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Kanaksen or Kanaka was a King, who, in the second century, abandoned his native kingdom, Kosala, and established the race of Surya in Saurashtra.[1]

At least ten genealogical lists, derived from the most opposite sources, agree in making Kanaksen the founder of this dynasty ; and assign his emigration from the most northern of the provinces of India to the peninsula of Saurashtra in S. 201, or A.D. 145. [2]


James Tod comments that Sen means, 'army'; kanak means, 'gold.' so Kanaksen is entirely mythical. It has been suggested that the name is a reminiscence of the connexion of the great Kushan Emperor, Kanishka, with Gujarat and Kathiawar (BG, i. Part i. 101). [3]

Legend of Kanaksen

James Tod[4] writes that By what route Kanaksen, the first emigrant of the solar race, found his way into Saurashtra from Lohkot (Lahore), is uncertain : he, however, wrested dominion from a prince of the Pramara race, and founded Birnagara in the second century (A.D. 144).

Four generations afterwards, Vijayasen, founded Vijayapur, supposed to be where Dholka now stands, at the head of the Saurashtra peninsula. Vijayapur has been doubtfully identified with Bijapur in the Ahmadabad district (BG, i. Part i. 110).

Vidarba was also founded by him, the name of which was afterwards changed to Sihor.

But the most celebrated was the capital, Valabhipura, which for years baffled all search, till it was revealed in its now humbled condition as Walai, ten miles west of Bhavnagar. The existence of this city was confirmed by a celebrated Jain work, the Satrunjaya Mahatma. The want of satisfactory proof of the Rana's emigration from thence was obviated by the most unexpected discovery of an inscription of the twelfth century, in a ruined temple on the tableland forming the eastern boundary of the Rana's present territory, which appeals to the ' walls of Valabhi ' for the truth of the action it records. And a work written to commemorate the reign of Rana Raj Singh opens with these words : "In the west is Sorathdes, (Saurashtra) a country well known : the barbarians invaded it, and conquered Bal-ka-nath ; all fell in the sack of Valabhipura, except the daughter of the Pramara."

And the Sandrai

[p.254]: roll thus commences : " When the city of Valabhi was sacked, the inhabitants fled and founded Bali, Sandrai, and Nadol in Mordar des (Marwar)." (Marwar) These are towns yet of consequence, and in all the Jain religion is still maintained, which was the chief worship of Valabhipura when sacked by the ' barbarian.' The records preserved by the Jains give S.B. 205 (A.D. 524) as the date of this event.

The date of the fall of Valabhi is very uncertain (Smith, EH I, 315, note). It is said to have been destroyed in the reign of Siladitya VI., the last of the dynasty, about A.D. 776 (Duff, Chronology of India, 31, 67, 308).

The tract about Valabhipura and northward is termed Bal, probably from the tribe of Bala, which might have been the designation of the Rana's tribe prior to that of Grahilot ; and most probably Multan, and all these regions of the Kathi, Bala, etc., were dependent on Lohkot, whence emigrated Kanaksen ; thus strengthening the surmise of the Scythic descent of the Ranas, though now installed in the seat of Rama. The sun was the deity of this northern tribe, as of the Rana's ancestry, and the remains of numerous temples to this grand object of Scythic homage are still to be found scattered over the peninsula ; whence its name, Saurashtra, the coutry of the Sauras, or Sun-worshippers ; the Surastrene or Syrastrene of ancient geographers ; its inhabitants, the Suros of Strabo.

There is possibly a confusion with the Soras of Aehan (xv. 8) which has been identified by Caldwell (Dravidian Grammar, 17) with the greek....? of Ptolemy, and with the Chola kingdom of Southern India. Surashtra or Saurashtra, ' land of the Sus,' was afterwards Sanskritized into ' goodly country ' (Monier Williams, Skt. Diet. s.v. ; BG, i. Part i. 6).

[p.255]: Besides these cities, the MSS. give Gayni as the last refuge of the family when expelled Saurashtra. One of the poetic chronicles thus commences : " The barbarians had captured Gajni. The house of Siladitya was left desolate. In its defence his heroes fell ; of his seed but the name remained."

Gaini, or Gajni, is one of the ancient names of Cambay (the port of Valabhipura), the ruins of which are about three miles from the modern city. Other sources indicate that these princes held possessions in the southern continent of India, as well as in the Saurashtra peninsula. Talatalpur Patan, on the Godavari, is mentioned, which tradition asserts to be the city of Deogir ; but which, after many years' research, I discovered in Saurashtra, it being one of the ancient names of Kandala. In after times, when succeeding dynasties held the title of Balakarae, though the capital was removed inland to Anhilwara Patan, they still held possession of the western shore, and Cambay continued the chief port. [For the identification of Gajni with Cambay see I A, iv. 147 ; BG, vi. 213 note. The site of Devagiri has been identified with Daulatabad (BG, i. Part ii. 136 ; Beal, Buddhist Records of the Western World, ii. 255, note).

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