Wakataka Dynasty

Why in discussion?

Wakataka Dynasty In recent archaeological excavations at Nagardhan in Ramtek taluka near Nagpur, some concrete facts regarding the life, religious affiliation and trade practices of the Vakataka Dynasty ruled parts of central and south India between the third and fifth centuries. Evidence has been received.

About the excavation site

  • Nagardhan / Nagavardhan is a very large village in Nagpur district, which is about 6 km from Ramtek taluka. Located in the south. 1 km at this place From 1.5 km Archaeological remains were found in the area.
  • Researchers excavated the site during the year 2015-2018.
  • The Koteshwar temple situated on the banks of the river in this region dates back to the 15th-16th centuries. The existing village is situated atop the ancient settlement.
  • The Nagardhan Fort is situated to the south of the present-day Nagardhan village. This fort was built during the period of the Gond king and was later renovated and reused by the Bhosals of Nagpur during the 18th and 19th centuries. Farming work is done in the vicinity of the fort and this is where archaeological remains have been found.

Why is this excavation important?

  • Very little was known about the ‘Vakatakas’, the Shaiva rulers of the middle of the third and fifth centuries. All the information so far known about this dynasty was that it was related to Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, this information was found through some literary works and copper sheets.
  • There were such beliefs about them that the excavated site is the same as Nandivardhan, the capital of the eastern branch of Nagardhan Vakataka. After this archaeological evidence, the notion of Nagardhan being considered as the capital of the Vakataka Empire has been strengthened.
  • Scholars believe that archaeologists who excavated the site did not provide detailed documentation of the site, so an archaeological exploration of it was necessary.
  • During the excavations conducted by archaeologists, some new aspects emerged which provided more information about the life of Vakataka dynasty. Apart from this, scholars also revealed the religious affiliations of this dynasty, the places of residence of the rulers, the type of palaces, the coins and seals circulated during his reign, and their business dealings.

Wakataka dynasty

  • This dynasty was founded by Vindhya Shakti in 255 AD.
  • The most famous ruler of this dynasty was King Pravarsena I. During his reign he held the title of Emperor and conducted four Ashwamedh Yagyas.
  • The Vakataka Brahmins were in favor of religion. He himself was a Brahmin and he gave a lot of land grants to Brahmins.
  • Culturally, the Vakataka state served as an important bridge in the upliftment of the ideals and social institutions of Brahmin religion to the south.

What is the significance of such archaeological discoveries?

  • This is the first time that the clay-made pimples have been found in excavations from Nagardhan. These oval seals belong to the time of Prabhatgupta, queen of the Vakataka dynasty. The name of the queen is printed in the Brahmi script with the depiction of the conch on these seals.
  • The weight of the seal is 6.40-gram, these seals are 1,500 years old, their measurement (per seal) is 35.71 mm – 24.20 mm, thickness 9.50 mm. Regarding the conch printed on the seals, scholars argue that this is a sign of Vaishnava affiliation.
  • This seal was decorated on top of a huge wall, according to researchers, it may be part of a royal structure located in the state capital. No archaeological evidence has yet been received about the types of houses or palatial structures of the Vakataka people or rulers.
  • The Tamrapatra issued by Rani Prabhavati Gupta begins with a genealogy of the Guptas, which mentions the queen’s grandfather Samudragupta and his father Chandragupta II. The Vaishnava presence printed on the royal seals of Vakataka is a strong indicator of this, reestablishing that Rani Prabhavati Gupta was in fact a powerful female ruler.
  • Since the Vakataka people traded with Iran and other countries through the Mediterranean Sea, scholars are of the opinion that these seals would have been used as an official royal permission issued from the capital. In addition, they would have been used on documents for which royal permission would be mandatory.

Why is the information received about Rani Prabhavati Gupta so important?

  • The Vakataka rulers were known to establish many matrimonial alliances with other dynasties of their time. One of such major matrimonial alliances is the princess of the powerful Gupta dynasty, Prabhavati Gupta because the Gupta dynasty was ruling North India at that time.
  • According to researchers, the Gupta rulers were more powerful than the Vakatakas. After marrying the Vakataka king Rudrasena II, Prabhavati Gupta assumed the title of chief queen. After Rudrasena II’s sudden demise, when she took charge of the kingdom of Vakataka, her importance as a female Vakataka ruler increased further. This is evident from the fact that his reign as a ruler was issued seals yesterday, that too from the capital city of Nagardhan.
  • According to scholars, Rani Prabhavati was one of the few female rulers of the Gupta country who ruled a state in ancient times. No evidence has been found in the Vakataka dynasty concerning any other female heir other than this.

What is the significance of Vaishnava affiliation?

  • The Vakataka rulers followed the Shaiva sect of Hinduism, while the Gupta dynasty was a follower of the Vaishnava religion. According to the excavators, many religious structures associated with the Vaishnava sect found in Ramtek were built during the reign of Rani Prabhavati Gupta. While she was married into a family that belonged to the Shaivite sect, the powers the queen received as a ruler gave her the right to choose her worshiper, namely Lord Vishnu.
  • Researchers believe that the practice of worshiping Narasimha in Maharashtra originated from Ramtek, with Rani Prabhavati Gupta playing an important role in the promotion of Vaishnava practices in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. Rani Prabhavati Gupta ruled for almost 10 years until her son Pravarsena II took over power.

What remains have been received from Nagardhan so far?

  • Earlier excavations in this area have found evidence in the form of a pottery, a place of worship, an iron chisel, a stone depicting deer, and terracotta bangles.
  • Some objects made of terracotta also depicted images of gods, animals and humans as well as amulets and wheels etc. have also been found.
  • An unbroken statue of Lord Ganesha with no ornamentation was also found which confirms that worship of Lord Ganesha was common during that period.
  • Animal husbandry played an important role in the means of livelihood of the Vakataka people. The remains of seven species of domestic animals – cattle, goat, sheep, pig, cat, horse and chicken – have also been found.

For Prelims:

About Vakataka Dynasty

For Mains:

Vakataka Dynasty Contemporary Governance, Role of Women in Governance

Source: Indian Express

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