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Coin of Shilaharas of Northern Konkan , Billon, Dramma ?, Indo-Sassanian Design, circa 1210 - 1302.
Obv: Unrecognizable head of king. Rev: A horseman is seen sword-fighting against two foot-soldiers: a third appears to be attacking the horseman from behind, a fourth is seen dead at the feet of the horse

The Shilahara Dynasty (also Shilahara, Shailahara, Shrilara and Silara) was a feudal clan that established itself in northern and southern Konkan and southern Maharashtra during the Rashtrakuta period. Their descendants and the descendants of their generals are seen even today in Maharashtra, Goa and Karwar (Karnataka) as the Shelar and Sawant/Savant clan of the Kshatriya Marathas of the Konkan respectively.

All the branches of this family traced their descent from the mythical Vidyadhara prince Jimutavahana, who sacrificed himself to rescue a dragon (naga) from the clutches of Garuda. The family-name Shilahara (meaning "mountain-peak food" in Sanskrit) is supposed to have been derived from this incident. Even single inscriptions have more than one form of the name, one has the three forms Silara, Shilara and Shrillara.

Lassen suggests that the Shilaharas were of Afghan origin as Silar Kafirs are still found in Afghanistan, but the "Ayya" used in the names of almost all their ministers and the non-Sanskrit names of some of the chiefs support the view that they were of Kannada origin. The Shilaharas of South Konkan were the vassals of Rashtrakutas and ruled from 765 to 1020.[1]

shilahara means rock breaker; the coins clearly depict the rock breaking tools

North Konkan (Thane Branch)[edit]

After Rashtrakuta power became weak the last known ruler of this family, Rattaraja, declared his independence. But Chalukya Jayasimha, the younger brother of Vikramaditya, overthrew him and appropriated his possessions. North Konkan was conquered by the Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga sometime in the second quarter of the eighth century.[2]


South Konkan[edit]

This house's history is known through one record, the Kharepatan plates of Rattaraja issued in 1008. Rattaraja was the last ruler of this dynasty. The document is extremely important as it not only gives the genealogy of the ten ancestors of Rattaraja but also mentions their exploits. The founder, Sanaphulla, was vassal of the Rastrakuta emperor Krisna I who had established his power over Konkan by 765 and probably handed it to Sanaphulla. The Kharepatan plates declare that Sanaphulla obtained lordship over the territory between Sahya mountain and the sea through the favour of Krisnaraja.

Sana-phulla's son Dhammayira is known to have built a fort at Vallipattana on the Western Coast. Aiyaparaja secured victory at Chandrapuri (Chandor) in Goa. The reign of Avasara I proved to be uneventful. His son Adityavarman, described as brilliant as the Sun in valour, offered help to the kings of Chandrapuri and Chemulya (modern Chaul), 30 miles to the south of Bombay, so the influence of the Shilaharas had spread over the whole of Konkan. At this time Laghu Kapardi, the ruler of the Thane branch, was just a boy and the help given to the ruler of Chaul must have been at his expense. Avasara II continued the policy of his father. Indraraja's son Bhima is styled as 'rahuvadgrasta chandramandala' because he overthrew the petty ruler of Chandor. At this time the Kadamba ruler Sasthadeva and his son Chaturbhuja were trying to overthrow the Rastrakuta rule. This explains Bhima's opposition to Chandrapuri or Chandor. Avasara III, no doubt, ruled in troubled times, but had no contribution of his to make. Finally, Rattaraja, loyal to the Rastrakutas, was compelled to transfer his allegiance to Taila II .

Soon after the issue of the plates in 1008, the rule of Konkan passed over to the later Chalukyas. (Dept. Gazetteer: Kolaba,1964, Dept. Gazetteer: 2002 )

  • Sanaphulla (765 to 795)
  • Dhammayira (795 to 820)
  • Aiyaparaja (820 to 845)
  • Avasara I (845 to 870)
  • Adityavarma (870 to 895)
  • Avasara II (895 to 920)
  • Indraraja (920 to 945)
  • Bhima (945 to 970)
  • Avasara III (970 to 995)
  • Rattaraja (995 to 1020)

Shilaharas of Southern Maharashtra (Kolhapur Branch)[edit]

The Shilahara family at Kolhapur was the latest of the three and was founded about the time of the downfall of the Rashtrakuta Empire. They ruled over southern Maharashtra; the modern districts of Satara, Kolhapur and Belgaon. Their family deity was the goddess Mahalakshmi, whose blessing they claimed to have secured in their copperplate grants (Mahalakshmi-labdha-vara-prasada). Like their relatives of the northern branch of Konkan, the Shilaharas of Kolhapur claimed to be of the lineage of the Vidyadhara Jimutavahana. They carried the banner of golden Garuda. One of the many titles used by the Shilaharas was Tagarapuravaradhisvara, supreme sovereign ruler of Tagara.[3]

The first capital of the Shilaharas was probably at Karad during the reign of Jatiga-II as known from their copper plate grant of Miraj and 'Vikramankadevacharita' of Bilhana.[4] Hence sometimes they are referred as 'Shilaharas of Karad'. Later on although the capital was shifted to Kolhapur, some of their grants mention Valavada, and the hill fort of Pranalaka or Padmanala, (Panhala) as the places of royal residence. Even though the capital was shifted to Kolhapur, Karhad retained its significance during the Shilahara period. This branch rose to power the latter part of the Rashtrakuta rule and so, unlike the kings of the other two branches, those of this branch do not mention the genealogy of the Rashtrakutas even in their early grants. Later on they acknowledged the suzerainty of the later Chalukya for some time. They had used Kannada as the official language as can seen from their inscriptions. This branch continued to hold the Southern Maharashtra from circa 940 to 1220.

It seems that Bhoja II, the last ruler of this family, was overthrown and dispossessed by Singhana in or soon after 1219-20 (Saka 1131) as is borne out by one of Singhana’s inscriptions dated Saka 1160.[5]


  • Jatiga I (940 - 960)
  • Naivarman (960 - 980)
  • Chandra (980 - 1000)
  • Jatiga II (1000 - 1020)
  • Gonka (1020 - 1050)
  • Guhala I
  • Kirtiraja
  • Chandraditya
  • Marsimha (1050 - 1075)
  • Guhala II (1075 - 1085)
  • Bhoja I (1085 - 1100)
  • Ballala (1100 - 1108)
  • Gonka II
  • Gandaraditya I (1108 - 1138)
  • Vijayaditya I (1138 - 1175)
  • Bhoja II (1175 - 1212)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dept. Gazetteer: Thane,1982: Dept. Gazetteer: 2002
  2. ^ Dept. Gazetteer: 2002
  3. ^ Bhandarkar : 1957, Fleet: 1896
  4. ^ (Dept. Gazetteer: 2002)
  5. ^ Fleet: 1896


  • Bhandarkar R.G. (1957): Early History of Deccan, Sushil Gupta (I) Pvt Ltd, Calcutta.
  • Fleet, J.F. (1896): "The Dynasties of the Kanarese District of The Bombay Presidency", written for The Bombay Gazetteer.
  • Department of Gazetteer, Govt of Maharashtra (2002): Itihaas : Prachin Kal, Khand -1 (Marathi)
  • Department of Gazetteer, Govt of Maharashtra (1960): Kolhapur District Gazetteer
  • Department of Gazetteer, Govt of Maharashtra (1964): Kolaba District Gazetteer
  • Department of Gazetteer, Govt of Maharashtra (1982): Thane District Gazetteer
  • A.S. Altekar (1936): The Silaharas of Western India.

External links[edit]