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Part 7 - Bhima II (A.D. 1156-1188)

Bhima was the first well known ruler of the dynasty of the Kotas. Most of the records of his son keta begin with Bhima anomitting the earlier kota rulers. Bhima’s earliest inscription is from Velpur, dated A.D. 1156 mentioning Bhima and Rajendra Chola. Two inscriptions at Gudipudi dated A.D. 1160 mention Kotappana Yaka, Mahamandalesvara Kota Gandaparaja and his wife Bhuramadevi figure in a record at Pedanakkanal dated A.D. 1160. In another record there, dated A.D. 1175 the achievements of Gandapa over general kanma, Uddandaraya, yoddiya Beta, Kendiya, Siddhi choda and Mallachoda are enumerated. This Gandapa was the chief resident of Inter in Velanandu Vishaya. In an undated record at Amaravati, Bhima is mentioned as kota-Dodda Bhimaraja bearing the Kota prasasti which includes of many po litically significant titles. Though no records of Bhima are available after A.D. 1175, his reign may have lasted up to A.D. 1182—the first year for his son Keta. Bhima II is taken to have been same as his grandson Bhima III by some writers, which is wrong; and also as son of Keta I.

Bhima’s relationship to Gonda is not apparent. Perhaps Gonda, the son of a Chodaraja was a prominent person in the kingdom from A.D. 1160 and associate ruler till A.D. 1175 and played a significant role in the affairs of the state Bhima, in later records, is compared to Indra and is spoken of as a great warrior, and destroyer of enemies, their armies and forts. His popular rule is attested by records and local Kaifiyats of Pulivarru, Vallur and Pedaganjam Bhima and Kota are mentioned in an undated record at Amaravati.

Bhima’s Political Achievements

As noted already, Ganda had significant achievements by A.D. 1175. Dodda Bhima is Bhima IPs prasasti has the following epithets Kommanadandanakyakasirahchcadana, chidpulivadhumangalasutraharana, chaunadarayachanuramurntaka, yuriyabetamatta matengasimha, choda kataka samantavenkova, Siddhichodamrigasardula, Mallayachoda mastakasula, Buddahkula kuddala pregnant with politicalsignifiance-besides others referring to his capacities as a warrior. Putting together the successes of Bhima and Ganda, it appears that Bhima in extending the bounds of his kingdom and in defending it from enemies, came into contact either as a friend or as an enemy with the contemporary kingdoms, defeated some and allied with others,

Bhima’s Political Relations

The Chola emperors in this period were Rajaraja II (A.D. 1150-1163) and Rajadhiraja II (A.D. 1163-1179). Bhima’s allegiance to the Cholas is evidenced from his inscriptions. His earliest record mentions Rajendra chola probably identical with Rajaraja II. The Kaifiyat of Pedaganjam mentions that “Kota Bhima ruled over those parts but his kingdom was conquerred by Kulottunga Chola The Chola king ruled till’s 1099. The date of the conquest is not given it is not possible to see how Bhima, a subordinate of the Cholas brought on himself the wrath of the Chola emperor, resulting in the occupation of his kingdom. Kulottunga was probably Kulottunga II whose rule began in A.D. 1178. Much value may be attached to this invasion of Kulottunga into the Kota territories as it is supported by inscriptions. Probably Bhima rebelled and was subdued by Kulottunga I and remained to the Cholas for the rest of his reign. His loyalty to the Cholas is attested by his title—chodakatasamantabenkolva.

Bhima and the Velanandu Chodas

The contemporaries of Bhima at Tsandavole were Gonka II, Choda II and Gonka III. The Kotas and the Velanandu Chodas were on terms of political alliance strengthened by marriage alliances. Sabbama, wife of Bhima, was the daughter of Choda II and sister of Gonka II, not daughter of Choda I and sister of Gonka II as has been wrongly supposed. This fact is found repeated quite often in the Kota as well as Velanandu. Choda inscriptions. At the close of Choda II’s reign and the beginning of Gonka III’s Bhima took part in the civil war in Palnad along with the Velanandus. It is likely that Bhima enjoyed the support of the Velanandu chodas in the campaigns-especially against the Telugu chodas and others; as in earlier days Bhima and his predecessors helped the Velanandu chodas against their enemies.

Bhima and the Kondapadumatis

The Kondapadumati contemporaries of Bhima were Buddha III and Manda IV the joint rulers the last dates for whom were A.D. 1172 and 1173 respectively. One of the titles of Bhima is Buddhakulakuddala which implies his extirpation of the Kondapadumati dynasty. This is supported by the fact that Buddha and Manda are not heard of after A.D. 1173 and no sons and immediate successors of them are ever heard. This expedition of Bhima into the Kondapdumati kingdom must have taken place before A.D. 1175 in which probably he was assisted by Rachura Daraparaju, who also bore the epithat—Buddhakulakuddala. The expedition resulted in the annexation of the Kondapadumati territories permanently to the Kota kingdom. Thus the Kotas became the political successors of the kondapadumatis and two princess of the Kondapadumatis were queens of Kota, son of Bhimai, and the Koudapadumati kingdom was merged into the Kota-kingdom

Bhima and the Haihayas of Paland:

The Haihaya ruler in Palnad was Nalagama in this period. The civil war between him and his step brothers lasted from A.D. 1178 to 1185. Bhima and his son sided Nalagama in this war. Probably reason for this was that Bhima was related to Velanandu Choda II and Gonka III, who were related, in their turn, to Nalagama. The Kotas and the Haihayas were political allies. For, Bhima was one of the kings to whom. Invitations were sent by Nalagama to come and join him at Kerempudi with their armies. Bhima promptly responded by sending armies under the lead of prince Kota. Kota was one-of the ambassadors sent by Nalagama to pedamallideva, Bhima does not seem to have survived the battle of Karempudi as his last date was A.D. 1182.

Bhima and the Telugu Cholas

The Telugu Chola contemporaries of Bhima were Nanni Choda II (A.D. 1151-1160) and Kamana Choda (A.D. 1160-1187) at Kondidena Somesvara (A.D. 1157 and Mallideva III AD 1157) and Mallideva IV at Pottapi, and M.P. C. Siddha (A.D. 1175-1192) at Nellore. Bhima and the Telugu cholas were enemies to one another. Bhima and Ganda claim successes over the Telugu choda princes and their kingdoms which must have been achieved by A.D. 1175 the date of Ganda’s inscription mentioning them. The Telugu Cholas were the enemies of the Velanandu Chodas in this period. Bhima came into conflict with them in extending his kingdom and his expedition into their kingdom was a great success though not followed by acquisition of territories as in the case of his Kondapadumati expedition.

One of the titles of Bhima implies his conquest of Chidpuli. And it has been proved by Professor Sastn that “Citpuli was a district in the southern regions of the Eastern Chalukya kingdom......(and) sitpulinadu (was) between Venkatagiri and Gudur (Rapur taluq) under the Telugu chodas. “So Bhima invaded chidpulinadu evidently included in the Nellore chola kingdom under Siddhi-perhaps provincial Governor and killed its ruler whose name is not mentioned. Yuriya Beta of Bhima’s inscriptions and Yoddiya Beta of Ganda's record are probably indentical and may refer to a Telugu Chola prince whom Bhima and Ganda vanquished. If so, this Beta may have been the ruler of chidpulinadu and identical with Beta, the younger brother of king Siddhi and lost his life in the Kota hands. Again, both Bhima and Ganda claim to have vanquished Siddhi choda. This Siddhi chola, undoubtedly a Telugu chola has been identified with Siddhi, son of Bijjana of the Telugu Chola family. But he may be more reasonably identified with Choda siddhi, the eldest son of Mallideva I of the Pottapi cholas. Kota Bhima and Ganda also claim to have vanquished and killed Mallachoda who may have been one of the six persons bearing the name Malladeva—e.g. Mallideva, I, II, III, IV and two princes—all of pottapi Chola line. In this successful expedition into the Telugu chola territories under-taken and accomplished by A.D. 1175 by king Bhima and prince Gonda, the Kotas must have been helped by the Kondapadumatis, the Haihayas of Palnad, the Chagis, the Parichchadis and other local powers in men and resources besides the Velandandu chodas.

Bhima and the Kakatiyas

The Kakatiya contemporaries of Bhima were Prola II (A.D, 1117-1163) and Rudradeva I (A.D. 1163-1196). Even from the time of Prola II the Kakatiyas were interested in leading expeditions of conquest into Vengi. Rudradeva continued Prola II’s policy vigorously. He did not miss a single opportunity to invade Vengi. Palnativi Charitra says that he sent vast armies to help Nalagoma in the Civil war of Palnad. It appears that the Kakatiya armies, during the battle of Karempudi, also invaded the Kota territories, before returning home and killed Bhima though it did not result in adding territories, to the Kakatiya kingdom.

Thus the Kotas and the Kakatiyas were on terms of hostility. Bhima and Prola do not seem to have come into conflict with each other. But Kotachodaraja of the Draksharama branch had the title the fire to the forest i.e. Kakati Prola. So Prola II must have advanced as far as Draksharama where he was attacked by Choda II of the Velanandus and last his life in the battle, and Kota choda participated in that campaign. We do not know whether Bhima came into contact with Rudradeva in the early part of his reign. The armies of Bhima and Rudra fought side by side in the battle of Karempudi and it is not possible to see why Rudra directed his armies against the Kota kingdom suddenly. Either Bhima and Rudradeva riven apart or it was Rudra’s ambition to conquer kingdoms or most probably his desire to wreak vengoance for his father’s death in the Kota hands by ravaging the Kota kingdom and killing Bhima. The family prasastis of the Recharla, the Vipparla, the Dosatla and the Komaravalli families have the title—Dannalakota pariveshtitakadana, Doddanabhimunigarvapaha?ana, Dannalakotarayavesyabhujanga, and Doddanabhimunisirahchedana respectively. Of these families perhaps the Vipparlas were the descendants of the Chagis who fought side by side with Bhima in the ward Paland. The titles for certain show that Dharamkota was surrounded by the enemy, King Dodda Bhima was killed, and the enemy claims to have become the lord of Dharamkota. Doddabhima is identical with Bhima II. It is likely that the members of the Recharla, the Vipparla, the Desatla and the Komaravalli families-who were in the service of the Kakatiyas were the leaders of the Kakatiya armies which participated in the Civil war in Palnad. After the war, they invaded the Kota territories and surrounded the capital Dharamkota. No doubt Bhima offered resistance. Consequently a battle must have ensued near the walls of the fort. The Kotas suffered a severe loss as their king was killed, and the country subjucated as the title Dannalakotarayavesyabhujanga indicates. This fatal battle must have taken place about A.D. 1182—the last date for Bhima II and this definitely proves that Bhima did not die in the war in Palnad as has been supposed by some. On the other hand, perhaps, Bhima II had to leave Palnad to defend his kingdom against the Kakatiyas, who seem to have attacked it even while the war in Palnad was being fought.

Other achievements of Bhima

Bhima and Ganda claim to have killed a Konmanadandana-yaka by A.D. 1175. Kommaraja, the Kalachuri prince was the commander of the armies of the Pedamallideva, after the death of Balachandra, in the cavil war in Palnad. But this Komma could not have been the victim of the Kotas, for the Kota victory was prior to the battle of Karempudi. So the identity of general Komma is yet to be known. Ganda claims to have vanquished Uddendaraya and Bhima, to have defeated Chaundaraja. Choda II of the Velanandus also claimed a victory over Chaundaraya. Probably General Komma, Uddendaraya, Chaundaraya, as their names suggest were generals of the Chalukyas or Kalachuris of Kalyani, and Komma and Chavunda, descendants of Kommaya and Chamunda, the generals of Somesvara I, who were among the leaders of Chalukya forces into Vengi, sent soon after Somesvara’s accession and were defeated by the Chola armies led by Rajad biraja, in the reign and Rajendra I, by A.D. 1044, during the second stage in the war.