Short notes on the Yadavas Of Devagiri


Of all the dynasties which did so the Yadavas of Devagiri were the most important in the Deccan. The Yadavas were also called Sevunas because they ruled over the Sevuna or Seuna country.

This country extended from Nasik to Devagiri. Bhillama who had been a feudatory of Somesvara IV took advantage of the decline of the Chalukyas of Kalyani, rose in rebellion against his master, seized the territory as far as the Krishna, founded Devagiri (Dauladabad was its later name) and made it his capital in 1187.

Thus, the rule of Somesvara IV between 1189 and 1200 was nominal, much like that of Sriranga III among the Vijayanagar rulers. The Yadavas, however, like the Kalachuris, had some difficulty in gaining recognition as a major political power from those who had stood by the imperial Chalukyas. The Rattas, the Silaharas and the Kadambas did not waver in their regions: they preferred rather to be independent than to accept the overlordship of the upstart powers in the north or in the north east.


In the south the Hoysalas were progressing from strength to strength. Bhillama extended his hand across the Deccan to join the Hoysalas to expel the Chalukyas from their homeland. Somesvara IV and his general Brahma were obliged to leave Kalyani for Banavasi. Kalyani was captured by the Yadavas. While all this was happening in the north, Vira Ballala II Hoysala engaged Somesvara IV in a series of battles the last of which occurred in 1190 and in all of which the Hoysala was successful.

Thus the combined effort of the Yadavas and the Hoysalas ended the Chalukyan power. Somesvara, as has been noted elsewhere, continued to live for about a decade more but in total obscurity. Now that the empire had vanished and the emperor had been driven out, the successor powers of the Yadavas and the Hoysalas began a struggle for supremacy in the Deccan. Ballala II and Bhillama fought several battles at the end of which the Yadavas were obliged to retreat to the north of the Krishna and the Hoysalas were happy to stay south of that river.

The final dissolution of the Chalukyan Empire gave some territory to the Kakatiyas also. Bhillama in the course of his struggle with Ballala II lost his life in the battle of Lakkundi (Dharwar district). His son and successor Jaitrapala also called Jayatugi conquered the Kalachuris of Tripuri about 1196 and even Mahadeva Kakatiya in 1199. He ruled from AD 1191 to AD 1210.

He is said to have interfered in Kakatiya politics and while confirming the expulsion of Kakatiya Pratapa Rudra and the defeat of Mahadeva released the latter’s son Ganapati Kakatiya from the prison into which he had been earlier thrown. Jayatrpala enthroned this Kakatiya at Warangal which was the capital of the Kakatiyas.


The Yadava dynasty attained a certain amount of glory and power under this ruler. He was a scholar himself and is said to have mastered the Vedas, the Tarka Sastras (logic) and the Mimamsa (rules of interpretation). The chief scholar in his court was Lakshmidhara, the son of the mathematician and astronomer Bhaskaracharya.

On the military side, significant conquests were made including that of the Kholapur kingdom of Bhoja Silahara (c. 1175-1210). Singhana Jaitugi was succeeded by his son Singhana. He claims victories over Tripuri, Dhar and Warangal. He invaded Gujarat more than once during the reign of Bhimadeva II and in 1231, concluded a treaty which mentions only the chief minister of Bhimadeva, i.e., Lavanyaprasada. Singhana secured a victory over the Hoysalas also and definitely annexed Kholapur.

He had a chief secretary by name Sodhala, a Kashmiri. This Sodhala’s son was the famous Sarngadara the author of Sangitaratnagara, a treatise on music which still governs the art. It is said that Singhana himself wrote a commentary on it. Changadeva was the chief astronomer as well as the astrologer in that court. He established an institute of higher mathematics where the contributions to mathematics made by his grandfather Bhaskaracharya were studied. The Siddhanta Sirotnani, a magnum opus of Bhaskara, was a famous treatise on mathematics.

Thus this Singhana was not only a great conqueror but a patron of learning and one who practised the arts. He was the greatest Yadava who ruled Devagiri. He died in 1247. His grandson Krishna (AD 1247-AD 1260) succeeded him. He is said to have revived the Vedic religion. He had two famous ministers, Lakshmideva and his son Jahlana. They were great scholars in Sanskrit and compiled an anthology of Sanskrit poetry.


It was during his reign that a scholar Amalananda wrote the Vedahtakalpataru, a commentary on the Bhamati of Vachaspati Misra. This latter is a commentary on the Sutra Bhashya of Sankara. Krishna’s brother and successor Mahadeva ruled from 1260-71. He claims to have defeated the Kakatiyas, the Hoysalas and the Solankis of Anhilvad. The Silhara dynasty ruling in Thana (Bombay) was overthrown and north Konkan was annexed to the Yadava kingdom. Ramachandra

Ramachandra also known as Ramadeva son of Krishna ruled over his father’s kingdom which extended from the Narmada to the frontiers of Mysore. Even the Paramaras of Malwa and the Kakatiyas are said to have been subjugated by him. The prime minister of Ramachandra was one Hemadri whose literary achievements are rightly famous.

Now occurred an incident which began the ruin of the Yadava kingdom. Ala-ud- din Khalji, who was governor of Kara under his uncle Jalal-ud-din, who was then Sultan of Delhi, undertook an expedition to Devagiri in AD 1294, unknown to his uncle. He had heard about the great wealth of the Yadava kingdom; further Ala-ud-din had difficulties with his wife and his mother-in-law and so wanted to take a vacation away from them. So in 1294 this Khalji marched towards Devagiri pretending that he was on his way to Rajahmundri.

It so happened that the Yadava army under prince Sangara or Sankara was away from the capital. Ramachandra who was taken completely by surprise to see a Mulim army at the gates of his capital still gave battle but was defeated.


Ala-ud-din also had spread the rumour that a bigger army was on its way to Devagiri and frightened by this the Yadava ruler submitted. Sangara who had in the meantime returned offered battle but soon fled. Ala-ud-din obtained from Ramachandra 600 maunds of pearls, 2 maunds of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires, one thousand maunds of silver and 4000 pieces of silk as well as he cession of Ellichpur and above all a promise of annual tribute.

Ramachandra was allowed to rule Devagiri. But by 1307 he had failed to pay the tribute for three years. In addition he had given asylum to Raikanan of Gujarat and his daughter. Ala-ud-din had wanted to punish Raikanan and remove his daughter to his court. So Malik Kafur, the general of Khalji, invaded the Yadava kingdom, defeated Ramachandra and took his captive to Delhi.

After 6 months stay at Delhi Ramachandra returned to Devagiri and thereafter paid his tribute promptly. The princess of Gujarat Devaladevi who had taken refuge in Devagiri was taken to Delhi and married to the Khalji’s son. This famous princess fell a victim to her own charms.

Ramachandra died in 1309 and was succeeded by his son Sangara who was a slightly more impetuous but not necessarily more competent man. He did not send the stipulated tribute to Delhi and this naturally provoked Malik Kafur to invade Devagiri. Consequently Sangara was defeated and put to death in 1312. Gulbarga and the Raichur doab (which] was later to become such a bone of contention between Vijayanagar and the Bahmani kingdom) were annexed to the Sultanate.


In 1316 Harapala, Ramachandra’s son-in-law revolted and he expelled the Muslim garrison which had been stationed there. Mubarak Shah who was then the Sultan of Delhi led an expedition in 1318 to punish Harapala. The disaffected rebel was captured and flayed alive; his head was fixed on the gate of Devagiri, which was incorporated as a province of the Sultanate of Delhi. Thus ended ignominiously one of the four Hindu powers in South India at the touch of the invincible Malik, the general of Ala-ud-din; and the end was rounded off by Mubarak Shah.

The Yadavas, it must be stated, were an elightened family of rulers who encouraged literature and the allied arts nobly. We have already noted how Singhana was a great scholar and patron of letters and music; and it has been stated how Amalananda wrote a commentary on Sankara’s famous bhashya. We have mentioned also Hemadri who was a minister of Ramachandra.

This Hemadri wrote the famous Chaturvargachintamani, a voluminous work in four parts dealing with religious fasting, gifts, pilgrimage and salvation. Satyanatha Iyer remarks that Hemadri’s compilation profoundly influenced the Hindu mind by turning it away from progressive thoughts; the shift to the Bhakti movement belonged to the same period.

The Yadavas of Devagiri introduced coins on which the figure of garuda is exhibited.

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