The rise of the Imperial Gangas is a watershed moment in Odisha’s history. Ganga rule is regarded as an era of ferocious imperial wars and conquests, frenetic political activity, sound administration, and significant cultural achievements. Indeed, the Gangas as a ruling dynasty first appeared in Odishan history at the end of the fifth century A.D. and rose to prominence in the eleventh century A.D. Not only did the Gangas succeed in establishing a vast empire, but their well-organized administrative structure and unmatched architectural splendours such as the Sri Jagannath temple in Puri and the Sun temple in Konarka immortalised their name in the annals of mediaeval Odishan history.
The reign of the Gangas, colloquially referred to as the Eastern Gangas, is a glorious period in mediaeval Odishan history. They fought a long battle for survival from 498 A.D. to 940 A.D., and during this time period, they encountered numerous vicissitudes. This was followed by 400 years of glorious rule, between 1038 and 1435 A.D.
It is exceedingly difficult to trace the Ganga dynasty’s origins. However, they can be traced back to the fourth century B.C. as a tribe. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to Chandragupta Maurya’s court, mentions a tribe called Gangaridai that lived on the Ganges bank. Pliny refers to their southward movement and settlement on the banks of the river Vamsadhara in the first century AD. The Draksaram temple inscription, the Kenduli plate, the Korni copper plate, the Nagari plate, the Kendupatana plate, the Jagannath temple inscription, the Chinna Badamu plates, the Ronaki inscription, the Kanchipuram inscription, the Kapilasa inscription, and the Kamarnava copper plate (Choudwar) are the imperial Gangas’ principal inscriptional sources. Among literary works, the Madala Panji, Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, Tarikh-i-Firoze Shahi, Ramacharita, and Kalingattuparani are all significant because they shed significant light on the careers and accomplishments of the Ganga kings.
1. Chronology of the Ganaga Rulers
2. Anantavarman Chodagangadeva (1077-1147 A.D.)
3. Anangabhimadeva III (1211-1238 A.D.)
4. Narasimhadeva I (1238 – 1264 A.D.)
5. The Ganga Administration
6. Cultural Significance of Ganga Rule
The Gangas first appeared in Odishan history at the end of the fifth century and again in the eleventh century. They established themselves as the supreme power during this time period. Among the Ganga rulers, three individuals stood out: Chodagangadeva, Anangabhimadeva III, and Narasimhadeva-I. Chodagangadeva’s seventy-year reign was a glorious epoch in mediaeval Odishan history. Chodagandadeva is a remarkable figure in mediaeval Odishan history as an administrator, patron of art, architecture, and culture, and liberal ruler. Anangabhimadeva III was a great warrior, administrator, diplomat, devout man, patron of scholars, protector of all religious faiths, and protector of historical monuments, among other things. On the other hand, Narasimhadeva-I is famous for his heroism and the magnificent construction of the Konark Sun Temple. To summarise, the Ganga dynasty enabled Odisha’s territorial and cultural development.