The Eastern Gangas

The Gangas of Kalinga are known in history as the Eastern Gangas in analogy of the Gangas of Mysore who are known as the Western Gangas. According to the tradition recorded in the early copper-plate grants of Chodaganga, the Eastern Gangas of Kalinga were a branch of the ruling Western Ganga family of Mysore. Kamarnava the founder of the Eastern Ganga dynasty is said to have migrated to Kalinga with his four brothers from Kolahalapura in Gangabadivishaya (of Mysore) leaving his ancestral kingdom to his paternal uncle. He came to the Mahendragiri where he worshipped Gokarneswara Siva and then occupied the Kalinga country after defeating the Savara Chief named Baladitya, It is not possible to say how far the tradition is based on history.

1. Indravarman I (537 A.D.)

The first historical ruler of the Eastern Ganga dynasty known from reliable record is Indravarman I whose Jirjingi copperplate grant was issued in the Ganga year 39, i.e., 537 A.D. He is known to be a powerful ruler having a large number of vassal chiefs under him and his capital was located at Dantapura. Indravarman is identified with king Adhiraja Indra who mounting on his elephant Supratika defeated the Vishnukundin king Indrabhattaraka who fought on his elephant Kumuda. King lndravarman was also the lord of Trikalinga. He was the first great ruler of the Ganga dynasty and started the Ganga era the initial year of which is 498 A.D. This is very likely the year in which he occupied the Ganga throne.

2. Samantavarman(562 A.D)

The next king in the line was Samantavarman who issued his grant in the year 64 (562 A.D) from Saumyavana which was called the abode of the goddess of Victory. Like his predecessor Samantvarman assumed the title or Trikalingadhipati.

3. Hastivarman(577 A.D.)

Samantvarman was succeeded by king Hastivarman sometime before the year 79 (577 A.D.). This king is known to have fought many battles and he claims to have crushed a mighty confederacy of his enemies. He did not call himself the Lord of Trikalinga but declared himself as the Lord of all Kalingas (Sakala Kalinga. From his time onward till the time of Vajrahasta V (who came to the throne in 1038 AD.) no Ganga ruler called himself Trikalingadhipati. Hastivarman was also known as Rajasimha alias Ranabhita. He was a devotee of Narayana and his Narsimhapali charter (year 79) registers grant of six halas of land along with four shrines (niresana) and a free fooding establishment in honour of god Narayan, the Lord of Seven worlds who sleeps on seven oceans and for whose pleasure seven Sama songs are being sung. Hastivarman transferred his capital from Dantapura to Kalinganagaraon the River Vamsadhara.

4. Indravarman II(589 AD.)

He was succeeded by his son Indravarman II who ruled at least up to the year 91 (589 AD.) the date of issue of his ParJakimedi plates.

5. Indravarman III (626 AD.)

The next king was Indravarman III who came to the throne sometime before the year 128 (626 AD.). He was the son of Danarnava about whom we do not know much. Indravarman III issued his first Chicacole grant in 626 A.D. On the occasion of a lunar eclipse on the full moon day of Margasira. His second Chicacole grant was issued in the year 138 (636 A.D.) on the occasion of Ratha saptami in the month of Magha indicating that Sun worship was popular in the kingdom of Gangas. In this charter he claims to have acquired proficiency in various sciences and arts. His last record the Tekkli grant is dated in the year 154.

6. Devendravarman-I(681 AD.)

The earliest record of the next known king Devendravarman-I is dated in the year 183 (681 AD.). Dcvendravarman was the son of Gunarnava about whom nothing is known from any record. King Devendravarman was a devout Saiva and in the year 184 he had Mantra-diksha from Patanga Sivacharya who was learned in Vedas and Vedangas, Itihasa and Puranas. He also patronised Brahmachari Pill and his sister Pillika Svamini, who were well versed in Vedas and Vedangas.

7. Anantavarman I(702 AD.)

He was succeeded by his son Anantavarman I who came to the throne sometime before the year 204 (702 AD.), the date of his Dharmilingeswar grant which was issued on the occasion of the marriage of a girl of the royal family.

8. Devendravarman(752 AD.)

After,Anantavarman-1 his two sons Nandavarrnan and Devendravarman-II became kings of Kalinga one after the other. Nandavarman came to the throne sometime before the year 221 and Devendravarman-ll sometime before the year 251. Devendravarman-Il’s last known date is the year 254 (752 AD.) after which we do not find any record of the family for about half a century.

9.Anantavarrnan II

The next important ruler of the family is Anantavarrnan II the son of Rajendravarman I. No grant of Rajendravarman I has come to light and as such he remains in obscurity like Danarnava and Gunarnava the fathers of Indravarman III and Devendravarman I respectively. Anantavarman II issued the Almanda grant in the year 304 (802 A.D.) on the occasion of a solar eclipse when a tank was consecrated and made open to public. He was succeeded sometime before the year 306 by his brother Devendravannan III, another son of Rajendravarman I. The last known date of this king is the year 310 when he donated the village Niyina free of all taxes to a Brahmin poet who was the son of the doorkeeper of his palace.

10. Anantavarman III

He was succeeded by his son Anantavarman III and after him two of his sons Rajendravarman II and Devendravarman IV became kings one after the other. One Chicacole grant of king Devendravarman IV is dated in the year 351(849 AD.) and another Chicacole grant of his son Satyavarman is also dated in the same year 351.

11. Other rulers of Eastern Gangas

Devendravarman was succeeded by his son Satyavarman who claims to have acquired supremacy over the whole of Kalinga by the edge of his sword. After Satyavarrnan his brother Anantavarman IV (another son of Devendravarman 1V) came to the throne. He is known from his Tekkali grant dated in the year 358 (865 A.D.). He was popularly called Vajrahasta I. The next Ganga king was Maharaja Bhupendra-varman alias Narasimha, two of whose sons Anantavannan V and Devendravarman V ruled one after the other. The Chipurupalli grant of Anantavarman V is dated in the year 383 (881 A.D.). In this charter Anantavarman is given the epithet Maharajadhiraja and he is also called Sri Vajrahastadeva. He was succeeded by his brother Devendravarman V sometime before the year 397 (895 AD.) the date of issue of the Chidivalasa grant . From the above discussion we find the following genealogy of the first group of the Eastern Ganga kings ofKalinga.

The Ganga years found in the respective charters of these kings are mentioned bellow
against each of them :
1. Indravarman 1-3960
2. Sartlantavarman – 64
3. Hastivarman (also called Rajasimha and Ranabhita) 79,80.
4. Indravarman II (Rajasimha) 87, 91.
5. Danarnava
6. lndravarrnan II(son of No. 5) -128,137.138,154
7. Gunarnava
8. Devendravarman 1. (son of No. 7)–183,184,192,195
9. Anantavarman I(son of No. 8) – 204
10. Nandavarman (son of No.9) -221
11. Devendravarrnan II(son of No.9) – 254
12. Rajendravarman I
13. Anantavarman II (son of No. 12) – 304
14. Devandravarman Ill (son of No. 12) – 306,308,310
l5. Anatavarman II1 (son oCNo. 14) – 313,314
16. Rajendrvarman II (son of No 15) – 342
17. Devendravarman IV (son of No. 16)-35l
18. Satyavarman (son ofNo.17) – 351
19. Anantavarrnan IV also called Vajri ofVajrahasta I(son of No.17) -358
20. Bhupendravarman (Marasimha)
21. Anantavarman V also called Vajrabasta II (son of No. 20)-383
22. Devendravarman V (son of No. 20) -397

The account of the second group of the Eastern Ganga kings is found from the charters issued by Vajrahasta V. Altogether seven copper plate grants of this king have come to Iight and these grants present identical genealogy of this group of Ganga kings with number or reigning years of each of them.

The genealogy is given below:
I. Gunarnaharnava
2. Vajrasta III (son of No. 1) – 44 years.
3.Gundarna 1 (son of No. 2) – 3 years
4. Kamarnava I(son ofNo. 2) -35 years
5. Vinayaditya (son of No.2) – 3 years61
6. Vajrahasta IV also called Aniyankabhima (Anangabhima l)-35 years
7. KamarnavaJI(sonofNo.6)-1I2year
8. Gundarna II (son of No.6) – 3 years
9. Madhukamarnva (son of No.6) – 19 years
10. Vajrahasia V – (was crowned in S.E. 960) (son of No.7)

All these Ganga kings ruled over a narrowly circumscribed region which they called Kalinga. They were hemmed by the Eastern Chalukyas in the south and by the Sailodbhavas in the north. About the middle of the eighth century A.D. king Harshadeva of Kamarupa claimed victory over them. At the beginning of the 9th century A.D. the Pratihara king Nagabhata overran Kalinga and Andhra. About the middle of the 9th century the Eastern Gangas were for sometime under the Bhaurna Karas and the Eastern Chalukyas claim supremacy over Kalinga in the second half or that century. In the later part of the 10th century A.D. the Eastern Gangas were for sometime under the supremacy of the Somavamsis and lndraratha was the governor of Kalinga before he was crowned king at Yayatinagara about 1000 A.D.The Somavamsi supremacy over the Eastern Gangas was brought to an end by Vajrahasta V who came to the throne of Kalinga in 1038 A.D. and made that territory independent and powerful. Not with standing various fluctuations of their fortunes the Eastern Gangas continued to rule over Kalinga with firmness and they stalled an era of their own which continued to be used in their official charters for more than 500 years. Vajrahasta V discontinued the Ganga era and started the use of Saka era which was followed by all later Ganga kings.