Short Essay on the Eastern Gangas of Kalinganagara

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We have seen how the history of South India knows two Ganga dynasties, the western and the eastern. The latter are known as the Eastern Gangas of Kalinganagara. They ruled from Kalinga and in their inscriptions trace their descent from one Kamarnadeva who left Kolar and settled in Kalinga. We know very little about the dynasty in detail.

The first 16 kings are said to have ruled for 300 years so that their origin might be assigned to the eighth century; since this information comes to us in 1038 and we have to deduct three centuries for the first 16 kings we arrive at the eighth century. We hear of a Ganga era; the inaugural year of the era is considered to be AD 497 though 434 also is suggested. The Eastern Gangas ruled from Kalinganagara also called Mukhalingam in Ganjam district.

We get more information about the Eastern Gangas from the reign period of Vajrahasta V (AD 1038-AD1068). He became independent after the death of Rajendra I Chola. His territory comprised roughly the Ganjam and Visagappattinam districts. His son Rajaraja I (Ganga) reigned from A.D. 1068 to AD 1078.

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Anantavarman Choda Ganga

Kulottunga Chola I gave his daughter Rajasundari in marriage to this ruler who was succeeded by his son Anantavarman Choda Ganga (AD 1078-AD 1148). Anantavarman was the greatest of the Eastern Gangas and his rule was exceptionally long lasting for seventy years. A number of inscriptions testify to his extraordinary military activity. He fought the Senas and even the Cholas. The Kalingattuparani speaks of Anantavarman as a tributary of the Chola Kulottunga I.

Failure to pay tribute led to the second Kalinga war of Kulottunga I who declared war on his own grandson and crippled the Eastern Ganga power. This was only temporary discomfiture. Anantavarman was a patron of Sanskrit and Telugu literatures. He built the famous Jagannatha temple at Puri. The Eastern Ganga dynasty was weakened by the first Muslim invasion of Orissa early in the 13th century. It was ultimately swallowed up by the rising tide of Muslim conquests.

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