• Came to prominence after the decline of
• Ruled in south-central India
• One of the most powerful dynasty of this
• Ruled for a period of about 300 years.
• Occupy the same position of eminence in the
ancient history of South India that the Guptas
do in that of North India
• Great patrons of art and literature.
12. Original homeland : Theory 1
• Homeland: Central India
• Propounded by : Vincent Smith & K.P. Jayaswal
• Basis: 1. Etymological origin of Vakataka from Village Bagata in Chirgaon in
2. Brahmanda & Vayu Purana mentions Vindhyasakti I, the founder
of the Vakataka dynasty and his son Pravira towards the close of the
section dealing with the kings of Vidisha.
3. Rudradeva, mentioned in the Allahabad pillar inscription of
Samudragupta as a king of Aryavarta efeated by Samudragupta, is
identical with Rudrasena I of the Vakataka family
• Analysis: Vakataka inscriptions not found in Jhansi and neighbourhood.
13. Original homeland : Theory 2
• Homeland: Deccan/south India
• Propounded by : V.V. Mirashi
• Basis: 1. The name Vakataka occurs in a pilgrim’s record at Amaravati in the Guntur
taluka of the Andhra State . It records certain donations of a grhapati named
Vakataka. Most of the inscriptions at AmaravatI mention countries, rivers and places
of South India.
• 2. Several technical terms which occur in the land-grants of the Vakatakas are
noticed in those of the Pallavas also . They are, however, conspicuous by their
absence in northern records. This points to the southern origin of the Vakatakas.
• Some of the titles which the Vakatakas assumed in their early records e.g.,
Haritiputra and Dharmamaharaja are noticed only in the grants of southern
dynasties such as the Pallavas, the Kadambas and the Early Chalukyas. They are not
noticed in northern grants.
• Analysis: Several indications pointing Deccan as home-land.
14. Caste of Vakatakas
• Cave XVI inscription at Ajanta: Vindhyashakti I was a dvija = Brahman
• Later Vakataka inscriptions mention Visnuvrddha as the gotra of the
16. Vindhyasakti I (c.250-270 CE)
• The earliest known king of the Vakataka dynasty.
• Initially samant of Satavahanas. Later became independent.
• His name is generally omitted in the Sanskrit and Prakrit charters of his
• Cave XVI inscription at Ajanta: Glorifies him as the banner of the Vakataka
family but no royal title is prefixed to his name.
• From this it is argued that he received no formal coronation .
• Visnu Purana: Vindhyasakti was crowned as king.
• So there is no reason to doubt if he reigned as an independent king.
• Puranas: credit him with a long reign of 96 years.
• But this period, if correct, may represent his long life, not his reign.
17. Extension of empire
Cave XVI inscription at Ajanta:
1. He is said to have increased his power by fighting great battles.
2. He defeated all enemies by the might of his arms.
3. He had a large cavalry, by means of which he exacted submission from
18. Extent of kingdom
• No information about the extent of his kingdom.
• A.S. Altekar: His name is supposed to indicate that his rule spread till
• Puranas: This was achieved not by him but by his son Pravira who
overthrew the king of Purika.
• Vindhyasakti may however have extended his power to Vidarbha.
• Probably his capital was at Chanaka.
19. Pravarasena I (c. 270 – 330CE)
• S/O Vindhyashakti
• The most powerful king of the Vakataka family.
• He is invariably mentioned as the head of the royal genealogy in all
• The Puranas assign a period of sixty years to the rule of Pravarasena I,
whom they call Pravira
20. Extension of empire: Imperialistic conquests
• Definite proofs of conquests are lacking.
• Puranas: He had Vidisha under Vakataka dominion.
• Mirashi: He invaded and annexed the kingdom of Purika in Vidisha where Shishuka
who was Dauhitra of Naga king was reigning. Made Purika his second capital.
• Conquered Nachana & Ganj in Baghelakhanda.
• Conquered parts of North Kuntala comprising the Kolhapur, Satara and Solapur
Districts of Maharashtra.
• No further knowledge of his conquests but it is not unlikely that he raided Daksina
Kosala (Chhattisgarh), Kalinga and Andhra.
• V.C.Pandey: Pravarasena I extended his suzerainty over the Saka Kshatrapas of
Malwa and Saurashtra. But Mirashi doesn’t agree.
• K.P.Jayaswal: Pravarsena I defeated Chandragupta I & also Kusana king of Punjab.
• Altekar: He performed 4 Ashvamedha yajnas after his 4 successful military
21. Extension of empire: Matrimonial alliances
• Matrimonial alliance with Bharshiva family = powerful Naga dynasty of Padmavati.
• Gautamiputra, the eldest son of Pravarasena I married daughter of Naga king
• This matrimonial alliance seems to have greatly increased the power and prestige of
• Mentioned in the grants of the descendants of Gautamiputra just as Lichchhavi
alliance is mentioned in the records of the Guptas.
• But Gautamiputra died in lifetime of Parvarsena I leaving behind a son.
22. Extent of empire
• A.S.Altekar: Extent of his empire was-
• North- Narmada
• South- Uttar Kuntal (Kolhapur)
• East : Kalinga-Andhra
• West: Gujrat- Kathiawar.
• That he had a large kingdom is shown by his performance of four Asvamedha
• Puranas: Pravarasena I had four sons, all of whom became kings.
• The extensive Empire of Pravarasena I was divided among his sons after his death.
1. Rudrasena (S/O Gautamiputra who himself was son of Pravarsena): Northern
Vidarbha with capital at Nandivardhan (Nagpur).
2. Sarvasena: Southern Vidarbha with capital at Vatsagulma (modern Basim in the
Akola District of Vidarbha)
3. V. V. Mirashi: His third son got Northern Kuntal (upper Krishna valley, comprising
the modern districts of Kolhapur, Satara and Solapur)
4. V. V. Mirashi : His fourth son got Dakshina Kosala (Chhattisgarh)
24. Branching of Vakataka dynasty
• A staunch supporter of Vedic religion.
• He performed, besides the four Asvamedhas, all the seven Soma sacrifices (सप्त
सोमयाग =अग्निष्टोम, अत्यग्निष्टोम, उक्थ, षोडशी, वाजपेय,अततरात्र,एवं आप्तोयामम)
• The Puranas make a special mention of his Vajapeya sacrifices which, they say were
marked by munificent gifts to Brahmanas.
• Ghatotkaca cave inscription: Deva who a very active, learned and pious Brahmana,
was Prime Minister of Pravarasena I. He was mainly responsible for the phenomenal
religious activity noticed in the latter’s reign.
• Basim plates: Two titles- Dharmamaharaja and Haritiputra.
• Took the Imperial title “Samrat” or Emperor. He is the only known king of historical
times who assumed this title.
26. Rudrasena I (c.330-355 CE)
• Gautamiputra, the eldest son of Pravarasena I, predeceased his father
• Rudrasena I = S/O Gautamiputra
• Contemporary of Samudragupta & Dauhitra of Naga king Bhavanaga.
• In later Vakataka records, he is invariably described as the daughter’s son of
Bhavanaga, the Maharaja of the Bharashivas.
• This plainly indicates that he had the powerful support of the Naga rulers of
• Devout worshipper of Mahabhairava
• Probably changed his religion under the influence of his maternal grandfather
• Ruled over northern parts of Vidarbha probably from the old capital Purika.
• Only one inscription of his reign has been discovered so far viz., that at
27. Extension of empire
• Altekar: with the support of his Nana, probably suppressed the revolt by his three
• King Bhavanaga had no son so after his death, probably as per the laws of that time,
his kingdom also went in hands of Rudrasena I.
• Altekar: Sakas of Ujjain who served Pravarsena I, declared their independence during
Rudrasena I’s time.
• Mirashi: Samudragupta’s campaign posed a setback in Vakataka power. The
overthrow of Naga kings by Samudragupta must have deprived Rudrasena I of the
powerful support of the confederacy of Naga kings of North India and greatly
lowered his power and prestige.
28. Extent of empire
• Though the kingdom of Rudrasena
I was much reduced in size than his
predecessor Pravarsena I, he
maintained his independence.
• Ruled over northern parts of
Vidarbha probably from the old
29. Prithvisena I (c. 350-400CE)
• S/O Rudrasena I
• Highly eulogized in the grants of his successors as possessing the
noble qualities of truthfulness, compassion, self restraint and charity,
besides heroism and political wisdom.
• He is compared with Yudhisthira, the great Pandava hero of the
Mahabharata fame, who was well known for such virtues.
• Like his father Prithivisena I was a devout worshipper of Siva.
30. Extension of empire
• The contemporary Gupta kings Samudragupta and Chandragupta II were
following an aggressive policy in the north, subduing their neighbors and
annexing their kingdoms.
• Prithivisena I wisely refrained from being entangled in these wars and
devoted himself to the consolidation of his position in the south and
ameliorating the condition of his subjects.
• During his time the Vakataka capital seems to have been shifted from
Purika to Nandivardhana, modern Nagardhan, about 28 miles from
31. Matrimonial alliance
• Chandragupta gave his daughter Prabhavatigupta in marriage to the
Vakataka prince Rudrasena II, the son of Prtihivisena I.
• This matrimonial alliance between the two had far reaching
consequences in Vakataka history.
• Gupta influence on Vakatakas was much evident.
• Conversion towards Vaishnavism, use of Gupta script & genealogies
in Vakataka inscriptions in years to come.
32. Diplomatic relations
• Kept good relations with the Vatsagulma branch of Vakatakas.
• V.C.Pandey: Even helped the king Vindhyasena of Vatsagulma branch
in his conquest of Kuntal?
33. Rudrasena II (c.400-405 CE)
• S/O Prithvisena I
• A Vaishnava; for he ascribed his prosperity to the grace of Chakrapani
• Died soon after his accession, in 405 CE, leaving behind two sons
Divakarasena (5yrs old) and Damodarasena (2 yrs old).
• At this crisis in the history of the Vakatakas, Chandragupta II came to the
aid of his daughter.
• He sent some of his trusted generals and statesmen to help her in
governing her kingdom?
• Prabhavati Gupta became Vakataka Queen regent.
• Gupta influence was evidently predominant then at the Vakataka court
34. Prabhavatigupta (c.405-420 CE)
• Prabhavati Gupta became the Queen regent on behalf of her
• She greatly venerated the pada-mulas of Ramagirisvamin i.e.,
Ramachandra on the hill Ramagiri, modern Ramtek, which lies
just three miles from the then Vakataka capital Nandivardhana.
• Both of her known grants Riddhapur copper plate & Poona
copper plate were made near the foot-prints (padamulas) of the
god after fasting on the Karttika-sukla-pratipada .
• She issued inscriptions giving genealogy of her father’s side rather
• She took the gotra of her father rather than husband.
• She used Gupta brahmi script in her Poona copper plate instead
of Vakataka box headed brahmi.
• Her son Divakarasena was short-lived. He was succeeded in circa
CE420 by his younger brother Damodarasena, who, on
coronation, assumed the name of Pravarsena II.
35. Pravarasena II (c.420-450 CE)
• Damodarasena on coronation, assumed the name Pravarsena II.
• The latest of his grants is dated in the 29th regnal year.
• Pravarasena II had therefore a long reign of about thirty years.
• The earlier grants of Pravarasena II were made at the old capital
• His later grants were issued from Pravarapura.
• It seems therefore that he founded a city named Pravarapura and shifted his
• This Pravarapura is identified with Mansar.
36. Extension of empire: Imperialistic policy
• His copper plates do not mention any victories of his.
• Probably he did not engage in imperialistic conquests.
37. Extent of empire
• Several land grants record his donations in the modern districts of
Amaravati, Wardha, Nagpur, Betul, Chhindwada, Bhandara and
• These areas were under his dominion.
38. Extension of empire: Matrimonial alliance
• He married his son Narendrasena with daughter of Kuntal king.
• A.S. Altekar : At this time Kadamb dynasty king Kakusthavarman was
ruling in Kuntal.
• V.V. Mirashi : At this time, Kuntal was ruled by Rashtrakuta dynasty.
39. Pravarsena II: Overview
• A very liberal king.
• Also a poet. Some of his Sanskrit verses have been preserved.
• Composed several Prakrit gathas, some of which have been incorporated
in the Gathasaptasati.
• The well-known Prakrit Kavya Setubandha is also ascribed to him
• A devout worshipper of Shiva.
• Built a magnificent temple of Ramachandra at Pravarapura when he
shifted his capital there.
• Decorated it with beautiful panels illustrating various incidents in the
story of Rama.
• Pravarasena II was succeeded by his son Narendrasena in circa 450 CE
41. Narendrasena (c.450-470 CE)
• Followed an aggressive policy in the north and east and made some
• Balaghat copper plate : His commands were obeyed by the rulers of Kosala,
Mekala and Malwa.
• Kosala (or Chhattisgarh) was being ruled by a feudatory family which owned
the supremacy of the Guptas.
• The ruler of Daksina Kosala was probably Bhimasena I
42. Imperialistic conquests
• Towards the end of Narendrasena’s reign, the Vakataka territory was invaded
by the Nala king Bhavadattavarman.
• The Nalas were ruling over the Bastar and the adjoining territories.
• A copper-plate inscription issued from Nandivardhana by Nala king:
Bhavadattavarman occupied Nandivardhan, the former Vakataka capital for
• Some years later, Narendrasena attacked S/O Bhavadattavarman, Arthpati
who was killed in the ensuing battle & capital of Nalas-Pushkari was
• Altekar: Probably Narendrasena was helped by Kadamb family of his wife.
• Some scholars: Probably Nala victory was attained at time of Prithvishena II.
43. Prithivisena II (c.470-490CE)
• Prithivisena was the son of Narendrasena from Ajjhitabhattarika, a Kadamba
princess of Kuntala
• He not only retrieved his position in Vidarbha, and regained his kingdom but
carried his arms even farther than his father.
• In his inscriptions, he gave his genealogy from his mothers' side.
• Was a devotee of Vishnu.
44. Extent of Kingdom
• Balaghat plate: Prithivisena II raised his sunken family by successfully facing 2
• Altekar: One of the problems was rise of Traikuta king in southern Gujrat.
• Some scholar believe that the second problem was the growing power of Nala king.
• He seems to have been forced to shift his capital from Pravarapura to Padmapura in
• He raided Nala kingdom and devastated their capital Puskari .
• Nalas were forced to abandon Vidarbha and return to their home province.
• Two stone inscriptions of his feudatory Vyaghradeva: Control of Nachna and Ganj in
• His feudatory Vyaghradeva = Uccakalpa prince Vyaghra.
• The Uccakalpa kings were previously the feudatories of the Guptas
• When the power of the Guptas declined in the second half of the fifth century CE,
they seem to have transferred their allegiance to the Vakatakas.
45. Prithvisena II : Overview
• Last known member of this main branch of the Vakataka family.
• His reign ended in about 490 CE.
• Thereafter, his kingdom was incorporated in the dominion of
Harishena of Vatsagulma branch.
46. Gupta- Vakataka relations
• Both dynasties had powerful, imperialistic, ambitious kings.
• The empire of both dynasties shared a political boundary- Vindhyas.
• Only two possible outcomes of such a scenario- Fight or Friendship.
• Matter delt with diplomacy.
• Initially both avoided direct conflict.
• Gupta-Vakataka established Matrimonial alliance.
• A relationship of mutual benefit & convenience.
• But with the death of Rudrasena II & appointment of Prabhavatigupta as Queen,
the influence of Guptas in Vakataka court increased many folds.
• Later when opportunity presented itself, even Vakatakas did not hesitate to snatch
some areas from Gupta dominion.
• Contributions of both the dynasties in culture & history of north and central south
India are almost the same.
47. Vindhyashakti & Srigupta
• Founders of respective dynasties.
• Both were small rulers/feudatories
• No scope for any conflict between them
48. Pravarsena I & Chandragupta I
• First powerful kings of their own dynasty.
• Pravarsena I made matrimonial alliance with Nagas while Chandragupta I with
• Pravarsena I took the title of Samrata while Chandragupta I took the title of
• K.P.Jayaswal: Pravarsena I attacked & killed Chandragupta I & conquered
• Baseless view. Unacceptable.
49. Rudrasena I & Samudragupta
• K.P.Jayaswal: Rudradeva mention in list of defeated kings in Aryavarta
= Vakataka king Rudrasena I
• S.K.Iyangar: Gupta-Vakataka enmity. Samudragupta defeated Nagas
who were relatives of Vakatakas.
50. Rudrasena I & Samudragupta: Vakataka-Gupta relationship
• Friendly relations
• Both prudently avoided a direct conflict.
• However, the overthrow of Naga kings by Samudragupta must have deprived Rudrasena I of
the powerful support of the confederacy of Naga kings of North India and greatly lowered
his power and prestige.
• Mirashi: Samudragupta’s campaign posed a setback in Vakataka power.
• Mirashi: Vyaghraraja of Mahakantara (Bastar District), who probably belonged to the Nala
family, Mantaraja of Kurala, Mehendragiri of Pistapura and several other kings of Kalinga and
Andhra were previously under the sphere of influence of the Vakatakas. They now threw off
the Vakataka yoke and acknowledged the suzerainty of the Guptas??
51. Prithvisena I, Samudragupta & Chandragupta
• Fleet + Sircar + Mirashi : Samudragupta defeated Vakataka samantas of Kosla, Mahakantara, Kural
• Probably these Vakataka feudatories had declared their independence after the death of
• Matrimonial alliance of Chandragupta II with princess Kubernaga who belonged to Naga family.
This Naga family was relative of Vakatakas also.
• Chandragupta II married his daughter Prabhavatigupta with son of Vakataka king Prithvisena =
• Legend: Chandragupta II sent his officials to Vakataka court to assist her daughter.
• Legend: Kalidasa was also sent to Vakataka kingdom.
52. Pravarsena II & Chandragupta II
• Kuntal king married his one daughter with Gupta Prince and another
with Vakataka prince.
• Probably Vakataka prince was Narendrasena and Gupta prince was
either son/grandson of Chandragupta II.
53. Narendrasena & Kumargupta-Skandagupta
• Narendrasena took advantage of the political turmoil in Gupta empire in last years
of Kumargupta due to attack of Pushyamitras.
• He took areas like Malwa, Mekal & Kosal under his control.
• These were originally under Gupta empire.
• Later Skandagupta regained these areas from Vakatakas.
54. Fall of empire
1. Weak successors.
2. Rise of powerful contemporaries.
• Malva – King Yashovarma
• Chhattisgarh- King Tiwardeva
• Karnataka: Kadambas, Chalukyas
• Bastar: Nala
• Central India: Kalchuris
3. Could not withstand the competitive political scenario.
55. Vakatakas: Concluding remarks
• Extensive and unified empire in Deccan.
• Political unity for almost a period of 300 years.
• Cultural prosperity: Literature, Art, Architecture.
• Credited with initiation of temple architecture in Maharashtra.
• Revival of Hinduism: Performance of Vedic rites & rituals.
• Cult of Narsimha started.
• Patronage to Buddhism: Ajanta caves & paintings.
• Trade relations: Evidence from Nagardhan- Trade with Central Asia.