[(a) The section on Ancient History is contributed by Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. V. V. Mirashi, Nagpur.
(b) The sections from mediaeval period onwards are contributed by Dr. B. G. Kunte, M.A., Ph.D. (Econ.), Ph. D. (History), Executive Editor and Secretary.
(c) The section on Modern Period is contributed by Prof. R. V. Oturkar, Pune and revised by Dr. B. G. Kunte.]
As NO ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS HAVE YET BEEN UNDERTAKEN anywhere in the Sholapur District, we have no definite knowledge of the pre-historical and proto-historical periods of its history, but from such excavations carried out by the Deccan College at Jorwe and Nevasa in the adjoining district of Ahmadnagar we can glean much information about these periods which must be equally true in respect of the Sholapur District. From these excavations it appears that the First Man began to live in Central Maharashtra in the Early Palaeolithic Period (circa 1,50,000 B.C.). He used cleavers and flakes as his tools and weapons. The second or Middle Palaeolithic Period (circa 25,000 B.C.) in these parts is marked by various types of scrapers. In this period also man was a nomad and a hunter, and probably used the bow and arrow or spears tipped with stone points. We know more about the next or Chalcolithic period (circa 1,500 B.C. to 500 B.C.). This period is marked by refined michroliths - trapeze, lunates and two-edged blades of chert and chalcedony in association with an ochre-washed orange-coloured pottery, occasionally painted with red or black bands. [ From History to Pre-history, p. 67
f.] The characteristic features of this period as brought to light during excavations at Jorwe, Nevasa and other places in the Central Deccan may be described as follows [ Summarised from H. D. Sankalia's Indian Archaeology Today, p. 88 f.]:-
"The earliest habitations of the people in this period must have been in the river valleys. The thick forests which must have covered them were first cut down with their stone and copper tools. The elevated sites on the banks of rivers were chosen for settlement. Each settlement must have consisted of about 50 to 100 huts. The huts were small, measuring about 10 feet by 9 feet and were either rectangular or round. They were constructed with wooden posts, the walls being of mud and the roof of bamboo matting, dry leaves, etc., covered with a layer of mud. The houses were furnished with large and small storage jars, bowls (vatis) and vessels (lotas) with long spouts. Their red surface was painted in black with geometric
designs op figures of animals. They wore garments of cotton and probably also of silk. For their ornaments they used beads of semi-precious stones, crystal and terracota and rarely of copper and even of gold. Silver was unknown. Bangles were made of copper, burnt clay, or bones, rarely of ivory.
For weapons they used products of chalcedony blade industry, flat copper axes and slings with round balls of various sizes. Their tools were made of dolerite or copper. They pounded their grains with plane convex rubber-stones. For their food they relied on beef, pork, venison and river fish. Hunting and animal grazing formed their main occupations.
They buried their dead within their house floor or outside. The children were buried in wide-mouthed jars. The adults were buried full length in a large jar; if the latter was found to be short, another pot was used for covering the knees. Sometimes the body lying in an extended position was covered by no less than five pots. The dead were provided with bowls, spouted vessels and necklaces of copper and carnelian.
Economically these people were in a pastoral-cum-hunting-cum-agricultural stage and lived in small villages on river-banks. They still used stone for various purposes, the use of copper being rare. This kind of life continued until it was changed by a fresh influx of people with a knowledge of iron, agriculture and town-planning in about the fourth century B.C.
Who these people were is not definitely known, but one plausible conjecture is that they belonged to some of the Aryan tribes. This theory, however, needs confirmation by stronger evidence.". We shall next see what light is thrown on this period by literary sources. According to literary tradition when the Aryans penetrated to the Deccan, the whole region was covered by a thick jungle, which extended southward from Central India. Agastya was the first Aryan who crossed the Vindhya and fixed his residence on the bank of the Godavari. This memorable event is commemorated by the mythical story which represents Vindhya as bending before his guru Agastya when the latter approached him from the north. The sage asked the mountain to remain in that position until he returned from the south which he never did. Agastya was followed by several other sages who established their hermitages in the different regions of the south. The cluster of hermitages on the bank of the Godavari was called Jana-sthana to distinguish it from the surrounding forest country. The region to the south of the Godavari, in which the Sholapur district was included, was inhabited by the aborigines, who are called Rakshasas in the Ramayana. The sages living in the Jana-sthana were constantly harassed by these Rakshasas. " These shapeless and
ill-looking monsters testify to their abominable character by various cruel and terrific displays. They implicate the hermits in impure practices, and perform great outrages. Changing their shapes and hiding in thickets adjoining the hermitages, these frightful beings delight in terrifying the devotees. They cast away their sacrificial ladles and vessels; they pollute cooked oblations and utterly defile the offerings with blood. These faithless creatures inject frightful sounds into the ears of the faithful and austere hermits. At the time of the sacrifice they snatch away the jars, the flowers and the sacred grass of these sober-minded men." [ Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. V.]
We learn from the Ramayana that Rama, accompanied by his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, met Agastya near the Godavari. The hermitage of the sage is by tradition located at Akola in the Ahmadnagar District but from the Uttararamacharita of Bhavabhuti it appears to have been situated on the Murala (modern Mula) which was then probably a direct tributary of the Godavari. Agastya presented Roma with a bow and two quivers and advised him to settle down at a place called Panchavati from the five great banyan trees which grew there.
Janasthana and Panchavati were situated on the fringe of the great forest called Dandakaranya. In the Uttararamacharita Bhavabhuti tells us that the Dandaka forest extended southward from this place up to Janasthana on the Godavari. [Ibid., Vol. I (Second Edition), p. 19.]
The central part of the Deccan was divided into several countries known by different names. The region on the north of the Godavari, now included in the Aurangabad district, was known by the name of Mulaka. This country together with its capital Pratishthana is mentioned in the Pali literature. Pratishthana (modern Paithan in the Aurangabad District) later became the capital of the Satavahanas. To the north of Mulaka lay the country of Rishika, now called Khandesh. Along the southern bank of the Godavari extended the country of Ashmaka (Pali, Assaka) and Murala, which comprised the modern Ahmednagar and Bhir districts. Later, this country came to be included in Kuntala which extended far to the south. In early times Kuntala was probably included in the larger country called Maharashtra. In later times Kuntala came to denote the predominantly Kanarese country now included in the Mysore State. It is described as a seven and a half lakh province. The Early Chalukyas of Badami and the Later Chalukyas of Kalyani, whose capitals were situated in the Kanarese country, were known as Kuntaleshvaras (the lords of Kuntala). Their capital was situated at Manapura (modern Man in the Satara district). The neighbouring territory now comprised in
the Satara and Sholapur districts came to be known as Mana-desha, which is named in some records of the age of the Yadavas.
Coming to historical times, we find that this country was included in the Empire of Ashoka. An inscription issued by the Dharmamahamatra of Ashoka has been found at Deotek in the Chanda district of Vidarbha. [ Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I (Second Edition), pp. 126 f.] It was issued in the fourteenth regnal year of Ashoka and interdicts the capture and killing of animals. Again, the fifth and thirteenth rock-edicts of Ashoka mention the Rashtrika-Petenikas and Bhoja-Petenikas. According to many scholars, the Petenikas were the inhabitants of Pratishthana in the Aurangabad district, the Rashtrikas ruled as Maharathis, while the Bhojas held Vidarbha. Minor edicts of Ashoka have been discovered at two places in the Karnul District, much farther in the south, viz., at Erragudi and Rajula Mandagiri, which leave no doubt that the Kuntala country comprising the Sholapur District was included in the Empire of Ashoka.
According to the Buddhist Chronicles Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa of Ceylon, the third Buddhist council was held at Pataliputra under the presidentship of Moggaliputta Tissa in the seventeenth regnal year of Ashoka. After the council was over, Tissa sent missionaries to different countries for the preaching of Buddhism. Of them, Dharmarakshita was sent to Aparanta (Konkan) and Mahadharmarakshita to Maharashtra. From the Mahavamsa we learn that Mahadharmarakshita propagated Buddhism in Maharashtra by narrating to the people the story of the Narada-Kassapa Jataka. As a result of this, eighty-four thousand were converted to Buddhism and thirteen thousand became monks.
After the overthrow of the Maurya dynasty in circa 184 B.C. the imperial throne in Pataliputra was occupied by Senapati Pushyamitra, the founder of the Shunga dynasty. His son Agnimitra was appointed Viceroy of Malwa and ruled from Vidisha, modern Besnagar, a small village near Bhilsa in Madhya Pradesh. Vidarbha was then ruled by Yajnasena who had imprisoned his cousin Madhavasena, who was a rival claimant. Agnimitra intervened in this dispute and divided the country between the two cousins. They probably were the feudatories of the Satavahanas, who rose to power after the death of Ashoka. Vidarbha at this time was invaded by Kharvela, the ruler of Kalinga, but he withdrew at the approach of the Satavahana forces who rushed to the aid of their feudatories. The ruling king of the Satavahana dynasty was Satakarni. The first king of this dynasty was Simuka (Shrimukha) though Satavahana was the founder of the family. The dominion of Simuka probably comprised Pune, Nasik, Ahmadnagar and Aurangabad districts. The next ruler of the dynasty was Krishna who ascended the throne as the son of Simuka, viz., Satakarni, was
a minor. Krishna was followed by Satakarni I who seems to have extended his rule over the whole of the Deccan. He was probably the same ruler during whose reign, Kharvela of Kalinga sent an army against Vidarbha. Satakarni performed the Rajasuya and Ashwamedha as also several Srauta sacrifices, perhaps to commemorate his victories in the Deccan. Satakarni was followed by his son Vedishri and a number of other princes among whom only one name and that of Hala stands out. He flourished in the first century A.D. and was the reputed author of the Gathasaptashati. Some years after Hala's reign Maharashtra was conquered by the Shaka Kshatrapas and was ruled over by Nahapana appointed by the contemporary Kushana emperor. Nahapana flourished in the first quarter of the 2nd century. Satavahanas were thus forced to leave Western Maharashtra and they seem to have repaired to their old capital Pratishthana. Later Gautami-putra Satakarni retrieved the fortunes of the family by defeating Nahapana. His dominion was composed of Rishika (Khandesh), Ashmaka (Ahmadnagar and Bhir districts). Mulaka (Aurangabad district), Akara and Avanti (Eastern and Western Malwa), Suratha (Kathiawad), and Aparanta (North Konkan). Among the successors of Gautamiputra, the most noteworthy was Yajnashri Satkarni who ruled over a large kingdom extending from Konkan in the west to Andhradesh in the east. However within fifty years after Yajna Satakarni. the rule of the Satavahanas came to an end.
During the age of the Satavahanas the central part of the Deccan comprising the Aurangabad, Ahmadnagar, Bhir and Sholapur Districts must have attained a high level of prosperity. Their capital Pratishthana lay at the centre of the trade-routes from Tagara (modern Ter in the Osmanabad District) in the south to Ujjayini in the north and to Nasik, Kalyana and Surparaka (modern Sopara in the Thana District) in the west. The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea mentions both Tagara and Pratishthana as important trading centres of the south.
The excavations at Nevasa have thrown a flood of light on the social and economic condition in Maharashtra in the Satavahana age. The houses were built on mud and rubble foundation. The walls were uniformly of bricks and the roofs covered with tiles which were fixed on to the rafters with iron nails. The size of the rooms excavated was probably 7 feet. Each house or group of houses had a soak-pit which served as a sanitary convenience. The residents ate wheat, mug, bajri or nachni and oil of karadi seed. It was at this time or slightly earlier that wheat and other grains began to be ground in rotary querns (Marathi, jate). This mechanical contrivance, as well as some household utensils like the turning shovel (Marathi, ulathane), copper and bronze dishes with omphalos or projections in the centre, fine red polished pottery cups, dishes and sprinklers or small spouted lotas, huge wine jars with handles on either sides called 'Amphoras' were brought to. Newasa owing to Roman or Mediterranean contact. It was also probably due to this relation that a nude mother goddess.........became popular in India and occurs throughout the Deccan
and northern India. [ From History to Pre-history, p. xiii.]
Several punch-marked and inscribed coins were found in the
Satavahana layers in the excavations at Newasa. The copper coins
with the legend Rano siri Sutavahanasa are of the elephant or horse
type and differ markedly from those of the founder of the family,
viz., King Satavahana. [ Ibid., p. 172 f.] It seems that the coins with this legend continued to be struck for a long time during the reigns of several kings. This appears to be a more plausible view than the surmise that there were several kings with this name. Some later coins have the legend Satakarni. The stratigraphic evidence shows that the Satavahana family originated in the 3rd-2nd century B.C. rather than in the first century B. C. as supposed by some scholars. About A.D. 250 the Satavahanas were supplanted in western Maharashtra by the Abhiras and in Vidarbha by the Vakatakas. The founder of the Abnira dynasty was Ishwarsena. A number of feudatories of the Abhiras ruled in various parts of Maharashtra. One such family is known from an inscription in cave XVII at Ajanta which mentions Ashmaka in verse 10, Bhagwanlal conjectured that the family ruled over the Ashmaka country. This view is not correct, for the verse shows that Ashmaka was one of the countries raided by the princes in the family; it was not their homeland. They were probably ruling over Rishika or Khandesh though we have no definite knowledge of their capital.
The Abhiras were later supplanted by their feudatories, the Trai-kutakas. It is not known whether Sholapur district was included in their kingdom. As stated earlier, after the downfall of the Satavahanas, the Vakatakas rose to power in Vidarbha. Though the Sholapur district was not, except perhaps for a short period, under their direct role, its rulers were their feudatories for a considerable time. The founder of the Vakataka dynasty was Vindhyashakti I. His son Pravarsena I ruled over an extensive part of the Deccan. He had four sons among whom he divided his extensive empire. His second son Sarvasena founded the Vatsagulma branch. The eldest son was Gautamiputra who pre-deceased him. Where the other two sons were ruling is not known definitely as no records of theirs have yet been found. But one of them may have been ruling over Dakshma Kosala and the other may have held Kuntala comprising the Sholapur and some other districts of southern Maharashtra. Both these families
seem to have been ousted soon. It may be noted here that Harishena of the Vatsagulma branch carried his arms in all directions.
A mutilated verse in the inscription in cave XVI at Ajanta states that he conquered Avanti (Malwa) in the north, Kosala (Chattisgadh), Kalinga and Andhra in the east, Lata (Central and Southern Gujarat) and Trikuta (Nasik District) in the west and Kuntala (Southern Maratha Country) in the south. So the Sholapur District was included in his empire which extended from Malwa in the north to Kuntala in the south and from the Arabian Sea in the west to the Bay of Bengal in the east.
Harishena is the last known Vakataka ruler, The causes that led to the disintegration of his great empire have not been recorded in history, but the Dashakumaracharita of Dandin, who flourished only about 125 years after the fall of the Vakatakas, seem to have preserved a living tradition about the last period of Vakataka rule. The rulers of Ashmaka (Ahmadnagar District) and Kuntala (Sholapur and adjoining districts) seem to have played an important role in bringing about the downfall of the Vakataka Empire.
It seems that Harishena's son, though intelligent and accomplished in all arts, neglected the study of the Science of Politics (Dandaniti). He gave himself up to the enjoyment of pleasures and indulged in all sorts of vices, neglecting the affairs of the State. His subjects imitated him and led a vicious and dissolute life. Finding this a suitable opportunity, the crafty ruler of the neighbouring Ashmaka country sent his minister's son to the court of Vidarbha. The latter ingratiated himself with the king and egged him on in his dissolute life. He also decimated his forces by various means. Ultimately, when the country was thoroughly disorganised, the ruler of Ashmaka instigated the king of Vanavasi (North Kanara District) to invade Vidarbha. The king of Vidarbha called all feudatories to his aid and decided to give battle to the enemy on the bank of the Varada (Wardha). But while he was fighting with the forces of the enemy he was treacherously attacked in the rear by some of his own feudatories including the rulers of Ashmaka and Kuntala and was killed on the battle-field. Thus ended the Vakataka dynasty after a glorious rule of two hundred and fifty years.
As stated before, the ruler of Ashmaka was a feudatory of the Vakatakas. He took a prominent part in overthrowing the last Vakataka king, the son of Harishena. Thereafter, he occupied Vidarbha for some time.
However, he could not have held Vidarbha for a long time; for, the country was soon occupied by the Vishnukundin king Madhava-varman I. He took advantage of the opportunity afforded by the downfall of the Vakatakas and extended his kingdom far and wide.
That he had brought even western Maharashtra under his rule is shown by the copper-plate grant discovered at Khanapur in the Satara District. His grand-son Madhavavarman II describes himself as the lord of Trikuta and Malaya. He may have ruled in western Maharashtra for some time. If so, his kingdom may have included the Sholapur District. [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I (Second Edition), p. 211 f.]
The Vishnukundins were, however, soon ousted out of Maharashtra and Vidarbha. Northern Maharashtra and Vidarbha were occupied by the Kalachuri king Krishnaraja, while southern Maharashtra was ruled over by the Rashtrakutas of Manapura.
As stated above, one of the sons of the Vakataka king Pravarasena I may have held southern Maharashtra for some time though we have no definite evidence of this. He or his descendant seems to have been overthrown by Mananka, the founder of the early Rashtrakuta family.
Mananka, the progenitor of the family, flourished in circa A.D. 350. He founded Manapura, which he made his capital. He is described in one of his grants as the illustrious ruler of the Kuntala country. As stated above, Kuntala was the name of the upper Krishna valley in ancient times. The places mentioned in some of the grants can be identified in the Satara and Sholapur Districts. Their capital Manapura is probably identical with Man, the chief town of the Man taluka of the Satara District.
These Rashtrakutas of Manapura often came into conflict with the Vakatakas of the Vatsagulma branch. The Pandarangapalli plates of Avidheya state that Mananka harassed the rulers of Ashmaka and Vidarbha. On the other hand, an inscription in Cave XVI at Ajanta states that the Vakataka king Vindhyasena (i.e., Vindhyashakti II) defeated the king of Kuntala, who evidently belonged to this Rashtrakuta family.
From certain passages in the Kuntaleshvaradautya, a Sanskrit work ascribed to Kalidasa, which have been cited in the Kavyamimamsa of Rajashekhara, the Shringaraprakasha and the Sarasvatikanthabharana of Bhoja and the Auchityavicharacharcha of Kshemendra, we learn that the famous Gupta king Chandragupta II - Vikramaditya sent Kalidasa as his ambassador to the court of the king of Kuntala. Kalidasa was at first not well received there, but he gradually gained the Kuntale-sha's favour and stayed at the royal court for some time. When he returned he reported to Vikramaditya that the lord of Kuntala was spending his time in enjoyment throwing the responsibility of governing the kingdom on him (i.e., on Vikramaditya). This Kuntalesha was probably identical with Devaraja, son of Mananka. [Ibid., Vol. I (Second Edition), p. 1 f.] Through the influence of Chandragupta II the two royal families of the south,
viz. the Vakatakas and the Early Rashtrakutas, were reconciled with each other. Later, Harishena, the last known Vakataka ruler, raided Kuntala and exacted a tribute from its king. It is noteworthy that in the eighth uchchhvasa of the Dashakumaracharita, which has a historical basis, the king of Kuntala is described as a feudatory of the king of Vidarbha. [Mirashi, Studies in
Indology Vol. I (Second Edition), p. 182
After the Vishnukundins were ousted from western Maharashtra, the Rashtrakutas of Kuntala seem to have declared their independence. As shown below, Govinda who invaded the country to the north of the Bhimarathi, at the time of Mangalesha-Pulakeshin conflict, probably belonged to the Rashtrakuta family ruling over Kuntala.
The Vishnukundins were succeeded by the Kalachuris in northern Maharashtra. The family was founded by Krishnaraja. His grand-son Buddharaja was involved in a struggle with the Early Chalukya king Mangalesha on the southern frontier of his kingdom soon after his accession. Mangalesha was ruling from Badami in the Bijapur District of the Mysore State. Wishing to make a digvijaya in north India and to plant his victory pillar on the bank of the Ganga, Mangalesha over-ran Kuntala and crossing the Godavari invaded the territory of the Kalachuri king Buddharaja. The latter received a crushing defeat, but his adversary could not follow up his victory owing to internal dissensions. Buddharaja, therefore, continued to hold his kingdom intact. He was ousted by Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya family of Badami which rose to power in the first half of the sixth century.
During the reign of Pulakeshin II, the Chalukya kingdom was invaded by one Govinda who probably belonged to the aforementioned Rashtrakuta family ruling in southern Maharashtra. Pulakeshin adopted conciliatory measures in dealing with him as he was a powerful foe. His descendents do not, however, appear to have held Maharashtra for a long time; for Pulakeshin soon annexed both southern and northern Maharashtra and extended the northern limit of his empire to the Narmada. That he ousted the Rashtrakutas from southern Maharashtra is shown by the Satara plates of his brother Vishnu-vardhana, which record the grant of a village on the southern bank of the Bhima. Pulakeshin, as stated earlier, also defeated the Kalachuri king Buddharaja and annexed his kingdom. He is said to have thereby become the lord of three Maharashtras including Vidarbha. The Rashtrakutas of Vidarbha, who were previously the feudatories of the Kalachuris, transferred their allegiance to the Chalukyas of Badami and like the latter, began to date their records in the Shaka era.
Pulakeshin II was succeeded by a long chain of rulers, among whom could be mentioned Vikramaditya I and Vikramaditya II.
The Early Chalukyas were the devotees of Vishnu, but during their time Buddhism continued to flourish as before in Maharashtra.
The Rashtrakutas who succeeded the Early Chalukyas in the Deccan, originally hailed from Lattalura (modern Latur in the Osmanabad District). Dantidurga of this dynasty made extensive conquests. His Ellora cave inscription records his victories over the rulers of Kanchi, Kalinga, Shri-Shaila, Malva, Tanka and Lata, but they do not all seem to have resulted in the acquisition of new territory. Though there is much exaggeration in the description of his conquests, there is no doubt that he ruled over Karnataka, Konkan, Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Gujarat.
Dantidurga was succeeded by his uncle Krishna I who completed the conquests commenced by Dantidurga and shattered the power of the Early Chalukyas completely. He was followed by a succession of rulers, viz., Govinda II, Dhruva, Govinda III, Amoghavarsha, Indra III, Govinda IV, Amoghavarsha IV and Krishna III.
The Rashtrakuta power became weak after the death of Krishna III. Within six years his large empire crumbled to pieces like a house of cards. Taila II, who was a Mahasamanta of the Rashtrakutas, suddenly came into prominence. He defeated and killed in battle Karka II, the last Rashtrakuta king and captured Manyakheta.
Among the successors of Taila II, the most famous is Vikramaditya VI, the founder of the Chalukya-Vikramaditya era. He ascended the throne in A. D. 1075. He had to fight against the Cholas, the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Hoysalas and signally defeated them.
The decline of Chalukya power commenced soon after the reign of Vikramaditya VI. Taila III, the last Chalukya king, was overthrown by the Kalachuri Bijjala, who was his commander-in-chief. The Kalachuri usurpation lasted for about two decades. Bijjala's reign is noted for the rise of the Lingayat sect.
In the last quarter of the twelfth century A.D. the Yadavas of Devagiri came into prominence. They had previously been ruling over Seunadesha (Khandesh) as feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani. The founder of this family was Dridhaprahara, the son of Subahu.
On the rise of the Later Chalukyas, Bhillama transferred his allegiance to them. The next king was Vesugi who married a Shilahara princess, the daughter of Gogi, the successor of Jhanjha, ruling over North Konkan. His son was Bhillama III whose Kalash-Budrukh plates are dated in Shaka 948 (A.D. 1025).
Bhillama III was followed by his son Vadugi. After the latter's death the throne was usurped by his brother Vesugi who was succeeded by Bhillama IV. But Seunachandra helped Vikramaditya VI in obtaining the throne from his elder brother Someshvara II. His son Airamadeva also took an active part in defeating Someshvara II.
Bhillama V, a later prince of the main branch of the Yadava family, made a bid for paramount power in the Deccan. He led victorious
expeditions against the Hoysalas, the Paramaras and the Chalukyas and made himself master of the whole country north of the Krishna. He then founded the city of Devagiri (modern Daulatabad) and made it his capital. Thereafter the Yadavas ruled from that city.
A stone inscription at Mardi in the Sholapur District mentions several grants made to the god Yogeshvara during the reigns of the Yadava kings Bhillama V, Jaitugi and Singhana. [Khare, Sources of the Mediaeval History of the Deccan (Marathi), Vol. I, p. 43
f.] From the particulars of the regnal fourth year of Bhillama mentioned therein it seems that he had come to the throne in Shaka 1106 (A.D. 1184). He conquered the Sholapur territory from the Kalachuris sometime after Shaka 1102 in which some grant had been made to the same temple during the reign of the Kalachuri king Sankamadeva. The inscription mentions Marudhi as the ancient name of modern Mardi.
Bhillama's son Jaitugi or Jaitrapala killed Rudradeva of the Kakatiya dynasty on the field of battle and released his nephew whom he had put into prison. The aforementioned Mardi inscription mentions another grant made to the same god Yogeshvara during the reign of Jaitugideva. Under Jaitugi's son Singhana, the power of the Yadava family greatly increased. Singhana achieved several victories.
Several inscriptions in the Sholapur District record gifts made in the reign of Singhana. The aforementioned Mardi inscription mentions the Shaka year 1134 as the thirteenth regnal year of Singhana. This shows that Singhana had come to the throne in Shaka 1122. This date of accession of Singhana is also corroborated by some other records of that age. In Shaka 1134 one Vikramapalaraja made a grant to the god Yogeshvara in Marudhinagara (modern Mardi). Two other inscriptions of the reign of Singhana have been found at Pulunj. [2.
Loc. Cit.] about 12 miles east of Pandharpur in the Sholapur District. One of them mentioning the Siddharatha cyclic year corresponding to Shaka 1121 records Singhana's grant of the village It the to Ammugidevara, a devotee of the god Siddhasomanatha at the town of Purnajapura (modern Pulunj). The inscription mentions several other places in the neighbourhood of Pulunj such as Soijana (Sowdane), Kuruvalage (Kurul), Degave (Degaon), Lalige (Nulee), Pattharige (Pathari), Koravalli (Kuroli), Chinchavalli (Chincholi), Asuthige (Ashti), Revalapala (Ropale), Tungatuha (Tungat), Eventige (Yevati) and Poragave (Pohargaon). Many of these names are Kanarese and the inscription also is written in the Kanarese language. This inscription shows that Singhana had begun to look after the administration of the State in Shaka 1121, though usually his accession is placed in Shaka 1122. The second inscription at Pulunj is much abraded. It mentions the cyclic year Vyaya (Shaka 1148) as the twenty-seventh regnal
year of Smghana. This would place his accession in Shaka 1122.
Singhana was succeeded by his grand-son Krishna who obtained victories over the kings of Gurjara, Malava, Chola and Kerala.
Krishna was succeeded by his brother Mahadeva. From the recently discovered Kalegaon plates we know the exact date of his coronation as the 29th August A.D. 1261. These plates were issued on the occasion of Mahadeva's coronation and record the gift of the village Kalugamva named also as Pattavardhanapura evidently after the coronation. This is evidently the modern Kalegaon where the plates were found. Most of the boundary villages can still be traced in the vicinity of Kalegaon. [Khare, Sources of the Mediaeval History of the Deccan (Marathi), vol. XXXII p. 31 f.]
The most notable event of Mahadeva's reign was the annexation of North Konkan after defeating Someshvara of the Shilahara dynasty.
Mahadeva left the throne to his son Amana, but the latter was soon deposed by Krishna's son Ramachandra who captured the impregnable fort of Devagiri by means of a coup d'etat. Ramachandra won several victories as stated in the Purushottampuri plates in the Shaka year 1232 (A.D. 1310). [Ep. Ind.,
Vol. XXV, p. 199 f.]
Some inscriptions of the reign of Ramachandra have been found at Velapur, ten miles south-east of Malshiras in the Sholapur District. [Tulpule, Ancient Marathi Inscriptions (Marathi), p. 229 f.] The earliest of them is dated in Shaka 1222 (A.D. 1300). It records that one Baidev Rana, the representative of the Sarvadhikari Joideva appointed by Ramachandra, constructed a temple of Vateshvara and exempted it from the payment of all taxes. He made some additions to it some months thereafter in the same year, which are recorded in the second inscription. The third inscription dated in Shaka 1227 (A.D. 1305) records that Brahmadeva Rana, who was then the Sarvadhikari of the Mana-desha, constructed a high temple on the same site and erected a flag-staff on it. The inscription records several donations of gadyanas made on the occasion. At Pandharpur, the well-known place of pilgrimage in the Sholapur District, there is a long inscription recording donations made by devotees for the renovation of the temple from time to time. [Ibid., p. 165 f.] It contains dates ranging from Shaka 1195 to Shaka 1199 and mentions inter alia the name of Hemadri Pandita, the well-known minister of Ramachandra, as one of the contributors.
In 1294 Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded the kingdom of Ramachandra and suddenly appeared before the gates of Devagiri. Ramachandra was taken unawares and could not hold out long. He had to pay a heavy ransom to the Muslim conqueror. He continued, however, to
rule till A.D. 1310 at least; for the afore-mentioned Purushottampuri plates are dated in that year. He was succeeded by his son Shankaragana some time in A.D. 1311. He discontinued sending the stipulated tribute to Delhi. He was then defeated and slain by Malik Kafur. Some time thereafter, Harapaladeva, the son-in-law of Ramachandra, raised an insurrection and drove away the Muhammedans, but his success was short-lived. The Hindu kingdom of Devagiri thus came to end in A.D. 1318.
Like their illustrious predecessors, the Yadavas also extended liberal patronage to art and literature. During their rule a peculiar style of architecture called Hemadpanti after Hemadpant (or Hemadri), a minister of Mahadeva and Ramachandra, came into vogue. As a matter of fact, temples built in this style such as that at Nandgaon-Khandeshvar near Amravati in Vidarbha belong to an earlier age also. In these temples the masonry has been put together without mortar or any cementing material whatever. The blocks have been dressed to fit one another upon level beds, their weight and that of the superincumbent masses keeping them in position. [Cousens, Mediaeval Temples of the Deccan, p. 5.] Such temples are noticed in all parts of Maharashtra. In the Sholapur District they exist at Velapur and Pandharpur. The temple of Haranareshvara at Velapur was erected in the time of Ramachandra as is shown by the inscriptions noticed above. The temple of Vithoba at Pandharpur has been renovated from time to time. The earliest mention occurs in an inscription on a pilaster of a former temple dedicated to the same deity, which is now used as an overhead beam. [ Loc. cit., p. 65.] It records that the Hoysala king Vira Someshvara in Samvat 1159 (A.D. 1237) gave a gift of gold to the god Vitthala. Another old temple at Pandharpur lies between the present temple and the river and is now in dilapidated condition. On one of the pillars of it there is a Sanskrit inscription recording that a subordinate chief Keshavamandalika performed the Aptoryama sacrifice in the temple of Panduranga Vitthala on the banks of the Bhimarathi in Samvat 1192 (A.D. 1270). [Loc. cit.] This seems to show that it was the original temple of Vithoba. The present temple of Vithoba has been built in instalments, the shikhara having been erected during the last hundred years.
Several learned men flourished at the Yadava court. Of them Hemadri was the foremost. Hemadri extended liberal patronage to learned men. Among them the most famous was Bopadeva. Marathi literature also flourished in the age of the Yadavas. Chakradhara, who propagated the Mahanubhava cult in that age, used Marathi as the medium of his religious teaching.