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Vallabhi (or Valabhi or Valabhipur, modern Vala) is an ancient city located in the Saurashtra peninsula of Gujarat, near Bhavnagar in western India. It is also known as Vallabhipura and was the capital of the Maitraka Gurjar Dynasty.


Five Bronzes recovered from Valabhipur

The first two Maitraka rulers, Bhatarka and Dharasena I, only used the title of Senapati (general). The third ruler, Dronasimha(Dronasena [1]), declared himself Maharaja (literally “Great King”).[2] King Guhasena came after him. Unlike his predecessors, the king stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata alongside his name, a term that denotes nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords. He was succeeded by his son Dharasena II, who used the title Mahadhiraja. The next ruler was his son, Siladitya-I Dharmaditya, who was described by a Chinese scholar and traveller Xuanzang as a “monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion”. Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I.[3][4][5]

During the time of Kharagraha I, a virdi copperplate grant was found from 616 CE that shows that his territories included Ujjain. During the reign of the next ruler, his son Dharasena III, north Gujarat was assimilated into the kingdom. Dharasena II was succeeded by another son of Kharagraha I, Dhruvasena II, Baladitya. He married the daughter of Harshavardhana and their son Dharasena IV assumed the imperial titles of Paramabhattaraka Mahrajadhiraja Parameshvara Chakravartin and Sanskrit poet Bhatti was his court poet. The next powerful ruler of this dynasty was Siladitya III. After him, Siladitya V ruled, and it is suspected that during his reign, there was an Arab Invasion. The last known ruler of the dynasty was Siladitya VII.[2][3]

The rule of the Maitrakas is believed to have ended during the second or third quarter of the eighth century when the Arabs invaded.[6][7]

Valabhi inscriptions

Evolution of Brahmi numerals from the time of Ashoka, including the numerals from the Valahbi inscriptions circa 600 CE.

Religious inscriptions are known from Valhabi, which were dedicated to the Brahmans as well as the Buddhist and Jains.[8] The Indologist Sylvain Lévi wrote an article entitled “Les donations religieuses des rois de Valhabi”.[9]

The numerals used in the Valhabi inscriptions and on their coins, dated to circa 600CE, are often mentioned as an intermediary step in the evolution of Hindu-Arabic numerals.

Vallabhi’s fall or Vallabhi Bhanga

Vallabhi have endured the various types of attacks during her existence due to its wealth and prosperity. It was an important trading port India where spices and other transshipments from other countries were being exported to the world. Wen Hindu kings attacked, they were only looking for submission, vassalage and agreed up on tributes. There was no organized burning and looting were attempted as that was not the norm of war. There are number of examples given here that there was no attempt of burning or looting.

1. When Iswaratta Abhira attacked Rudrasimha-1 , it seem the rulers were changed and there were no reports of destruction of property. We only know from coinage, but we have no details of tribute offered or given. Iswardatta was evicted by Nahapana’s successors from Ujjain to help Rudra Ditya simha-1 and he resumed his rule. Iswardatta was Abhira, a similar group. We do not know if this was brother quarrel.

2. Gaumtipura Satkarni squared off with Rudra Simha at least few times. One inscription indicates Rudra Simha won and he was given the daughter of Andhra to preserve the peace. This was upended by Gaumtipura Satkarni as per inscription at Ellora when he defeated Rudra Simha but Sakas kept the power.

3. Then came Rastrakutas Govinda and Harsha of Ujjain. It appeared that Harsha wanted to gobble up Maitrakas but Rastrakutas Govinda came and defeated Harsha, but it appears Guhasinh may have fallen off the horse or dislodge in a show of force and died. However, it must have been settled with short vassalage and tribute. Rastrakutas control started and ended in short period of time. Due to powershift, it appears that Harsha make the peace with Maitrakas by offering his daughter to Baladitya.

5. There is a reference of Jaina Tappagachha Pattavali for the destruction of Vallabhi and date cited as 245 BCE. According to above genealogy of Saka rulers, Maitraka’s genealogy was restated using Karttikadi Vikrama era of 721 BC or original Saka era of 583BC as per dated inscriptions of Chalukya and Rastrakutas. one can conclude that last saka ruler was defeated from Vallabhi, Saurashtra ( Ghazni or Gyani)  by Samudragupta and allies. Dr. Arya gives the date od Rudra Simha III ruling Vallabhipur around 273-246 BC. And Samudra Gupta’s date is 269-233 BCE. Both rulers may have known if Vallabhi was destroyed by someone.  Most likely

suspect here is either the date given by later writers of Pattavali is referring to Gupta era or Vallabhi era, but this date of Vallabhi Bhanga (destruction) does not reconcile with any of the old eras of bardic dynasty or Purana genealogy. Ancient History of Saurashtra by Virji states: ” the last known king of Maitrakas was Siladitya VI, the exact date and the event is still undetermined(Page 102), the various Jaina scriptures have given the dates of Vik 375,Vik 475, Vik 573, and Vik 845. The first three dates are out of question, the last date given by Jina Prabhasuri come close to the truth. Nevertheless, this too is unacceptable. Jinasuri wrote in Hari Vansa, that Maitraka were finished in saka samvant 705 ”  

The hypothesis advanced here is that when Abhira-Saka were defeated by Gupta, they may have employed “scorched earth policy” and destroyed and burned Vallabhi. We can conclude that as per chronology thus established by Dr. Arya and his statement that Maitraka’s were not there before Saka rulers were dislodged, so what Jaina is reporting as “Vallabhi Bhanga”. That means when Saka left, they purposely destroyed Vallabhi and made people flee to Somnath  Patan. There is an indication that Vijaysena Maitrakas first moved to Girinagar (Junagadh) and then Gupta’s viceroy help him rebuild Vallabhi. The interim Governor is mentioned above and may have ruled Vallabhi for a short time to purge all Saka elements. They were also called Tajjika from Al-Mansura or Tak-Shak of later days. Al-Biruni’s reference to attack on Vallabhi relates to Arab Muslim attack during Gurjara-Pratihara rule, when they sacked Bhriggu-Kachha and then Vallabhi. That could have happened during 7th through 8th century but Maitrakas were not there and Vallabhi was not rebuilt the way it was because the small Nala going north towards Virat Nagar (Viram Gaum) and Dholka was desiccated with sludge and so was Bhriggu kuccha .Due to various eras in play by various authors such as Vallabhi, Vikram, Saka, Vir(Jain) it is hard to establish with any accuracy of this particular event other than foreign sources who may obtain information from uninformed sources. Vallabhipur during saka period was known as Ghazni or Gyani.

Vijaysena did not control Saurashtra at all when he established first at Anant Nagar region but probably were ruling from North Gujarat. Equally interesting is the title of “Vallabha” often mentioned in Muslim chronicles and by Arab historians. Rastrakutas grant of Raja Govinda from Vadodara copper plate inscription mentions the capture of Vallabhi and mention the removal of saka prior to Gupta’s arrival. However, Saka may have returned like they did after Gaumtipura Satkarni victory over Saka. They will go to Multan (Al-Mansura) and come back when everything is clear. This clearly suggest that holding land remotely never was a good military option for ancient kings.


  1. ^ “Göttingische gelehrte Anzeigen: Unter Aufsicht d. Akademie der Wissenschaften”. 1839.
  2. Jump up to:a b Roychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, pp.553-4
  3. Jump up to:a b Mahajan V.D. (1960, reprint 2007). Ancient India, S.Chand & Company, New Delhi, ISBN 81-219-0887-6, pp.594-6
  4. ^ Monroe, Paul (28 August 2014). Paul Monroe’s encyclopaedia of history of education. p. 177. ISBN 9788177550917. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  5. ^ “Hiuen Tsang’s Gujarat travel: ‘Valabhi was at par with Nalanda’ – TOI Mobile”The Times of India Mobile Site. 14 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  6. ^ History and Culture of Indian People, Classical age, p 150, (Ed) Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr R. C. Majumdar.
  7. ^ Blankinship, Khalid Yahya (1994). The End of the Jihad State: The Reign of Hisham Ibn ‘Abd al-Malik and the Collapse of the Umayyads. SUNY Press. pp. 187–189. ISBN 978-0-7914-1827-7. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  8. ^ “M. Sylvain Levi (Les donations religieuses des rois de Valhabi) analyse, d’après les documents de l’époque, les donations faites, du VI au VIII siècle de notre ère, par les souverains de ce petit royaume bindou ou plutôt rajpoute, en faveur des communautés brahmaniques, bouddbiques et jainas, avec un éclectisme que Tauteur rappelle n’être pas rare dans l’Inde préislamique.” Revue de l’histoire des religions (in French). Presses Universitaires de France [etc.] 1896. p. 345.
  9. ^ Revue de l’histoire des religions (in French). Presses Universitaires de France [etc.] 1896. p. 345.
  10. ^ Smith, David Eugene; Karpinski, Louis Charles (1911). The Hindu-Arabic numerals. Boston, London, Ginn and Company. p. 25.