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Chalukya Kingdom of Gujarat

The Chalukya dynasty was a Gurjar dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the “Badami Chalukyas”, ruled from Vatapi (modern Badami) from the middle of the 6th century. The Badami Chalukyas began to assert their independence at the decline of the Kadamba kingdom of Banavasi and rapidly rose to prominence during the reign of Pulakeshin II. After the death of Pulakeshin II, the Eastern Chalukyas became an independent kingdom in the eastern Deccan. They ruled from Vengi until about the 11th century. In the western Deccan, the rise of the Rashtrakutas in the middle of the 8th century eclipsed the Chalukyas of Badami before being revived by their descendants, the Western Chalukyas, in the late 10th century. These Western Chalukyas ruled from Kalyani (modern Basavakalyan) until the end of the 12th century.

The rule of the Chalukyas marks an important milestone in the history of South India and a golden age in the history of Karnataka. The political atmosphere in South India shifted from smaller kingdoms to large empires with the ascendancy of Badami Chalukyas. A Southern India-based kingdom took control and consolidated the entire region between the Kaveri and the Narmada rivers. The rise of this empire saw the birth of efficient administration, overseas trade and commerce and the development of new style of architecture called “Chalukyan architecture”. Kannada literature, which had enjoyed royal support in the 9th century Rashtrakuta court found eager patronage from the Western Chalukyas in the Jain and Veerashaiva traditions. The 11th century saw the patronage of Telugu literature under the Eastern Chalukyas.

The earliest writer on the Solaṅkis, the learned Jain priest Hemachandra (a.d. 1089–1173), in his work called the Dvyáśraya, has given a fairly full and correct account of the dynasty up to Siddharája (a.d. 1143). The work is said to have been begun by Hemachandra about a.d. 1160, and to have been finished and revised by another Jain monk named Abhayatilakagaṇi in a.d. 1255. The last chapter which is in Prakrit deals solely with king Kumárapála. This work is a grammar rather than a chronicle, still, though it has little reference to dates, it is a good collection of tales and descriptions. For chronology the best guide is the Vicháraśreṇi which its author has taken pains to make the chief authority in dates. The Vicháraśreṇi was written by Merutuṇga about a.d. 1314, some time after he wrote the Prabandhachintámaṇi.

According to the Vicháraśreṇi after the Chávaḍás, in a.d. 961 (Vaishakh Suddha 1017), began the reign of Múlarája the son of a daughter of the last Chávaḍá ruler.

Chamundaraja’s other son Durlabharaja became the next king in c. 1008 CE. He invaded the Lata region, and defeated the Lata Chalukya ruler Kirtiraja (or Kirtipala), who was a vassal of the Kalyani Chalukyas. However, Kirtiraja regained control of the region within a short time, before being defeated by the Paramara king Bhoja. .

List of rulers

The Chalukya rulers of Gujarat, with approximate dates of reign, are as follows.

  • Mularaja (c. 940 – c. 995)
  • Chamundaraja (c. 996 – c. 1008)
  • Vallabharaja (c. 1008)
  • Durlabharaja (c. 1008 – c. 1022)
  • Bhima I (c. 1022 – c. 1064)
  • Karna (c. 1064 – c. 1092)
  • Jayasimha Siddharaja (c. 1092 – c. 1142)
  • Kumarapala (c. 1142 – c. 1171)
  • Ajayapala (c. 1171 – c. 1175)
  • Mularaja II (c. 1175 – c. 1178)
  • Bhima II (c. 1178 – c. 1240)
  • Tribhuvanapala (c. 1240 – c. 1244)

Neighbouring rivalries

Durlabharaja was succeeded by his nephew Bhima I, who faced an invasion from the Ghaznavid ruler Mahmud during 1024-1025 CE. Bhima fled to Kanthkot, as Mahmud entered the Chaulukya territory unopposed and sacked the Somnath temple. After Mahmud’s departure, Bhima restored the Chaulukya rule. He crushed revolts by the Paramara chiefs of Arbuda, who used to serve as Chaulukya vassals. Bhima also defeated and imprisoned Krishnadeva, a ruler of the Paramara branch of Bhinmal. He unsuccessfully fought against the Naddula Chahamana ruler Anahilla. Anahilla’s sons Balaprasada and Jendraraja defeated Bhima and forced him to release Krishnadeva.Later legendary accounts credit Bhima with a victory against Hammuka, a ruler of Sindh, although the accuracy of this claim is not certain.

Semi-legendary accounts suggest that Bhima formed an alliance with the Kalachuri king Lakshmi-Karna, and the two played an important role in the downfall of the Paramara king Bhoja around 1055 CE. According to the 14th century chronicler Merutunga, Bhima and Lakshmi-Karna invaded Bhoja’s kingdom of Malwa from two opposite directions, and Bhoja died of a disease during this invasion. Some Chaulukya chroniclers boast that Bhima annexed Bhoja’s capital Dhara or that he captured Bhoja alive, but these claims are not corroborated by historical evidence. After Bhoja’s death, a rivalry developed between the Bhima and Lakshmi-Karna over sharing the spoils of their victory.

Bhima’s son Karna succeeded him around 1064 CE. Bhoja’s brother Udayaditya, supported by the Shakambhari Chahamana king Vigraharaja III, forced Karna to retreat from Malwa. Meanwhile, the Kalachuris managed to capture the Lata region. By 1074 CE, Karna evicted the Kalachuris from Lata, and annexed the region to the Chaulukya kingdom, before losing it to one Trivikramapala within three years.

The Naddula Chahamana ruler Prithvipala defeated Karna, and his successor Jojalladeva occupied the Chaulukya capital Anahilapataka, possibly when Karna was busy at another place. The Shakambhari Chahamana king Durlabharaja III also appears to have achieved some military success against Karna, although the Chahamana descriptions of this victory are highly exaggerated. According to legendary chronicles, Karna also defeated Bhil and Koli tribals, who used to raid the Chaulukya territories. He established a city called Karnavati after defeating a Bhil chief named Asha (Āśā). Karnavati is identified with modern Ahmedabad by some, but this is not certain.

Imperial expansion

Karna’s son Jayasimha Siddharaja (r. c. 1092–1142 CE) greatly expanded the Chaulukya power. He defeated Khangara alias Navaghana, the Chudasama king of Saurashtra. The Naddula Chahamana ruler Asharaja, who had been dethroned by his rival Ratnapala, became a vassal of Jayasimha sometime before 1143 CE.

Jayasimha defeated the Shakambhari Chahamana ruler Arnoraja. Later, however, Jayasimha accepted Arnoraja as an ally, and the Chahamana ruler married Jayasimha’s daughter Kanchanadevi.The couple’s son (and thus Jayasimha’s grandson) Someshvara, was brought up at the Chaulukya court. Someshvara’s sons Prithviraja III (better known as Prithviraj Chauhan) and Hariraja were also born in Gujarat.

During the 1135-1136 CE, Jayasimha annexed the Paramara kingdom of Malwa, with support from Asharaja and Arnoraja. The Paramara kings defeated by him were Naravarman and his successor Yashovarman. Jayasimha continued his eastward march, and reached as far as the Chandela kingdom ruled by Madanavarman. The Chaulukya-Chandela conflict was inconclusive, with both the sides claiming victory. Jayasimha also defeated several minor rulers, including Sindhuraja, who was probably a Soomra king of Sindh.

Jayasimha was succeeded by his relative Kumarapala, who spent his early life in exile to avoid persecution by Jayasimha. After Jayasimha’s death, Kumarapala came back to the Chaulukya capital and ascended the throne in 1043 CE, with help of his brother-in-law Kanhadadeva. Arnoraja opposed Kumarapala’s ascension to the throne, but Kumarapala defeated him decisively. Kumarapala seems to have helped Asharaja’s son Katukaraja capture the throne of Naddula.[66] Katukaraja’s younger brother and successor Alhanadeva continued to rule as Kumarapala’s vassal. Arnoraja’s son Vigraharaja IV subdued Kumarapala’s Chahamana feudatories at Naddula. The Shakambhari Chahamana-Chaulukya relations seem to have become more cordial when Arnoraja’s son (and Jayasimha’s grandson) Someshvara became the Chahamana king in later years, possibly with support from Kumarapala.

After Jayasimha’s death, the Paramara king Jayavarman I regained control of Malwa, but he was soon dethroned by an usurper named Ballala. Kumarapala captured Malwa from Ballala, who was killed by Kumarapala’s Arbuda Paramara feudatory Yashodhavala in a battle. Kumarapala subdued a rebellion by his vassal Vikramasimha, a Paramara chief of Arbuda.The Paramara branch at Kiradu continued to acknowledge Kumarapala’s suzerainty.

In the early 1160s, Kumarapala sent an army against Mallikarjuna, the Shilahara king of northern Konkana. This campaign was probably triggered by a Shilahara raid in southern Gujarat, and ended with Mallikarjuna’s death.Kumarapala’s Naddula Chahamana feudatory Alhana put down disturbances in Saurashtra at Kumarapala’s request.

Historical evidence suggests that Kumarapala’s empire extended from Chittor and Jaisalmer in the north to the Vindhyas and the Tapti river in the south (ignoring his raid of the Shilahara kingdom of northern Konkana). In the west, it included Kachchha and Saurashtra; in the east, it extended up to at least Vidisha (Bhilsa).

Kumarapala was succeeded by Ajayapala, who retained Kumarapala’s territories, but died after a short reign. Ajayapala’s young sons Mularaja II and Bhima II succeeded him one after other. During this period, the Ghurid king Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Chaulukya kingdom in 1178 CE. In the ensuing battle at Kasahrada (or Kayadara), Muhammad was defeated by a large army, which included loyal Chaulukya feudatories such as the Naddula Chahamana ruler Kelhanadeva, the Jalor Chahamana ruler Kirtipala, and the Arbuda Paramara ruler Dharavarsha.


See article: Māru-Gurjara architecture

Māru-Gurjara architecture, or “Solaṅkī style”, is a style of north Indian temple architecture that originated in Gujarat and Rajasthan from the 11th to 13th centuries, under the Chaulukya dynasty (or Solaṅkī dynasty). Although originating as a regional style in Hindu temple architecture, it became especially popular in Jain temples and, mainly under Jain patronage, later spread across India and to diaspora communities around the world.

Sun Temple, Modhera, constructed by Bhima I
Taranga Jain temple, constructed by Kumarapala
Kiradu temples, constructed by Chaulukya feudatories


Most of the dynasty’s rulers were Shaivaite, although they also patronized Jainism.The dynasty’s founder Mularaja is said to have built Mulavasatika temple for Digambara Jains and the Mulanatha-Jinadeva temple for the Svetambara Jains. The earliest of the Dilwara Temples and the Modhera Sun Temple were constructed during the reign of Bhima I. According to popular tradition, his queen Udayamati also commissioned the Queen’s step-well.[94] Kumarapala started patronizing Jainism at some point in his life, and the subsequent Jain accounts portray him as the last great royal patron of Jainism. The Chaulukya rulers also endowed mosques to maintain good relationship with the Muslim traders.

The Badami Chalukyas minted coins that were of a different standard compared to the coins of the northern kingdoms. The coins had Nagari and Kannada legends. The coins of Mangalesha had the symbol of a temple on the obverse and a ‘sceptre between lamps’ or a temple on the reverse. Pulakeshin II’s coins had a caparisoned lion facing right on the obverse and a temple on the reverse. The coins weighed 4 grams and were called, in old-Kannada, hun (or honnu) and had fractions such as fana (or fanam) and the quarter fana (the modern day Kannada equivalent being hana – which literally means “money”). A gold coin called gadyana is mentioned in a record at the Vijayeshwara Temple at Pattadakal, which later came to be known as varaha (their royal emblem of all Gurjar kingdoms including Pratihar and Hunas).


A Chaulukya-Paramara coin, circa 950-1050 CE. Stylized rendition of Chavda dynasty coins: Indo-Sassanian style bust right; pellets and ornaments around / Stylised fire altar; pellets around.
Coin of the Chaulukyas of Anahillapataka, King Kumarapala, c. 1145 – c. 1171


Taking advantage of the young age of Bhima II, some provincial governors rebelled against him in order to establish independent states. His loyal Vaghela feudatory Arnoraja came to his rescue, and died fighting the rebels. Arnoraja’s descendants Lavanaprasada and Viradhavala became powerful during Bhima’s reign.

During Bhima’s reign, the Hoysala ruler Veera Ballala II seems to have raided the Lata region. The Yadava ruler Bhillama V also invaded Gujarat, but was forced to retreat by Bhima’s feudatory Kelhanadeva. The Shakambhari Chahamana king Prithviraja III also fought with the Chaulukyas, but Bhima’s general Jagaddeva managed to conclude a peace treaty with Prithviraja sometime before 1187 CE.

By the mid-1190s CE, the Ghurids defeated the Prithviraja and the other major Hindu kings of northern India. On 4 February 1197 CE, the Ghurid general Qutb al-Din Aibak invaded Bhima’s capital Anahilapataka, and inflicted a massive defeat on the Chaulukyas. Bhima’s generals Lavanaprasada and Shridhara later forced the Ghurids to retreat, and the capital was back under the Chaulukya rule by 1201 CE.

Subhatavarman, the Paramara king of Malwa, invaded the Lata region around 1204 CE, taking advantage of the turmoil caused by the Ghurid invasions. He probably also sacked the Chaulukya capital Anahilapataka. Once again, Lavanaprasada and Shridhara saved the kingdom by forcing Subhatavarman to retreat. During 1205-1210 CE, Bhima’s relative Jayantasimha (or Jayasimha) usurped the throne. In the early 1210s, Subhatavarman’s successor Arjunavarman defeated Jayantasimha, and later established a matrimonial alliance with him. Bhima managed to regain control of the throne during 1223-1226 CE.

Meanwhile, the Yadavas invaded the southern part of the Chaulukya kingdom, led by Bhillama’s successors Jaitugi and Simhana. During these invasions, the Chaulukya feudatories in the northern region of Marwar rebelled. Lavanaprasada and Viradhavala warded off the Yadava invasions, and also subdued the rebellions. The Guhilas of Medapata (Guhilots of Mewar) also rebelled against Bhima sometime between 1207-1227 CE, and declared their independence.

By the end of Bhima’s reign, Lavanaprasada and Viradhavala assumed regal titles such as Maharajadhiraja (“king of great kings”) and Maharaja (“great king”). However, the two continued to nominally acknowledge Bhima (and his successor Tribhuvanapala) as their overlord. After Tribhuvanapala, they seized the throne, establishing the Vaghela dynasty.

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