Kalacuri dynasty

or Kalachuri dynasty

Any of several dynasties in Indian history.

Apart from the dynastic name and perhaps a belief in common ancestry, there is little in known sources to connect them. The earliest known Kalacuri family ruled с 550–620 in central and western India; its power ended with the rise of one branch of the Calukyas. The rise of another Kalacuri dynasty (1156–81), centred in Karnataka, coincided with the rise of the Lingayat, or Virashaiva, Hindu sect. The best-known Kalacuri family ruled in central India with its base at the ancient city of Tripuri (modern Tewar); it originated in the 8th century, expanded significantly in the 11th century, and declined in the 12th–13th centuries.

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▪ Indian dynasty [Māhiṣmatī, 550-620]
Introduction

      any of several dynasties in Indian history, disparately placed in time and space. Apart from the dynastic name and perhaps a belief in common ancestry, there is little in known sources to connect them.

      The earliest known Kalacuri family (c. AD 550–620) ruled in northern Mahārāshtra, Gujarāt, Mālwa (Mālava), and parts of the western Deccan and probably had their capital at Māhiṣmatī in the Narmada River valley. Three members of the family—Kṛṣṇarāja, Śaṅkaragaṇa, and Buddharāja—are known from epigraphs and coins distributed over a wide area. Although the rise of the Bādāmi Cālukyas (Chalukyas) ended Kalacuri power in the early 7th century, the dynasty seems to have lingered in the Mālwa region until a late date.

      Another Kalacuri dynasty rose to power in the Deccan and spanned the period 1156–81. This family traced its origin to Kṛṣṇa, conqueror of Kālañjara and Ḍāhala in Madhya Pradesh, but its authority in Karnātaka was established by Bijjala, who originally served as a feudatory of the Kalyāṇī Cālukyas at Banavāsī, Nolambapāḍi, and Tārddevāḍi and wrested power from Cālukya Taila III. The Kalacuris held power in Karnātaka during the reigns of Bijjala's sons Someśvara and Saṅkama, but after 1181 Āhavamalla and Singhana, two other sons of Bijjala, gradually surrendered authority back to the Cālukyas. Despite its brevity, the Kalacuri period in Karnātaka is historically important because it coincides with the rise of the Liṅgāyat, or Vīraśaiva, Hindu sect.

Central India
      The best known Kalacuri family in Indian history ruled in central India, with its base at the ancient city of Tripurī (modern Tewar). Its origin is placed about the beginning of the 8th century, but little is known of its early history. The line comes into clearer focus only with Kokalla I (reigned c. 850–885). The period between Kokalla I and Kokalla II (reigned c. 990–1015) is marked by a consolidation of Kalacuri power and by their relations with contemporary dynasties. The success attributed to Kokalla I against the Pratihāras, the Kalacuris of Uttar Pradesh, the Guhilas of Mārwār, the Cāhamānas of Śākambharī, and the kings of Vaṅga and Konkan appears somewhat exaggerated. Matrimonial relations with the powerful Rāṣṭrakūṭa (Rāṣṭrakūṭa Dynasty) family of the Deccan remained uninterrupted for some time, and the Kalacuris were at times involved in Rāṣṭrakūṭa politics, as in the period of Yuvarāja I (reigned c. 915–945). Between the mid-9th and the early 11th centuries the Kalacuris pursued a policy of traditional hostility toward the kingdoms of south Kosala, Kaliṅga, Gauḍa, and Vaṅga; occasional clashes with the Gurjaras, the Chandelās (Cāndellās), the eastern Cālukyas, the Gujarāt Caulukyas, and others are mentioned in their records.

      These military exploits, however, did not produce any substantial results until the period of Gāṅgeyadeva (reigned c. 1015–41), who, besides achieving success against the traditional rivals, Dakṣiṇakośala and Orissa, pushed northward to acquire the Vārānasi area at the expense of the Pālas; he also had substantial success against the Kalyāṇī Cālukyas. The reign of Gāṅgeyadeva's son Karṇa (reigned 1041–73) represents a high point in contemporary military adventurism. He consolidated his power in the Vārānasi-Allāhābād area and undertook large-scale military campaigns in eastern, southern, central, and western India. His successes were short-lived, however, and Kalacuri power declined steadily in the period between Yaśaḥkarṇa (reigned 1073–1123) and Vijayasiṃha (reigned c. 1188–1209). The neighbouring Gāhaḍavālas, Paramāras, and Chandelās started encroaching on the Kalacuri kingdom, and soon after 1211 Baghelkhand and almost all Ḍāhalamaṇḍala were incorporated into the Chandelā kingdom.

Sarayūpāra and Ratanpur
      Two other Kalacuri families are known to history: the Kalacuris of Sarayūpāra and the Kalacuris of Ratanpur. The Sarayūpāra family ruled a territory along the banks of the Sarayū (modern Ghāghara) River, in the Bahraich and Gonda districts, Uttar Pradesh. The family originated in the late 8th century and lasted until the last quarter of the 11th century, when its kingdom extended from the Ghāghara River to the Gandak River and included the towns of Bahraich, Gonda, Bastī, and Gorakhpur.

      The Ratanpur Kalacuris, who first ruled from Tummāna and later from Ratanpur (16 miles [26 km] north of Bilāspur), were distantly related to, and feudatories of, the Tripurī Kalacuris. Beginning to rule in the early 11th century, they gained prominence under Jājalladeva I in the early 12th century. Early historical documents of their rule continue to Pratāpamalla (reigned c. 1188–1217) and are then interrupted until the 15th century, by which time the family had split into two branches—Ratanpur and Raipur. No authentic historical document relating to their history after the 15th century is known.

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Universalium. 2010.

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