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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Suktimati (शुक्तिमती) was the capital city of the Chedi Kingdom in India. It lay on the banks of the Shuktimati River flowing through Chedi. Shuktimati River has been identified with Ken River.



Suktimati (Shuktimati, Sukti[1]) was the capital city of the Chedi Kingdom in India. It lay on the banks of the river Shuktimati flowing through Chedi. It was built by a Chedi king known as Uparichara Vasu. In the Mahabharata, it has been quoted that this river gave birth to twins (a boy and a girl) through its association with a mountain called Kolahala. The river then gives the twins to king Uparichara Vasu. King Vasu makes the boy the commander of his armies and marries the girl, Girika.[2]

Shuktimati is the Sanskrit form of the name; it is referred to as Sotthivati-nagara in the Pali-language Buddhist texts.[3]

The location of Suktimati has not been established with certainty. Historian Hem Chandra Raychaudhuri and F. E. Pargiter believed that it was in the vicinity of Banda, Uttar Pradesh.[4] Archaeologist Dilip Kumar Chakrabarti has proposed that Suktimati can be identified as the ruins of a large early historical city, at a place with the modern-day name Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.[5]

Chedi Rulers of Balangir

The territory comprising the present district of Balangir was in ancient times a part of the South Kosala. According to tradition, the origin of South Kosala dates back to the time of Rama and scholars like Pargiter believe that Rama's long stay in that region gave rise to the name of South Kosala after his original homeland Kosala. According to Padmapurana, the kingdom of Kosala, after Rama, was divided between Lava and Kusa, his two son. Later Kusa founded the city of Kusasthalipura and ruled over the southern half of Kosala (that included modern day Western Odisha and Chhattisgarh State).

During the time of Grammarian Panini (5th Century B.C), a territory named Taitila Janapada flourished to the west of Kalinga and that territory has been associated by historians with the modern town of Titlagarh in Balangir district. Taitala Janapada was famous for trade in some commodities described by the Grammarian as "Kadru" the meaning of which may be either horse or cotton fabrics.[6]

According to Chetiya Jataka, the capital of the Chedi country was Sothivatinagara which is the same as Suktimatipuri of Harivamsa and Suktisahvaya of the Mahabharata (Vana Parva). The epic (Adi Parva) also states that the capital of the Chedis was situated on the bank of river Suktimati which is the Sukhtel river of Balangir district.[7]

Thus the ancestors of famous King of Kalinga Kharavela were from the Balangir district as they were ruling over the territory drained by the Sukhtel river in Balangir, wherefrom they advanced towards the east and became the master of Kalinga by the 1st Century B.C. In the Hathigumpha inscription, Kharavela refers to one Rajashri Vasu as his ancestor, who is probably the same as Vasu, the son of Abhichandra, the founder of Chedi Kingdom. This Vasu may also be identified with Uparichara Vasu of the Mahabharata (Adi Parva) where he is described as the King of the Chedis who were ruling in the modern district of Balangir and Subarnapur.[8]

Balangir region continued to be under the rule of Chedis during the 1st Century AD but in the 2nd century it came under the possession of the Satavahanas, whose king was Gautamiputra Satakarni. He is said to have built a magnificent vihara for his philosopher friend Nagarjuna on the Po Lo Mo Lo Ki Li or Parimalagiri identified with the modern Gandhamadana hills.

Early History: The earliest noted history of Balangir district dates back to the third century BC. The earliest introduction and spread of Aryan religious practice in Dakhin Kosala came with the initial incursion of the Jain religion. According to Bhagavati Sutra and Harivamsha Purana, Mahavir started his earliest preaching of Dharma at Nalanda, Rajgriha, Paniya Bhumi and Siddharthagrama.

According to some scholars, (D. C. Sircar) Punita Bhumi is a synonym of Paniya Bhumi as per Odra-Magadhi language. It is the same as Paniya Bhumi or Nagoloka, the present Nagpur, and it is further identified as Bhogapura, the modern Bastar, region of Chhattisgarh, Koraput, Kalahandi and Balangir district of Odisha.[9]

In some of the insctiptions found in Balangir and Sonepur district, it has been mentioned that this part of the land was known as Attavika during Ashoka’s invasion of Kalinga in 261 B.C.

The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited Po Lo Mo Lo Ki Li monastery at modern Paikmal in the 7th Century AD. It was then having cloisters and lofty halls and those halls were arranged in five tiers each with four courts with temples containing life-size gold images of Buddha. [10]

Utkal University Archaeology Prof. Dr. Sadasiva Pradhan excavated the Gumagad site under Gudvela block near the Tel river valley in Balangir district, where he found that a strategic military hub existed in the 1st century BC.[11] It was set up by a king contemporary to king Kharavela. Four copper plates were also found at Terssingha village which speaks of the Tel valley civilisation. Those plates had information regarding the two capitals – Udayapur and Parbatadwaraka – which were under the rule of Rashtrakutas and local chieftains belonging to different clans. The Udayapur area, the capital of Rashtrakuta kings, who ruled in the valley, still does have standing structures and also the ruins. These are mostly found at Amathgad. Ruins of a medieval fort is also found there.[12]

According to eminent historian and pigraphist Sadananda Agrawal, copper plates were recently found in Kapsila village near Balangir. The found materials were three copper plates tied together by a circular ring and issued by a king named Khadgasimha. It has been dated to the 8th century AD and it informs about new rulers and history of the Tel valley civilization.[13]

In Mahabharata

Shuktisahvaya (शुक्तिसाह्वय) in Mahabharata (XIV.84.2)

Aswamedha Parva, Mahabharata/Book 14 Chapter 84 mentions Arjuna's Rajasuya Ashvamedha journey. Shuktisahvaya (शुक्तिसाह्वय) is mentioned in Mahabharata (XIV.84.2). [14]....Pandu's son (Arjuna) having white steeds yoked unto his car, proceeded along the south, following the (sacrificial) steed. Turning round in course of his wanderings at will, the mighty steed came upon the beautiful city of the Chedis called after the oyster. (Shuktisahvaya).


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर [15] ने लेख किया है ...1. शुक्तिमती (AS, p.903): महाभारत काल मे चेदि देश (बुंदेलखंड तथा जबलपुर का भूभाग) की राजधानी। इसे शुक्तिसाह्वय भी कहा गया है। (महाभारत, आश्वेमेधिक. 83,2) चेदि देश का राजा शिशुपाल था, जिसका वध श्रीकृष्ण ने युधिष्ठिर के राजसूय यज्ञ मे किया था। 'चेतियजातक' में वर्णित सोत्थिवती नगरी, जिसे 'चेदि' या 'चेतिराज्य' की राजधानी कहा गया है, शुक्तिमती का ही पाली रूप है। ऐसा जान पड़ता है कि शुक्तिमती नदी के नाम पर ही इस नगरी का नाम भी प्रसिद्व हो गया था।

2. शुक्तिमती (AS, p.904) नामक नदी (=केन): महाभारत कालीन चेदि देश की इसी नाम की राजधानी शुक्तिमती के पास बहती थी- 'पुरोपवाहिनीं तस्य नदीं शुक्तिमतीं गिरः'-- महाभारत, आदिपर्व 63,35. इस नदी को चेदिराज उपरिचर की राजधानी के पास बहती हुई बताया गया है। पार्जिटर के अनुसार शुक्तिमती नदी बाँदा, उत्तर प्रदेश के निकट बहने वाली केन नदी है। (जर्नल ऑफ एशियाटिक सोसाइटी, बंगाल,1895,पृ. 255)


सूक्तिमति = शुक्तिमती, (AS, p.983): (दे. कृ.द. बाजपेयी -'मथुरा परिचय', पृ.15)[16]


शुक्तिसाह्वय (AS, p.904): 'ततः स पुनर आवृत्य हयः कामचरॊ बली आससाद पुरीं रम्यां चेदीनां शुक्तिसाह्वयाम्' महा.आश्वमेधिक 83,2. (दे. शुक्तिमती-1)[17]

External links


  1. "Rise of the Chedis".
  2. Ganguli, Kisari Mohan (2004). The Mahabharata of Krishna Dwaipayana Vyasa. Kessinger Publishing. p. 154. ISBN 1-4191-7125-9.
  3. Raychaudhuri, Hem Chandra (1923), Political history of ancient India, from the accession of Parikshit to the extinction of the Gupta dynasty, p. 66
  4. Raychaudhuri, Hem Chandra (1923), Political history of ancient India, from the accession of Parikshit to the extinction of the Gupta dynasty, p. 66
  5. Chakrabarti, Dilip Kumar (2000), "Mahajanapada States of Early Historic India", in Hansen, Mogens Herman (ed.), A Comparative Study of Thirty City-state Cultures: An Investigation, p. 387
  6. Panini's Ashtadyayi VI. 2. 42
  7. D. C. Sircar Ancient Geography of India Pg.55
  8. D. C. Sircar Ancient Geography of India
  9. D. C. Sircar, Inscription of Orissa, Pg. 263
  10. Yuan Chawng 'Journey of the West'
  12. "Riverside kingdom traced in copper plates". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India
  14. ततः स पुनर आवृत्य हयः कामचरॊ बली, आससाद पुरीं रम्यां चेदीनां शुक्तिसाह्वयाम
  15. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.903
  16. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.983
  17. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.904