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Ancient Odisha

Dynastic History of The Sailodbhavas

Dharmaraja I Ranabhita (553-575 A. D.)

From the Sumandala charter dated Gupta era 250 (570 A.D.), it is known that Dharmaraja I other wise known as Ranabhita was the first known historical ruler of the Sailodbhaba dynasty. He was not an Independent ruler, rather, a feudatory under the Vigraha ruler Prithivivigraha of Kalinga. It is apparent that towards the close of sixth century A.D., the Vigrahas had become powerful and the Sailodbhavas acknowledged their suzerainty. Dharmaraja I was, perhaps, the devotee of Sun God as in the Sumandala Charter, it is mentioned that he devoted at the feet of thousand-rayed sun (Sahasrarasmi padabhakta).

Madhavaraja I Sainyabhlta I( 575- 600 A. D.)

Madhavaraja succeeded Dharmaraja I to the throne of Kongoda. He was feudatory of the Vigrahas as is revealed from the Kanasa copper plate grant of Gupta era 280 (600 A.D.) wherein he has been described as a Mahasamanta under Lokavigraha. This fact has been corroborated in the Ganjam grant of his grandson Madhavaraja II. Thus, the two early rulers of this dynasty were not independent rulers rather they acknowledged the suzerainty of the Vigrahas of Kalinga.

Chharamparaja Ayasobhita I (600-615 A.D.)

With Chharamparaja Ayasobhita I, a new phase began in the history of the Sailodbhavas. In the struggle between the Vigrahas and Mudgalas for supremacy over Tosali, Ayasobhita I fished in that troubled water and became independent of the Vigraha rule. From Eradanga Charter (555 A.D.) and the Soro Charter (580 A.D.), it is known that the Mudgala King Sambhuyasa became powerful over Tosali and wanted to subjugate Kalinga. His dream was shattered into pieces when he was defeated by Lokavigraha. About 603 A. D. Sambhuyasa avenged the defeat by driving out Lokavigraha from South Tosali. Immediately, after the assertion of his power over South Tosali, he was defeated by Prithvimaharaja, the King of Pistapura and thus, ended the Mudgala rule over Tosali.

At the advent of the seventh century A. D. Prithvimaharaja encountered the attack of Sasanka of Gauda from the north who occupied the Northen Tosali. At about the same time, Pulakesin II established his sway over Pistapura. At this juncture, Ayasobhita I asserted his independence over Kongoda. For the first time, he named his capital Vijaya Kangodavasaka. From the Khandipada Nuapali grant, it is known that he was an independent ruler and was assisted by a number of officers like Sri Samanta, Maha Samanta, Maharaja Rajanaka, Rajaputra, Dandanayaka, Kumaramatya, Uparika and Ayuktaka. The creation of new capital and different officers including feudatories clearly show that he was an independent and sovereign ruler. He was a devotee to Lord Siva (Hara) and patronised Saivism as is revealed from his Nuapali grant. Perhaps, towards the close of his reign or his success of Madhavaraja II, Kongoda came under the sway of Sasanka of Gauda.

Madhavaraja II Sainyabhita II ( 615 – 665 A.D.)

The lost glory of the Sailodbhava dynasty was restored and firmly established by Madhavaraja II Sainyabhita II, the son and successor of Charamparaja. He ruled over Kongoda Mandala under different circumstances at least for fifty years as feudatory and independent ruler exhibiting his diplomatic genius. In his Ganjarn grant dated 620 AD., he has been described as the Mahasamanta of Sasanka. In the Khurda Charter of Madhavaraja, he is described as the Lord of entire Kalinga. This shows that around 626 A.D., with the fall of Sasanka, Madhvaraja II asserted his Independence and grabbed entire Kalinga assuming the title Sakala-Kalingadhipati. The Gangas, who had been driven away from Kalinga by Sasanka, now gained momentum and with the help of the Western Chalukyas reasserted their sway over Kalinga. This fact has been asserted from the Chicacole plates of the Ganga ruler Indravarman III. At this juncture, Madhavaraja II thought it prudent to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Gangas which has been corroborated by the subsequent Charters. After the issue of Khurda Charter, he never, mentions himself as the ‘Lord ot Kalinga’.

Right from 628 A.D. Madhavaraja “became conspicuously famous as Madhavavarman, revealed from the Buguda and Purusottampur Charters. Further, his kingdom was known as Kongoda mandala. In the struggle for mastery over South India between’ Harsavardhan and Pulakeshin II, Madhavavarman remained silent and maintained his independent status as a buffer state. With the death of Pulakesin II in 642 AD., Harsavardhan conquered Kongoda and Madhavavarman had no alternative but to accept the suzerainty of Harsa. Again, with the demise of Harsavardhan in 647 A.D. Madhavavarman became the independent sovereign of Kongoda mandala. After fiftieth regnal year i.e. C-665 AD. nothing is known about him. The way Madhavaraja II tackled the turbulent situation encompassing Kongoda testifies his genius as a shrewd diplomat. He not only saved the nascent Sailodbhava kingdom from the wrath of the great rulers like Sasanka, Pulakesin II and Harsa but also became successful in maintaining the sovereignty and strength of the empire.

Madhyamaraja I Ayasobhita II (665-695 A.D.)

Madhavaraja was succeeded by Madhyamaraja I Ayasobhita II, His Parikuda Charter describes him as a mystic person who can establish link with departed souls. He was so strong that he could run easily with able bodied persons standing on his soldiers. He was a patron of Brahmanism as the above mentioned charter records tne grant of a village in Katakabhukti Visaya in favour of twelve Brahmanas. Further, he performed the Vedic sacrified like Asvamedha and Vajapeya. After a glorious reign of thirty years, he breathed his last in C – 695A.D.

Dharmaraja II Srimanabhita (C-695 – 725 A.D.)

With the passing away of Ayasovita II, a war of succession took place between his two sons- Dharmaraja II and Madhavaraja. Madhavaraja, the younger son of Ayasobhita II usurped the throne of Kongoda violating the law of primogeniture and tried to drive away Dharmaraja from the Kingdom. However, Dharmaraja in retrospect secured the support of some powerful officers and feudatories and defeated his younger brother, Madhavaraja. The latter left Kongoda and formed an alliance with Tivaradeva, the ruler of South Kosala who wished to help Madhava for extending his sway to Kongoda. However, contrary to his expectation, of the combined army Tivaradeva and Madhavaraja was defeated by Dharmaraja. After that, Dharmaraja II firmly established his authority over Kongoda. It is known that he was a great builder of towns as revealed from his Banapur, Puri, Rampur, Nivina, Chandesvara and Kondeddle charters. The Kama Nalinakshapura grant of Ganga King Samantavarman, mentions a high road named Dharmaraja Kalingamarga which was perhaps, built by Dharmaraja II. Dharmaraja II was a saintly king. He had love and adoration for religion and philosophy. He performed the Vedic sacrifices and patronised Brahmin scholars. He was famous for his religious toleration. It is known from his Banpur grant that his queen Kalyanadevi granted lands in favour of a Jaina monk Prabodha Chandra. This shows her religious catholicity.

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