Sunday, June 6, 2010

THE RASHTRAKUTAS

Overview
  • The Rashtrakutas ruled large parts of southern and central India from the 6th to the 10th centuries CE
  • The Rashtrakutas emerged as a power after overthrowing the Chalukya Kiritivarman II in c. 753 CE
  • The Rashtrakutas were based around the Gulbarga region of modern Karnataka
  • The capital city of the Rashtrakutas was Manykheta (Karnataka)
  • The Rashtrakutas were in continuous conflict with the Palas and the Pratiharas for more than two centuries
Extent and lineage
The Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora, built by the Rashtrakuta king 
Krishna I
The Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora, built by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I

  • The Rashtrakuta dynasty was established by Dantidurga who overthrew the Chalukyas in 753 CE
  • At the height of their power, the Rashtrakutas kingdom included all of Karnataka and Maharashtra and parts of Andhra Pradesh
  • The most important kings of the Rashtrakutas were Dhruva Dharavarsha (780-793 CE), Govinda III (793-814 CE) and Amogavarsha (800-878 CE)
Administration, economy and society

  • The Rashtrakutas issued coins in silver and gold
  • The various currency denominations were Suvarnas (silver) and Drammas (gold) weighing 65 grains, Kalanju (48 grains), Gadyanaka (96 grains), Kasu (15 grains), Manjati (2.5 grains) and Akkam (1.25 grains)
Literature

  • Kannada literature attained prominence and importance during the reign of the Rashtrakutas
  • Kavirajamarga by king Amogavarsha is the earliest available literary work in Kannada. Amoghavarsha also wrote the Prashnottara Ratnamalika, a religious work in Sanskrit
  • Adipurana, a life history of the first Jain Tirthankara Rishabadeva in Kannada, was written by Pampa (c. 950 CE). Pampa also wrote the Vikaramarjuna Vijaya, based on the Mahabharata story. Pampa is recognised as one of the most famous Kannada writers
  • Another Jain writer, Sri Ponna, wrote the history of the 16th Jain Tirthankara Shantinatha, entitled Shantipurana. His other writings in Kannada included Bhuvanaika-Karamabhyudaya, Jinaksaramale and Gataprataigata
  • Trikrama (c. 915 CE) wrote the Nalachampu, Damayanthi Katha and Madalaschampu in Kannada
Art and Architecture
  • The Kailasanatha Temple at Ellora (Maharashtra) was constructed by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (c. 8th century CE). The Kailasanatha Temple was carved out of a single rock, and is known for its vertical excavation i.e. it was carved starting from the top and proceeding downwards. The Kailasantha Temple is considered to be the pinnacle of Rashtrakuta architecture
  • The Rashtrakutas also built some of the sculptures at the Elephanta Caves near Mumbai
  • Other famous Rashtrakuta architecture include the Kasiviswanatha Temple and Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal, Karnataka and the Navalinga Temple at Kuknur, Karnataka
  • The architectural style used by the Rashtrakutas was primarily Dravidian
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