This page deals with brief description about some important Mudiraja, Muthuraja & Related Queens of India:

01. Ganga (Koli ) 1st Wife of King Shantanu <-- Click
02. Satyavathi Koli) - 2nd wife of King Shantanu <-- Click
03. Jalkari Bai, an Associate of Jhansi Rani <-- Click
04. Rani Abbakka Devi, a bunt Jain Queen <-- Click
05. Rani Rudrama Devi of Kakatiya Dynasty <-- Click
06. Rani Keladi Chennamma of Keladi Dynasty <-- Click
07. Queen Perumbidugu Perumdevi <-- Click
08. Queen Paliyili Siriya Nangai <-- Click
09. Princess Revakanimmadi <-- Click

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The story of Ganga, who was described as the wife of king Shantanu of solar race was a wonderful myth created to hide the caste identity of Ganga. She was the daughter of a koli fishermen chief in the ganga river basin. Let us first read the story and then discuss the reality behind the story.

King Shanutanu one day came across a beautiful woman on the river bank. He fell in love with her and asked her to be his wife. She gave her consent on the condition that he would never protest or question her for anything she did and that the moment he would break his promise, she would leave him, never to return. "So be it!" said the King and married her. Days passed by; seven sons were born to the King; but every time their mother - Ganga drowned the infant into the river. Bound by his promise the king could not protest; but when the eight son was born the king could no longer contain himself. He protested. Then his wife revealed to him that she was the river godess Ganga and that her children were Vasus (angelic beings)_ who were expelled from heaven for some transgressions and had to live on earth for a while. The killing of the seven sons really enabled them to return to heaven with least delay. Shantanu wanted his eight son as his heir. Ganga consented; but she took him away to educate him after promising the king to restore him to the king as a noble youth and a brave prince. She kept her promise to the king and after some years restored him back to the king as the greatest knight of the times. He was named Devavrata who came later to be known as Bhishma.

Ganga was born in a Kaivartta ( koli) hamlet on the Ganges Valley. When her relationship with Santanu was severed, she, along with her eighth child, had returned to the same Kaivartta hamlet and reared him up. Later on this child came to be known as Gangaputra (son of Ganga) or Gangeya. As he was born from a Kshatriya father and a Kaivartta mother, he should be a Mahisya or a Kaivartta. But from the point of view of his nature, work and occupation, he was famous as the greatest Kshatriya warrior in his contemporary society. While the 8th child Deva vavrat was returned to king Shantanu, the elder seven were retained with her in koli helmet.

It is also very much doubtful whether ganga drowned her seven children born to Shantanu or passed on them them to be brought up by her koli people ? It is unbelievable that there was any valid reason for her to drown the children in the river ganges as they were born to a powerful king. The children were not only born to a powerful king but born out of wedlock between them. Most probably, Ganga ad chosen Shantanu as a progenetor to give birth to a racially superior children and brought them up through her koli samaj people in koli helmet without the knowledge og king Shantanu. She might have the children to their koli people either directly by her or left them in a boat the way kunti had done it. The women of theose puranic times enjoyed the rights to choose a husband (progenetor) of their choice to give birth to their children. The descendants of those seven children could be the gangas or gangeyas who founded the kingdoms of ganga dynasty in South India.

From the above discussions, we can rationally conclude that Gangaputra or Gangeya, the son of Santanu of solar dynasty and Ganga, the fisher-woman was a Mahishya or a Kaivartta. Due to his nature, work and occupation, later on he achieved the fame of being the greatest Kshatriya, Devabrata or Bhisma. Considering his birth, he can be called a Mahishya or a Kshatriya. Chodaganga Dev has given hints to this effect while claiming himself to be a descendant of Gangeya in Korni copperplate inscription. From the above discussions, it is obvious that the origin of the Ganga royal dynasty and that of the common people of Ganga dynasty were one and the same and all of them belonged to the Kaivartta or Mahishya community. Hence we can say that the Ganga dynasty has originated from the tradition rich, glorious and ancient Dasa-Kaivartta race or community.

How gangas proclaimed themselves as solar race ?

Ailas were a dynasty of kings of ancient India. Pururavas was the most famous Aila King. The Indian epic Mahabharata has the following mention about Ailas - The numerous royal lines and other ordinary Kshatriyas all represent themselves to be the descendants of Aila and Ikshwaku. The descendants of Aila, as indeed, the kings of Ikshwaku’s race, are, know each divided into a hundred separate dynasties.

(i) One should also name Pururavas of the Solar race. He was the son of Ila and celebrated over the three worlds. One should, indeed, take the name of that dear son of Vudha. Here Pururavas is mentioned to be of solar race (Solar Dynasty).

(ii) The lineage of Aila dynasty extending from Puru to Santanu, is described as the lineage of Aila kings. Here Aila dynasty is equated with the Lunar Dynasty.

Gangas had declared themselves as solar race kings after accepting the line as explained at (i). The reason could also be that Queen Ganga was the daughter of a Kaivarta (koli) and Kaivartas were solar race people.

Queen Ganga perhaps never drowned her fist seven sons born to Shantanu in the river ganga and she also never vanished into the river ganga as said in the story. It was all a my created by thye story tellers to suppress the truth that Shantanu married a Dravidian Koli girl which was normally accepted by Aryans. She perhaps gave her seven sons to her parents of ganga samaj to be brought up as ganga warriors. After deserting Shantanu, she never vanished into river Ganga but joined her parents and seven children along with the eight child Devavrat. As promised to Shantanu, She sent back Deva vrat to Shantanu when the boy grew up little bigger. But remained herself with her parents and seven sons in the Ganga (koli) community. These seven gangas or gangeyas later on became the forefathers to later generation of Gangas who founded their own dynasty in South India.

Kokolu Anka Rao

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Satyavati was one of the important characters in epic Mahabharata wriiten by Veda Vyas. The great saint Vedavyas was the son of an Aryan brahmin father and Dravidian tribal koli mother. The fathers name was Parasar and mothers name was Satyavathi. She was born as a daughter of a koli fishermen but the writers created a myth about her birth to give a new image to her character in the epic. Later on Satyavati got married to King Shantanu, the father of Bheeshma who remained as a batchelor to pave the way for the marriage of his father with Satyavathi. Bheeshma was born out of wedlock between Shantanu and his first wife Ganga. Here also, the writers created a myth as if Ganga was a beautiful manifestation of river Ganga as a celestial girl and not the daughter of koli fishermen. The fact is that both Satyavathi and Ganga were the daughters of koli fishermen who lived on the banks of rivers - Ganga and Yamuna and they were extreemely beautiful and charming. There are a lot of Mudiraj fishermen today among our society who owe their origins to the fishermen community of Satyavathi and Ganga who used to live on the banks of Ganga and Yamuna. Some of the people of this origin still remained as fishermen belonging to besta / bestar community.

At the time of the Mahabharat such great men as "Vyas" and "Vidur" were the offsprings of the connection of the Aryan with the aborigines. Satyavati, who was the daughter of the Koli chieftain became the queen of King Shantanu. Dhritrastra, Pandu and Vidur were the offsprings of Vyas. At that time no stain was attached to intermarriages between the Aryas and the aborigines. Bhima married Heedimba and Arjun married Naga girl called Ullupi. A class of Aryas called Upakrishta was created. Upakrishta means those who were admitted to the privilege of performing a sacrifice.

Long ago, there was a king named Uparichara Vasu. He was a very valorous and virtues king. He was fond of hunting for sport. He belonged to the Paurava dynasty, and was also known as Vasu. He was a friend of Indra, and by his blessing, he had conquered the kingdom of Chedi. He was also in the habit of visiting Indra in heaven, riding his crystal chariot in the sky. ( Uparichara = Moving in the sky).

After a while, he decided to give up his royal way of living, and gave up the use of weapons. He retreated to a secluded forest and indulged in severe penances and austerities. When the Devas beheld this, they were worried. Their king Indra became afraid that Uparichara was performing this penance to obtain his post.

So the Devas led by Indra approached the king, and by soft speeches, succeeded in turning his heart away from ascetism. They promised him eternal friendship and great bliss in heaven, if only he would give up his present way of life. According to their advice, the King returned to his kingdom, and resumed his rule. Indra gave him his own garland, which was made of lotuses that were ever-blooming as a mark of his friendship and favor.

Since the King of the Gods had marked him with such honor, the fame of Uparichara spread all over the world. He instituted the tradition of a festival to Indra to honor the Devas. It was said that Indra himself would be present in the festivities, in the form of a swan and accept the homage offered to him. By the grace of the Lord of heaven, the kingdom flourished and was untroubled by enemies.

In due course of time, five sons were born to Uparichara. They rivalled him in virtue and prowess, and were installed as the governors of his provinces. Their names were Vrihadratha (who founded the kingdom of Magadha and was called Maharatha), Pratyagraha, Kusamva (called Manivahana), Mavella and Yadu. Much later, the five sons founded kingdoms named after themselves and established their dynasty.

Vasu's wife was Girika and she was from the valley of Kolahala. Girika's brother was installed as the generalissimo of Vasu's army. The first Matsya king was mentioned to be the son of a king named Uparichara Vasu. He was a Paurava, meaning a king beloning to the Puru dynasty. Apart from his five royal sons, Uparichara Vasu had a son and a daughter born of a woman of fisherman community . The male child, in due course established the Mastya kingdom and founded the royal dynasty called Matsya Dynasty. The female child lived as a member of fishermen community. Her line established as fishermen on the banks of river Yamuna, in the kingdom of Kurus. The famous Kuru king Santanu's wife Satyavati was from this fishermen community. The author of Mahabharata, vis Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa and the Kuru kings viz Chitrangada and Vichitravirya were the sons of Satyavati. Pandavas and kauravas were the grandsons of Vichitravirya.

Satyavathi & creation of a myth about her birth :

There was a river named Suktimati that flowed in Uparichara's capital. Once, a neighboring mountain range called Kolahala was maddened by lust and attacked this river. The river sought the protection of the King. Uparichara chased the mountain away, kicking it with his foot. However, due to the union of the mountain and the river, twin children, a boy and a girl were born. The river gave them to the King in gratitude for his protection. Vasu made the boy the commander-in-chief of his army. The daughter, named Girika (daughter-of-the-mountain), became his wife.

One fine spring day, Girika and Uparichara were together in a garden in his palace. Desire struck them both. At this moment, the Pitris (dead ancestors) of Uparichara came there and asked the King to slay deer, to be used in their monthly remembrance ceremony. As the King could not disobey the orders of his Pitris, he set forth immediately on the hunt.

While wandering in the forest, he came upon an alcove of Asoka trees. There was a divine fragrance in the air. The King could not conquer the desire for his beautiful wife, which was burning in his heart. He then beheld a hawk sitting on the tree and addressed it thus: "O King of the birds. This is an auspicious time for begetting children. My wife Girika is awaiting my embraces in my palace. Carry my seed to her, so that a child may be born to us."

The hawk took the seed in its mouth and started flying towards the palace. It was seen by another hawk, which mistakenly assumed that it was carrying a piece of meet. It attacked this hawk, and they started fighting each other with their beaks. The seed fell in to the waters of the river Yamuna. There was a fish in this water, which was really an Apsara named Adrika, who had been transformed into a fish by a Brahmana's curse. The fish swallowed this seed and became pregnant as a consequence. Once she became pregnant, the Apsara was freed from the curse and her spirit left the body of the fish.

Satyavati was born inside a fish. As per one version, some time later, some fisherman belonging to Uparichara's kingdom caught this fish. When they cut open the fish, they found twin children, a boy and a girl. They took the children to their King. He chose the boy to be brought up in his household and gave the girl to be brought up by the chief of the fishermen. . . As per another version, this fish was caught by the chief of fishermen, who adopted Satyavathi as his own daughter, as he had no children. Since she was born inside a fish, she had an odor of fish about her. She assisted her father by running a ferry service across the river. This girl was, the mother of Vyasa and the great-grandmother of the Pandavas and Kauravas. The boy later founded the kingdom of Matsya (Matsya=fish).

Since Satyavati was born inside a fish, she had an odor of fish about her. Later, when she yielded to the desire of the sage Parasara, he transformed her fish-odor into a divine fragrance, which gave her the name Yojana-Gandha (one who scatters her scent for a long distance of one Yojana around). The sage Vyasa was born of this union. Later, King Shantanu met her at her father's house and married her.

Satyavati was said to be an adopted daughter of a fisherman, and plied a boat across the river Yamuna. She was also known as kali (Blacky). One day the great sage Parasara wanted to cross the river and availed himself of her services.

Parashar was a gifted sage, law-giver and astrologer who formulated many fundamental principles based on external observation and meditation. The venerated old rishi was travelling in a boat one day, when he suddenly realised that the time was most auspicious for the conception of a genius who was destined to bring forth great learning upon earth. His eyes fell on his lone companion, the boatman's comely daughter Satyavati, who was ferrying him across the river.

Midway through the crossing, the sage was seized with a longing for this girl. The sage was smitten with sudden desire for this woman. He expressed his desire for her, but she was reluctant. She was flattered but frightened. He convinced her that no blame would attach to her and that she would regain her virginity after the act. At last she consented to his request, with the condition that no one should no of this escapade. The sage created a mist around an island in the middle of the river hiding it from prying eyes and there they consummated their passion. After this a miracle happened and such was the power of the rishi, that a son was born immediately to Satyavati. The sage then granted a boon to Satyavati, first that of converting her fishy odor to a divine fraganace and then by restoring her chastity. Later, Parashar left with his son, while Satyavati returned to her foster father, the boatman.Since this was a divine birth, the child grew to adulthood in minutes and after promising his mother that he would return whenver she had a need for him, left to study the scriptures with his father. This child is called Dwaypayan (one born on a dweep) or Vyas. This child later composed the Mahabharata

The full name of theVed Vyas rishi was Krishna Dvaipayana Badarayan Vyas. He was called Krishna because he was dark complexioned; Dvaipayana, because he was born on an island (dveep) in the River Yamuna; and Badarayan because his hermitage was in the Badri forest region of the Himalayas, on the banks of the River Saraswati. He is one of the immortal rishis. Vyas was born out-of-wedlock to the sage Parashar, and Satyavati � the young daughter of a lowly boatman. He was born on an island in the holy river Yamuna, on Ashadh Purnima over 5,000 years ago. His father was Parashar rishi and mother, Satyavati

Satyavati continued her ferry service even after this incident. No one knew about her indiscretion, as her virginity had been restored by a boon from the sage. Later, the king Shantanu came to visit her father. He saw Satyavati and was smitten by her beauty. Her father imposed a condition that Shantanu must disinherit his only son Devaratha or the marriage would not take place. The King could not do this and and went away in sorrow. His son however, after finding out the cause for his father's sorrow, met the chief-fisherman and renounced his claim to the throne and also took a vow of celibacy, so that his children might not pose a thread to Satyavati's children. For this terrible vow, he became known as Bhishma from that point onwards.

Satyavati married Shantanu and had two children named Chitrasena and Vichitraveerya. Chitrasena was killed by a Gandharva and Vichitraveerya died of illness without leaving behind a heir. Satyavati tried to persuade Bhishma to renounce his vow of celibacy, but he steadfastly refused to do so. In this predicament, she remembered her son Vyasa and he immediately appeared before her. She bid him to father valiant sons on her daughters-in-law and he obliged. Out of this were born Dhritharashtra who was born blind to Ambika, and Pandu who was born unnaturally pale. Vyasa also fathered Vidura on a servant girl.

Later when the enmity between the Pandavas and Kauravas started reaching alarming proportion, Vyasa took away his mother Satyavati and her daughters-in-law to the forest, to lead a life of ascetism, for they could not bear to see the events that would unfold. He had a premonition of the unsavory doings that were to come, by his yogic powers and wanted to spare his mother their pain. Later after the end of the Kurukshetra war, Dhritharashtra, Gandhari and Kunti joined them in the forest.

Satyavathi was married by Shantanu, when his first koli wife Ganga left him after the birth of Devavrat. Shantanu the decendant of Bharat ruled Kuru region from Hastinapur. Shantanu fell in love with Ganga. One day he went out hunting to a nearby forest. Reaching the bank of the river Ganges (Ganga), he was startled to see an indescribably charming damsel appearing out of the water and then walking on its surface. Her grace and divine beauty struck Shantanu at the very first sight and he was completely spellbound. Ganga married him on the condition that he will never ask anything about my personal life and will not question any of her deeds.

Things went on quite smoothly for sometime and then queen Ganga gave birth to a lovely boy. As soon as king Shantanu heard of this good news, he was overjoyed and rushed to the palace to congratulate the queen. But he was astonished to see that the queen took the newborn into her arms, went to the river, and drowned him. The king was shocked and felt miserable, yet he could not ask the queen about her action. He was bound by his pledge, not to question or interfere with the her actions. This continued on until queen Ganga bore the eighth son and marched to the river as before. Shantanu lost his patience and as soon as the queen was about to drown the newborn, Shantanu stopped her. Ganga then left Shantanu for her heavenly abode. The king happily brought the prince to the palace and celebrated his advent by declaring him the crown prince of his kingdom. Deva Vrata was brave, just and looked highly promising.

King Shantanu was getting old and announced his retirement. He was lonely and always missed Ganga. It was one day while he was taking a stroll on the bank of the river Ganges; he was attracted towards a charming maiden, Satyavati. She was the daughter of the chief of the fishermen tribe. Shantanu, unaware of the secrets of Satyavati's maiden life, was charmed by her beauty. He went to her father, the chief fisherman, and asked him for the hand of his daughter. The chief fisherman, placed the condition that Satyavati's son shuld be the king of Hastinapur and not Deva Vrata. Santanu was shocked to hear the condition and returned home disappointed and unhappy. Deva Vrata who was about 20 years old then, discovered the cause of his father's unhappiness and went to Satyavati's father, to advocate his father's position on marrying Satyavati. In return he promised to give up his right to the throne for Satyavati's son. He relieved his father by taking an oath that he would never become the king of Hastinapur, he would also stay a bachelor, so that no progeny of his would claim the throne of Hastinapur. Devavrat earned the title Bheeshma.

In due course of time, queen Satyavati became the mother of two princes - Chitrangad and Vichitravirya. After Shantanu's death, Chitrangad succeeded the throne but was killed in a war. Vichitravirya, was then a minor, and was enthroned by Bheeshma as the king of Hastinapur. When Vichitravirya came of age, Bheeshma and queen Satyavati got him married to two princesses of Kashi, Amba and Ambika. Unfortunately, Vichitravirya died without a successor.

In order to expand their clan both Ambika and Ambalika begot one son each from sage Vyas. Ambika gave birth to Dhritrashtra while Ambalika to Pandu. The same Vyas also had a son from a maid servant who became famous as Vidur and who was famous for his statesmanship and tactfulness.

Kokolu Anka Rao

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Jalkari Bai was a koli woman and female leader of a resistance struggle against British rule in India. The Rani of Jhansi had several kolis in her army and hence, a number of them were trying to save her life; amongst them was Jalkari (P. 4, The Story of Historic People of India-The Kolis). Chhatrapati Shivaji too had Hindus of all castes and tribes in his army. There were many Kolis, many of them Mahadev Kolis, who are descendants of Maharishi Valmiki. Tanaji Rao Malusare was always referred as "my lion" by Shivaji Raje and he was the general of Shivaji's army(P. 4, The Story of Historic People of India-The Kolis). Jalkari Bai also showed an extraordinary love, loyalty and devotion towards her master and tried to protect her at the cost of her own life.

The folklore of Bundelkhand (part of Jhansi State then ) are full of heroic exploits of Jalkari Bai. She came from a very poor family of a village in Bundelkhand. It is said that in her teens once she had an encounter with a tiger while she was collecting firewood in the jungle and she killed the tiger single handed with her axe without any assistance. Later she became famous as Indian resistance leader and an associate of Jhansi Rani and defends Jhansi fort against the British.

Jhansi became a center of the rebellion upon the outbreak of violence in 1857. Rani Lakshmi Bai started strengthening the defense of Jhansi and assembled a volunteer army. Women were recruited as well as men and given military training. Rani was accompanied by her generals. Many from the local population volunteered for service in the army ranks, with the popular support for her cause on the rise.

It is said that Jalkari Bai bore a close and striking resemblance to Rani Laxmibai of Jhansi and because of this Rani took interest in her and inducted her into the women's wing of the army. She played a very important role in the women’s wing of the army raised by the Rani of Jhansi. During 1957-58 there were several British raids on Jhansi Fort and the Rani repulsed all those attacks and defended the fort from British raids.

Jalkari Bai, an associate of Jhansi Rani also distinguished herself in the war of 1857. In 1858 the pro-British forces under the command of Sir Hugh Rose reached Jhansi, and on the 23rd of March laid siege to the city which lasted for nearly 2 weeks during which the people of Jhansi showed incredible valor under the able leadership of Rani Lakshmi Bai who was always personally active in the defense of the city. But eventually Jhansi fell before the superior fire power of the British forces and was reduced to rubble in the revenge that followed. The Rani escaped during the night with the help of a woman named Jalkari Bai who impersonated her; she made her way to Kalpi which was about 100 miles away. She deceived the British Army by dressing up like Rani of Jhansi and helped her escape from the fortress.

When the fall of fort became imminent Jalkari bai and some generals convinced Laxmibai to escape quietly with the help of supporters. In a ploy to deceive the British, Jalkari bai dressed herself up like the Rani of Jhansi and took command of the army. By the time the British discovered the truth that Jalkari Bai was an impostor, Laxmibai was already far away, it was too late. Jalkari Bai then fought the British army, but was eventually compelled to surrender. The Rani had covered a considerable distance by then.

However the British General was highly impressed by her loyalty, courage, fighting prowess, leadership ability and treated her with respect and set her free.

Now there is one Veerangana Jalkari Bai Center For Women Studies And Development opened at Jhansi in Bundelkhand University.

Kokolu Anka Rao

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Abbaka Devi Chowta was a bant jain queen of Tulunadu. There is a section of Telugu Mudiraj who are also known as bants and their surname Chowti seems to be a modification of this bunt surname Chowta. It is also a known fact that jainism was favoured by Muttarasa (Mudiraj) kings of Western Ganga Dynasty in Karnataka. There is also one Kundur Motte Chowti Mariyamma temple, situated close to the Raja Seat in Madikeri, which has great historical significance. Medikeri was a capital city of Mudduraja (Mudiraj ) kings of Kodagu dynasty.

Chauta => Chowta => Chowti

Further analysis reveals the fact that the Chowtas of Karnataka were the Chowdas of Gujarat Rajputs who were driven out by Waghelas from Saurastra. Chowdas built the famous Somanath Temple in Gujarat. The Chowtas also built Somanatheswara temple at Ullal. Ullal is very famous for historic locations like Someshwara Temple, Summer Sands Beach Resort and Queen Abbakka's Fort at Ranipura. The family diety of Abbakka Rani of Jain Chowta dynasty was Somanathesvara. The remains of Rani Abbakka's fort can be seen in the vicinity of Someshwara Temple.

It appears that the Chowtas and the Chowdas are directly and indirectyly related to Mudiraj people in South India and the kolis in North India.

According to traditional folklore and legends, she was an immensely popular queen and this is also attested by the fact that she is even today a part of folklore. The queen's story has been retold from generation to generation through folk songs and Yakshagana, the popular folk theatre of Dakshina Kannada. In Bhootaradhane, a local ritual dance, the persona in trance recounts the great deeds of Abbakka Mahadevi. Abbakka is portrayed as dark and good looking, always dressed in simple clothes like a commoner. She is portrayed as a caring queen who worked late into the night dispensing justice. Legends also claim that Abbakka was the last known person to have the used the Agnivana (fire-arrow) in her fight against the Portuguese. Some accounts also claim that she had two equally valiant daughters who fought alongside her in her wars against the Portuguese. Tradition however treats all three - mother and two daughters as the same person.

Little is written about the valiant Queen of Ullal in the history books. In her infallible bravery and indefatigability she is in par with legendary Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi and Rani Chennamma of Kittur, who fought the British in the 19th century. Rani Abbakka Devi was the only woman in history to confront and fight the Portuguese, handing them defeat repeatedly, thus foiling their designs for supremacy of the Western Indian coast.

Abbakka, the queen of Ullal has a glorious record of fighting the enemy under adverse circumstances. Though local sources do not throw much light on her defeating the Portuguese fleet, which had surrounded her small coastal principality, she had attained international celebrity! Arab & Portuguese sources mention about this incident. Pietro Della Valle, the famous Italian traveler who toured India's westcoast between 1621 to 1624 CE, had met the Persian emperor Shah Abbas, prior to his trip to India. Shah Abbas was full of praise of Abbakka's feat. Pietro made it a point to meet the courageous Queen during his trip to India. Abbakka made name in Arabia and Persian world, by defeating the Portuguese fleet, which had planned to occupy her harbor town and capital, Ullal. Even the portuegese had great admiration for that heroic woman Abbakka.

Abbakka belongs to a family known as Chauta; her husband belongs to Banga family and Mangalore is under his control. Abbakka, Queen of Ullal was married to Lakkarasa, Banga prince of Bangadi. It was more a marriage of convenience than conviction. Lakkarasa was pro-Portugese and depended on sops offered now and then by these foreigners. Abbakka was against the monopolization of the Portugese trade of pepper and other goods at the low price they offered, which was sheer exploitation. She took the custody of their three children as per matrilineal custom (Aliya-santana Kattu) prevalent in the region and lived in Ullal. Banga ruler remained in Bangadi. After some time he married Mula Noble's daughter, Tankaradevi. Abbakka & Lakkarasa separated. Lakkappa also developed animosity with Keladi rulers and the latter were waiting for an opportunity to teach him a lesson. Abbakka had good diplomatic relations with Keladi as also with Zamorin of Calicut. Unheedful of warning of Portuguese, Abbakka sent spices and other goods to Middle East with Zamorin's help. The Portuguese captured the ship in mid-sea. Angered Abbakka attacked Mangalore fort where the Portuguese had built a factory. The Portuguese were bidding time to attack Ullal.

Abbakka Rani or Abbakka Mahadevi was the queen of Tulunadu who fought the Portuguese in the latter half of the 16th century. She belonged to the Jain Chowta dynasty who ruled over the area from the temple town of Moodabidri. The port town of Ullal served as their subsidiary capital. The Portuguese made several attempts to capture Ullal as it was strategically placed. But Abbakka repulsed each of their attacks for over four decades. For her bravery, she came to be known as Abhaya Rani ('The fearless queen'). She was also one of the earliest Indians to fight the colonial powers and is sometimes regarded as the 'first woman freedom fighter of India'.

The Chowtas followed a matrilineal system by which Tirumala Raya, Abbakka's uncle, crowned her the queen of Ullal. He also forged a matrimonial alliance for Abbakka with Lakshmappa Arasa ( bangaraja ), the powerful king of neighbouring Mangalore. This alliance was to later prove a source of worry for the Portuguese. The marriage, however was short lived and Abbakka returned to Ullal. Her husband thus longed for revenge against Abbakka and was to later join the Portuguese in their fight against Abbakka.

They belonged to the Jain royal dynasty of the Chautas, ruling their tiny kingdom but the family deity was from the Hindu temple at Somanatheshwara. Chauta rulers were one of the many small feudatory states in Tulu nadu that paid their allegiance to the rulers of Vijayanagara.

The Chauta dynasty followed the matrilineal system, and the ruler Thirumala Raya had carefully prepared his niece both in art of diplomacy and the martial arts, in anticipation of her taking the reign of the kingdom. By the time she came to rule, she was well versed in fencing and cavalry combats. She had been taught the strategies and the nuances of warfare.

Though Abbakka was a Jain by faith, her administration was well represented by Hindus and Muslims. Her army too consisted of people of all sects and castes including the Mogaveeras, a fisher folk community. She even forged alliances with the Zamorin of Calicut and other Muslim rulers south of Tulunadu towards this end. Together, they kept the Portuguese at bay. The marital ties with the neighbouring Banga dynasty added further strength to the alliance of the local rulers.

The Rani was fiercely independent and was a symbol of the patriotic fervor of her subjects. She refused to bargain with the Portuguese and prevented them from having any foothold in the region. Rani Abbakka Devi became a major thorn in the side of the Portuguese imperialistic design. She, in turn rallied her people in stubbornly opposing any Portuguese advances. She deservedly earned the sobriquet Rani Abhaya – the fearless queen.

The Portuguese account (where the queen is referred to as Buca Devi Chauta) also supplies us with details about a surprise attack by Abbakka Devi on the Portuguese garrison at night in Mangalore. The Portuguese suffered many casualties in this bold attack by the Rani's forces. She fled the next day when the city was set on fire by the Portuguese.

According to the folklore, Abbakka Chowta is the last known person to have the Agnivana (fire-arrow) in her fight against the Portuguese. The first attack by the Portuguese in south Kanara coast was in 1525, when they destroyed the Mangalore port. Rani Abbakka was alerted by the incident and started preparing herself to protect her kingdom. In 1555, the Portuguese sent Admiral Don Alvaro da Silvereira against the Queen of Ullal Abbakka Devi Chowta who had refused to pay them the tribute. She fought with courage and intelligence and pushed them back.

In 1558 the Portuguese Army perpetrated another wanton cruelty on Mangalore, putting to death a number of men and women, both young and old, plundering a temple, burning ships and finally setting the city itself on fire.Again, in 1567, the Portuguese army attacked Ullal, showering death and destruction. The great Queen Abbakka Devi Chowta (Bucadevi I) resisted it.The same year one general Joao Peixoto was sent by the Portuguese Viceroy Antony Norohna with a fleet of soldiers. He captured the city of Ullal and also entered the royal court. However the Queen escaped and took asylum in a mosque. The same night, she counter-attacked the Portuguese army, with a help of 200 of her soldiers and killed General Peixoto and 70 Portuguese soldiers.The invaders were forced to flee to their ships in disgrace. The Portuguese soldiers who remained in Ullal were dead drunk, in over confidence and were dancing. Taking advantage of this opportunity, about 500 Muslim supporters of Abbakka Rani attacked the Portuguese and killed Admiral Mascarenhas along with the help six thousand Muslim soldiers in 1568, and the foreign army had to leave the Mangalore fort.

The local legend also says that Rani Abbakka Devi was estranged from her husband, Lakshmappa Banga, who was said to have colluded with the Portuguese and fought against his wife. It is more probable that it was the nephew of her husband, Kamaraya III, who had fought against the queen. The sedition of Kamaraya III against his uncle had been supported by the Portuguese. Consequently he was able to supplant the king and rule Mangalore during the period when Abbakka Devi was opposing the Portuguese advances.

Rani Abbakka used to offer prayers here at Aadhishwhara Parshwanatha Basadi before every major administrative decisions she used to take.

There is little doubt that Queen Abbakka Devi was a hindrance to the grand designs of the Portuguese. The fact that she survived so many years and maintained her power despite the superior military and naval power of the Portuguese speaks volumes. Sadly, there are no fitting eulogies written for this obscure Queen of history. There are no effulgent, splendid stories about the bold and courageous actions of Rani Abbakka Devi in defense of her freedom and motherland. In the eyes of history Rani Abbakka Devi is largely forgotten.

The Ullal town has taken the name of Rani Abbakka to the national level for the first time in 1998 by organizing the Rani Abbakka Utsav as a Nada Habba of Ullal. Rani Abbakka was the first queen of India who fought the Portuguese forces in 1546 and destroyed a flotilla of their ships and drove them away with a handful of sailors that made the naval forces of Ullal. Her band of sailors had people from all communities including Muslims, Fishermen, Billavas, other backward castes and Kshatriyas. This aspect had united community in Ullal as a unitary civic society for the last five centuries.

Abbakka's memory is much cherished in her home town of Ullal. The "Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava" is an annual celebration held in her memory. The Veera Rani Abbakka Prashasti(award) is awarded to distinguished women on the occasion. A bronze statue of the queen has been erected in Ullal and another in Bangalore.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date = 20/12/2007
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Rani Rudramma Devi ( 1262-1295 CE )was one of the most prominent woman rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty on the Deccan Plateau in Indian history. Queen Rudramma Devi remains as one of India's most important woman and very few female rulers in south India for all time. Rani Rudramma Devi ruled from 1261 or 1262 until 1295 or 1296. Rudramadevi changed her name on her inscriptions and pretended she was a man.

It is said that Rani Rudrama Devi was married into a famil having Recharla surname. The uncle's name of rani rudramadevi is Recherla prasaditya nayaka. The surname of Brahma Naidu, a chieftain who participated in the terrible war of Palnadu, was also Recharla. Today we can see the people with Recharla Gotram among Mudiraj, Velama and Kamma communities. The Mudiraj community is very ancient and it's name can be traced to 1st Century A.D and even before. This once again indicates that Kakatiyas were the warriors relating to Mudiraj community and belonged to ancient bhil - koli - Erukala block of Dravidians. While bhil koli dravidians became experts in fishing, hydrology & water management, the bhil erukalas became experts in archary & hunting. It is already explained that Kakatiyas were Maharastrian Kaikadi branch of Erukalas ( A variant of Bhils ) belonging to Kaikadi branch.

Kaikadi => Kakadi => Kakati => Kakatiya

It is said that Mudiraj warriors occupied prominent positions and they headed the Research and Development Wing of Martial Arts in Kakatiya dynasty rule.

It is said the Ekalavya belonged to Yerukala brach of Bhils. Erukalas are also known as Nishadhas in North India. There were several Nishadha kongdoms in North India during the time of Aryan invasions inside India. Ekalavya is said to be a king and son of a Nishadha Bhil king. Ekalavya's father worked for Jarasandh, who was an adversary of the Hastinapur kingdom.

According to ballads, who narrate the story of Mudiraj ancestors during Ankamma Kolupu, it is said that one Dharma Choda Chari and his six brothers belonged to solar race and hailed from Devagiri in Maharastra. According to the story of ballads, the Mudiraj brothers were anti-yadavas and fought against them. The Kakatiya rulers also belonged to solar race and they also fought against Yadavas.

It appears that according to some historians the Kakatiyas were Erukalas who initially worked as BONDED LABOURERS for Chalukya lords and ultimately came up to king level through hard work and struggle. It may be true as both Chalukyas and Kaikadi Erukalas were from Maharastra. The bhil - koli people are famous world over as labourers with simple living styles. The very alternative terms for labourers such as cooli ( koli ) and bantlu (Rama bantu hanuman) became very well known due to their honesty and hard working in nature.

She was born, as Rudramba, to King Ganapathideva (or Ganapatideva, or Ganapathi Devudu). As Ganapathideva had no sons, Rudramma was formally designated as a son through the ancient Putrika ceremony and given the male name of Rudradeva. When she was only fourteen years old, Rani Rudramma Devi succeeded her father. Though Ganapatideva was alive until 1269 CE, he handed over the threads of administration to his daughter Rudramadevi in 1262 A.D. itself and retired from active politics.

She ruled Andhra for 40 years in the thirteenth century with Warangal as her capital city. She was trained systematically in all the subjects and groomed to rule the country.She was a popular and sagacious ruler known for her shrewdness in statecraft. She dressed and ruled like a man in those times when women had no say in important matters. Her rule is described as the golden age in the history of Andhra desa.

The fort at Warangal was built with Geometric intricacies during the reign of Ganapathi Deva in 1199 AD . The construction continued even after the death of the king and was finally completed by his daughter, Rani Rudramadevi, in the year 1261 A.D. The main attraction here is the Warangal fort a big abandoned mud-brick fort with carved stones from wrecked Chalukyan temples set at random. The temple in it has four decorated gateways that bear a striking resemblance to the gateways at Sanchi. There are also some exquisite pieces of sculpture here. The remnants of the fort that are present in the city provide some useful insights of the past civilization that used to occupy these lands. It is located at a distance of 12 Kms from Hanamkonda. Warangal Fort with three concentric circuits of fortification is believed to have been planned by Ganapatideva. The inner granite fortification with 45 bastions, enclosing an area of 1.2 km, was built by Rudramadevi.

It is said that Golconda Fort dates back to the reign of the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal. Some historians attribute the initial construction of Golkonda mud fort to Rani Rudrama Devi. It was ceded to the Bahamanis and subsequently became the capital of the Qutb Shahi rulers (AD 1518 –1687). Bhongir Fort is well associated with the herioc queen Rudramadevi and her grandson Prataparudra's rule.

Despite initial misgivings by some of her generals who resented a female ruler, she suppressd both uprisings within Kakatiya territory and incursions by neighboring kingdoms. In the beginning, Rudramadevi's half-brothers aided by certain nobles rebelled against her and they ousted her from the capital which she recaptured and put her half-brothers to death.

An able fighter and dynamic ruler, Rudramba defended the kingdom from the Cholas and the Yadavas, earning their respect. Kakatiya authority re-established in the Godavari valley with the help of Nayak commanders.

Queen Rudrama Devi of the Kakateeya Dynasity wanted to bring large tracts of the Kakteeya Kingdom primarily the Telanga Region into Cultivation. With her Alliance with the Chalukyan Prince came the migration of these Agriculturits from Andhra.And Three Hundred ( Munnuru = 300 ) Families were dispatched to bring these vast Tracts of land under Cultivation. These fmailies are called as Munnuru Kapu.

Among Rani Rudramma Devi's accomplishments during her reign was the completion of Warangal Fort, begun by her father, in the Kakatiya capital of Warangal (one stone hill). Parts of the fort are still standing, including examples of distinctive Kakatiya sculpture.

Legend has it that due to her upbringing as a boy, Rani Rudrama was not much a connoisseur of music and art, but she was quite taken by a form of Shiva Tandavam. She found this dance more of an exercise to the soldiers and had it made part of the training of the royal force. Aknoor is one of the historical village near to siddipet where a great Shiva temple was established at the time of Rani Rudramadevi. Marco Polo who visited Orugallu during the rule of Rani Rudrama devi recorded his observations about a prevelent custom of dedicating girls ( DevaDasi) to religious services of temples there.

Rudramadevi died in the month of November, 1289 CE., fighting battle against the rebel Kayastha chief Ambadeva. On the death of Rudrama, her grandson Prataparudra, who was adopted by her as son and as heir apparent on the advice of her father Ganapatideva, ascended the throne at the beginning of the year 1280 CE.

Kakatiya Inscription : No. 395. (A. R. No. 94 of 1917.) On the huge Nandi pillar lying near the ruined temple in Malkapuram, Guntur Taluk, Guntur District. (Published in the Journal of the Andhra Historical Research Society, Vol. IV, pp. 147-64.) S. 1183. (Durmati) :Gives a detailed account of the Kakatiya family and of the foundation and pontifical succession of the Golaki-matha of the Saivas and states that king Ganapatideva promised the village of Mandara in the Velanadu-Kandravati country to his guru Visvesvara Sivacharya and that Ganapati's daughter Rudramadevi made a formal gift of that village along with the village of Velangapundi, that Visvesvara Siva established a new village with the name of Visvesvara-Golaki and peopled it with person of different castes brought from various parts of the country, that he also established the temple of Visvesvara, a Sanskrit college, a matha for Saivas, a choultry for feeding people without distinction of caste and creed, a general land a maternity hospital, besides some other things and that he made grants of land for the maintenance of all these institutions. Gives a detailed description of the administration of the trust and of the village affairs. Incidentally, it mentions a large number of other religious and charitable institutions established by Visvesvara Siva in several other places. Kakatiyas are described as belonging to the Solar race of Kshatriyas.

Kokolu Anka Rao
Date : 25/02/ 2008
Nagpur, Maharastra, India.

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Veera Shiromani Keladi Chennamma ruled over a small state, Keladi for twentyfive years (1671-1696). but proved herself a great and heroic queen. She protected the kingdom when her husband failed his duty. A brave queen in Indian history who fought the Mogul emperor Aurangjeb; sheltered Rajaram, a son of Maratha king Shivaji.

The Keladi Nayakas of Ikkeri and their descendants are known as Muddurajas ( Mudiraj ). Bhakta Kannappa belong to this Bedar - Valmiki community. While the people of Kannappa kula belong to subsect of Tamil Muthuraja community, the same people known as Valmikis are a subsect of Telugu Mudiraj.

Chennamma was the wife of Somasekhara Nayaka, a Bedar ( Valmiki ) Nayak of Keladi kingdom. For more details to knoq that Vedars, Bedars, Valmikis, Mudiraj, Mudduraja, and Muthuraja are all one and the same people, readers are requested to see web page " KINGDOMS" in this website.

Vedar = Bedar = Valmiki = Mudduraja = Mudiraja = Muthuraja

Mudiraju people are also known as bants. Majority of Nadavas ( Tuluva Bunts ) of North Canara have got surname Nayaka. The father of famous queen Chennamma was Siddappa Shetty ( Bunt ) and her husband was Somasekhara (Siva) Nayaka.

Chennamma was wife of Somashekhara Nayaka the 8th ruler of Keladi, which is also known as principality of Ikkeri or Bidnur, named after two other capitals. Chennamma's life is a source of inspiration to all who love freedom and admire courage and nobility.

Keladi was a kingdom in the Malnad area of Northern Karnataka. Since its founding in 1500, Keladi was blessed with many good kings, such as Chaudappa Nayaka, or Shivappa Nayaka. By the time Shivappa Nayaka's son, Somashekhara Nayak ascended the throne, the kingdom of Keladi Stretch all the way from Goa in the north to Kerala in the south. Keladi served as the Nayaka capital for the empire for fourteen years, after which the capital was shifted to nearby Ikkeri.

Keladi Chennamma (1672 - 1697) was an able ruler who some scholars say allied with the Maratha Shivaji and later his son Sambhaji to defeat all rival claimants to the throne. She gave shelter to Chhatrapathi Rajaram when he fled from the Mugal army. Chennamma of Keladi is well remembered by local people through tales of her bravery.

Keladi Chennamma Keladi Channammaji (1672-1697 ) of 17th century was a queen of Keladi Nayaka dynasty. She fought the Mughal Army of Aurangzeb from her base in the kingdom of Keladi in the Shimoga district of Karnataka State, India. She gave shelter to the son of Shivaji Maharaj infuriating the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. In the battle that ensued she successfully defended her territory from the siege. Her rule lasted for 25 years. Keladi kingdom was probably the last one to lose autonomy to Mysore rulers and subsequently to British.

Aurangzeb had attacked Keladi kingdom with the excuse that Rani Chennamma had given shelter to the son of Maharaja Shivaji. But Chennamma was not afraid. Nor did she feel sorry. She did not ask for pardon. She faced the attack like a heroic woman. When the enemies themselves withdrew their attack and begged for a treaty, she was quite generous.

She had the complexion of a pearl, with bright eyes and a broad forehead. A long nose and curly hair adorned a face of royal dignity. The beautiful Queen was full of good qualities too. And she had the ability to kill her enemies in the battles, like Durga (the goddess of power). Beauty, valour, piety and generosity all blended in this great Queen.

Keladi Channammaji, the celebrated queen of the Keladi dynasty, succeeded her husband, Somasekhar Nayaka, and ruled the kingdom from Keladi fort with great distinction up to 1697.

Somashekara (1664 - 1672), the King who was once a good administrator, gave up his interest in administration after his associastion with a dancer named Kalavati. Bharame Mavuta, a relative of Kalavati slow poisoned the king which eventually led to his death.

She came into prominence when she offered political asylum and protection to Raja Ram, son of the famous Maratta warrior Shivaji in 1685. After the assassination of her husband, there were intrigues, rivalries and internal fights in which some agents of the Sultan of Bijapur had a hand. She tactfully thwarted them and restored order. When the forces of Aurangzeb invaded Bidanur she fought with courage for several days, finally losing to a powerful army in the war.

Somashekhara Nayak was a very efficient king. With a good figure, power and wealth, he also had good qualities. He was religious-minded, too. Somashekhara Nayaka did not marry for several years. He was young and a king; and was also handsome, virtuous and famous. Naturally many a king tried to make him his son-in-law. The Nayaka saw many beautiful princessesses. But he never thought of marriage. His subjects, knowing his religious mind and devotion to God, wondered whether their king would become a monk.

The king once went to the Rameshwara Fair. There he saw a very pretty girl, Chennamma, the daughter of Siddappa Shetty of Kotepura. She attracted the king's attention and he fell in love with her. He summoned his chief minister and told him that if he had to marry, he would only marry Chennamma.

Chennamma, the new queen, prayed at the Rameshwara temple at Keladi. Chennamma also offered prayers at the Aghoreshwara temple at Ikkeri. Born a commoner, Chennamma grasped the statecraft quickly and her blissful wedded life was punctuated with her learning to use weapons of war and equally with reading literature and mastering music. She became a trusted minister of the king and was sought out by those subjects that suffered injustice but were afraid to approach the king. She dispensed justice and came to be regarded as a goddess.

Both Chennamma and her husband patronised art, dance and music and the tradition of nadahabba (cultural festival). Many established artists would visit their court and one such artist was Kalavati from Jambukhandi. An evil woman that she was, she charmed the king with her dance and was elevated to the position of dancer of the royal court.

Kalavati was, in fact, the daughter of Bharame Mavuta, a black magician. Harping on the fact that the king was issueless, Bharame Mavuta contrived to have the royal frequenting Kalavati's quarters, till he began to live there. The potions he was given weakened him to such an extent that his ministers had to go to the dancer's quarters to discuss matters of state with him.

This state of affairs became common knowledge and even reached the ears of Bijapur's sultan, who had suffered defeat at the hands of Keladi Nayaks. Chennamma went to the dancer's house and pleaded with him to return to the palace. But, King Somasekhar, under the spell of black magic, flatly refused.

Chennamma thereupon decided to invoke the Keladi tradition where the ruler's wife was allowed succession. In the meantime, the Bijapur sultan sent an ambassador, Janopant, claiming to be a negotiator for peace. But it was a ploy: the sultan's big army had in fact followed Janopant, the so-called 'ambassador of peace.'

Chennamma got wind of this but was not ready for battle and so she signed a treaty in which she had to pay three lakhs of rupees. Janopant took the money to Bharame Mavuta, and soon after, the duo had King Somasekhar murdered.

Chennamma emptied the royal treasury and left the fort to escape to Bhuvanagiri. When the sultan's army took the fort, there was no queen, nor any treasure. She quickly re-grouped at Bhuvanagiri as loyal subjects came to her in thousands. In the battle that ensued, sultan's army was defeated and she re-captured her fort. In 1671, Chennamma ascended the throne and her astute administration saw the kingdom back to glory of the days of Shivappa Nayak. There were special temple honours to the deities at Rameshwara and Aghoreshwara and her support of the arts, charity and religiosity continued.

There were other battles she fought. The Mysore ruler and the chieftain of Sode, Sirsi and Banavasi attacked Keladi but were defeated. At the time Chennamma was ruling in Keladi, the ruler in Mysore was Chikkadevaraya Wodeyar. A person by name Andhaka Venkata Nayaka also belonged to the dynasty of Keladi kings. He wrote a letter to the Mysore ruler; he said, "I should have been the King of Keladi. But Chennamma came in the way. Therefore if you will fight with her and help me to get the kingdom, I shall give half of it to you and render other help also."

Chikkadevaraya was very pleased with the letter. He thought it would be quite easy to win the kingdom which was in the hands of a woman. If he did so, all the foreign trade now under Keladi would be in his hands. So he began preparations for a war.

Queen Chennamma was not at all afraid that the Mysore ruler had declared war on Keladi. She remained undaunted and sent a big army under her Commander Bhadrappa Nayaka to fight the enemy. The chieftains of Sode, Sirsi and Banavasi also declared war on Keladi. But the Queen very cleverly managed to defeat them all.

The Mysore army was the first to be defeated. But the next year that army defeated the Keladi force. Again when there was a war, the Queen was victorious. Several officers of the Mysore army were captured. But the Queen treated them with courtesy. She also set them free. Because of this, Chikkadevaraya developed a high regard for the Queen. The rulers of Mysore and Keladi signed a treaty of friendship.

Chennamma adopted Shivalingappa ( Basappa ? ) as her son and made him heir to the throne. Since she was childless, Chennamma took the necessary steps to adopt a boy, Basappa Nayak, as her son so that Keladi would have its rightful heir.Chennamma ruled from 1671 to 1697 and in her years, signed treaties of trade with the Arabs and Portuguese. She also adopted a son, Basappa, whom she trained during her able rule. When nearing death, she advised her son to look after Keladi's people as his own children. Her years were those of efficient administration. She was valiant and furthered religion and culture. She was laid to rest at Koppalu monastery in Bidanur.

Kokolu Ankarao
Date : 08/08/08
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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An inscription (No. 402) on a stone set up in the Satyagirinatha temple at Tirumaiyam engraved in characters of about the 9th century A.D. belongs to a Muttraiyar chief. It registers a grant probably of some land and village Andakaudi with the Karanmai-miyatchchi for the renovation of Paudukkuppuram and for the maintenance of the central shrine and as unnaligaippuram, respectively, by perumbiduguperundevi the mother of Videlvidugu Vilupperadiaraisan alias Sattan Maran. He was member of the Mutturaiyear family, who got the title Videlvidugu after Pallava Nandivaraman, probably as a subordinate. Shri K.G. Krishnan has identified Perumbidugu Perundevi as the queen of Cattan, the earliest known member of this Muttaraiyar family and has said that these chiefs had added to their official or dynastic designations the titles like Videlvidugu and Perdumbiduga (studies in South Indian History and Epigraphy, Vol. I, pp-133ff).

South Indian Inscriptions- No. 402 : (A. R. No. 402 of 1906) : Tiruchiraplli District, Pudukkottai State, Tirumayya.- Satyagirinatha-Perumal Temple – On A Stone Set Up Inside The Premises.

This is in characters of about the 9th century A.D. It is incomplete. It seems to record a gift of land for the renovation of some structure (temple?) and worship therein by Perumpidugu Perundevi, the mother of (a chief by name) Videlvidugu Vilupperadi-Araisan alias Sattan Maran. It is possible that this chief was related to the Muttaraiyars of Sendalai.

An eighth century inscription found in a mutharayar cave temple speaks of Perumbidugu Perundevi, mother of local chieftain Chattan Maran, renovating the temple and giving the town of Andangudi for the temple.

The above inscriptions make it clear that Perumbidugu Perundevi was the mother of Videlvidugu Vilupperadiaraisan alias Sattan Maran.

But Shri K.G. Krishnan has identified Perumbidugu Perundevi as the queen of Cattan ( Sattan).

Rock-cut Vishnu temple (Satyamurthi Perumal temple) : This cave temple dedicated to Vishnu is a Muttaraiyar excavation as attested by an inscription recording the renovation of the temple and an endowment by Perumbidugu Perumdevi, mother of Sattan Maran also called Videlvidugu Viluperadiaraiyan, a contemporary and vassal of Pallava king Nandivarman II Pallavamalla (AD 731-796). Nevertheless, the temple is slightly older and dated to closing decades of seventh century.

The temple consists of an ardha-mandapa in front of a rectangular sanctum. In the sanctum there is beautiful and vibrant depictions of Anantasayi Vishnu recumbent on the serpent Adisesha with Lakshmi seated on his breast. He is being shown surrounded by other deities like Garuda, Chitragupta, Markandeya, Brahma, the Devas, the Vasus, and the Kinnaras. There are two demons near the feet of the gods and sheltered there is Bhudevi.

Tirumangai Alvar, a Vaishnava saint of 8th cenutury AD had sung about this deity. There are number of other structures in the complex of later periods. Some of the bronzes, now preserved in the temple, dates back to 8th-9th century AD.

Videlvidugu Vilupperadi araiyan : Videlvidugu Vilupperadi araiyan, figures in an inscription of the Satyagirisvara temple, Thirumeyyam. His mother Perumbidugu Perumdevi is said to have renovated the temple.

Thirumeyyam By waliking through the Thirumeyyam village on the western side of the hillock, one can reach the rock-cut caves dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu. The Shiva cave is to the west of the Vishnu cave, which are separated by a wall. Among the two rock-cut shrines the Shiva cave is the oldest one. Thje earliest known inscription to the Vishnu cave is the inscription of Sattan Maran which speaks about the renovation done to the temple.

Inscription No.13 : The renovation done by Perumpidugu Perundevi, the mother of Muttaraiyar Chief - Sattan Maran alias Videlvidugu Viluperadi Araiyan who was the contemporary of Nadivarman II and Dantivarman. They were the rulers in late eighth century and early ninth century. The Muttaraiyars were the chieftains of Pallavas during this period. The mention about the renovation implies the presence of the cave even before that.

The Muttaraiyara were a line of powerful chiefs and were for a long time feudatory to the Pallavas, rulling over portions of the Tanjore and Tirchinopoly districts and of the former Pudukkottai State. "The centre of their power was somewhere in the districts of Tanjore, Sendalai, at present a small village near Tirukkattupalli, appears once to have been a flourishing town with the beautiful name Candralekha, and either this place or Niyamam in its neighbourhood was most probably the centre of Muttaraiya rule." As their territory lay between the Pandya and Pallava empires, they were involved in almost all the contests between the two powers. Their subordination was of great assistance to the Pallavas not only in their struggle againt the Pandyas but also in holding the Cholas under subjection.

It is said that Sattan Paliyili was defeated by Vijayala Chola before he captured their capital city Tanjore. Subsequently many Mutharayar kings became subordinate kings to Cholas and continued to rule their territories. Paluvettaraiyar was one such Mutharayar Chieftain & General who served Cholas and also had matrimonial alliances with the descendants of Vijayala Chola.

Kokolu Anka Rao
10th Novembaer 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Paliyili Siriya-Nangai was the daughter of Sattam Paliyili and grand daughter of Videlvidugu-Muttaraiyan and also the wife of Minavan Tamiladiyaraiyan alias Pallan Anantan. Her name is found inscribed on the rock cut cave temples of Mutharayars in Narthmalai as a benevolent queen.

Narthamalai region once part of Mutharayar's kingdom. In Nartamalai, we have an inscription dated in the reign of Nrpatunga, which refers to Videlvidugu Ilangovelan and his son Sattan Paliyili (who excavated the cave shrine to Siva).

On the south side of the original Jain cave, another cave shrine has been carved out in the rock. This temple is called "Paliyili Isvaram". On the kumudha of the mukhamandapa (foundation) of this temple is recorded a Pallava inscription of 862 A.D. in the seventh regnal year of Nrpatunga Varman. It proclaims that Sattan Paliyili, son of Videl Vidugu Muttaraiyar (the subordinate chieftain of the Pallava ruling over Narthamalai) constructed (altered the Jaina one?) the cave temple for Siva and his wife Paliyili Siriya Nangai constructed the mukhamandapa (adhistana only), Rishabha, Balipeeta etc.

On the east of the above two cave temples, in a vast expanse of gently rolling rock is located the "Vijayalaya Choleeswaram", the early structural temple of the period of Vijayalaya, the founder of the Chola dynasty. This Vijayala Choleeswaram is now discovered to be a Mutharayar temple perhaps built by Paliyili but it was renamed as Vijayala Choleeswaram when it was renovated by Vijayala.

South Indian Inscriptions - Pallva Inscriptions: No. 63 :(A.R. No. 365 of 1904)- Narttamalai, Pudukkottai State - On the north base of the ruined mandapa in front of the rock-cut Siva temple - This inscription is dated in the 7th year of Nripatungavikramavarman. It states that Sattam Paliyili, son of Videlvidugu -Muttaraiyan, excavated the (rock-cut) temple and that his daughter Paliyili Siriya-Nangai, the wife of Minavan Tamiladiyaraiyan alias Pallan Anantan enlarged it by adding a mukha-mandapa, bali-pitha etc., and also made provision for worship and offerings to the god therein.

Pazhiyili-Isvaram Temple of Muttaraiyan is another rock-cut cave temple, dedicated to Siva, opposite to the Vijayalaya Chozhisvaram temple, about 30 feet south of Samanar-kudagu. This Siva cave temple was excavated in the seventh year of the Pallava king Nripatunga (862 AD.) by a Muttaraiyar chief, Sattan-pazhiyili, son of Videl-vidugu Muttaraiyan, whence the temple gets the name. An inscription on the basement, states that the temple was excavated by Pazhiyili. It also states that his son built the front mandapam and installed a nandi, while his daughter Pazhiyili Siriya-nangai made a gift of land to the temple.

Kokolu Anka Rao
10th November 2009
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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Revakanimmadi was the wife of Ganga Muttarasa king Erraganga. She was the governer of the important distrct of Edatore 2000 in 850 A.D. She was one of the daughters of Rastrakuta king Amoghavaraha I.

Amoghavarsha I (whose birth name was Sharva) was born in 800 A.D, in Sribhavan on the banks of the river Narmada during the return journey of his father, King Govinda III, from his successful campaigns in northern India. The Sirur plates further clarify that Amoghavarsha I (Nrupatunga) ascended to the throne in 814, at the age of fourteen, after the death of his father. All his inscriptions thereafter refer to him as Amoghavarsha I His guardian during his early years as king was his cousin, Karka Suvarnavarsha of the Gujarat branch of the empire.

A revolt, led by some of his relatives, together with feudatories of the kingdom, temporarily unseated Amoghavarsha I. With the help of his guardian and cousin (Karka), also called Patamalla, he re-established himself as the king of the empire by 821.

The first to revolt Rastrakutas was the Western Ganga feudatory led by King Shivamara II. In the series of battles that followed, Shivamara II was killed in 816, and Amoghavarsha I's commander and confidant, Bankesha, was defeated in Rajaramadu by the next Ganga king, Rachamalla. Due to the resilience of the Gangas, Amoghavarsha I was forced to follow a conciliatory policy. He married his daughter, Chandrabbalabbe, to the Ganga king Buthuga and another daughter, Revakanimmadi, to the Ganga prince Ereganga.

The son and successor of Govinda III was Amoghavarsha I who ascended the Rashtrakuta throne in A.D. 814. He is represented in this volume by 12 inscriptions ranging I date from Saka 759 (=A.D. 837) to Saka 796 (=A.D. 874). The earliest date is furnished by the Kesarbhavi inscription (No. 7) which, though badly damaged, seems to record details of some skirmish in Saka 759. This record reveals for the first time that king had a daughter name Revakanimmadi who was administering Edodore district under her father. It is interesting to note that royal ladies were enjoying a good share in the administration of the country as early as the 9th century A.D. The Ededore country over which Revakanimmadi was ruling, is evidently identical with the Ededore-nadu of the Yewur inscription of A.D. 1077 (E.P. Ind., Vol. XII, page 269) which is specified as Ededore-2000 in an inscription of Western Chalukya Vikramaditya VI, dated in A.D. 1084 and in the Miraj plates of Jayasimha II bearing a date in A.D. 1024 (ibid. page 303). Fleet has identified this district with “a stretch of country between the rivers Krishna on the north and Tungabhadra on the south comprising a large part of the present Raichur district.” The village Kesarbhavi where the present inscription is secured, seems to have been included in this district though it does not find mention in the body of the record. For, there would, otherwise, be no relevancy in the inscribed stone being set up outside the limits of the Edodore country which Revakanimmadi was administering.

Revakanimmadi is a hitherto unknown daughter of Amogavarsha I who, as stated in the inscription, had been married to a certain Erega[niga]. It is tempting to identify this Ereganga with the Western Ganga chief of that name, son of Rachamalla I, who flourished during this period. But this is rendered impossible by the fact that Amogavarsha I had married his another daughter Chandrobbalabbe to Gunaduttaranga Butuga son of the above-mentioned Ereganga and brother of Rachamalla II. (Circa A.D. 870-90). It is therefore not certain who the Ereganga of the present inscription was. It is probably from the name of the prince, that he was a member of the Western Ganga family, but in what way he was related to the main ruling line, remains to be determined by future discoveries. It is worthwhile to mention here that the queue of Butuga II was also known as Revakanimmadi who happens to be the daughter of Amogavarsa Baddega. Since the date and paleography of the Kesarbhavi inscription are indisputably to be assigned to the reign of Amogavarsha I, there would be absolutely no justification to connect the princess Revakanimmadi of the present record with the daughter of Amogavarsha III. The latter princess appears to have been named after her great-grand-aunt Revakanimmadi, sister of Krishna II.

Revakanimmadi’s great-grand-aunt was also having the same name Revakanimmadi and she was the daughter of Amoghavarsha III ( Baddega ), and she was married to the princes of Western Ganga Muttarasa king Buguta-II. The Naregal inscription of A.D. 950 reveals for the first time that Butuga had another wife Padmabbarasi besides Revakanimmadi mentioned above.

Buguta II (938–961 CE) became the ruler of the Western Ganga Dynasty by overthrowing his elder brother Rachamalla III. In order to ascend the throne he had to first seek help from the Rashtrakutas who were hitherto their arch enemies. Butuga II first helped Amoghavarsha III regain many lost territories and in turn was helped by the Rashtrakuta ruler to overthrow Rachamalla III, the unpopular Ganga king at that time. This forged a strong relationship between the Gangas and the Rashtrakutas, an alliance that lasted till the end of both kingdoms. Butuga II became the son-in-law of Amoghavarsha III by marrying his daughter Revakanimmadi.

Butuga II (938-961) : In 937 AD Butuga II had helped Rashtrakutas in their wars against the Cholas and the Pallavas against the Pandyas. In return he was made king by the Rashtrakutas in 938. Butuga II became the son-in-law of Amoghavarsha III by marrying his daughter Revakanimmadi. He also helped the Rashtrakutas defeat the Cholas in 949 in the Battle of Takkolam where his arrow shot down and killed the Chola monarch Rajaditya. As a Rashtrakuta feudatory, he not only ruled Gangavadi but also many areas in the Malaprabha River basin and the Krishna River-Tungabhadra doab.With his immense contribution to a Rashtrakuta victory over the Cholas, Butuga II also took charge of the Banavasi region as a fief from Rashtrakuta Krishna III. He was also a scholar who wrote several literary texts. He is said to have a outworded a Buddhist scholar in a religious discourse and the Kudlur record speaks of him as a noted poet.Butuga followed the Jain religion.

The Ron inscription introduces the Ganga subordinate Mahamandalika Butayya as the governor of Gangavadi-96,000, Belvola-300, Puligere-300 provinces in Saka 864 (=A..D. 942) while his Kurtakoti inscription mentions the chief as holding charge of the same provinces in Saka 868 (=A.D. 946). In the Naregal inscription of Saka 873 (A.D. 950) Butayya Permadi is stated to be ruling over the Gangavadi 96, 000 province extending as far as peldore. The river Peldore is generally identified with the river Krishna but the Gangavadi territory is never known to have extended up to the Krishna. It is therefore plausible that the Peldore of this record represented the river Tungabhadra which was the northern limit of the Gangavadi-96,000 province. From the inscriptions cited above, it appears the Butuga was in possession of Belvola and Purigere divisions as early as A.D. 942 and 946 in contradiction to the statement made in the Atakur inscription (Ep. Indi., Vol VI, p. 55) that Krishna III was pleased with the valour of Butuga displayed in the killing of Rajaditya and presented to his Ganga subordinate the districts of Banavase, Belvola, Purigere, Kisukadu and Bagenadu. Since we know that Rajaditya was killed by Butuga in the battle of Takkolam in about A.D. 975 (Ep. Indi., Vol. IV, P. 350) that Butuga received from Baddega these provinces except Banavse, as dowry (balivali) at the time of his marriage with Revaka or Revakanimmadi. The marriage must evidently have taken place before A.D. 942 since Butuga is mentioned in the records quoted above as the Bhava (brother-in-law) of Kannaradeva.

Rachamalla III (AD 923-936), and Buthuga II (AD,936-60) came to power successively and directed, from Talkadu, the progress of the Ganga Empire. Buthuga Il usurped power from his elder brother, with the support of Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha III. Since Buthuga II had married Revakanimmadi, the daughter of Baddagadeva Amoghavarsha III, it is but natural he extended his support to Buthuga II in ascending the throne. In addition to this, Buthuga II had helped Krishna III and Baddegadevarasu in AD 936, in their revolt against Govinda IV. Thereafter, not only Gangas were friendly with the Rashtrakutas but also supported them in their political aspirations. As a result of this Gangas lost their political independence.

Kokolu Anka Rao
20th September 2011
Nagpur, Maharastra, India

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