Orissa News

Following the death of Kulattunga in 1118 A.D., the power of the Chodas began to decline. Subsequently ChodaGanga Dev annexed Vengi and Utkal to his empire. By this time the kingdom extended from Ganga in the north to the Godavari in the south. After the occupation of Utkal, Chodagangadeva went heads on with the powerful Kalachuri king-Jajalladeva whose kingdom extended from Suvarnapura of South Kosala. Chodaganga wanted to occupy the Sonepur region which was once under the rule of the Somavamsis. But he was defeated by the Kalachuri king Ratnadeva II, son and successor of Jajalladeva. In course of the war Purusottama, the General of Ratnadeva II, occupied Kalinga (modern Khiching in Mayurbhanj district). Chodagangadeva recovered Khijjinga later but could not fulfill his dream of occupying Sonapur region.

Chodagangadeva supported the western Chalukyas against the Chola power in the south but Vikrama Choda succeeded in defeating the combined army of the western Chalukya king Somesvara III and Chodagangadeva. As a result of the setback suffererd,the power of Chodaganga declined for sometime. Taking opportunity of this there were rebellions against his authority in different parts of his empire. He, however, succeeded in suppressing the rebellions and in re-establishing his supremacy over the entire territory from the Ganga to the Godavarari by 1135 A.D.

Chodagangadeva, like his ancestors was a great devotee of Siva. He was, however, found inclined towards Vaishnavism at times. Long before the conquest of Utkal by Chodaganga, Puri (Shrikshetra) was a place of worship of Purusottama and Chodaganga constructed the gigantic Puri Jagannath temple for the Lord to respect the religious sentiment of the people of the newly conquered territory .Chodaganga also constructed Vishnu temples at Mukhalingam, Srikakulam and Simhachalam.

Kings after Chodagangadeva: Chodagangadeva died in 1147 A.D. and was succeeded by his eldest son Kamarnavadeva. The Ganga-Kalachuri war was continuing by that time and Kamarnavadeva was defeated by the Kalachuri king Prithideva II, son and successor of Ratnadeva II. After the death of Kamarnavadeva, the second son of Chodaganga named Raghava became the king in 1158 A.D. During his time poet Jayadeva is known to have composed his famous work Gitagovinda. Raghava died in 1170 A.D. and was succeeded by Rajraj II, the third son of Chodagangadeva. Anangnagabhimadeva II, the fourth and youngest son of Chodagangadeva succeded him.

Rajraj III : Rajraj III, succeeded his father AnangabhimdevII after his death in 1198 A.D. It was during his rule that the Muslims made their fist invasion attempt on Orissa.The Muslim power was on ascent during this time. They had already dominated northern India and ruled from the Punjab to Bengal. Bhaktiyar Khalji, the first Muslim ruler of Bengal sent two Khilji Amins named Mahammed-I-Sheran and Ahmed-I-Sheran against Orissa in 1205 A.D. Rajraj III defeated the Sheran brothers and and was successful in defending his territories. Rajraj III died in 1211 A.D.

Anangabhimadeva III: Another period of greatness in the Orissa history began with the ascent of AnangabhimadevaIII. He was set on an onerous task from the first day of rule.Ghiyathu’d-din Iawz, ruler of Bengal, invaded Orissa during this time. Taking advantage of this invasion the Kalachuri king of Tommana also declared war and the age long Ganga-Kalachuri war continued.

However the king with the help of his powerful general, Vishnu not only repulsed the invasion of the Muslim but also decisively defeated the Kalachuris on the bank of the Bhima river near the Vindhya hills. After his victory the Gangas occupied the Sonapur region. Anangabhimadeva III gave his daughter Chandrika in marriage to the Kalachuri prince Paramardideva thereby winning over the powerful neighbour.This friendship proved crucial to him in his war against the Muslims. Anangabhimadeva was also successful in his work in the south and his empire extended up to the mouth of the Krishna River.

Anangabhima was a devout worshipper of Vishnu – Lord Purushottama. At the beginning he was the worshipper of three deities – Purosottama, Rudra and Durga but later on he extensively became a devotee of Purushottama. He dedicated his empire to God Purushottama and declined himself as His deputy.

Anangabhimadev III established a new city at the bifurcation of the Mahanadi and the Kathajodi which was called Abhinava Varanasi Kataka. By 1230 A.D. he transferred the headquarters to this new city where he constructed a big temple of Lord Purushottama.This was the beginning of the great Cuttack City of today. Anangabhimadeva III died in 1238 A.D.

Narasimhadeva I : Anangabhimadeva was succeeded by his son Narasimhadeva I. By that time Izzu’d-din Tughril Tughan Khan was the Governor of Bengal and had semi-independent status. Narasimhadeva, apprehending danger from him, mobilized his forces against his territory. In the war that followed, after initial losses Narasimhadeva was able to completely rout the Muslims. Izzud’d-din himself fled away from the battle to save his life. On his request the Sultan of Delhi sent Qamaru’d-din Tamur Khan, the Governor of Oudh to help the army of Bengal but before the arrival of Oudh army the War at Bengal hnd already ended.