Vikramaditya (Sanskrit: विक्रमादित्य) was a legendary 1st century BCE Emperor of Ujjain, India, famed for his wisdom, valour and magnanimity. According to the Pratisarga Parvan of Bhavisya Purana, he was the second son of Ujjain's King Gandharvasena of Paramara dynasty. Vikramaditya was born on 102 BC and died on 15 AD.
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The Vikramarka Shaka epoch (or Vikrama epoch) is attributed to him. Many Indian kings took him as ideal and kept his name as their title. The Baital Pachisi and Dwatrimshati (Sanskrit for "32", a story about Vikramaditya's throne, supported by 32 dolls, each of which told Raja Bhoja a story about Vikramaditya's greatness) are popular stories about him. Vikramaditya, Shalivahana and Bhoja Kings are detailed in Bhavishya Purana. The first two kings had independent sakas or epochs, while Shalivahana era continues to be followed in the Indian Calendar. Among these kings, Vikramaditya stands first.
Birth of Vikramaditya
According to the Bhavisya Purana, Gandharvasena, after ruling for 50 years, had his son Sankharaja made king. Gandharvasena went into the forest for meditation. His son died childless after ruling for 30 years, so Gandharvasena returned and ruled for another 20 years. In the year 101 BC his second son, Vikramaditya, was born.
The legend of Vikramaditya
The legendary Vikramaditya is a popular figure in both Sanskrit and regional languages in India. The two most famous tales, featuring him, in Sanskrit are Vetala Panchvimshati and Simhasana-Dwatrimshika ("The 32 (tales) of the throne"). These two are found in varying versions in Sanskrit and also in the regional languages.
Simhasana-Dwatrimshika, the tale of the throne link to the lost throne of Vikramaditya which king Bhoja, the Paramara king of Dhar, found after many centuries. Dhar become famous as well with a number of tales relating stories of how he attempted to sit on the throne.King Bhoja tries to ascend the throne of Vikramaditya. Thirty two female statues which adorn that throne challenge him to ascend the throne only if he has magnanimity equal to Vikramaditya as revealed by a tale she would narrate. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Bhoja to ascend the throne and in each case Bhoja acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility.
Vikram Samvat calendar
The Vikram Samvat or Bikram Samwat is the calendar said to have been founded by the emperor Vikramaditya following his victory over the Sakas in 56 BCE, although it is popularly (and incorrectly) associated with the subsequent king Chandragupta Vikramaditya. It is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition and is currently the official calendar of Nepal.
In popular culture
Several various stories of this great king are popular. Most popular are Baital Pachisi and Dwatrimshati. Vikram Aur Betaal was a television programme directed by Ramanand Sagar, that aired on Doordarshana National channel which was based on Baital Pachisi. Another Indian television series named Singhasan Battisi also aired on DD National channel in 1985 and a new series Betaal Aur Singhasan Battisi airs on SAB TV.
- H.D. Dharm Chakravarty Swami Prakashanand Saraswati. Encyclopedia Of Authentic Hinduism The True History and the Religion of India,Hardbound, 2nd Edition, 2003 ,ISBN 0967382319 Retrieved 2015-01-21
- The Encyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia by Edward Balfour, B. Quaritch 1885, p.502.
- Bhavisya Purana, Pratisarga Parva, in Sanskrit
- The Historicity of Vikramaditya & Salivahana, by Kota Venkatachelam, 1951
- The Katha Sarit Sagara, or Ocean of the Streams of Story, translated by C.H.Tawney, 1880
- Vikrama's adventures or The thirty-two tales of the throne, edited in four different recensions of the Sanskrit original (Vikrama-charita or Sinhasana-dvatrimshika), translated by Franklin Edgerton, Harvard University Press, 1926.
- Story of Vikramaditya re-building Ayodhya Temple
- Gold Coin of Vikramaditya 1