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Kalachuri was the name used by two kingdoms who had a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan) and were called Chedi or Haihaya (Heyheya), and the other the southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka. They are supposed to be offshoot of Abhira of Traikutakas dynasty.[1]

Origin of Kalachuris

Historians such as Dr. P.B. Desai are emphatic about the central Indian origin of the Kalachuris. Before the arrival of Badami Chalukya power, they had carved out an extensive empire covering areas of Gujarat, Malwa, Konkan and parts of Maharashtra.

However after their crippling defeat at the hands of Chalukya Magalesa, they remained in obscurity for a prolonged period of time. A 1174 CE. records says the dynasty was founded by one Soma who grew beard and moustache, to save himself from the wrath of Parashurama, and thereafter the family came to be known as "Kalachuris", Kalli meaning a long moustache and churi meaning a sharp knife.

Historian have also pointed out that several Kalachuri kings were related to Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas by matrimonial alliances and ruled from places like Tripuri, Gorakhpur, Ratanpur, Rajpur. They migrated to the south and made Magaliveda or Mangalavedhe (Mangalavada) their capital. They called themselves Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara, which indicates their central Indian origin. Their emblem was Suvarna Vrishabha or the golden bull. They must have started as modest feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani.

Scythian origin

A prince of the Lunar Dynasty of Kshatriyas, and great-grandson of Yadu.

A race or tribe of people to whom a Scythian origin has been ascribed. The Vishnu Purana represents them as descendants of Haihaya of the Yadu race, but they are generally associated with borderers and outlying tribes.

In the Vayu and other Puranas, five great divisions of the tribe are named as Talajanghas, Vitihotras, Avantis, Tundikeras, Jatas, or rather Sujatas.

They conquered Bahu or Bahuka, a descendant of King Harish Chandra, and were in their turn conquered, along with many other barbarian tribes, by King Sagara, son of Bahu. According to the Mahabharata, they were descended from Saryati, a son of Manu. They made incursions into the Doab, and they took the city of Kasi (Benares), which had been fortified against them by King Divo Dasa; but the grandson of this king Pratardana by name, destroyed the Haihayas, and re-established the kingdom of Kasi. Kaartaveerya-arjuna, of a thousand arms, was king of the Haihayas, and he was defeated and had his arms cut off by Parasurama.

The Vindhya Mountains would seem to have been the home of these tribes; and according to Colonel Tod, a tribe of Haihayas still exists “near the very top of the valley of Sohagpur, in Bhagelkhand, aware of their ancient lineage, and though few in number, still celebrated for their valor.”


Legends - According to legends, Kalli meaning long moustache and Churi meanoing Sharp knife is the source of their dynastic name. They were also referred to as Katachuris (shape of a sharp knife), Kalanjarapuravaradhisvara (Lord of Kalanjara) and Haihaya (Heheya). Mount Kalanjara is in north central India, east of the Indus Valley floodplain. This name Haihaya is supposed to be derived from haya (a horse).

Early Kalachuris

The earliest historical information we have on the Kalachuris refers to a dynasty that ruled in the 6th and 7th centuries a large area that included Malwa, northern Maharashtra, southern Gujarat and southern Rajasthan, with their capital perhaps at Mahishmati.[2] These Early Kalachuris were the builders of the famous cave temples on Elephanta Island in Mumbai harbor and also of several caves at the well-known site of Ellora, including the famous Rameshwara cave (Cave 21). Both Elephanta and Ellora are World Heritage Sites.

Three kings of this dynasty are known: Krishnaraja (c. 550-575), his son Sankaragana (c. 575-600) and his grandson Buddharaja (c. 600-625).

Krishnaraja is known from his coins and from being mentioned in the copper plate grants of his son and grandson. Sankaragana and Buddharaja are known from their copper plate grants.[6] Later Kalachuri dynasties in the north and south were presumably descendants of this early Kalachuri dynasty.

Kalachuri (Southern) Dynasty (1130–1184)


The earliest known Kalachuri family (AD 550–620) ruled over northern Maharashtra, Malwa and western Deccan. Their capital Mahishmati was situated in the Narmada River valley. There were three prominent members; Krishnaraja, Shankaragana and Buddharaja who distributed coins and epigraphs around the area.[3] By religious affiliation they were usually followers of Hinduism, specifically of the Pasupata sect.[4]

At their peak, the Southern Kalachuris (1130–1184) ruled parts of the Deccan extending over regions of present day North Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. This dynasty rose to power in the Deccan between 1156 and 1181 AD. They traced their origins to Krishna who was the conqueror of Kalinjar and Dahala in Madhya Pradesh. It is said that Bijjala, a viceroy of the dynasty, established the authority over Karnataka after wresting power from the Chalukya king Taila III. Bijjala was succeeded by his sons Someshwara and Sangama but after 1181 AD, the Chalukyas gradually retrieved the territory. Their rule was short and turbulent and yet very important from a socio-religious point of view; a new sect known as the Lingayat or Virashaiva sect was founded during these times.[5] A unique and purely native form of Kannada literature-poetry called the Vachanas was also born during this time. The writers of Vachanas were called Vachanakaras (poets). Many other important works like Virupaksha Pandita's Chennabasavapurana, Dharani Pandita's Bijjalarayacharite and Chandrasagara Varni's Bijjalarayapurana were also written.

The Northern Kalachuris ruled in central India with their base at the ancient city of Tripuri (Tewar) near Jabalpur; it originated in the 8th century, expanded significantly in the 11th century, and declined in the 12th–13th centuries.


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[6] ने लेख किया है ...कीर (AS, p.193) वर्तमान कांगड़ा (पूर्व पंजाब) के आसपास का प्रदेश. कलचुरी नरेश कर्ण देव (1041-1077 ई.) ने इस देश को जीता था जैसा कि अल्हणदेवी के अभिलेख से ज्ञात होता है-- 'कीर: कीरवदासपंजरगृहे हूण: प्रहर्ष जहौ' (एपीग्राफिक इंडिया, जिल्द 2 पृष्ठ-11) अर्थात कर्ण के प्रताप के सामने कीर पंजरगत शुक के समान हो गए तथा हूणों (या हूण नरेश) का सारा सुख समाप्त हो गया.

Kalachuris of Ratanpur

For some period in Fifth-Sixth Century A.D., Nala kings dominated this area followed by Kalchuri Kings of Tumman who had Ratanpur as their capital.

Ratanpur was once an important seat of power. Kalchuri Kings commanded Dakshin Koshala, area covering major part of Chhattisgarh state today, from Ratanpur. Thus Ratanpur was historic capital of Chhattisgarh and as such it has an important place in history and culture of Chhattisgarh state. In fact, even before Kalachuri Kings started ruling from Ratanpur, it has its own importance of being a city having its existence in all four yuga. It was known as Manipur in Stya Yuga and Dwapar Yuga, as Heerapur in Treta Yuga, as Ratnapur in early Kaliyuga and as Ratanpur in modern times.

Major role of Ratanpur in history started with Kalachuris. Kalachuris were one of the most prominent Kshatriyas of Medieval India. They ruled in various parts of India between 7th century to 18th Century. They had many branches. Most prominent ones are known as

Near 1000 AD prince Kalingaraja of Tripuri branch established his capital at Tamman and thus founded Ratanpur dynasty of Kalachris. This branch of Kalachris also called themselves Haihayavanshis. Around 1050 AD King Ratandev shifted capital of Kalchuri kingdom from Tumman to Ratanpur. Various Kings of this dynasty ruled over Dakshin-Koshala (the area now known as Chhattisgarh) for over 700 years from Ratanpur.

Bilaigarh Plates of Prithvideva II : Kalachuri year 896 (1144 AD)

English Translation
Success ! Ôm ! Adoration to Brahman !
  • (Veise.1) - Adoration to that reality Brahman, which is attributeless, all-pervasive, eternal and auspicious, the ultimate cause (of the universe) and supreme light conceivable by the mind.
  • (V. 2) The foremost luminary of the firmament is the sun, the Primeval Being. Then was born from him his son Manu, the first of kings. In his family there was Kârtavïrya born on the earth.
  • (V.3) - There was the king, the divine and illustrious Kârtavîtya, an ornament of the earth, who threw into bondage Râvana who had propitiated Siva with the embrace of (Parvati) the daughter of the Himalaya, who was terrified as he (the Râvana) lifted up the (Kailâsa) mountain with ease, and who (i.e. , Râvana) was greatly enraged when his offerings to the three-eyed (Siva), were washed away by the stream of the greatly flooded Rëvâ which was turned by the suddenly placed dam of his mighty arms.
  • (V. 4) - The king born in his family became known on the earth as Haihayas. An ornament of their family was that illustrious Kôkkala (I) endowed with all excellences who laid the fire of distress in the minds of (his) enemies, who accumulated fame after (amassing) the fortune of religious contemplation, (and) who was always dear to good people (as) one who made them happy.
  • (V. 5) - He had eighteen very valiant sons, who destroyed their enemies even as lions break open the frontal globes of elephants. The eldest of them, an excellent prince, became the lord of Tripuri and he made his brothers the lords of mandalas by his side.
  • (V. 6) - In the family of a younger brother of these there was born Kalingaraja who exterminated hostile kings with the fire of his valour and who was to the faces of the wives of the great warriors even as the full moon is to day-lotuses.
  • (V. 7)- From him also there was born a son who became famous by the name of Kamalarâja (and appeared) lovely with his far-spreading spotless glory. When the sun of his valour rose, the assemblages of lotuses bloomed even at night.
  • (V. 8) - Thereafter he begot Ratnarâja (I), whose face was like the moon, and who acquired a mass of religious merit by obliging the (whole) world; (and) who, destroying (his) enemies by the valour of the pair of his arms, spread (his) fame in the three worlds.
  • (V. 9) - (His wife) named Nônallâ was dear to him as valour is to a brave person. Their son was Prithvîdëva (I), the best of kings.
  • (V. 10) - The son of the queen Râjallâ, begotten by Prithvïdëva (I), was the brave king Jâjalladëva (I), the wish-fulfilling tree, bearing the fruit of fortune, which yielded their desired objects to good people, — (he) who was wont to worsbip ail gods; who was (annoying like) a thorn to his fierce foes, and the god of love incarnate to the extremely lovely ladies who saw him.
  • (Verse.11)- His son Prithvîdëva (II) of well-known fame, who has planted his lotus-like foot on the rows of hostile princes' heads, has become the lord of kings — (he) who, by devastating Chakrakota, overwhelmed the illustrious Ganga king with anxiety in regard to the crossing of the ocean which was the sole means (of saving his life).
  • (V. 12) - In the family of the sage Vatsa there was born formerly a Bràhmana named Hâpûka of great renown who, being foremost among those learned in the Vëdas, became dear to the world and possessed blameless prosperity, being smeared by whose glory, which in colour was as it were akin to powdered camphor and liquid sandal paste, the surface of the firmament shone all round.
  • (V. 13) - He had a well-known son named Jîmûtavâhana, who by his life sanctified the earth, and attracted prosperity by his merits, and in whose case the goddess of fortune herself gave up her natural fickleness.
  • (V. 14) - To him was born a wise son named Dëlhûka who has an intellect proficient in Vedântic principles and matchlessly radiant in regard to Smritis. Clever and noble as he is, his greatness is for obliging the (whole) world.
  • (V. 15) - Having learnt (from him) the Sakambhari vidyà, which is incomparable in all the worlds and having defeated his enemies with ease in the forefront of the battle Brahmadëva, the well-known feudatory (of Prithvïdêva II) regards him highly as the sole match for (Brihaspati) the preceptor of gods
  • (V. 16) - Prithvîdëva (II) granted him the village Paṇḍaratalāī in the Ēvaḍi mandala on the occasion of a solar eclipse.
  • (V. 17) - Those, who will be born in this family should confirm this copper (charter) so long as the serpent (Shesha) supports the earth with a thousand pillar-like hoods.
  • (V.18) - Whoever may hereafter be a king or a minister should also protect with care this religious gift of mine.
  • (Here follow four benedictive and imprecatory verses)
  • (V.23) - This prasasti incised on copper (plates) was composed by the illustrious Malhaṇa, the son of Śubhankara, who being well read is a bee on the lotuses in the form of poets and has used words with splendid significance in a large number of prabandhas (works).
  • (V.24) - These excellent copper-plates were prepared by Vâmana, written by a son of Kîrti, and incised by a son of Lakshmidhara.
The year 896 . .


The King, the illustrious Prithvîdëva.
Bilaigarh Plates of Prrithvideva II : Kalachuri year 896 (1144 AD)[7]

Reference - Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarium Vol IV Part 2 Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi Era, Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi, 1905, p. 551-554

No 89 ; Plate LXXII

These plates were discovered in 1945 at Bilaigarh, the chief town of the former Bilaigarh Zamindarî, in the Raipur District of the Chhattisgarh Division in Madhya Pradesh. They were sent by the Commissioner of the Chhattisgarh Division to the Government Epigraphist for India. They are edited here for the first time from an excellent impression kindly supplled by the Government Epigraphist.

They are two copper-plates measuring 11 8" broad and 6 5" high. They weigh 137 tolas. They have their rims raised for the protection of the writing and contain marginal decorative designs on three sides. They were strung together by means of a ring, about 1.8 in diameter. The central portion of the ring was flattened into a round disk to serve as a seal of the plates. The upper half of this seal contains the figure of Gaja-Lakshmi in relief while the lower half has the legend Kāja-srīmat-Prithvīdevah engraved in two lines. The record consists of 36 lines, 18 being inscribed on the inner side of each plate. The average size of the letters is .25".

The characters are Nagari Worthy of note are the forms of the following letters : — Initial i consists of two curves with a looped end, turned in opposite directions and placed one below the other ; see iti, L-9 , dh is in a transitional form , its top does not yet show a horn, but the vertical stroke is slightly bent to the left, see -narādhipa-, L-16, the left limb of ś has become separated from the vertical on the right; see śūra- L-12. The avagraha is used to indicate the elision of a in lines 3, 10, 17, 20 and 29.

The language is Sanskrit Except for om namô Vrahmanë in, the first Line and the date in the last, the whole record is metrically composed. The verses, of which there are twenty-four, are all numbered The orthography shows the usual peculiarities, viz. , the use of v for b except in the form babhûvuh ; see vrahamanê, L.1 ; of s for ś as in sasvata-, L.4, and Vice versa in -sahaśrëna, L. 28, and the reduplication of the consonant following r; see nirggunam, L.1,

The inscription refers itself to the reign of Prithvïdëvâ II of the Kalachuri Dynasty of Ratanpur. The object of it is to record the royal grant of the village Paṇḍaratalāī situated in the Ēvaḍi-mandala to a Brâhmana named Dêlhûka on the occasion of a solar eclipse. The plates were granted in the year 896 of an unspecified era. The record was composed by Malhaṇa, the son of Śubhankara. The copper-plates were prepared by Vâmana and the charter was written on them by a son of Kîrti. The writer's personal name is not mentioned in the present inscription due to the exigencies of the metre, but he may be identical with Sûpata the son of Kïrtidhara, who wrote a grant of this very king Prithvîdëva II in the following year K 897. The record was incised by an unnamed son of Lakshmidhara. Lakshmïdhara incised the Sarkhô plates of Ratnadêva II, dated K 880 and the Amôdâ plates of Prithvîdëva II, dated K. 900. His son, who incised the present plates, may have been Dharanïdhara, mentioned in the grant of K. 897.

The date of the present inscription must evidently be referred to the Kalachun era. No details of the solar eclipse mentioned in it are given, but supposing that it occurred in the same year in which the plates were issued, as seems probable, we get some data for verification. According to the epoch of 247-48 A.C , there were two solar eclipses in the expired Kalachuti yeat 896, one of which occurred in the purnimànta Mâgha (on the 6th December 1144 A.C) and the other in the pûrmmànta Ashâdha (on the 22nd June -1145 AC), while there was none in the current Kalachuri year 896. The plates were therefore granted some time in the year 1144-45 A.C

The genealogy of Prithvïdëva II down to his father Ratnadëva II is given here in verses 3-10 which are repeated Verbatim from the earlier grants of the dynasty as the prasasti had then become stereotyped Verse 11 which describes the reigning king is, however, new and occurs only in the present grant. It gives the interesting information that Prithvïdëva II filled the contemporary Ganga king with anxiety when he devastated Chakrakota, as the Ganga king realised that the only way to save his life was to cross the ocean. Chakrakota bas been identified with the central portion of the former Bastar State. The name probably survives in the present Chitrakuta, about 30 miles north by west of Jagdalpur, the capital of the former Bastar State.[8] The Ganga adversary of Prithvïdëva II is not named, but as the devastation of Chakrakôta had taken place some time before 1144-45 AC, when the present grant was made, it must have occurred during the reign of Anantavarman-Chôdaganga. This mighty Ganga Emperor had invaded the Kalachuri kingdom towards the close of the reign of Ratnadëva II, but he suffered an ignominious defeat. Soon after his accession Prithvidëva II seems to have attacked and devastated Chakrakôta. The Rajim stone inscription, dated in the same year as the present grant, viz , K 896, states that Jagapāla conquered Kākayara, modem Kānker, which borders the former Bastar State on the north, during the reign of Prithvïdëva II. The Kalachuri kings were often at war with the Naga rulers of Chakrakôta. Prithvïdëva II's grandfather Jâjalladëva I had taken the Nâga king Sômêsvara prisoner and released him only at the intercession of his mother. The history of the Nâga kingdom of Chakrakôta is still enveloped in obscurity. Sômësvara was succeeded by Kanharadëva who was reigning 1111 AC. His successor, whose name is still unknown, must have been the adversary of Prithvïdëva II.

Prithvïdëva II's devastation of Chakrakôta is said to have struck terror in the heart of Anantavarman-Chôdaganga, who ruled over the neighbouring kingdom of Kalinga. The Kalachuri king does not seem to have attacked the Ganga kingdom on this occasion. Jagapâla's inscnption also does not mention any victory over the Ganga king though it mentions the conquest of Bhramaravadradësa which was probably identical with the Bhramarakôtyamandala in the Nâga kingdom. Prithvïdëva invaded the Ganga territory later on during the reign of Jateśvara alias Madhukāmārnava, the son and successor of Anantavarman.

The pedigree of the donee begins in verse 12. His grandfather was Hāpūka Who belonged to the Vatsa gôtra. He was famous for his knowledge of the Vëdas. His son was Jīmûtavâhana and the latter's son was Dêlhûka to whom the present grant was made. He is eulogised as proficient in the Vëdânta philosophy and the Sakambhari vidyâ.

Of the geographical names which occur in the present grant, Kôsala has already been shown to be the ancient name of Chhattisgarh and the adjoining territory to the east. Paṇḍaratalâï, the village granted may be identical with that mentioned min the Shëorinârâyan inscription of K 919, where Amanadëva, a scion of a collateral branch of the Kalachuri family, made some benefactions. There are several vjllages of the name Pendri or Pendriâ in Chhattisgarh, but the one nearest to Bilaigarh and Shëorinaràyan is Pendriâ, about 7 miles north-west of the latter place Èvaḍi, the head-quarters of the mandala of the same name, cannot be identified.


  1. Tripurī, history and culture By M. C. Choubey, Page no. 177
  2. The Coin Galleries: Kalachuris of Mahismati
  3. Students' Britannica India By Dale Hoiberg, Indu Ramchandani.
  4. P. 325 Three Mountains and Seven Rivers: Prof. Musashi Tachikawa's Felicitation Volume edited by Musashi Tachikawa, Shōun Hino, Toshihiro Wada
  5. Students' Britannica India By Dale Hoiberg, Indu Ramchandani.
  6. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.193
  7. Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarium Vol IV Part 2 Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi Era, Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi, 1905, p. 551-554
  8. Ep Ind , Vol IX, pp 178 f