Sunday, March 22, 2009


Yadavas of Devagiri (Daulatabad) claimed lineage from the Yadu clan that gave birth to the epic hero of the Mahabharata, Vasudeva Krishna . They were also called Seuna Yadavas (a name derived from their ancestral king Seunachandra).
They started as feudatories of the Rashtrakutas and later the western Chalukyas , but ended up carving an empire for themselves that stretched from the river Tungabhadra to the river Narmada, mainly encompassing areas of northern Karnataka, Maharashtra and parts of Madhya Pradesh . The dynasty had a life of almost five centuries from 850-1334 AD. Their origin though as they claimed was from Mathura and Dwarka (Uttar Pradesh), their ancestors probably started from Karnataka. There were two amongst the yadava families, one , known better as the Hoysalas of Mysore and the other belonging to the Seuna desa i.e the country around Devagiri who may have migrated from Karnataka. Yadavas of Devagiri can be said to be the original Marathi speaking dynasties belonging to Maharashtra.
The founder of the Seuna dynasty was Dridhaprahara, the son of Subahu. He ruled from the Nasik area of Maharashtra. Seunachandra was the son of Dridhaprahara and the dynasty is named after him.
The Yadavas created their own independent kingdom with Devagiri as their capital during the time of their great king Bhillama V ( 1185-1193) son of Mallugi . He defeated the Kalachuris or Chedis ( of Chattisgarh) and also the western Chalukyas. He later overran the territories of his kins the Hoysalas and extended the boundaries of his kingdom upto Seringapatam on the river Kaveri. He even defeated the Chola king Kulotunga III. But the Hoysala king Vir Ballala II once again countered his kin Bhillama and drove the Seuna Yadavas out of the Hoysala territory (c. 1188 AD). Ballala even managed to capture some Yadava dominions. Notwithstanding his defeat in Karnataka, Bhillama carried forth his victories in the north defeating many kings like Vindhyavarman of Malwa and Bhima II of Gujrat. He was however checked by Chahamanas of Naddula.
Bhillama was succeeded by his son Jaitrapala or Jaitugi (1193-1200 AD). He successfully fought with the Kakatiyas (Warangal), the Gangas (Mysore) , the Cholas in the south and the Parmaras (Malwa), Chalukyas in the north.
Jaitrapal (or Jaitugi) had Mukundaraja, the author of ‘Paramamrita’( It is considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vedanta principles in Marathi) and Vikeksindhu (another Vedanta exponent) as his spiritual teachers.
Jaitugi was succeeded by his son Singhana II (1200-1247). He is considered the greatest conqueror amongst the Yadavas. He won back all the territories from the Hoysalas which his grandfather had lost and established absolute supremacy of the Seuna Yadavas in the Deccan. To commemorate his victory over the Hoysalas , Singhana erected a column of victory on the banks of river Kaveri. He embarked on many conquests in the north. His campaigns in Gujrat proved very successful and he was able to conquer Lata. He defeated the kings of Malwa, the Kalachuris of Chatisgarh/ Jabalpur. Many petty principalities like the Silaharas of Kolhapur, Kadambas of Goa etc submitted to his might. His kindom extended down south beyond the river Krishna. Mahimabhatta wrote his famous work, the ‘Lilacharitra’(said to be the first book in the Marathi language.) during the time of Singhana II. Singhana even constructed the town of Singhanapur (Shingnapur) in Maharashtra.
Singhana was succeeded by his grandsons. Firstly , Krishna (1247-1260) and later by Mahadeva (1260-1271). Both kept their kingdom intact . Mahadeva even annexed northern Konkan and some Hoysala territories beyond river Tungabhadra.
His famous minister, Hemadri pant ( the author of great works like ’ Chaturvarga chintamani ’ a book about the ‘Vratas’ or ritualistic fasts, a book on traditional medicine ‘Ayurveda Rasayana’and ‘Vaidyakshastra’, a historical account ‘Hemadri bakhar’ and ‘Mestaka’ an administrative guide . He was also the inventor of the Modi script of writing the Marathi language .He also propogated the cultivation of the ‘Bajri’ crop in Maharashtra. Moreover he constructed many temples and its unique style of architecture was ‘Hemadripanti’ named after him.) credits him with conclusive victories against the Waghelas of Gujrat, the Parmars of Malwa, and the Kakatiyas of Telangana.
Ramchandra, the son of Krishna was next in the Yadava line. Hemadripant continued as his minister and advisor.Ramchandra was the contemporary of the great saint Sant Dnyaneshwar who wrote the first simplified treatise of ‘Bhagvad Geeta’ (told by Lord Vasudeva Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata) in Marathi and also the poet of several devotional songs, collectively called the ‘abhangas’.
In 1294, the Sultan of Delhi , Alladin Khilji invaded Devagiri. The main army of the Yadavas was away on a expedition (along with his son Singhana who was also the senapati), the small army of Ramchandra was defeated and Ramchandra had to enter into a humiliating treaty with Khilji, whereby he was to pay a ransom and an annual tribute to the sultan. Ramchandra defaulted in his payment leading to another attack by Alladin Khilji. His commander Malik Kafur made Ramchandra a prisoner and took him to Khiljis court. Khilji reinstated Ramachandra in return for a promise to help Khalji subdue the Hindu kingdoms in the south. In 1309, Malik Kafur mounted an assault on the Kakatiyas from Devagiri.
Thus the Yadavas fell from grace. Ramchandras son Singhana III (a.k.a Shankaradeva) tried to challenge Khilji, but was killed in battle (1313 AD). Finally the Devagiri kingdom was annexed to Khilji’s Delhi sultanate. After the death of Khilji (Khilji was murdered by his general Malik Kafur), the son in law of Singhana III, Harapala, tried to stage a revolt against the Mohammedans (Sultan Mubarak, son of Khilji). But he too met a bloody end (he was said to have been skinned alive). Mubarak appointed a governor Malik Yaklaki to rule Devagiri.Yaklaki too rebelled and was replaced by one Ain ul Mulk and later Malik Khusru. Soon the Khiji dynasty was replaced by the Tughlaq dynasty.
Later, a sultan of Delhi, Muhammed Tughlaq renamed Devagiri as Daulatabad which still stands today 14 km from Aurangabad, in the present day state of Maharashtra.


As Feudatory of Western Chalukyas of Kalyani
Seunachandra 850-874 C.E.
Dhadiyappa 874-900 C.E.
Bhillama I 900-925 C.E.
Vadugi (Vaddiga) 950-974 C.E.
Dhadiyappa II 974-975 C.E.
Bhillama II 975-1005 C.E., helped Western Chalukya king Tailapa II in battle against Paramara king Munja.
Vesugi I 1005-1020 C.E.
Bhillama III 1020-1055 C.E., ruled near Sinnar, Nasik. Helped Chalukya Somesvara against Paramaras
Vesugi II 1055-1068 C.E.
Bhillama III 1068 C.E.
Seunachandra II 1068-1085 C.E., overcame civil war, defeated Bhillama IV to become king.
Airamadeva 1085-1115 C.E.
Singhana I 1115-1145 C.E.
Mallugi I 1145-1150 C.E., beginning period of internal family feud which lasted until 1173
Amaragangeyya 1150-1160 C.E.
Govindaraja 1160 C.E.
Amara Mallugi II 1160-1165 C.E.
Kaliya Ballala 1165-1173 C.E.

Independent kingdom
Bhillama V 1173-1192 C.E.
Jaitugi I 1192-1200 C.E.
Singhana II 1200-1247 C.E.
Kannara 1247-1261 C.E.
Mahadeva 1261-1271 C.E.
Amana 1271 C.E.
Ramachandra 1271-1312 C.E.

Tributary status under Khilji dynasty
Singhana III 1312-1313 C.E.
Haripaladeva 1313-1318 C.E.
Mallugi III 1318-1334 C.E.


Sources: Ancient India by R.C.Majumdar (Motilal Banarasidas Publishers), Studies in Indian History by L.Prasad (Bookhive), Penguin History of India by Romila Thapar (Penguin).


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