Friday, 6 October 2017

Palnati Vira Charithra - The Story of Palnadu War at Karempudi

Participants of Palnadu War - 1 (Chagi Potaraju)

Gudimetta village comes alive with Chagi discovery (

About 14 kilometres away from Nandigama in Krishna district is Gudimetta, a nondescript village on the banks of river Krishna. The village where the residents now predominantly depend on agriculture has a historical significance. But much to the chagrin of historians and heritage conservators, the area has been at the receiving end of utter neglect of the officials.

The village once served as the capital of Chagi dynasty during 11th and 13th centuries, a fact which many of the residents are unaware of. Not just the remains of Chagis, those of Kakatiyas and Vijayanagara dynasties which date back to 13th and 16th centuries respectively are also a common sight.

It is said that Chagi Potaraju (1150-1182 AD) fortified Gudimetta and fought in the Palnadu war. After the Chagis, the area was annexed by the Kakatiyas as attested by the Visweswara temple built in typical Kakatiya style, which was dismantled and reconstructed recently.

Explorations in the area have often revealed interesting information pertaining to the historicity of the place. "Most of the villages in Nandigama region are replete with ancient temples, sculptures, inscriptions and other heritage structures which are at least a 1,000-year-old," said E Sivanagi Reddy, archaeologist and sculptor.

In an exploration held on Thursday too, Sivanagi Reddy, who is also chief executive officer of Cultural Centre of Vijayawada and Amaravati (CCAV), spotted stone sculptures and inscrptions belonging to Chagi chiefs and Kakatiyas on the outskirts of the village.
"We identified Kakatiya sculptures called 'Saptamatrika' and 'Bhairava'. While the former is carved on black granite, the latter is carved on a temple model in a 'tribhanga' pose. Both these sculptures testify the Kakatiya occupation of this area," Sivanagi Reddy explained.

These sculptures are also attested by inscription found in a local mosque which dates back 1268 AD during the regnal period of Rudramadevi. The inscription recorded donations made by the rulers to the Viswanatha temple.

A total of two temples, 25 sculptures, including Mahishasuramardini, Ganesa, Shanmuka, Nagadevatas, Anjaneya and three inscriptions were spotted in neglect in the exploration. All these date back to period between 11th and 18th centuries.

Another interesting fact pertaining to the village is that the British had documented the presence of the sculptures and inscriptions in 1870s. It is said that Robert Sewell, who was a civil servant and historian during Madras colonial rule, visited the place and reported the presence of the historical relics. Later, when Gordon McKenzie, the collector of Krishna district during 1880s, documented the history of Krishna district, he included the details in the manual he drafted.

When enquired with the locals, they said they were unaware of the fact that their village played an important role in the history. "Even though we often read that relics are often found in the village in newspapers, we are not aware of the significance of our village," said P Nageswara Rao, a retired lecturer.

Historians claimed that the historicity of the village dates back to 11th to 18th century AD, but has been neglected. "Even though the government and archaeology department area aware of the presence of the historical elements, they have been neglected. That is the reason we held the exploration so that the contemporary generations, which are completely unaware of the heritage, will know its importance," Sivanagi Reddy said.

He called for the protection and preservation of the heritage structures.

Interestingly, the exploration of CCAV has resulted in the discovery of a copper coin belonging to Qutb Shahi dating back to the period between to 11th - 13th century, attesting the fact that the region was under the rule of Qutb Shahis.
Sivanagi Reddy along with secretary of Vijayawada Buddha Vihara Subhakar Medasani, under 'preserve the heritage for posterity' campaign, interacted with the villagers and sensitised them about the heritage of the village.

Who is Chagi Potaraju ?

Pota 1 (1161-1190 A.D.) His daughter Prolama Devi was married of to the Natavadis. He was an ally of the Palnadu Haihayas, participated in the civil war and battle at Karempudi (1178-1186) on the side of the elder line Nalakama. One version of Palnati Vira Charitra mentions that Sagi Potamaraju, minister Satya, Gundamadeva, and Gobburaju and others came with a vast infantry, (288,000) to join Nalakama in the war. Sagipota is king Pota 1. He must have met Choda II and Gonka III, Kota Bhima II and Keta II, Natavadi Durga and the Kakatiya armies as allies. Pota I survive the Karempudi battle which is evident from the fact that his inscriptions range up to A.D. 1190.

Who are Chagis ?

The Chagi dynasty owed nominal allegiance to the Cholas, the Kakatiyas and the Gajapatis. The rulers were warriors and administrators and de facto independent rulers. Their kingdom was fairly large and made significant political achievements compared to other dynasties in Vengi at the time. They had their own coinage and contracted diplomatic alliances of marriage with the Kakatiyas and the Kondapadamati chiefs of Durjaya clan, Haihayas of Palnadu and the Telugu Cholas.

Aftermath of Palnadu War.

The Kakatiya contemporary of Chagi Pota was Ganapati. The Palnad war which affected adversely the kingdoms in Vengi was followed by Rudra I’s invasion of Vengi. Ganapati continued Rudra’s policy of expeditions and conquests. The Kakatiya influence in Vengi was growing steadily though perhaps imperceptibly. From one of the last inscriptions dated A.D. 1230 of Pota 11 and Ganapaya, it is clear that a servant of Somaya Sahini made gifts the very next year in A.D. 1231 at Navabpet.This is an unmistakable sign of Kakatiya encroachment into Chagi kingdom for Somaya Sahini was none other than a general of Ganapati. There is no evidence showing either Pota’s opposition or submission to the invader. Joint rule with Ganapaya was a precautionary measure against the Kakatiya inroads.

Velanati Chola of Tsandavole:

The Haihayas must have continued their subordination to Gonka III as they did to Choda II. The Civil War in Palnad between Nalagama and his cousins lasted from A.D, 1176 to 1182. No doubt this war absorbed Gonka’s attention and affected the resources of his kingdom and encouraged Rudradeva of the Kakatiyas to invade Velanandu towards the close of Gonka Ill’s reign.

Bhima of Kota (BHIMA II AD 1156-1188):

The Haihaya ruler in Palnad was Nalagama in this period. The civil war between him and his step brothers lasted from A.D. 1178 to 1185. Bhima and his son sided Nalagama in this war. Probably reason for this was that Bhima was related to Velanandu Choda II and Gonka III, who were related, in their turn, to Nalagama. The Kotas and the Haihayas were political allies. For, Bhima was one of the kings to whom. Invitations were sent by Nalagama to come and join him at Kerempudi with their armies.Bhima promptly responded by sending armies under the lead of prince Kota. Kota was one of the ambassadors sent by Nalagama to Pedamallideva, Bhima does not seem to have survived die battle of Karempudi.

The Telugu Chola contemporaries of Bhima were Nanni Choda II (A.D. 1151-1160) and Kamana Choda (A.D. 1160- 1187) at Kondidena Somes vara (A.D. 1157 and Mallideva III AD 1157) and Mallideva IV at Pottapi, and M.P. C. Siddha (A.D. 1175-1192) at Nellore.

The Chola emperors in this period were Rajaraja II (A.D. 1150-1163) and Rajadhiraja II (A.D. 1163-1179).

Bhima*s allegiance to the Cholas is evidenced from his inscriptions. His earliest record mentions Rajendra chola probably identical with Rajaraja II. The Kaifiyat of Pedaganjam mentions that “Kota Bhima ruled over those parts but his kingdom was conquered by Kulottunga Chola. Kulottunga was probably Kulottunga III whose rule began in A.D. 1178. Much value may be attached to this invasion of Kulottunga into the Kota territories as it is supported by inscriptions. Probably Bhima rebelled and was subdued by Kulottunga II and remained to the Cholas for the rest of his reign. His loyalty to the Cholas is attested by his title — Chodakatasamantabenkolva.

War at Karempudi (Palnadu War)

The chronicle of Palnadu enumerates the names of many chiefs who participated in the battle, the identity of some of whom South Indian History enable us to arrive at the date of the battle approximately. On Mallideva’s side were Komma, father of Alaraju, Attararajulu, kings of solar race, and several subordinate chiefs whose family names are enumerated in Viracharitra.

Nalakama is said to have sent letters to many kings asking them to come and join him in the war with their armies to which most of them responded. Among them were Velanantichoda II, Bhima II of Dharanikota,ruler of Solanki, Uragasena — probably a Naga chieftain, Erukukama, the ruler of the seven mades (?), kings of Ponnalla, Prodole, Katakadhipati i.e. Balodeva Purushottaman ruler of Orissa, Kalavaraya, Telugu princes of Devadri, king Pedabaha, Bhimasena, the Chola prince Suryakumara, Jayadeva, Jayasinga, ruler of Chandrdavi, Viraballana i.e. Hoysala Virabellala II (A.D. 1173 — 1220), Aravasinga, rulers of Kahnata and Balgala and Sagi Potaraja of Gudimetta, Komma was the son of Sovideva (A.D. 1167 — 76) of the Kalachuryas, Prataparudra
is Rudra I of the Kakatiyas. Besides these, Kotaketa, son of Bhima II, Gonka III, son of Choda II participated in the battle at Karempudi and Rudradeva invaded Vengi in A.D. 1186.

Nalakama’s armies were commanded by his brother Narasiraha and Pedaraalli’s by Balachandra, son of Brahma. The battle lasted for three days. Viracharitra describes the battle in its successive stages most graphically and the hero was Balachandra. On Balachandra’s death the command of Mallideva’s armies was assumed by Kalachuri Komma on the third day and he too was slain.

The civil war in Palnad and the Karampudi battle resulted in the immediate destruction of the wealth of the country in men and money. The Haihaya kingdom in Palnad ended thus though the heroes of war are immortalised in the minds of the masses, in literature and architecture of the country and were deified in course of time This war, hastened the fall of the Velanandu kingdom and other minor powers in Vengi and brought in its train the invasion of Rudradeva in A.D. 1186.


The History of Andhra Country (1000 A.D. to 1500 A.D.) by Yashoda Devi.


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