Dakshina Kosala

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Dakshina Kosala (in west-central India), c. 375 CE

Dakshina Kosala (IAST: Dakṣiṇa Kosala, "southern Kosala") is a historical region of central India. It was located in what is now Chhattisgarh state.


In ancient Indian literature as well as the epic Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas there are many references to the ancient Kosala Kingdom of northern India. Surya Vanshi Ikshvaku dynasty kings ruled Kosala with Ayodhya as their capital. Sri Ram Chandra was a king of that clan, based on whose character and activities, the Ramayana was written. This work mentions that after Rama, the kingdom was divided among his two sons, Lava and Kusha. North Kosala went to Lava as his share with Shravasti Nagari as his capital while Kusha received South Kosala. He established his new capital, Kushasthalipura on the riverKushavrate near the Vindhya mountain range, which divides north and south India. Kushasthalipura is identified as near Malhar in the present-day Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh state.

As part of his military campaigns, Sahadeva targeted the kingdoms in the regions south of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Vanquishing the invincible Bhismaka, Sahadeva then defeated the king of Kosala in battle and the ruler of the territories lying on the banks of the Venwa, as well as the Kantarakas and the kings of the eastern Kosalas.[1][page needed]


After the fall of the imperial Guptas, the Dakshina Kosala region was ruled by a number of small dynasties, including the Amarāryakulas, the Pāṇḍavas of Mekala, the Pāṇḍuvaṃśīs of Śripura, and the Śarabhapurīyas. The chronology of these dynasties not very clear, because their inscriptions are dated in regnal years instead of a calendar era.[2] The only ancient inscription found in this region that appears to be dated in a calendar era is the Arang copper-plate inscription of Bhimasena II of Sura family. However, it is not connected to any other records from the area, and therefore, is not much useful for reconstructing the region's chronology.[3]

The Pāṇḍavas of Mekala are known from two Malhar inscriptions issued by king Śūrabala, the last member of the dynasty.[4] The king claimed descent from the legendary hero Pāṇḍu of the lunar dynasty (somavaṃśa).[5]

The Amarāryakulas (Amarārya family) are known from the Malhar inscription of Vyaghraraja.[6] D. C. Sircar believes this family to be same as the Śarabhapurīyas, Ajaya Mitra Shastri believes it to an independent dynasty, while Hans T. Bakker believes it to be a vassal of the Śarabhapurīyas.[7]

The Śarabhapurīyas initially ruled as Gupta vassals, and may have fought with the Nalas of Puṣkarī.[8] They laid foundation of the distinct Dakshina Kosala style of art and architecture.[9]

The Pāṇḍuvaṃśīs of Śripura (or Pāṇḍavas of Kosala) seem to have been related to the Pāṇḍavas of Mekala, and initially served as feudatories to the Śarabhapurīya.[10] The early kings of the dynasty were Vaishnavites, but its last known king Mahāśivagupta Bālārjuna called himself a devotee of Shiva (parama-māheśvara), and also patronized the Buddhists. The Chinese traveler Xuanzang visited the region during his reign, and described his kingdom ("Kiao-sa-lo" or Kosala) as follows:[11]

Mahāśivagupta Bālārjuna was most probably the father of Janmejaya I, who migrated eastward, and established the Somavaṃśī dynasty in present-day Odisha.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Mahabharata, Book 2, Chapter 30
  2. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 1.
  3. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, pp. 1-2.
  4. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 3.
  5. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 5.
  6. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 6.
  7. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, pp. 7-8.
  8. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 10.
  9. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 13.
  10. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 14.
  11. ^ Hans T. Bakker 1994, p. 21.
  12. ^ Walter Smith 1994, p. 23.


  • Hans T. Bakker (1994). "Observations on the History and Culture of Dakṣiṇa Kosala". In Nalini Balbir; J Bautze. Festschrift : Klaus Bruhn zur Vollendung des 65. Lebensjahres. Reinbek: Inge Wezler. pp. 1–66. OCLC 37840411. 
  • Walter Smith (1994). The Mukteśvara Temple in Bhubaneswar. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0793-8. 
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