The Sun Temple of Modhera was built in 1026 AD by King Bhimdev of Solanki dynasty and dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God of Hinduism.
Gujarat gets its name from “Gujjar Rashtra” or “Gujjaratta”, the land of the Gujjars. It is situated on the western coast of India. They were a migrant tribe who came to India in the wake of the invading Huns in the 5th century. The history of Gujarat dates back to 2000 BC. Settlement of Indus valley, which is known as Harappan Civilization is in Gujarat. Some of the coastal Cities, mainly Bharuch, served as ports and trading centers in the Maurya, Gupta, Pratiharas etc but it was under the regime of Chalukyas (Solanki) Gujarat witnesses’ progress and prosperity. In the 6th century Gupta Empire failed and Gujarat flourished as an independent Hindu Kingdom. After this glorious respite, Gujarat faced troubled times under the Muslims, Marathas and the British rules.
History of Gujarat:
The early history of Gujarat is mainly related to Chandragupta Maurya who conquered a number of earlier States of Gujarat. Pushyamitra was a governor (322 BC to 294 BC) of Saurashtra appointed by Mauryan regime. He ruled Giringer or Junagadh and built a dam on the Sudarshan Lake.
Emperor Ashoka asked Governor Tusherpha to take out the canals from the lake where an earlier Mauryan Governor had built a dam; as well he ordered the carving of his famous edicts on the rock at Junagarh.
Mauryan power declined and Saurashtra came under the sway of Samprati Mauryas of Ujjain, a Greek incursion came into Gujarat led by Demetrius.
Saka rulers played prominent part in Gujarat history for nearly 400 years from the start of the first century. Weather beaten rock at Junagadh gives a glimpse of the Ruler Rudradaman I (100 AD) of the Saka satraps known as Western Satraps, or Kshatraps. Mahakshatrap Rudradaman I founded the Kardamaka dynasty which ruled from Anupa on the banks of the Narmada up to Aparanta region which bordered Punjab.
Gupta dynasty was replaced for Kshatrapa dynasty with the conquest of Gujarat by Chandragupta Vikramaditya. His successor Skandagupta has left an inscription (450 AD) on a rock at Junagadh which gives details of the repairs of the embankment, damaged by floods, of Sudarshan lake by his Governor. Anarta and Saurashtra regions were both part of the Gupta empire.
Gupta Empire started to decline during the middle of the 5th century AD. Senapati Bhatarka, the Maitrak general of the Guptas, took advantage of the situation and in 470 AD and he set up what came to be known as the Maitrak kingdom.
Bhatarka shifted his capital from Giringer to Valabhipur, near Bhavnagar, on Saurashtra’s east coast. They became powerful in Gujarat as well as Malwa. Maitrakas set up a university which came to be known far and wide for its scholastic pursuits and was compared with the famous Nalanda University.
map of Maitraka dynasty
Maitraka Dynasty (c. 475 to 767)
The Maitraka dynasty ruled Gujarat in western India from the c. 475 to 767. The Maitraka Dynasty descended from a Gupta general. Senapati (general) Bhatarka, was a military governor of Saurashtra peninsula under Gupta Empire, who had established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat approximately in the last quarter of 5th century. He was the founder of Maitraka Dynasty who ruled Gujarat in Western India.
The Maitrakas ruled from their capital at Vallabhi. They came under the rule of Harsha in the mid-seventh century, but retained local autonomy, and regained their independence after Harsha’s death.
There is evidence that the Maitraka rulers had switched to Saivism, but when Chinese traveller Hieun-Tsang visited Vallabhi during second quarter of 7th century, he found its ruler to be a Buddhist follower. When I-Tsing, another Chinese traveller, visited Vallabhi in the last quarter of 7th century, he found Vallabhi as a great center of learning including Buddhism.
•Bhatarka (c. 475- ?)
Bhatarka, was a military governor of Saurashtra peninsula under Gupta Empire, who had established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat. He was the founder of Maitraka Dynasty. He used the title of Senapati (general).
Dharsena I also used the title of Senapati (general).
•Dronasimha (c. 500-c. 525)
He declared himself as the Maharaja.
•Dhruvasena I (c. 525-c. 545)
•Dharapatta (c. 545-c. 556)
•Guhasena (c. 556-c. 570)
King Guhasena stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata along his name like his predecessors, which denotes the cessation of displaying of the nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords.
•Dharasena II (c. 570-c. 606)
Guhasena was succeeded by his son Dharasena II, who used the title of Mahadhiraja.
•Siladitya I (c. 606-c. 616)
Siladitya I was the son of Dharsena II, Dharmaditya was described by Hiuen Tsang as a “monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion”.
•Kharagraha I (c. 616-c. 623)
Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I. Virdi copperplate grant (616 CE) of Kharagraha I proves that his territories included Ujjain.
•Dharasena III (c. 623-c. 640)
During the reign of the next ruler, his son Dharasena III north Gujarat was included in this kingdom.
•Dhruvasena II (c. 640-c. 644)
Dharasena II was succeeded by another son of Kharagraha I, Dhruvasena II, Baladitya.
•Dharasena IV (c. 644-c. 651)
Dharasena IV assumed the imperial titles of ‘Paramabhattaraka Mahrajadhiraja Parameshvara Chakravartin’. Sanskrit poet Bhatti was his court poet.
•Dhruvasena III (c. 651-c. 656)
•Kharagraha II (c. 656-c. 662)
•Siladitya II (c. 662- ?)
Siladitya III was known as a powerful ruler of this dynasty.
• Siladitya IV
• Siladitya V
During the reign of Siladitya V, Arabs probably invaded this kingdom.
•Siladitya VII (c. 766-c. 767)
Siladitya VII was the last known ruler of this dynasty.
The Sakas, Pahlavas and Kambojas had occupied south-west India including Sindhu, Saurashtra/Gujarat as a consequence of second century BCE tribal movement from Central Asia. This is attested from several ancient sources including the Puranas and other Sanskrit literature.
Solanki Dynasty (c. 960 to 1243):
The Solanki (from Chalukya, an ancient Indian dynasty) are a Hindu Rajput clan who ruled parts of western and central India between the 10th and 13th centuries. Solanki was the descent from 6th Centuary Badami Chalukya (During 543-566). It was established at Vatapi now it is called as Badami, Bagalkot District in North Karnataka of Karnataka. The Solanki are a branch of the Chalukya dynasty of whose oldest known area of residence was in present-day Karnataka. The Solanki clan-name is found within the Rajput community of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
In Gujarat, Anhilwara (modern Siddhpur Patan) served as their capital. Gujarat was a major center of Indian Ocean trade, and Anhilwara was one of the largest cities in India. The Solankis were patrons of the great seaside temple of Shiva at Somnath Patan in Kathiawar; Bhima Dev helped rebuild the temple after it was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026. His son, Karandev, conquered the Bhil king Ashapall or Ashaval, and after his victory established a city named Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati River, at the site of modern Ahmedabad.
Solanki rulers of Gujarat:
•Mulraj I (942-996)
Mulraj overthrew Samantsinh Chavda in 942 and form Solanki dynasty. Mulraj moved southward from gurjaratra region and took over Anhilvad pattan from Chavda rulers in 942. He defeated Abhir king Grahripu of Saurashtra and Laxraj (Lakha Fulani) of Kutchh. He snatched Lat for some period from Barapp in one war. Shakambhari king Vigrahraj Chauhan defeated Mulraj. He got defeat from Malav King Munj Parmar (Vakpati II). After death of Munj in 995, Mulraj adorned self as “Param bhattarak maharajadhiraj parmeshawara” and the title of Gurjaresh (King of Gurjardesh).
He invited many learned Brahmins and other castes to settle in Saraswat mandal. He constructed several temples and initiated construction of Rudra mahalaya (Siddhpur).
He died in 996. At the time of his death, his kingdom included saraswat and satyapur mandals, kutchh and some territories of Saurashtra. . His reign marked the start of a period during which Gujarati culture flowered as manifested in art, architecture, language and script. It is described as the golden period of Gujarat’s chequered history. His son Chamund started taking responsibility during his ruling (977).
Chamundaraj succeeded by king Mulraj. He could not extend his kingdom territory further. He tried to be independent from Malav king Sindhuraj (successor of Munj) but could not succeed. In the later years of his life, he lost his character (womanizer). His sister Chachinidevi dethroned him and gave it to his son Vallabhraj in 1009. Chamund ended his life by immersing in narmada river near Shuklatirth.
•Vallabharaj (1009 for six months)
Vallabhraj attacked King Sindhuraj’s territory as soon as he became king. He died due to small pox in the war only.
Durlabhraj (brother of Vallabhraj) could not extend father’s kingdom much. He married the sister of Chauhan Baliraj’s son Mahendra of Naddul. He was of good character. He invited Jain saints in his kingdom and continued as Samant of Malav king Bhoj. After his death, his nephew Bhimdev (son of Nagraj) became king in 1022.
•Bhimdev I (1021-1063)
Bhimdev I was son of Durlabhraj’s brother Nagraj. Bhimdev was a mandlik of Malav king Bhoj. Bhimdev added Saurashtra, Kutchh, Abu and some parts of Khetak mandal and Mahimandals with his kingdom. Bhimdev became independent from Bhoj on his death in 1054. Bhimdev had a son named Karndev from Udaymati (a pricess of Saurastra Narvahan Khengar) and sons named Xemraj and Mulraj from Bauladevi (also called Chauladevi). Mulraj died in very early age. Bhimdev died in 1064. Karndev (Bhimdev’s son by Udaymati) came on the throne after Bhimdev’s death.
•Karndev I (1064-1094)
Karndev came on the throne after Bhimdev’s death. He is described as a very handsome king. As soon as he came to the throne, he made friendship with King Someshwar of Kalyani. Up to 1075, he added entire Lat in his kingdom. His territories were touching Konkan in south and Naddul in north. He married to Karnataka’s king Tribhuvanmalla’s friend Jaykeshi’s daughter Mayanalladevi(Minaldevi). Jaykeshi was Konkan’s suba. Karn had built many temples, lakes and cities like Karnavati. Shakambhari’s king Dushshal chauhan defeated and killed Karn in a war. Malavking Laxmdev and Naddul king Joggal helped in defeating Karndev. Patan’s condition was worse in the last days of Karandev. His son Jaysinh became Karandev’s successor for the throne.
•Siddhraj Jaysinh I (1094-1143)
Siddhraj Jaysinh was also known as Siddhraj Solanki who was considered as the most prominent Solanki king. His mother Minaldevi , Maha Mantri Santu and Munjal Mehta initially played a great part to deter the internal revolt and in establishing his rule and stability to Patan in Gujarat. Jaysinh came on throne in 1096. So the years between his father’s death and his actual takeover might have been guarded by his mother and his mantris. Apart from Saurashtra and Kachchh, Siddhraj Jaysinh had also conquered the Malwa defeating king Yashovarma. He adorned the title of “Barbarak Jishnu” and also “Siddhraj” after controlling Bhil king Barbarak. He became Chakravarti after acquiring total control of the region under old Gurjar Chakravarti kings. He renovated and widened the lake constructed by Durlabhraj and named it as Sahastraling Lake. He constructed two lakes in the memory of his mother. He also renovated Rudramahal. During his kingdom Patan flourished in education, religion and commerce. He gave shelter to many scholars of different religion and castes. Other notable figures of his time included his, Prime Minister Munjal Mehta, Kak and leading Courtier Udayan Mehta. Siddhraj Jaysinh died in 1143. The throne remained without King for 18 days. Thereafter Kumarpal was suddenly declared King of Patan.
Siddhraj Jaysinh did not have any son. His daughter’s son Someshwar was brought up by him in Patan. But many Mantris like Dadak, Madhav, Sajjan and Udayan were of the opinion that decedent of Mulraj and Bhimdev should be made King of Patan. Siddhraj Jaysinh hated this proposal. Kumarpal was the probable candidate being decedent of Bhimdev by his second wife Bauladevi. Hence Kumarpal was under direct wrath of Siddhraj. Kumarpal had to flee and hide from Siddhraj for 30 years to save his life. There were many internal fights for Patan’s throne. After Siddhraj Jaysinh’s death, Kumarpal was ultimately given throne of Patan in 1144. Kumarpal had to face much resistance. He along with his able mantries took harsh steps to subside the resistance. Many mantries opposing him were given death sentence. Kumarpal adopted Jain religion in 1160 along with Shiv religion. He became vegetarian and stopped animal slaughter. He built 1440 Jain Vihars. He renovated Somnath temple. In his old age he reduced interest in administration and left it to his faithful samants and mantries. Again internal conflicts for throne have surfaced. One of the group wanted Kumarpal’s nephew Ajaypal ( Mahipal’s son) as a king. Ajaypal came on throne after a revolt in 1173. Kumarpal died in early 1174 due to poison given to him.
Kumarpal’s nephew Ajaypal (1173-1176) ( Mahipal’s son) came on throne after a revolt in 1173. He was very shrewd and merciless. He got rid off all people connected to Kumarpal. During his period Patan’s kingdom remained from Gwaliar to Narmada River. He discouraged Jain saints and leaders. A pratihar named Vayjaldev injured Ajaypal with a dragger. Ajaypal died in 1176 due to this injury suffering a lot. His child son Mulraj was given Patan’s throne on his death.
•Mulraj II (c.1176-c.1178)
Mulraj (1176-1178) was on the throne for two years. His mother Naikdevi along with child Mulraj pushed back Islamic army of Shahbuddin Ghori near Gadrar ghat war. Mulraj died in 1178. His brother Bhimdev II came on throne after him.
•Bhimdev II (c.1178-1241)
India was passing through a great turmoil when Bhimdev came to throne. Gahadwal of Kanoj, Chandelas of Jejabhukti, Yadavs of Devgiri and Kalyani’s Chalukyas were Bhimdev’s (Patan’s) stern enemies. He adorned himself as “Abhinav Siddharaj”. Malav king Subhat varma invaded Gujarat in 1209. Bhimdev fled to either Saurashtra or Kutchh. Between 1209 and 1226, a brave Chalukya named Jaisinh/ Jayansinh took over the kingdom of Gujarat (Patan), probably to save Patan in absence of Bhimdev. In 1226, Bhimdev again came on the throne of Patan. Mantri Vastupal , Maha mandleshwar Lavanprasad and his son Virdhaval played an important role in bringing Bhimdev to throne. They virtually ruled Patan even though Bhimdev was a king. In the old age of Bhimdev, Virdhaval’s son Visaldev and Vastupal’s brother Tejpal took the charge to rule Patan. Bhimdev died in 1241. His son, Tribhuvan pal, was made king after him.
•Jaysinh II (c. 1223)
He was the co-ruler of Bhimdev II
Tribhuvan pal, son of Bhimdev II was a king for namesake. In fact, Visaldev and Tejpal ruled Patan. During this period, Tejpal persuaded ambitious Visaldev from dethroning Tribhuvan pal and continue ruling in his name. Tribhuvan pal died in 1244. Visaldev took over the throne as a king. Thus the Solanki dynesty came to an end. Visaldev being a decedent from Arnoraj Vaghela’s son Lavanprasad, Vaghela dynesty ruled Patan there after.
The Vaghelas were an Indian dynasty of Gujarat. The Vaghelas were based in the town of Dholka, and were feudatories of the Solanki dynasty, who ruled Gujarat from the 10th to the 13th centuries. The Solanki went into decline in the thirteenth century, and by 1243 the Vaghelas were firmly in control of Gujarat. They restored stability to Gujarat for the latter half of the 13th century, and the Vaghela kings and officials were dedicated patrons of the arts and temple-building.
List of Vaghela kings
•Virdhaval (Visala) (c. 1243 – c. 1262)
Virdhaval was the first Vaghela king, and two of his Jain minister brothers, Vastupal and Tejpal, built the exquisite Dilwara Temples on Mount Abu in Rajasthan, and temples at the Girnar and Shetrunjay hills.
•Arjuna (Vishaldev) (c. 1262 – c. 1275)
Virdhaval’s successor Vishaldev built temples at Dabhoi and founded Vishalnagar.
•Sarangadev (c. 1275 – c. 1297)
•Karandev (II) (c. 1297-1304)
Karandev was the last Vaghela king, who died in the 1304 conquest of Gujarat by Ala-ud-din Khilji, Sultan of Delhi.
Vaghela is a Kshatriya name. It is one of the four varnas (Social Orders) in Hinduism. It constitutes the military and noble order of the traditional Vedic-Hindu social system as outlined by the Vedas and the Laws of Manu. Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavira all belonged to this social order.
Initially in ancient Vedic society, this positions was achieved on the merits of a person’s aptitude (guna), conduct (karma), and nature (swabhava). Over the years it became hereditary.