Satyasraya (997–1008 CE), also known as Sattiga or Irivabedanga, was the king of the revived Western Chalukyas. Towards the end of his rule with the great Chola Rajaraja Chola I and had to face disastrous consequences of entering into a war with the Cholas which greatly endangered his own survival as well as the territorial integrity of the Western Chalukyas as a consequence of the Chola twin counter-onslaught into his kingdom. Satyasraya, like his predecessor partonised Kannada poet Ranna who compared the king to Bhima of Mahabharatha.
Invasion of Vengi
Satyasraya continued the aggressive policies of his father Tailapa II. He quickly identified the growing Chola power as his nemesis and resented their increasing influence in the Vengi region and with the Eastern Chalukyas. He sent an army led by one of his generals Baya Nambi to invade the Eastern Chalukyan kingdom in 1006 C.E. to overthrow the Chola-Chalukya alliance and bring the east coast under his control. The general entered Vengi from the south, reduced the forts of Dharanikota and Yanamadala to ashes and established himself at Chebrolu (Guntur district). Rajaraja Chola distracted the attention of Satyasraya by sending his son Rajendra Chola I to invade Rattapadi in the west and thus compelled him to withdraw his army from Vengi for the defence of his realm.
According to Chalukya records, Satyasraya gained success in war against the Cholas, though this is not supported by any epigraphical or inscriptional evidence, especially considering that for several years after his war with the Cholas led by Raja Raja Chola I's son Rajendra Chola I in 1007-08 AD, the inscriptions of Satyasraya himself are issued from places far away from his capital Manyakheta, like Kogali and Kadambalige in Chitradurga district of modern Karnataka claiming him to be 'ruling from' those places.
During his reign the Paramaras and Chedi, rulers of areas that are modern Gujarat and Central India reconquered the territory that they had lost to the Chalukyas earlier. Satyashraya, however, subdued the Shilahara king Aparijitha ruler of North Konkana. He was drawn into a war with the Cholas under Raja Raja Chola I because of their close association with the Eastern Chalukya kingdom of Vengi, which was cemented through marriage. Perceiving this to be an increased interference of Cholas in his sphere of influence, Satyasraya invaded Vengi in 1006 AD.
Wars with the Cholas
The Cholas responded with a two-pronged attack on the Vengi kingdom and on the Western Chalukya territory itself. The Chola armies were led by Rajendra Chola I. According to Chalukya records, Rajendra marched up to Donur, deep inside the Chalukya country, near what is modern Bijapur. He subsequently raided and captured Banavasi (apparently capturing the Kadamba feudatory of Satyashraya) and also conquered large parts of the Raichur Doab. In a subsequent lightning raid by another Chola regiment consisting of ace cavalrymen and a fleet of over 6000 well-armed elephants with four men with swords and arches above them, the Cholas sacked the Chalukyan capital of Manyakheta itself and Satyashraya had to flee the battlefield in dire haste. Raja Raja Chola I entered into war with the Chalukyas following the maxim that attack is the best form of defence, by attacking Chalukya positions right in their capital Manyakheta (Mannaikadakkam in Tamil records), while deploying several other divisions to attack Chalukya positions in Vengi, and chased the Chalukya forces from Vengi to the lower Deccan plateau, near Kolanpak/Kulpak (Kollippakkei in Chola records), which is around 45 miles north of modern Hyderabad. These tough measures compelled Satyashraya to withdraw his forces from Vengi because his own capital Manyakheta had been seized by the Chola Crown Prince Rajendra Chola I. The vanquished Satyashraya, thereafter, was forced to shift south of Manyakheta the capital of his kingdom and issued inscriptions for several years, as 'Satyashraya ruling from Kogali' (or from Kadambalige) (near Chitradurga district in Modern Karnataka). Rajendra Chola returned the territories to him and his forces returned to the Chola country with many riches accumulated from this grand victory. Apparently, Satyasraya was decapitated in his war with Rajendra Chola for he was succeeded by his son Vikramaditya V within two years. The Cholas, presumably because of this, also preferred to strengthen their position in Vengi rather than focus on the Chalukya country, for there were no clashes between the Cholas and the Western Chalukyas during the reign of Vikramaditya V.
- K.A.N.Sastri, 'Advanced History of India', p.289
- K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, p.165