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Kadamba dynasty

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The Kadambas (345–525 CE) were an ancient royal family of Karnataka, India, that ruled northern Karnataka and the Konkan from Banavasi in present-day Uttara Kannada district. At the peak of their power under King Kakuthsavarma, they ruled large parts of modern Karnataka state.

Kadambas of Banavasi

Banavasi Kadambaru
345–525
  Extent of Kadamba Empire, 500 CE
  Extent of Kadamba Empire, 500 CE
StatusEmpire
(Subordinate to Pallava until 345)
CapitalBanavasi
Common languagesKannada
Sanskrit
Religion
Hinduism
Jainism
GovernmentMonarchy
Maharaja 
• 345–365
Mayurasharma
• 
Krishna Varma II
History 
• Earliest Kadamba records
450
• Established
345
• Disestablished
525
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Pallava dynasty
Chalukya dynasty
Today part ofIndia
Kadamba Kings (345–525)
(Banavasi Kings)
Mayurasharma (345–365)
Kangavarma (365–390)
Bagitarha (390–415)
Raghu (415–435)
Kakusthavarma (435–455)
Santivarma (455 -460)
Mrigeshavarma (460–480)
Shivamandhativarma (480–485)
Ravivarma (485–519)
Harivarma (519–525)
(Triparvatha Branch)
Krishna Varma I (455)
Vishnuvarma
Simhavarma
Krishna Varma II
Pulakeshin I
(Chalukya)
(543–566)

The dynasty was founded by Mayurasharma in 345 CE which at later times showed the potential of developing into imperial proportions, an indication to which is provided by the titles and epithets assumed by its rulers. He was the grand son of Veera Sharma and son of Bhandhu Shena. King Mayurasharma defeated the armies of the Pallavas of Kanchi possibly with help of some native tribes. The Kadamba fame reached its peak during the rule of Kakusthavarma, a notable ruler with whom even the kings of Gupta Dynasty of northern India cultivated marital alliances. Tiring of the endless battles and bloodshed, one of the later descendants, King Shivakoti adopted Jainism. The Kadambas were contemporaries of the Western Ganga Dynasty and together they formed the earliest native kingdoms to rule the land with absolute autonomy. The dynasty later continued to rule as a feudatory of larger Kannada empires, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta empires, for over five hundred years during which time they branched into minor dynasties known as the Kadambas of Goa, Kadambas of Halasi and Kadambas of Hangal.

During the pre-Kadamba era the ruling families that controlled the Karnataka region, the Mauryas, and the Satavahanas were not natives of the region and the nucleus of power resided outside present-day Karnataka. The Kadambas were the first indigenous dynasty to use Kannada, the language of the soil, at an administrative level. In the history of Karnataka, this era serves as a broad based historical starting point in the study of the development of region as an enduring geo-political entity and Kannada as an important regional language. Their legacy was so impressive that even the Vijayanagara rulers who fought the Deccan sultanates hired descendants of the Kadambas to manage their Goan military naval fleet.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Most of the inscriptions of the Kadambas mention Skanda and his Matrs (mothers). According to the Talagunda inscription, the founder Mayurasharma was anointed by the six-faced god of war, that is Skanda or Kartikeya.[1] According to Grama Paddhati, a Kannada work dealing with the history of the Tulu Brahmanas, Mayurasharma was born to Shiva and Parvathi under a Kadamba tree in the Sahyadri mountains and hence the name Kadamba. An inscription of the Nagarakhanda Kadambas, a later descendent dynasty, gives a legendary account and traces their lineage back to the Nandas. According to the inscription, King Nanda who had no heir prayed to Lord Shiva in the Kailash mountains when a heavenly voice advised him that two sons would be born to him, would bear the name of Kadamba Kula (family) and they should be instructed in the use of weapons.[2]

Historians are divided on the issue of the caste of the Kadamba family, whether the founders of the kingdom belonged to the Brahmin caste as claimed by the Talagunda inscription, or were of tribal origin. A claim has been made that the Kadambas were none other than a tribe called the Kadambu, who were in conflict with the Chera kingdom (of modern Kerala). The 'Kadambus' find mention in the Sangam literature as totemic worshippers of the Kadambu tree and the Hindu god Subramanya.[3] While some historians have argued that they being of Brahmin descent made Mayurasharma's ancestors natives of northern India, the counter argument is that it was common for Dravidian peoples to be received into the Brahmanic caste during early and later medieval times. Being native Kannadigas, the Kadambas promptly gave administrative and political importance to their language, Kannada, after coming to power.[4]

Inscriptions in Sanskrit and Kannada are the main sources of the Kadamba history. The Talagunda, Gundanur, Chandravalli, Halasi and Halmidi inscription are some of the important inscriptions that throw light on this ancient ruling family of Karnataka.[5] They belonged to the Manavya Gotra and were Haritiputrās (lineage), which connects them to the native Chutus of Banavasi, a feudatory of the Satavahana empire.[6] Inscriptions of the Kadambas in Kannada and Sanskrit ascribed to the main dynasty and branch kingdoms have been published by historians.[7] The Kadambas minted coins with Nagari, Kannada and Grantha legends which provide additional numismatic evidence of their history.[8][9]

Kadambas were the first rulers to use Kannada as an additional official administrative language, as evidenced by the Halmidi inscription of 450.[10][11][12] Three Kannada inscriptions from their early rule from Banavasi have been discovered.[13] Recent discovery of 5th century Kadamba copper coin in Banavasi with Kannada script inscription Srimanaragi on it proves the usage of Kannada at the administrative level further.[14]

One of their earliest inscriptions, the Talagunda inscription of Santivarma (450) gives what may be the most possible cause for the emergence of the Kadamba kingdom. It states that Mayurasharma was a native of Talagunda, (in present-day Shimoga district) and his family got its name from the Kadamba tree that grew near his home.[15][16] The inscription narrates how Mayurasharma proceeded to Kanchi in 345 along with his guru and grandfather Veerasarma to pursue his Vedic studies at a Ghatika (school). There, owing to some misunderstanding between him and a Pallava guard or at an Ashvasanstha (a place of horse sacrifice), a quarrel arose in which Mayurasharma was humiliated. In high rage, the Brahmana discontinued his studies, left Kanchi, swearing vengeance on the impudent Pallavas, and took to arms. He collected a faithful group of followers and routed the Pallava armies near Srisilam region. After a prolonged period of low intensity warfare against the Pallavas and other smaller kings such as the Brihad-Banas of Kolar region, he proclaimed independence. Unable to contain him, the Pallavas had to accept his sovereignty.[17][18] Thus in an act of righteous indignation was born the first native kingdom of Karnataka, the Pallava King Skandavarman condescending to recognise the growing might of the Kadambas south of the Malaprabha river as a sovereign power.[19] Scholars such as Mores and Sastry opine that Mayurasharma availed himself of the confusion that was created by the invasion of Samudragupta who in his Allahabad Inscription claims to have defeated Vishnugopa of Kanchi. Taking advantage of the weakening of the Pallava power, Mayura appears to have succeeded in establishing a new kingdom."[20] The fact that Mayurasharma had to travel to distant Kanchi for Vedic studies gives an indication that Vedic lore was quite rudimentary in the region at that time. The recently discovered Gudnapur inscription states that Mauryasharma's grandfather and preceptor was Virasarma and his father Bandhushena developed the character of a Kshatriya.[21]

Mayurasharma's successor was his son Kangavarma in 365 who had to fight the Vakataka might to protect Kuntala. He was defeated by Vakataka Prithvisena but managed to maintain his freedom.[22] His son Bhagiratha is said to have retrieved his fathers losses but Vakataka inscriptions do not attest to this.[23] His son Raghu died fighting the Pallavas. He was succeeded by his brother Kakusthavarma who was the most powerful ruler of the dynasty.[24] He maintained marital relations with even the imperial Guptas of the north, according to the Talagunda inscription. One of his daughters was married to Kumara Gupta's son Skanda Gupta. His other daughter was married to a Vakataka king Narendrasena.[25] He maintained similar relations with the Bhatari, the Alupas of South Canara and the Western Ganga Dynasty of Gangavadi according to the Talagunda inscription. The great poet Kalidasa had visited his court.[26]

After Kakusthavarma only Ravivarma who came to the throne in 485 was able to build upon the kingdom. His rule was marked by a series of clashes within the family, and also against the Pallavas and the Gangas. He is also credited with a victory against the Vakatakas, which helped extend his Kingdom as far north as the river Narmada. The crux of their kingdom essentially consisted of large areas of Karnataka, Goa and southern areas of present-day Maharashtra. After his death, the kingdom went into decline due to family feuds. The Birur plates of Kadamba Vishnuvarman call Shantivarman "The master of the entire Karnataka region". The Triparvatha branch that broke away in 455 ruled from Murod in Belagavi for some time and merged with the main Banavasi kingdom during rule of Harivarma. Finally the kingdom fell to the power of the Badami Chalukyas. The Kadambas thereafter became feudatories of the Badami Chalukyas and later the Rashtrakutas and Kalyani Chalukyas. The successors of Mayurasharma took to the name "varma" to indicate their Kshatriya status.[citation needed]

AdministrationEdit

The Kadamba kings called themselves Dharmamaharajas like the Satavahana kings. Dr. Mores has identified various cabinet and other positions in the kingdom from inscriptions. The prime minister (Pradhana), Steward (Manevergade), secretary of council (Tantrapala or Sabhakarya Sachiva), scholarly elders (Vidyavriddhas), physician (Deshamatya), private secretary (Rahasyadhikritha), chief secretary (Sarvakaryakarta), chief justice (Dharmadhyaksha) and other officials (Bhojaka and Ayukta). The army consisted of officers like Jagadala, Dandanayaka and Senapathi.

A crown prince from the royal family helped the king in administration. Princesses of the royal family were appointed as governors of various provinces. King Kakusthavarma had appointed his son Krishna as viceroy of Thriparvatha region. This later proved detrimental to the kingdom as it gave opportunity for break away factions in the kingdom.
The kingdom was divided into Mandalas (provinces) or Desha. Under a Mandala was Vishayas (districts). A total of nine Vishaya have been identified.[27] Under a Vishaya were Mahagramas (Taluk) and Dashagramas (Hobli). Mahagrama had more villages than Dashagramas. One sixth of land produce was collected as tax. Taxes were collected as Perjunka (levy on load), Vaddaravula (social security tax for royal family), Bilkoda (sales tax), Kirukula (land tax), Pannaya (betel tax) and other professional taxes on traders etc.

CultureEdit

Religious conditionEdit

The Kadambas were followers of Vedic Hinduism. The founder, Mayurasharma was a Brahmin by birth but later his successors changed their surname to Varma to indicate their Kshatriya status but they used to marry brahmins only. Some Kadamba kings like Krishna Varma performed the Ashwamedha (horse sacrifice). Their Talagunda inscription starts with an invocation of Lord Shiva while the Halmidi and Banavasi inscriptions start with an invocation of Lord Vishnu. They built the Madhukesvara temple which is considered their family deity. Many records like the Kudalur, Sirsi records speak of grants made by them to scholarly Brahmins. Grants were also made to Buddhist viharas.

The Kadambas also patronised Jainism; several of the latter kings adopted the religion, and built numerous Jain Basadis (temples) that are scattered around Banavasi, Belagavi, Mangaluru and Goa. Kings and Queens of the dynasty were renowned for their support of literature, arts and liberal grants to temples and educational institutions.[28]

Several descendants are scattered around present day Goa, Belagavi, Mangaluru and Bengaluru. Adikavi Pampa highly spoke of this kingdom in his writings. Following are his famous quotes on Banavasi: Aaramkushamittodam nenevudenna manam banavasi deshamam (I shall cherish the sweet memories of Banavasi even when tortured), Maridumbiyagi mEN Kogileyagi puttuvudu nandanadol Banavasi deshadol (As a bee or as nightingale should one born here in this beautiful country of Banavasi).[29]

ArchitectureEdit

 
Kadamba shikara (tower) with Kalasa (pinnacle) on top, Doddagaddavalli

The Kadamba architectural style can be identified and that it has a few things in common with the Chalukya and the Pallava styles. The most prominent feature of their architecture, basic as it was is their Shikara called Kadamba Shikara. The Shikara is pyramid shaped and rises in steps without any decoration with a Stupika or Kalasha at the top. This style of Shikara are used several centuries later in the Doddagaddavalli Hoysala temple and the Mahakuta temples in Hampi. Some of their temples also use perforated screen windows. It has also been pointed out that in architecture and sculpture, the Kadambas contributed to the foundation of the later Chalukya-Hoysala style.[30]
The Madhukeshwara (Shiva) temple, built by them in the 10th century and renovated many times, still exists in Banavasi.

ImpactEdit

Kadambotsava ("The festival of Kadamba") a festival is celebrated every year by Government of Karnataka in honour of this kingdom.[31] A popular Kannada film, Mayura starring Dr. Raj Kumar based on a novel of the same name by Devudu Narasimha Sastri celebrates the creation of the first Kannada kingdom.

On 31 May 2005 Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee commissioned India's most advanced and first dedicated military naval base named INS Kadamba after the Kadamba dynasty, in Karwar.[32]

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Richard D. Mann. The Rise of Mahāsena: The Transformation of Skanda-Kārttikeya in North India from the Kuṣāṇa to Gupta Empires. BRILL, 07-Dec-2011 - Religion - 296 pages. p. 227.
  2. ^ George M. Moraes (1931), The Kadamba Kula, A History of Ancient and Medieval Karnataka, Asian Educational Services, 1990, p8
  3. ^ Chopra et al. (2003), p.161
  4. ^ Sahitya Akademi (1988), p.1717
  5. ^ Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), pp 30–39
  6. ^ Both the Talagunda and Gundanur inscriptions attest to this-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p30
  7. ^ Dr. D.C. Sircar, Dr. P.B.Desai, Dr. G.S. Gai, N. Lakshminarayana Rao. "Indian Inscriptions-South Indian Inscriptions, vol 15,18". What Is India News Service, Friday, April 28, 2006. Archaeological Survey of India. Retrieved 2006-11-28.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Govindaraya S. Prabhu (1 November 2001). "Prabhu's web page on Indian Coins-Dynasties of South-Kadambas". Archived from the original on 19 January 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2006.
  9. ^ Coins with Kannada legends have been discovered from the rule of the Kadambas, according to Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p12
  10. ^ A report on Halmidi inscription, Muralidhara Khajane (3 November 2003). "Halmidi village finally on the road to recognition". The Hindu, Monday, November 3, 2003. Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  11. ^ The Kadamba-Western Ganga Dynasty era is a momentous importance to Kannada language for it was with these rulers that Kannada language first gained official language status-K.V. Ramesh, Chalukyas of Vatapi, 1984, Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi, p10
  12. ^ Dr. S.U. Kamath opines that Kannada may have been a local language at this time-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p37
  13. ^ Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p37
  14. ^ DH News Service Mysore. "5th century copper coin discovered at Banavasi". Deccan Herald, Tuesday, February 7, 2006. Deccan Herald. Archived from the original on 6 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-28..
  15. ^ According to Dr. B. L. Rice-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p30
  16. ^ George M. Moares (1931), The Kadamba Kula, A History of Ancient and Medieval Karnataka, Asian Educational Services, 1990, p10
  17. ^ The Talagunda inscription of 450 states that Mayurasharma was the progenitor of the kingdom. The inscription gives a graphic description of the happenings at Kanchi, "That the hand dextrous in grasping the Kusha (grass), fuel and stones, ladle, melted butter and the oblation vessel, unsheathed a flaming sword, eager to conquer the earth"-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), pp 30–31
  18. ^ K.V. Ramesh, Chalukyas of Vatapi, 1984, Agam Kala Prakashan, p6
  19. ^ K.V. Ramesh, Chalukyas of Vatapi, 1984, Agam Kala Prakashan, p3
  20. ^ A CONCISE HISTORY OF KARNATAKA By Dr.SURYANATH U.KAMATH, page 31.
  21. ^ The inscription was discovered by Dr. B.R. Gopal, Arthikaje, Mangalore. "History of Karnataka-Kadambas of Banavasi". 1998-00 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  22. ^ According to Prof. Jouveau-Dubreuil-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p32
  23. ^ The Talagunda inscription describes Bhagiratha as the sole lord of the Kadamba land and the great Sagara himself, indicating he may have retrieved their losses against the Vakatakas-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p32
  24. ^ According to Dr. G. M. Moraes who wrote Kadamba Kula: A History of Ancient and Medieval Karnataka, under the rule Kakusthavarma, the kingdom reached its acme of success and the Talagunda record calls him the ornament of the family, the Halsi and Halmidi inscriptions also hold him in high esteem-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p32
  25. ^ According to Dr. P.B. Desai and the Balaghat inscription of Vakataka Pritvisena-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p33
  26. ^ The Sanskrit work Auchitya Vichara by Kshemendra quotes certain portions of a work by great Poet Kalidasa called Kunthalesvara Dautya which discusses his visit to the Kadamba court. Apparently, the Kadamba did not offer the poet a seat to sit on and Kalidasa had to sit on the ground, indicating the Kadambas treated the ambassador from the Gupta kingdom with scant respect. This is also verified from a Sanskrit work by Bhoja called Shringara Prakasika which mentions a Gupta ambassador being sent to the court of Kuntala. While Dr. Moraes opines the ambassador went during the time of Kadamba king Bhagiratha, Dr. P.B. Desai, R.S. Panchamukhi feel it was during the rule of king Kakusthavarma-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p33
  27. ^ Prof. R.S. Panchamukhi has identified nine such Vishaya like the Sendraka Vishaya, Tagare Vishaya etc-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), p35
  28. ^ Couto, Maria Aurora (2005), Goa: A Daughter'S Story, Penguin UK, p. 108, ISBN 9789351180951
  29. ^ Arthikaje, Mangalore. "History of Karnataka-Kadambas of Banavasi". 1998-00 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  30. ^ Dr. G. M. Moraes opines that apart from using some unique features, the Kadambas used many mixed styles in their architecture derived from their predecessors and overlords. The Kadambas were the originators of the Karnataka architecture-Dr. Suryanath U. Kamath, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, 2001, MCC, Bangalore (Reprint 2002), pp 37–38
  31. ^ Kadambotsava is held at Banavasi as it is here that the Kadamba kings organised the spring festival every year. Staff Correspondent (20 January 2006). "Kadambotsava in Banavasi from today". The Hindu, Friday, January 20, 2006. Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  32. ^ Defense Minister Pranab Mukherjee opened the first phase of India's giant western naval base INS Kadamba in Karwar, Karnataka state, on 31 May. "India Opens Major Naval Base at Karwar". Defence Industry Daily. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-30.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit