How Did the Rashtrakutas Become Powerful?
How Did the Rashtrakutas Become Powerful : It is no secret that the Rashtrakutas are considered to be one of the most powerful and influential groups of rulers in India. Their dynasty is renowned for its architectural and sculptural marvels. In addition, they were known for their ability to construct temples that exhibited their power and resources.
Influence of Jainism and Hinduism
Jainism and Hinduism were two of the most influential forces in shaping the history of the Rashtrakutas. This powerful dynasty came into existence in South India in the seventh century. They forged north to the Gangetic plains, where they fought against the Rajput Prathiharas of Gujarat.
The earliest native kingdoms to rule over a land with absolute autonomy were the Kadamba dynasty and the Western Ganga dynasty. In the eighth and ninth centuries, the latter established a kingdom in the Karnataka region. Later, the Kadamba dynasty adopted Jainism.
During the Rashtrakuta period, Kannada became a major literary language. Several of the court poets created eminent works in Sanskrit and prose. Some of these eloquent poems laid down the Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as stories of war and love.
A number of Jaina temples were constructed during this time. For example, a 60-foot statue of Gommateshwara was built by the Ganga minister Chavundaraya. Besides, a huge number of inscriptions from this period reveal grants to various Jaina communities.
Another prominent religious influence was Buddhism. Although Buddhism had been around for some time, it was gradually losing its importance. By the twelfth century, its decline was apparent. However, it was still an influential religion. Eventually, it disappeared from the Deccan.
Among the Jainas, Mahavira was a renunciant teacher. He was born in the Hemanagada country in the Kuntala region of modern Karnataka. He was the son of a chieftain of the Kshatriya warrior class. His disciples included eleven Brahmans. When he turned thirty, he renounced his princely status and became a renunciant. It is believed that he is the last teacher of the “right” faith.
After the fall of the Rashtrakutas, the Western Chalukya Empire took over. Among the Western Chalukya kings, Vatapi ruled over the region from 630 to 720. His victory over Harsha, lord paramount of the north, was notable. He repelled Harsha’s attack on his dominions ten years before.
The Rashtrakutas’ rule marked the end of classical Prakrit and Sanskrit literature. However, this was not the end of the Jaina presence in India.
Construction of temples to demonstrate power and resources
During the 8th century CE, the Rashtrakuta Dynasty ruled parts of South India. Its kingdom included parts of present day states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The Rashtrakutas were a Hindu dynasty which dominated the Deccan for nearly three centuries. They were a feudatory of the Western Chalukyas of Vatapi.
The rulers of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty were great patrons of learning. Sanskrit and Kannada literature developed greatly under their rule. Their subjects looked up to the emperor as their king, and to their rulers as their supreme authority.
The kings arranged for the construction of large temples to showcase their power and resources. Temples were built at Pattadakal and Ellora.
Aside from these, they also constructed a number of cave-shrines in Ellora and Elephanta. The cave-shrines of Ellora are known for their magnificent sculptures, and Sadashiva is a leading expert in these crafts.
Another great monument of the Rashtrakutas is the Elephanta cave-shrine. This monument features three faces of Lord Shiva. The earliest part of the temple is the garbhagriha.
When the population of the area increased, the temple boundary walls were added. Aside from this, the Rashtrakutas also created a number of rock-cut shrines. These were re-dedicated.
In addition, the Rashtrakutas were tolerant of all religions. They patronized the Buddhists and Jainas. The kings of the Rashtrakutas also had a large army. They crossed the Narmada River.
Several ruling dynasties emerged in different parts of the subcontinent. While the Cholas and Pallavas reigned in southern India, the Rashtrakutas ruled from the Northern Deccan.
Eventually, the dynasty broke up in the 14th century. However, the region of Kanauj continued to be a prized part of the Ganga valley. Three dynasties fought for control of the area. One of the kings, Dhuva, was the first Deccan king to claim control of the city.
Many historians believe that the Rashtrakutas were the direct ancestors of the modern Kannadas. According to historians, Sri Vijaya was one of the court poets of Amoghavarsha I. His writings were published under the title Kavirajamarga.
Although the dynasty was overthrown, it left a deep impression in the fields of art and architecture. The Kailasa temple, situated in Ellora, is the largest rock-cut Hindu temple.
Influence of Chalukyas of Karnataka
The history of Karnataka is largely shaped by the dynasties that ruled it. The most famous dynasty was the Badami Chalukyas. They ruled the state of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, a region that was also governed by the Rashtrakutas. This dynasty is considered one of the most powerful in Indian history.
Badami Chalukyas were descendants of Kadambas, a kingdom that ruled the state of Karnataka for more than 200 years. Their capital was at Vatapi. During their rule, the Badamis were constantly in struggle with the Pallavas of Kanchipuram. It is a well-known fact that the Badami Chalukyas contributed immensely to the architecture and language of India.
Eventually, the Badami Chalukyas were conquered by the Rashtrakutas. Dhantidurga, a king of the Rashtrakutas, was a former vassal of the Chalukyas. He later overthrew the overlord and established the Rashtrakuta dynasty. After a short stint as a king, Dhantidurga began exerting his influence through military aggression.
In the eighth century, Dhantidurga’s son Krishna took the throne. The next few centuries saw the dynasty gaining more and more power. During this time, the Chalukyas also ascended the political sphere. Many of their temples were built in sand stone.
Several debatable theories exist about the origin of the Chalukyas. Some say they were local Kanarese people, while others suggest they were part of the Gurjara tribes. Others argue that the Chalukyas improvised into a kingdom under the influence of Brahmans. However, no conclusive evidence has been gathered.
The earliest dynasty of the Chalukyas was the Badami Chalukyas. These dynasty ruled over parts of the state of Karnataka, and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. During their rule, the Badami Chalukyas forged the Telugu language, and influenced the development of architecture and other areas of culture. During the reign of Pulakesi II, the dynasty became powerful. Eventually, they ruled over the majority of Karnataka.
Although the Rashtrakuta dynasty was a continuation of the traditions of the Badami Chalukyas, it had a very different approach. Dhantidurga and the other kings of the Rashtrakutas performed religious rituals to become kshatriyas. One of these rituals was the Hiranya-Garbha. A sacrifice of an animal was made as part of this ritual, and a reincarnated kshatriya was believed to emerge from it.
Famous for their architectural and sculptural marvels
The Rashtrakuta dynasty was one of the most important and powerful Dynasties in South India in the 8th to 10th century CE. They ruled large parts of the Indian subcontinent and influenced the culture and art of the region. Among their architectural and sculptural contributions are the Ellora Caves and the Kailasa Temple in Ellora.
These rock-cut cave temples, built in the first half of the sixth century, show the contributions of the Rashtrakutas to the architecture of the subcontinent. Their architectural works are based on a combination of Dravidian and Chalukya styles. There are 34 caves at the Ellora site. Some of these are Buddhist while others are Hindu and Jain.
The Rashtrakutas’ creative genius can be seen in their sculptures. In the Kailasa temple, for instance, the walls are covered with a variety of Hindu mythology sculptures. On the wall of the right aisle, the assault of Mara is depicted. Its other features are the Shiva sculptures and the statue of the Goddess Durga slaying a buffalo demon.
A similar style of sculptural work can be seen in the Dashavatara Cave. The cave has many well-carved sculptures, including the inscription of Dantidurga, a kshatriya and uncle of Krishna I. During his reign, Dantidurga performed a hiranya-garbha ritual that was thought to lead to the rebirth of the kshatriyas.
Another example of this semblance of creativity can be seen in the Kalleshwara Temple at Bagali, which was constructed by the Rashtrakutas. The temple’s open mantapa is built in the Western Chalukya style. This is a beautiful blend of both Eastern and Western architecture.
The Kalyani Chalukyas were among the first to use soap-stone for construction purposes. Similarly, the Hoysalas were also very adept at the use of soap-stone. Both the Rashtrakuta and Hoysala dynasties had a profound effect on the art and architecture of the subcontinent.
The Kailasa temple is the most impressive of all the rock-cut temples in the subcontinent. It is believed that it was built in stages. The central portion was built by Krishna I while the rest was attributed to later rulers.