an extensive empire in the Deccan.
He performed several Vedic sacrifices including four asvamedhas and assumed the title of Samrat
(Universal Emperor). According to the Puranas, he had his capital at Purika, [D. K. A., p. 50. I accept Jayaswal's reading Purikam Canakam ca vai in place of Purim Kancanakam ca vai.] which was
situated at the foot of the Rksavat (Satapuda) mountain. [Mirashi, C. I.I., Vol. V, p. xviii, f. n. 5.] He had
four sons among whom his empire was divided after his death. Two of these are known from inscriptions. The eldest son Gautamiputra had predeceased him. His son Rudrasena I held the northern parts of Vidarhha and ruled from Nandivardhana, modern Nandardhan near Ramtek. The Amaravati district was included in his dominion. He had the powerful support of the Bharasiva Nagas of North India; for their chief Bhavanaga was his maternal grandfather [Ibid.,p. xx.]. Rudrasena was a fervent devotee of Mahabhairava. He has left an inscription incised on the afore-mentioned slab of stone found at Devtek, which contains a mutilated edict of the Mahamatra of Asoka. It records his construction of a Dharma-sthana (temple). [Ibid., p. l f.]
Rudrasena I was followed by his son Prthivisena I, who ruled for a long time and brought peace and prosperity to his people. During his reign the Vakatakas became matrimonially connected with the illustrious Gupta family of North India. Candragupta II--Vikramaditya married his daughter Prabhavatigupta to Prthivisena I's son Rudrasena II, probably to secure the powerful Vakataka king's help in his war with the Western Ksatrapas of Kathiavad and Malva. Rudrasena II died soon after accession, leaving behind two sons Divakarasena and Damodarasena alias Pravarasena II. [Some historians hold a different view. They think that he left behind three sons
(The Classical Age-Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan-p. 180 and f. n. No. 2, p. 180).] As neither of them had come of age, Prabhavati-gupta ruled as regent for the elder son Divakarasena for at least thirteen years. [Mirashi C. I.I., Vol. V., p. 5 f.] She seems to have been helped in the govern-ment of the kingdom by military and civil officers sent by her father Candragupta II. One of these was the great Sanskrt poet Kalidasa, who, while residing at the Vakataka capital Nandi-vardhana, appears to have visited Ramagiri (modern Ramtek), where the theme of his excellent lyric Meghaduta suggested itself to him. [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 12 f.]
Prabhavatigupta has left us two copper-plate inscriptions. The earlier of them, though discovered in distant Poona, originally belonged to Vidarbha. [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. V, p. 6 f.] It was issued from the then Vakataka capital Nandivardhana and records the dowager queen's grant of the village Danguna (modern Hinganghat) to a Brahmana after offering it to the Bhagavat (i.e., Ramacandra) on Kartika Sukla Dvadasi, evidently at the time of the parana after observing a fast on the previous day of the Prabodhini Ekadasi. Some of the boundary villages can still be traced in the vicinity of Hinganghat.
Divakarasena also seems to have died when quite young. He was succeeded by his brother Damodarasena, who, on accession,
assumed the name Pravarasena of his illustrious ancestor. He
had a long reign of about thirty years and was known for his
learning and liberality. More than a dozen land-grants made by him have come to light. One of them which was made at the instance of his mother Prabhavatigupta is noteworthy. It was found at Rddhapur in the Morsi tahsil of the Amaravati district. [Mirashi C. I.I., Vol. V, p. 33 f.] The plates were issued from the feet of Ramagiri-svamin (i.e., the pdukas of the god Ramacandra on the hill of Ramagiri) and record the grant of some land in the town of Asvatthanagara (modern Asatpur in the Acalapur tahsil), which the queen-mother had made as on the previous occasion, viz., after observing a fast on the Prabodhini Ekddasi.
Another grant of Pravarasena II was found at Cammak in the Acalapur tahsil of the Amravati district. [Ibid., p. 22 f.] It is dated in the eighteenth regnal year and was made at the new capital Pravara-pura. It records the king's donation of 8,000 nivartanas of land in the village Carmanka (modern Cammak) which was situated on the bank of the Madhunadi in the rdjya (division) of Bhojakata. The donees are said to have numbered 1,000 but the names of only 49 find mention in the grant. The Madhunadi on the bank of which the village Carmarika (Cammak) was situated is now called Candrabhaga. Bhojakata, the headquarters of the Division which included Carmanka, goes now by the name of Bhatkuli as already stated.
Pravarasena II founded a new city which he named Pravara-pura and where he shifted his capital sometime after his eleventh regnal year. Some of his later land-grants, including that recorded in the Cammak plates, were made at the new capital. He built there a magnificent temple of Ramacandra evidently at the instance of his mother who was like her father Candragupta II. a devout worshipper of Visnu. Some of the panels used to decorate this temple have recently been discovered at Pavnar on the bank of the Dham, six miles from Wardha, and have thus led to the identification of Pravarapura with Pavnar. [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. II, p. 272 f.] The discovered panels illustrate various scenes from the Ramayana.
Pravarasena II, like several of his ancestors was a devotee of Mahesvara (Siva), but he is credited with the composition of the Prakrt kavya Setubandha or Ravanavadha in glorification of Ramacandra. [This view is not completely accepted. Pravarsena's authorship of the Setu-bandha may not be altogether impossible but it is rendered doubtful by the fact that while the theme of the Kavya is Vaishnava, the king was a devotee of Shiva. (The Classical Age, pp. 183-84).] He must have done this at the instance of his mother Prabhavatigupta. According to a tradition recorded by a later commentator, the work was composed by Kalidasa, who ascribed it to Pravarasena. This work has been greatly praised
by Sanskrt poets and rhetoricians. Pravarascna II is also known to have composed Sanskrt verses and Prakrt gathas. The latter
were later incorporated under his name in the Sattasai [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 81 t.].
Pravarasena II was succeeded by his son Narendrasena, during whose reign Vidarbha was invaded by the Nala king Bhava-dattavarman. The Nalas were ruling over the Bastar district of Madhya Prades and the adjoining parts of the Vizagapatam district of Andhra Prades. This country is called Mahakantara in the Allahabad pillar inscription of Samudragupta. The Gupta invader defeated the contemporary king named Vyaghra-raja, but later restored his kingdom to him. From a hoard of gold coins recently discovered at Edenga in the Bastar district, we know of three kings of the Nala dynasty, viz., Varaha, Bhava-datta and Arthapati [J. N. S. f., Vol. T, p. 29 f.]. Bhavadatta invaded Vidarbha and pene-trated as far as Nandivardhana, the erstwhile capital of the Vakatakas. A set of copper plates discovered at Rddhapur in the Amaravatl district record the grant of the village Kadambagiri-grama which Bhavadatta had made while on a pilgrimage to Prayaga [Ep. Ind., Vol. XIX, p. 100 f.]. The plates were issued by his son Arthapati from the then capital Nandivardhana. Kadambagirigrama is Kalamb in the Yeotmal district. This grant shows that the Nala king had occupied a considerable portion of North Vidarbha. In this emergency the Vakatakas had to shift their capital again. They moved it to Padmapura, modern Padampur near Amganv in the Bhandara district. An unfinished copper-plate grant which was proposed to be made at Padmapura has been discovered at the village of Mohalla in the adjoining Durga district of Madhya Prades [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. V, p. 75 f.].
The Nalas could not retain their hold over Vidarbha for a long time. They were ousted by Narendrasena's son Prthi-visena II, who carried the war into the enemy's territory and burnt and devastated Puskari, the capital of the Nalas, which was situated somewhere in the Bastar district [Ep. Ind., Vol. XXI, p. 153 f.]. Prthivisena II, taking advantage of the weakening of the Gupta power, carried his arms to the north of the Narmada. Inscriptions of his feudatory Vyaghradeva have been found in the former Ajaya-gadh
and Jaso States in Central India [Mirashi, C.I. I., Vol. V, p. 88 f.].
This elder branch of the Vakataka family came to an end about A.D. 490. The territory of Northern Vidarbha including the Amaravati district was thereafter included in the dominion of the Vatsagulma branch of the family to whose history we may now turn.
This branch was founded by Sarvasena, a younger son of Pravarasena I. It had its capital at the holy city of Vatsagulma,
modern Vasim in the Akola district, Its dominion extended to
the Godavari in the south and included the Nanded [Mirashi, C I. I. Vol. V, p. 93 f.] and
Parbhani districts of Marathvada. This branch also produced some brave and
learned princes. Sarvasena, the founder of this
branch, is well-known as the author of the Prakrt kavya Hari-vijaya, which has received unstinted praise from several eminent rhetoricians. [Mirashi. Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 99 f.] The last known prince of this branch was Harisena, who carved out an extensive empire for himself, extending from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and from Malva to the Tungabhadra [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. VI, p. 102 f.].
The Vakatakas were patrons of art and literature. In their age, the Vaidarbhi riti came to
be regarded as the best style of poetry as several excellent works were then produced in Vidarbha. Some of the Vakataka princes such as Yuvaraja Divakarasena and king Pravarasena II are the reputed authors of some good Sanskrt subhasitas. Two excellent Prakrt kavyas, viz., the Setu-bandha and the Harivijaya were also composed in this age, the former by Pravarasena II and the latter by Sarvasena. [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 96 f.] Three of the caves at Ajanta, viz.. the two Vihara Caves, Nos. XVI and XVII and the Cailya Cave No. XIX were excavated and decorated with fresco paintings during the reign of Harisena [ Mirashi, C. I I., Vol. V, p. lxv f.]'. Several temples of Hindu gods and goddesses were also built. The ruins of one of them, dedicated to Ramacandra have been discovered at Pavnar near Wardha. [ Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. II, p. 272 f.] Others are known from references in copper-plate grants.
The Vakatakas disappear from the stage of history about A.D. 550, when their place is taken by the Kalacuris of Mahismati, modern Mahesvar in Central India. They also had a large empire extending from Konkan in the west to Vidarbha in the east and from Malva in the north to the Krsna in the south. The founder of this dynasty was Krsnaraja. A large board of his silver coins was discovered at Dhamori in the Amaravati district. These coins have on the obverse the bust of the king facing right and on the reverse inside a circle of dots the legend Parmamahesvara-mata-pitr-pad-anudhyata-'sri-Krsnaraja meaning that the coin was of the illustrious Krsnaraja, a devout worshipper of Mahesvara, who meditated on the feet of his father and mother [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. IV, p. clxxx f.]. These coins have been found also at Pattan in the Betul district which was included in Vidarbha. They were in circulation over a very wide area extending from Malva and Rajputana in the north to the district of Satara and Nasik in the south and from the islands of Bombay and Sasti in the west to the districts of Amaravati and Betul in the east. From the Anjaneri plates of the Hariscandriya king Bhogasakti we
know that they remained in circulation for at least 150 years after Krsnaraja. [Loc. cit.] That Eastern Vidarbha also was included in
his empire is shown by the Nagardhana plates of his feudatory Svamiraja dated in the Kalacuri year 322 (A.D. 573) [Ibid., Vol. IV, p. 611 f.]. These plates were issued from Nandivardhana, which seems to have retained its importance even after the downfall of the Vakatakas. Svamiraja probably belonged to the Rastrakuta family.
About A.D. 620 the Kalacuri king Buddharaja, the grandson of the aforementioned Krsnaraja, was defeated by Pulakesin II of the Early Calukya dynasty, who thereafter became the lord of three Maharastras comprising 99,000 villages [Ep. Ind., Vol. VI, p. 1 f.]. One of these Maharastras was undoubtedly Vidarbha. The Rastrakutas of Vidarbha, who were previously feudatories of the Kalacuris, transferred their allegiance to the Calukyas and like the latter, began to date their records in the Saka era. Two grants of this feudatory Rastrakuta family have been discovered in Vidarbha, one dated Saka 615 found at Sangalud [Ibid., Vol. XXIX, p. 109 f.] in the Akola district and the other dated Saka 631 discovered at Multai [. Ind. Ant., Vol. XVIII, p. 230 f.]. They gave the following genealogy: -.
(Known dates A.D. 693 and 713)
The earlier capital of these feudatory Rastrakutas of Vidarbha was Nandivardhana, but later it seems to have been shifted to Acalapura in the Amaravati district. This place is not men-tioned in either of the above two grants, but its name occurs as the place of issue in a third grant of Nannaraja which, however, is proved to be spurious. [Ep. Ind., Vol. XI, p. 276 f.; Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. II, p. 25 f.] Acalapura continued to be the capital of these feudatory Rastrakutas for a long time as shown by later references to events in their history.
About the middle of the eighth century A.D. the Calukyas were overthrown by the Rastrakutas. No inscriptions of the Early Calukyas have been found in Vidarbha, but their succes-sors, the Rastrakutas have left us several records. The earliest of these is the Bhandak copper-plate inscription of Krsna I, dated in the Saka year 694 (A.D. 772). It records Udumbaramanti, modern Rani Amaravati in the Yeotmal district. [Ep. Ind., Vol. XIV, p. 121 f.]. Thereafter
several grants of his grandson Govinda III have been found in
the Akola and Amaravati districts of Vidarbha. Of these the
earliest in point of date is that found at Anjanavati, a village in
the Candur tahsil of the Amaravati district. [Ep. Ind.. Vol. XXIII, p. 8 f.] The grant was made by Govinda III at his capital Mayurakhandi on the occasion of a
tula-purusa gift at the time of a solar eclipse in the Saka year 722 (A.D. 800). The only solar eclipse in that year was that which occurred on the New Moon day of Asadha (25th June A.D. 800). By this time Govinda had finished his northern campaigns. The village donated on this occasion was Anjanavati, which still retains its old name. It was situated in the visaya (district) of Acalapura. Some of the neighbouring villages mentioned in the grant can also he identified in the vicinity of Anjanavati. Thus Gohasodva is Gahva. 1½ miles to the south. Sallaimala is now represented by two villages, viz., Salora and Amla which lie to the west and south-west respec-tively. Kure is modern Kurha, 3 miles to the north-west and Vatapura is Vadur, about a mile east of Kurha. Veyaghana and Talevataka from which the donees hailed are now represented by Waiganv, 3 miles south, and Taleganv about 10 miles south by west of Anjanavati.
Three more copper-plate inscriptions of the reign of Govinda III have been found at Sirso, a village in the neighbouring Akola district. They record the grants of the villages Jharika [Ibid. Vol. XXIII, p. 157 f.], Lohara [Ibid, Vol. XXIII, p. 205 f.] and Sisavai [.Ibid, Vol. XXII, p. 212 f.] and are dated in the Saka years 725, 729 and 734, respectively.
The Rastrakutas of Manyakheta and the Kalacuris of Tripuri were matrimonially connected and their relations were generally friendly [Mirashi, C. I. I., Vol. IV, p. Ixxxi, f. n. 4.]. But in the reign of Govinda IV, they became strained. The Kalacuri king Yuvarajadeva I espoused the cause of his son-in-law Baddiga-Amoghavarss III, the uncle of Govinda IV, and sent a large army to invade Vidarbha, whose ruler Karkaraja was loyal to Govinda IV. A pitched battle was fought on the bank of the Payosni, 10 miles from Karkaraja's capital Acalapura, between the Kalacuri and Rastrakuta forces, in which the former became victorious. This event is commemorated in the Sanskrt play Viddhasdlabhanjika of Rajasekhara, which was staged at Tripuri in jubilation at this victory. The battle of Payosni was fought in circa A.D. 935 [Ibid, Vol. IV, p. lxxix f.].
A later grant of the Rastrakutas was found at Devli in the Wardha district [Ep. Ind., Vol. V, p. 188 f.]. It belongs to the reign of Baddiga-Amoghav-arsa's son Krsna III and is dated Saka 852 (A.D. 940-41). It is of interest as it mentions the visaya Nagapura-Nandivardhana, in which the donated village was situated. This Nagapura may have marked the ancient site of the modern capital of Vidarbha.
The Rastrakutas were succeeded by the Later Calukyas of
Kalyani. Only two inscriptions of this family have been found
in Vidarbha. One of them, the so-called Sitabaldi stone
inscription. seems to have originally belonged to the Vindhyasana hill at Bhandak, where it was noticed by Vinayakrav Auranga-badkar [Ep. Ind., Vol. III, p. 304 f.]. It is dated in the Saka year 1008 (A.D. 1087) and registers the grant of some nivartanas of land made by a feudatory named Dhadibhandaka. This record is of the reign of the Later Calukya king Vikramaditya VI. Another inscription of the same reign was recently discovered at Dongarganv in the Yeotmal district [Ibid., Vol. XXVI, p. 127 f.]. It sheds interesting light on the history of the Paramara dynasty. It now seems clear that Jagaddeva, the youngest son of Udayaditya, the brother of Bhoja, left Malva and sought service with Vikramaditya VI, who welcomed him and placed him in charge of some portion of Western Vidarbha. This inscription is dated in the Saka year 1034 (A.D. 1112)
Though Western Vidarbha was thus occupied by the later Calukyas, the Paramaras of Dhar seem to have raided and occupied some portion of Eastern Vidarbha. A large stone inscription, now deposited in the Nagpur Museum, which originally seems to have belonged to Bhandak in the Canda district, traces the genealogy of the Paramara prince Naravarman from Vairisirhha [ Ibid, Vol. II, p. 180 f.]. It is dated in the Vikrama year 1161, corresponding to A.D. 1104-5, and records the grant of two villages to a temple which was probably situated at Bhandak; for the villages can be identified in its vicinity. Thus Mokhali-pataka is probably Mokhara, 50 miles west of Bhandak, and Vyapura, the name of the mandala in which it was situated, may be represented by Wurganv, 30 miles north-east of Mokhara.
After the downfall of the Vakatakas, there was no Imperial family ruling in Vidarbha. The centre of political power shifted successively to MahismatI, Badami and Kalyani. Men of learning who could not get royal patronage in Vidarbha, had to seek it elsewhere. Bhavabhuti, who ranks in Sanskrt literature as next only to Kalidasa, was a native of Vidarbha [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 21 f.]. In the prologue of his play Mahaviracarita he tells us that his ancestors lived in Padmapura in Vidarbha. As stated above, this place was once the capital of the Vakatakas and is probably identical with the village Padampur in the Bhandara district. With the downfall of the Vakatakas, this place lost its importance. In the beginning of the eighth century when Bhavabhuti flourished, there was no great king ruling in Vidarbha. Bhavabhuti had, therefore, to go to Padmavati, the capital of the Nagas in North India, and had to get his plays staged at the fair of Kalapriyanath (the Sun-god at Kalpi) [Ibid, Vol. I, p. 35f.]. Later, he
obtained royal patronage at the Court of Yasovarman of Kanauj.
Rajasekhara, another great son of Vidarbha, was probably born
at Vatsagulma (modern Vasim), which he has glorified in his
Kavyamimamsa as the pleasure-resort of the god of love. He
and his ancestors Akalajalada, Tarala and Surananda had to
leave their home country of Vidarbha and to seek patronage at
the court of the Kalacuris at Tripuri. Rajasekhara's early plays,
viz., the Balaramayana, the Balabharata and the Karpura- manjari, were staged at Kanauj under the patronage of
the Gurjara-Pratiharas [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 54 f.]. Later, when the glory of the
Prartharas declined as a result of the raids of the Kalacuri king
Yuvarajadeva I, Rajasekhara seems to have returned to Tripuri
in the train of the victorious conqueror. There, his last play
Karpuramanjari was staged in jubilation at the victory of
Yuvarajadeva over a confederacy of Southern kings led by
Govinda IV. in the battle of the Payosni. Another great poet
of Vidarbha who had to go abroad in search of royal patronage
is Trivikramabhatta, the author of the Nalacariipii, in which he
has given a graphic description of several towns, holy places and
rivers of Vidarbha. He flourished at the court of the
Rastrakuta king Indra III and is known to have drafted the two
sets of the Bagumra plates of that king [Ibid., Vol. IX, p. 24 f.].
In the last quarter of the twelfth century A.D. the Yadavas of Devagiri came into prominence. They had been ruling over Seunadesa in an earlier period as feudatories of the Later Calukyas, but Bhillama, the son of Mallugi, declared his independence and soon made himself master of the whole territory north of the Krsna. He then founded the city of Devagiri, which he made his capital. His son Jaitrapala killed Rudradeva of the Kakatlya dynasty on the field of battle and released his nephew Ganapati whom he had put into prison. Under Jaitrapala's son Singhana, the power of the family greatly increased. He annexed the Kolhapur kingdom after defeating the Silahara kin» Bhoja [Ibid., Vol. XXV, p. 203.]. The first inscription of the Yadavas found in Vidarbha belongs to the reign of Singhana. It is dated in the Saka year 1132 and records the erection of a torana at Ambadapura (modern Amdapur) in the Buldhana district of Vidarbha [Ibid., Vol. XXI, p. 127 f.]. Many of the victories of Singhana were won for him by his Sendpati Kholesvara, who hailed from Vidarbha [G. H. Khare; Sources of the Mediaeval History of the Deccan (Marathi), Vol. I.]. He was the son of Trivikrama and Candra, who lived in the agrahdra village of Udumbaraparikti (modern Rani Amaravati). Kholesvara won several victories. He defeated Laksmideva, the ruler of Bhambhagiri (modern Bhamer in Khandes), Paramara Bhoja of Cahanda (modern Canda) and Arjunavarmadeva, king of Malva, and devastated the capital of the Hoysalas. He even pressed as far as Varanasi in the north where he put Ramapala
to fight. Kholesvara constructed several temples in Vidarbha and Amradesa (modern Ambejogai in Marathvada). He also
established agraharas on the banks of the Payosni (modern
Purna) and Varada (Wardha). One or the agraharas named
Kholapur on the bank of the Payosni is still extant under its ancient name in the Amaravati district. He also constructed a temple of Visnu under the name of Sarngadharin at Acalapura.
Singhana was succeeded by his grandson Krsna, whose inscription has been found in the temple of Khandesvar on a hillock on the outskirts of the village Nandganv in the Amaravati district [E.p. Ind., Vol. XXVII, p. 9 f.]. It is dated in the Saka year 1177 (A.D. 1254-55) and records the donation of some gadyanakas for the offerings of flowers at the temple of Khandesvar. After Krsna's death, the throne was occupied by his brother Mahadeva, superseding the claims of the former's son Ramacandra. Mahadeva annexed Konkan to his kingdom after defeating Somesvara of the Silahara dynasty. He left the throne to his son Amana, but the latter was soon deposed by Ramacandra, who captured the impregnable fort of Devagiri by means of a coup d'etat [Ibid., Vol. XXV, p. 205 f.]. He is the last of the Hindu Emperors of Devagiri. He won several victories and in his minister's Purusottamapuri plates he is said to have driven out the Muham-madans from Varanasi and built a golden temple there, which he dedicated to Visnu [Ibid., Vol. XXV, p. 207.] . A fragmentary inscription of his time is built into the front wall of the temple of Laksmana on the hill at Ramtek [Ibid., Vol. XXV, p. 199 f.]. In the first half of it, which is very much mutilated it describes the exploits of Ramacandra's ancestors from Singhana onwards and in the second half it describes the temples, wells and tirthas on and in the vicinity of the hill which it named as Ramagiri. The object of the inscription seems to have been to record the repairs done to the temple of Laksmana by Raghava, a minister of Ramacandra. Another inscription of Ramacandra's reign was found at Lanji in the Balaghat district. It is fragmentary and has not yet been deciphered.
In A.D. 1294 Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded the kingdom of Ramacandra and suddenly appeared before the gates of Devagiri. Ramacandra was taken unawares and could not hold out for long. He had to pay a large ransom to the Muslim invader. He continued to rule till A.D. 1310 at least; for a copper-plate grant which his minister Purusottam made is dated in the Saka year 1232. He was succeeded by his son Sankaragana sometime in A.D. 1311. He discontinued sending the stipulated tribute to Delhi. He was defeated and slain by Malik Kafur. Sometime thereafter, Harapaladeva, the son-in-law of Ramacandra raised an insurrection and drove away the Muhammadans, but his success was short-lived. The Hindu Kingdom of Devagiri thus came to an end in A.D. 1318.
Like their illustrious predecessors, the Yadavas also extended
liberal patronage to art and literature. During their age a peculiar
style of architecture called Hemadpanti after Hemadri or Hemadpant, a minister of Mahadeva and Ramacandra, came into vogue. Temples built in this style have been found in all the districts of Vidarbha. The temple at Lasur in the Amaravati district is of this type [A. R. A. S. I. for 1921-22, pl. IX.]. Several learned scholars flourished at the court of the Yadavas. Among those who hailed from Vidarbha, Hemadri was the foremost. During the reign of Mahadeva he held the post of Sri-karanadhipa or Head of the Secretariat. He was appointed Minister and Head of the Elephant Force by Ramacandra. He was as brave as he was learned and liberal. He conquered and annexed to the Yadava kingdom the eastern part of Vidarbha called Jhadi-mandala. Hemadri is well-known as the author of the Caturvargacintamam comprising five parts, viz.. (1) Vratakhanda, (2) Danakhanda, (3) Tirthakhanda, (4) Moksakhanda and (5) Parisesakhanda. Of these, the third and fourth Khandas have not yet come to light. Hemadri's work is held in great esteem and has been drawn upon by later writers on Dharmasastra. Hemadri wrote on other sub|ccts also. He is the author of a commentary on Saunaka's Pranavakalpa and also of a Sraddhakalpa in which he follows Katyayana. His Ayurvedarasayana, a commentary on Vagbhata's Astangahrdaya, and Kaivalyadipika, a gloss on Bopa-deva's Muktaphala, are also well-known.
Hemadri extended liberal patronage to learned men. Among his proteges, the most famous was Bopadeva. He was a native of the village Vedapada (modern Belod) on the
bank of the Wardha in the Adilabad district of the former Hyderabad State. Bopadeva is said to have composed ten works on Sanskrt grammar, nine on medicine, one for the determination of tithis, three on poetics and an equal number for the elucidation of the Bhagavata doctrine. -Only eight of these works are now extant. The Mugdhabodha, his work on Sanskrt grammar, is very popular in Bengal.
Marathi literature also flourished in the age of the Yadavas. Cakradhara, who propagated the Mahanubhava cult in that age, used Marathi as the vehicle of his religious teachings. Following his example several of his followers composed literary works in Marathi. They are counted among the first works of Marathi literature. Mukundaraja, the author of the Vedantic works Vivekasindhu and Paramamrta, and Jnanesvara, the celebrated author of the Bhavarthadipika, a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita are the most illustrious writers of that age.