Anangabhima III

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Anangabhima Deva III
Reign 1211-1238 A.D
Predecessor Rajraj Deva III
Successor Langula Narasimha Deva
Spouse Somaladevi
House Eastern Ganga Dynasty
Religion Hinduism

Anangabhima Deva III (Odia: ତୃତୀୟ ଅନଙ୍ଗଭୀମ ଦେବ) was a powerful ruler and reformist of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty that ruled an early medieval Odisha centered empire in eastern India from the year 1211-1238 A.D. He was successful in maintaining a large extent of territory that stretched from the river Ganga in the north to Godavari in the South. He had successfully defeated the Kalachuris on the western frontiers of the empire and established a matrimonial alliance with them. His brother or brother in law, Rajaraja II became the ruler of the Dynasty in 1198, and was overrun by the Muslims of Bengal, who invaded Odisha in 1206.[1] When Anangabhima III came into power, he expelled the Muslims of Bengal from his kingdom. He had a son, Narasimha Deva I, who would later invade Bengal in 1243, and captured the capital city, Gauda.[1] He was a reformist in the social and spiritual structure of the Odia society as the vaishnavite deity Jagannath was declared as the supreme ruler of the empire and the emperor as the deputy under him.

Foundation of Abhinava Baranasi Katak or Cuttack City[2][edit]

Ananga Bhima Deva III became the ruler of the ancient land of Kalinga in the year 1211 A.D. At the time of his coronation, his kingdom faced repeated attacks from the Muslim forces of Ghiyasuddin Iwaj Shah, the ruler of Bengal. The Kalachuri kings had been struggling to take over the territory of Odisha from the times of the Somavanshi rulers and the western frontier of Anangabhima's kingdom was repeatedly violated by them. Anangabhima first chose a strategic location on the bifurcation of rivers Mahanadi and Katthajodi for the foundation of a new capital called Abhinava Baranasi Katak. In 1230 A.D he moved his headquarters to the new capital. Katak literally means a fortification. The city was named as Abhinav Varanasi Katak (new Varanasi fort) replicating the holy Varanasi city of north India and a new fort complex called Barabati was constructed to build up his military force under the guidance of his able Brahman minister and military adviser named as Vishnu.

Chandrika, the Ganga Princess[edit]

Chandrika, the daughter of Anangabhima III was an expert in music and dance. She was a devout Vaishnavite and later built the Ananta Vasudeva temple at Bhubaneswar with the permission of his brother Narasimhadeva I when he inherited the throne. She lost her gallant Haihaya-Kalachuri husband, Parmadri Dev in the final battle of Umurdan (Amarda in Mayurbhanj district) who led the Ganga forces against the Muslim rulers of Bengal.

Military Career and Achievements[3][4][5][edit]

Military Victory Over the Kalachuris at Seori Narayana[edit]

Anangabhima Deva III was at the threshold of the continuous conflict with the eventually depleting Ratnapura Kalachuri dynasty which had defeated the Somavamshis and occupied the western tracts of ancient Kalinga kingdom at its height in the past or the complete Tri Kalinga region. Ananta Varman Chodagangdeva, the ancestor of Anangabhimadeva III was unsuccessful in reclaiming these lost territories despite his numerous military achievements. The Kalachuri king, Pratapmalla continued his attempts to invade the frontiers of the Ganga territory along with his son Paramardi Dev. Anangabhima send a large force under the command of his able Brahman commander, Vishnu. The two forces met face to face at the Seori Narayana village in undivided Sambalpur district on the banks of the river called Bhima near the Vindhya hills and the Kalchuris were defeated for the first time in a major way by the Gangas.

Pratapmalla was taken prisoner and forced to cede the Sambalpur-Sonepur-Bolangir tracts along with parts of what is now Chhattishgarh state to the Ganga kingdom. Later with the advise of his minister Vishnu, Anangabhima established a diplomatic and matrimonial alliance with the Kalachuris by offering the hand of his daughter Chandrika in marriage to the Kalachuri prince, Parmardi Dev. Once the alliance was secured, the Ganga forces multiplied in strength. This diplomatic decision was made keeping in eye the long term prospects of a major threat from the Muslim rulers of Bengal.

Warding off the Invasion by Khilji Dynasty of Bengal[edit]

After defeating the Kalchuris, Anangabhima faced a major threat from the invading Muslim forces of Khilji Maliks from Bengal. His prime enemy Ghiyasuddin Iwaj Shah, the ruler of Bengal was a successor of Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji who was a successful military general of Qutb Ud Din Aibak. Ghiyassuddin had built a powerful navy and set out for conquest of neighboring kingdoms like Kamarupa and Odisha. He invaded the northern territories and also sent naval armadas over the river Mahanadi to capture his newly founded capital, destabilize his military strength and occupy lands. During the series of these events the newly built Barabati Fort was successfully used to repulse the enemy attacks from the river. His able minister and military adviser, Vishnu commanded a force that chased the invading Muslims on the land out of northern Odisha. The inscriptions of Chateswar temple (Salepur in Cuttack district) and Ananta Vasudeva temple confirm that the Muslim forces of Bengal were defeated by the able commander Vishnu who was able to pull his bow string until his ears and shot arrows killing many enemy soldiers.

Conflict with Ganapatideva of Kakatiya Dynasty (1230 A.D.)[edit]

In the first stage of this campaign on his southern rival Ganapatideva, Anangabhima advanced until the Krishna river and camped there. The territories were included in the Odisha in the year 1230 A.D. However, in the second stage the Kakatiya king by the name Narasimha II defeated his forces and the territories until East Godavari were lost to the Kakatiyas. Taking advantage of the Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva's invasion on the Chola territory and according to Allalanatha temple inscription, Anangabhima III overran the Kanchipuram and Srirangam towns in south India. His queen Somaladevi Mahadevi is recorded to have made a valuable gift to the temple of Allalanatha. This event let the Odishan forces extend their hegemony till the Krishna river in the south.

Personality, Constructive Activities and Cultural Contribution[6][7][edit]

Srikumam and Draksarama inscriptions mention that Anangabhima was a devout Vaishnavite and extremely spiritual person. The Allalnath Perumal inscription at Kanchipuram of his wife Somaladevi says he used to follow the fasting ritual of Ekadasibrata of Vaishnavism and was the son of Purrushottama (a name of Vishnu). He assumed the title of Anangabhima-Rauta-Deva (Rauta meaning deputy) and declared himself as the sole deputy of Lord Purushottama or Lord Jagannath. He also assumed the titles of Parama Vaishnava and Parama Mahesvara to legalize his higher spiritual position in the state. It was during his rule that Lord Jagannath of Puri was officially accepted as the national deity. In the year 1238 A.D. he declared his regnal year or Anka as the regnal year of Lord Purushottama.

He is speculated to have build a new Jagannath temple at Cuttack, his newly founded capital city along with two Shiva temples like Meghesvara at Bhubaneswar.. He financed and monitored constructions along with serious maintenance activities of the old structures within the Jagannath temple complex at Puri. Anangabhima Deva declared himself as Purushottamaputra, Rudraputra and Durgaputra in his Draksarama inscription. This indicates the state policy of all the three Brhaminical cults came together under a harmonious unified spiritual structure during his rule. He donated to multiple Shaiva shrines across his empire. He completed the construction of Puri Jagannath temple. He introduced the Chattishaniyoga or 36 types of services to the lord Jagannath. He had also introduced the ‘Panda’ or priest care system at the Puri shrine.

The Draksarama Nagari plate inscription also credits him for making many land grants to the Brahmins. His Chatesvara temple inscription states that he undertook numerous public welfare projects for construction of roads, tanks, houses and temples for the people. As per the Madalapanji temple records of Puri Jagannath, the king undertook a land settlement by the assistance of his two revenue ministers Damodar Badapanda and Isana Pattanayak. The total revenue collected during his rule was four crores and forty-three lakhs of tankas. He also ordered repairing of old temples and places of historical significance.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ganga Dynasty, Encyclopædia Britannica". Britannica. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  2. ^ "HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE OF CUTTACK TOWN" (PDF). Magazines Odisha Gov: 132. 11 August 2017. 
  3. ^ "ANANGABHIMADEVA III(1211-1238 A. D. )" (PDF). Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  4. ^ History of Odisha. New Delhi: Kalyani Publishers. 2004. ISBN 81-272-1367-5. 
  5. ^ "HISTORY OF ODISHA (FROM EARLIEST TIMES TO 1434 A.D.)" (PDF). DDCE/History (M.A)/SLM/Paper: 105–108. 12 August 2017. 
  7. ^ "ANANGABHIMADEVA III (1211-1238 A. D. )" (PDF). Retrieved 11 August 2017. 
  8. ^ "HISTORY OF ODISHA (FROM EARLIEST TIMES TO 1434 A.D.)" (PDF). DDCE/History (M.A)/SLM/Paper: 108. 12 August 2017.