(rASTrakUTa dynasty) (ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಕೂಟ
ರಾಜವಂಶ) constitute one of the
premiere dynasties of Karnataka. This dynasty is known for important monarchs
such as Amoghavrasha Nrupatunga
and Krishna-3 who have enhanced the political might
and artistic reputation of Karnataka enormously. Some of the kings of this
dynasty ruled over vast reaches of
The word Rashtrakuta literally means ‘Officer in command of a particular region in a state’. Rashtrakutas belonged to a place called ‘laTTalUru’ in Andhrapradesh(lATUr in present day A.P.). Dantidurga shifted his Capital to Malkhed after he secured a victory over Keerthivarma the Chalukya king.
Some of the important monarchs who ruled over the Rashtrakuta Empire are as follows. (With approximate dates of their regime):
1. Dantidurga 735-756 A.D.
2. Krishna-1 756-774 A.D.
3. Govinda-2 774-780 A.D.
4. Dhruva (Dharavarsha) 780-792 A.D.
5. Govinda-3 792-814 A.D.
6. Amoghavarsha-1 (Nrupatunga) 814-880 A.D.
7. Krishna-2 880-915 A.D.
8. Indra-3 914-929 A.D.
9. Amoghavarsha-3 (baddega) 935-939 A.D.
10. Krishna-3 939-967 A.D.
11. Khottiga Amoghavarsha 967-972 A.D.
12. Karka-2 972-973 A.D.
13. Indra-4 973-982 A.D.
The political history of Rashtrakutas is inevitably
linked with the histories of various other dynasties of
RASTra, viSaya, Bukti(nADu) and grAma were the administrative divisions present during the Rashtrakuta period. They were contolled respectively by rASTRapati, viSayapati, BOgapati (nADu gowDa) and gAvunDa. GAvunDa was in charge of the revenue, judiciary and executive tasks of the village. He had access to some land and he was exempted from paying any revenues. ‘GrAmasabhA’s and ‘mahAjanasaBA’s were entrusted with the task of assisting the gAvunDa and settling disputes. Towns and cities were ruled by separate agencies. BanavAsi-12000, beLvola-300, puligere-300 and kundUru-500 were among the more important viSayas. The number suffixed to the names indicate the number of villages attached to that viSaya.
MahAsandhi vigrahi, danDanAyaka and mahAmAtya exercised their powers directly under the king and they managed the affairs of the entire state. Even women such as rEvakanimmaDi held positions of power.
Agriculture, warfare and trade were the major souces of income to the government. Trans-oceanic trade was encouraged. Many coins bearing the Rashtrakuta insignia were minted. SuvarNa, dramma, gadyANa, kaLnju, munjADi and akkam are the coins minted by the Rashtrakutas. The hegemonic dominance of Brahmnis over other communities was as powerful as ever. Education was given in ‘GaTikAstAnA’s and religious institutions.
Rashtrkuta kings and their feudatories encouraged literature and other arts. Amoghavarsha Nrupatunga was once considered as the author of ‘Kavirajamarga’ one of the foundational texts of the language. It is now atttributed to Sri Vijaya who was in the royal court of Nrupatungaq. Pampa, one of the greatest poets in Kannada was a court poet of Arikesari-2 a king belonging to the Vemulavada Chalukya dynasty which was then a feudatory of the Rashtrkutas. Ponna a great poet of Kannada was in the royal court of Krishna. rudraBaTTa, ravinAgaBaTta, gajAnkusha, asaga, guNanandi, and guNavarma are some of the Kannada writers who composed their works during this period.
MahAvIrAcArya, (Mathematician) TrivikramaBaTTa, (poet) JinasEnAcArya (Author of ‘dhavaLA’, and ‘jaya dhavaLA’), halAyudha (‘kavirahasya’ and ‘mRutasanjIvini’) and sOmadEva sUri who wrote ‘Yashastilaka campU’ are important among the writers who wrote in Sanskrit.
Ellora, Elephanta, Jogeshvari, Mandapeshvar and Pattadakallu contain the most important contribution of the Rashtrakuta kings to the field of of architecture. (Rashtrakuta Architecture) There are five Jaina rockcut caves built by Amoghavarsha Nrupatunga in Ellora. The great Kailasanatha temple in the same place was commisioned by Krishna-1. The Mahadeva icon in Elephanta is equally wellknown. The Kashi Vishvanatha temple at Pattadakallu is another example of Rashtrkuta architecture.
The rule of the Rashtrakuta dynasty is thus one of the more glorious chapters in the history of Karnataka. It has enhanced the prestige of Karnataka in terms of military endevours and cultural contributions.
Many branches of the Rashtrakuta did come in to existence in the later period. However, none of them assumed large proportions. Rashtrkutas of Gujarat, (lAta) Rashtrkutas of Hastikundi, (Jodhpur) Rashtrkutas of Dahal, (Jabalpur, M.P.) and Rashtrakutas of Kanauj had their bases outside Karnataka.
Rashtrakutas of Banavasi in North Canara and raTTas of savadatti in Belgaum district claim their descent from the original dynasty.
1. The Rashtrakutas And Their
Times; being a political, administrative, religious, social, economic and
literary history of the Deccan during C. 750 A.D. to C. 1000 A.D. by Altekar, Anant Sadashiv (1934) . Oriental
2. "The Rashtrakutas". Arthikaje., History of Karnataka. OurKarnataka.Com. http://www.ourkarnataka.com/states/history/historyofkarnataka18.htm.
4. A history of South India from
prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. By Sastri, Nilakanta K.A. (2002) .
Penguin History of Early
8. www.art-and-archaeology.com/.../ell20.html ( A number good photographs of Kailasanatha Temple Ellora)
9. sreechandrab.sulekha.com/.../comments.htm (Mahadeva Icon at the Elephanta caves)