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

Medieval Odisha

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.