Shankaracharya Hill, Kashmir
Kalhana’s Rajatarangini is a work relating the Parampara of kings that ruled Kashmir. It is written by Kalhana in the form of poems in eight chapters termed Tarangas (Waves) describing the lives and exploits of these kings and the conditions that prevailed in Kashmir during their times. This way it contributes to the study of history of that region during those times. This study is based upon the book written by M.A.Stein, who has translated this work in English from the Sanskrit original.
Essence of the FIFTH BOOK
As before the Book starts with invocation to Ardhanareesvara
Avantivarman (A.D. 855/6- 883) was of pious disposition and gave away all his wealth to the Brahmanas. He made his half-brother Suravarman, Yuvaraja. He granted the Agrahara of Panchahasta (known as Panzath to day). He founded the town Avantipura (v. 44)and built temples for Vishnu Avantisvamin and for Shiva Avantisvara, and snanadronis(Silver conduits for bathing water) at the temples of Tripuresvara, Bhutesha, and Vijayesha. He had an able minister by name Shura. For ten years during the reign of Avantivarman killing of living beings was prohibited. (v. 64). The country was prone to frequent floods from the overflow from the Mahapadma lake, and causing famineDuring the times of famine, one Khari of rice cost as much as fifty dinnaras. (v. 71) ( M.A.S’s footnote; The ancient measure of Khari, mentioned already in a hymn of Rig Veda has remained to the present day, the standard of weight in Kashmir.) King Avantivarman ruled the earth like Mandhata of krtha Yuga (v. 122). In his time, the country had an irrigation system, by channelising the waters of Vitasta, without depending upon the rainfall (Suyya a minister in his court made this happen. With this the price of a khari of rice came to be brought down to thirty six dinnaras from two hundred dinnaras a khari.(v. 116-117). The mighty ruler died in the Laukika Era 3959 (A.D 883).
King Samkaravarman (883-902 A.D.) succeeded him and defeated Sukhavarman, who opposed him as his own Yuvaraja. He conquered the king of Gurjara. In company of his wife Sugandhi, he built temples for Shiva, Samkaragaurisha and Sugandhisha. In course of time this king became avaricious and stated taking the temples’ funds and resorted to many more such wrong doings. At one point this became too much that his own son Gopalavarman addressed the father decrying his actions. In one of his expeditions, this king was killed’
Gopalavarman (A.D. 902-904) then ruled the kingdom for two years. Samkata who succeeded him ruled only for ten days.
At the bidding of her subjects, Sugandha (A.D. 904-906) herself occupied the throne and ruled for two years. After two years she was dethroned and Partha, the son of Nirjitavarman (Pangu) became king.. He ruled from A.D. 906-921 Pangu became the guardian of the child king and mis-ruled the kingdom. There was a great famine in the country in the year 917/ 8 A.D. Partha was overthrown by his own father Niranjanavarman (Pangu) in the year A.D. 921 , who ruled up to A.D. 923 and passed away in that year.
His child son, Chakravarman was placed in the throne, under the guardianship of his mother Bappatadevi and then for ten years under that of his grandmother Kshillika. In the year 933 A.D., he was overthrown and Shuravarman I (933-934 A.D.) became king. Partha was restored to power in 934 A.D., and in the year 935 A.D., Chakravarman was restored kingship. But this was for only for some time since Shambhuvardhana became king in the same year. He ruled for two years and thereafter Chakravarman became king again for the third time in 936 A.D. to be king till 937 A.D when he was killed.
Unmattavanti, the wicked son of Partha was inaugurated king and he ruled for two years. On his death, the child king was made king as Suryavarman I in the year A.D. 937.
Yashaskara, a learned young man and son of Prabhakaradeva, treasurer under king Samkaravarman was then chosen by the Brahmanas to be king.
Thus ends the Fifth Taranga of Rajatarangini.
This essence of the Rajatarangini has been prepared by Sri. S. Chidambaresan, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. The author can be contacted at email@example.com