|King of Gurjara|
|Reign||c. 1175 – 1178|
Mularaja (r. 1175 – 1178 CE), also known as Bala Mularaja ("Child Mularaja"), was an Indian king from the Chaulukya dynasty of Gujarat. He ruled the present-day Gujarat and surrounding areas from his capital Anahilapataka (modern Patan). He ascended the throne as a child, and his mother Naikidevi acted as the regent during his short reign. The Chaulukyas repulsed a Ghurid invasion during his reign. The Paramara king Vindhyavarman made attempts to evict the Chaulukyas from Malwa during his reign, and succeeded in regaining control of Malwa either during Mularaja's lieftime or shortly after his death.
His mother Naikidevi was the daughter of one Paramardin. According to one theory, this Paramardin was the Goa Kadamba chief Shivachitta Paramardi. Another theory identifies him with the Chandela king Paramardi. The second theory is based on the identification of "Kakaḍādaha" with similar-sounding "Gāḍāraghaṭṭa". The Chandela-era Garra inscription mentions that a Chandela warrior named Rauta Pape lost his life in a battle at Kakaḍādaha. According to the 14th century chronicler Merutunga, Naikidevi fought the Muslims at Gāḍāraghaṭṭa. This appears to be same as Kasahrada, where a Chaulukya army defeated the Ghurids in 1178 CE.
Mularaja ascended the throne as a young child after his father's death. His mother Naikidevi acted as the regent during his short reign.
Battle of Kasahrada
The most notable event of Mularaja's short reign was the Battle of Kasahrada, which took place in 1178 CE at modern Kyara (in Sirohi district; also called Kayadara or Kayadram in some records). In this battle, the Chaulukya forces defeated the Muslim Ghurid invaders led by Muhammad of Ghor. The Chaulukya forces included the armies of their feudatories such as the Naddula Chahamana ruler Kelhanadeva, the Jalor Chahamana ruler Kirtipala, and the Arbuda Paramara ruler Dharavarsha.
The later Chaulukya inscriptions as well as the chroniclers of Gujarat greatly praise Mularaja for this victory:
- The poet Someshvara boasts that Mularaja defeated the lord of Turushkas (Turkic people), and crushed the mlechchha (foreign) army.
- Balachandra mentions that Mularaja defeated the mlechchha king despite being an infant
- Udayaprabha Suri, in his Sukrita-Kirti-Kallolini, states that Naikidevi gave Mularaja an army to play with. With this army, Mularaja defeated the Hammira (Sanskrit form of Emir) and his mlechchha army, whose soldiers were covered from head to toe in order to protect themselves.
- Arisimha also mentions that Mularaja defeated the Muslims.
- An inscription of Bhima II states that even a woman could defeat Hammira during the reign of Mularaja.
The 14th century chronicler Merutunga credits the victory to Mularaja's mother Naikidevi, introducing supernatural elements in his account of the battle. According to Merutunga, Naikidevi fought with the mlechchhas at Gāḍāraghaṭṭa, and conquered their king. Massive unseasonal rain clouds came to support her, attracted by her virtuous character.
The Sundha Hill inscription of the Jalor Chahamanas boasts that Kirtipala routed the Turushka army at Kasahrada. It also states that his brother Kelhanadeva erected a golden gateway (torana) at the shrine of the deity Somesha after destroying the Turushkas. Kelhanadeva was the ruler of Naddula; according to the legendary chronicle Prithviraja Vijaya, Muhammad of Ghor had captured Naddula during his invasion of India. Kelhanadeva managed to regain control of Naddula after the victory at Kasahrada.
According to the 13th century Persian chronicler Minhaj-i-Siraj, Muhammad of Ghor marched towards Nahrwala (the Chaulukya capital Anahilavada) via Uchchha and Multan. The "Rae of Nahrwala" (the Chaulukya king) was young, but commanded a huge army with elephants. In the ensuing battle, "the army of Islam was defeated and put to rout", and the invading ruler had to return to without any accomplishment.
Nizam-ud-din gives a similar account, and states that Muhammad of Ghor marched to Gujarat via desert. The 16th century writer Badauni also mentions the invader's defeat, and states that he retreated to Ghazni with great difficulty. Firishta also states that the ruler of Gujarat defeated the Muslim army "with great slaughter", and the remnant of the defeated army faced many hardships during its return journey to Ghazni.
None of the Chaulukya inscriptions and chroniclers mention the invading king's name, simply describing him as a mlechchha, Turushka or Hammira. However, modern historians identify him with Muhammad of Ghor.
According to an alternative theory, the Battle of Kasahrada took place during the reign of Mularaja's successor Bhima II. This theory is based on some Muslim chronicles, which state that "Bhim Dev" was the one who defeated Muhammad of Ghor. Moreover, an 1178 Kiradu inscription, issued during Bhima's reign, records repairs to a temple damaged by the Turushkas. The proponents of this theory argue that Mularaja's forces defeated another king, or that Muhammad of Ghor invaded the Chaulukya territory twice around 1178 CE. For example, H. C. Ray suggests the following alternative identifications of the invaders during Mularaja's reign:
- The Ghaznavids
- Mularaja has been described as the conqueror of "Garjanaka" in some records. The term "Garjanaka" refers to the Ghaznavids in some other Sanskrit records, and therefore, the invaders during Mularaja's reign may have been the Ghazanvids. However, Ray himself points out that the Ghaznavid ruler Khusrau Malik was not strong enough to launch an expedition against the Chaulukyas in the mid-1170s. Therefore, this identification is unlikely to be accurate.
- The Sumras
- The Sumras ruled the neighbouring region of Sindh of during this time. However, this identification is also doubtful. A. K. Majumdar points out that the Sumras may not have been Muslims during the 1170s, and were not called "Turushkas". Moreover, they were petty chiefs at this time, and their own kingdom was threatened by the rising Ghurid power.
- A Ghurid reconnaissance army
- According to this theory, Muhammad of Ghor sent a reconnaissance mission to the Chaulukya territory, sometime during 1176-1178 CE, in preparation of his later invasion in 1178 CE during Bhima's reign: The reconnaissance army was defeated during Mularaja's reign, while the main Ghurid army was defeated at Kasahrada during Bhima's reign. This theory is also unlikely to be accurate. None of the Muslim chronicles mention an earlier Ghurid expedition to the Chaulukya territory. Most notably, none of the Chaulukya (or other Indian) accounts mention that Bhima achieved a victory against the Ghurids. Such a significant victory would not have been overlooked by the native chroniclers. It is more likely that Mularaja died shortly after the battle, and the Muslim chroniclers wrongly mentioned his successor Bhima as the king who was reigning at the time of the battle.
Rebellion in Malwa
The Paramara kingdom of Malwa had come under Chaulukya control during the reign of Mularaja's predecessors. During Mularaja's reign, a famine occurred in Gujarat. Taking advantage of this, the Paramara king Vindhyavarman made attempts to regain control of Malwa.
The Chaulukya general Kumara was in-charge of the operations against Vindhyavarman. According to Surathotsava, written by Kumara's son Someshvara, Kumara defeated Vindhyavarman. After his victory, Kumara destroyed Vindhyavarman's town Gogasthana, sank a well where the Paramara palace once stood, and plundered Malwa.
Vindhyavarman was ultimately successful in regaining control of Malwa. According to historian R. C. Majumdar, he accomplished this during the reign of Mularaja. However, A. K. Majumdar believes that Malwa remained under Chaululkya control during Mularaja's reign.
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