Amoghavarsha Nrupatunga(814 A.D.-878 A.D.) is one of the most celebrated monarchs in the history of Karnataka. He owes this distinction not merely to his military endeavors, but to his contributions to the culture of Karnataka as also his role in formulating the concept of the Kannada land. He belonged to the illustrious Rashtrakoota dynasty and succeeded to the throne after his father Govinda-3. The copper inscriptions found in Sanjana and Baroda and the stone inscription of Manne as also the travel accounts of Sulaiman the traveler from Arabia provide a wealth of information about his regime. Manyakheta which is now in Andhrapradesh and is known by the name Malkhed was the capital city of Amoghavarsha .

Nrupatunga had able supporters in his uncle Kakka and his admiral Bankeya during a major part of his career. The early period of his regime was strife ridden because of adversaries both of the external variety and of indigenous origin. The neighboring dynasties of Gangas, Gurjara Pratiharas and Pallavas were always looking for an opportunity to upset the young monarch. Immadi Vijayaditya and Shankaragana were his enemies from within. However Nrupatunga established himself in no uncertain terms after decisive victories against Ganga Shivamara, Vijayaditya of Vengi and Ganga Rachamalla (830 A D.) However the differences between the Rashtrakutas and the Gangas continued untill a wedding between Chandrabalabbe a daughter of Amoghavarsha and Bhutuga-1 a Ganga king resolved the situation for a while.

Amoghavarsha had to contend with his own son Krishna and Dhruva-1, a son of Veera Bankeya his trusted admiral. Bhoja-1 of Gurjara Pratihara lineage was another thorn in the flesh. It bears ample testimony to Amoghavarsha’s valour and courage that he could emerge victorious in most of these confrontations. It is said that in addition to this he secured convincing victories against Anga, Vanga , Magadha and Malava kings. Naralokachandra and Parama Sarasvati Teerthavatara are the important ones among his many titles.

The regime of Amoghavarsha was not spent only in military activities. He was a great patron of culture and a great visionary. His association with Sri Vijaya in the making of ‘Kavirajamarga’ is well documented. This treatise on poetics which happens to be the first extant work in Kannada was earlier attributed to Nrupatunga himself. Even now the work was composed with the explicit consent of the king. (Nrupatungadevanumata) The enunciation of the geographical boundaries of the Kannada land, abundant information about the culture and the history of Kannada literature has made this work unique. Modern scholarship considers Kavirajamarga to be one of the foundational texts of Kannada.

‘Prashnottara Malike’ a work in Sanskrit is attributed to Amoghavarsha. Many important scholarly and literary works such as Amogha Vrutti, A grammar by Sakaktayana, ‘Ganita Sarasangraha’ by Mahaveeracharya, ‘Mahapurana’ by Jinasenacharya, ‘Kalyanakaraka’ by Ugraditya and Tattavartha Shloka Vardhika’ by Vidyanandi were composed under his patronage. He was catholic by nature and encouraged all religions.


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