((a)The section on ancient history is contributed by Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. V. V. Mirashi, Nagpur University, Nagpur.)
((b) The sections on mediaeval and modern period are contributed by Professor B. K. Apte, Nagpur University, Nagpur.)
THE OLDEST VESTIGES OF HABITATION IN THE NAGPUR DISTRICT are furnished by dolmens and other sepulchral monuments which can be noticed within a radius of about 48,280 km. (thirty miles) round Nagpur in the vicinity of the villages of Koradi, Kohali, Junapani, Nildhoa, Borganv, Vathora, Vadganv, Savar-gailv, Hingana, etc. Some of these were opened first by Pearson and then by Hislop but their detailed reports are not available. They require to be excavated and studied scientifically. Hislop describes the as follows:
“They are found chiefly as barrows surrounded by a circle of stones, and as stone boxes, which when complete are styled kistvaens, and when open on one side, cromlechs. The kistvaens, if not previously disturbed, have been found to contain stone coffins and urns.”
Such sepulchral monuments are generally found to contain copper and bronze weapons, tools and earthen vessels. Some scholars find in these copper and bronze objects traces of the migration route of the Vedic Aryans. This culture is supposed to be later than that of the Indus Valley, of which no traces have yet been noticed in Vidarbha.
With the advent of the Aryans we get more light on the past history of this region. It was then covered by a thick jungle. Agastya was the first Aryan who crossed the Vindhya and fixed his hermitage on the bank of the Godavari. This memorable event is commemorated in the mythological story which represents Vindhya as bending before his guru Agastya when the latter approached him. The sage asked the mountain to remain in that condition until he returned from the south, which he never did. Agastya was followed by several other sages who established their hermitages in different regions of the south. They were constantly harassed by the original inhabitants who are called Raksasas in the Ramayana. "These shapeless and ill-looking monsters testify their abominable character by various cruel and terrific displays. They implicate the hermits in impure practices and perpetrate the greatest outrages. Changing their shapes and hiding in the thickets adjoining the hermitages, these frightful beings delight in terrifying the devotees. They cast away the sacrificial ladles and vessels; they pollute the cooked oblations, and utterly defile the offerings with blood. These faithless creatures inject frightful sounds into the ears of the faithful and austere hermits. At the time of the sacrifice they snatch away the jars, the flowers, the fuel and the sacred grass of these sober-minded men.” (Muir's Original Sanskrt Texts, quoited in the previous edition of Nagpur Distrit Gazetter.)
In course of time a large kingdom was founded in this region by king Vidarbha, the son of Rsabhadeva. His capital was Kundinapura in the Amravati district, which is still known by its ancient name. The country came to be known as Vidarbha after the name of its first ruler. Agastya married his daughter Lopamudra. He is ‘the Seer’ of some hymns of the Rgveda. His wife Lopamudra is also mentioned in Rgveda I. 179, 4, though Vidarbha is not named therein. The country became well-known in the age of the Brahmanas and the Upanisads. Bhima who is called Vaidarbha (i.e., the King of Vidarbha), is mentioned in the Aitareya Brahmana (VII, 34) as having received instruction regarding the substitute for soma juice. The Brhadaranyaka Upanisad mentions the sage Kaundinya of Vidarbha. Among those who asked questions about philosophical matters in the Prasnopanisad there was one named Bhargava from Vidarbha. The Ramayana in the Uttarakanda states the story of king Danda in whose time Vidarbha was devastated by a violent dust-storm. Danda was the son of Iksvaku and grandson of Manu. He ruled over the country between the Vindhya and Saivala mountains from his capital Madhumanta. He led a voluptuous life and once upon a time violated the daughter of the sage Bhargava. The sage, then cursed the king that his whole kingdom would be devastated by a terrible dust-storm. The whole country between Vindhya and Saivala extending over a thousand yojanas was consequently turned into a great forest which since then came to be known as Dandakaranya. It was in this forest that the Sudra sage Sambuka was practising austerities.(Ep. Ind. Vol. XXV, p.11) As this was an irreligious act according to the notions of those days, Rama beheaded him and revived the life of a Brahmana boy who had died prematurely. That the Nagpur region was included in the Dandaka forest. is shown by the tradition which states that Sambuka was practising austerities on the hill near Ramtek, about 45.062 km. (28 miles) from Nagpur. The site is still shown on that hill and is marked by the temple of Dhumresvara. This tradition is at least seven hundred years old, for it is mentioned in the stone inscription of the reign of the Yadava king Ramacandra fixed into the front wall of the garbhagrha of the temple of Laksmana on the hill of Ramtek.(Ibid, Vol. XXV, p.7.f) The Ramayana the Mahabharata and the Puranas mention several sacred rivers of Vidarbha such as the Payosni (Puma), Varada (Wardha) and the. Vena (Wainganga) and name many holy places situated on their banks. The royal house of Vidarbha was matrimonially connected with several princely families of North India. The Vidarbha princesses Damayanti, Indumati and Rukmini, who married Nala, Aja and Krsna, respectively, are well-known in Indian literature. Several great Sanskrt and Marathi poets from Kalidasa onwards have drawn the themes of their works from their romantic lives.
As stated below, the region round Nagpur was flourishing in the early centuries of the Christian era, but the name of Nagpur is noticed for the first time in a record of the tenth century A.D. A copper-plate inscription of the Rastrakuta king Krsna III dated in the 8aka year 862 (A.D. 940), discovered at Devali in the Wardha district, records the grant of a village situated in the visaya (district) of Nagpura-Nandivardhana.(Ibid, Vol, V, p.196. For the identification of the donated village and its boundaries, see S tudies in Lindology, Vol.II,p.253 f) Nandivardhana, which was well-known as an ancient capital of the Vakatakas, is now represented by the village Nandardhan, about three miles from Ramtek. Nagpur, which was situated near it, may have marked the original site of the modern town of that name. Tradition, however, gives the credit for settling the town of Nagpur to the Gond king Bakht Bulanda of Devagad. He is said to have included in the new town twelve hamlets, laid streets and erected a wall for its protection. It is not unlikely that Bakht Bulanda chose to call the new town by the name of Nagpur since it was associated with the place from ancient times.
Coming to historical times, we find that the country was included in the empire of the great Asoka. The thirteenth rock edict of that great Emperor mentions the Bhojas as the people who follow his religious teachings. The royal family of Bhoja was ruling over Vidarbha in ancient times. Since then the people came to be known as the Bhojas. A territorial division named Bhojakata (modern Bhatkuli in the Amravati district) is mentioned in a grant of the Vakatakas.(Fleet, C.I.I., Vol. III, p. 341) An inscription probably issued by the Dharmamahamatra placed by Asoka in charge of Vidarbha, has been found at Devatek in the Canda district.(Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p.109 f.) It records an order promulgated by the Dharmamahamatra interdicting the capture and slaughter of animals. It is dated in the fourteenth regnal year, evidently of Asoka.
After the overthrow of the Maurya dynasty in circa B.C. 184, the imperial throne in Pataliputra (Patna) was occupied by the Senapati Pusyamitra, the founder of the sunga dynasty. His son Agnimitra was appointed Viceroy of Malva and ruled from Vidisa, modern Besnagar, a small village near Bhilsa. Vidarbha, which had seceded from the Maurya Empire during the reign of one of the weak successors of Asoka was then ruled by Yajna-sena. He imprisoned his cousin Madhavasena, who was a rival claimant for the throne. The sister of Madhavasena escaped to Mii!vii and got admission as a hand-maid under the name of Miilavikii to the royal palace. Agnimitra, who had espoused the cause of Madhavasena and had sent an army against the king of Vidarbha, fell in love with Malavika and married her. The Malava army defeated the king of Vidarbha and released Madhavasena. Agnimitra then divided the country of Vidarbha between the two cousins, each ruling on one side of the Varada (modern Wardha). Eastern Vidarbha thus comprised Wardha, Nagpur, Bhandara, Canda, Seoni, Chindvada and Balaghat_ districts. It was bounded on the east by the country of Daksina Kosala (Chattisgad). From the Mahabharata also we learn that the province of Venakata bordered on that of Kosala. The story of Malavika forms the plot of the play Malavikagnimitra of the great Sanskrt poet Kalidasa.
Kalidasa does not state to what royal family Yajnasena and Madhavasena belonged and these names do not occur anywhere else. Still it is possible to conjecture that they may have been feudatories of the Satavahanas. From the Hathigumpha inscription at Udayagiri near Bhuvanesvar, we learn that Kharavela, the king of Kalinga, who was a contemporary of Pusyamitra, sent an army to the western region not minding Satakarni (Ep. Ind., Vol. XX, p. 71 f. Jayaswal's and Banerji's reading Musika in line 4 of this inscription is incorrect. Barua reads Asika which seems to be correct. For the identification of this country, see A.B.O.R.I., XXV, p. 167 f.). The latter evidently belonged to the Satavahana dynasty as the name occurs often in that family. Kharavela's army is said to have penetrated up to the river Kanhabenna and struck terror in the hearts of the people of Rsika. The Kanhabenna is the river Kanhan which flows about 10 miles from Nagpur. Kharavela's army, therefore, invaded Vidarbha. He knew that as the ruler of Vidarbha was a feudatory of king Satakarni, the latter would rush to his aid. When Vidarbha was thus invaded, the people of Rsika (Khandes) which bordered Vidarbha on the west, were naturally terror-striken. No actual engagement seems however to have taken place and the army retreated to Kalinga perhaps at the approach of the Satavahana forces.
The Satavahanas, who are called Andhras in the Puranas, held Vidarbha for four centuries and a half from circa B.C. 200 to A.D. 250. Their earliest inscriptions, however, which record their performance of Vedic sacrifices and munificent gifts to Brahmanas are found in the Poona and Nasik districts. Towards the close of the first century A.D. they were ousted by the Saka Satraps from Western Maharashtra. They then seem to have found shelter in Vidarbha. No inscriptions of the Satavahanas have indeed been found in Vidarbha, but in one of the Nasik inscriptions Gautamiputra Satakarni, who later on exterminated the Sakas and re-occupied Western Maharashtra, is called Benakatakasvami, the lord of Benakatakataka (Ep. Ind., Vol. VIII, p. 65 f.). No satisfactory explanation of this expression was possible until the discovery of the Tirodi plates of the Vakataka king Pravarasena. II(Ibid., Vol. XXII, p. 167 f.). As shown below, these plates record the grant of a village- III in the Benakata, which must have comprised the territory on both the banks of the Benna or the Wainganga, now included in the Balaghat and Bhandara districts. Gautamiputra, was, therefore, ruling over the country of Benakata (or Venakata), before he. reconquered Western Maharashtra from the Saka Satrap Nabhapana.
Gautamiputra was a very powerful king whose kingdom extended from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and comprised even Malva, Kathiavad and parts of Rajputana in the north. His son Pulumavi was similarly the undisputed master of the whole Deccan. Yajnasri also, a later descendant of the family, retained his hold over the whole territory as his inscriptions and coins have been found in the Thana district in the west and the Krsna district in the east. Two hoards of Satavahana coins have been found in Vidarbha, one in the Brahmapuri tahsil of the Canda district (P.A.S.B for 1893,pp. 116-17.)and the other at Tarhala in the Mangul tahsil of the Akola district(J.N.S.I., Vol.II,pp. 83 f). The latter hoard, which was discovered in 1939, contains coins of as many as eleven kings. beginning from Gautamiputra Satakarni. Some of them such as (Gautamiputra) Satakarni, Pulumavi, Sivasri Pulumavi, Yajnasri Satakarni and Vijaya Satakarni are mentioned in the Puranas, while some others such as Kumbha Satakarni, Karna Satakarni and Saka Satakarni are not known from any other source. This hoard shows that the Satavahanas retained their hold over Vidarbha to the last.
The Satavahanas were liberal patrons of learning and religion. As stated above, the early kings performed Vedic sacrifices and lavished gifts on the Brahmanas. Gautamiputra, Pulumavi and Yajnasri excavated caves and donated villages to provide for the maintenance, clothing and medicine of Buddhist monks. They also patronised Prakrt literature. The Sattasai, an anthology of 700 Prakrt verses, is, by tradition, ascribed to Hala of the Satavahana dynasty.
About A.D. 250 the Satavahanas were supplanted by the Vakatakas in Vidarbha. This dynasty was founded by a Brahmana named Vindhyasakti I, who is mentioned in the Puranas(D.K.A., pp. 48 and 50.) as well as in an inscription in Cave XVI at Ajantha (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol. VI, p. 102 f.). The Puranas mention Vindhyasakti, the founder of the dynasty, as a ruler of Vidisa (modern Bhilsa near Bhopal)( R. C. Majumdar and A. S. Altekar: The Vakataka-Gupta Age, p. 96.). His son Pravarasena I ruled over an extensive part of the Deccan. He performed several Vedic sacrifices including four asvamedhas and assumed the title of Samrat (Universal Emperor). According to the Puranas he had his capital at Purika (D.K.A., p. 50. I accept Jayaswal's reading Purikam Canakari-ca vai in place of Purim Kancanakam-ca vai.) (Altekar mentions that Purika is connected with Vidarbha (modern Berar) and Asmaka by ancient geographers. The Purika province is mentioned along with Vidarbha and asmaka in the Markandeya Purana ( R.C. Majumdar and A.S. Altekar : The Vakataka – Gupta Age,p.96) which was situated at the foot of the Rksavat or Satpuda mountain (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol VI, p. xviii, f. n. 5.) He had four sons among whom his empire was divided after his death. Two of these are known from inscriptions. The eldest son Gautimi-putra had predeceased him. His son Rudrasena I held the northern parts of Vidarbha and ruled from Nandivardhana, modern Nandardhan, near Ramtek. He had powerful support of the king Bhava-naga of the Bharasiva dynasty who ruled .at padmavati near Gwalior who was his maternal grandfather (R. C.Majumdar and A.S.Altekar. The Vakataka-Gupta Age, p. 102). Rudrasena was a fervent devotee of Mahabhairava. He has left an inscription incised on the aforementioned slab of stone found at Devatek, which contains a mutilated edict of the Dharma-mahamatra of Asoka. It records his construction of a Dharma-sthana (temple). (Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 1f.)
Rudrasena I was followed by his son Prthivisena I, who ruled for a long time and brought peace and contentment to his people. During his reign this branch of the Vakatakas became matrimonially connected with the illustrious Gupta family of north India. Candragupta II-Vikramaditya-married his daughter Prabhavatigupta II to Prthivisena I's son, Rudrasena II, probably to secure the powerful Vakataka king's help in his war with the Western Ksatrapas. Rudrasena II died soon after accession, leaving behind two sons Divakarasena and Damodarasena alias Pravarasena II. As neither of them had come of age, Prabhavatigupta ruled as regent for the elder son Divakarasena for at least thirteen years (Ibid., Vol. VI, pp. 5 f. According to Altekar, she carried on the administration for a period of about twenty years.(R. C.Majumdar and A. S. Altekar, The Vakataka-Gupta Age, p. 112). She seems to have been helped in the government of the kingdom by military and civil officers sent by her father Candragupta II. One of these was the great Sanskrt poet Kalidasa, who, while residing at the Vakataka capital Nandivardhana, must have visited Ramagiri (modern Ramtek), where the theme of his excellent lyric Meghaduta suggested itself to him. (Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 12 f.)
Prabhavatigupta has left us two copper-plate inscriptions. The earlier of them, though discovered in distant Poona, originally belonged to Vidarbha. It was issued from the then Vakataka capital Nandivardhana (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol. VI, p. 6.) and records the dowager queen’s grant of the village Danguna (modern Hinganghat) to a Brahmana after offering it to the feet of the Bhagavat (i.e., Ramacandra) on Kartika sukla dvadast evidently at the time of Paran
Divakarasena also seems to have died when quite young. He was succeeded by his brother Damodarasena, who on accession assumed the name Pravarasena of his illustrious ancestor. He had a long reign of thirty years and was known for his learning and liberality. More than a dozen land-grants made by him have come to light. One of them which was made at the instance of his mother Prabhavatigupta in the nineteenth regnal year is noteworthy. The plates recording it were issued from the feet of Ramagirisvamin (i.e., God Ramacandra on the hill of Ramagiri) and record the grant which the queen-mother made as on the previous occasion, viz., after observing a fast on the Prabodhini Ekadasi. (Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 34.)
Pravarasena II founded a new city which he named Pravara-pura, where he shifted his capital some time after his eleventh regnal year. Some of his later land-grants were made at the new capital. He built there a magnificent temple of Ramacandra evidently at the instance of his mother who was a devout worshipper of Visnu. Some of the sculptures used to decorate this temple have recently been discovered at Pavnar on the bank of the Dham, 9.656 km. (6 miles) from Wardha, and have thus led to the identification of Pravarapura with Pavnar. (Ibid., Vol. VI, p. lx f.)
Pravarasena II is the reputed author of the Setubandha, a Prakrt kavya in glorification of Ramacandra. This work has been greatly praised by Sanskrt poets and rhetoricians. According to a tradition recorded by a commentator of this work, it was composed by Kalidasa who ascribed it to Pravarasena. (Ibid, Vol. VI, p. liv.) Pravarasena is also known from some Prakrt gathas which were later interpolated in the Sattasai.
Pravarasena II was succeeded by his son Narendrasena, during whose reign Vidarbha was invaded by the Nala king Bhavadatta-varman. The latter penetrated as far as the Nagpur district and even occupied Nandivardhana, the erstwhile Vakataka capital. The Rddhapur plates record the grant which Bhavadatta had made while on a pilgrimage to Prayaga. The plates were issued from Nandivardhana which was evidently his capital at the time (Ep. Ind., Vol. XIX, pp. 100 f.). In this emergency the Vakatakas had to shift their capital again. They moved it to Padmapura, modern Padampur near Amganv in the Bhandara district. A fragmentary inscription which was proposed to be issued from Padmapur has been discovered at the village of Mohalla in the Durg districts. (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol. VI, p. 75 f.)
The Nalas could not retain their hold over Vidarbha for a long time. They were ousted by Narendrasena's son Prthivisena II, who carried the war into the enemy's territory and burnt and devastated their capital Puskari which was situated in the Bastar State (Ibid., Vol. VI, p. xxvii.). Prthivisena II, taking advantage of the weakening of Gupta power, carried his arms to the north of the Narmada. Inscriptions of his feudatory Vyaghradeva have been found in the former Ajaigad and Jaso States (Ibid., Vol. VI, p. 88 f.).
This elder branch of the Vakataka family came to an end about A.D. 490. The territory round Nagpur was thereafter included in the dominion of the other or Vatsagulma branch.
The Vatsagulma branch was founded by Sarvasena, a younger son of Pravarasena I. It is also known to have produced some brave and learned princes. Sarvasena, the founder of this branch, is well-known as the author of another Prakrt kavya called Harivijaya, which has received unstinted praise from several eminent rhetoricians. The last known king of this branch was Harisena, who carved out an extensive empire for himself, extending from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and from Malva to the Tungabhadra.
The Vakatakas were patrons of art and literature. In their age the Vaidarbhi riti came to be regarded as the best style of poetry as several excellent works were then produced in Vidarbha. Three of the caves at Ajintha, viz., the two Vihara caves XVI and XVII and the Caitya Cave XIX were excavated and decorated with paintings in the time of Harisena (Ibid, Vol. VI, p. lxv f.). Several temples of Hindu gods and goddesses were also built. The ruins of one of them have come to light at Pavnar (Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. II, p. 272 f.). Others are known from references in copper-plate grants.
The Vakatakas disappear from the stage of history about A. D. 550, when their place is taken by the Kalacuris of Mahis-mati, modern Mahesvar in Central India. They also had a large empire extending from Konkan in the west to Vidarbha in the east and from Malava in the north to the Krsna in the south. The founder of the dynasty was Krsnaraja, whose coins have been found in the Amravati and Betul districts (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol. IV, p. xlvi.). He was a devout worshipper of Mahesvara (Siva). That Vidarbha was included in his Empire is shown by the Nagardhan plates of his feudatory Svamiraja dated in the Kalacuri year 322 (A.D. 573) (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol. VI, p. 611 f.). These plates were issued from Nandivardhana which seems to have maintained its importance even after the downfall of the Vakatakas. Svamiraja probably belonged to the Rastrakuta family.
About A.D. 620 the Kalacuri king Buddharaja the grandson of Krsnaraja was defeated by Pulakesin II of the Early Calukya dynasty, who thereafter became the lord of three Maharastras comprising 99,000 viIlages (Ep. Ind., Vol. VI, p. 1 f.). One of these Maharastras was undoubtedly Vidarbha. The Rastrakutas, who were previously feudatories of the Kalacuris, transferred their allegiance to the Calukyas and, like the latter, began to date their records in the Saka era. Two grants of this feudatory Rastrakuta family have been discovered in Vidarbha-one dated Saka 615 was found at Akola and the other dated Saka 631 was discovered at Multai. They give the following genealogy (Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. II, p. 29 f.) :-
(Known dates A. D. 693 and 713)
About the middle of the eighth century A. D. the Early Calukyas were overthrown by the Rastrakutas. No inscriptions of the Early Calukyas have been found in Vidarbha, but their successors the Rastrakutas have left several records. The earliest of them is the copper-plate inscription of Krsna I discovered at Bhandak and dated in the Saka year 694 (A. D. 772) (Ep. Ind., Vol. XIV, p. 121 f.). It records the grant of the village Nagana to a temple of the Sun in Udumbaramanti, modern Rani Amravati in the Yavatmal district. Thereafter several grants of his grandson Govinda III have been found in the Akola and Amravati districts of Vidarbha (See e.g.Ep.ind., vol.XXIII,pp. 8f.; Vol. XXIII, p. 204 f., etc.). The Rastrakutas of Manyakheta and the Kalacuris of Tripuri were matrimonially connected and their relations were generally friendly. But in the reign of Govinda IV, they became strained. The Kalacuri king Yuvarajadeva I espoused the cause of his son-in-law Baddiga-Amoghavarsa III, the uncle of Govinda IV and sent a large army to invade Vidarbha. A pitched battle was fought on the bank of the Payosni (Purna) 16.093 km. (10 miles) from Acalapura, between the Kalacuri and Rastrakuta forces, in which the former became victorious. This event is commemorated in the Sanskrt play Viddhasalabhanjika of Rajasekhara, which was staged at Tripuri in jubilation of this victory. (C.I.I., Vol. VI, p. lxxix f.)
The next Rastrakuta record found in Vidarbha is the aforementioned Devali copper-plate grant of the reign of Baddiga's son Krsna ITI, which mentions the visaya of Nagapura-Nandi-vardhana.
The Rastrakutas were succeeded by the Later Calukyas of Kalyani. Only one inscription of this family has been found in Vidarbha. It is the so-called Sitabuldi stone inscription of the time of Vikramaditya VI (Ep. Ind., Vol. III, p. 304 f.; Studies in Indology, Vol. II, p. 231 f.). From the account of Vinayakrav Aurangabadkar this record seems to have originally belonged to the Vindhyasana hill at Bhandak. It is dated the Saka year 1008 (A. D.1087) and registers the grant of some nivartanas of land, for the grazing of cattle, made by a dependant of a feudatory named Dhadibhandaka. Another inscription of Vikram – aditya's reign was recently discovered at Dongarganv in the Yavatmal district. (Ep. Ind., Vol. XXXII, P. 112 f.). It sheds interesting light on the history of the Paramara dynasty. It shows that Jagaddeva, the youngest son of Udayaditya, the brother of Bhoja, left Malva and sought service with Vikramaditya VI, who welcomed him and placed him in charge of some portion of Western Vidarbha. This inscription is dated in the Saka year 1034 (A.D. 1112).
Though western Vidarbha was thus occupied by the Later Calukyas, the Paramaras of Dhar raided and occupied some portion of eastern Vidarbha. A large stone inscription now deposited in the Nagpur Museum, which originally seems to have belonged to Bhandak in the Canda district, traces the genealogy of the Paramara Prince Naravarman from Vairisimha. (Ibid., Vol. II, p. 180 f.). It is dated in the Vikrama year 1161 corresponding to A. D. 1104-05, and records the grant of two villages to a temple which was probably situated at Bhandak ; for some of the places mentioned in it can be identified in its vicinity. Thus Mokhalipataka is probably Mokhar, 80.47 km. (50 miles) west of Bhandak. Vyapura, the name of the mandala in which it was situated, may be represented by Vurganv 48.280 km. (30 miles) from Mokhar. After the downfall of the Vakatakas, there was no imperial family ruling in Vidarbha. The centre of political power shifted successively to Mahismati, Badami, Manyakheta and Kalyani. Men of learning who could not get royal patronage in Vidarbha, had to seek it elsewhere. Bhavabhuti, who ranks next to Kalidasa in Sanskrt literature, was a native of Vidarbha. In the prologue of his play Mahaviracarita he tells us that his ancestors lived in Padmapura in Vidarbha. As stated above, this place was once the capital of the Vakatakas and is probably identical with the village Padampur in the Bhandara district. (Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I, p. 21 f.). With the downfall of the Vakatakas this place lost its importance. In the beginning of the eighth century when Bhavabhuti flourished there was no great king ruling in Vidarbha. Bhavabhuti had therefore, to go to Padmavati, the capital of the Nagas in North India, and had to get his plays staged at the fair of Kalapriya-natha (the Sun-God at Kalpi) (Ibid., Vol. I, p. 35 f.). Later, he obtained royal patronage at the court of Yasovarman of Kanauj. Rajasekhara, another great son of Vidarbha, was probably born at Vatsagulma, (modern Vasim), which he has glorified in his Kavyamimamsa as the pleasure-resort of the god of love. He and his ancestors Akalajalada, Tarala and Surananda had to leave their home country of Vidarbha and to seek patronage at the court of the Kalacuris at Tripuri. Rajasekhara's earlier plays, viz., the Balaramayana, the Balabharata and the Karpuramanjiri, were put on the boards at Kanauj under the patronage of the GurjaraPratiharas. Later, when the glory of the Pratiharas declined as a result of the raids of the Kalacuri king Yuvarajadeva I, Rajasekhara seems to have returned to Tripuri in the train of the victorious conqueror. There his last play Viddhasalabhanjika was staged in jubilation at the victory of Yuvarajadeva over a confederacy of Southern kings led by Govinda IV in 'the battle of the Payosni (Mirashi, C.I.I., Vol. IV, p. lxxix f.). Another great poet of Vidarbha who had to go abroad in search of royal patronage is Trivikramabhatt, the author of the Nalacampu, in which he has given us a graphic description of several towns, holy places and rivers of Vidarbha. He flourished at the court of the Rastrakuta king Indra III and is known to have drafted the two sets of Bagumra plates of that king, dated Saka 816 (EP. Ind., Vol. IX, p. 24 f.).
In the last quarter of the twelfth century A.D. the Yadavas of Devagiri came into prominence. They had been ruling over Seunadesa in an earlier period as feudatories of the Later Calukyas, but Bhillama, the son of Mallugi, declared his independence and soon made himself master of the whole territory north of the Krsna. He then founded the city of Devagiri, which he made his capital. His son Jaitrapala, killed Rudradeva of the Kakatiya dynasty on the field of battle and released his nephew Ganapati whom he had put into prison. Under Jaitrapala's son Singhana the power of the family greatly increased. He annexed the Kolhapur kingdom after defeating the Silahara king Bhoja in 1212. A. D. The first inscription of the Yadavas found in Vidarbha belongs to the reign of Singhana. It is dated in the Saka year 1133 and records the erection of a torana at Ambadapura in the Buldhana district of Vidarbha (Ibid., Vol. XXI, p. 127 f.). Many of the victories of Singhana were won for him by his Senapati Kholesvara who hailed from Vidarbha. He defeated Laksmideva the ruler of Bhambhagiri (modern Bhamer in Khandes), Paramara Bhoja of Cahanda (modern Canda) and Arjunavarmadeva, king of Malva, and devastated the capital of the Hoyasalas. He even pressed as far as Varanasi in the north where he put Ramapala to flight. Kholesvara constructed several temples in Vidarbha and also established agraharas on the banks of the Payosni and the Varada (G.H. Khare, Sources of the Mediaeval History of the Deccan (Marathi), Vol. I.). The former agrahara is still extant under the name of the village Kholapur in the Amravati district.
Singhana was succeeded by his grandson Krsna, whose inscription has been found in the temple of Khandesvara on a hillock on the outskirts of the village Nandganv in the Amravati district. It is dated in the Saka year 1177 (A.D. 1254-55) and records the donations of some gadyanakas for the offerings of flowers at the temple of Khandesvara. After Krsna's death, the throne was occupied by his brother Mahadeva superseding the claims of the former's son Ramacandra. Mahadeva annexed konkan to his kingdom after defeating Somesvara, of the Silahara dynasty. He left the throne to his son Amana, but the latter was soon deposed by Ramacandra, who captured the impregnable fort of Devagiri by means of a coup d'etat (Ep. Ind., Vol. XXV, p. 205.f). He is the last of the independent Hindu Kings of Devagiri. He won several victories and in a grant of his minister Purusottama he is said to have driven out the Muhammedans from Varanasi and built a golden temple there, which he dedicated to Visnu (Ibid., Vol. XXV, P.207). A fragmentary inscription of his time is built into the front wall of the temple of Laksmana on the hill at Ramtek (Ibid., Vol. XXV, p. 7 f.). In the first half of it, it describes the exploits of Ramacandra's ancestors from Singhana onwards while in the second half it describes the temples, wells and tirthas on and in the vicinity of the hill which it names as Ramagiri. The object of the inscription seems to have been to record the repairs done to the temple of Laksmana by Raghava, the minister of Ramacandra. Another inscription of Ramacandra's reign was found at Lanji in the Balaghat district. It is fragmentary and has not yet been deciphered.
In A. D. 1204 Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded the kingdom of Ramacandra and suddenly appeared before the gates of Devagiri. Ramacandra was taken unawares and could not hold out long. He had to pay a large ransom to the Muslim conqueror. He continued, however, to rule till A. D. 1310 at least; for a copperplate grant which his minister Purusottama made is dated in the Saka year 1232. He was succeeded by his son Sankaragana some time in A.D. 1311. He discontinued sending the stipulated tribute to Delhi. He was then defeated and slain by Malik Kafur. Some time thereafter Harapaladeva, the son-in-law of Ramacandra, raised an insurrection and drove away the Mohammedans, but his success was short-lived. The Hindu kingdom of Devagiri thus came to an end in A.D. 1318.
Like their illustrious predecessors the Yadavas also extended liberal patronage to art and literature. During their age a peculiar style of architecture called Hemadpanti after Hemadri or Hemadpant, a minister of Mahadeva and Ramacandra, came into vogue. Temples built in this style have been found in all the districts of Vidarbha. In the Nagpur district they exist at Adasa, Ambhora, Bhuganv, Darsevani, Savner, Ramtek and some other places. Several learned scholars flourished at their court.Among those who hailed from Vidarbha, Hemadri was the foremost. During the reign of Mahadeva he held the post of srikaranadhipa or Head of the Secretariat. He was appointed Minister and Head of the Elephant Force by Ramacandra. He was as brave as he was learned and liberal. He conquered and annexed to the Yadava kingdom the eastern part of Vidarbha called Jhadi-mandala. Hemadri is well known as the author of the Caturvargacintamani comprising five parts, viz., (1) Vrata-khanda, (2) Danakhanda, (3) Tirthakhanda, (4) Moksakhanda, and (5) Parisesakhanda. Of these the third and fourth khandas have not yet come to light. Hemadri's work is held in great esteem and has been drawn upon by later writers on Dharma-sastra. Hemadri wrote on other subjects as well. He is the author of a commentary on Saunaka's Pranavakalpa and also of a Sraddhakalpa in which he follows Katyayana. His Ayurveda-rasayana, a commentary on Vagbhata's Astangahrdaya, and Kaivalyadipika, a gloss of Bopadeva's Muktaphala are also well known.
Hemadri extended liberal patronage to learned men. Among his proteges the most famous was Bopadeva. He was a native of the village Vedapada (modern Bedod) on the bank of the Wardha in the Adilabad district of the former Hyderabad State. Bopadeva is said to have composed ten works on Sanskrt grammar, nine on medicine, one for the determination of the tithis, three on poetics and an. equal number for the elucidation of the Bhagavata doctrine. Only eight of these are now extant. The Mugdhabodha, his work on Sanskrt grammar is very popular in Bengal.
Marathi literature also flourished in the age of the Yadavas. Cakradhara, who propagated the Mahanubhava cult in that age, used Marathi as the medium of his religious teachings. Following his example, several of his followers composed literary works in Marathi. They are counted among the first works of Marathi literature. Mukundaraja, the author of the Vedantic works Vivekasindhu and Paramamrta, and Jnanesvara, the celebrated author of the Bhavarthadipika, a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita are the most illustrious writers of that age.