What are the sources are there to construct Shatavaahana history

Question: What are the sources are there to construct Shatavaahana history?

Ans: Coastal Andhra, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarath etc. places were under the control of Satavahanas. Paitan, Dharanikota, Dhankyakatakam were their capitals.

Archaeological evidences: Archaeologists found archaeological remains of Shaatavaahana period in

Pedda Bankur of Karimnagar – 1967-74

Dhoolikatta of Karimnagar 1972-75

Kondapur of Medak district and Kotilingaala of Kareemnagar 1980-83

Siddipet, Medak district – 2017-18.

Inscriptions: Shaatavaahanas issued coins in Brahmi script and Prakrit and Desi languages.

Naneghat inscription issued by Devi Naganika, Nasik inscription issued by Gouthami Balasri, Maidavolu inscription issued by Shiva Skanda Varma Pallava, Khaaravela’s Haathigumpha inscription, Girnar or Junaghad inscription issued by Shaka king Rudradaman.

Eminent historians like P.V. Parabhrahma Shahstry and Dr. Damo Raja Reddy proved with evidences that Satavahanas’ earliest strong hold and place of rise was Kotilingala, Kareem Nagar, and Telangana.


Coins play major role in the construction of history of Telangana.

Damo Raja Reddy, Neuro Surgeon in NIMS hospital, who is also a numismatist, studied Shatavahan coins and brought new facts into light. Damo Raja Reddy authored a book named ‘Charithra Khajaana’ (Treasure of History), is a scientific study of Shaatavahana coins.

Shaatavaahanas issued coins with the symols, 1. Horse         2. Elephant      3. Lion             4. Ship with double mast     5. Names of parents    6.Sun   7. Moon           8. Lotus           9. Cone etc.

Shaatavahana kings coins of following metals: Gold, Silver, and Potin.

Gouthamiputhra Shaatakarni issued silver.

In 1970, Sanganabatla Narahari Sharma, a postal department employee brought a coin he found to Dr. Parabhrahma Shahstry. After proper study, Dr. Parabhrahma Shastry declared that the coins belongs to earliest Shaatavaahana king. Dr. Parabhrahma Shastry, Damo Raja Reddy and B.N. Shastry declared that 1st centre of Shaatavaahanas was Kotilingaala, Karimnagar district, Telangana.

In Phanigiri of Nalgonda district, Rudrasena II’s coins are found. With this evidence, historians came to a conclusion that, Shaatavaahana kings had contacts with Rudrasena II.

Yagnasri Shaatakarni issued coins with symbol of ‘Ship with double mast’. This attests that trade was flourished during Shaatavaahana period. Roman coins were found in Shaatavaahana ports. This establishes the fact that Shaatavaahana kings had trade contacts with Rome. Same fact is attested by Periplus of the Erythrian Sea, authored by an unknown sailor.


Literary Sources: Literary sources are produced by Hindu scriptures Puranas, contemporary scholars’ books, Buddhist and Jain texsts, foreign accounts.

Puranas: Totally there are 18 Puranas. Puranas gives us details of geneology. Though historians blindly rely on the information given in Puranas, most of the times, they were useful atleast to get an idea about the period, limited chronological information and mainly geneology.

  1. Brahmanda Purana 2. Padma Purana 3. Vishnu Purana         4. Shiva Purana
  2. Bhagavatha Purana 6. Linga Purana 7. Varaha Purana         8. Naaradeeya Purana 9. Markandeya Purana 10. Agni Purana          11. Bhavishya Purana 12. Brahmavaivartha Purana  13. Skanda Purana     14. Vaamana Purana         15. Koorma Purana     16. Matsya Puraana 17. Garuda Purana          18. Brahmanda Purana


Haala Saarvabhauma, 17th ruler of Shaatavaahana dynasty wrote ‘Gaatha Spatha Shahti’.

Vaatsaayana wrote ‘Kaamasoothra’ (mentioned Kunthala Shaathakarni and his wife Malayavathi).

Gunaadya wrote Brihathkatha.

Sharvavarma wrote Kaathanthraya vyaakaranam.

Kuthoohala wrote ‘Leelaavathi Parinayam’ in Prakrit language.

Foreign Accounts:

Pliny, native of Rome, authored ‘Natural History’. He felt that all the gold and silver reserves of Rome are darining to India and the intellectuals of Rome cautioned the traders against trade with India.

Ptolemy, authored a book named ‘Geography’.It gives details about Shaatavaahana period ports. Megasthanes, an ambassador of Seleucus Nicator in the court of Chandra Guptha Maurya, authored ‘Indica’. In this books he mentioned that, in South India there were 30 fortified cities. Periplus of the Erythrian Sea authored by an unknown sailor gives details about South Indian kingdoms.

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