SEVUNA DYNASTY OF DEVAGIRI

 

            Sevunas of Devagiri (ದೇವಗಿರಿಯ ಸೇವುಣರು) who ruled vast regions of North Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhyapradesh between the ninth and fourteenth centuries were earlier known as Yadavas of Devagiri (Daulatabaad) and were considered to be Maharashtrians. However later research by A.V.Srinivasa Murthy and Srinivas Ritti have confirmed that it was a dynasty of Kannada kings. The names of many kings belonging to this dynasty and the fact that most of the inscriptions installed by them were in Kannada prove their contention. They did encourage Marathi but they patronized Kannada also. During the first stage of its existence the kings belonging to this dynasty were feudatories of Rashtrakuta and Chalukya dynasties. Bhillama-5(1173-92) established Sevunas as an independent Kingdom. Hemadri has given substantial information about this dynasty in his ‘Chaturvarga Chintamani’

            Sevunachandra-1(850-75) who ruled from Sevunapura in Sindiner region was the first important king of Sevuna dynasty. Hardly any thing is known about the long succession of kings that followed him. VaDDiga-1(960-75) owed his alliganace to the Rashtrakuta kings and married Vaddiyavva a Rashtrakuta princess. Bhillama-2(975-1000) shifted his loyalties to the Chalukya Empire and stabilised his kingdom. Penugi, Bhillama-3, Bhillama-4, Sevunachandra-2, Airamadeva, Singhana-1, and Mallugi followed in quick succession till Bhillama-5 ascended the throne in 1173. This period was filled with internal strife, expansions and losses. Hemadri gives interesting tidbits about the rule of these kings.

            Bhillama-5(1173-1192) is counted among the more important monarchs of Sevunas. He could stifle the challenges posed by his cousins He shed his loyalty to the Chalukya kings and at a later date challenge the authority of Kalachurya Mailugi also. He shifted his attention to the North and secured remarkable victories in Malva, Gujarat and Marvar. He returned to the South after a debilitating defeat by Kalhana. Here he could expand his kingdom by annexing tardavADi, beLvola and eDatorenADu regions. A defeat by Hoysala Ballala in 1191 put paid to his ambitions and he did not live long after that. He is credited with the building of Devagiri the capital city which was later named Daulatabaad by Mohammed Bin Tughalak.

            His son Jaitugi secured some victories in the Kakateeya region of Andhrapradesh and Singhana-2(1200-1247) who succeeded him is yet another important king. Singhana and his chieftains had some convincing victories in the North as well as the South. Honnali, Soraba, Shivamogga, Kollapura, Broach, Guttavolalu, Yelaburgi and Belagutti were some of the conquests that are to be noted. Sevuna dynasty was at its peak during this period and the king supported art and literature generously. Sharngadeva the musicologist and Changadeva the astronomer were patronised by this king.

            Singhana was succeeded by his grand son Krishna whose reign was punctuated by a few victories in Gujarat, Chitrdurga, Guttavolalu and Savadatti. He patronised Jalhana the author of ‘Suktimuktavali’ and Amalananda the author of ‘Kalpataru’. Mahadeva and Amana who followed him as kings did not do much of note and Ramachandra who came to power in 1271 is the last important king of Sevuna dynasty. His confrontations with Allauddin Khilji and Malik Kafur are well documented. He encouraged Marathi literature greatly and many books belonging to the ‘Mahanubhava Pantha’ were published during his regime. Singhana-3, Harapaladeva and Melugi could not do much against the onslaught of the Khilji dynasty and the Sevunas faded away in to oblivion.

            The administrative patterns of the Sevuna dynasty were similar to those of Chalukyas and the kingdom was divided in to Vishayas which were subdivided in turn in to ‘nADu’ and ‘kampaNas’. Offices like ‘nADaprabhu’, ‘nADa gauDa’, ‘nADa heggaDe’ and ‘sEna bOva’ were in existence. The villages and towns were ruled by ‘gauDas’ and ‘paTTANa svAmi’s. Agriculture, trade and commerce were well organised and controlled by respective guilds. The commerce had national and inter national reach and trade with countries such as China and Arabia are documented.

            About 600 inscriptions belonging to the Sevuna dynasty are found in various parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhrapradesh. Most of them are in Kannada language and script. Some inscriptions belonging to the last days of the dynasty are in Marathi. They provide a wealth of information about the wars and victories of the kings as also the educational and administrative systems prevalent during those days. Some of them have literary merits and one of them contains a Sanskrit translation of a vachana by Siddarama. Some gold and silver coins minted by Bhillama-5, Singhana-2, Krishna, Mahadeva and Ramachandra are found and most of them belong to the variety called ‘PadmaTanka’. They contain information in Kannada and Nagari scripts.

            The contribution of Sevunas to architecture and art are insignificant and they opted for a continuation of Dakhan Chalukya style. The fort at Devagiri and the Gondeshvara temple at Sinnara in Nasik district are to be noted. They have built a number of small temples, forts, mutts and dharmashalas at various places. However, the foundations of Marathi culture was laid by Yadavas and the peculiarities of Maharashtra’s social life developed in their rule. “Bhillama -V's son, Jaitrapal (or Jaitugi) had Mukundaraja, the author of ‘Paramamrita’ and ‘Vivekasindhu’ as his spiritual teacher. Paramamrita is considered the first systematic attempt to explain the Vedantic principles in Marathi language. Vivekasindhu is another exposition of Vedantic principles. Mukundaraja's earliest works were completed in 1190 C.E. Mahimabhatta wrote Lilacharita in 1238.” Vedanta (Devanagari: , ) is a school of philosophy within Hinduism. ...            Kamalabhava, patronised by Bhillama-V wrote Santhishwarapurana, Achanna composed Varadhamanapurana in 1198. Amugideva composed many Vachanas. He was patronised by Singhana II. Chaundarasa of Phandarapur wrote Dashakumara Charite. Events End of the reign of Emperor Go-Toba of Japan Emperor Tsuchimikado ascends to the throne of Japan January 8 - Pope Innocent III ascends Papal Throne Frederick II, infant son of German King Henry VI, crowned King of Sicily Births August 24 - Alexander II of Scotland (d. ... Some kings belonging to this dynasty were Jains.. To sum up Sevunas constitute one of the kingdoms of Karnataka which ruled long but did not leave much to celebrate. 

 

References: 1. The Sevunas of Devagiri by A. V. Narasimha Murthy, Published by Rao and Raghavan, 1971

                      2. The Seunas: The Yadavas of Devagiri, By Shrinivas Ritti, Published by Dept. of Ancient Indian    History and Epigraphy, Karnatak University, 1973

                      3. Minor Dynasties of South India, Karnataka: Karnataka, By Balakrishnan Raja Gopal, Published by New Era Publications, 1982

Links:        1. Miscellaneous inscriptions in Kannada from Yadava period

                  2. Bombay-Karnataka inscriptions: The Yadavas

                  3. Bombay-Karnataka inscriptions (volume III): The Yadavas

 

 

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