Ramachandradeva I (1568-1607 A.D.)

Representation Only

The accession of Ramachandradeva to the throne of Bhoi dynasty at Khurda marks a glorious epoch for that dynasty. Who is Ramachandradeva ? As stated earlier, Danai Vidyadhara was taken captive by

Mukundadeva at Puri. Having heard this news, his son Ramai Routaray wanted to march towards Puri but was confined at the fort of Rajahmundry by the order of Mukunda Harichandana. With the passing away of Mukunda Harichandana in 1568 A.D., Ramai Routaraya was released from the fort and he returned Odisha. As Cuttack, by that time was under the clutches of the Afghans, Ramai selected Khurda as the centre of his political activity. This he got from Vala Vikrama Singh as a token of gift, informs the Chaininka Chakada. In that place, Ramai Routaraya proclaimed himself as king in 1568 A.D. This Ramai Routaraya is none but Ramachandradeva I, popularly known as Ramachandradeva, who assumed this name after coronation. Then, he proclaimed himself as the Gajapati of Odisha and introduced his own Anka (year) in 1568 A.D.

His achievements

The Madala Panji describes him belonging to the Yadu Vamsa. After his accession, Rarnachandradeva wanted to extend his boundary in every direction- north, south, east and west. That was the time of Mughal-Afghan conflict for the possession of Odisha. The coming of Mirja Raja Mansingh to Odisha led Ramachandradeva to think that his position might be jeopardized. It was only because Telenga Mukundadeva and Chhakadi Bhramarabara, the two sons of deceased Mukundadeva had appealed to Akbar, the Mughal emperor to recognise them as the legitimate rulers of Odisha. Initially, Ramachandradeva fortified the fort of Sarangagarh and gave shelter to the Afghans inside it.

On his way to Puri, Mansingh waited at Sali and Raja Ramachandradeva wanted to negotiate with him by sending his son Birabara. However, Mansingh did not listen to Birabara and desired to see Ramachandradeva personally in his camp. Ramachandradeva did not turn up. At this, Mansingh proceeded towards Khurda accompanied by his son Jagat Singh, Abul Baqa, Shahabuddin Diwan and others and captured forts like Sahajpala, Kharagarh, Kalupada, Bhumal, Konon, Lonagarh and Bhumala. Ramachandradeva did not come out from the fort of Khurda. .Akbar now changed his mind. In order to crush Afghans in Odisha, he wanted to satisfy Ramachandradeva, on the one har.d and the sons of Mukundadeva, on the other. Accordingly, Mansingh did the needful. The Madala Panji states that during Chandana Yatra, Mansingh proceeded towards Puri with the two rival claimants, Ramachandradeva and Telenga Mukundadeva. The priests of the Jagannath temple asked Mansingh to whom he would offer the power and authority as the king of Odisha. Mansingh took up Khadi prasada from the priests and offered to Ramachandradeva proclaiming him as the king of Odisha. However, he satisfied the two sons of Mukundadeva. The fort of Aul (All) and the Zamindari assigned to it were offered to Telenga Mukundadeva who became king over it. Chhakadi Bhramarabara, another son of Mukundadeva was made the chief of Patia. By doing this Mansingh gave the proof of his diplomacy. One notable event during the reign period of Ramachandradeva was the invasion of 1brahim Qutab Shah, the Sultan of Golkunda. He pursued his enemy Mukunda Raja of Kasimkota who sought the help of Ramachandradeva. Of course, it is not clear what happened to Ramachandradeva in that battle waged against Ibrahim. It is to be believed with a tolerable degree of certainty that Ramachandradeva was defeated. This assumption is to be made, because, by that time Kalinga and Rajahmundry were lost to the Odishan empire and included in the kingdom of Golkunda Sultan. Though Ramachandradeva was hard pressed by the Afghans of Bengal in the north and Sultan of Golkunda in the south, he had as many as thirty-two zamindaries at his disposal. Among them, the Zamindari of Khurda was very important which contained 73 forts. Besides, there were Zamindaries of Banki, Domapara, Baramba, Tigiria, Narasinghpur, Angul, Talcher, Nayagarh, Dasapalla, Parikud, Ghumsar, Khallikote, Tekkali, Raghunathpur, Rathipur, Tapang, Rorung, Karki, Bolegarh etc. Roughly, the territory of Ramachandradeva extended upto the river Mahanadi in the north to the borders of Khimindi in the south and from Chilika lake, in the east to Nayagarh and Dasapalla region in the west.

His benevolent works

Ramachandradeva was a pious man. Immediately after his accession to the throne, he reinstalled the idols of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in the Puri Jagannath temple which were burnt during Afghan invasion of Odisha under the redoubtable Kalapahada. The Madala Panji informs that he himself remained present near the Jaya Vijaya dvara and distributed Mahaprasada to different sections of the Hindu society. For this noble work, he was called Dvitiya Indradyumna. He was also instrumental in building the tempte at Sakshigopala. He alsowanted to appease the Brahmins because he had ascended the throne by ignoring the claims of the sons of Mukundadeva. Though this was recognized by emperor Akbar, still, Ramachandradeva thought it prudent to get the blessings of the Brahmanas to legimatize his claim. So, he established several Shasanas (Brahmin villages) among which Vira Ramachandrapura exists today. The Madala Panji further informs that Gauri Rani (the queen of Raja Mansingh) built the present Mukti Mandapa inside the sacred complex of the Jagannath temple at Puri. Raja Ramachandradeva I was a great patron of scholars. He himself was an accomplished poet who composed Durgotsava Chandrika and Sri Krishna Bhakta Vatsalya Charitam. However, the composition of Durgotsava Chandrika by Raja Ramachandradeva is controversial and its authorship is assigned to Vardhamana Mahapatra, the Rajaguru of the family. Ramachandradeva breathed his last in 1607 A.D.