History of Odisha

A Comprehensive Compendium of History, Culture, Lifestyle and Tourism of Odisha

Category: Medieval Odisha Page 1 of 5

Ramachandra Deva II (1721-1736 A. D.)

Ramachandra Deva-II with Rajguru (Representation Only)

With Ramachandradeva II, another turbulent phase began in the history of Bhoi dynasty. Immediately after his accession, he had to bear the brunt Nizam’s invasion from Hyderabad. Ramachandradeva’s territory extending between Tekkali, Raghunathpur and the Chilka lake came under the sway of the Nizam. At that crucial phase of his career,Ramachandradeva-I never lost his heart and assembled the native paiks and zamindars. He gave a tough fight to the army of Hyderabad but was easily routed by the army of the Nizam. The above mentioned territory was lost to the Nizam. Taqui Khan, the Naib of Odisha, appointed by Murshid Quli Khan, did not come to the rescue of Raja Ramachandradeva II.

Muhammad Taqui Khan was a religious bigot. Destroying many Hindu shrines in Odisha, he proceeded towards Khurda. Though, Ramachandradeva II had gathered the Paiks around him but by the persuation of the Brahmins, they did not fight for the king and even Bakshi Benu Bhramaravara Rai and Diwan Nilambara Harichandana fled from the battle field. Now, Ramachandradeva appointed two Muslims, Lodhu Miana Diwan and Khalifa Gadadhara Mangaraja as Baksi but the result was negative. Taqui Khan demanded the surrender of Ramachandradeva II after killing the newly appointed Diwan and Bakshi. Though, his order was executed by the kings, Taqui Khan marched towards Khurda, captured Ramachandradeva and brought him to Cuttack. In the meanwhile, Taqui Khan marched towards Khurda and the rebellious sons of Ramachandradeva fled away from the palace. Taqui Khan pursued them and occupied the territory lying between Khurda and Banapur. After leaving Khurda, Bhagirathi Kumar one of the sons of Ramachandradeva II sought the help of the king of Kodala. Athagarh and their combined army brought the disaster for the Mughals. However, Taqui Khan persued Ramachandradeva II to fight on his own behalf against Bhagirathi Kumar who was defeated andleft the battle field marching towards Dasapalla. Still then, Taqui Khan never took Ramachandradeva into confidence and kept him in the palace of Khurda under housearrest. Ramachandradeva II was quite aware about the bigotry of Taqui Khan. So, he had taken steps to remove the images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra from the Puri Temple, to bring them to Banapur and subsequently to Takkali. The invasion of Taqui Khan to Puri and his entry to the Jagannath temple was proved futile because the idols were absent. So, he again attacked Khurda but Ramachandradeva fled away. The departure of Taqui Khan to Murshidabad, led Ramachandradeva to reinstall the images of the Lords in the temple. Taqui Khan hurried back from Murshidabad and made Ramachandradeva a prisoner in the fort of Barabati. Taqui Khan was murdered in that fort by two Khandayats employed by Rajaguru Paramalakshmi. With the death of Taqui Khan, Murshid Quli Khan II was appointed as the Naib Nazim of Odisha and Ramachandradeva was released from the fort of Barabati. He was greeted by the feudatory chiefs. It is stated that he fell in love with Souria, the daughter of Murshid Quli Khan II and married her being converted to Islam.

This fact is to be taken into account with a pinch of salt. It is to be believed that as he was a weak ruler, he was forced to be converted into Islam. His entry into the temple of God Jagannath was banned after he was converted to Islam. He wanted to enter into the temple by force but he Brahmins and the temple priests obstructed this way and an open rebellion was proclaimed against him. At this juncture, Mir Habib, the Deputy of Murshid Quli, look after administration of Odisha. Out of frustration, he took poison and breathed his last in 1736 A.D.

Surendra Mohanty, a notable novelist of the Odia literature, has glorified the career and achievements of Raja Ramachandradeva II for preserving the honour of the Gods of the temple at Puri in his two monumental historical novels, the Neela Saila and Niladri Vijaya. However, many facts of these two novels are based on imagination of the novelist and should not be taken as solid historical facts. If it is done, it will be a misnomer leaving the history of Odisha on the cross road of puzzles.

Divyasinghadeva I (1688-1714 A.D.) and Others

Divyasinghadeva-I
(Representation Only)

Divyasinghadeva I, who succeeded his father in 1688 A.D. was one of the ablest rulers of the Bhoi dynasty. During his reign period, Ekram Khan had attacked the Jagannath temple at Puri and captured fake images of the Lords. However, after his departure, Divyasinghadeva, reinstalled the original images in the temple, opened Simhadvara and allowed to continue all the rites of the temple including the car festival which brought joy and jubilation among the people of Odisha. When Murshid Quli Khan the Governor of Bengal was also appointed as the governor of Odisha, he sent Shuia-ud-din, his son-in-law as the Deputy of Odisha, Shuja-ud-din, marched towards Khurda and was defeated by Divyasinghadeva who had gathered the local zamindars in his side.This added a new feather in his cap. However, he breathed his last in 1714 A.D.

Harekrishnadeva (1714-1719 A.D.)

With the death of Divyasinghadeva, his younger brother Harekrishnadeva succeeded him. His reign period was marked with peace and tranquility, because by that time, there was no Muslim attack either on Khurda or Puri Jagannath temple. The white washing of the temple of Lord Jagannath was completed during his reign period. He also established a new shasana named Vira Harekrushnapura shasana. During his reign period, Gadadhara Rajaguru created many celebrated works like Sudhi Sara, Kala Sara and Achara Sara. He died in 1719 A.D.

Gopinathadeva (1719-1727 A.D.)

The accession of Gopinathadeva gave a halt to the conflict with the Mughals which was a regular feature of the Bhoi dynasty. His reign is marked with one romantic episode. He was attracted by the beauty of Suka Dei, the queen of Trailokya Harichandana of Banki. To materialise his dream, he attacked Banki and occupied some paraganas. Trailokya Harichandana, while fighting in the battle field, was killed by Gopinathadeva. At this, queen Suka Dei went to the battle field and gave a toe tight to Gopinathadeva Who was defeated and taken as prisoner by the queen, However, he was released by the gracious queen and Gopinathadeva returned all the previously occupied territories to her.

Gopinathadeva was known for his charity. He established a village named Routarapura near Puri. He also granted a village to his physician Dhananjaya Nedhinatha Rao who cured theking from a fatal disease. During his reign period, a special ritual cleansing took place in the temple of God Jagannath that involved the bathing of the Gods for three times. However, there were many black spots in the character of Gopinathadeva. One glaring instance has already been narrated in connection with Suka Dei. Further, when the chief of Ranapur was on his way to Puri to visit God Jagannath, Gopinathadeva blocked his way and tried to take his daughter forcibly who was a paragon of beauty. The situation was saved with the steady flight of the chief with his daughter and followers to Rathipur. He was infuriated with his soldiers entered the palace of Gopinathadeva and killed him bringing an end to the uneventful reign of Gopinathadeva.

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

Mukundadeva-I
Representation Only

The death of Narasimhadeva enabled Gangadharadeva, a nephew of the deceased king by the help of Mutquad Khan, the Governor of Odisha. This led to a great resentment among the subjects and some officials of the king. By taking their help, Balabhadradeva, the elder brother of Narasimhadeva, killed Gangadhara and ascended the throne in 1648 A.D. During his reign period, he had to fight with the Mughals. It was only because when Turbiyat Khan was the Deputy to rule Odisha on behalf of the Mugtial. Mirza Balaki attacked the fort of Andhari.

Raipitam, who was incharge of that fort appointed by Balabhadradeva, was defeated and fled away from the fort. His family members were captured. At this juncture, Balabhadradeva fought with the Muslims and freed the family of Raipitam from their clutches. However, the Mughals occupied Andhari fort. The reign period of Balabhadradeva was inglorious. He is known to have established the Vira Balabhadrapura Shasana near Puri.

With the death of Balabhadradeva, his son Mukundadeva I succeeded him to the throne of Khurda in 1659 A.D. As he was a minor, Dharmadeva Rajaguru carried on the administration of the kingdom on behalf of Mukundadeva. Taking the fatricidal war among the sons of Shah Jahan, Dharmadeva Rajaguru organised the zamindars of the kingdom and did not pay any tribute to the Mughals. With the victory of Aurangzeb, Khan-i-Dauran was sent to deal with the Odishan zamindars and the king of Khurda. He killed many recalcitrant zamindars and proceeded towards Khurda. He defeated Mukundadeva in 1661 and offered the Kingdom of Khurda to Bhramarabara, the younger brother of Mukundadeva. However, Mukundadeva negotiated with Khan-i-Dauran to get back his kingdom and for materialising this, he sent Dharmadeva Rajaguru to deal with the matter. Khan-i-Dauran was convinced the Mukundadeva got back his throne. After his coronation was over, he imprisoned Bhramarabara Raya.

During the Subahdarship of Sayasta Khan, the maternal uncle of Aurangzeb, Mukundadeva faced problems from the side of the Mughals. Abu Nasir, one of the sons of Sayasta Khan marched to Jajpur and Jhankada and broke the temples, establishing mosques nearby. On his way to Puri, at Sakshigopal, he halted. His plan to attack the Jagannath temple at Puri was not materialised, because the MadalaPanji informs that there was sudden thunderboltduring spring season at Sakshigopal and Abu Nasir returned to Cuttack out of fear after negotiating with Mukundadeva. The career of Mukundadeva came to an end in 1688 when he breathed his last affected by the small-pox.

Purusottamadeva (1607-1622 A.D.) and Narasimhadeva (1622-1647 A.D.)

Purusottamadeva (1607-1622 A.D.)
(Representation Only)

Purusottamadeva succeeded his father Ramachandradeva in 1607 A.D. His reign witnessed the vigorous Mughal atrocity over Odisha. During his reign, the Mughal emperor at Delhi was Jahangir who appointed Hasim Khan as the Subahdar of Odisha. He wanted to march towards Khurda and settle score with Purusottamadeva. One of his subordinates, named Raja Keso Das Maru went with his Rajput soldiers and entered into the temple of God Jagannath. Though, Purusottamadeva besieged the temple, the soldiers of Keso Das Maru threw rags socked with oil and ghee setting fire in them which burnt the Chariots of the Raja who ultimately surrendered and came in terms with Keso Das Maru. Raja Kalyana Mal, who succeeded Hasim Khan, was much more titanic than the former. He invited Vidyadhara, the Prime Minister of Purusottamadeva and made him captive at Ghantasila Tangi and attacked Khurda. Purusottama concluded peace with him. . After Kalyan Mal, Mukarram Khan was appointed as Governor of Odisha who brought injury to the image of Sakshigopal.

Being infuriated, Ramachandra advanced to cross sword with this fanatical governor appointed by Jahangir but he was defeated. He immediately fled away from Khurda and sought asylum with the king of Rajahmundry. It appears that Khurda was temporarily annexed to the Mughal empire. He was removed in 1620 A.D. and Husain Ali Khan became the Subahdar of Odisha for a short time. After him, Ahmad Beg who succeeded Husain Ali Khan as the Governor of Odisha in 1621 enabled Purusottamadeva to deal with the Mughals. Gathering support from the local chiefs, Purusottamadeva marched against him. Ahmad Beg proceeded from Khurda todeal with him. While h olding a camp near Banapur, Purusottamadeva passed away in 1622 A.D.

King Purusottamadeva was a great devotee of God Jagannath. He also patronized the Brahmins. He is credited with the establishment of three Brahmin Shasanas namely, Purusottamapura Shasana, Sri Purusottamapura Shasana and Pratapa Purusottamapura Shasana.

After the death of Purusottamadeva, his son Narasimhadeva ascended the throne of Khurda in 1622 A.D. He could not escape the wrath of Ahmad Beg, the then Subahdar of Odisha. As his humiliating proposal that the royal family of Khurda should remain as security at the Mughal court in Cuttack was not accepted by Narasimhadeva, the former invaded Khurda. Narasimhadeva gave a toe fight to the Mughal Governor and defeated him. This infuriated Ahmad Beg who wanted to lead a second expedition to Khurda. At this juncture, prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) revolted against his father Jahangir and proceeded towards Odisha from Golkunda. This foiled the plan of Ahmad Beg’s attack on Khurda and he fled immediately with his family towards Burdwan and then to Akbar Nagar. The rebellious Mughal prince was treated with humility. Being fully satisfied with the behaviour of Narasimhadeva, Shah Jahan left for Bengal. However, the alertness of Mahabbat Khan prompted the prince to retreated towards Golkunda via Odisha.

After the departure of Shah Jahan, Ahmed Beg again returned and remained as Governor of Odisha till 1628 A.D. and did not create any trouble for Narasimhadeva. During the governorship of Baquar Khan Nazim Sani who was appointed after Ahmad Bag, Narasimhadeva faced fresh troubles. Nazim Sani led an expedition to the Sun temple at Konarka. Knowing well the attitude of that Subahdar, Narasimhadeva had already removed the image of Sun god from Konarka temple to that of God Jagannath. Raja Narasimhadeva showed regards to God Jagannath. During the governorship of Ahmad Beg, the idols of Jagannatha, Balabhadra and Subhadra had been transferred to Garah Manitri from the Puri temple. Narasimhadeva brought back these images again to the temple and reinstalled them. The Madala Panji states that he had ordered to plaster the temple of God Jagannath at Puri. Further, after a long gap, he again arranged car festival during the Spring season which was not being celebrated due to the fear of Mughal governors. From the Rasika Mangala, it is known that Sri Rasikananda Deva Gosvami, the famous disciple of Syamananda, visited Puri and propagated his faith in the nook and corner of the kingdom of Narasimhadeva. The removal of the image of sun god from the temple ofKonarka prompted Mutquad Khan to attack Khurda. In that fierce battle, Narasimhadeva met his end at the hands of his enemy.

Ramachandradeva I (1568-1607 A.D.)

Ramachandradeva-I
Representation Only

The accession of Ramachandradeva to the throne of Bhoi dynasty at Khurda marks a glorious epoch for that dynasty. Who is Ramachandradeva ? As stated earlier, Danai Vidyadhara was taken captive by

Mukundadeva at Puri. Having heard this news, his son Ramai Routaray wanted to march towards Puri but was confined at the fort of Rajahmundry by the order of Mukunda Harichandana. With the passing away of Mukunda Harichandana in 1568 A.D., Ramai Routaraya was released from the fort and he returned Odisha. As Cuttack, by that time was under the clutches of the Afghans, Ramai selected Khurda as the centre of his political activity. This he got from Vala Vikrama Singh as a token of gift, informs the Chaininka Chakada. In that place, Ramai Routaraya proclaimed himself as king in 1568 A.D. This Ramai Routaraya is none but Ramachandradeva I, popularly known as Ramachandradeva, who assumed this name after coronation. Then, he proclaimed himself as the Gajapati of Odisha and introduced his own Anka (year) in 1568 A.D.

His achievements

The Madala Panji describes him belonging to the Yadu Vamsa. After his accession, Rarnachandradeva wanted to extend his boundary in every direction- north, south, east and west. That was the time of Mughal-Afghan conflict for the possession of Odisha. The coming of Mirja Raja Mansingh to Odisha led Ramachandradeva to think that his position might be jeopardized. It was only because Telenga Mukundadeva and Chhakadi Bhramarabara, the two sons of deceased Mukundadeva had appealed to Akbar, the Mughal emperor to recognise them as the legitimate rulers of Odisha. Initially, Ramachandradeva fortified the fort of Sarangagarh and gave shelter to the Afghans inside it.

On his way to Puri, Mansingh waited at Sali and Raja Ramachandradeva wanted to negotiate with him by sending his son Birabara. However, Mansingh did not listen to Birabara and desired to see Ramachandradeva personally in his camp. Ramachandradeva did not turn up. At this, Mansingh proceeded towards Khurda accompanied by his son Jagat Singh, Abul Baqa, Shahabuddin Diwan and others and captured forts like Sahajpala, Kharagarh, Kalupada, Bhumal, Konon, Lonagarh and Bhumala. Ramachandradeva did not come out from the fort of Khurda. .Akbar now changed his mind. In order to crush Afghans in Odisha, he wanted to satisfy Ramachandradeva, on the one har.d and the sons of Mukundadeva, on the other. Accordingly, Mansingh did the needful. The Madala Panji states that during Chandana Yatra, Mansingh proceeded towards Puri with the two rival claimants, Ramachandradeva and Telenga Mukundadeva. The priests of the Jagannath temple asked Mansingh to whom he would offer the power and authority as the king of Odisha. Mansingh took up Khadi prasada from the priests and offered to Ramachandradeva proclaiming him as the king of Odisha. However, he satisfied the two sons of Mukundadeva. The fort of Aul (All) and the Zamindari assigned to it were offered to Telenga Mukundadeva who became king over it. Chhakadi Bhramarabara, another son of Mukundadeva was made the chief of Patia. By doing this Mansingh gave the proof of his diplomacy. One notable event during the reign period of Ramachandradeva was the invasion of 1brahim Qutab Shah, the Sultan of Golkunda. He pursued his enemy Mukunda Raja of Kasimkota who sought the help of Ramachandradeva. Of course, it is not clear what happened to Ramachandradeva in that battle waged against Ibrahim. It is to be believed with a tolerable degree of certainty that Ramachandradeva was defeated. This assumption is to be made, because, by that time Kalinga and Rajahmundry were lost to the Odishan empire and included in the kingdom of Golkunda Sultan. Though Ramachandradeva was hard pressed by the Afghans of Bengal in the north and Sultan of Golkunda in the south, he had as many as thirty-two zamindaries at his disposal. Among them, the Zamindari of Khurda was very important which contained 73 forts. Besides, there were Zamindaries of Banki, Domapara, Baramba, Tigiria, Narasinghpur, Angul, Talcher, Nayagarh, Dasapalla, Parikud, Ghumsar, Khallikote, Tekkali, Raghunathpur, Rathipur, Tapang, Rorung, Karki, Bolegarh etc. Roughly, the territory of Ramachandradeva extended upto the river Mahanadi in the north to the borders of Khimindi in the south and from Chilika lake, in the east to Nayagarh and Dasapalla region in the west.

His benevolent works

Ramachandradeva was a pious man. Immediately after his accession to the throne, he reinstalled the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in the Puri Jagannath temple which were burnt during Afghan invasion of Odisha under the redoubtable Kalapahada. The Madala Panji informs that he himself remained present near the Jaya Vijaya dvara and distributed Mahaprasada to different sections of the Hindu society. For this noble work, he was called Dvitiya Indradyumna. He was also instrumental in building the tempte at Sakshigopala. He alsowanted to appease the Brahmins because he had ascended the throne by ignoring the claims of the sons of Mukundadeva. Though this was recognized by emperor Akbar, still, Ramachandradeva thought it prudent to get the blessings of the Brahmanas to legimatize his claim. So, he established several Shasanas (Brahmin villages) among which Vira Ramachandrapura exists today. The Madala Panji further informs that Gauri Rani (the queen of Raja Mansingh) built the present Mukti Mandapa inside the sacred complex of the Jagannath temple at Puri. Raja Ramachandradeva I was a great patron of scholars. He himself was an accomplished poet who composed Durgotsava Chandrika and Sri Krishna Bhakta Vatsalya Charitam. However, the composition of Durgotsava Chandrika by Raja Ramachandradeva is controversial and its authorship is assigned to Vardhamana Mahapatra, the Rajaguru of the family. Ramachandradeva breathed his last in 1607 A.D.

Govinda Vidyadhara and Others

With the death of Prataparudradeva, the political scenario of Odisha became turbulent. Treachery, confusion and bloodshed became the order of the day. Gajapati Prataparudradeva had left behind no strong successor to uphold the banner of Gajapati imperialism. Cowed down by selfish rivalry in politics among the feudatories, with impending threat of Muslim invasion and economic bankruptcy caused by ceaseless wars fought during Prataparudradeva, medieval Odisha was heading towards a great disaster. At this juncture, the accession of Kaluadeva, the eldest son of Prataparudradeva to the Gajapati throne in 1540 A.D., provided the people with no peaceful administration. Just after seventeen months of inglorious rule, he was killed by Govinda Vidyadhara, the trecherous general of Prataparudradeva. His death made the confusion worst confounded. Kakharudeva, the younger brother of the deceased Gajapati, who succeeded the former to the throne of Odisha, met the same fate again at the hand of Govinda Vidyadhara who usurped the Gajapati throne in 1541-42 AD. and became the founder of the Bhoi dynasty in Odisha.

Govinda Vidyadhara (C-1542-1549 A.D.)

Govinda Vidyadhara ascended the throne of Odisha when the land was passing through political upheavel. With his assumption of power, he wanted to exert his influence upon the people of Odisha by adopting the title ‘Suvarna Kesari’ as gleaned from the Narasimha temple inscriptions at Simhachalam. From the Madala Panji, it is known that he had led an expedition to Golkonda to recover the Krishna-Godavari-Doab from Sultan Quli Qutab Shah. In the meanwhile, Raghubhanja Chhotaray, a scion of the Bhanja dynasty of Mayurbhanj and a nephew of Govinda Vidyadhara, rose in revolt. Assisted by Valmiki Srichandana, another nephew of Goyinda Vidyadhara and Abdul Shah, he attacked Cuttack and besieged it. However, the fort was successfully defended by Mukunda Harichandana in the absence of Govinda Vidyadhara. Having heard this news, Govinda entrusted the task of operation against Bahamani kingdom to Danai Vidyadhara and hurried back towards his capital. At his approach,Raghubhanja left the capital. Govinda Vidyadhara defeated the combined army led by his nephew Raghubhanja Chhotaraya and pursued them to the boarder of Bengal. On his way back to Cuttack, he fell ill and breathed his last at Dasasvamedha ghata on the river bank of Vaitarani in 1549 AD.

If the social history of Odisha is analysed, one will find that there was no such caste as Bhoi. However, with the gradual march of time, the accountants and record keepers of the kings of Odisha termed themselves as Bhoi. In due course of time, they served as generals in the Odishan army. Govinda Vidyadhara and subsequently, Danai Vidyadhara were bright examples of it. Whatever the fact may be, the corner stone of the Bhoi dynasty was iaid down by Govinda Vidyadhara and the dynasty is looked down upon as the dynasty of traitors. Some historians also treat the Bhois of belonging to inferior caste (Sudra).

Chakrapratapa (C 1549-1557 A.D.)

Chakrapratapa succeeded his father Govinda Vidyadhara in or about 1549 A.D. He called back the general Danai Vidyadhara from the South and made him his Prime Minister. Chakrapratapa was a tyrannical, cruel and oppressive ruler. Abul Fazl, in his Akabarnama narrates that he was killed by his son after the eventful reign of eight years.

Narasimha Jena (C 1557-1558 A.D.)

Narasimha Jena ascended the throne in 1557 A.D. He came under the tremendous influence of Mukunda Harichandana who persuaded the king to dismiss Danai Vidyadhara from power. However, Narasimha Jena paid a deaf ear to Mukunda Harichandana. When his persuaticn failed, reports Madala Panji, he murdered Narasimha Jena and placed Raghurama Chhotaraya, the younger brother of Narasimha Jena on the throne.

Raghurama Chhotaraya (C 1558-1560 A.D.)

Raghurama Chhotaraya succeeded his elder brother Narasimha Jena to the throne of Bhoi dynasty. He became a puppet ruler at the hands of Mukunda Harichandana, the general of the Odishan army. Receiving the news of Raghurama’s accession, Danai Vidyadhara returned from the South. On his way to Cuttack, Mukunda Harichandana met him at Mangalajori in Puri and won his confidence. Danai Vidyadhara was entraped by Mukunda who placed the former inside the prison. After a short while, Danai Vidyadhara met his end. In the mean while, Raghubhanja Chhotaraya, receiving the help from Bengal, marched upto Cuttack and challenged the authorityof Mukundadeva. He was captured and killed by Mukundadeva. After that Mukunda Harichandana killed Raghurama Chhotaraya and proclaimed himself as the king of Odisha.

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