The Guhila dynasty ruled the Medapata (modern Mewar) region in present-day Rajasthan state of India. The Guhila kings initially ruled as Gurjara-Pratihara vassals between 8th and 10th centuries. Their capitals included Nagahrada (Nagda) and Aghata (Ahar). For this reason, they are also known as the Nagda-Ahar branch of the Guhilas.
The Guhilas assumed sovereignty after the decline of the Gurjara-Pratiharas in the 11th century. During the 11th-13th centuries, they were involved in military conflicts with several of their neighbours, including the Paramaras, the Chahamanas, the Delhi Sultanate, the Chaulukyas, and the Vaghelas.
In the mid-12th century, the dynasty divided into two branches. The senior branch (whose rulers are called Rawal in the later medieval literature) ruled from Chitrakuta (modern Chittorgarh), and ended with Ratnasimha's defeat against the Delhi Sultanate at the 1303 Siege of Chittorgarh. The junior branch ruled from Sesoda with the title Rana, and gave rise to the Sisodia Rajput dynasty.
The history of the Guhilas has been obscured by bardic legends. In the 7th century, three different Guhila dynasties are known to have ruled in present-day Rajasthan: the Guhilas of Nagda-Ahar, the Guhilas of Kishkindha (modern Kalyanpur), and the Guhilas of Dhavagarta (present-day Dhor). None of these dynasties claimed any prestigious origin in their 7th century records. The Guhilas of Dhavagarta explicitly mentioned the Mori (later Maurya) kings as their overlords, and the early kings of the other two dynasties also bore the titles indicating their subordinate status.
By the 10th century, the Guhilas of Nagda-Ahar were the only among the three dynasties to have survived. By this time, their political status had increased, and the Guhila kings had assumed high royal titles such as Maharajadhiraja. During this period, the dynasty started claiming a prestigious origin, stating that its founder Guhadatta was a mahideva (Brahmin) who had migrated from Anandapura (present-day Vadnagar in Gujarat). The 977 CE Atpur inscription of Shaktikumara lists 20 Guhila kings in an unbroken line of succession, starting with Guhadatta and ending with Shaktikumara.
By the 13th century, having consolidated their rule over the Medapata (Mewar) region, the Guhilas came up with a new origin myth. Their post-13th century records and the subsequent bardic legends name the dynasty's founder as Bappa Rawal, who is not mentioned in the Atpur inscription. These accounts state that Bappa Rawal consolidated his rule with the blessings of the Pashupata sage Haritarashi. Different historians identify Bappa Rawal with different kings mentioned in the Atpur inscription, including Kalabhoja, Shiladitya, and Khummana. R. C. Majumdar theorizes that Bappa achieved a highly significant military success, because of which he gained reputation as the dynasty's founder.
According to 1274 CE Chittor inscription and 1285 CE Achaleshwar (Abu) inscription of Vedasharma, Bappa Rawal "changed his priestly splendour for regal lustre". Based on this, scholars such as D. R. Bhandarkar theorized that the Guhilas were originally Brahmins. G. H. Ojha, however, believed that the statement in Vedasharma's inscription is a misinterpretation of the earlier Atpur inscription. The Atpur inscription describes Guhadatta as a "Mahideva", which according to historian R. V. Somani, can be translated as either "king" or "Brahmin".
The 1274 CE Chittor inscription compares the Guhila ruler Bharttripatta with Rama, describing both of them as "Brahma-Kshatras". Based on the identification of Rama with Parashurama, scholars such as D. C. Sircar theorized that the progenitor of the dynasty had a Brahmin parent and a Kshatriya parent. However, Somani dismisses this theory, arguing that Rama here refers to Ramachandra, from whose solar dynasty the later Guhilas claimed descent.
The later bardic chronicles mention a fabricated genealogy, claiming that the dynasty's founder Guhaditya was a son of Shiladitya, the Maitraka ruler of Vallabhi. This claim is not supported by historical evidence.
According to the 977 CE Atpur inscription and the 1083 CE Kadmal inscription, Guhadatta was succeeded by Bhoja, who commissioned the construction of a tank at Eklingji. The 1285 CE Achaleshwar inscription describes him as a devotee of Vishnu. Bhoja was succeeded by Mahendra and Nagaditya. The bardic legends state that Nagaditya was killed in a battle with the Bhils.
Nagaditya's successor Shiladitya raised the political status of the family significantly, as suggested by his 646 CE Samoli inscription, as well as the inscriptions of his successors, including the 1274 CE Chittor inscription and the 1285 CE Abu inscription. R. V. Somani theorizes that the copper and zinc mines at Jawar were excavated during his reign, which greatly increased the economic prosperity of the kingdom. The 16th century Buddhist writer Taranatha mentions a reputed artist named Shringadhara, who was patronized by the king Shila of Maru country. Somani identifies this king as the Guhila king Shiladitya, although some other historians have identified him as Harshavardhana or the Maitraka king Shiladitya.
Shiladitya was succeeded by Aparajita, who is attested by the 661 CE Kunda inscription. This epigraph records the construction of a Vishnu temple by Yashomati, the wife of Aparajita's commander Varaha. According to the bardic chronicles, Aparajita was also killed in a battle with the Bhils. His son Mahendra succeeded him.
The Guhilas originally acknowledged the suzerainty of the Gurjara-Pratiharas. In 10th century, Bhartripatta became an independent ruler, and assumed the title Maharajadhiraja, as attested by a 943 CE inscription. His successor Allata (reigned c. 950s CE) killed one Devapala, who according to Majumdar, might have been the Gurjara-Pratihara king Devapala.
Guhilas of Aghata
In the later half of the 10th century, the Paramara king Munja defeated the elephant forces of the Guhilas, and plundered their capital Aghata. The defeated Guhila ruler (either Naravahana or his son Shaktikumara) took shelter with Dhavala, the Rashtrakuta ruler of Hastikundi. As a result of this victory, the Paramaras gained control of the eastern part of Mewar, including Chittorgarh.
Shaktikumara's son Ambaprasada was defeated and killed by the Chahamana king Vakpati II. Among his successors, Vijayasimha (r.c. 1108-1116) was a son-in-law of the Paramara king Udayaditya and a father-in-law of the Kalachuri king Gayakarna.
According to the 15th century text Eklinga-Mahatmaya, the family split into two branches during the reign of Ranasimha alias Karna: the Rawal (senior) branch of Chittor, and the Rana (junior) branch of Sesoda. The later Sisodia Rajput dynasty of Sesoda thus descended from the Guhilas of Mewar.
Kshemasimha succeeded his father Ranasimha alias Karna. By 1151, Chittor was under the control of the Chaulukya king Kumarapala. Kshemasimha's son Samantasimha appears to have achieved military success against Kumarapala's successor Ajayapala. However, he was defeated by Ajayapala's feudatory Prahladana, the Paramara chief of Abu. The 1231 CE Abu prashasti inscription states that Prahladana defended the Gurjara king (that is, Ajayapala) after Samantasimha had broken the king's power on the battlefield.
Shortly later, the Naddula Chahamana king Kirtipala, who was also a Chaulukya feudatory, ousted Samantasimha from Mewar. Kirtipala probably launched this invasion during 1171-1179 CE, with the approval of his Chaulukya overlord. By 1182, Samantasimha's younger brother Kumarasimha regained the control of his ancestral kingdom by appeasing the Chaulukya king. This Chaulukya king was probably Ajayapala or his successor Mularaja II.
Kumarasimha was succeeded by Mathanasimha, Padmasimha and Jaitrasimha.
During the reign of Jaitrasimha (r. c. 1213-1252), the Guhilas achieved a high political status. Although the later Ekalinga Mahatmya mentions his title as Rajakula (Rawal), his own inscriptions call him a Maharajadhiraja ("king of great kings").
The Achaleshvara inscription suggests that Jaitrasimha destroyed Naddula and defeated the Turushkas (Turkic people). According to historian R. B. Singh, this suggests that the Turkic Ghurid invaders had captured Naddula from the Chahamanas, and Jaitrasimha defeated their local governor. Later, the Jalor Chahamana king Udayasimha (a relative of Jayatasimha), gained control of Naddula. However, D. C. Ganguly believes that Jaitrasimha may have plundered Naddula after Udayasimha's conquest of Jalore.
Early in his reign, the Delhi Sultanate ruler Iltutmish invaded Mewar, and destroyed Nagahrada. Jaitrasimha (alias Jayatala) suffered heavy losses, but the invaders retreated when the Vaghela chief Viradhavala (a Chaulukya feudatory) marched northwards to check their advance.
Jaitrasimha seems to have invaded the Chaulukya territory. During an attempt to capture Kottadaka (modern Kotada), his general Bala was killed by Tribhuvana-Ranaka (identified with the Chaulukya king Tribhuvanapala).
According to one record, Ksehma's son Madana fought with the Panchalagudika Jaitramalla at Utthunaka (modern Arthuna), on behalf of Jesala. Based on identification of Jesala with Jaitrasimha, historian D. C. Ganguly believes that Jaitrasimha's general Madana fought with Jaitramalla, who was probably a chief of the Vagada branch of the Guhilas.
The Guhila records also credit Jaitrasimha with military success against the king of Shakambhari. The Chahamana dynasty of Shakambhari had already ended by this time, therefore, this may be a reference to his victory over their descendants, the Chahamanas of Ranthambore. Jaitrasimha is also said to have defeated the Sindhuka army, whose identity is uncertain.
Jaitrasimha's son Tejasimha ascended the throne sometime before 1260. The earliest Guhila inscription discovered at Chittor is from Tejasimha's reign, and refers to "Chitrakuta-maha-durga" (the great fort of Chittor).
Tejasimha's son Samarasimha succeeded him sometime during 1267-1273. He defeated Krishnaraja, a ruler of the Paramara branch of Abu. He lost control of Abu soon, when Krishnaraja's son Pratapasimha, supported by the Vaghela king Sarangadeva, conquered it during 1285-1287. Sometime before 1285, Samarasimha helped Sarangadeva repulse a Turushka (Turkic) invasion of Gujarat (possibly a Delhi Sultanate army during Balban's reign). His Chirwa inscription states that he "like unto the primaeval boar [...] in a moment lifted the deeply sunk Gurjara land out of the Turushka sea". Towards the end of the 13th century, when Alauddin Khalji's army invaded Gujarat, Samarasimha saved his kingdom by paying a tribute.
Different sources offer different lists of the Guhila kings. The earliest extant inscription that provides a genealogy of the dynasty is the 971 CE inscription of Naravahana. However, it is badly damaged, and only three names can be read: Guhila, Bappa and Naravahana.
- Atpur (Ahar) inscription, 977 CE (1034 VS) of Śaktikumāra
- Chittor inscription, 1274 CE (1331 VS) of Samarasiṃha
- Abu (Achaleshvar) inscription, 1285 CE (1342 VS) of Samarasiṃha
- Sadadi (Ranpur) inscription, 1439 CE (1496 VS) of Kumbhakarna of Rana (Sisodia) branch
- Kumbhalgarh inscription, 1460 CE (1517 VS) of Kumbhakarna of Rana (Sisodia) branch
|#||Name (IAST)||Atpurinscription||Chittorinscription||Abuinscription||Sadadiinscription||Kumbhal-garhinscription||Date of own inscriptions||Notes|
|1||Bappa||✓||✓||✓||✓||Called Bappaka in Abu inscription|
|2||Guhila||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Called Guhadatta in Atpur inscription|
|6||Śila||✓||✓||✓||✓||?||646 CE (703 VS)||The Kumbhalgarh inscription lists Bappa instead|
|7||Aparājita||✓||✓||661 CE (718 VS)|
|10||Khommāṇa (I)||✓||✓||Called Sh[Kh]ummāṇa in Kumbhalgarh inscription|
|11||Mattaṭa||✓||✓||✓||Called Manttaṭa in Chittor inscription|
|12||Bhartṛipaṭṭa (I)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||Called Bhartṛibhaṭa in all inscriptions except the Atpur one|
|13||Siṃha||✓||✓||✓||✓||Called Athasiṃha Chittor inscription|
|14||Khommāṇa (II)||✓||Son of Siṃha|
|15||Mahāyaka||✓||✓||✓||✓||Called Mahāyika in Abu inscription, Son of Khommāṇa|
|16||Khommāṇa (III)||✓||✓||✓||✓||Called Khumāṇa in all inscriptions except the Atpur one, Son of Mahāyaka|
|17||Bhartṛipaṭṭa (II)||✓||942 CE (999 VS), 943 CE (1000 VS)||Son of Khommāṇa (III), Married Mahālakṣmī of Rashtrakuta family|
|18||Allaṭa||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||951 CE (1008 VS), 953 CE (1010 VS)||Son of Bhartṛipaṭṭa (II), Married Huna princess Hariyādevī|
|19||Naravāhana||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||971 CE (1028 VS)||Son of Allaṭa, Married a daughter of Jejaya of Chahamana family|
|20||Śalivāhana||✓||✓||Son of Naravāhana|
|21||Śaktikumāra||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓||977 CE (1034 VS)||Son of Śalivāhana|
|22||Āmraprasāda||✓||✓||Called Ambāprasāda in Kumbhalgarh inscription, Son of Śaktikumāra|
|23||Śuchivarman||✓||✓||✓||?||The Kumbhalgarh inscription lists Anantavarman (a son of Śaktikumāra) instead|
|24||Naravarman||✓||✓||✓||Son of Śaktikumāra|
|25||Kīrtivarman||✓||✓||?||The Kumbhalgarh inscription lists Yaśovarman (a son of Śaktikumāra) instead|
|26||Yogarāja||✓||✓||According to Kumbhalgarh inscription, his descendants did not rule|
|28||Vaṃśapāla||✓||✓||Called Haṃsapāla in Kumbhalgarh inscription|
|29||Vairisiṃha||✓||✓||✓||Son of Vaṃśapāla|
|30||Vijayasiṃha||✓||1164 VS, 1173 VS||Son of Vairaṭa. Married Śyāmaladevī (daughter of Paramara king Udayaditya); His daughter Alhaṇadevi married the Kalachuri king Gayakarna. The Kumbhalgarh inscription mentions an unnamed narendra (prince), who is identified with him.|
|31||Vairisiṃha (II)||✓||✓||Son of Vijayasiṃha. Called Virasiṃha in Kumbhalgarh inscription|
|33||Choḍa||✓||✓||✓||Called Choḍasiṃha in Sadadi inscription|
|34||Vikramasiṃha||✓||✓||✓||Son of Choḍa (Abu insc.) or Elder brother of Choḍa (Kumbhalgarh insc.)|
|35||Raṇasiṃha||✓||✓||1223 VS||Son of Vikramasiṃha. Called Karṇasiṃha in Ekalinga Purana|
Post-split Rawal branch
After Raṇasiṃha, the dynasty split into the Rawal branch and the Rana branch. The following is a list of the rulers of the Rawal branch. Except Ratnasiṃha, all these rulers are mentioned in Abu, Sadadi, and Kumbhalgarh inscriptions. Ratnasiṃha is mentioned only in the Kumbhalgarh inscription.
|#||Name (IAST)||Date of own inscriptions||Notes|
|36||Kṣemasiṃha||1228 VS, 1236 VS, 1256 VS, 1258 VS||Son of Raṇasiṃha; his elder brother Mahanasiṃha apparently died before their father Raṇasiṃha|
|37||Sāmantasiṃha||Son of Kṣemasiṃha|
|38||Kumārasiṃha||Younger brother of Sāmantasiṃha|
|39||Mathanasiṃha||Called Mahanasiṃha in Kumbhalgarh inscription, Son of Kumārasiṃha|
|41||Jaitrasiṃha||1270 VS, 1279 VS, 1284 VS||Called Raula Jayasiṃha in Kumbhalgarh inscription. Son of Padmasiṃha. His younger son Sīlhaḍa seems to have ruled Vāgaḍa.|
|42||Tejasiṃha||1317 VS, 1322 VS, 1324 VS||Son of Jaitrasiṃha. The Kumbhalgarh inscription gives his title as Rāula. Married Jayatalladevī|
|43||Samarasiṃha||1330 VS, 1331 VS, 1335 VS, 1342 VS, 1344 VS, 1345 VS, 1356 VS, 1358 VS||Son of Tejasiṃha. Assumed the title Mahārajākula. The Kumbhalgarh inscription gives his title as Rāula.|
|44||Ratnasiṃha||1359 VS||Son of Samarasiṃha. Assumed the title Mahārajākula in Dariba inscription. The Kumbhalgarh inscription gives his title as Rāula.|
The 1439 Sadadi inscription of Kumbhakarna lists the following five rulers as Samarasiṃha's successors: Bhuvanasiṃha, Jayasiṃha, Lakṣmasiṃha, Ajayasiṃha, and Arisiṃha. These names are followed by that of Hammīra and other his Sisodia successors. These names are also mentioned in the text Ekalinga Māhātmya (also called Ekalinga Purāṇa). However, these rulers actually belonged to the Rana branch of the family.
The 1460 Kumbhalgarh inscription of Kumbhakarna states that after Ratnasiṃha departed from the battlefield (during the 1303 Siege of Chittor), Lakshmasiṃha of the Rana branch died fighting to defend the fort.
- Arisimha (Arasi)
- Hammira (Hammir Singh)
For Sisodia successors of Hammir Singh, see Ranas of Mewar.
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