ancient indian history

Rentala Inscription

177 Rentala Marbel Pillar Inscription of Chantamuala – 1.
Regnal-year – 5.
Provenance: Rentala, Palnad Taluk., Guntur district., Adhra Pradesh.
Script: Southern Brahmi of the middle of the 3rd Century. AD.
Language Prakrit
There are a few important historic Sites and a Rock cut cave at the foot of the hill (Megalithic Burial) at adjoining villages, Kolankonda & Sitanagaram at Guntur district. A Megalithic burial of 10th B.C, has also been discovered by ASI, at village Mothadaka, Guntur district.
The king-wise details of the inscriptions, is as follows:-
Ehuvala, Santamula 2, Rudra-Purushadatta.
The four kings,had together ruled for close to 68 years from 225 to 293 AD..
Ikshvakus were consequently superseded by the rising power of the Pallavas. These inscriptions also give us information about some individuals and members of some feudatory families who were related to the royal house and who held important positions in the administration of the kingdom, like Maha-senapati, Mahsialavara, Mahstafavam, Rathika etc

It is observed that the kings were given the title of Rajan. Sometimes they bear both the titles of Rajan and Maharaja. Santamula I and Santamula 2, were given an additional title of Swami also.
The family had strong family relations with the Stavahanas whom they succeeded in the region and with the Kshatrapas with whom they had matrimonial relationship. The kings and princes bore matronymics like Vasishthl-putra, Mitharlputra and Haritiputra.
The inscriptions clearly show that the kings patronised Buddhism and caused the erection of a number of beautiful Buddhist monuments, including the Mahachaitya the Nagarjunakotida valley. A number of records reveal that the important individual who contributed the most in this regard was Santisri, the sister of Santamula I. Quite a few inscriptions show that they were memorial records of dead rulers and soldiers and the stone slabs are called chhdya khambhas. The Ikshvakus family had marital relationship with the ruling house of Vanavasa (modern Banavasi) and with the Kshatrapas of Ujjayini.
References: S Sankaranarayanan, Ep.Ind., XXXVII, Pt. I,
(1967) pp.29-32.,
This is the only surviving record of Chantamula.
(skt. santamula). He is. however referred to as Maharaja Sri Chantamula and is credited with the
performance of several sacrifices including Asvamedha, in the Inscriptions of his successors namely
Maharaja Sri Purushadatta and Maharaja Sri Ehuvula
Chantamula 2. Assumption of simple title Rajan and silence about the performances of any sacrifice indicates
that he had not yet thrown of the yoke of the Satavahanas. though he was powerful enough to start his own regnal years.
Assumption of indepndent status and the higher tltle Maharaja, must have folowed ashvmedha sacrifice. He is
the earliest known king of the ishwaka dynasty of Krishna Guntur region. The ishwakas flourished after the decline of the Satavahanas, about the end of first quarter of the 3rd century AD and before the Palla conquest of same area in the 4th century AD.
The relgn of his son, Virapurushadatta, spans the third quarter of the 3rd century AD.
The vijaya year, mentioned in the memorial pillar raised in honor of Santamula 1, by the latter’s sisters mother and wives, according to the
60 year cycle of Jupitar falls in 273-74AD. Another viaya Year. according to jupitar s (Barhaspatya)
Calander occurred in the reign of his successor.
Ehavula Chantamula (Ep.Ind- XXXV, pp4-7, infra, volume I, Number 1881-2)
This year correspond to the Year 333-34 A D.
Thus the reign of Ehavula and his father cover about three quarters of a century.
If we assume that Ehavula died
shortly after his last recorded Inscription in the vijaya year. Thus the dynasty seems to to have lasted till
about 350 AD. and Pallawa conquest of the region evidenced by the Manchikallu Inscription (EP.Ind., VI, pp-86ff, Infra volume IV, Number 20,) of
Simhavarman and the Mayidavolu plates of Sivaskandavarman (EP.Ind, VI,
pp 86f, Infra volume IV, Number 21, took place shortly afterwards.

J.P. Vogel listed and noticed 23 Inscriptions of the Ikshavakus recovered from the ruins of mahachaitya in the Nagarjunikonda valley and edited 15 out of them in
Ep.Ind. pp.13 ff. In these pages, nine out of them are included and six left out as historically of minor
consequence. These latter are Ayaka C1, B1 B4 & C5, Sculpture Inscription J and fragmentary sculpture Inscription K. Also included and placed in their
chronological order are some other Ikshavakus Inscriptions. Vogel edited three complete and nineteen fragmentary Inscriptions of the Ikshvakus from the same valley in Ep.Ind, XXI, pp61-71, of these.
Tne Ayaka Pillar Inscription G2, and pillar inscription L, are included here. The ayaka pillar inscription G3, is virtually identical with C2 and hence is omitted.
1. From the facsimile in . Ep.Ind- XXVII, Pt. 1, facing pp 31.
2. The final m is engraved slightly below the line: and the punctuation mark is indicated by a small horizontal stroke.
3. Punctuation is indicated by a small horizontal stroke.

Footnote 2

1. र is faintly visible on the pillar.
2. First engraved as आ but later corrected to सं
3. Paintly visible along the edge.
4-5. Apparently the four lost letters were the name of the district. However Shankarnarayanan reads वध in
place of वट and restores the following lost letters in as माने Acording to him वर्धमान is a technical term tem meaning a type of building and the phrase उपेदगीरि – वर्धमान, means a vardnamana built by a person
called Upendragiri.
6. Conjecturally restored. Space is for about 5 letters and we can restore it as महाचेत्यम with greater justification.
Footnote 3
1. The broken portion has space for 5 letters. But the usual expression being आयक – खभो it is evident, that only is lost. Hence the last line may have been engraved in the middle.
2. The Lord in this context is the Buddha.
Footnote 4
1. Sankaranarayanan suggests its identification with either Chinna-Ganjam or Padda-Ganjanam in Baptla Taluk, Guntur district.
2. May be identified with Rentala, the find-spot of the in inscription.
English Translation of the inscription
Success ! salutation to the Lord.
On the first, 1st, On the first day of the first month of the rainy season of the
fifth 5th victorious year of King Sri Santamula, the son of Vasishthi This entrance pilar of stone, the prolonger
of his Own life, winner of victories (for him) has been raised by the merchant, Samghila resident of the city of Ganjikuta and his wife the Vanijika samgha along with his wife, along
with his daughter, along with the group of his daughters-in-law, along with friends and grandson, and along
with the four Panchas, in the hall of the monastery of the Lord Buddha and the sangha (located) in the village Tuvara
in the district of Upendragiri. in the province of —–.

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