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Author: Laxman Burdak IFS (R)

Kalachuri (कलचुरी) 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 ruled parts of present-day Chhattisgarh from their capital at Ratnapura (modern Ratanpur in Bilaspur district). They were an offshoot of the Kalachuris of Tripuri, and ruled as vassals of the parent dynasty for many years.

Extent of Kalachuri Kingdom

Kalchuri Kings commanded Dakshina Kosala, 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

Inscriptions of the Kalachuris of Ratanpur

Click the place name of Inscription below to know details:

Pujaripali Stone Inscription of Gopaladeva; No. 114, Plate XCIV, Source - Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarium Vol IV Part 2 Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi Era, Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi, 1905. pp. 588-594

Origin of Kalachuris

The kingdom originated as the eastern province of the Kalachuri or Chedi kingdom, which was centered in the upper Narmada River valley. According to inscriptions, the Tripuri Kalachuri king Kokalla I had 18 sons, the eldest of whom succeeded him on the throne of Tripuri. The younger ones became rulers of mandalas (feudatory governors). The Ratnapuri Kalachuris descended from one of these younger sons.[1] The new branch was established by Kalingaraja around 1000 CE.[2] By the eleventh century the Ratnapura branch became independent.

They are supposed to be offshoot of Abhira of Traikutakas dynasty.[3]

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.

Rulers in Chhattisgarh before Kalachuris

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 Kashi (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 Kashi. 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 Baghelkhand, 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.[5] 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)

Kalachuri History

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.[6] By religious affiliation they were usually followers of Hinduism, specifically of the Pasupata sect.[7]

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.[8] 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.

Kalachuris of Ratanpur

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.

Several inscriptions and coins of the Ratnapura branch have been found, but these do not provide enough information to reconstruct the political history of the region with complete certainty.[9]

Kalinga-raja conquered the Dakshina Kosala region from the Somavamshi dynasty, and established the Ratnapura kingdom around 1000 CE.[10] He made Tummana (near modern-day Bilaspur) his capital.[11] He was succeeded by Kamala-raja;[12] his grandson Ratna-deva I established Ratnapura (modern Ratanpur).[13] The inscriptions of the next ruler Prithvideva I indicate that the Ratnapura branch continued to rule as feudatories of the Kalachuris of Tripuri.[14]

Prithvi-deva I was succeeded by his son Jajalla-deva I, who was the first powerful king of the dynasty. The Kalachuris of Ratnapura became de facto independent in his reign. In 1114 CE, Jajalla-deva I invaded the Chindaka Naga territory to the south, annexing southern parts of Kosala which were under Telugu Choda governorship. Jajalla-deva I defeated the Chindaka Naga king Somesvara and took him prisoner, only releasing him at the intervention of his mother.[15]

The next ruler, Ratnadeva II, officially declared independence from the Kalachuris of Tripuri[16] and repulsed an invasion by Anantavarman Chodaganga, the king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.[17] His successor was Prithvi-deva, whose 15 inscriptions are an important source of the political and cultural history of the kingdom.[18]


Prithvi-deva II's successor Jajalla-deva II reigned for a short and troublesome period, as attested by his Amoda, Malhar, and Sheorinarayan inscriptions. His successors included Ratnadeva III and Pratapa-malla. The political history of the dynasty after Pratapa-malla is uncertain.[19]

The Eastern Gangas and the Kalachuris appear to have involved in a long conflict for the control of the Trikalinga and Kosala regions.[20] According to one theory, the Ganga king Anangabhima-deva III' defeated Pratpamalla. This theory is based on the Chateswara Temple inscription, according to which Anganabhima's general Vishnu terrorized the king of Tummana (the old Kalachuri capital) so much that the latter "perceived Vishnu every where through out his kingdom." According to the Ananta-vasu-deva temple inscription, Anangabhima's daughter Chandrika-devi married a Haihaya prince named Paramardi-deva; this prince must have belonged to the Ratnapura family, although he is unlikely to have belonged to the main branch of that dynasty.[21]

No information is available about Pratapamalla's successors, except a vague reference in Hemadri's Vrata-khanda which suggests that a king named Jajalla may have succeeded Pratapa-malla.[22] The next extant Kalachuri record at Ratnapura is from the reign of king Vahara, who is attested by his 1494 and 1513 CE inscriptions. His relationship to Pratapa-malla is not clear: he traces his genealogy to one Lakshmi-deva. The family appears to have split into two branches after the reign of Lakshmi-deva's son Simhana, with Vahara's ancestor, as suggested by the Raipur stone inscription of Brahmadeva and the Khalari stone inscription of Haribhramadeva. Varaha's ancestor Danghira appears to have ruled at Ratanpur, while Brahmadeva's predecessor Ramachandra appears to have ruled from Raipur. Varaha appears to have moved his capital from Ratnapura to Kosanga (Kosgain), and fought against the Pathanas (Afghans), whose identity is not clear.[23]

No records of Vahara's immediate successors are available, but local traditions mention twelve successors of Bahar Sahai, who can be identified with Vahara.[24] According to the old deshbahis (records) preserved at Ratanpur, examined by the British civil servant J.W. Chisholm, Raja Rajsing (c. 1689-1712) belonged to a "long unbroken line of the Haihayas of Ratanpur". In 1740, the general of the Maratha Nagpur Kingdom, Bhaskar Pant invaded the kingdom and made it recognize Nagpur's suzerainty.[14] The kingdom survived until 1758, when its last ruler Mohan Singh died and the state was annexed by its suzerain, the Maratha Nagpur Kingdom.[25]

List of Kalachuri rulers

The following is a list of the Ratnapura Kalachuri rulers, with estimated period of their reigns:[26]

The next Kalachuri inscriptions are from the reign of the 15th-16th century king Vahara, whose relationship to Pratapa-malla is not clear. The following genealogy can be reconstructed from these records:[27]

No records of Vahara's immediate successors are available. However, according to local traditions, the later rulers of Ratanpur descended from Bahar Sahai, who can be identified with Vahara. The last of these rulers were Raja Raj Singh (c. 1689-1712) and Mohan Singh (c. 1745-1758).[28]


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[29] 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

The Ratnapura branch was established by Kalinga-raja around 1000 CE. His descendants became independent towards the end of the 11th century, and fought with their neighbours to consolidate their rule, including the Eastern Gangas. Pratapa-malla, the last confirmed descendant of Kalinga-raja, ruled in the early 13th century. No information is available about his immediate successors, but towards the end of the 14th century, the family appears to have split into two branches, with their capitals at Ratanpur and Raipur respectively.

Vahara, the 15th-16th century king of Ratanpur, can be identified with Bahar Sahai, to whom the later rulers of Ratanpur trace their ancestry. The Ratanpur kingdom accepted the suzerainty of the Maratha Nagpur Kingdom in 1740, and was annexed into that kingdom after the death of its last ruler, Mohan Singh.

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.

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.

Inscriptions of Kalachuris

The inscriptions of the Ratnapura Kalachuri rulers have been discovered at several places in present-day Chhattisgarh:[30][31]


  1. F. Kielhorn (1888). "Rajim stone inscription of Jagapala of the Kulachuri year 896". The Indian Antiquary. pp. 137–138.
  2. Om Prakash Misra (2003). Archaeological Excavations in Central India: Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-81-7099-874-7. p.14
  3. Tripurī, history and culture By M. C. Choubey, Page no. 177
  4. Corpus Inscriptionium Indicarium Vol IV Part 2 Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi Era, Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi, 1955, p.417-419
  5. The Coin Galleries: Kalachuris of Mahismati
  6. Students' Britannica India By Dale Hoiberg, Indu Ramchandani.
  7. P. 325 Three Mountains and Seven Rivers: Prof. Musashi Tachikawa's Felicitation Volume edited by Musashi Tachikawa, Shōun Hino, Toshihiro Wada
  8. Students' Britannica India By Dale Hoiberg, Indu Ramchandani.
  9. Om Prakash Misra 2003, p. 14.
  10. Om Prakash Misra 2003, p. 14.
  11. F. Kielhorn 1888, p. 138.
  12. Om Prakash Misra 2003, p. 14.
  13. F. Kielhorn 1888, p. 138.
  14. Om Prakash Misra 2003, p. 14.
  15. Mirashi, Vasudev Vishnu (1955). Inscriptions of the Kalachuri-Chedi Era. Government Epigraphist for India.
  16. V. V. Mirashi 1957, p. 495.
  17. V. V. Mirashi 1957, p. 495.
  18. Om Prakash Misra 2003, p. 14.
  19. Om Prakash Misra 2003,
  20. Panda, Shishir Kumar (1991). Medieval Orissa: A Socio-economic Study. Mittal Publications. p. 10. ISBN 978-81-7099-261-5.
  21. "ANANGABHIMADEVA III(1211-1238 A. D.)" (PDF). www.shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in. pp. 27–30.
  22. R. K. Sharma (1980). The Kalachuris and Their Times. Sundeep Prakashan. OCLC 1075715791. p.55
  23. R. K. Sharma 1980, p. 56.
  24. R. K. Sharma 1980, p. 56.
  25. Mishra, P. L. (1969). "Mohansingh (The Last Kalachuri King)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 31: 207–213. JSTOR 44138363.
  26. V. V. Mirashi 1957, p. 503.
  27. R. K. Sharma 1980, p.
  28. Mishra, P. L. (1969). "Mohansingh (The Last Kalachuri King)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 31: 207–213. JSTOR 44138363.
  29. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.193
  30. V. V. Mirashi 1957,
  31. Om Prakash Misra 2003, p. 14