Soro Plate of Somadatta

Written by Alok Mohan on December 2, 2022. Posted in Uncategorized

Inscription number 2. 
Soro Plate of Somadatta. 
(Regnal) year 15.
Maharaja Somadatta was feudatory of Emperor Sasanka and was  governing Dandabhukti with Utkala-
Desa (i.e.Midnapore to Balasore region).
Provenance: Badkhuri, Near Soro,
Balasor district, Orissa.
Now in Ravenshaw college Museum, Cuttack.
Orissa is derived from Sanskrit word Ora or Odra Desa.  Epigraphic reference to Odra is found in this Soro copper plate grant of Somadatta. Balasore district was part of Odra Visaya i.e Orissa. Natives of Odra were called as Oddaka and Odrah. In the Mahabharata the Odras are mentioned along with the Paundras, Utkals, Mekalas, Kalingas and Andhras, while according to Manu the Odras are associated with the Paundrakas, Dravidas, Kambojas, Yavanas, Sakas, Paradas, Pallavas, Chinas, Kiratas and Khasas. 
According to General Cunningham   “The ancient province of Odra desa or Or-desa was limited to the valley of the Mahanadi and to the lower course of the Subarnarekha river. It comprised the whole of the present districts of Cuttack and Sambalpur and a portion of Midnapore. It was bounded on the West by Gondwana, on the North by the wild hill states of Jashpur and Singhbhum, on the East by the sea and on the South by Ganjam. 
The entire region from the Chilika lake to the Suvarnarekha river is identified with Odra. From the sixth and seventh centuries A. D. the whole of coastal Orissa was termed as Odra. Some historians have proposed that the valley of Mahanadi and the lower course of the river Suvarnarekha formed the ancient Odra country.
 From 700-1100 A. D. Odradesa was bounded by the Mahanadi river in the north, Daksina, Tosali in the east, Daksina Kosala in the west, and the modern Paralakhemundi region in the south.
The Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang who visited Orissa in about 636 CE gives an account of the territory named Wu-Che which is very likely the same as Odra. 
Script: Northern Class Brahmi, of the 6th century A.D.
The earliest epigraphic reference to Odras is found in 
the Soro Copper Plate grant of Somadatta, from which it is 
clear that Uttara Tosali, with its Visaya ‘Sarepahara’ identified 
with Soro of Balasore District, was part of Odra Visaya. Odra was a powerful kingdom.

Language: Sanskrit 
References: N.G. Majumdar, Ep.Ind. XXIII, pp.202.
Footnote 1.
From the facsimile in Ep.Ind, IT facing XXIII, pp.201.
2. Expressed by a symbol.
3. Two charters of Somadatta, dated in the Year 15, are known. One was issued from Amratakshakavasaka on the 13th Vaisakha, and the other from sanchataka on the 24th Magha. He claims  allegiance to Paramadaivata Paramabhattaraka, i.e to an unnamed Gupta emperor. These are the well-known titles of the Gupta sovereigns. He must have ruled
before sambhayasas of Mudgala gotra set-up his independent kingdom of Tosali.
4. Tosali is the same as modern Dhauli near Bhuvaneshwar, where a set of Asoka’s rock edicts is found. Sarephahara iss moden soro, the find-spot of this inscription.

English Translation of the inscription
Om Hail! From the victorious camp at Amratakshaka-vasaka cantonment, the Chief General (Maha-baladhikrita),
Confidential Advisor (Antaranga) and senior-Minister- for-Peace-
and-War somadatta, who meditates on the feet of the Paramadaivata- dhidaivata, the illustrious supreme Majesty (Paramabhattaraka), being in
good health, offers due respect to the present and future, Mahasamanta-Maharaja Raiaputras. Kumaramatyas, Uparikas,
Vishayapatis, his Ayuktakas. Dandavasikas (= pasikas), sthananta- rikas and others belonging to the class of chatas, bhatas, and
officers, and the Board of Administration consisting of the
chief Mahattara of the vishaya, Kutakolasa and Record-keeper etc
in the sarephahar a vishaya and in order vishaya in North Tosali
and informs them:-
Be it known to you that we have granted the village of Adyara, attached to this vishaya. the customary terms of copper charters and royal grants, to Dhruvamitrasvamin, Arunagasvanmin
and others, of vatsya gotra and students of Vajasaneya sakha,
(of the Yajurveda), for the increase of religious merit, for as long as the moon and the sun last, of the illustrious sovereign  (Paramabhattaraka-pada) Therefore, no one should alter (these terms) while they are enjoying it according to the due terms of a copper-charter. And this gift should be nursed out of reference  for the supreme divinity, the illlustrious sovereign. (Paramabhattaraka-pada.)
Therefore no one should alter these terms, while they are enjoying it according to the due terms of a copper charter. And this gift should be nursed out of reverence for the supreme divinity, the illustrious sovereign. And it has been stated in the Dhama sastras
(Here follows four of the customary verses. In the year 15, on the 13th day of Vaisakha. written by Kesava, the Minister of peace and war, Granted by Mahattara Suryadeva.

Alok Mohan

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