Purusottamadeva (1607-1622 A.D.) and Narasimhadeva (1622-1647 A.D.)

In 1607 A.D., Purusottamadeva succeeded his father Ramachandradeva. During his reign, he witnessed the ferocious Mughal atrocity against Odisha. Jahangir was the Mughal emperor in Delhi during his reign, and he appointed Hasim Khan as the Subahdar of Odisha. He desired to march towards Khurda in order to avenge Purusottamadeva. One of his subordinates, Raja Keso Das Maru, went to the temple of God Jagannath with his Rajput soldiers. Though Purusottamadeva besieged the temple, Keso Das Maru’s soldiers threw rags soaked in oil and ghee, setting fire to them, destroying the Raja’s Chariots, which eventually surrendered and made peace with Keso Das Maru. Raja Kalyana Mal, Hasim Khan’s successor, was far more titanic than the former. He invited Vidyadhara, Purusottamadeva’s Prime Minister, and held him captive at Ghantasila Tangi before attacking Khurda. Purusottama reached an agreement with him. Following Kalyan Mal, Mukarram Khan was appointed Governor of Odisha, tarnishing Sakshigopal’s image.

Ramachandra, enraged, advanced to confront this fanatical governor appointed by Jahangir, but was defeated. He immediately fled Khurda and sought refuge with the Rajahmundry king. Khurda appears to have been annexed by the Mughal empire on a temporary basis. He was deposed in 1620 A.D., and Husain Ali Khan briefly served as Subahdar of Odisha. Following him, Ahmad Beg’s appointment as Governor of Odisha in 1621 enabled Purusottamadeva to deal with the Mughals. Purusottamadeva marched against him, enlisting the support of local chiefs. Ahmad Beg departed from Khurda to confront him. Purusottamadeva died in 1622 A.D. while residing in a camp near Banapur.

Purusottamadeva was a devout follower of Lord Jagannath. Additionally, he patronised the Brahmins. Purusottamapura Shasana, Sri Purusottamapura Shasana, and Pratapa Purusottamapura Shasana are all credited with his establishment.

Purusottamadeva’s son Narasimhadeva succeeded to the throne of Khurda in 1622 A.D. after his death. He was unable to evade the wrath of Ahmad Beg, Odisha’s then Subahdar. As Narasimhadeva refused to accept his humiliating proposal that the royal family of Khurda remain as security at the Mughal court in Cuttack, the former invaded Khurda. Narasimhadeva engaged the Mughal Governor in a toe-to-toe fight and defeated him. Ahmad Beg, who desired to lead a second expedition to Khurda, was enraged by this. At this point, prince Khurram (Shah Jahan) rose up against his father Jahangir and marched from Golkunda towards Odisha. This foiled Ahmad Beg’s plan to attack Khurda, and he fled with his family to Burdwan and then to Akbar Nagar. The defiant Mughal prince was treated with deference. Shah Jahan left for Bengal, completely satisfied with Narasimhadeva’s behaviour. However, Mahabbat Khan’s alertness prompted the prince to retreat to Golkunda via Odisha.

After Shah Jahan’s departure, Ahmed Beg returned and served as Governor of Odisha until 1628 A.D., causing no trouble for Narasimhadeva. Narasimhadeva encountered new difficulties during the governorship of Baquar Khan Nazim Sani, who was appointed following Ahmad Bag. Nazim Sani led an expedition to Konarka’s Sun temple. Knowing full well the Subahdar’s attitude, Narasimhadeva had already replaced the Sun god’s image in the Konarka temple with that of God Jagannath. Raja Narasimhadeva paid his respects to the Hindu deity Jagannath. During Ahmad Beg’s governorship, the idols of Jagannatha, Balabhadra, and Subhadra were relocated from the Puri temple to Garah Manitri. Narasimhadeva reintroduced these images to the temple and had them reinstalled. According to the Madala Panji, he directed that the temple of God Jagannath in Puri be plastered. Additionally, after a long hiatus, he organised a car festival during the Spring season, which was not celebrated due to Mughal governors’ fear. According to the Rasika Mangala, Sri Rasikananda Deva Gosvami, Syamananda’s famous disciple, visited Puri and spread his faith throughout Narasimhadeva’s kingdom. Mutquad Khan’s attack on Khurda was precipitated by the removal of the sun god’s image from the Konarka temple. Narasimhadeva was assassinated by his adversary during that bloody battle.

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