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Seuna (Yadava) dynasty

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The Seuna, Sevuna or Yadavas of Devagiri (c. 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 modern Maharashtra). The Yadavas initially ruled as feudatories of the Western Chalukyas. Around the middle of the 12th century, as the Chalukya power waned, they declared independence and established rule that reached its peak under Singhana II.

Seuna (Yadava) dynasty
c. 850–1334
Asia in 1200 AD, showing the Yadava Dynasty and its neighbors
Capital Devagiri
Languages Kannada, Marathi, Sanskrit
Government Monarchy
 •  Established c. 850
 •  Disestablished 1334
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Western Chalukya Empire
Delhi Sultanate
Today part of  India



The Seuna dynasty claimed descent from the Yadavas and therefore, its kings are often referred to as the "Yadavas of Devagiri". The correct name of the dynasty, however, is Seuna or Sevuna.[1] The inscriptions of this dynasty, as well as those of contemporary kingdoms, the Hoysala, Kakatiya dynasty and Western Chalukyas call them Seunas.[2] 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 Faithfull 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.[3][4]


Hero stone (Virgal) with Old Kannada inscription dated 1286. from the rule of Yadava King Ramachandra in Kedareshvara temple at Balligavi in Shimoga district, Karnataka state
Hero stone with old Kannada inscription dated 1235. from the rule of Yadava King Singhana II at Kubetur, Soraba Taluk, Shimoga district, Karnataka state

The earliest historical ruler of the Seuna/Yadava dynasty can be dated to the mid-9th century, but the origin of the dynasty is uncertain.[5] Little is known about their early history: their 13th century court poet Hemadri records the names of the family's early rulers, but his information about the pre-12th century rulers is often incomplete and inaccurate.[6]

The dynasty claimed descent from Yadu, a hero mentioned in the Puranic legends.[6] According to this account, found in Hemadri's Vratakhanda as well as several inscriptions,[5] their ancestors originally resided at Mathura, and then migrated to Dvaraka (Dvaravati) in present-day Gujarat. A Jain mythological legend states that the Jain saint Jainaprabhasuri saved the pregnant mother of the dynasty's founder Dridhaprahara from a great fire that destroyed Dvaraka. A family feudatory to the Yadavas migrated from Vallabhi (also in present-day Gujarat) to Khandesh. But otherwise, no historical evidence corroborates their connection to Dvaraka. The dynasty never tried to conquer Dvaraka, or establish any political or cultural connections with that region.[6] Its rulers started claiming to be descendants of Yadu and migrants from Dvaraka after becoming politically prominent.[7] Dvaraka was associated with Yadu's descendants, and the dynasty's claim of connection with that city may simply be a result of their claim of descent from Yadu rather than their actual geographic origin.[8] The Hoysalas, the southern neighbours of the dynasty, similarly claimed descent from Yadu and claimed to be the former lords of Dvaraka.[7]

The territory of the early Yadava rulers was located in present-day Maharashtra,[7] and several scholars (especially Maharashtrian historians[9]) have claimed a "Maratha" origin for the dynasty.[10] However, Marathi, the language of present-day Maharashtra, began to appear as the dominant language in the dynasty's inscriptions only in the 14th century, before which Kannada and Sanskrit were the primary language of their inscriptions.[11][9] Marathi appears in around two hundred Yadava inscriptions, but usually as translation of or addition to Kannada and Sanskrit text. During the last half century of the dynasty's rule, it became the dominant language of epigraphy, which may have been a result of the Yadava attempts to connect with their Marathi-speaking subjects, and to distinguish themselves from the Kannada-speaking Hoysalas.[9] The earliest instance of the Yadavas using the term "marathe" as a self-designation appears in a 1311 inscription recording a donation to the Pandharpur temple,[12] towards the end of the dynasty's rule.[10]

Epigraphic evidence suggests that the dynasty likely emerged from a Kannada-speaking background.[13] Around five hundred Yadava inscriptions have been discovered, and Kannada is the most common language of these inscriptions, followed by Sanskrit.[9] Of the inscriptions found in present-day Karnataka (the oldest being from the reign of Bhillama II), most are in Kannada language and script; others are in the Kannada language but use Devanagari script.[2] Older inscriptions from Karnataka also attest to the existence of Yadava feudatories (such as Seunas of Masavadi) ruling in the Dharwad region in the 9th century, although these feudatories cannot be connected to the main line of the dynasty with certainty.[5][7] Many of the dynasty's 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 Kalachuris of Kalyani, who ruled in present-day Karnataka. Records show that one of the early rulers, Seunachandra II, had a Kannada title, Sellavidega. The rulers had very close matrimonial relationships with Kannada-speaking royal families throughout their rule. 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. The early Seuna coins also had Kannada legends engraved on them indicating it was a court language.[2] The early Yadavas may have migrated northwards owing to the political situation in the Deccan region,[14] or may have been dispatched by their Rashtrakuta overlords to rule the northern regions.[4]


The hill of Devagiri, the capital of Yadavas
The Indra Sabha, one of the Jain caves inside Ellora Caves complex. The Jain caves of were built by Yadava dynasty[15][not in citation given]

As feudatoriesEdit

The earliest historically attested ruler of the dynasty is Dridhaprahara (c. 860-880), who is said to have established the city of Chandradityapura (modern Chandor).[7][5] He probably rose to prominence by protecting the people of Khandesh region from enemy raiders, amid the instability brought by the Pratihara-Rashtrakuta war.[7]

Dridhaprahara son and successor was Seunachandra (c. 880-900), after whom the dynasty was called Seuṇa-vaṃśa and their territory was called Seuna-desha.[16][7] He probably became a Rashtrakuta feudatory after helping the Rashtrakutas against their northern neighbours, the Paramaras.[16] He established a new town called Seunapura (possibly modern Sinnar).[7]

Not much information is available about Seunachandra's successors — Dhadiyappa (or Dadhiyappa), Bhillama I, and Rajugi (or Rajiga) — who ruled during c. 900-950.[16][17] The next ruler Vandugi (also Vaddiga I or Baddiga) raised the family's political status by marrying into the imperial Rashtrakuta family. He married Vohivayya, a daughter of Dhorappa, who was a younger brother of the Rashtrakuta emperor Krishna III. Vandugi participated in Krishna's military campaigns, which may have resulted in an increase in his fief, although this cannot be said with certainty.[17]

Little is known about the next ruler, Dhadiyasa (c. 970-985).[17] His son Bhillama II acknowledged the suzerainty of the Kalyani Chalukya ruler Tailapa II, who overthrew the Rashtrakutas. As a Chalukya feudatory, he played an important role in Tailapa's victory over the Paramara king Munja.[16] Bhillama II was succeeded by Vesugi I (r. c. 1005-1025), who married Nayilladevi, the daughter of a Chalukya feudatory of Gujarat. The next ruler Bhillama III is known from his Kalas Budruk grant inscription.[18] He married Avalladevi, a daughter of the Chalukya king Jayasimha II, as attested by a Vasai (Bassein) inscription. He may have helped his father-in-law Jayasimha and his brother-in-law Someshvara I in their campaigns against the Paramara king Bhoja.[16][18]

The Yadava power seems to have declined over the next decade, during the reigns of Vesugi II (alias Vaddiga or Yadugi) and Bhillama IV, for unknown reasons. The next ruler was Seunachandra II, who, according to the Yadava records, restored the family's fortunes just like the god Hari had restored the earth's fortunes with his varaha incarnation. Seunachandra II appears to have ascended the throne around 1050, as he is attested by the 1052 Deolali inscription. He bore the title Maha-mandaleshvara and became the overlord of several sub-feudatories, including a family of Khandesh. A 1069 inscription indicates that he had a ministry of seven officers, all of whom bore high-sounding titles.[18] During his tenure, the Chalukya kingdom saw a war of succession between the brothers Someshvara II and Vikramaditya VI. Seunachandra II supported Vikramaditya (who ultimately succeeded), and rose to the position of Maha-mandaleshvara.[16] His son Airammadeva (or Erammadeva, r. c. 1085-1105), who helped him against Someshvara II, succeeded him. Airammadeva's queen was Yogalla, but little else is known about his reign.[19] The Asvi inscription credits him with helping place Vikramaditya on the Chalukya throne.[18]

Airammadeva was succeeded by his brother Simharaja (also Simhana I or Singhana I, r. c. 1105-1120).[20] The Yadava records state that he helped his overlord Vikramaditya VI complete the Karpura-vrata ritual, by getting him a karpura elephant. A 1124 inscription mentions that he was ruling the Paliyanda-4000 province (identified as the area around modern Paranda).[19] The dynasty's history over the next fifty years is obscure. The 1142 Anjaneri inscription attests the rule of a person named Seunachandra, but Hemadri's records of the dynasty do not mention any Seunachandra III; historian R. G. Bhandarkar theorized that this Seunachandra may have been a Yadava sub-feudatory.[21]

The next known ruler Mallugi (r. c. 1145-1160) was a loyal feudatory to the Chalukya king Tailapa III. His general Dada and Dada's son Mahidhara fought with Tailapa's rebellious Kalachuri feudatory Bijjala II. He extended his territory by capturing Parnakheta (modern Patkhed in Akola district).[21] The Yadava records claim that he seized the elephants of the king of Utkala, but do not provide any details.[19] He also raided the kingdom of the Kakatiya ruler Rudra, but this campaign did not result in any territorial gains for him.[21] Mallugi was succeeded by his elder son Amara-gangeya, who was succeeded by his son Amara-mallugi (alias Mallugi II). The next ruler Kaliya-ballala, whose relationship to Mallugi is unknown, was probably an usurper. He was succeeded by Bhillama V around 1175.[21]

Bhillama VEdit

Bhillama V (1173–1192),[22] 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 rulers of Malwa in the north, Kakatiyas in the east, Hoysalas in the south and Chaulukya rulers of Gujarat in the west. As a precaution, they built their citadel at Devagiri. The citadel was situated on a hill rising 183 meters[23] (300 meters according to John Keay[1]). 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 IIEdit

Simhana (c. 1200–1247) or Singhana II 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.[22][24]

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.

The Sangita Ratnakara, an authoritative Sanskrit work on Indian music was written by Śārṅgadeva (or Shrangadeva) during Singhana II's reign.[25] He also patronized Changadeva, the Kannada poet Kamalabhava.


Ramachandra (or Ramadeva), the grandson of Singhana II, ruled from 1271 to 1309 CE. He seems to have defeated the Turkic invaders in 1278 CE as a Sanskrit royal inscription of that year glorifies him as a "Great Boar in securing the earth from the oppression of the Turks".[26]

Hemadri (or Hemadpant) was Ramachandra's Shrikaranadhipa (Chief Minister) during the initial few years. He compiled the encyclopedic Sanskrit work Chaturvarga Chintamani. He is said to have built many temples in a style known after him – Hemadapanti.[27] He also invented the Modi script for writing Marathi.[25] Hemadri wrote many books on vaidhyakshastra (medical science) and he introduced and supported bajra cultivation.[28]

In 1294, Ala-ud-din Khalji of the Delhi Sultanate raided Devagiri. Khalji restored it to Ramachandra in return for his promise of payment of a high ransom and an annual tribute.[23] However, this was not paid and the Seuna kingdom's arrears to Khalji kept mounting. In 1307, Khalji sent an army commanded by Malik Kafur, accompanied by Khwaja Haji, to Devagiri. The Muslim governors of Malwa and Gujarat were ordered to help Malik Kafur. Their huge army conquered the weakened and defeated forces of Devagiri almost without a battle. Ramachandra was taken to Delhi. Khalji reinstated Ramachandra as governor in return for a promise to help him subdue the Hindu kingdoms in South India. In 1310, Malik Kafur mounted an assault on the Kakatiya kingdom from Devagiri.[1]

Fall of the kingdomEdit

Ramachandra's successor Singhana III challenged the supremacy of Khalji, who sent Malik Kafur to recapture Devagiri in 1313. Singhana III was killed in the ensuing battle[29] and Khalji's army occupied Devagiri. The kingdom was annexed by the Khalji sultanate in 1317. Many years later, Muhammad Tughluq of the Tughluq dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate subsequently renamed the city Daulatabad.[24]



  • Dridhaprahara (c. 860-880)
  • Seunachandra (c. 880-900)
  • Dhadiyappa I (c. 900-?)
  • Bhillama I (c. 925)
  • Rajugi (c. ?–950)
  • Vaddiga (c. 950-970)
  • Dhadiyasa (c. 970-985)
  • Bhillama II (c. 985-1005)
  • Vesugi I 1005–1020
  • Bhillama III 1020–1055, ruled near Sinnar, Nasik. Helped Chalukya Someshvara against Paramaras.
  • Vesugi II 1055–1068
  • Bhillama IV 1068
  • Seunachandra II 1068–1085, overcame civil war, defeated Bhillama IV to become king.
  • Airamadeva 1085–1115
  • Singhana I 1115–1145
  • Mallugi I 1145–1150, beginning period of internal family feud which lasted until 1173
  • Amaragangeyya 1150–1160
  • Govindaraja 1160
  • Amara Mallugi II 1160–1165
  • Kaliya Ballala 1165–1173


Khalji tributariesEdit

  • Singhana III (Shankaradeva) 1311-1313
  • Harapaladeva 1313–1317



The Yadavas were the first major dynasty to use Marathi as an official language.[30] Earlier, both Sanskrit and Kannada had been used in present-day Maharashtra; subsequently, at least partly due to the efforts of the Yadava rulers, Marathi became the dominant language of the region.[31] Even if they were not of Marathi origin, towards the end of their reign, they certainly identified with the Marathi language.[10] The early Marathi literature emerged during the Yadava rule, because of which some scholars have theorized that it was produced with support from the Yadava rulers.[32] However, there is no evidence that the Yadava royal court directly supported the production of Marathi literature with state funds, although it regarded Marathi as a significant language for connecting with the general public.[33]

Hemadri, a minister in the Yadava court, attempted to formalize Marathi with Sanskrit expressions to boost its status as a court language.[34] Saint-poet Dnyaneshwar wrote Dnyaneshwari (c. 1290), a Marathi-language commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, 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. Mukundaraja wrote the Marathi-language philosophical treatises Paramamrita and Vivekasindhu during the Yadava period.[35] The Mahanubhava religious sect, which became prominent in present-day Maharshtra during the late Yadava period, boosted the status of Marathi as a literary language.[35] Mahimabhatta wrote Lilacharita, a biography of the sect's founder Chakradhara. The text claims that Hemadri (who was a Brahmanist) was jealous of Chakradhara's popularity, and the Yadava king Ramachandra ordered killing of Chakradhara, who escaped with his yogic powers. The claim is of doubtful historicity.[4]


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 around 1300.[36][37][38]


The Sanskrit literary works created during the Seuna period include:


  1. ^ a b c 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.
  2. ^ a b c Suryanath Kamat 1980, pp. 136-137.
  3. ^ The Dynasties of the Kanarese Districts of the Bombay Presidency"(1894) J.F.Fleet, Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency (Vol-1, Part-II, Book-III) ISBN 81-206-0277-3
  4. ^ a b c A. V. Narasimha Murthy 1971, p. 32.
  5. ^ a b c d T. V. Mahalingam 1957, p. 137.
  6. ^ a b c A. S. Altekar 1960, p. 515.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h A. S. Altekar 1960, p. 516.
  8. ^ A. S. Altekar 1960, pp. 515-516.
  9. ^ a b c d Christian Lee Novetzke 2016, p. 53.
  10. ^ a b c Christian Lee Novetzke 2016, p. 316.
  11. ^ Colin P. Masica 1993, p. 45.
  12. ^ Christian Lee Novetzke 2016, p. 314.
  13. ^ Christian Lee Novetzke 2016, pp. 51-54.
  14. ^ Shrinivas Ritti 1973.
  15. ^ World Heritage Sites - Ellora Caves, Archeological Survey of India (2011), Government of India
  16. ^ a b c d e f T. V. Mahalingam 1957, p. 138.
  17. ^ a b c A. S. Altekar 1960, p. 517.
  18. ^ a b c d A. S. Altekar 1960, p. 518.
  19. ^ a b c T. V. Mahalingam 1957, p. 139.
  20. ^ A. S. Altekar 1960, p. 518-519.
  21. ^ a b c d A. S. Altekar 1960, p. 519.
  22. ^ a b c d e Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4. 
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ a b "Yādava Dynasty" Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica 2007 Ultimate Reference Suite
  25. ^ a b Mann, Gurinder Singh (2001-03-01). The Making of Sikh Scripture. Oxford University Press US. p. 1. ISBN 0-19-513024-3. 
  26. ^ Eternal Garden: Mysticism, History, and Politics at a South Asian Sufi Center by Carl W. Ernst p.107
  27. ^ Mokashi, Digambar Balkrishna (1987-07-01). Palkhi: An Indian Pilgrimage. SUNY Press. p. 37. ISBN 0-88706-461-2. 
  28. ^ Marathyancha Itihaas by Dr. S.G Kolarkar, p.4, Shri Mangesh Prakashan, Nagpur.
  29. ^ Michell, George (1999-06-10). Architecture and Art of the Deccan Sultanates. Arizona University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-521-56321-6. 
  30. ^ Cynthia Talbot 2001, p. 211.
  31. ^ Cynthia Talbot 2001, p. 212.
  32. ^ Christian Lee Novetzke 2016, p. 74,86.
  33. ^ Christian Lee Novetzke 2016, p. x,74.
  34. ^ Cynthia Talbot 2001, pp. 211-212.
  35. ^ a b Onkar Prasad Verma 1970, p. 266.
  36. ^ R. Narasimhacharya, p. 68, History of Kannada Literature, 1988, Asian Educational Services, New Delhi, Madras, 1988 ISBN 81-206-0303-6
  37. ^ Suryanath Kamat 1980, pp. 143-144.
  38. ^ Sujit Mukherjee, p. 410, p. 247, "Dictionary of Indian Literature One: Beginnings - 1850", 1999, Orient Blackswan, Delhi, ISBN 81 250 1453 5
  39. ^ "ITCSRA FAQ on Indian Classical Music". Retrieved 2007-12-11. 


External linksEdit