Gangaya Sahini was the founder of the dynasty. Originally in the service of the Telugu Cholas of Nellore, he set himself independent and later accepted the suzerainty of the Kakatiyas. His kingdom a Kakatiya province was vast with in the bounds of Warangal, Marjavadi and Kaivara. The term Sahini—suffixed to the name of Gangaya and his successors show that these Kayasthas were great cavaliers and warriors.
Gangaya’s several records attest the extent of his kingdom. His earliest inscription is from Satrasala dated A.D. 1244 mentioning mahamandlesvara Ghandapendra Ambayyadeva—bearing a prasasti. This Ambakshmapa was a brothers-in-law of Gangaya, i.e. husband of his sister Chandaladevi and distinct from Ambadeva, of later times. His next inscription is from Tripurantakam dated A.D.1250 recording his grants of Dupali to the god, for the merit of Ganapatideva Maharaja. Another records of the year Sadharana, with Saka date lost from Nandalur mentions Saranganayaka, the minister of Gangaya. Gangaya’s next record is from Durgi, dated A.D. 1251 mentioning his minister Namadeva Pandita and King Ganapati, Gangaya’s records dated A.D. 1254 are at Tripurantakam. Gangavaram (Darsi taluq) and Vallur The first of them mentions Namadeva Pandita and Kakatiya Ganapati, the second registers the grant of Chalamartigandapuram and the last mentions Gangaya as the general of Khanderaya Pallava, the subordinate of Ahobalesvaraju the ruler of the country, Motatidesa. Gangaya’s record from Tripurantakam dated A.D. 1255 mentions a grant in the district of Mottavadi for the prosperity of a king Ganapati deva and himself. The next record is from Podadurti dated A.D. 1255. In A.D 1257, Gangaya and his wife granted Gangavaram in Mulikindu to God at Pushpagiri in the reign of Kakatiya Gangapati. In AD. 1259, in the reign Gangapati, Gangaya granted Naidukur (Siddhavakam taluq) as agrahara. His last record at Tadigotla, dated A.D. 1274 mentions Kotlur near Pushpagiri and his title—Kakatiya puravaradhisvara, besides his usual titles. As foe the bounds of Gangaya kingdom, Panugal is identical with Panugal in Nalgonda district and Marjavada is Marjavadirajya of 7000 villages, which comprised with in it Vallur (Cuddapah district) and Nindigal (Kolar district, Karnataka). Kaivaramkota—the fort of Kaivara is mentioned in the place of Marjavadi in a record and it must have formed the southern boundary of Marjavadi, but not same as Marjavadi. The northern boundary of Marjavadi must have been in the neighbourhood of Mopur (Pulivendla taluq) where a record refers to Marjavadi. "Thus the country which was included in one of the viceroyalties of the Kakatiya dominions appears to have been a very large area extending over the modern Telugu districts of Cuddapah, Kurnool, Anantapur, Bellary, Nellore and Guntur.”
His Political Relations
Gangaya is menioned as mahamandlesvara Gandapendara Gangayasahini in the inscriptions. The Kakatiya rulers contemporary with Gangaya were Ganapati and Rudrama. Gangaya’s allegiance to Ganapati is attested by Ms records mentioning him and the epithers referring to him in his prasasti. In the first record dated A.D. 1244 of Gangaya’s reign, Ambayyadeva in his prasasti had the epithet a dependent of the glorious feet of fking) Ganapati deva. In A.D. 1250 Gangaya made gifts at Tripalli charter—Gangaya was ruling the country from Penugal to Marjavadi and made grants at Durgi in Pallinadu to the south of the Krishna. In Gangaya’s records of A.D. 1254, in one Ganapati is mentioned as ruling at Orugallu, his capital and in the other Gangaya styled himself—the worshipping of the lous feet of Ganapatideva maharaja. In A.D. 1255, Gangaya made gift for the prosperity of Ganapati and himself at Tripurantam. His records of A.D. 1257 and 1259 refer to Ganapati. His epithet lord of Kakatipura i.e. Warangal in the last record of A.D. 1274 attests to his importance in the kingdom of Rudrama.
As by A.D. 1244, Gangaya was a subordinate of Ganapati, between that year and A.D 1250 he was subdued by the latter who took his country extending from Pulivendla (Cuddapah vitaluq) to Chintamani taluq in Karanataka, Gangaya helped Ganapati in his further conquests. So Ganapati conquered Gandikota, Mulikirradu, Renadu, Pendadu, Pedakallu, Sakalinadu, Eruvanadu and Pottapinadu etc. and appointed Gangaya as his viceroy over them. Thus by A.D. 1250 by conquering Telengana, the ceded districts and the tract from Ganjam to Nellore on the east, Ganapati augmented the Kakatiya empire. Tradition says that Ganapati conquered Dupatisima and Pattapuravi in Cuddapah area and established his sway. His commander-in-chief Gangayadeva Maharaja was ruling over the Siddhavatam and Pottapmadu tracts with capital at Maidakur. This Gangayadeva’s identity with Gangaya a sahini is not improbable.
Gangaya and Telugu Cholas
Gangayasahini, was to begin with, prior to A.D. 1244 was in in the service of Tikka I (A.D. 1209-1248) of the Telugu cholas of Nellore, as Commander-in-chief. Next he accepted service under the Western Gangas. His enmity to Manmasiddha III (A.D. 1248-1267), son and successor of Tikka is evident from the claim of Manmasiddhi to have taken the country of Gangaya sahini, a feudatory of the Kakatiyas. As has been suggested already, probably when Manmasiadha III was ousted from his throne, Gangaya disturbed his kingdom and about A.D. 1245, 1250, accepted service under the Kakatiyas. The opinion that in the fight with Manmasiddhi Gangaya was vanquished but remstated by the power is due to mistaking Gangaya Sahmi and Rakkesa Gangana to be one person and that the latter is another name of the former; and consequent misinterpretation of Tikkana’s statement that Manmajanapala vanquished Rakkesa Gangana, captured his kingdom and appointed Gangaya Sahini his favourite feudatory to take that place and rule over it.
Gangaya also came into conflict with the Telugu Cholas of Cuddapah. For being a feudatory and general of Gangapati, he subdued them. Gangayadeva chola Maharaja, known from a record a Tallaproddutur had the title—asvaroha gangaysahini sarvasabandikara—the cavalier Gangaya Sahini whose treasures (sarvasva) were seized by Gangayadevachola. Here Gangaya Sahini Is obviously the Kayastha ruler. So, Gangaya chola achieved these exploits quite early in his youth and was old at the time of the record dated A.D 1322 at Tallaproddutur. But ultimately Gangaya Sahini was successful in the fight with ' Gangaya chola, for the Kaifiyat of Nemalladinne says that the country after the rule of the Telugu cholas passed on to the Kakatiyas and Gangayasahini was ruling it. Thus Gangaya Sahini ended the Telugu chola rule in Pottapinadu and established Kakatiya sway.
Gangaya Sahini and the Telugu Pallavas
Gangaya Sahini came into clash with the Telugu Pallavas of Cunddapah early in his reign. An inscription dated A.D. 1254 mentions Gangaya Sahini as the Senapati of Khandaraya Pallava, the subordinate of Ahobalesvararaja, the ruler of Motatidesa. The circumstances that led to the subordination of Gangaya to the Telugu Pallavas are not clear. More than a decade hence about A.D. 1266-27, Gangaya had to fight the Telugu Pallavas and this time the victory was his. Tradition says that while Gangayadeva was ruling over the country—Dupadu, Maduraja from Kandru desirous of conquering this region, started at the head of a vast army and stationed himself at Sonasila, 20 miles from Siddhavalam and two parugus from Pattapuravi to its east and to the north of the Pinakini. Gangaya deva maharaja despatched his nephew Janniga with a large force to beat back the enemy. A great battle was fight at Somasila and Siddhayadeva, after some success in the beginning, was killed in action In A.D. 1267 Janniga set up a victory pillar at Annalur for the merit of Siddhaya and installed Bhomalinga. Probably, Janniga did this out of admiration for the heroism of the enemies—father and son, for one account says that both of them participated in the campaign; and it does not mean that Janniga and Siddhaya acted against a common enemy.
Gangaya and the Western Gangas
King Rakkesa Ganga of the Western Gangas is known from a record at Sivadi (Punganur taluq in Chittoor district). The date is lost. In a record as Joti (Siddhavatam taluq) Rakkesa Gangadeva alias Rakkasa Gangarasadeva Maharaja and mahamandalesvara Mayidevar Maharaju are mentioned. In the reign of the former, a servant of the latter made grants at Joti and Takaprolu. Another record of the year at Siddhavatam mentions Akkarasa Gangarasa Rajayya i.e. Rakkesa Gangana. The next year A,D. 1248 in the rign of Tikkarasa Gangayyadeva i.e. Rakkesa Gangana, some gifts were made at Siddhavatam. In that year at Takkavole (Sidhout taluq), in the reign of Takkesa Gangaya deva, some gifts were made. The person mentioned in all these records is Rakkesa Gangana.
Tikkana says that Cholana Manmasiddhi disturbed Rekkesa Gangana. Probably Gangana, and the Telugu Cholas invaded the territories of Rakkesa Gangana, and achieved this victory jointly before Gangaya came under Kakatiyas suzerainty Besides, Gangaya claims a victory over Damodara from the west, who was probably a Western Ganga. Damodara “holding a territory to the west of the Kakatiya kingdom and commanded a powerful army.” As early as A.D. 1244, Ambaya, the brother-in-law of Gangaya had the title—Damodara Samya disapatta In A D. 1240 Gangaya bore the title—recurs in his Tripurantakama inscription of A.D. 1255. So the victory over Damodara was won by Gangaya and Ambaya by A.D. 1244 and not so late as late as 1249-1250. It is not known whether Tripurantaka participated in the campaign.
Gangaya’s title—Ativishamanayarudhapradharekharevanta—attests his expert horsemanship. The title is also born by his successors.