Give an account of Socio, political, economic, religious and cultural conditions of Vishnukundins period

Give an account of Socio, political, economic, religious and cultural conditions of Vishnukundins period?

Or Give an account of Socio, political, economic, religious and cultural conditions of post Satavahana period? (Almost same administrative system for Satavahanas also)

Vishnukund administration:

Vishnukunds believed that by serving the feet of Sriparvatha swamy they came to power. They carved the name sri parvatha on their coins. This speaks about their humility and loyalty.

Vishnukunds earned fame on account of proper and popular rule. Because of their proper life, monks, orphans, beggars, disease – ridden persons, distress persons etc., also used to earn in just manner.

Extended protection to Brahmins and their employees. Unlimited belief in Brahmins. Brahmins were donated servants and  servant maids, cots, chairs, travel equipments, food and water, buildings and jewellery. Girls were also donated.

Madhava Varma always used to serve at the feet of his parents.

From these, it could be understood that the Vishnukunds desired people’s welfare, and hence, people enjoyed comfort and happiness under their rule.

After the Satavahanas, only Vishnukunds get the credit of ruling an extensive empire in the Deccan. For nearly 50 years, the States of Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh used to be under their rule.

As they ruled such a vast empire, they assumed the title ‘Mahaaraaja’.

Vishnukunds provided protection toall types of people.

Vishnukunds’ titles were – Sakala Bhuvanaikasraya, Janasraya, Satyasraya, Uttamasraya and Vikramasraya. Accordingly later period Chalukyan rulers also wore the titles that end with ‘asraya’.

Kakatiyas referred to Madhava Varma as their dynastic founder. The kings of Pithapuram and Velamas also mentioned the same thing in their records.

Vishnukunds were known for their just rule.

‘Divyalu’ mean noble things. Madhava Varma considered the legal duties as Divyalu.

When a chariot of a Prince has, due to un-mindfulness, gone over the son of a lady selling tamarind and the boy got killed, Madhava Varma has imposed death sentence for the Prince. Becoming happy over this, Malleeshwara Swami made the gold rain at Bezawada and gave life to the Prince and the son of a lady selling tamarind. This was found in the inscriptions. The same details are mentioned in later day literary works, Nachikethopaakhyanam, Prabhodha Chandrodayam, Panchatantram ,etc.

In that way, Vishnukunds, by strength, truth and sacrifice and such good qualities, earned fame. In that way they displayed their splendor more thatn the Brahmins and Kshatriyas.

Madhava Varma had the tile ‘Hiranyagarbha’. Vishnukuds were the first local Sudras of Telangana who performed Hiranyagarbha ceremony.

In the Vishnukund kingdom, the king was all powerful and a despot. In administrative materials, his was the final decision. However, the king’s decisions were in accordance with the opinion and welfare of the people. Even the opinion of counsel of minsters were given due place in the king’s court. Sometimes,  they even used to install the king on the throne it seems Madhava Varma has imposed death sentence to his son only after discussing the matter with the legal luminaries.

Vishnukunds used to provide shelter to warriors and employees. Vishnukunds kingdom was divided into provinces.

Administrative division of kingdom: Provinces – Vishayas – villages.

Rashtra was governed by Rashtrika.

Vishaya was governed by Vishayadhipathi.

Provinces of Vishnukund kingdom: Paraki Rashtra, Plekki Rashtra, Karma Rashtra, and Kalinga Rashtra.

Vishayas of Vishnukund kingdom: Grudhra nadi Vishaya, Netrapati (Nethravadi) etc.

King’s son was appointed as Yuvaraja for some parts of the kingdom.

Vishnukunds had feudatory states under their control. They made matrimonial alliances with the feudatories.

 

King was assisted by Yuvaraja, Mahaamathya, Amaathya, Intelligence Officer, Secret Adviser and such other officials.

For the protection of kingdom, Vishnukunds constructed forts. The newly constructed forts were named in such a way that, the names gave meaning similar to Amarapuram, the first capital.

Indrapala Nagaram in Ramannapet taluk, Nalgonda district.

Indrakeeladri in Bezawada, (Viajayawada).

Indur in Nizamabad.

Indur and Keesaragutta were their local settlements.

The Amarabad fort of Vishnukunds is the biggest fort in Telugu country. The length of the wall is around 200 Kilometers. The wall was constructed to protect the Vishnukund kingdom from Pallava invasions.

Economic Development:

Villages – self sufficient.

Kings took steps for the development of agriculture.

Brahmins were donated farmers, some servants and maid servants. Thus the agrahara lands were brought under cultivation.

Dug many wells and canals.

Nivarthana – land measuring unit. (like acres / hectares)

Domestic and foreign trade.

Coins found at – Yeleshwaram, Bhuvanagiri, Sultanabad (in Kareemnagar) in Telagnana.

Bojjanna konda, Elamanchili (in Vishakhapatnam), Andhra Pradesh.

Nasik, Kanhapur, and Nagpur in Maharashtra.

Brahmagiri in Madhyapradesh.

Trade:

Internal trade was carried on in the places where the coins were found.

Internal trade ports – Bejawada, Amaravathi, Motupalli, Ghantasala, Koduru, Alampuram-Kudalisangham and others on the banks of river Krishna.  From these ports – Now and then foreign trade.

External trade has grown after the occupation of Vengi from the Salankayanas and the kingdom of Kalinga. Ship mark on the coins. Madhava Varma II’s title – Trisamdradhipati. All these indicate importance of foreign trade.

From eastern coast foreign trade with Burma, Siam, Cambodia, China, Japan, Ceylone, Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Malaya, Arkan and western countries, such as Egypt, Rome, Greece etc.

Motupalli, and Kodur – Eastern ports.

At Kudalisanghameshwaram near Alampur, a gold coins of Roman Emperor Constantine (306 A.D. – 337 A.D.) was found. This coin was found along with some other coins.

Krishna –Thungabhadra doab region was centre for foreign trade and commerce even before the Vishnukunds and this continued even during the Vishnukund period.

According to Fa-Hien, during the beginning decades of the 5th century A.D., shells were also used as currency in the Vishnukund kingdom.

According to Huantsang full size golden statues of Buddha were there at Sriparvatha. These statues were not found.

But archaeologists found copper statues of Buddha at Buddham and Amaravathi. Size – 1 inch to 5 inches.

A snuff box made of cast iron and in the shape of mango bud found at Keesaragutta. Size – 7 centimeters

Economy of those times was strong.

All sections of people lived happily.

Vishnukund Society:

Vishnukundin rulers adhered to Varnashrama Dharma.

Govinda Varma respected Varnashrama Dharma.

Gupthas were reason for it.

Brahmins and Kshatriyas had greater respect. Vishnukund rulers took titles – ‘Parama Brahmanya’ and ‘Brahma Kshathra’.

Hiranya garbha ceremony.

Vaishyas were indulged in internal and external trade.

Sudras – Carpenters, Sculptors, and handloom weavers and others.

Purushmedha – Male persons were sacrificed.

Slavery was there..

People revered their parents. Madhava Varma was best example.

Vishnukund Culture

Followed Vedic religion. Sriparvatha Swamy was their family deity.

Their cities names resembled the name of abode of Indra, Amaravathi.

Vishnukunds worshipped Lord Shiva. Built many Shiva temples. Keesaragutta temple was built by Vishnukunds. After every victory, Madhava Varma constructed a Ramalingeshwara temple.

Titles – Parama Maheshwara (Worshipped Lord Shiva). Parama Brahmanya (Respected Brahmanical religion).

In Samudra Guptha’s Allahabad inscription – ‘Prama bhattaraka pada nudjyatasya’ was found.

In Vishnukund inscriptions – ‘Sri parvatha swami pada nudhyatsya’ = Worshipping the feet of Sriparvatha Swami.
Parama Bhattaraka Devi – Name of wife of Govinda varma, Vishnukund king.

Parama Bhattaraka Devi – Name of a Goddess worshipped by Gupthas.

Chandravathi /Sandravathi – Daughter of sister of Chandra Guptha -1. Guptha maheshwara temple was constructed by Chandra Maheshwara devi. It is located near Uma Maheshwara temple.

Srisailam = Sriparvatha.

Vakatakas were the relatives of Gupthas. Because of this, Vakatakas patronized only Brahmanical Vedic religion. Vakataka’s influence might have fallen on Vishnukunds. Vishnukunds have given more importance to Vedic Brahmanical religion.

Due to the influence of Gupthas and Vakatakas, vishnukunds got sanskritised and followed only Vedic-Brahmanical religion.

 

Vedic Puranic Religion

Vishnukunds’ names related to Vedic and Vaishnavite faiths. From the beginning Vishnukunds worshipped Sri Parvatha Swamy / Sri Saila Mallikharjuna swamy. Sriparvatha Padanudyanam = Worshipping the feet of Sriparvatha Swami. (By worshipping the feet of feet of Sriparvatha Swami, they got the power to rule their people), But the other aspects like their names and their city names indicate that they were the followers of Vaishnavism.

On Vishnukund coins they carved out the name ‘Sri Parvatha’. Uma Maheshwara temple is located in the Amrabad mandal of Mahabubnagar district. Uma Maheshwara temple is depicted on their coins.

Amrabad / Uma Maheshwara temple is considered as the Northern gate way of Srisaila temple.

SriShaila Mallikharjuna also became famous with that name during Vishnukund period only.

 

483 A.D. – With the orders of Madhava Varma III, in his 33rd regnal year, idol installation of war drum and Dhanthamukha swamy (Ganapathi) have taken place.
Venkaiah / Ganapathi idol was there outside the Amrabad village. Nearby this idol, Venkaiah bavi and ruins of Shiva Parvathi temple are there. War drum is now in the compound of Uma Maheshwara temple.

Inscriptions state that Govinda Varma had constructed several ‘Divayatanas’.

The temples that were constructed during the vishnukund period were located in Amrabad mandal, the early capital of Vishnukunds, located in Nallamala forests, under the waterfall and in caves.

Vanakeswaram principle deity was Shambhu.  Andandagotris / Kandara Kings worshipped Shambhu. Andanda Gotris were the contemporaries of Vishnukunds. They ruled the areas east to Vishnukund kingdom. One such Vanakeshwaram is there in Amrabad mandal. Avanitalantavati was the name of a Kandara Priness. The name also indicates Amrabad plateau.

Akkanna Madanna temples. – Actually these temples were constructed by Vishnukund king Madhava Varma II.

Akkanna – Madanna Caves in Kanakadurga group of Temples on Indrakeeladri at Bezwada / Vijayawada, The temples of Keesaragutta, Maheshwara Temple on the outskirts of Hyderabad are said to have built by Akkanna – Madanna. But actually these temples were built by Vishnukund king Madhava Varma II.

As there are similarities in promoting Hinduism, the name of Madhava Varma might have been taken for Akkanna – Madanna of 17th Century.

 

Madhava Varma II built many temples dedicated to Ramlingeshwara. Whenever he won a battle, he constructed those temples. In that way, we have Ramalingeshwara temple at Velpuru in, in Sattanapalli taluk, of Guntur dist., and Keesara gutta temple are receiving worships till today.

 

In the Sthala Purana of Uma Maheshwara temple there is a reference of Lord Rama. Foot prints o fRama are there to the south of Uma Maheshwara temple. From this it is clear that, in the beginning it was a Ramalingeshwara temple.

 

Pallaveshwara Temple – Located to the North of Uma Maheshwara temple. It was on the way to Munnanoor. Pallavas invaded on Vishnukund kingdom twice or thrice. Two commemorate this Pallavas constructed Pallaveshwara temple.

 

Taking que from Madhava varma II, as marks ofor the several victories that he achieved, he made installation of Shivalings on Keesaragutta a the rate of one for each victory. As the Vishnukunds were Vaishnavas, Sivalingas are called Ramalings. The same practice was followed by Eastern Chalukyas king Vijayadithya II, who as a mark of his 108 victories built 108 Bhimeshwara temples. Madhava Varma II was described as  ‘Snanapanyodaka pavithrikrita sirshah’ (the one whose head was purified by the sacred waters). From this it is learnt that during his time, pilgrimages and bathing in sacred waters assumed great importance.

Vikramendra varma donated Regonta village as devabhoga to Triyambhakanatha temple of God Somagirishwara Natha in Netrapati vishaya. Vishnukunds also donated along with villages, lands, old charitots, horses, cows and cots, arts, water food, houses, ornaments, girls and thousands of servants.

Vishnukunds performed several sacrifices and ritual. Madhava Varma II had a reputation of Performing sacrifices such as ‘Ekadashashwamedha’, Avabritha, Avadhauta, Jagatkalmasha, Agnistoma, bahuswarna, Purushmedha, Vajapeya Shodarajasurya, ‘Prajapathyaneku paundarika sata sahasrayojino’.

The practice of donating thousand so servants and girls and sacrificing men in the yagnas indicate the prevailing inequalities in the then society. The avabritha bathing ghat present in Munnanoor fort, is still seen as a great memory of the sacrifices performed by the Vishnukunds.

 

Buddhism:

By the first phase of Vishnukund rule, Buddhism had huge spread in the society. The first generation of Vishnukund rulers, in order to respect the majority opinion, have patronized Buddhism, though they themselves were the followers of Vedic religion.

Govinda Varma had donated in his 37th regnal year, on the full moon day of Vaishakha month, for providing light, sandal flowers, dhwaja water, food, sleep, arama, grasa, medicine and other essentials to Themaha vihara built by queen Paramabhattarika, wife of Govinda Varma. Themaha vihara was located in Indrapala nagara. Donation was made to Dasabala bali, who was well versed in 18 branches of Buddhist dharma. The donation ceremony was convened in  Penkaparra village. Here Govinda varma addressed the 14th arya sangha. Village of Enmandala was also donated to them.

566 A.D. – Vikramednra Varma donated Irrundero village to Themaha vihara.

Prithivi mula, uncle of Govinda Varma, had Tokhalikhata Maha Vihara, in the capital Gunapasa puram, East Godavari district.

Hari Varma, son of Prithivi mula, constructed a Maha Vihara at Gunapasa puram. To this Maha vihara, Prithivi Mula donated Katta cheruvu village.

Prithvi mula also built Sekya Bhikshu Vihara near Tatikonda.

 

Incriptions are informing that Govinda Varma had installed many beautiful Maha Viharas and Vikramendra Varma had made donations to the sacred Buddhist monk samghas were existing in different areas.

It is clear that early Vishnukund rulers had constructed Aramas, Viharas on the four sides of their kingdom.

Govindaraja Vihara is located in Chaithanya puri colony in the surroundings of Hyderabad. This belongs to Hinayana sect of Buddhism.

Buddhist ruins at Keesaragutta and Kondapuram.

Arama, Stupa and Viharas at Phanigiri and Gajulabanda in Nalgonda district.

Sthupa and Arama at Nelakondapalli in Khammam district.

2011 A.D. – Excavations were conducted at Phanigiri. Here six Aramas have come to light. Rooms were discovered in each Arama.

Saleshvara vihara was renovated by Vishnukunds. It was built by Ekshavaku kings. Located in Amrabad mandal, Mahabub Nagar district. On the northern left bank of river Krishna. Tucked in the hills of Nallamala forests. Ekshwaku period structures were built with bricks sized 18 X 10 X 2 ½ inches. We can see constructions with these bricks. The constructions after Ekshwaku period were built with bricks sized 10 X 10 X 2 ½  inches. We can see constructions of these bricks also. Rock structures and ancient Telugu-Kannada inscriptions also found here.

In Andhra Pradesh – Buddhist constructions were there at Jaggayyapeta, Salihundam, Ramatirtham, Thotlakonda, Bojjanakonda, Buddham and other places, but most of these sites were there already. However, in respect of these, extension activities have been taken up on a large scale during the Vishnukund period.

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