Orissa News

Nothing in definite is known about Orissa after this time as her history was lost in obscurity for some time. There is however consensus among historians about a foreign power called Murundas who were able to bring her into their dominance at this period of time. Mahrarja Rajadhiraja Dharmadamadhara whose gold coin was found from Sisupalgarh excavation is considered as a Jaina king from Murunda family that ruled over parts of Bihar and Orissa. The Bhadrak stone inscription of Maharaja Ganabhadra datable to the third century A.D. also indicates the rule of the Murundas in Orissa.

The Murundas of Kalinga and Kushanas of northern India were ousted from power by the Naga dynasties. Consequently Samudragupta crushed the Naga power in Aryavarta wars and was able to acquire suzerainty over northern India in place of the Nagas.

The Guptas

Samudra Gupta


Around 350 A.D., Samudragupta led his South India campaigns. Kalinga was then divided into four principalities viz. Kottura, Erandapalla, Devarastra and Pistapura. Kottura has been identified with modern Kathoor, about 12 kms to the south of Mahendra hill. Erandapalla has been identified with modern Erandapalli of Srikakulam district, Devarashtra with Yellamachili of Visakhapatna district and Pistapura has been identified with Pithapuram of Godavari district. Samudragupta annexed all these into his kingdom. He is also known to have defeated king Mahendra of South Kosala and following the course of the Mahanadi, the king of Kosala Mantaraja and Vyagharaja of Kantara. Further down south he is known to have defeated king Swamidutta of Kuttura, king Kuvera of Devarastra. Soon after the military campaign of Samudragupt, the Matharas rose to power in the coastal belt of Orissa with their epicenter in and around Mahendragiri, and the Nalas rose to power in Bastar-Koraput and Kalahandi region.

The Matharas

The earliest known Mathara king was Vishakavarman who started his politial career as a humble ruler of a small territory round Parlakhemundi. He was succeeded by Umavarman. A powerful king with great abilities, Umavarman was able to establish his supremacy over the region by his 30th year in power by declaring himself as the Lord of Kalinga and shifting the capital to Singhapura. He ruled for about 35 years and was succeeded by Sankaravarman in about 395 A.D. After his death Maharaja Shaktivarman took over the reins in about 400 A.D. He was instrumental in extending the kingdoms frontier from Mahanadi in the north to the river Krishna in the south. He transferred his capital from Singhapura to Pishtapura in South Kalinga. After his death in 420A.D, he was succeeded by his son Anantasaktivarman who ruled up to 450 A.D.

His rule is set with troublesome period as he could not provide the same degree of efficiency as inherited from his father. Further the king of Vishnukundin Madhavavarman, occupied South Kalinga which forced him to shift his capital from Pishtapura to Singhapura.

Anantasaktivarman was succeeded by his son Chandravarman However a premature death had Anantasaktivarman’s brother Prabhanjanavarman, establish as the King. Prabhanjanavarman attempted to recover South Kalinga without success. Consequent to his rule, the Maththra power started declining and by the year 498 A.D they were completely wiped out.

Rule of The East Gangas

Indravarman I established the Ganga dynasty in Orissa by defeating King Indrabhattaaka of Vishnukandin. He made Dantapura his capital city. His period of rule between 498 A.D. to 562 A.D, is said to have been one of the most prosperous periods in the history of Orissa. Samantavarman succeeded him in the year 562 A.D. Next to follow him was Hastivarman who assumed the title of “Lord of all Kalingas” (sakala Kalinga) and transferred his capital from Dantapura to Kalinganagar.

The following is a list of all kings of the East Ganga’s

  • Indravarman I
  • Samantavarman
  • Hastivarman
  • Indravarman II
  • Indravarmanan III
  • Devendravarman
  • Hemantavarman I
  • Nandavarman
  • Devendravarman II
  • Anantavarman
  • Devendravarman III
  • Anantavarman III
  • Rajendravarman II
  • Devendravarman IV
  • Satyavarman
  • Anantavarman IV
  • Maharaja Bhupendravarman
  • Anantavarman V
  • Devendravarman V

The rule of the first group of Ganga kings ended with Devendravarman V in the year 895 A.D. The account of the second group is known from the copper plate grants of Vajrahasta V. The rule of the second group of the Ganga dynasty ended in the year 1038 A.D after Vajrahasta V.

The genealogy of the second group is mentioned below:

  • Gunamaharnava
  • Vajrahasta III ruled for 44 years
  • Gundama I 3 years
  • Kamarnava I 35 years
  • Vinayaditya (30 years)
  • Vajrahasta IV also called Aniankabhima (Anangabhima I) – 35 years
  • Kamarnava half a year
  • Gundama II (3 years)
  • Madhukamarnava 19 years
  • Vajrahasta V came to the throne in Saka year 960 (1038 A.D.)


The Nalas

Before the rise of the Eastern Gangs the Nala dynasty had established a kingdom in Trikalinga region comprising parts of the modern districts of Bastar, Koraput and Kalahandi. The capital of the kingdom of the Nalas was at Pushkarit, close to the site of Podagarh in Koraput district.