The Panduvamshis of Kosala

Introduction – From the earliest records to the latest records of this dynasty, they are constantly referred to be born in a lunar race, however in few of their earlier records also mention their origin from the Pandava race as well. Hence they are known as the Panduvamshis rather than a title associated with the lunar race like Somavamshis among the scholars. There are two Panduvamshi dynasties ruling in the central India regions, one over Mekala (present Amarkantak region) and another at Kosala. This article deals with the latter dynasty, also known as the Panduvamshis of Kosala.

This study is carried out based upon available evidences, references and certain possible assumptions. A lot has been taken from the studies of earlier scholars. However there can be changes and adaptations needed in case of discovery of new evidences specially in epigraphy area.

Origin – As we have two Panduvamshi dynasties so there is a probability that these two could be related. V V Mirashi suggests a link where Udayana, the first known king of the Panduvamshis of Kosala, was shown as the son of Bharatabala, the last known king of the Panduvamshis of Mekala. This Bharatabala was also known as Indra. Now Udayana also had a son named Indrabala. And as a tradition in India, grandson is often christened after his grandfather, so it fits well with the proposed suggestion of Mirashi. A M Shastri mentions that Bharatabala was not the last king of the Panduvamshis of Mekala but it was Surabala. Now there are two possibilities, either Udayana was the son of Surabala or his brother. As there is no proper evidence to support this theory hence we need to leave this as it is till the discovery of further evidences.

Genealogy – The genealogy constructed through the epigraphs looks as given below:




|                           |                                  |                                                              |
Bhavadeva        Ishanadeva          Nanna I                                      Name is lost



|                           |
Tivaradeva         Chandragupta

  |                            |

 Nanna II             Harshagupta



                                   |                           |

                                            Shivagupta      Ranakesarin



Chronology  – Similar to many other dynasties, the Panduvamshis of Kosala had dated their charters in their regnal years which gives rise to difficulties during their assignment on the scale of our era. First such assignment was tried out by Alexander Cunningham, who assuming the Shivagupta of the Panduvamshis of Kosala to be the same as the homonymous Somavamshi chief of Orissa. As per his suggestion, Tivaradeva was assigned to 425-450 CE. However these dates are quite early and did not receive wide acceptance among the scholars. J F Fleet while editing Rajim grant of Tivaradeva (Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum vol III) mentions that Tivaradeva cannot be assigned earlier than roughly about 800 CE. Kielhorn, while editing Kudopali plates (Epigraphia Indica vol IV), assigns Rajim plates to the middle of eighth century CE. Hira Lal, while editing Lakshmana temple inscription (Epipgraphia Indica vol X), assigns the inscription to eighth or ninth century CE.

Box-headed Alphabets – The records of the Panduvamshis are written in box-headed alphabets, which is also the alphabets used by the Vakatakas, Kadambas and the Guptas. V V Mirashi and D C Sircar were first to point out to this observation. With this evidence in support, they said that the Panduvamshis would have flourished earlier than the start of eighth century CE. Mirashi, while editing Thakurdiya plates of Pravararaja (Epigraphia Indica Vol XXII), discusses about the date of Tivaradeva where he assigns him to 530-550 CE. However he changed these dates during his various studies and as per his last study the period assigned to Tivaradeva is 520-540 CE.

Chandragupta of Sanjan Grant – D R Bhandarkar, while editing Sanjan grant of the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha I (Epigraphia Indica vol XVIII), mentions that the Chandragupta defeated by the Rashtrakuta king Govinda III would have been the Chandragupta of the Panduvamshi family. This grant was issued in Saka Era 793 (871 CE) and hence puts Chandragupta to ninth century CE. R D Banerji supports this identification of Chandragupta as suggested by Bhandarkar. But the grant mentions that first he defeated Chandragupta but later he reinstated him and moved northward. The grant further mentions that while returning back from north, Govinda III conquered Kosala, Dahala, Vanga, Malava, Kalinga and Odraka.

Now if Chandragupta was the Panduvamshi king and ruling over Kosala and defeated and reinstated by Govinda III then why Govinda III had to again conquer Kosala? I think it clearly suggests that we need to search Chandragupta of Sanjan grant somewhere else. Later we will see that the identification carried out by Bhandarkar is not tenable chronologically. S R Nema also mentions that identifying Chandragupta of the Rashtrakuta grant with the Panduvamshi king would be erroneous.

Sri-Harsha of Samangada grant – Rashtrakuta king, Datidurga (733-757) in his Samangada plates mentions that he defeated Sri Harsha and Vajrata after defeating the kings of Kanchi, Kerala, Chola and Pandya. J F Fleet’s identification of Sri Harsha with Harshavardhana of Kanyakubja does not hold true as Dantidurga was not contemporary of Harshavardhana. Samangada plates are dated in Saka 675 (753 CE). If Harshagupta was same as Sri-Harsha and contemporary of Dantidurga, then how Chandragupta, who was the father of Harshagupta, could be contemporary of Govinda III (793-819 CE)? We need to drop either both or one identification.

Suryavarman of the Maukharis – Mirashi suggests that Suryavarman, the father of Vasata, mother of Shivagupta, would have been the Maukhari prince known from his Haraha inscription (Epigraphia Indica vol XIV) which was engraved during his father’s rule, Isanavarman, and dated in Vikrama Era 661 or 554 CE. If this is accepted then Chandragupta of the Panduvamshi family would be contemporary of Suryavarman. S R Nema agrees on identification of Suryavarman with the Maukhari king.

A M Shastri points out few issues about this identification. First, as per the Lakshmana temple inscription, Suryavarman is said to be born in the Varman family who were proud of their lordship over Magadha. However the Maukharis have never been referred as the Varman family in their own inscriptions. Second, the Maukharis were always ruling over Kanauj, though for a short time they acquired Magadha but they did not keep it with themselves. Third, it is not clear whether Suryavarman ruled over the throne of the Maukharis as in his inscription he is mentioned as a prince under his father’s rule. Also he is otherwise unknown in any other epigraph, seals or any literary work of that time.

In the last, Shastri explains that even if we put aside all these differences, making Chandragupta and Suryavarman contemporary will have serious issues as the rule of both kings seems to be separated by at least a century. As the Panduvamshi family came after the Sarabhapuriyas, so they needs to be assigned to the start of seventh century CE as the rule of the Sarabhapuriyas was over by the end of the sixth century CE. In such a case, Tivaradeva would have ruled in the seventh century CE while the Suryavarman of the Haraha inscription was ruling in 554 CE. If the identification of Chandragupta by Bhandarkar in the Sanjan grant is accepted then there is a difference of about two centuries in between Chandragupta of Sanjan grant and Chandragupta identified with Haraha inscription.

Trivaranagara of the Vishnukundin epigraphs – Mirashi points towards few Vishnukundin inscriptions where a mention of Trivaranagara is made. Ipur and Polamuru grant of Madhavavarman III mentions him as the delighter of the hearts of the young ladies in the palace of Trivaranagara. E Hultzsch while editing the Ipur plates (Epigraphia Indica vol XVII) mentions that Madhavavarman would have been residing at Trivaranagara which he was unable to identify however he states that it can hardly be identical with the distant Tripuri (present Tewar). K V Lakshman Rao while editing the Polamuru plates identifies Trivaranagara with Tewar.

S Sankarnarayannan states that the statement mentioning Madhvavarman III as the delighter of ladies does not refer to any military conquest but it simply states that Madhavavarman III was residing at Trivaranagara which he identifies with Tiruvuru in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh. V V Mirashi and D C Sircar take the meaning of Trivaranagara as the ‘city of Trivara’ and identify Trivara with Tivaradeva of the Panduvamshi family. They suggest that Madhavavarman conquered this city from Tivaradeva probably. Mirashi and Sircar date Madhavavarman to 525-568 CE and 535-585 CE respectively. As Tivaradeva becomes contemporary of Madhavavarman III, as per the assignment of period 520-540 to TIvaradeva by Mirashi, so both might have crossed arms.

However if this is the case, then why Madhavavarman did not mention the city’s name as Sripura which was a well established name of that city at that time, instead he referred it with a name which was never seen in the epigraphs of the Panduvamshi kings whose capital it was supposed to be. Even if we disregard all the objections, it would be tough to establish contemporary of Madhavavarman and Tivaradeva. With the finding of Tummalagudem grant of Vikramendravarman II which is dated in Saka 488 ( 566 CE), the chronology of the Vishnukundin kings is established on proper grounds. With this discovery, Madhvavarman’s rule cannot be dated posterior to 519 CE and this made him quite earlier than Tivaradeva.

Indrabala of Sudevaraja’s grants – Dhamatari and Kauvatal grants of the Sarabhapuriya king Sudevaraja, mentions a certain Indrabala raja as occupying the office of sarvadhikaradhikrata or chief minister. Can this Indrabalaraja be the same Indrabala of the Panduvamshi family? It is an accepted fact that the Panduvamshi ruled over Kosala after the Sarabhapuriyas hence there is a possibility that they were previously employed with the Sarabhapuriyas and when the latter’s influence was reduced then they asserted their dominance.

Indrabalaraja occupied a subordinate but an important position under the Sarabhapuriyas. But Indrabala of the Panduvamshi family is known to have reigned as a king as mentioned in the Kharod inscription of his son, Isanadeva. Indrabala is described as one whose lotus-feet were adorned with the crest-jewels of all the monarch. He also founded a town and named it Indrapura. There is a possibility that he started as a subordinate however later ruled as an independent ruler. However these are just theories.

A M Shastri mentions that we need to accommodate few kings before the advent of the Panduvamshis. These are, two kings of Amararya-kula, Jaya-bhattarka and Pravara-bhattaraka, known from thr Mallar plates of Vyaghraraja, and Bhimasena II whose Arang plate was issued in the Gupta Era 282 (601 CE). He gives a rule of thirty years to these kings. But there is an issue here, Indrabalaraja was a minister during the time of Sudevaraja (570-580 CE) and after Sudevaraja, Pravararaja ruled for next 10 years and then there were 30 years given to above mentioned kings. During this period of 40 years, what Indrabalaraja doing? It is clear that he could not have ruled over Kosala during this time as the other kings claimed the same. Was he ruling somewhere else?

Identification of Panduvamsi Indrabala and Sarabhapuriya minister Indrabalaraja is mere on the homonymous grounds and this could be wrong as well. It is also possible that Indrabala was ruling over some petty region and it was Tivaradeva who gained control over whole Kosala. But an inscription of Isanadeva at Kharod and finding of grants like Mallar grant of Vyaghraraja and Arang grant of Bhimasena II proves otherwise. All these three places Kharod, Malhar (Mallar) and Arang are not very far and it would be tough to carve out two different kingdoms, but not impossible may be.

Strivara of Kondedda Grant – Kondedda grant, issued by Dharmaraja II of the Sailodbhava family in his thirtieth regnal year, talks about a certain Strivara whom Madhava approached for help against Dharmaraja II however they were defeated in the hands of Dharmaraja II at the foot of the Vindhyas . Y R Gupte, who edited this grant in Epigraphia Indica vol XIX, does not specify any details about this Strivara. He dated this grant to the beginning of the ninth century CE. A M Shastri however suggests that the correct reading is Trivara but not Strivara. And he further suggests that this Trivara is probably same as Tivaradeva of the Panduvamshi dynasty.

But if the dating of Gupte is accepted then Tivaradeva would be ruling at the end of the eight or beginning of the ninth century. But the dating by Gupte is not correct as Ganjam plates issued by Madhavaraja II is dated in the Gupta Era 300 (619 CE). This Madhavaraja II is the grandfather of Dharmaraja II which puts the latter in the second half of the seventh century CE. As per A M Shastri who dated Tivaradeva accession, on assumption of Indrabala of Sarabhapuriya grant, to 660 CE which falls in line with the identification of Strivara/Trivara of Kondedda grant.

Paleographic Evidences – A M Ghosh in his article, ‘Date of the Pandava Kings of Southern Kosala’ in Epigraphia Indica vol XXV, states that the Arang inscription of Nannaraja I must be dated about fifty years later than the Arang plate of Bhimasena II. The latter is dated in the Gupta Era 282 (601 CE) so the former should be dated to the second half of the seventh century CE. V V Mirashi accepts the proposition of Ghosh however he doubted the dated year of Arang grant of Bhimasena II which in his opinion is 182 not 282. Year 282 was ascribed by Hira Lal who edited this grant in Epigraphia Indica vol IX. A M Shastri mentions that the year is 282 and the reading of Hira Lal is correct.

Yuan Chwang’s Account of the Kosala king – Yuan Chwang visited Sirpur and mentions that king was a ksatriya by birth, a Buddhist in religion and of noted benevolence. This identification suits well with Shivagupta Balarjuna whose few inscriptions are Buddhist in nature. S R Nema mentions that Yuan Chwang probably visited the capital of Dakshina Kosala during the time of Shivagupta Balarjuna.
If this identification is accepted then Shivagupta Balarjuna should be dated in later sixth century CE. A M Shastri objects to this identification, he states that Yuan Chwang’s account is very generic and should not be taken into consideration as he stated similar things about many other kings of India.

Conclusion over Chronological Points – Let’s now conclude over various points discussed above so that we can start with the period assignment to various Panduvamshi kings.


Topic Brief Information To be taken into account
Alphabetical studies Box headed alphabets used in Panduvamshi grants should be dated prior to 700 CE Yes
Chandragupta of Sanjan Grant Whether he is same as Chandragupta of Panduvamshi family No
Sri-Harsha of Samangada Grant Whether he is same as Harshadeva of Panduvamshi family No
Suryavarman of the Maukharis Whether he is same as Suryavarman, maternal-grandfather of Shivagupta No
Trivaradeva of the Vishnukundin grants Whether he is same as Tivaradeva of Panduvamshi Family No
Indrabalaraja of Sudevaraja grants Whether he is same as Indrabala of Panduvamshi family Yes
Strivara/Trivara of Sailodbhava grants Whether he is same as Tivaradeva of Panduvamshi family No
Yuan Chwang’s account Whether he talks about Shivagupta Balarjuna No


With these points above, a period of twenty years, 660-680 CE, is assigned to Tivaradeva by A M Shastri though his last known regnal year is ninth only. He then places other kings of this dynasty with respect to Tivaradeva. This will be discussed in details in historical outline of the kings.

Kingdom Limits – All of their records are found within the boundaries of present Chhattisgarh state so it may be assumed that their influence was limited to Chhattisgarh, known as Dakshina-Kosala in those times. It was believed that the Panduvamshis came to Kosala from the Chanda (present Chandrapur) region of Maharashtra. The reason behind this theory was an inscription of Bhavadeva which was stated to be found in Bhandak by Stevenson who first published it. Subsequent scholars like Alexander Cunningham, Hira Lal, D R Bhandarkar, Dikshit and D C Sircar believed in this information and continued mentioning Bhandak as the finding spot. V V Mirashi first went with Bhandak however later he changed his position. On the testimony of Vinayakrao Aurangabadkar, Mirashi and Y K Deshpande proved that the inscription was originally standing at Arang near Sirpur and not at Bhandak.  Hence now it can be said with confidence that the Panduvamshis were not ruling over Chanda region.

Capital – Sripura (Sirpur) was the capital of the later Sarabhapuriya kings. The Charters of the Panduvamshi kings, Tivaradeva and Nannaraja, were issued from Sripura which suggests that Sripura was also the capital of the early Panduvamshi kings as well. There is no information on the whereabouts of the capital of the later Panduvamshi king, Shivagupta, as none of his charter mention about the place of issue. However many of his records, lithic mostly, are found at Sirpur and his mother constructed as Vishnu temple at Sirpur so it may be said that Sirpur was his capital as well.

Historical Outline – We will now discuss various rulers of this dynasty in detail.

Suryaghosha – In Arang inscription of Bhavadeva, he is compared with Surya who has a single-wheeled chariot. He is also contrasted with Shiva as the latter does not seek shelter of any fortress. It is mentioned that homage was paid to his feet by men well-versed in arts. The inscription further mentions that Suryaghosha was plunged in deep grief when his dear son died by falling from the top of the palace. However after realizing the ephemeral nature of life, the king built a magnificent temple of the Muni (Buddha) which surpassed the splendor of the mountain of snow, Himalaya. Many scholars do not take Suryaghosha into the Panduvamshi family. As Bhavadeva renovated a temple built by him hence he put his reference in his charter otherwise he is not at all associated with the Panduvamshis. Also Arang inscription does not provide any exact relationship between Udayana and Suryaghosha.

Udayana (600-620 CE) – Udayana seems to be the first member who founded the Panduvamshi dynasty. No record of his has come to light hence he is known only from the epigraphs of his descendants. He is stated to have been born in a Pandava family and that’s why this dynasty is known as the Panduvamshis among the scholars. There is a reference of a Udayana in a Kalanjar inscription where he is mentioned as a king in past. He is stated to have constructed a temple in that record. This record is dated to the ninth century CE and probably Udayana of the record is same as Udayana of the Panduvamshi family. If it is accepted then Udayana would have been ruling over Kalanjar region.

Udayana seems to have at least two sons, Indrabala and his brother whose name is lost in the Arang inscription of Bhavadeva. Missing portion of the Arang inscription of Bhavadeva might have the name of this person where he is compared with Krishna. He accompanied his brother Bala (identified as Indrabala by Kielhorn) as Krishna was associated with his elder brother Balarama.  As none of Udayana’s inscription is found hence there is no information on how many years his rule lasted. However a rule of twenty years may be assigned to him.

Indrabala (620-640 CE) – Indrabala is known from an inscription of his son and successor, Isanadeva. It is mentioned that he destroyed his enemies and his lotus-feet were adorned by the rows of the crest-jewels of all the princes. A mention of  town named Indrapura is also found in this inscription and it can be said that this town was probably founded by Indrabala himself. Though it is not certain whether Udayana ruled over Dakshina Kosala region, however in case of Indrabala it can be said with surety as Kharod is well within the boundaries of Dakshin Kosala.

A M Shastri suggests that Indrabala would have moved to Dakshina Kosala because of the rise and expansionist policy of Harshavardhana. He found suitable conditions in Dakshina Kosala as the region was under political instability after the fall of the Sarabhapuriyas. In this conquest his younger brother, whose name is lost in the Arang inscription, would have helped him. But this does not seem tenable as Shastri did identify him with Indrabalaraja of the Sarabhapuriya grants who occupied a position of a chief minister under the Sarabhapuriya king Sudevaraja. In such as case, it may be possible that Indrabala was forced to leave his original land and he found a suitable position under the Sarabhapuriyas. D C Sircar suggests that Indrabala was a younger son of Udayana hence he did not get the throne after his father. He went southward and found a suitable position under the Sarabhapuriyas.

But in this case how to explain that he destroyed his enemies and his feet were adorned by all the princes? Should this be considered as an eulogistic statement from the part of the engraver? If yes then I would take it as a very daring act as Kharod was under the Sarabhapuriya rule. But the inscription was put during the reign of Isanadeva, the son of Indrabala. And it is quite possible that Isanadeva ruled as king over this small territory and eulogized his father in his inscription.

A M Shastri assigned a period of 620-640 to Indrabala. However it is very confusing, on one hand he accepts that Indrabalaraja of the Sarabhapuriya grants was same as Indrabala but on other hand he assign him a period about 40 years later than Sudevaraja. If Indrabala utilized the political instability after the Sarabhapuriyas then he should have done at the time of their fall, that’s 590 CE. Why he took 30 years more to do this and what was his position in those 30 years as we know Dakshina Kosala was under the rule of other kings?

Nanna I (640-660 CE) – Indrabala had four sons and it appears that Nanna I succeeded him on the throne. Nanna I is referred as maharajadhiraja however other three, Bhavadeva, Isanadeva and third name is loast, are referred only as nrpa (king). Hence it is very probable that Nanna I ruled as a sovereign while his brothers ruled under him over small territories. Tivaradeva who claimed rule over whole Kosala was the son of Nanna I hence it strengthen the possibility that Nanna I succeeded Indrabala. As per Sirpur inscription of Shivagupta, Nanna I was an adherent Shiva and he covered this earth with many Shiva temples.

Bhavadeva (640-660 CE) – Bhavadeva was either the son of Indrabala or the son of his brother. In our genealogy he is taken to be the son of Indrabala to avoid further confusion. He has probably referred himself as the fourth son of Indrabala in his Arang inscription however as a significant part of this inscription is lost so the exact relationship is in doubt. Bhavadeva in his Arang inscription has eulogized his brother or cousin, Nanna I, which suggests that he was probably ruling as a subordinate under Nanna I.

He was also known as Ranakesarin, a title he got because of slaying rutting elephants with his claw-like sword , Apriyavaishika as not fond of harlotry and Chintadurga as causing anxiety to his adversaries. It is also mentioned that he became the lord of the earth without holding her hand and walking around (the fire). He had surpassed Shesha who bears the load of the earth. He is compared with Karna, son of Surya, in liberality, with Brhspati in intelligence and with Raghu in fame. Further we are told that he gave protection to a place of Sugata (Buddha) which had fallen into decays and was repaired by a brahmana. The name of the brahmana is lost however it is stated that he was a favorite of the king.

Isanadeva (660-680 CE) – Isanadeva is known from his damaged inscription at Kharod. He is stated to be a son of Indrabala. However it is not very clear whether he was ruling as an independent king of as a subordinate under his brother Nanna I. However as he has granted few villages in his inscription hence he was holding a considerable position, probably of a king.


Seal of Tivaradeva


Mahashiva Tivara (660-680 CE) – Tivaradeva is the most important king of this dynasty. Three copper-plates grants issued by him have come into light. All the grants were issued from Sripura hence it is assumed that he was the first Panduvamshi king to rule over Sripura. As per Bonda plates, Tivaradeva had assumed the lordship over the whole of Kosala while he was meditating upon the feet of his parents. J F Fleet, while editing the Rajim plates, tells that Tivaradeva was a subordinate under some other sovereign however his reading got corrected with the findings of other grants of Tivaradeva where it is clear that he was not a subordinate ruler under any other sovereign.

Adhabhara plates mentions Tivaradeva to have been born in the Shashi-vamsha (lunar family) and to have excelled the luster of the first lord of the earth, Prithu, by many qualities like humility, truthfulness, liberality, bravery and statesmanship. The plates further mentions that Tivaradeva acquired the lordship over Kosala, Utkala and other regions by dint of prowess of his own arms. However how much part of Utkala was retained by Tivara is not very clear as his successors were not ruling over Utkala or any of its parts. A M Shastri suggests that it is very possible that Tivara helped the Sailodbhava prince Madhava in his war against the latter’s elder brother Dharmaraja II.

Tivara had a daughter who was married to a certain Nannaraja who is described as his dear son-in-law in former’s Baloda plates. A number of chiefs who have acquired the five maha-shabdas (titles starting with maha-) were submitted to him by placing their crown at his feet. Nannaraja had also acquired five maha-shabdas. Tivara is referred as a devout worshipper of Vishnu. The seal of his charters carries an image of Gardua with its wings spread, a reflection of his Vaishnava faith.

Nanna II (680-700 CE) – Tivaradeva was succeeded by his son Nanna II or Nannaraja who is known from his Adhabhara grant. He was named after his grandfather, Nanna I. Adhabhara grant is the only known record of this king and unfortunately this grant is left incomplete and undated.  Nanna II inherited Kosala region from his father, however there is no mention of Utkala region which was stated to be under Tivara. This suggests that even if Tivara acquired Utkala region but he was not able to retain this with him for long.

Sankapat inscription mention three generations of a line of feudatory chiefs under the Panduvamshis. These were Sivarakshita, Devarakshita and Durgarakshita. Durgarakshita was a chief under Shivagupta while Devrakshita, former’s father, was a chief under Nannaraja. This Nannaraja would be same as Nanna II. It is mentioned in the inscription that Devarakshita was a confidant of king Nannaraja and received from him the Vindhyan territory extending up to river Varada. This river Varada is identical with river Wardha of Vidarbha region. This suggests that Nanna II extended his kingdom till the river Varada taking over considerable part of Vidarbha.

Chandragupta (700-710 CE) – No record of this king has come into light and he is known by the records of his descendants. As per Lakshmana temple inscription, he was born as the crest jewel in the lunar race as the lord of the rulers of the earth. It is not very clear whether Chandragupta succeeded Nanna II or not however it would be ok to assume that Nanna II died without any issue which made Chandragupta, his uncle, to take over the throne.

D C Sircar and M G Dikshit identify Nannaraja of Sekapat inscription with Nanna I. In their opinion, Tivara, Chandragupta and Harshagupta had very short rule. As Shivagupta had an extraordinary long rule so he must have ascended the throne very early in his life. They even doubted if Chandragupta and Harshagupta ever rules as no record of these kings have been found. However with the finding of Adhabhara grant of Nanna II made all these assumptions unnecessary. However it can be said that Chandragupta came on the throne very late in his life as he has to wait for two generations, for his brother Tivara and the latter’s son Nanna II. Though A M Shastri assigned a reign of twenty years to Chandragupta as well however as he came late to throne so he should not be assigned with long rule. Sorry to differ here with him, but I prefer to assign him a reign of ten years.

Harshagupta (710-730 CE) – No record of this king has come to light and he is also known from the epigraphs of his descendants. He succeeded his father, Chandragupta, on the Kosala throne. He is known as Harshadeva and Harshagupta in the epigraphs of his son, Shivagupta. Practice of appending the word Gupta in the royal names was popular during those days and it was started by Chandragupta for Panduvamshi dynasty. All later known Panduvamshi kings used appended gupta in their names. However there is no connection of these kings with the Gupta dynasty.

Harshagupta married Vasata, daughter of Suryavarman who is mentioned to be belonging to the Varmana family of Magadha. Few scholars identify this Suryavarman with the homonymous Maukhari chief however it cannot be true due to chronological issues. The Varmana family is otherwise unknown and it seems that Suryavarman was some unknown king of this family. However the manner in which it is stated in the Panduvamshi inscription suggests that they got benefited with this alliance. Harshagupta is mentioned as a Vaishnava who worshipped Achyuta all the time. He predeceased his wife who later built a Vishnu temple in his memory at Sirpur.


Seal of Shivagupta


Maha-Shivagupta Balarjuna (730-790 CE) – Harshagupta was succeeded by his son, Mahashivagupta. Shivagupta has been titled as Balarjuna and compared with Arjuna who excelled his grandfather, Bhishma, and surpassed his teacher, Drona, in prowess. Even Karna was nothing in front him in practice of weapons. Bardula grant mentions that he was born from Harshadeva as Kartikeya from Shiva. Lakshmana temple inscription mentions Vasata, the daughter of Suryavarman of the Varmana family of Magadha as the mother of Shivagupta. He also had a brother named Ranakesarin who helped him in all his conquests similar to Krishna helping Balarama. He had a son, Shivanandin, who probably succeeded him. Mallar grant mentions Bhaskaravarman as the maternal-uncle of Shivagupta on whose request the latter granted few villages.

He had few feudatories under him. Three generation of a line of feudatories is mentioned in his Sekapat inscription. Durgarakshita, from this feudatory line, was his contemporary.  Few villages donated by him in his grants fall under the Kalahandi region of Orissa which suggests that he acquired the eastern part of Orissa as a fresh conquest. Shivagupta is mentioned as the Lord of the East with whom the Varmana king of Magadha was happy to be associated matrimonially. He had a very long rule, the latest known date is his fifty-seventh regnal year.

All the earlier Panduvamshi kings were Vaishnava however Shivagupta changed his faith towards Shaivism. Where the Lakshmana temple inscription of his mother, Vasata, opens up with an invocation to Vishnu but he is told to be devout worshipper of Shiva in his other inscriptions. However he exercised religious tolerance as many Buddhist and Vaishnava epigraphs are found from his reign. His devotion towards Shaivism is reflected in various religious activities and constructions. The seal of his charter also display an image of a bull with a trident on one side, both are the symbols of Shaivism.

Inscriptions of the Panduvamshis of Kosala – The below given table provides details of the inscriptions of this dynasty which are consulted in this article.

Epigraph Reference Language Script Date Reign Issued/found
Kharod inscription Descriptive List of Inscriptions in The Central Provinces and Berar Sanskrit Early Nagari Undated Isanadeva Lakhneshvar Temple
Arang stone inscription (Bhandak inscription) Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins Sanskrit Early Nagari Undated Bhavadeva Ranakesarin Arang
Bonda Plates Epigraphia Indica vol XXXIV Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India 5th regnal year Tivaradeva Sripura
Rajim Plates Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India 7th regnal year Tivaradeva Sripura
Baloda Plates Epigraphia Indica vol VII Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India 9th regnal year Tivaradeva Sripura
Adhabhara Plates Epigraphia Indica vol XXXI Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India Undated Nanna II Sripura
Bardula Plates Epigraphia Indica vol XXVII Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India 9th regnal year Shivagupta
Bonda Plates Epigraphia Indica vol XXXV Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India 22nd regnal year Shivagupta
Lodhia Plates Epigraphia Indica vol XXVII Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India 57th regnal year Shivagupta
Mallar Plates Epigraphia Indica vol XXIII Sanskrit Box-headed variety of Central India Undated Shivagupta
Lakshmana Temple Inscription Epigraphia Indica vol XI Sanskrit Nagari Undated Shivagupta Sirpur
Sirpur slab inscription Epigraphia Indica vol XXXI Sanskrit Early Nagari Undated Shivagupta Sirpur
Sirpur stone inscription Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins Sanskrit Early Nagari Undated Shivagupta Sirpur
Gandhesvara Temple inscription Inscriptions of the Sarabhapuriyas, Panduvamsins and Somavamsins Sanskrit Early Nagari Undated Shivagupta Sirpur
Senkapat inscription Epigraphia Indica vol XXXI Sanskrit Early Nagari Undated Shivagupta Senkapat




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