KALACHURIS OF SOUTH KOSALA
In ancient times Dakshina Kosala (South Kosala) comprised modern Chattisgarh
and the adjoining territory in the State of Orissa up to the boundary of the Katak District.1
In the Puranas this country is mentioned with Traipura (the tract round Tripuri near
Jabalpur), Kalinga (part of the state of Orissa) and Mekala (the region near the source of the
Narmada).2 These countries are further said to be situated on the back, i.e., the table
land of the Vidhya mountain. To distinguish this Kosala from another territory of the
same name, the capital of which was Ayodhya in the State of Uttar Pradesh, it was called
Dakshina Kosala or South Kosala. The feminine from of the name, viz Kosala is
occasionally met with in literature and inscription.3 The ancient capital of this country
was Kusavati, founded by Kusa, the elder son of Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. This
city, the Puranas tell us, was situated on a peak of the Vindhya mountain, But its exact loca-
tion has not yet been determined.
Our knowledge of the history of Chattisgarh before the advent of the Kalachuris
is very meagre. In the beginning of the sixth century A.C., the country was ruled by
Bhimasena II whose copper -plate grant dated in the Gupta year 182(501-2 A.C.) has been
discovered at Arang.4 He or his sucessor was ousted by the king of the Sarabhapura
dynasty.Maha-Pravaraja, the last known king of this family, was overthrown by
indrabalas of the Somavamsa. the Somavamsis ruled in Chhattisgarh for some genera-
tions. Mahasivagupta alias Balarjuna the last known king of this dynasty, flourished
in the beginning of the seventh century A.C. He had a long reign of more than 57 years
and was on the throne when the Chinese traveller Yuan Chwang visited Dakshina Kosala.5
About this time, Pulakesin II of the Early Chalukya dynasty invaded Kosala after
conquering the three Maharashtras. The Aihole inscription of his reign, dated 634 A.C.,
states that the people of kosala, like those of Kalinga, were overawed by the invading
forces.6 The ruling king evidently submitted to the mighty emperer, who allowed him
to govern his kingdom as his vassal.
Some time after Pulekesin II's invasion, the Somavamsis were ousted from the Raipur
District by their southern neighbours, the Nala kings, who held the Bastar District of Madhya
Pradesh and the adjoining parts of the Vishakhapatnam District of the Madras State. A stone
inscription of this dynasty, still existing at Rajim in the Raipur District, Mentions three
king, viz., Prithviraja, Viruparaja and Vilasatunga. The last of these erected the temple
of Rajivachana at Rajim for the religion merit of his son who had died. The inscrip-
tion can can be referred to about 700 A.C. on the evidence of palaeography.,7
We do not know how long the rule of the Somavamsis and the Nalas lasted in Chhatti-
garh. An inscription on the architrave of the door of the sanctum in an exquisitely carved
temple of Siva at Pali, about 12 miles north of Ratanpur in the Bilaspur District, records
The construction of the temple by Vikramaditya, Son of Malladeva. this inscription
which was deciphered by Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar fifty years ago, has not recieved from
1The Somavamsi kings whose copper-plates records grants of land in the former Patna State and
Sambalpur District call themselves 'lord of Kosala'.
2 Vayupurana, adhyaya 45, V. 133.
3 MBH., (Cr. Ed.) Aranyakaparvan, ahyaya 83, V.10; Ep. Ind., Vol.IX, p 271.
4Ep. Ind., Vol. IX, PP. 342 and plate. I have shown that the correct reading of the date is
5Ibid., Vol XXIII,pp. 118 ff.; Vol XXVII, p. 325.
6ibid., Vol VI, p.6.
7Ibid., Vol XXVI, pp. 49 ff.