The Imperial Gangas

The rise of the Imperial Gangas is a watershed moment in Odisha’s history. Ganga rule is regarded as an era of ferocious imperial wars and conquests, frenetic political activity, sound administration, and significant cultural achievements. Indeed, the Gangas as a ruling dynasty first appeared in Odishan history at the end of the fifth century CE and rose to prominence in the eleventh century CE Not only did the Gangas succeed in establishing a vast empire, but their well-organized administrative structure and unmatched architectural splendours such as the Sri Jagannath temple in Puri and the Sun temple in Konarka immortalised their name in the annals of mediaeval Odishan history.

The reign of the Gangas, colloquially referred to as the Eastern Gangas, is a glorious period in mediaeval Odishan history. They fought a long battle for survival from 498 CE to 940 CE, and during this time period, they encountered numerous vicissitudes. This was followed by 400 years of glorious rule, between 1038 and 1435 CE


Contents

  1. Sources
  2. Chronology of the Ganaga Rulers
  3. Anantavarman Chodagangadeva (1077-1147 CE)
  4. Anangabhimadeva III (1211-1238 CE)
  5. Narasimhadeva I (1238 – 1264 CE)
  6. The Ganga Administration
  7. Cultural Significance of Ganga Rule

Sources

It is exceedingly difficult to trace the Ganga dynasty’s origins. However, they can be traced back to the fourth century B.C. as a tribe. Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador to Chandragupta Maurya’s court, mentions a tribe called Gangaridai that lived on the Ganges bank. Pliny refers to their southward movement and settlement on the banks of the river Vamsadhara in the first century AD. The Draksaram temple inscription, the Kenduli plate, the Korni copper plate, the Nagari plate, the Kendupatana plate, the Jagannath temple inscription, the Chinna Badamu plates, the Ronaki inscription, the Kanchipuram inscription, the Kapilasa inscription, and the Kamarnava copper plate (Choudwar) are the imperial Gangas’ principal inscriptional sources. Among literary works, the Madala Panji, Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, Tarikh-i-Firoze Shahi, Ramacharita, and Kalingattuparani are all significant because they shed significant light on the careers and accomplishments of the Ganga kings.

Chronology of the Ganga Rulers

Anantavaraman Vajrahasta V (C-1038-1070 CE)

The Gangas were liberated from the clutches of the Somavamsi kings with the accession of Anantavarman Vajrahasta V in 1038 CE He used titles such as ‘Maharaja, Maharajadhiraja, Paramamahesvara, Paramabhattaraka, and Trikalingadhipati’ as the first independent Ganga king. His title’Trikalingadhipati’ makes it abundantly clear that he unified Utkala, Kongoda, and Kalinga. He pursued a policy of rnatrirnorual alliances in order to bolster his empire. His marriage to Vinaya Mahadevi, a Kalachuri princess, solidified his position in Southern India and compelled him to deal with the Somavamsis. He is presumed to have maintained diplomatic relations with distant neighbouring countries, which added to his glory.

Devendravarman Rajarajadeva (1070-1077 CE)

In 1070 AD, his son Devendra Varman Rajarajadeva succeeded Vajrahasta V. Rajarajadeva was determined to pursue a vigorous policy in response to pressure from the Somavamsis of Utkala and the Chalukyas of Vengi. He carried his arms all the way to Vengi, where he defeated Kulottungachoda alias Rajendrachoda II, who gave Rajarajadeva the hand of his daughter Raja sundari. According to the Dirghasi inscription, Vanapati, Rajaraja’s Brahmin minister and commander, dealt a crushing defeat to the rulers of Vengi, Utkala, Khimidi, Gidrisingi, Kosala, and Chola. Rajarajadeva established stability in Ganga rule through the acquisition of neighbouring territories through a zealous policy of aggrandisement. He adopted high-sounding independent titles such as Parama Mahesvara, Paramabhattaraka, Maharajadhtraja, and Trikalingadhipati. He was assassinated in 1077 AD.

Anantavarman Chodagangadeva (1077-1147 CE)

Anantavarman Chodagangadeva was a renowned Ganga dynasty king. Due to his youth, the initial phase of his reign was critical. However, as the king matured into adulthood, he demonstrated his ability as a ruler by ruling Odisha for seventy years. Indeed, he established the Gangas dynasty in Odisha, which ruled until 1435 CE

Kamarnava (1147-1156 CE)

Kamarnava succeeded to the throne following his father’s death through his wife Kasturikamohini. His brief reign of a decade was dominated by the struggle with the Kalachuris for control of the Sambalpur-Sonepur-Bolangir tract. As with his father, he failed in his mission. During his reign, he is remembered for performing the Tulabharam ceremony, in which he weighed himself against gold that he distributed to Brahmins and his courtiers.

Raghava (1156-1170 CE)

In 1156 AD, following Kamarnava’s demise, his younger brother Raghava ascended to the Ganga throne. Through his queen Indiradevi, he was another son of Anantavarman Chodagandadeva. Additionally, he adopted the lofty title of ‘Anantavarma Devidasa Ranaranga Raghava Chakravarti. Perhaps during his reign, Velanadu’s Kulottunga Rajendrachoda II attacked Kalinga and achieved some success. Among his two inscriptions discovered inside the Lingaraja temple’s Jagamohana, one describes Jayadeva, a renowned Odia poet known for his eternal creation Gitagovinda. His reign was relatively tranquil and peaceful.

Rajaraja II (1170-1190 CE)

Rajaraja II succeeded Raghava because he lacked a son and heir. Through his queen Chandralekeha, he was another son of Chodagandadeva. With him, the imperial Gangas’s long-forgotten glory was resurrected. At the start of his reign, he reclaimed the Gangas territory lost to Kamarnava and Raghava, extending from Simhachalam to Godavari. However, when Prithivisvara, the Velanati Chola ruler over Kalinga, attacked and extended his sway all the way to Srikurmam, Rajaraja II was forced to accept the former’s supremacy and remain as a vassal king. Scholars reject Lakshmanasena’s victory over Utkala, the Sena ruler of Bengal and a contemporary of Rajaraja II. The great Jayadeva. During Rajaraja II’s reign, poets flourished as well.

Anangabhimadeva II (1190-1198 CE)

Anangabhimadeva II, Rajaraj II’s brother, ascended the throne due to his lack of children. His reign was peaceful, and he oversaw the construction of numerous Saivite temples. Svapnesvaradeva, his brother-in-law, built the famous Meghesvara temple in Bhubaneswar. He most likely constructed the Sovanesvara Siva temple in Niali. He undertook massive public works such as road construction, well and tank digging, and the construction of high compound walls. He patronised men of letters and also looked out for his subjects’ material and spiritual well-being. He was assassinated in 1198 CE

Rajaraja III (1198-1211 CE)

In 1198 CE, Anangabhimadeva II was succeeded by his son Rajaraja III. During his reign, the Muslims’ desire to conquer this land increased. According to Qazi Minhaj-us-Tabaqat-i-Nasiri, siraj’s Muhammad Sheran and Ahmad Sheran advanced to occupy Lakhnor (in Bengal) and Jajnagar on Bakhtyar Khilji’s orders (Jajpur in Odisha). The plan came to an abrupt halt when Bhaktyar Khiljl was killed while leading the Muslim army in a campaign against Kamarupa (Assam). However, the Muslim governors of Bengal continued their attacks on Odisha during his successors’ reigns.

Anangabhimadeva III (1211-1238 CE)

In 1211 AD, Rajaraja-III was succeeded by his son, Anangabhimadeva-III. Anangabhimadeva-III ascended to power at a time when Muslim rule in Bengal posed a threat to the Ganga kingdom in Odisha’s security. On the other hand, the Kalachuris were the Gangas’ traditional adversary. Simultaneously, the Chola Empire was collapsing in the south. This was the case when Anangabhimadeva III ascended to the Gangas throne.

Narasimhadeva I (1238 – 1264 CE)

The Ganga Empire reached its zenith with Narasimhadeva I’s succession to the Ganga throne in 1238 CE Throughout his twenty-six years of glorious rule, he accomplished extraordinary feats in every facet of Ganga administration. His aggressive and belligerent military policy instilled fear in the Muslim rulers of Bengal and Oudh. This elevated the imperial Gangas to new heights of strength, glory, and splendour. For the first time, he bore the title Gajapati, demonstrating his vast possession of elephants; this title was occasionally borne by later Ganga rulers and invariably by Suryavamsi kings. The magnificent creation in the field of architecture that brought Narasimhadeva was the Sun temple at Konarka. He was popularly known in Odisha as Langula Narasimhadeva.

Bhanudeva I (1264-1279 CE)

Narasimhadeva was succeeded by his son Bhanudeva I. In or around 1275 CE, Yuzbak, the Governor of Bengal marched as far as Jajnagar (Jajpur). and removed a few elephants. The Muslim sway is believed to have extended all the way to Jajpur. Bhanudeva was a merciful king. His gift of lands, mango orchards, and trees to the Brahmins demonstrates his support for Brahmanism. The arrival of Narahari Tirtha, the Dvaita Vedantin, and his acceptance of the images of Rama and Sita from Bhanudeva I indicates that Sita-Rama worship began during his reign. However, the Ganga empire began to disintegrate during the reign of Bhanudeva I, when several feudatories such as the Matsys of Oddadi, the Chalukyas of Elamancili, and the Pallavas of Virakutam demonstrated a defiant attitude toward Ganga suzerainty. Chandrikadevi, the daughter of Anangabhimadeva III and the wife of Paramadrideva, constructed the Anantavasudeva temple in Bhubaneswar during his reign.

Narasimhadeva II (1-.279-1306 CE)

Narasimhadeva II succeeded to the throne in 1279 CE, following the death of Bhanudeva I. As a minor, Narahari Tirtha served as his regent for a period of twelve years. Tughril Khan-i-Yuzbak, the governor of Bengal during his reign, fought Balban, the Sultan of Delhi. Thus, Narasimhadeva II reigned during a relatively peaceful era. By enhancing communication capabilities, he facilitated trade and commerce and brought prosperity to the land. As with his forefathers, he was referred to as Vira Narasimhadeva, Sri Narasimhadeva, Pratapa Vira Sri Narsimhadeva, and so forth. Additionally, he performed Tulapurusadana. He patronised Brahmanas and founded numerous Brahmana shasanas (villages). His court was crowned with literary luminaries. Among them, Sraddhapaddhati by Sambhukara Vajapeyi, Nityachara Paddhati and Karmadipika by Vidyakara, and Smriti Samuchaya by Sankhadhara were all well-known Sanskrit works at the time. He was assassinated in 1306 CE

Bhanudeva II (1306-1328 CE)

The decline of the Ganga empire began with Bhanudeva II’s accession in 1323 CE after subjugating Warrangal. Ulugh Khan ( Muhammad Tughluq) was raided in the Jajnagar area and forty elephants were taken from him. This demonstrates unequivocally that Bhanudeva II was forced to deal with the Muslims. However, no part of the Ganga territory appears to have been lost during his reign. The fact remains that the Gangas’ aggressive imperialism had ended. He also regarded himself as God Jagannath’s Deputy.

Narasimhadeva III (1328-1352 CE)

With the death of Bhanudeva II in 1328 AD, Narasimhadeva III ascended the throne. Taking advantage of the Musunuri Nayakas’ weakness, the Reddies and Velemas declared themselves independent kingdoms in the coastal Andhra region. At this point, Narasimhadeva III viewed the death of Toyyeeti Anavota Nayaka (who was ruling that region on behalf of Kapaya Nayaka, the Musunuri ruler) as a golden opportunity to extend his sway up to Srikakulam. That victory, however, was brief, as Anavota Reddi, a powerful Reddi ruler, forced the Kalingan army to retreat up to the Kalinga border crossing of the Godavari river. Thus, the Ganga empire was gradually eroding. He was assassinated in 1352 CE

Bhanudeva III (1352-1378 CE)

Bhanudeva succeeded to the Ganga throne following the death of his father Narasimhadeva III in 1352 CE His reign witnessed a turbulent period in the Gangas’ glorious rule. Iliyas Shah, the governor of Bengal during his reign, defied the authority of Firoz Shah, the Sultan of Delhi, necessitating a war between the two. Immediately preceding it, in or around 1351 CE Iliyas had taken control of Jajnagar. Additionally, Bhanudeva III’s assistance to Iliyas Shah in 1353-54 CE In defeating Firoz Toghluq, who fled to Delhi, Iliyas demonstrates that he never attacked Jajnagar. At this point, Bhanudeva III may have deemed it prudent to assist Iliyas in order to ward off any possible attack on his kingdom by the Sultan of Delhi (Firoz Tughluq).

Bhanudeva III paid a high price for his friendship with Iliyas. In 1357 CE, Firoz Tughluq invaded Bengal in retaliation for his defeat. and Sikandar Shah, who succeeded his father Liyas Shah, met with Firoz Tughluq to negotiate. In 1360 CE, Firoz marched towards Jajnagar, shocking Ganga King Bhanudeva III. Due to the treachery of some of Bhanudeva III’s officers, Firoz was able to inflict a crushing defeat on the Odishan King, who had signed a peace treaty with the Sultan of Delhi. No other contemporary source corroborates the Muslim invaders’ destruction of the Puri Jagannath temple described in Tarikh-i-Firoze Shahi. In the year 1356 CE The Vijayanagara Empire launched an attack on the Ganga kingdom, led by Sangama, Bukkaraya I’s nephew, who defeated Bhanudeva III and snatched away the Gangas’ southern empire. Additionally, in 1375 CE, Anavema Reddi, the powerful Reddi ruler, crossed the Godavari and united the Ganga empire up to Simhachalam under his suzerainty. During his reign, the Ganga’s glory was shattered. In 1378 CE, King Bhanudeva III, also known as Sri Vira, Pratapavira Bhanudeva, and Vira Sri Bhanudeva, died.

Narasimhadeva IV (1378-1414 CE)

Narasimhadeva IV succeeded to the Ganga throne following the death of Bhanudeva III in 1378 CE In 1386 CE Kataya Vema, led by Kumaragiri’s brother-in-law, attacked South Kalinga and wreaked havoc in Cuttack. As evidenced by his adoption of the title Kataka Chudakara following this invasion. Narasimhadeva IV had no choice but to seek peace by114 offering his daughter’s hands to Kumara Anavota, Kumaragiri’s son. The conflict between the Reddis and Velemas in the south weakened the Reddi power, and Narasimhadeva began consolidating his hold on South Kalinga as a result. However, the Ganga’s military might continued to dwindle during his reign. His initiative resulted in the development of the Odia language and grammar. He was a patron of scholars, Brahmins, and men-of-letters.

Bhanudeva IV (1414-1435 CE)

Bhanudeva IV, the final Ganga king, ascended the throne following Narasimhadeva IV’s death in 1414. As the Reddi Empire was already in decline, Bhanudeva IV attacked the Reddy territory in collaboration with Devaraya I, the king of Vijayanagara; Allada Reddi of Rajahmundry was forced to negotiate peace with both the kings of Utkala and Vijayanagara. The Chandra kala Natika of a great Odia poet, Viswanath Kaviraj, attributes the conquest of Gauda to Bhanudeva IV (Bengal). He marched towards Bengal in order to liberate the Hindus from Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Shah’s control. He assumed titles such as Srivira Bhanudeva, Gajapati Pratapa Vira Sri Nisanka Bhanudeva, and others. He was the dynasty’s final ruler. While he was engaged in his southern campaign against the Reddis, his trusted minister, Kapilesvara Routraya, betrayed him and usurped the throne with the assistance of the Brahmins. Thus, the Ganga dynasty came to an end, bringing an end to the Gangas’ glorious reign.

The Ganga Administration

The Gangas established a well-organized administrative system in order to stabilise and consolidate their vast empire. Chodaganga, as a stranger in this strange land, may very well understand his obligation to the Odisha people. The Gangas devoted themselves to their subjects’ material prosperity through a variety of humanitarian and welfare projects. As a result, they gained popularity among his Odishan subjects.

The Gangas ruled a vast kingdom that stretched from the Ganges to the Godavari. The Gangas’ unbroken rule of four hundred years provided an excellent opportunity for them to administer the Ganga dynasty’s subjects well.

The kingship concept

They possessed a superior understanding of kingship. They desired to carry out Kautilya’s concept of providing Yogakshema to their subjects. They sought to establish the principle that the king must be wise, ideal, efficient, and capable of enforcing justice and promoting the common good. As evidenced by the Ganga rule’s records, kings such as Vajrahasta-I, Anantavarman Chodagangadeva, Ananqabhirnadeva-ll, Narasimhadeva-I, and Bhanudeva-I were wise, benevolent, and accomplished rulers. They were all well-versed in religious and statecraft canons. The Ganga kings adopted lofty titles such as Maharajadhiraja, Parama Mahesvara, Paramabhattaraka, Trikalingadhipati, Paramavaisnava, Chakravarti, and Gajapati, among others. They ruled the country in accordance with the Niti and Smriti texts’ principles. They looked after their subjects’ material prosperity and spiritual well-being. Without a doubt, the kings’ objective was to satisfy their subjects’ desires.

The King’s Authority

The king was the government’s fulcrum. Among the king’s important powers were the appointment of ministers, imposition of taxes, exemption of subjects from taxes, temple construction, declaration of war and conclusion of peace, grant of lands to Brahmins, and conduction of tours to various parts of the empire to familiarise himself with the subjects’ problems.

Ministerial Council

Though the king was the supreme head of state, he exercised his authority in consultation with the council of ministers during the Ganga period. Numerous officials assisted the Ganga kings, including Mantri, Purohita, Yuvaraja, Sandhivigrahika, Senapati, and Dauvarika. Ministers were generally referred to as Patra-Samantas. ‘Mahapatra’ was given to the revenue minister. Sandhivigrahika was the minister in charge of war, peace, and foreign affairs.

The empire’s division

The Gangas divided the empire into a number of Mahamandalas for administrative purposes (greater provinces). Mahamandalika was the title given to the administrator of a Mahamandala (governor in chief). A Mahamandala was subdivided into Mandalas (provinces). Each Mandala was overseen by a Mandalika (governor). Additionally, a Mandala was composed of Vishayas or Bhogas (districts). A Vishayapati or Bhaugika was in charge of a Vishaya or Bhoga. A Vishaya or Bhoga was composed of a specified number of gramas (villages). Each village was administered by a gramika.

Armed force

With the assistance of a powerful army, the Ganga emperors maintained their rule over a vast territory. The Ganga kings were themselves formidable warriors. The Ganga inscription mentions the following designations for their army commanders: Sakata batapati (Supreme Commander of Armed Forces), Senadhyaksa (Commander-in-Chief), Senapati, Dalapati, and Vahinipati. Army recruits may come from any of the four varnas – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, or Shudra. Three wings comprised the army: elephantry, cavalry, and infantry. Elephants were particularly effective at striking fear into the hearts of adversaries. Soldiers used a variety of weapons during the wars, including swords, daggers, shields, spears, maces, and bows.

Taxes, land settlement, and revenue from land

The revenue system was sound during the Ganga period. According to the Ganga inscriptions, a variety of taxes were collected, including bheta, Voda, Paika, Ohour, and Paridarsana. Land revenue was the Ganga government’s primary source of revenue. One-sixth of the land’s production was collected as land revenue. According to the land settlement, Anangabhimadeva-1I1 of the Ganga dynasty ruled over 9,49,60,000 acres of arable land in Odisha during his reign. Of this total cultivable land, 4,63,00,000 acres were donated tax-free to temples, Brahmanas, royal servants, and others. The Ganga rulers made land donations, retaining all proprietary rights. The Ganga monarchs collected taxes on 4,86,00,000 acres of unclaimed land. Apart from land revenue, the state received revenue from duties on exports, imports, and forest products, as well as fines, court fees, and salt tax.

Thus, the preceding fact demonstrates that the Ganga kings were benign despots who were always concerned about the welfare of the populace. Additionally, they were generous patrons of art, architecture, and literature. Indeed, through their uninterrupted rule for nearly 400 years, they established a well-organized political system that guided future rulers of the Suryavamsi Ganapati dynasty and beyond. Without a doubt, the Ganga administration brought peace, tranquillity, and stability to the people of Odisha for four centuries, an unprecedented period in the Ganga dynasty’s administrative history.

Cultural significance of the Ganga rule

Odisha’s cultural renaissance during the Ganga period was unquestionably the result of capable leadership, political stability, robust administration, and economic prosperity. During the Ganga period, art, architecture, and sculpture developed. Additionally, the Ganga rulers were great promoters of learning and literature. Their court was graced by a number of notable literary figures. The society was peaceful because the kings of the Ganga dynasty were benevolent in nature.

To appreciate the cultural significance of the Ganga dynasty, it is necessary to understand the society and circumstances of the Ganga period, including religion, art and architecture, music and dance, language and literature, and trade and commerce.

Traditional Varna system

The traditional Varna system (Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra) prevailed during the Ganga period. During this period, the Brahmanas held the highest status and most privileges in society. As scholars and priests, many of them benefited from land grants (Agraharas). During this time period, it is discovered that a number of Brahmanas pursued non-religious careers such as military service, other types of government service, and commerce.

The evolution of the Karanas (Kayasthas) caste

The Ganga period records mention the Karanas (Kayasthas) as a significant caste that developed during this time period. They were a bloodline of writers. Their status in Varna is unknown based on the available records. According to some sources, they were Kshatriyas. According to others, they were Shudras. Whatever their Varna status, they held positions in government ranging from village headman and accountant to prime minister and army general.

Women’s position during the Ganga period

During the Ganga period, women were held in high regard in society, particularly royal women. Numerous donor records include the donors’ mothers’ names. Royal ladies were renowned for their piety and devotion to their husbands. The royal ladies appear to have had access to education and specialised forms of art such as music and dance. Chandrikadevi, Anangabhimadeva III’s daughter, was a gifted musician and dancer. She constructed the Ananta Vasudeva temple in Bhubaneswar. Sivarani, a lady descended from the Ganges, was dubbed the Kaliyuga Saraswati (Goddess of Learning in Kali Age). However, women’s status appears to have deteriorated somewhat during this time period. Their liberty is restricted by the Smritis and Nitisastras of the time. Women were expected to be devoutly married. However, the Ganga kings were polygamous. Additionally, the Smritis permitted rulers to engage in poligamy. In practise, it appears as though women had a great deal of autonomy. Additionally, they performed as Devadasis in temples. Women are frequently depicted as singers and dancers, erotic partners, and seductive Nayikas, all of which emphasise their independence.

Religion in the Ganges era

The early rulers of the Ganga were devout Saivites. However, following their conquest of Odisha, the Gangas converted to Vaishnavism. They devoted themselves to Purushottam-Jagannath, who was considered to be a manifestation of Vishnu. Chodagangadeva constructed the current colossal temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath. Anangabhimadeva-III declared that he ruled the empire as Lord Jagannath’s Routa or deputy. Puri became a major centre of Vaishnavism during the Ganga period, with Lord Jagannath as the presiding deity. During this period, great Bhakti saints such as Ramanuja, Narahari Tirtha, and Jagannath Tirtha came to Odisha from other states. The recital of Jayadeva’s Gita Govinda (a Vaishnava poet of this era) was incorporated into the Jagannath temple’s daily rituals.

The Ganga rulers’ secular nature

The Ganga rulers were by nature secular. Despite their devotion to Lord Jagannath, the state deity, the Gangas encouraged the worship of other deities, including Siva, Parvati, and the Sun-God. Chodagangadeva donated a village to support the maintenance of a perpetual lamp in Bhubaneswar’s Lingaraj temple. During the Ganga rule, the Parvati temple was constructed within the precinct of the Lingaraj temple. Narasihmhadeva-I constructed the Sun-God temple in Konark. The Ganga rulers appear to have sought to reconcile Saivism and Vaishnavism. The transformation of Siva in the Lingaraj temple into Harihar (Vishnu and Siva), and the construction of the Ananta Vasudeva Vishnu temple by a Ganga princess named Chandrika devi in the midst of the Siva temples, both indicate attempts at this synthesis of Hari-Hara cult.

During the Ganga period, art and architecture

Odisha’s art and architecture reached their pinnacle of glory during the continuous and strenuous construction activities of the great Ganga monarchs such as Chodaqanqadeva, Anangabhimadeva-III, and Narasimhadeva-1. The Gangas constructed two unmatched and magnificent monuments – Puri’s Jagannath temple and Konark’s Sun temple. These two temples are remarkable for their massive structure, architectural skill, exquisite ornamentation, and exquisite images of animals, gods, goddesses, mythological episodes, and erotic partners.

Patron of Education

The Ganga monarchs, being learned and cultured themselves, extended their patronage to the advancement of learning. They granted land to learned Brahmins, temples, and mathematicians (monasteries). Temples and maths were both centres of religious culture and education. Copper plate grants and stone inscriptions document the zenith of Odisha’s Sanskrit literature during the Ganga era. Odisha was home to a number of intellectual luminaries during this era. The Ganga period is represented by Pandit Vidyadhar (Ekavali), Jayadeva (Gita Govinda), Shridhar Acharya and Nilambar Acharya (Smriti writers), Viswanath Kaviraj (Sahitya Darpan), and Satyananda (the astronomer who wrote Surya Siddhanta).

The Odia Language’s Evolution

Several stone and copper plate inscriptions from the Ganga period clearly indicate that the Odia language and script developed during this time period. As a result, Sarala Das was able to write his magnum opus, Mahabharat, in the popular language of Sanskrit during the reign of Kapilendradeva, the Gangas’ immediate successor. Odia.

During the Ganga’s reign, music and dance were prevalent.

The Ganga kings were ardent supporters of music and dance. The temples’ Natamandapas (Dancing Halls) were places where the Devadasis (temple maidens) performed dances to the accompaniment of compositions and musical instruments. Natamandapas are found in the Jagannath Temple in Puri and the Sun Temple in Konark (both of which were built by the Gangas). Natamandapa was added to the temple of Lingaraj in Bhubaneswar by Anangabhimadeva-III. The Ganga kings employed damsels to sing and dance in the temples. According to tradition, Padmavati, the poet Jayadeva’s wife, was a Devadasi dedicated to Lord Jagannath. She used to dance to the beat of her husband’s songs. The Ganga temples, particularly the Natamandapas, are teeming with singing and dancing girls in ecstatic poses, accompanied by musical instruments concealed within the panels.

Overseas Trade

Odisha’s economic prosperity enabled the development of cultural activities during the Ganga period. Odisha maintained her ancient commercial ties with South East Asian countries during this time period. The engraving of boats in the Bhoga Mandapa of Puri’s Jagannath temple, a panel depicting elephant transportation (preserved in the Odisha State Museum), and the reference to a township inhabited by artisans and traders in Anangabhimadeva-1I1’s Nagari plate, are all evidence of Odisha’s international trade and commerce during the Ganga period. Odisha exported clothing, diamonds, and elephants to other countries.

To Conclude

Thus, the Gangas’ four hundred years of glorious rule are unprecedented in many ways throughout the history of mediaeval Odisha. Politically and culturally, the land was united. During the Ganga period, the Kalinga school of architecture reached its zenith. Additionally, the Sanskrit literature flourished during this time period. The overall socioeconomic, political, and cultural landscapes of this era attest to the fact that peace and tranquillity prevailed throughout the empire during the reign of the Ganga dynasty’s mighty rulers.

The Gangas first appeared in Odishan history at the end of the fifth century and again in the eleventh century. They established themselves as the supreme power during this time period. Among the Ganga rulers, three individuals stood out: Chodagangadeva, Anangabhimadeva III, and Narasimhadeva-I. Chodagangadeva’s seventy-year reign was a glorious epoch in mediaeval Odishan history.

Chodagandadeva is a remarkable figure in mediaeval Odishan history as an administrator, patron of art, architecture, and culture, and liberal ruler. Anangabhimadeva III was a great warrior, administrator, diplomat, devout man, patron of scholars, protector of all religious faiths, and protector of historical monuments, among other things. On the other hand, Narasimhadeva-I is famous for his heroism and the magnificent construction of the Konark Sun Temple. To summarise, the Ganga dynasty enabled Odisha’s territorial and cultural development.

Sources and References

1. History of Odisha Vol-I by Dr Manas Kumar Das
2. History of Odisha Vol-II by Dr Manas Kumar Das
3. History of Odisha Vol-III by Dr Manas Kumar Das
4. History of Odisha Sahu, Sahu, Mishra
5. History of Odisha Vol-I by Y.K. Sahu
6. History of Odisha Vol-II by Y.K. Sahu
7. History of Odisha by RD Banerjee
8. Odishara Itihasa by Satyanarayan Rajguru

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The Afghan raid on Odisha inaugurated a new phase in Odisha’s mediaeval history. It made way for the establishment of Muslim dominance in Odisha. In 1568 CE, the invasion of…

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