Balabhadradeva (1648-1659 A.D.) and Mukundadeva I (1659-1688 A.D.)

Through the assistance of Mutquad Khan, the Governor of Odisha, the death of Narasimhadeva enabled Gangadharadeva, a nephew of the deceased king. This engendered widespread resentment among the subjects and some of the king’s officials. Balabhadradeva, Narasimhadeva’s elder brother, assassinated Gangadhara and ascended to the throne in 1648 A.D. with their assistance. Throughout his reign, he was forced to fight the Mughals. It was only because Turbiyat Khan was appointed Deputy to rule Odisha on the Mugtial’s behalf. Mirza Balaki launched an attack on Andhari’s fort.

Raipitam, who had been appointed commander of that fort by Balabhadradeva, was defeated and fled the fort. His family members have been apprehended. At this point, Balabhadradeva fought alongside the Muslims and liberated Raipitam’s family from their clutches. The Mughals, on the other hand, occupied Andhari fort. Balabhadradeva’s reign was ignominious. He is credited with founding Vira Balabhadrapura Shasana near Puri.

After Balabhadradeva’s death in 1659 A.D., his son Mukundadeva I succeeded to the throne of Khurda. Dharmadeva Rajaguru, as a minor, administered the kingdom on behalf of Mukundadeva. Dharmadeva Rajaguru organised the kingdom’s zamindars and paid no tribute to the Mughals, despite the fatricidal war between Shah Jahan’s sons. Following Aurangzeb’s victory, Khan-i-Dauran was assigned to deal with the Odisha zamindars and the king of Khurda. He assassinated numerous obstinate zamindars and marched towards Khurda. In 1661, he defeated Mukundadeva and offered the Kingdom of Khurda to Bhramarabara, Mukundadeva’s younger brother. Mukundadeva, on the other hand, negotiated with Khan-i-Dauran to reclaim his kingdom and entrusted the matter to Dharmadeva Rajaguru. Khan-i-Dauran was certain Mukundadeva had reclaimed his throne. He imprisoned Bhramarabara Raya following his coronation.

Mukundadeva encountered opposition from the Mughals during the Subahdarship of Sayasta Khan, Aurangzeb’s maternal uncle. Abu Nasir, one of Sayasta Khan’s sons, marched to Jajpur and Jhankada and destroyed the temples, erecting mosques in their place. He came to a halt in Sakshigopal, on his way to Puri. His plan to attack the Jagannath temple in Puri was thwarted, as the MadalaPanji reports that a sudden thunderbolt struck Sakshigopal during the spring season, and Abu Nasir fled to Cuttack in fear after negotiating with Mukundadeva. Mukundadeva’s career came to an end in 1688, when he died of smallpox.

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