- Western Ganga Dynasty
Infobox Former Country
native_name = ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಗಂಗ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನ
conventional_long_name = Western Ganga Dynasty
common_name = Western Gangas
|continent = moved from Category:Asia to South Asia
region = South Asia
country = India
status = Empire
status_text = Empire
government_type = Monarchy
|year_start = 350
year_end = 1000
|event_pre = Earliest Ganga records
date_pre = 400
|p1 = Pallava
s1 = Chola Dynasty
image_map_caption = Core Western Ganga Territory
leader1 = Konganivarman Madhava
leader2 = Rachamalla V
year_leader1 = 350 – 370
year_leader2 = 986 – 999
title_leader = King
The Western Ganga Dynasty (350 – 1000 CE) (
Kannada:ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಗಂಗ ಸಂಸ್ಥಾನ) was an important ruling dynasty of ancient Karnatakain India. They are known as Western Gangas to distinguish them from the Eastern Gangas who in later centuries ruled over modern Orissa. The general belief is the Western Gangas began their rule during a time when multiple native clans asserted their freedom due to the weakening of the Pallavaempire in South India, a geo-political event sometimes attributed to the southern conquests of Samudra Gupta. The Western Ganga sovereignty lasted from about 350 to 550 CE, initially ruling from Kolarand later moving their capital to Talakadon the banks of the Kaveri Riverin modern Mysore district.
After the rise of the imperial Chalukyas of Badami, the Gangas accepted Chalukya overlordship and fought for the cause of their overlords against the
Pallavasof Kanchi. The Chalukyas were replaced by the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta in 753 CE as the dominant power in the Deccan. After a century of struggle for autonomy, the Western Gangas finally accepted Rashtrakuta overlordship and successfully fought alongside them against their foes, the Chola Dynastyof Tanjavur. In the late 10th century, north of Tungabhadra river, the Rashtrakutas were replaced by the emerging Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola Dynasty saw renewed power south of the Kaveririver. The defeat of the Western Gangas by Cholas around 1000 resulted in the end of the Ganga influence over the region.
Though territorially a small kingdom, the Western Ganga contribution to polity, culture and literature of the modern south Karnataka region is considered important. The Western Ganga kings showed benevolent tolerance to all faiths but are most famous for their patronage towards Jainism resulting in the construction of monuments in places such as
Shravanabelagolaand Kambadahalli. The kings of this dynasty encouraged the fine arts due to which literature in Kannada and Sanskritflourished. Chavundaraya's writing, "Chavundaraya Purana" of 978 CE, is an important work in Kannada prose. Many classics were written on various subjects ranging from religionto elephantmanagement.
Multiple theories have been proposed regarding the ancestry of the founders of the Western Ganga dynasty (prior to the 4th century).Western Ganga Kings Infobox Some mythical accounts point to a northern origin(Rice in Adiga 2006, p88)] Jayaswal in cite web|title=Gangas of Talkad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka11.htm|author=Arthikaje,Mangalore|publisher=1998-2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] while theories based on
epigraphypropose a southern origin. Historians who propose the southern origin have further debated whether the early petty chieftains of the clan (prior to their rise to power) were natives of the southern districts of modern KarnatakaAdiga and Sheik Ali in Adiga (2006), p89] Sarma (1992), pp1-3] Ramesh (1984), pp1-2] The Gangas were sons of the Soil - R. S. Panchamukhi and Lakshminarayana Rao cite web|title=Gangas of Talkad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka11.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998-2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] , the Kongu region in modern Tamil NaduBaji and Arokiaswamy in Adiga (2006), p89] Robert Sewell and Vishwanatha in cite web|title=Gangas of Talkad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka11.htm|author=Arthikaje,Mangalore|publisher=1998-2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] or of the southern districts of modern Andhra Pradesh.Kamath (2001), p39] Krishna Rao in Adiga (2006), p88] These regions encompass an area of the southern Deccanwhere the three modern states merge geographically. It is theorised that the Gangas may have taken advantage of the confusion caused by the invasion of southern India by the northern king Samudra Guptaprior to 350, and carved out a kingdom for themselves. The area they controlled was called Gangavadi and included regions of the modern districts of Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Tumkur, Kolar, Mandya and Bangalore in Karnataka state.Kamath (2001), pp39-40] At times, they also controlled some areas in modern Tamil Nadu(Kongu region starting from the 6th century rule of King Avinita) and Andhra Pradesh(Ananthpur region starting from middle of 5th century). The founding king of the dynasty was Konganivarman Madhava who made Kolarhis capital around 350 and ruled for about twenty years.
By the time of Harivarman in 390, the Gangas had consolidated their kingdom with
Talakadas their capital. Their move from the early capital Kolar may have been a strategic one with the intention of containing the growing Kadamba power.Sarma (1992), p4] By 430 they had consolidated their eastern territories comprising modern Bangalore, Kolar and Tumkur districts and by 470 they had gained control over Kongu region in modern Tamil Nadu, Sendraka (modern Chikkamagaluruand Belur), Punnata and Pannada regions (comprising modern Heggadadevanakoteand Nanjangud) in modern Karnataka.Adiga 2006, p97, p100] From the Cakra-Kedara grant, Kodunjeruvu grant (Adiga 2006, p99] In 529, King Durvinitaascended the throne after waging a war with his younger brother who was favoured by his father, King Avinita.Kamath (2001), p40] Some accounts suggest that in this power struggle, the Pallavas of Kanchi supported Avinita's choice of heir and the Badami Chalukya King Vijayaditya supported his father-in-law, Durvinita.Sheik Ali and Ramesh in Adiga (2006), p100-101] From the inscriptions it is known that these battles were fought in Tondaimandalam and Kongu regions (northern Tamil Nadu) prompting historians to suggest that Durvinita fought the Pallavas successfully.Adiga (2006), p101] Considered the most successful of the Ganga kings, Durvinita was well versed in arts such as music, dance, ayurvedaand taming wild elephants. Some inscriptions sing paeans to him by comparing him to Yudhishtiraand Manu - figures from Hindu mythology known for their wisdom and fairness.from the Nallala grant (Kamath 2001, p41)] Adiga (2006), p109]
Politically, the Gangas were feudatories and close allies who also shared matrimonial relations with the Chalukyas. This is attested by inscriptions which describe their joint campaigns against their arch enemy, the Pallavas of Kanchi.From the Aihole inscriptions and the Jangamarahalli inscription (Adiga 2006, 102)] From the year 725 onwards, the Gangavadi territories came to be called as the "Gangavadi-96000" ("Shannavati Sahasra Vishaya") comprising the eastern and western provinces of modern south Karnataka.(Adiga 2006, p103)] King
Sripurushafought the Pallava King Nandivarman Pallavamalla successfully, bringing Penkulikottai in north Arcotunder his control temporarily for which he earned the title "Permanadi".From the Shimoga records (N.L.Rao in Kamath 2001, p41)] The title was given to a later Ganga King Rachamalla I (Ramesh in Adiga p115), the Agali grant and Devarahalli inscription calls Sripurusha "Maharajadhiraja Paramamahesvara Bhatara" (Adiga 2006, pp115-116)] A contest with the Pandyas of Maduraiover control of Kongu region ended in a Ganga defeat, but a matrimony between a Ganga princess and Rajasimha Pandya's son brought peace helping the Gangas retain control over the contested region.Sastri in Adiga 2006, p115] From Salem plates of Sripurusha dated 771 and the Koramangala grant (Ramesh in Adiga 2006, p116)]
In 753, when the Rashtrakutas replaced the Badami Chalukyas as the dominant force in the Deccan, the Gangas offered stiff resistance for about a century.Kamath (2001), p42] From several Tumkur inscriptions (Adiga 2006, p117)] King
Shivamara IIis mostly known for his wars with the Rashtrakuta Dhruva Dharavarsha, his subsequent defeat and imprisonment, his release from prison and eventually his death on the battle field. The Ganga resistance continued through the reign of Rashtrakuta Govinda IIIand by 819, a Ganga resurgence gained them partial control over Gangavadi under King Rachamalla.Adiga 2006, p118] Seeing the futility of waging war with the Western Ganga, Rashtrakuta Amoghavarsha I gave his daughter Chandrabbalabbe in marriage to Ganga prince Butuga I, son of King Ereganga Neetimarga. The Gangas thereafter became staunch allies of the Rashtrakutas, a position they maintained till the end of the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Manyakheta.from the Konnur inscriptions of 860 and Rajaramadu inscription (Adiga 2006, p119)] From the Keregodi Rangapura plates and Chikka Sarangi inscription of 903 (Adiga 2006, p119)] Kamath (2006), p43]
After an uneventful period,
Butuga IIascended the throne in 938 with the help of Rashtrakuta Amoghavarsha III(whose daughter he married).Kamath (2001), p44] He helped the Rashtrakutas win decisive victories in Tamilakamin the battle of Takkolam against the Chola Dynasty. With this victory, the Rashtrakutas took control of modern northern Tamil Nadu.Tirukkalukkunram and Laksmeshwar inscriptions - Kanchi and Tanjore were annexed by Krishna IIIwho was an incarnation of death for the Chola Dynasty (Reu 1933, p83)] Thapar 2003, p334] Sastri 1955, p162] In return for their valour, the Gangas were awarded extensive territories in the Tungabhadrariver valley.Kamath (2001), p44] From the Kudlur inscription of King Marasimha II (Adiga 2006, p120)] King Marasimha II who came to power in 963 aided the Rashtrakutas in victories against the Gurjara PratiharaKing Lalla and the Paramarakings of Malwain Central India.From the Kukkanur inscription (Adiga 2006, p122)] These victories were recorded in a Kannada inscription of 964 near Jabalpur(Kamath 2001, p83)] Chavundaraya, a minister in the Western Ganga court was a valiant commander, able administrator and an accomplished poet in Kannada and Sanskrit.Kamath (2001), p45] Sastri (1955), pp356-357] He served King Marasimha II and his successors ably and helped King Rachamalla IV suppress a civil war in 975. Towards the end of the 10th century, the Rashtrakutas had been supplanted by the Western Chalukya Empirein Manyakheta. In the south, the Chola Dynastywho were seeing a resurgence of power under Rajaraja Chola Iconquered Gangavadi around the year 1000, bringing the Western Ganga dynasty to an end. Thereafter, large areas of south Karnataka region came under Chola control for about a century.Kamath (2001), p118]
The Western Ganga administration was influenced by principles stated in the ancient text "
Arthashastra". The "praje gavundas" mentioned in the Ganga records held similar responsibilities as the village elders ("gramavriddhas") mentioned by Kautilya. Succession to the throne was hereditary but there were instances when this was overlooked.Kamath (2001), p46] The kingdom was divided into "Rashtra" (district) and further into "Visaya" (consisting of possibly 1000 villages) and "Desa". From the 8th century, the Sanskrit term "Visaya" was replaced by the Kannada term "Nadu". Examples of this change are Sindanadu-8000 and Punnadu-6000,Adiga (2006), p10] with scholars differing about the significance of the numerical suffix. They opine that it was either the revenue yield of the division computed in cash termsRice in Adiga (2006), p15)] or the number of fighting men in that division or the number of revenue paying hamlets in that divisionSharma in Adiga (2006), p16] or the number of villages included in that territory.
Inscriptions have revealed several important administrative designations such as prime minister ("sarvadhikari"), treasurer ("shribhandari"), foreign minister ("sandhivirgrahi") and chief minister ("mahapradhana"). All of these positions came with an additional title of commander ("dandanayaka"). Other designations were royal steward ("manevergade"), master of robes ("mahapasayita"), commander of elephant corps ("gajasahani"), commander of cavalry ("thuragasahani") etc.Kamath (2001), p47] In the royal house, "
Niyogis" oversaw palace administration, royal clothing and jewellery etc. and the "Padiyara" were responsible for court ceremonies including door keeping and protocol. Adiga (2006), p238]
Officials at the local level were the "pergade", "nadabova", "nalagamiga", "prabhu" and "gavunda".Adiga (2006), pp161-177] The "pergades" were superintendents from all social classes such as artisans, gold smiths, black smiths etc. The "pergades" dealing with the royal household were called "manepergade" (house superintendent) and those who collected tolls were called "Sunka vergades".From the Kanatur inscription (Adiga 2006, p161)] The "nadabovas" were accountants and tax collectors at the "Nadu" level and sometimes functioned as scribes.From the Kanatur inscription (Adiga 2006, p164)] The "nalagamigas" were officers who organized and maintained defence at the "Nadu" level.From the Mavali inscription of 8th century and Indravalli inscription (Adiga 2006), p165] The "prabhu" constituted a group of elite people drawn together to witness land grants and demarcation of land boundaries.Doddakunce inscription, the Karagada and Maruru inscription (Adiga 2006, p167-68)] The "gavundas" who appear most often in inscriptions were the backbone of medieval polity of the southern Karnataka region. They were landlords and local elite whom the state utilized their services to collect taxes, maintain records of landownership, bear witness to grants and transactions and even raise militia when required.Bedirur inscriptions of 635 (Adiga 2006, p168)]
Inscriptions that specify land grants, rights and ownership were descriptive of the boundaries of demarcation using natural features such as rivers, streams, water channels, hillocks, large boulders, layout of the village, location of forts ("kote") if any in the proximity, irrigation canals, temples, tanks and even shrubs and large trees. Also included was the type of soil, the crops meant to be grown and tanks or wells to be excavated for irrigation.From the Kumsi inscription of 931 and Doddahomma inscription of 977 (Adiga 2006, pp21-22, p27, p29)] From the Mavali inscription and Indivalli inscription (Adiga 2006, p31)] Inscriptions mention wet land, cultivable land, forest and waste land.From the Devarahalli and Hosur copper plates (Adiga 2006, p33)] There are numerous references to hamlets ("palli") belonging to the hunter communities who resided in them ("bedapalli").From inscriptions and literary writings such as "Vaddaradhane" (920) and "Pampa Bharata" (940) (Adiga 2006, p36-37)] From the 6th century onwards, the inscriptions refer to feudal lords by the title "arasa". The "arasas" were either
brahmins or from tribal background who controlled hereditary territories paying periodic tribute to the king.Adiga (2006), p208] The "velavali" who were loyal bodyguards of the royalty were fierce warriors under oath ("vele"). They moved with the royal family and were expected to fight for the master and be willing to lay down their lives in the process. If the king died, the "velavali" were required to self immolate on the funeral pyre of the master.Adiga (2006), pp233-234]
The Gangavadi region consisted of the
malnadregion, the plains ( Bayaluseemae) and the semi-malnad with lower elevation and rolling hills. The main crops of the malnad region were paddy, betelleaves, cardamomand pepper and the semi-malnad region with its lower altitude produced rice, millets such as ragiand corn, pulses, oilseeds and it was also the base for cattle farming.Adiga (2006), p6] The plains to the east were the flat lands fed by Kaveri, Tungabhadraand Vedavatirivers where cultivations of sugarcane, paddy, coconut, arecanut ("adeka totta"), betel leaves, plantainand flowers ("vara vana") were common.Adiga (2006), p10] from the Melkote copper plates and Mamballi inscriptions, Medutambihalli inscription of 9th century (Adiga 2006, p53)] Sources of irrigation were excavated tanks, wells, natural ponds and water bodies in the catchment area of dams ("Katta").Adiga (2006), p42] Inscriptions attesting to irrigation of previously uncultivated lands seem to indicate an expanding agrarian community.Adiga (2006), p45]
Soil types mentioned in records are black soil ("Karimaniya") in the Sinda-8000 territory and to red soil ("Kebbayya mannu")from the Narasimhapura plates (Adiga 2006), p46] From the Doddahomma inscription of Rachaballa IV of 977 (Adiga 2006, p47)] Cultivated land was of three types; wet land, dry land and to a lesser extent garden land with paddy being the dominant crop of the region. Wet lands were called "kalani", "galde", "nir mannu" or "nir panya" and was specifically used to denote paddy land requiring standing water.Kittel in Adiga (2006), p48] The fact that pastoral economies were spread throughout Gangavadi region comes from references to cowherds in many inscriptions. The terms "gosahasra" (a thousand cows), "gasara" (owner of cows), "gosasi" (donor of cows), "goyiti" (cowherdess), "gosasa" (protector of cows) attest to this.Belagi inscription of 964, Sasarvalli inscription of 1001 (Krishna and Adiga 2006, p55/56)] Inscriptions indicate ownership of cows may have been as important as cultivable land and that there may have existed a social hierarchy based on this.Adiga (2006), p57] Inscriptions mention cattle raids attesting to the importance of the pastoral economy, destructive raids, assaults on women ("pendir-udeyulcal"), abduction of women by "bedas" (hunter tribes); all of which indicate the existing militarism of the age.From the Kodagu inscription of 11th century, Guduve inscription of 1032, Kambadahalli inscription of 979 (Adiga 2006, p59, p60, p63)]
Lands that were exempt from taxes were called "manya" and sometimes consisted of several villages. They were granted by local chieftains without any reference to the overlord, indicating a de-centralised economy. These lands, often given to heroes who perished in the line of duty were called "bilavritti" or "kalnad".From the Narasimhapura inscription of 9th century (Sircar and Ramesh in Adiga 2006, pp210-211)] When such a grant was made for the maintenance of temples at the time of consecration, it was called "Talavritti".Indian epigraphical glossary, Hecca inscription pF 939 for SriKanteshvara temple (Adiga 2006, p213)] Some types of taxes on income were "kara" or "anthakara" (internal taxes), "utkota" (gifts due to the king), "hiranya" (cash payments) and "sulika" (tolls and duties on imported items). Taxes were collected from those who held the right to cultivate land; even if the land was not actually cultivated.From Nonamangala copper plates of 5th century of King Avinita (Adiga 2006, p216)] From the Kuppepalya inscription of 8th century (Adiga 2006, p218)]
"Siddhaya" was a local tax levied on agriculture and "pottondi" was a tax levied on merchandise by the local feudal ruler. Based on context, "pottondi" also meant 1/10th, "aydalavi" meant 1/5th and "elalavi" meant 1/7th.Kotutu inscription of 9th century, Rampura inscription of 905 (Adiga 2006, p219)] "Mannadare" literally meant land tax and was levied together with shepherds tax ("Kurimbadere") payable to the chief of shepherds. "Bhaga" meant a portion or share of the produce from land or the land area itself. Minor taxes such as "Kirudere" (due to the landlords) and "samathadere" (raised by the army officers or "samantha") are mentioned. In addition to taxes for maintenance of the local officer's retinue, villages were obligated to feed armies on the march to and from battles.Varuna inscription, (Adiga 2006, p223-224)] "Bittuvatta" or "niravari" taxes comprised usually of a percentage of the produce and was collected for constructing irrigation tanks.Adiga (2006), p230]
The Western Gangas gave patronage to all the major religions of the time;
Jainismand the Hindu sects of Shaivism, Vedic Brahminismand Vaishnavism. However scholars have argued that not all Gangas kings may have given equal priority to all the faiths. Some historians believe that the Gangas were ardent Jains.Dr. Lewis Rice, S. R. Sharma and M. V. Krishna Rao cite web|title=History of Karnataka-Gangas of Talkad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/history.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998-2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] However, inscriptions contradict this by providing references to "kalamukhas" (staunch Shaiva ascetics), "pasupatas" and "lokayatas" (followers of "Pasupatha" doctrine) who flourished in Gangavadi, indicating that Shaivism was also popular. King Madhava and Harivarman were devoted to cows and brahmins, King Vishnugopa was a devout Vaishnava,Srikantha Shastri in Kamath (2001), p49] Madhava III's and Avinita's inscriptions describe lavish endowments to Jain orders and templesAdiga (2006), p249] and King Durvinita performed Vedic sacrifices prompting historians to claim he was a Hindu.Srikanta Sastri in cite web|title=History of Karnataka-Gangas of Talkad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/history.htm|author=Arthikaje, Mangalore|publisher=1998-2000 OurKarnataka.Com, Inc|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] Jainism became popular in the dynasty in the 8th century when the ruler King Shivamara I constructed numerous Jain " basadis". From the Kulaganga and Narasimhapura copper plates (Adiga 2006, p255)] King Butuga II and minister Chavundaraya were staunch Jains which is evident from the construction of the Gomateshwara monolith. From the Kudlur plates of Butuga II (Adiga 2006, p256)] Jains worshipped the twenty four " tirthankars" ("Jinas") whose images were consecrated in their temples. They believed that the "tirthankars" had creative and destructive powers which is similar to the beliefs of Hindus who assigned these powers to the holy trinity ( Trimurti); Brahma, Vishnuand Shiva.Adiga (2006), p262] The worship of the footprint of spiritual leaders such as those of Bhadrabahu in Shravanabelagola from the 10th century is considered a parallel to Buddhism.P.B.Desai and Jaiswal in Adiga (2006), pp263-264] Some brahminical influences are seen in the consecration of the Gomateshwara monolith which is the statue of Bahubali, the son of "tirthankar" Adinatha (just as Hindus worshipped the sons of Shiva).Adiga (2006), p264] The worship of subordinate deities such as "yaksa" and "yaksi", earlier considered as mere attendants of the "tirthankars" was seen from the 7th century to the 12th century.Adiga (2006), pp264-265] Vedic Brahminism was popular in the 6th and 7th centuries when inscriptions refer to grants made to "Srotriya" Brahmins.Adiga (2006), p253] These inscriptions also describe the "gotra" (lineage) affiliation to royal families and their adherence of such Vedic rituals as "asvamedha" (horse sacrifice) and "hiranyagarbha".From the Bendiganhalli and Bangalore copper plates, the Chaluvanahalli plates, Kutalur grant, Kadagattur and Nallala grants of King Durvinita, Kondunjeruvu grant of King Avinita (Adiga 2006, pp281-282)] Brahmins and kings enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship; rituals performed by the brahmins gave legitimacy to kings and the land grants made by kings to brahmins elevated them in society to the level of wealthy landowners.Adiga (2006), p282] Vaishnavism however maintained a low profile and not many inscriptions describe grants towards its cause.Adiga (2006), p313] Some Vaishnava temples were built by the Gangas such as the "Narayanaswami" temples at Nanjangud, Sattur and Hangala in modern Mysore district.From the Kalkunda inscription (Adiga 2006, pp314-316)] The deity Vishnuwas depicted with four arms holding a conch ("sanka"), discus ("cakra"), mace ("gada") and lotus ("padma").Adiga (2006), p317]
From the beginning of the 8th century, patronage to Shaivism increased in every section of the society; the landed elite, landlords, assemblies ("samaya"), schools of learning ("aghraharas")Adiga (2006), p291] and minor ruling families such as the Bana, Nolamba and Chalukya clans.From the Nandi copper plates of Rashtrakuta
Govinda IIIof 800, Koyattur-12000 grant of King Dodda Naradhipa Bana in 810, the Ganiganur inscription, Nolamba King Mahendradhirajas grant of his house towards a Shaiva temple in 878, Baragur inscription of 914 of King Ayappadeva Nolamba, the Ninneshvaradeva temple built by King Dilipayya Nolamba in 942.] Among minor Chalukya kings, Narasinga Chalukya of Mysore constructed the Narasingeshwara temple and Kings Goggi and Durga build the Buteshvara temple at Varuna in modern Mysore region - From the Kukkarahalli, Manalevadi, Aragodupalli and Torevalli inscriptions, (Adiga 2006, 294)] The Shaiva temples contained a Shiva "linga" (phallus) in the sanctum sanctorumalong with images of the mother goddess, Surya(Sun god)This was popularised by the "kalamukha" monks (Adiga 2006, p292)] and Nandi(a bull and attendant of Shiva) which was normally enshrined in a separate pavilion facing the sanctum.Adiga (2006), p301] H.V.Stietencron in Adiga 2006, p303] The "linga" was man made and in some cases had etchings of Ganapati(son of Shiva) and Parvati(consort and wife of Shiva) on it. Due to the vigorous efforts of priests and ascetics, Shaiva monastic orders flourished in many places such as Nandi Hills, Avaniand Hebbata in modern Kolar district.From Nandi copper plates of 800, Avani pillar inscription, Perbetta hero stones, 878 inscription of Nolamba Mahendradhiraja, Baragur inscription of 919, 942 Tumkur grant and Basavanahalli inscriptions (Adiga 2006, p304-305)]
The Western Ganga society in many ways reflected the emerging religious, political and cultural developments of those times. Women became active in local administration because Ganga kings distributed territorial responsibility to their queens such as the feudal queen Parabbaya-arasi of KundatturFrom the Kuntur inscription of 10th century (Adiga 2006, p203)] and the queens of King Sripurusha, Butuga II and feudal king Permadi.Karmarkar (1947), p66] Inheritance of fiscal and administrative responsibility by the son-in-law, the wife or by the daughter is evident. The position of prime minister of King Ereganga II and position of "nalgavunda" (local landlord) bestowed upon Jakkiabbe, the wife of a fallen hero are examples. When Jakkiabbe took to asceticism, her daughter inherited the position.from the Bandalike inscription of 919 (Adiga 2006, p203)] From the Shravanabelagola inscription (Adiga 2006, p204)]
The devadasi system ("sule" or courtesan) in temples was prevalent and was modelled after the structures in the royal palace.Adiga (2006), p398] Contemporaneous literature such a "
Vaddaradhane" makes a mention of the chief queen ("Dharani Mahadevi") accompanied by lower ranking queens ("arasiyargal") and courtesans of the women's royal quarter ("pendarasada suleyargal").Adiga (2006), p398] Some of the courtesans and concubines employed in the harem of the kings and chieftains were well respected, examples being Nandavva at whose instance a local chief made land grant to a Jain temple.From the Perur plates (Adiga 2006, p398)] Education in the royal family was closely supervised and included such subjects as political science, elephant and horse riding, archery, medicine, poetry, grammar, drama, literature, dance, singing and use of musical instruments. Brahmins enjoyed an influential position in society and were exempt from certain taxes and customs due on land. In turn they managed public affairs such as teaching, local judiciary, functioned as trustees and bankers, managed schools, temples, irrigation tanks, rest houses, collected taxes due from villages and raised money from public subscriptions.Karmarkar (1947), p72,p74]
By virtue of a Hindu belief that killing of a brahmin ("Bramhatya") was a sin, capital punishment was not applicable to them.Altekar (1934), p329] Upper caste
kshatriyas ("satkshatriya") were also exempt from capital punishment due to their higher position in the caste system. Severe crimes committed were punishable by the severing of a foot or hand.From the notes of Yuan Chwang (Karmarkar 1947, p103)] Family laws permitted a wife or daughter or surviving relatives of a deceased person to claim properties such as his home, land, grain, money etc. if there were no male heirs. If no claimants to the property existed, the state took possession of these properties as "Dharmadeya" (charitable asset). From a modern Bijapur inscription of 1178 (Karmarkar, 1947, p104)] Intercaste marriage, child marriage, marriage of a boy to maternal uncles daughter, "Svayamvara" marriage (where the bride garlands her choice of a groom from among many aspirants) were all in vogue.The "Svayamvara" marriage of Chalukya King Vikramaditya VIto Chandaladevi in the 11th century being an example (Karmarkar, 1947 p105)] Memorials containing hero stones ("virkal") were erected for fallen heroes and the concerned family received monetary aid for maintenance of the memorial.Karmarkar (1947) , p109]
The presence of numerous "Mahasatikals" (or "Mastikal" - hero stones for a woman who accepted ritual death upon the demise of her husband) indicates the popularity of
Satiamong royalty.From the writings of Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta, Bernier and Tavernier (Karmarkar 1947, p110)] Ritual death by " sallekhana" and by "jalasamadhi" (drowning in water) were also practiced.Karmarkar (1947), p110] Popular clothing among men was the use of two unrestricted garments, a Dhotias a lower garment and a plain cloth as upper garment while women wore Saris with stitched petticoats. Turbans were popular with men of higher standing and people used umbrellas made with bamboo or reeds.Karmarkar (1947), p111] Ornaments were popular among men and women and even elephants and horses were decorated. Men wore finger rings, necklaces ("honnasara" and "honnagala sara"), bracelets ("Kaduga") and wristlets ("Kaftkina"). Women wore a nose jewel ("bottu"), nose ring ("mugutti"), bangles ("bale" or "kankana") and various types of necklaces ("honna gante sara" and "kati sutra"). During leisure, men amused themselves with horse riding, watching wrestling bouts, cock fights and ram fights.Karmarkar (1947), p112] There existed a large and well organised network of schools for imparting higher education and these schools were known by various names such as "agraharas", "ghatikas", "brahmapura" or "matha".Karmarkar (1947), p113] Inscriptions mention schools of higher education at Salotgi, Balligavi, Talagunda, Aihole, Arasikereand other places.
The Western Ganga rule was a period of brisk literary activity in Sanskrit and Kannada, though many of the writings are now considered extinct and are known only from references made to them. Chavundaraya's writing, "Chavundaraya Purana" (or "Trishashtilakshana mahapurana") of 978 CE, is an early existing work in prose style in Kannada and contains a summary of the Sanskrit writings, "Adipurana" and "Uttarapurana" which were written a century earlier by Jinasena and Gunabhadra during the rule of Rashtrakuta
Amoghavarsha I.Chopra, Ravindran, Subrahmanian 2003, p160] The prose, composed in lucid Kannada, was mainly meant for the common man and avoided any reference to complicated elements of Jain doctrines and philosophy. His writings seem to be influenced by the writings of his predecessor Adikavi Pampaand contemporary Ranna. The work narrates the legends of a total of 63 Jain proponents including twenty-four Jain Tirthankars, twelve "Chakravartis", nine "Balabhadras" , nine "Narayanas" and nine "Pratinarayanas".Sastri (1955), p357] Kulkarni (1975) in Adiga (2006), p256]
The earliest postulated Kannada writer from this dynasty is King Durvinita of the 6th century.
Kavirajamargaof 850 CE, refers to a Durvinita as an early writer of Kannada prose.Sastri (1955), p355] Kamath (2001), p40] Narasimhacharya (1988), p2] Around 900 CE, Gunavarma I authored the Kannada works, "Sudraka" and "Harivamsa". His writings are considered extinct but references to these writings are found in later years. He is known to have been patronised by King Ereganga Neetimarga II. In "Sudraka", he has favourably compared his patron to King Sudraka of ancient times.kamath (2001), p50] Narasimhacharya (1988), p18] The great Kannada poet Ranna was patronised by Chavundaraya in his early literary days.One among the three gems of Kannada literature (Sastri 1955, p356)] Ranna's classic "Parashurama charite" is considered a eulogy of his patron who held such titles as "Samara Parashurama".Kamath (2001), p45] Nagavarma I, a brahmin scholar who came from Vengiin modern Andhra Pradesh (late 10th century) was also patronised by Chavundaraya. He wrote "Chandombudhi" (ocean of prosody) addressed to his wife. This is considered the earliest available Kannada writing in prosody.Sastri (1955), p357] Narasimhacharya (1988), p18] He also wrote one of the earliest available romance classics in Kannada called "Karnataka Kadambari" in sweet and flowing "champu" (mixed verse and prose) style. It is based on an earlier romantic work in Sanskrit by poet Bana and is popular among critics. "Gajashtaka" (hundred verses on elephants), a rare Kannada work on elephant management was written by King Shivamara II around 800 CE but this work is now considered extinct.Kamath (2001), p50] Other writers such as Manasiga and Chandrabhatta were known to be popular in the 10th century.Narasimhacharya (1988), p19]
In an age of classical Sanskrit literature, Madhava II (brother of King Vishnugopa) wrote a treatise "Dattaka Sutravritti" which was based on an earlier work on erotics by a writer called Dattaka. A Sanskrit version of "Vaddakatha", a commentary on Panini's grammar called "Sabdavathara" and a commentary on the 15th chapter of a Sanskrit work called "Kiratarjunneya" by poet Bharavi (who was in Durvinita's court) are ascribed to Durvinita.Kamath (2001), p49] King Shivamara II is known to have written "Gajamata Kalpana". Hemasena, also known as Vidya Dhananjaya authored "Raghavapandaviya", a narration of the stories of
Ramaand the Pandavas simultaneously through puns.Venkatasubbiah in Kamath (2001), p50] "Gayachintamani" and "Kshatrachudamini" which were based on poet Bana's work "Kadambari" were written by Hemasena's pupil Vadeebhasimha in prose style.Kamath (2001), p50] and Chavundaraya wrote "Charitarasara".Kamath (2001), p45]
The Western Ganga style of architecture was influenced by the Pallava and Badami Chalukya architectural features, in addition to with indigenous Jain features.Reddy, Sharma and Krishna Rao in Kamath (2001), pp 50-52] The Ganga pillars with a conventional lion at the base and a circular shaft of the pillar on its head, the stepped "Vimana" of the shrine with horizontal mouldings and square pillars were features inherited from the Pallavas. These features are also found in structures built by their subordinates, the Banas and Nolambas.Kamath (2001), p50]
The monolith of
Gomateshwaracommissioned by Chavundaraya is considered the high point of the Ganga sculptural contribution in ancient Karnataka. Carved from fine-grained white granite, the image stands on a lotus. It has no support up to the thighs and is convert|60|ft|m tall with the face measuring convert|6.5|ft|m. With the serene expression on the face of the image, its curled hair with graceful locks, its proportional anatomy, the monolith size, and the combination of its artistry and craftsmanship have led it to be called the mightiest achievement in sculptural art in medieval Karnataka.Seshadri in Kamath (2001), p51] It is the largest monolithic statue in the world.cite book
title =India: A History
publisher =Grove Press
location =New York
pages = p 324 (across)
id = ISBN 0802137970 ] Their free standing pillars called "Mahasthambha" or "Bhrahmasthambha" are also considered unique, examples of which are the Brahmadeva pillar and Tyaga Brahma pillars.If there is one aspect of Indian architecture which has its perfection and weakness, it is these free standing pillars (Fergusson in Kamath 2001, p52)] At the top of the pillar whose shaft (cylindrical or octagonal) is decorated with creepers and other floral motifs is the seated "Brahma" and the base of the pillar normally has engravings of important Jain personalities and inscriptions.In the whole of Indian art, nothing perhaps equals these pillars in good taste, Vincent Smith in Kamath (2001), p52] Other important contributions are the Jain basadis' whose towers have gradually receding stories ("talas") ornamented with small models of temples. These tiny shrines have in them engravings of tirthankars (Jain saints). Semicircular windows connect the shrines and decorative
Kirthimukha(demon faces) are used at the top. The Chavundaraya basadi built in the 10th or 11th century, Chandragupta basadi built in the 6th century and the monolithic of Gomateshwaraof 982 are the most important monuments at Shravanabelagola.Some historians claim the Chavundaraya basadi was built by Chavundaraya himself while others argue it was the work of his on Jinadevana (Gopal et al. in Adiga 2006, p256). Another view holds that the original shrine was consecrated in the 11th century and built in memory of Chavundaraya (Settar in Adiga 2006, 256)] Some features were added to the Chandragupta basadi by famous Hoysala sculptor Dasoja in the 12th century. The decorative door jambs and perforated screen windows which depict scenes from the life of King Chandragupta Mauryaare known to be his creation.Adiga 2006, p269] The "Panchakuta basadi" ( five towered temple) at Kambadahalliof 900 with a Brahmadeva pillar is an excellent example of Dravidian art.cite web|title=An ancient site connected with Jainism |url=http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/thscrip/print.pl?file=2006020313510400.htm&date=2006/02/03/&prd=th&|author=Khajane, Muralidhara|The Hindu|work=|accessdate=2006-02-03] The wall niches here are surmounted by "torana" (lintel) with carvings of floral motifs, flying divine creatures ("gandharva") and imaginary monsters ("makara") ridden by "Yaksas" (attendants of saints) while the niches are occupied by images of tirthankars themselves.Adiga 2006, p268] The Gangas build many Hindu temples with impressive Dravidian gopuras containing stucco figures from the Hindu pantheon, decorated pierced screen windows which are featured in the "mantapa" (hall) along with "saptamatrika" carvings (seven heavenly mothers).Kamath (2001), p51] Some well known examples are the Kapileswara temple at Manne, Kolaramma temple at Kolar and the Kallesvara temple at Aralaguppe. At Talakad they built the Maralesvara temple, the Arakesvara temple and the Patalesvara temple. Unlike the Jain temples where floral frieze decoration is common, Hindu temples were distinguished by friezes (slab of stone with decorative sculptures) illustrating episodes from the epics and puranas. Another unique legacy of the Gangas are the number of "virgal" (hero stones) they have left behind; memorials containing sculptural details of war scenes, Hindu deities, "saptamatrikas" and Jain tirthankars.
The Western Gangas used Kannada and Sanskrit extensively as their language of administration. Some of their inscriptions are also bilingual in these languages. In bilingual inscriptions the formulaic passages stating origin myths, genealogies, titles of Kings and benedictions tended to be in Sanskrit, while the actual terms of the grant such as information on the land or village granted, its boundaries, participation of local authorities, rights and obligations of the grantee, taxes and dues and other local concerns were in the local language. Thapar 2003, pp393-394] The usage of these two languages showed important changes over the centuries. During the first phase (350-725), Sanskrit copper plates dominated, indicating the initial ascendancy of the local language as a language of administration and the fact that majority of the records from this phase were "Brahmadeya" grants (grants to Brahmin temples).Adiga (2006), p110] In the second phase (725-1000), lithic inscriptions in Kannada outnumbered Sanskrit copper plates, consistent with the patronage Kannada received from rich and literate Jains who used Kannada as their medium to spread the Jain faith.Adiga (2006), p10] Thapar 2003, p396] Recent excavations at Tumbula near Mysore have revealed a set of early copper plate bilingual inscriptions dated 444. The genealogy of the kings of the dynasty is described in Sanskrit while Kannada was used to describe the boundary of the village.cite web |title=Ancient inscriptions unearthed |url=http://www.hindu.com/2004/01/24/stories/2004012407180300.htm |author=N. Havalaiah|publisher=The Hindu |work=The Hindu, Saturday,
January 24, 2004|accessdate=2006-11-25] An interesting inscription discovered at Beguru near modern Bangalorethat deserves mention is the epigraph dated 890 that refers to a "Bengaluru" war. This is in "Hale Kannada" (old Kannada) language and is the earliest mention of the name of Bangalorecity.cite web |title=Inscription reveals Bangalore is over 1,000 years old|url=http://www.hindu.com/2004/08/20/stories/2004082016400300.htm|author=Staff Reporter|publisher=The Hindu|work=The Hindu, Friday, August 20, 2004|accessdate=2007-01-17] The Western Gangas minted coins with Kannada and Nagari legends, cite web|title=Southern India-Gangas|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/ganga/south_gangacat.html|publisher=Govindraya Prabhu S, November 1, 2001|work=|accessdate=2007-01-18] Kamath (2001), p12] the most common feature on their coins was the image of an elephant on the obverse and floral petal symbols on the reverse. The Kannada legend "Bhadr", a royal umbrella or a conch shell appeared on top of the elephant image. The denominations are the "pagoda" (weighing 52 grains), the "fanam" weighting one tenth or one half of the "pagoda" and the quarter "fanams".
*cite book |last= Adiga|first= Malini|title= The Making of Southern Karnataka: Society, Polity and Culture in the early medieval period, AD 400-1030|origyear=2006|year= 2006|publisher= Orient Longman|location= Chennai|isbn= 81 250 2912 5
*cite book |last= Altekar|first= Anant Sadashiv |title= The Rashtrakutas And Their Times; being a political, administrative, religious, social, economic and literary history of the Deccan during C. 750 A.D. to C. 1000 A.D|origyear=1934|year=1934|publisher= Oriental Book Agency|location= Poona|oclc=3793499
*cite web|author=Arthikaje|title=The Gangas of Talakad|url=http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka11.htm|publisher=OurKarnataka.Com|work=History of karnataka|accessdate=2006-12-31
*cite book |last= Chopra, Ravindran, Subrahmanian |first= P.N., T.K., N. |title= History of South India (Ancient, Medieval and Modern) Part I|origyear=2003|year=2003|publisher= Chand publications |location= New Delhi|isbn = 81-219-0153-7
*cite web|author=Havalaiah, N|title=Ancient inscriptions|url=http://www.hindu.com/2004/01/24/stories/2004012407180300.htm |publisher=The Hindu, January 2004|work=|accessdate=2007-05-30
*cite book |last= Kamath|first= Suryanath U.|title= A concise history of Karnataka : from pre-historic times to the present|origyear=1980|year= 2001|publisher= Jupiter books|location= Bangalore|oclc= 7796041|id= LCCN|809|0|5179
*cite web|author=Kamat, Jyotsna|title=The Ganga Dynasty|url= http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/gangas.htm|publisher=Kamat's Potpourri|work=|accessdate=2007-05-30
*cite book |last= Karmarkar|first= A.P.|title= Cultural history of Karnataka : ancient and medieval|origyear=1947|year=1947|publisher= Karnataka Vidyavardhaka Sangha|location= Dharwar|oclc= 8221605
*cite book |last= Keay|first= John|title= India: A History|origyear=2000|year=2000|publisher= Grove Publications|location= New York|isbn= ISBN 0-8021-3797-0
*cite web|author=Khajane, Muralidhara|title=An ancient site connected with Jainism |url=http://www.thehindu.com/2006/02/03/stories/2006020313510400.htm |publisher=The Hindu, February 2006|work=|accessdate=2007-06-30
*cite book |last= Narasimhacharya|first= R|title= History of Kannada Literature|origyear=1988|year=1988|publisher= Asian Educational Services|location= New Delhi, Madras|isbn= ISBN 81-206-0303-6
*cite web|author=Prabhu, Govindaraya S|title=Coins of Gangas|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/ganga/south_gangacat.html|publisher=Prabhu's web page on Indian coinage|work=Indian Coins|accessdate=2007-06-30
*cite book |last= Ramesh|first= K.V.|title= Chalukyas of Vatapi|origyear=1984|year=1984|publisher= Agam Kala Prakashan|location=Delhi|isbn= 3987-10333
*cite book |last= Sarma|first= I.K.|title= Temples of the Gangas of Karnataka|origyear=1992|year=1992|publisher= Archaeological Survey of India|location= New Delhi|isbn= 0-19-560686-8
*cite book |last= Sastri|first= Nilakanta K.A.|title= A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar|origyear=1955|year=2002|publisher= Indian Branch, Oxford University Press|location= New Delhi|isbn= 0-19-560686-8
*cite book |last= Thapar|first= Romila|title= Penguin History of Early India: From origins to AD 1300|origyear=2003|year=2003|publisher= Penguin|location= New Delhi|isbn= ISBN 0-14-302989-4
*cite web|author=Staff Reporter|title=Inscription reveals Bangalore is over 1,000 years old |url=http://www.hindu.com/2004/08/20/stories/2004082016400300.htm|publisher=The Hindu|work=Hindu August 20th, 2004|accessdate=2007-06-30
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