Anantavaraman Vajrahasta V (C-1038-1070 A.D.)
The Gangas were liberated from the clutches of the Somavamsi kings with the accession of Anantavarman Vajrahasta V in 1038 A.D. He used titles such as ‘Maharaja, Maharajadhiraja, Paramamahesvara, Paramabhattaraka, and Trikalingadhipati’ as the first independent Ganga king. His title’Trikalingadhipati’ makes it abundantly clear that he unified Utkala, Kongoda, and Kalinga. He pursued a policy of rnatrirnorual alliances in order to bolster his empire. His marriage to Vinaya Mahadevi, a Kalachuri princess, solidified his position in Southern India and compelled him to deal with the Somavamsis. He is presumed to have maintained diplomatic relations with distant neighbouring countries, which added to his glory.
Devendravarman Rajarajadeva (1070-1077 A.D.)
In 1070 AD, his son Devendra Varman Rajarajadeva succeeded Vajrahasta V. Rajarajadeva was determined to pursue a vigorous policy in response to pressure from the Somavamsis of Utkala and the Chalukyas of Vengi. He carried his arms all the way to Vengi, where he defeated Kulottungachoda alias Rajendrachoda II, who gave Rajarajadeva the hand of his daughter Raja sundari. According to the Dirghasi inscription, Vanapati, Rajaraja’s Brahmin minister and commander, dealt a crushing defeat to the rulers of Vengi, Utkala, Khimidi, Gidrisingi, Kosala, and Chola. Rajarajadeva established stability in Ganga rule through the acquisition of neighbouring territories through a zealous policy of aggrandisement. He adopted high-sounding independent titles such as Parama Mahesvara, Paramabhattaraka, Maharajadhtraja, and Trikalingadhipati. He was assassinated in 1077 AD.
Anantavarman Chodagangadeva was a renowned Ganga dynasty king. Due to his youth, the initial phase of his reign was critical. However, as the king matured into adulthood, he demonstrated his ability as a ruler by ruling Odisha for seventy years. Indeed, he established the Gangas dynasty in Odisha, which ruled until 1435 A.D.
Kamarnava (1147-1156 A.D.)
Kamarnava succeeded to the throne following his father’s death through his wife Kasturikamohini. His brief reign of a decade was dominated by the struggle with the Kalachuris for control of the Sambalpur-Sonepur-Bolangir tract. As with his father, he failed in his mission. During his reign, he is remembered for performing the Tulabharam ceremony, in which he weighed himself against gold that he distributed to Brahmins and his courtiers.
Raghava (1156-1170 A.D.)
In 1156 AD, following Kamarnava’s demise, his younger brother Raghava ascended to the Ganga throne. Through his queen Indiradevi, he was another son of Anantavarman Chodagandadeva. Additionally, he adopted the lofty title of ‘Anantavarma Devidasa Ranaranga Raghava Chakravarti. Perhaps during his reign, Velanadu’s Kulottunga Rajendrachoda II attacked Kalinga and achieved some success. Among his two inscriptions discovered inside the Lingaraja temple’s Jagamohana, one describes Jayadeva, a renowned Odia poet known for his eternal creation Gitagovinda. His reign was relatively tranquil and peaceful.
Rajaraja II (1170-1190 A.D.)
Rajaraja II succeeded Raghava because he lacked a son and heir. Through his queen Chandralekeha, he was another son of Chodagandadeva. With him, the imperial Gangas’s long-forgotten glory was resurrected. At the start of his reign, he reclaimed the Gangas territory lost to Kamarnava and Raghava, extending from Simhachalam to Godavari. However, when Prithivisvara, the Velanati Chola ruler over Kalinga, attacked and extended his sway all the way to Srikurmam, Rajaraja II was forced to accept the former’s supremacy and remain as a vassal king. Scholars reject Lakshmanasena’s victory over Utkala, the Sena ruler of Bengal and a contemporary of Rajaraja II. The great Jayadeva. During Rajaraja II’s reign, poets flourished as well.
Anangabhimadeva II (1190-1198 A.D)
Anangabhimadeva II, Rajaraj II’s brother, ascended the throne due to his lack of children. His reign was peaceful, and he oversaw the construction of numerous Saivite temples. Svapnesvaradeva, his brother-in-law, built the famous Meghesvara temple in Bhubaneswar. He most likely constructed the Sovanesvara Siva temple in Niali. He undertook massive public works such as road construction, well and tank digging, and the construction of high compound walls. He patronised men of letters and also looked out for his subjects’ material and spiritual well-being. He was assassinated in 1198 A.D.
Rajaraja III (1198-1211 A.D.)
In 1198 A.D., Anangabhimadeva II was succeeded by his son Rajaraja III. During his reign, the Muslims’ desire to conquer this land increased. According to Qazi Minhaj-us-Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, siraj’s Muhammad Sheran and Ahmad Sheran advanced to occupy Lakhnor (in Bengal) and Jajnagar on Bakhtyar Khilji’s orders (Jajpur in Odisha). The plan came to an abrupt halt when Bhaktyar Khiljl was killed while leading the Muslim army in a campaign against Kamarupa (Assam). However, the Muslim governors of Bengal continued their attacks on Odisha during his successors’ reigns.
In 1211 AD, Rajaraja-III was succeeded by his son, Anangabhimadeva-III. Anangabhimadeva-III ascended to power at a time when Muslim rule in Bengal posed a threat to the Ganga kingdom in Odisha’s security. On the other hand, the Kalachuris were the Gangas’ traditional adversary. Simultaneously, the Chola Empire was collapsing in the south. This was the case when Anangabhimadeva III ascended to the Gangas throne.
The Ganga Empire reached its zenith with Narasimhadeva I’s succession to the Ganga throne in 1238 A.D. Throughout his twenty-six years of glorious rule, he accomplished extraordinary feats in every facet of Ganga administration. His aggressive and belligerent military policy instilled fear in the Muslim rulers of Bengal and Oudh. This elevated the imperial Gangas to new heights of strength, glory, and splendour. For the first time, he bore the title Gajapati, demonstrating his vast possession of elephants; this title was occasionally borne by later Ganga rulers and invariably by Suryavamsi kings. The magnificent creation in the field of architecture that brought Narasimhadeva was the Sun temple at Konarka. He was popularly known in Odisha as Langula Narasimhadeva.
Bhanudeva I (1264-1279 A.D.)
Narasimhadeva was succeeded by his son Bhanudeva I. In or around 1275 A.D., Yuzbak, the Governor of Bengal marched as far as Jajnagar (Jajpur). and removed a few elephants. The Muslim sway is believed to have extended all the way to Jajpur. Bhanudeva was a merciful king. His gift of lands, mango orchards, and trees to the Brahmins demonstrates his support for Brahmanism. The arrival of Narahari Tirtha, the Dvaita Vedantin, and his acceptance of the images of Rama and Sita from Bhanudeva I indicates that Sita-Rama worship began during his reign. However, the Ganga empire began to disintegrate during the reign of Bhanudeva I, when several feudatories such as the Matsys of Oddadi, the Chalukyas of Elamancili, and the Pallavas of Virakutam demonstrated a defiant attitude toward Ganga suzerainty. Chandrikadevi, the daughter of Anangabhimadeva III and the wife of Paramadrideva, constructed the Anantavasudeva temple in Bhubaneswar during his reign.
Narasimhadeva II (1-.279-1306 A.D.)
Narasimhadeva II succeeded to the throne in 1279 A.D., following the death of Bhanudeva I. As a minor, Narahari Tirtha served as his regent for a period of twelve years. Tughril Khan-i-Yuzbak, the governor of Bengal during his reign, fought Balban, the Sultan of Delhi. Thus, Narasimhadeva II reigned during a relatively peaceful era. By enhancing communication capabilities, he facilitated trade and commerce and brought prosperity to the land. As with his forefathers, he was referred to as Vira Narasimhadeva, Sri Narasimhadeva, Pratapa Vira Sri Narsimhadeva, and so forth. Additionally, he performed Tulapurusadana. He patronised Brahmanas and founded numerous Brahmana shasanas (villages). His court was crowned with literary luminaries. Among them, Sraddhapaddhati by Sambhukara Vajapeyi, Nityachara Paddhati and Karmadipika by Vidyakara, and Smriti Samuchaya by Sankhadhara were all well-known Sanskrit works at the time. He was assassinated in 1306 A.D.
Bhanudeva II (1306-1328 A.D)
The decline of the Ganga empire began with Bhanudeva II’s accession in 1323 A.D. after subjugating Warrangal. Ulugh Khan ( Muhammad Tughluq) was raided in the Jajnagar area and forty elephants were taken from him. This demonstrates unequivocally that Bhanudeva II was forced to deal with the Muslims. However, no part of the Ganga territory appears to have been lost during his reign. The fact remains that the Gangas’ aggressive imperialism had ended. He also regarded himself as God Jagannath’s Deputy.
Narasimhadeva III (1328-1352 A.D.)
With the death of Bhanudeva II in 1328 AD, Narasimhadeva III ascended the throne. Taking advantage of the Musunuri Nayakas’ weakness, the Reddies and Velemas declared themselves independent kingdoms in the coastal Andhra region. At this point, Narasimhadeva III viewed the death of Toyyeeti Anavota Nayaka (who was ruling that region on behalf of Kapaya Nayaka, the Musunuri ruler) as a golden opportunity to extend his sway up to Srikakulam. That victory, however, was brief, as Anavota Reddi, a powerful Reddi ruler, forced the Kalingan army to retreat up to the Kalinga border crossing of the Godavari river. Thus, the Ganga empire was gradually eroding. He was assassinated in 1352 A.D.
Bhanudeva III (1352-1378 A.D.)
Bhanudeva succeeded to the Ganga throne following the death of his father Narasimhadeva III in 1352 A.D. His reign witnessed a turbulent period in the Gangas’ glorious rule. Iliyas Shah, the governor of Bengal during his reign, defied the authority of Firoz Shah, the Sultan of Delhi, necessitating a war between the two. Immediately preceding it, in or around 1351 A.D. Iliyas had taken control of Jajnagar. Additionally, Bhanudeva III’s assistance to Iliyas Shah in 1353-54 A.D. In defeating Firoz Toghluq, who fled to Delhi, Iliyas demonstrates that he never attacked Jajnagar. At this point, Bhanudeva III may have deemed it prudent to assist Iliyas in order to ward off any possible attack on his kingdom by the Sultan of Delhi (Firoz Tughluq).
Bhanudeva III paid a high price for his friendship with Iliyas. In 1357 A.D., Firoz Tughluq invaded Bengal in retaliation for his defeat. and Sikandar Shah, who succeeded his father Liyas Shah, met with Firoz Tughluq to negotiate. In 1360 A.D., Firoz marched towards Jajnagar, shocking Ganga King Bhanudeva III. Due to the treachery of some of Bhanudeva III’s officers, Firoz was able to inflict a crushing defeat on the Odishan King, who had signed a peace treaty with the Sultan of Delhi. No other contemporary source corroborates the Muslim invaders’ destruction of the Puri Jagannath temple described in Tarikh-i-Firoze Shahi. In the year 1356 A.D. The Vijayanagara Empire launched an attack on the Ganga kingdom, led by Sangama, Bukkaraya I’s nephew, who defeated Bhanudeva III and snatched away the Gangas’ southern empire. Additionally, in 1375 A.D., Anavema Reddi, the powerful Reddi ruler, crossed the Godavari and united the Ganga empire up to Simhachalam under his suzerainty. During his reign, the Ganga’s glory was shattered. In 1378 A.D., King Bhanudeva III, also known as Sri Vira, Pratapavira Bhanudeva, and Vira Sri Bhanudeva, died.
Narasimhadeva IV (1378-1414 A.D.)
Narasimhadeva IV succeeded to the Ganga throne following the death of Bhanudeva III in 1378 A.D. In 1386 A.D. Kataya Vema, led by Kumaragiri’s brother-in-law, attacked South Kalinga and wreaked havoc in Cuttack. As evidenced by his adoption of the title Kataka Chudakara following this invasion. Narasimhadeva IV had no choice but to seek peace by114 offering his daughter’s hands to Kumara Anavota, Kumaragiri’s son. The conflict between the Reddis and Velemas in the south weakened the Reddi power, and Narasimhadeva began consolidating his hold on South Kalinga as a result. However, the Ganga’s military might continued to dwindle during his reign. His initiative resulted in the development of the Odia language and grammar. He was a patron of scholars, Brahmins, and men-of-letters.
Bhanudeva IV (1414-1435 A.D.)
Bhanudeva IV, the final Ganga king, ascended the throne following Narasimhadeva IV’s death in 1414. As the Reddi Empire was already in decline, Bhanudeva IV attacked the Reddy territory in collaboration with Devaraya I, the king of Vijayanagara; Allada Reddi of Rajahmundry was forced to negotiate peace with both the kings of Utkala and Vijayanagara. The Chandra kala Natika of a great Odia poet, Viswanath Kaviraj, attributes the conquest of Gauda to Bhanudeva IV (Bengal). He marched towards Bengal in order to liberate the Hindus from Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Shah’s control. He assumed titles such as Srivira Bhanudeva, Gajapati Pratapa Vira Sri Nisanka Bhanudeva, and others. He was the dynasty’s final ruler. While he was engaged in his southern campaign against the Reddis, his trusted minister, Kapilesvara Routraya, betrayed him and usurped the throne with the assistance of the Brahmins. Thus, the Ganga dynasty came to an end, bringing an end to the Gangas’ glorious reign.