Kalachuri Dynasty Introduction
There are two dynasties with the name of Kalachuri who had a secession of dynasties from the 10th-12th century AD, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan ) and were called Chedi or Haihaya (Heyheya) (northern branch) and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka. They are disparately placed in time and space. Apart from the dynastic name and perhaps a belief in common ancestry, there is little in known sources to connect them.
The Kalachuri kings were called the Kalachuris of Chedi or Chedis. They established their kingdom in Madhya Pradesh with their capital at Tripuri near Jablapur. Kokalla I was the founder of the dynasty. The Chedis had to face the rulers of Kannauj and Malwa, the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. They also had to defend their territory against the Palas and rulers of Kalinga. One of the most important rulers of Kalachuri dynasty was Gangeyadeva. He tried to make the Chedis the paramount power of Northern India. He was succeeded by his son Karandeva. The Kalachuris dynasty declined by 1181 AD.
Kalachuri Dynasty- The Kalachuris, who overthrew and took the place of the Chalukyas of Kalyana in the early part of the twelfth century, had a relatively short but stormy rule. The period threw up two striking personalities: An energetic, if somewhat wicked, adventurer who flouted the authority of his Chalukya master and achieved the Kalachuri independence – Bijjala. Another figure of eminence was Basaveshvara who marshaled a virile, revolutionary movement of religious and social reform, which goes by the name of Virasaiva Movement.
According to the Kalachuri inscriptions, the dynasty controlled Ujjayini, Vidisha and Anandapura. Literary references suggest that their capital was located at Mahishmati in the Malwa region.
The dynasty also controlled Vidarbha, where they succeeded the Vakataka and the Vishnukundina dynasties.
In addition, the Kalachuris conquered northern Konkan (around Elephanta) by the mid-6th century. Here, they succeeded the Traikutaka dynasty.
Origin of Kalachuri Family
The Kalachuris, also known as the Haihayas, were an ancient people known from the Epics and Puranas from 249 or 250 A.D. Several branches of the Kalachuris were settled in different parts of Northern India. In the later half of sixth century A.D., they ruled over a powerful kingdom comprising Gujarat, northern Maharashtra, and later then some parts of Malwa.
One of them founded a principality in Sarayupara in the modern Gorakhpur District. The other, which soon became very powerful, ruled in Chedi country in Bundelkhand.
The Kalachuris of Chedi also known as kings of Dahalas, had their capital at Tripur, represented by the modern village of Tewar, six miles to the west of Jubulpore.
The following are the known rulers of the Kalachuri dynasty of Malwa with their estimated reigns (IAST names in brackets):
Krishnaraja (Kṛṣṇarāja), r. c. 550-575 CE
Shankaragana (Śaṃkaragaṇa), r. c. 575-600 CE
Buddharaja (Buddharāja), r. c. 600-625 CE
The Elephanta Caves which contain Shaivite monuments are located along the Konkan coast, on the Elephanta Island near Mumbai. Historical evidence suggests that these monuments are associated with Krishnaraja, who was also a Shavite.
The Kalachuris appear to have been the rulers of the Konkan coast, when some of the Elephanta monuments were built. Silver coins of Krishnaraja have been found along the Konkan coast, on the Salsette Island (now part of Mumbai) and in the Nashik district. Around 31 of his copper coins have been found on the Elephanta Island, which suggests that he was the patron of the main cave temple on the island. According to numismatist Shobhana Gokhale, these low-value coins may have been used to pay the wages of the workers involved in the cave excavation.
The earliest of the Brahmanical caves at Ellora appear to have been built during the Kalachuri reign, and possibly under Kalachuri patronage. For example, the Ellora Cave No. 29 shows architectural and iconographic similarities with the Elephanta Caves. The earliest coin found at Ellora, in front of Cave No. 21 (Rameshvara), was issued by Krishnaraja.
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