Rashtrakutas of vidarbha


The Rashtrakutas of vidarbha, followed autocratic form of government, wherein the king was the sole administrative authority and also exercised control over judiciary, executive and legislative functions while the prince was assigned a key role in various administrative functions requiring lesser responsibility.

 The king was usually assisted by a council of ministers. For administrative convenience, they had divided their territory into administrative units – Rastras and Vishayas, Bhuktis and Villages. Rashtrakutas encouraged agricultural operations and trade and commerce. 

Inscription number 68.

Nagardhan Plates of Svamiraj – (Kalachuri-chedi,) year 322 (573 A.D.)

Provenance: Nagardhan, five Kilometers south of Ramtek,

Nagpur district, Maharashtra.

Script: Box-head Brahmi, resembling that of early Ganga grants of 6th-7th A.D.

Language: Sanskrit.

References: V.V. Mirashi, Ep.Ind, VIII, pp.1ff.

Footnote 1.

1. From the facsimile in Ep.Ind. XXVIII, between pp.8 and 9.

2. Expressed by the usual spiral symbol.

3. Nandivarddhana has been identified with the findspot Nagardhana in Nagpur district Another name of the place is said to have been Nandardhan which corresponds to Nandi varddhana or Nandivardhana as it is spelt in a number of inscriptions e.g. Rithapur plates of Bhavadattavarman

Ep.Ind, XX, pp.100 ff, (Supra III,16)   and Kothuraka grant of Pravarasena 2, ib. XXVI, pp.155ff. But in Pune plates

of Prabhavati- gupta, ib, XV, pp.41 f and Belora plates of Pravarasena 2, ib, XXIV, pp. 260f, ( Supra III, 3) the name of the

city is spelt as Nandivarddhana, as here.

Footnote 2.


1. The phrase bhattaraka-padauddhyata indicates the feudatory status of Svamiraja, whom Mirashi assigns to the

vidarbha branch of the Rashtrakutas, who were the feudatories of the

Kalachuris at this stage, but later came under the sway of the early Chalukyas.

2.     राजस्थानीय = Viceroy or crown Representative.

 उपरिक = Governor of a province.  

 दाण्डपाशिक = a senior police officer.

  चाट = Begar officer 

भट = Soldier (regular or irregular)

दूत-संप्रेषणिक = The Officer who appointed dutas or agents for executing royal orders.

द्राडिन्गक =  probably the Mayor of dranga or town.

3. All the hyphens between केटभ and प्रभाकर are engraved in the text exactly as we use them today. The purpose is to

distinguish different names. These marks are again used in 11.10-11 between गण and सुप्रभ and between        

 छन्दो गेशान and कौण्डिन.

Footnote 3.

1. The grant records two gifts:

 i) one of twelve nivartanas

of land in the village, Chinchapattika, made at the request of the Mahamatra, the President of the guild (Gana-sthavira) named Kalingaketabha and the Gana collectively, as represented by the prominent members (Pamukhas of the Ganasamuha) listed

individually. The guild apparently was of elephant-breeders, as one of the Pramukhas is described a Pilupati (Lord of elephants) and another as a Physician of elephants

(ii) the second gift of the village ankollika was made by

Nannaraja (or perhaps by Svamiraja) on his own account, when on a pilgrimage, presumably, to Prayaga, near chatuka Vata, situated in the bed of the Ganges on the occasion of the eclipse on the amavasya (new moon day of chaitra in the cyclic year Ashadha.

Footnote 4.

1. Hyphen-like marks given here are redundant.

2. Achalapura on the bank of the sula river, cannot be identified with Ellichpur, since the latter is not located near such a river. Sula nadi seems to be identical,

which flows 6 kms east of Nagardhan. Chinchapattika of 1.12 above is probably represented by the village chichal, about 3 km. north-east of Nagardhan. The mark of punctuation is redundant here.

3.  Ankollika may be the modern Aroli on the right bank of the Sur, about 13 km. south-east Nagardhan. The sur is called Sura-nadi in 1.39 of Ramtek stone inscription of the time of

Ranachandra Ep.Ind, XV, pp.16)

4.   अवनिरन्ध्र न्याय  is the same as भूमि – छिद्र – न्याय.

The precise meaning of this nyaya is not known, Literary meaning is the earth and the hole maxim. Again the mark of punctuation is redundant here.

Footnote 5.

1. Jemaka-kara was a cess levied on villagers for providing

food along, presumably, with lodgings to the royal officers camping in the village. cf.   राजपुरूषाणामावासको जेमकवच एतन्नास्ति  in the Anjaneri plates ( second set) of Bhogasakti, Ep.Ind, XXV, pp. 237 In later records, the expression वसति – दण्ड  is used in the same sense, ib, XXV, pp. 218.

2. व is unnecessarily repeated.

Footnote 6.

1. I have accepted the conclusions of V..V. Mirashi that the date recorded here is in Kalachuri era, and that this era commenced in 250-51 A.D. Thus the exact date of the grant is 19th March; 573 A.D. This rules out the identificatlon, of Syamiraja and his younger brother Nannaraja, of the present record, with Svamikaraja and his son Nannaraja of the Multai plates (Ind, Ant, XVIII, pp. 230 f.)

the Akola plates (J. Ganganath Jha Research Institute, I, pp. 391f.)and the tiverakhed plates (Ep.Ind, XI, pp. 276 f,)

though all these belong to the Rashtrakuta line of vidarbha,

The latter two according to Mirashi, flourished a hundred years or so, after issuance of the present charter, His

main argument for accepting the date of the present record, in Kalacheri era is that all the three details recorded

here, e.g. the solar eclipse, the Chaitra, amavasya of the cyclic (Barhaspatya) Year called Ashadha, and lunar month.

Karttika agree if we accept this era. The amavasya of the ananta chaitra in the expired year 321 fell (if we accept

the epoch of the Kalachura as 250- 251 A.D. instead of 243-249 A.D.) on the 19th March, 573 A.D. On this day, there was a solar eclipse visible in India, and the Barhaspatya samvatsara was Ashadha, as stated in the grant.

For full discussion of the date see Mirashi, Ep.Ind, XXVIII, pp.2 ff.

The Rashtrakuta family of vidarbha, which owed allegiance, first to the Kalachuris and then to Early

Chalukyas, must be distinguished from the family of Dantivarman, which was originally  ruling over Mulaka

(Aurangabad district), where the earliest genuine records of this family, viz the Ellora plates and the Dashavatara cave inscription of the reign of Dantidurga have been

discovered. The two families were ruling contemporaneously,

over neighbouring districts. Later the family of Dantidurga attained imperial status after overthrowing the early Chalukyas and extended their sway to Vidarbha.

The earliest record of this family discovered in vidarbha in

Bhandak and chanda districts is the grant of Krishnaraja 1, dated saka 694 (= 772 A.D.). The Rashtrakutas of

vidarbha ruled as their feudatories, probably from Achalapura. The genealogical tables of the

two families are:-

Rashtrakutas of vidarbha

1. svamiraja.     (570-90 A.D.)

2. Durgaraja.     (630-50 A.D.)

3. Govindaraja  (650-70 A. D. )

4.  svamikaraja (670-90 A. D. )

5. Nannaraja.     (690-710 A.D. )

(known dates 693 and 710 A. D. )

Rashtrakutas of Mulaka

1. Dantivarman (620-30 A.D.)

2. Indra Prichchhakaraja (630-550

A. D.)

3. Govindaraja (650-70 A.D.)

4. Karka 1 (670-90 A.D.)

5. Indra 2 (690-710 A.D. )

6. Dantidurga (710-50 A.D. )

7. Krishna 1    (750-75 A.D.)

English Translation of the Inscription.

L.1: Om ! Hail !  From Nandivarddhana.

L.2: The illustrious svamiraja, the fervent devotee of siva and favoured by the Lord Paramount is in good health.

L1.2-4 His brother, Nannaraja, who is favoured by him, honours all his officers such as Rajasthaniya, Uparika,

Dandapasikas. chatas, Bhatas, Duta-sampreshanikas and

Drangikas and others after mentioning his well-being.

L1.4-13 Be it known to you that at the request of the group of (i) Mahamatras consisting of sthavira, Kalinga,

Ketabha and Roladeva, ii) the two bhatas, (namely) Pradiptabhata and sivadeva and (ii) the guild as a whole

through its spokesmen (namely) Matrisvamin, Ganadeva,

Konkabhata, samasvamin the physician of elephants, Asangata Mallayika,the chief of the elephant corps, and

Prabhakara and for augmenting the religious merit and

fame of my mother and father and of myself, I have granted, on behalf of the administration (sasan a-nimittam), twelve nivarttanas (of land) in the village) chinchapattika to the Brahmanas (viz.) the learned Divakara of the Upamanyu gotra and Vajasaneya sakha, Devasvamin of Maudgalya

gotra, sankara of Kausika gotra, Aditya of bharadvaja gotra,

Darmodara of Upamanyu gotra and others, all the latter ( except Divakara) of Kanva shakha, Gana, Doma, Vatsa, Chandi, Sprabha. Kumara and others. These being of Taittiriya sakha, ishana (who is a Student of) the Samaveda, Ravichandra and Ravigana of Kaundina gotra and Kanva sakha and Karkkasvamin of Vatsa gotra.

L1.13-20: Similarly to these very Brahmanas for the Performance of rituals viz. bali, charu, vaisvadeva and

agnihotra and others, I have granted with libation of water, for enjoyment, while sitting under the chatuka banyan tree, in the bed of the Ganga on the occasion of an eclipse of the moon during the amavasya (new moon day of chaitra in the cyclic or Barhaspatya, year Ashadha, the village named

Ankollika on the northern bank of the river Sula, (situated) to the west of the agrahara, Achalapura and to the east of

Sriiparnnika, to be enjoyed by a succession of sons and

grandsons etc, as long as the moon, the sun, the oceans, the mountains the fire, the wind and the sky endure, in

accordance with the maxim of the bhumi chhidra, immune from 

all the obligations,such as gifts, forced labour, cess for providing meals (to visiting officials, exempt from all

taxes and invested with the powers of internal adjudication

L1.20-24: where fore our descendants as well as other future rulers of thi s vishay and bhoga, should confirm and preserve this gift  and whoever, with his mind, tossed by the waves of the river water, namely, the greed for enjoying

even the least product of this gift, and with his intellect, clouded by a mass of ignorance, would seek to attain

fleeting wealth, which is as shaky as the leaves of an asvattha tree and a life, which is as momentary as the

ripples on the waters of a mountain stream, will incur the five great sins.

And it is stated by the venerable Vyasa:-

L1.24-27.  Here follow two benedictory verses.

L1.27-28:-  This charter has been engraved by the Kshatriya Durgaditya,

the son of Chandra, for the attainment of  religious merit by his parents.

L.28: In the year three hundred and twenty two, on the lunar

day 5 of the bright fortnight of karttika.

Seal: A gift of the gana (corporation)

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