The rise of the Imperial Gangas is a remarkable event in the history of Odisha. The period of Ganga rule is considered as an era of vigorous imperial wars and conquests, hectic political activities, sound administration and great cultural attainments. In fact, the Gangas as a rulling dynasty appeared in the Odishan history towards the end of the fifth century A.D. and in the eleventh century A.D., they emerged as a paramount power. The Gangas not only succeeded in building a vast empire but their well organised administrative set up, ‘unparalled architectural splendours like Sri Jagannath temple at Puri and Sun temple at Konarka made their name immortal in the annals of medieval Odishan history.
The reign of the Gangas, popularly known as the Eastern Gangas, forms a splendid era in the medieval Odishan history. They struggled hard for a long period from 498 A.D. to 940 A.D. for their survival and during this phase, they passed through many vicissitudes. This was followed by four hundred years of glorious rule, a period from 1038 A.D. to 1435 A.D.
It is very difficult to find out the sources of the Ganga dynasty. However, as a tribe they can be traced back to fourth century B.C. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya, mentions a tribe, named Gangaridai, which inhabited on the bank of the Ganges. In the first century AD., Pliny refers to their southward movement and settlement on the bank of the river Vamsadhara.The Draksaram temple inscription, Kenduli plate, Korni copper plate, Nagari plate, Kendupatana plate, Jagannath temple inscription, Chinna Badamu plates, Ronaki inscription, Kanchipuram inscription, Kapilasa inscription, Kamarnava copper plate (Choudwar) etc. form the main inscriptional scources of the imperial Gangas. Among literary works, very important are the Madala Panji, Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, Tarikh-i-Firoze Shahi, Ramacharita and Kalingattuparani etc. which throw considerable light on the career and achievements 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 appeared in the Odishan history towards the end of the fifth century A.D., and in the eleventh century AD. During this period they emerged as the paramount power. Among the Ganga rulers three rulers like Chodagangadeva, Anangabhimadeva III, and Narasimhadeva-I were prominent. The seventy years long rule of Chodagangadeva was a glorious epoch in the medieval Odishan history. As an administrator, patron of art, architecture and culture and a liberal ruler, Chodagandadeva is a remarkable figure in the medieval Odishan history. Anangabhimadeva III was a great warrior, administrator, diplomat, pious man, lover of scholars, protector of all religious faiths, preserver of historical monuments etc. On the other hand, Narasimhadeva-I is famous due to his heroism and marvelous creation of the Sun temple, at Konark. To conclude, the development in both territorial and cultural of Odisha was possible due to of the Ganga dynasty.