Rashtrakuta Empire – History, Dynasties & Kings

in this article the following topics will be covered:

  1. origins of the Rashtrakuta dynasty 
  2. prominent kings
    • danti durga
    • krishna I
    • Govinda III

origins of the Rashtrakuta dynasty

The earliest of these rulers is king Abhimanyu, one of whose grants describes his great-grand-father Mananka as the most prominent among the Rashtrakütus. Mänänka’s son was Devarija, and grand-son Bhavishya, and the grantor Abhimanyu was a son of the latter. On palaeographical grounds we can place it in the 7th century CE. The Rashtrakuta house of Abhimanyu was ruling over the Mhow-Houshangabad tract in Central India. The territory over which Abhimanyu was ruling was, however, immediately to the north of the kingdom of the Rashtrakūta king Nannaraja who was, as will be presently shown, very probably either a direct or a collateral ancestor of Dantidurga. Since on palacographical grounds, the grant of Abhimanyu can be placed in the middle of the 7th century, Mänänka, Devaraja, Bhavishya and Abhimanyu become the contemporaries, as will be shown below, of Durgaroja, Govindaraja, Svāmikarāja and Nannaraja respectively of the Tivarkhed and Multai plates. The kingdoms of these Rashtrakūta families were also contiguous to each other. It is not unlikely that the two houses may have been connected with each other by blood relationship; but definite evidence to establish such connection is still wanting.

Prominent Kings

Danti Durga (735 CE – 756 CE)

who was he?

Dantidurga was the founder of the Rashtrakuta Empire. He is credited for initiating the defeat of the Chalukyas. Dantidurga began his career by attacking his eastern neighbours in Kosala. Since several records of Dantidurga claim for him also the credit of defeating the Kosala ruler or rulers, it seems very likely that he had made an alliance with the Pallava ruler Nandivarman, the natural enemy of his prospective opponent Kirtivarman II.

military campaign

After strengthening his position by the defeat of his eastern neighbours and by his alliance with Nandivarman, Dantidurga seems to have attacked the Gurjaras of Bharoch and the Chalukyas of the Gujrat branch and annexed their dominions. These kingdoms were already exhausted by the Muslim raid and its repulsion, and Dantidurga’s task may not have been very difficult.Dantidurga was enabled by this victory to occupy Khandesh, Nasik, Poona, Satara and Kolhapur districts, as the findspot and the villages. Dantidurga’s attacks on the rulers of. Tank, Sindha and Malva now remain to be considered. Tanka has not been so far identified. Arabs of Sindh were now and then attacking their western neighbours and Dantidurga seems to have defeat ed some of these raids.Sometime after the first defeat of Kirtivarman, Dantidurga seems to have led an expedi tion to Ujjain either to help the Gurjara-Pratihära ruler Devaraja, or to take advantage of the defeat that was inflicted on him by the rival Gurjara-Pratihara king, Siluka, ruling at Bhinmal.A review of Dantidurga’s career will show that he was a leader gifted with political insight possessed of great organising capacity. He could see how the Chalukya empire had become weakened by its incessant wars with the Pallavas and how the petty states of Gujrat, exhausted by the Muslim forays, could no longer hold their own against a resolute con queror. Forming wise alliances, proceeding cautiously step by step, utilising the services of his youthful nephews and mature uncles, he gradually enlarged his kingdom until it included southern Gujrat, Khandesh, Berar, and northern Maharashtra.

Krishna I (756 CE – 774 CE)

who was he?

Danti Dura was succeeded by his uncle Krishna I probably because he left no male issue. Krishna was a mature man of about 45 when he succeeded his nephew in c. 756. He had very probably participated in many of the campaigns of his nephew, and it is very pro bable that the final defeat of Kirtivarman was his achieve ment. For Kirtivarman was holding his own in Karnatak as late as 757 CE., i.e., three years after the last known date of Danti Durga and one year before the first known date of Krishna I. Krishna I was undoubtedly an able ruler and a skilful general. During his short reign of about 18 years, he enlarged the kingdom he had inherited to three times its original size by annexing Konkan, Karnatak and the major portion of Hyderabad state to his empire. He had humbled down the Ganga and Vengi rulers

military campaign

He must have spent some time in consolidating his position; but that was not much. Soon he undertook an offensive expedition against Gangavadi; for his Talegaon plates show him encamped in 768 A.D. at Manne in Mysore state during the course of that expedition. An echo of this invasion of Gangavadi is heard in a lithic record from Tumkur district, immortalising the memory of a hero, who had fallen in the war caused by the rising of the Rattas against Gangavadi. Since this record refers itself to the reign of Sripurusha, it is clear that this aged ruler was on the throne of Gangavadi when Krishna invaded it after annexing the Chalukya dominions. Krishna was successful in his expedition.The Chalukyas of Vengi were next attacked, and this expedition was under the charge of Yuvaraja Govinda whom we find encamped on the confluence of the Musi and the Krishna. Krishna I had also brought under his sway southern Konkan. Sanaphulla, the founder of the line, had obtained the territories between the Sahya and the sea through the favour of Krahnaraja. S’ilahāras were for a long time very loyal feudatories of the Rashtrakütas; allowing about 25 years per generation for the ancestors of Rattaraja, we find that Sana phulla has to be placed in the latter half of the 8th century It is therefore evident that Krshnaraja, who had placed Saņa phulla in charge of Konkan, must be Krishna I.

Govinda III (793 CE – 814 CE)

who was he

Govinda III was a among the rulers to have successfully managed a family feud with his brother, Stambha. He is known to have defeated Muttarasa, the Ganga ruler, who had allied with the former’s brother. Post the defeat of the Ganga ruler, Stambha was reappointed to the Ganga vice royalty which he continued to rule down to 802 CE.

military campaign

Govinda next turned his arms to Kanchi. That kingdom had been already once attacked by his father, but Govinda found it necessary to invade it once more, probably because its ruler had sided with. Stambha. The Kanchi ruler was defeated sometime before 803 CE; for we learn from the British Muscum plates of Govinda III,” that at the time when they were issued in 804 CE., Govinda was encamped at Ramesvara Tirtha, while returning from his victorious expedition against the Pallava king. Govinda’s victory was not decisive, for towards the end of his reign, he had to attack the Pallabas once more.The northern expedition of Govinda was boldly planned and skilfully executed. He entrusted a number of his generals with the work of subduing or keeping in check the rulers of Vengi, Orissa, Kosala and Malva, his brother Indra was sent to attack the Gurjara-Pratthāras in their home province, and then he himself proceeded in the direction of the Doab and Kanauj to attack Nagabhata himself some time in 806 or 807 CE. Apart from a local reverse, success to have attended Govinda’s arms everywhere.

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