The history of Andhra country (1000 AD - 1500 AD)

by Yashoda Devi | 1933 | 138,355 words

This book recounts the History of the Andhra Pradesh Country from 1000 to 1500 A.D. including many dynasties (for example. the Reddis of Korukonda and the Eruva Chola of Rajahmundry)....

Part 6 - Prithvisvara (A.D. 1186—1209-1210)

Son of Gonka III by Jaya mahadevi, Prithvisvara ascended the throne in A.D. 1186 the earliest date available for him. His reign lasted for about 24 years. He was the last of the Velanandu Cholas to rule over the extensive Velanandu kingdom comprising almost the entire Andhra land. He was trained as a warrior and administrator as conjoint ruler with Gonka 331. Prithvisvara bore the epithet Raj'arajaparameavara.In his reign, the kingdom did not suffer any visible curtailment though its vitality was being sapped out invisibly slowly and steadily. Dissensions at home and invasions from abroad from powers like the Kakatiyas and the Teiugu Chodas proved beyond his control and ultimately Prithvisvara fell a victim to the inevitable. Prithvisvara’s long and peaceful reign in the teeth of adverse political circumstances attests his capacities and personality.

Extent of the kingdom

Prithvisvara’s records are greater in number than Gonka Ill’s and are important in determining the chronology of the reign and the extent of the kingdom. He earliest record is the Pithapur pillar inscription dated A.D. 1186 registering a grant by the queen mother Jayama. The record from Srikurmam is dated A.D. 1191. Prithvisvara’s overlordship over the Kona-mandala is evident from the Kona Haihaya pillar inscription dated A.D. 1195 at Pithapur. His Dimile and Srikurman inscriptions bear the dates 1192 and 1196 respectively. His Vizagapatam record dated 1199 A.D. has been usually taken to be his last. But it is not so. For his inscription dated in the 31st year of Tribhuvanachakravarti Rajadhiraja, is at Draksharama. Here Rajadhiraja refers to Kulottunga III and his 31st year corresponds to 1209-1210 A.D. Lastly an inscription dated 1210 A.D. at Bapatla mentions Choda-gonka, son of Akkamahadevi, sister of Prithvi Gonka ruling-Probably this Choda gonka was a, provincial governor uder Prithvisvara. These last two records lengthen the reign of Prithvisvara by a decade A.D. 1199 to 1210 and show that his •capital was at Tsandavole and not Pithapur, and that he did not lose the northern parts of the kingdom as is disproved by the location of his Bapatla inscription.

Prithvisvara’s political relations

Inscriptions and literature mention Prithvisvara as Kulo-ttunga Prithvisvara, Velananti Kulottunga Prithvisvaramaha-rajulu, Kulottunga Prithvisvara deva maharaja, Pnthvi Gonka, and Prithvisvara. He is more well known than Gonka III for recorded tradition mentions him, though ignores some of his predecessors and Manchana makes him the son of Choda which is disproved by the inscriptions of Gonka III and Prithvisvara. Prithvisvara did not embark on expeditions of -conquest but fought his enemies in defensive warfare.

Prithvisvara and the Cholas

Kulottunga III was the Chola emperor. To quote Professor Sastri “the reign of Kulottunga is a remarkable example of the triumph of personal ability of the monarch against the forces of disruption that were steadily increasing in their number and the intensity of their action...though Kulottunga succeeded for the best part of the reign in enforcing Chola suzerainty over the Pandyan kingdom, it became clear that the end of his reign that the southern kingdom after its recovery from the effects of the civil strife, was being ruled by able and ambitious monarchs who were prepared not only to assert their independence of the Chola power, but embark in their turn on a career of aggressive warfare and territorial aggrandisement. We shall see that Kulottunga lived long enough to experience the first shock of the new born imperialism of the Pandyas. Elsewhere, the numerous feudatory dynasties were preparing to break off from the centre when opportunity occurred and some of them like the Siddharasces of Nellore caused no end of anxiety to the emperor by their restless activity directed not seldom against the central power itself. All the energy and strength of Kulottunga was taken up in counteracting the machinations and undoing the mischief resulting from the actions of such •over grown vassals. Inspite of everything, however, until towards ihe close of the reign of Kulottunga, the Choda empire suffered no visible curtailment. Kulottunga himself must be counted, as the last of the great Chola monarchs.”

Prithvisvara continued the traditional policy of loyalty of' the Velanandus to the Cholas. This is evident from his record at Draksharama dated in the 31st year of Rajadhiraja i.e. Kulottunga III. As the 1st year corresponds to A.D. 1209, it further indicates Prithvisvara’s loyalty throughout his reign.

Prithvisvara and the Western Chalukyas

Somesvara IV, the last of the Chalukyas of Kaiyani ruled till A.D. 1189. Prithvisvara does not seem to have come into conflict with him or his feudatories.

Prithvisvara and the Kakatiyas

The Kakatiya rulers at the time were Rudradeva up to A.D. 1195, Mahadeva from A.D. 1195 to 1198 and Ganapati deva, son of Mahadeva by Bayyambika from A.D. 1198 to 1261. Ganapati was the greatest of the Kakatiyas. As Professor Sastri puts it “it was under Ganapati, however, that the sway of the Kakatiyas first attained its widest expansion and their armies carried the limits of the empire though only for a time, as iar as Kanchipuram and beyond.” Ganapati invaded the Velanandu country in A.D. 1201, suffered defeat in-Prithvisvara’s hands. He led another invasion into Velanandu territory after Prithvisvara’s death about A.D. 1212 and’ subjugated it.

After Rudradeva’s inscription dated 1186 A.D. the earliest Kakatiya inscription of Draksharama, is dated A.D. 1212 in Ganapati’s reign. But Ganapati’s inscription at Bezwada with date A.D. 1201 no doubt signifies his march into the Velanandu kingdom. In the light of the provenance off Prithvisvara’s inscriptions after A.D. 1201, it must be conceded that Prithvisvara was successful in checking Ganapati’s advance into his territory. No details about the battle as to where it took place, and the personnel of the opposing armies are not available. Probably the Velanandu armies were headed by Prithvisvara and his nephew Gonka, and the Kakatiya armies by Ganapati and princess Rudrama. As it was not a victory for the Kakatiyas it follows that the victorious expedition of Ganapati into Velanandu described in the Ganapesvaram inscription does not refer to this invasion of A.D. 1201 and so to say that we know that the Velanandu country was conquered and annexed to the Kakatiya dominions by Ganapati between s 1121 (A.D. 1199) and s 1123 (1201 A.D.) falls to ground. Thus Prithvisvara warded off Ganapati’s expedition into his kingdom and probably had not to face any more Kakatiya invasions for the rest of his reign.

Prithvisvara and the Kona Haihayas

Mallideva and Manmasetya II were ruling together Konamandala. Prithvisvara was their suzerain as is obvious from the insertion of two verses in praise of a Jayamahedevi, mother of Prithvisvara, in the Kona Haihaya pillar inscription of Prithvisvara (A.D. 1165). The Velanandu overlordship gains further support from Prithvisvara’s inscriptions at Vizagapatam and Draksharama dated A.D. 1199 and 1210 respectively.

Prithvisvara and the Telugu Chodas

Nallsiddha CM, M.P.C. Rajagandagopala alias Ranganatha and Errasiddha and Tammu siddha of the Nellore branch of the Telugu Cholas were the contemporaries of Prithvisvara. Until the reign of Prithvisvara, the Velanandu Chodas and the Telugu Chodas had friendly political relation owing common allegiance to the imperial Cholas. But not seldom that Prithvisvara had to face the enmity of the Telugu Cholas of Nellore, and oppose their armies invading his kingdom. Fighting till the end, Prithvisvara met his untimely death in the hands of the Telugu Cholas in A.D. 1210.

Gandagopala, son of Mammasiddha I and Sridevi, had the title-the sole hero of the world who cut off the head of Prithvisvara. He is identical with Chodatikka I who ruled from A.D. 1209 to 1250-51. Ballaya, also a Telugu Chola prince, called himself Prithvisvara Sirahkanukakridavmoda.As Prithvisvara was alive in A.D. 1210 the battle between him and the Telugu Cholas must have been fought in that year. The Velanandus were vanquished, their king let his life and the Telugu Chodas were victorious. This victory does not seem to have added any fresh tracts to the Telugu Choda kingdom though it paralysed the Velanandu kingdom consequent on Prithvisvara’s death.

Prithvisvara and other dynasties

The members of the Ayya family must have continued in the service of Prithvisvara. Vishnuvardhana of the Chalukyas of Pithapur, ruling in A.D. 1201, probablv owed allegiance to Prithvisvara.

The Kondapadumatis and the Palnad Haihayas with whom the Velanandus had friendly relations in previous years must have remained on analogous terms in Prithvisvara’s reign also. And these and other local rulers with their armies must have helped Prithvisvara in fighting his enemies, in defence of his kingdom and in warding off foreign invasions though destiny was against him and in favour of the disappearance of the kingdom within a few years after his death.

End of the Velanandu dynasty

Inscriptions and recorded tradition attest Ganapati’s conquest of the Velanandu country about 1211-1212 soon after Prithvisvara’s death. Ganapati had been driving towards that end even in Pnthvisvarals reign. He made friends with the Kota and Natavadi chiefs, cemented by marriage alliances. Probably to suggest that after his failure in A.D. 1201, he influenced and rendered assistance indirectly to the Telugu Chodas under Tikka I and Ballaya in their aggressive warfare directed against Prithvisvara may not be far from the truth. Ganapati’s Ganapesvaram inscription describes his conquest of Velanandu and its results. It says that Ganapati, the vanquisher of the kings of Chola, Kalmga, Sevuna, Karnata and Lata ruling over the country between the southern ocean and the Vmdhyas, made the whole country of Velanandu subject to himself and carried of his city, men, women, elephants, horses and various kinds of precious stones seized by him in the Velanandu country. He conquerred the dvipa is divisles at the mouth of the Krishna, made Jay a of his general and married his two sisters. From the inscriptions of Jaya and Ganapati at Chebrole (A.D. 1213) and Tsandavole it is clear that Ganapati conferred on Jaya the necessary insignica of his office; and thus Ganapati settled the conqured country by making Jaya his viceroy or representative. Such is the end of the defacts independence of the Velanandu kingdom owing to loyalty to imperial Cholas. Among the later Velanandu princes ruling small principalities in the Velanandu country, some were dependent on Jaya and owed allegiance to Ganapati of the Kakatiyas and some were loyal to Rajaraja III of the Cholas.

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