[The section on Ancient Period is contributed by Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. V. V. Mirashi, Nagpur. The sections from Mediaeval Period onwards upto 1818 are contributed by Dr. B. G. Kunte, M.A., Ph.D. (Economics), Ph.D. (History), Executive Editor and Secretary, and the section on Modern Period is contributed by Prof. R. V. Oturkar, Pune and revised by Dr. B. G. Kunte.]
FROM THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS CARRIED OUT BY THE DECCAN COLLEGE Research Institute at Nevasa in the Ahmadnagar District the First Man of Maharashtra is surmised to have lived in the Early Palaeolithic Period (circa 1,50,000 B. C.) all along the Pravara and the Godavari from Vite and Akola in the west to Nevasa in the east. He used cleavers and flakes as his tools and weapons. The Second or Middle Palaeolithic Period (circa 25,000 B.C.) at the same place is marked by various types of scrapers. In this period also man was nomad and hunter and probably used the bow and arrow or spears tipped with stone points. We know more about the next or chalcolithic period (circa 1500 B. C. to 500 B. C). This period is marked by refined microliths-trapeze, lunates and two-edged blades of chert and chalcedony in association with an ochre-washed orange-coloured pottery, occasionally painted with red or black bands. [From History to Pre-history, pp. 67 f.] The characteristic features of this period as brought to light during excavations at Nevasa in this district and at Nasik, Jorwe and other places in the Deccan may be described as follows [Summarised from H. D. Sankalia's Indian Archaeology Today, pp. 88 f.]:-
" The earliest habitations of the people in this period must have been in the river valleys. The thick forests which must have covered them were first cut down with their stone and copper tools. The elevated sides on the banks of rivers were chosen for settlement. Each settlement may have consisted of about 50 to 100 huts. The huts were small, measuring about 10 feet by 9 feet and were either rectangular or round. They were constructed with wooden posts, the walls being of mud and the roof of bamboo matting, dry leaves etc., covered with a layer of mud. The houses were furnished with large and small storage jars, bowls (vatis) and vessels (lotas) with long spouts. Their red surface was painted in black with geometric designs or figures of animals. They wore garments of cotton and probably also of silk. For their ornaments they used beads of
semi-precious stones, crystal, terra-cotta and rarely of copper and even of gold. Silver was unknown. Bangles were made of copper, burnt clay or bones, rarely of ivory.
For weapons they used products of chalcedony blade industry, flat copper axes and slings with round balls of various sizes. Their tools were made of dolerite or copper. They pounded their grains with plane convex rubber-stones. For their food they relied on beef, pork, venison and river fish. Hunting and animal-grazing formed their main occupations.
They buried their dead within the house floor or outside. The children were buried in wide-mouthed jars. The adults were buried full length in a large jar; if the latter was found to be short, another pot was used for covering the knees. Sometimes the body lying in an extended position was covered by no less than five pots. The dead were provided with bowls, spouted vessels and necklaces of copper and carnelian.
Economically these people were in a pastoral-cum-hunting-cum-agricultural stage and lived in small villages on river-banks. They still used stone for various purposes, the use of copper being rare. This kind of life continued until it was changed by a fresh influx of people with a knowledge of iron, agriculture and town-planning in about the fourth century B. C.
Who these people were is not definitely known, but one plausible
conjecture is that they belonged to some of the Aryan tribes. The
theory, however, needs confirmation by stronger evidence."
The above gleanings are from excavations at such places as Nasik,
Jorwe and Nevasa in the Deccan. The duration of this chalcolithic or
early bronze age is surmised by archaeologists to be from circa 1500 B. C. to circa 500 B. C.
We shall next see what light is thrown on this period by literary sources. According to literary tradition, when the Aryans penetrated to the Deccan, the whole region was covered by a thick jungle, which extended southward from Central India. Agastya was the first Aryan who crossed the Vindhya and fixed his residence on the bank of the Godavari. This memorable event is commemorated by the mythical story which represents Vindhya as bending before his guru Agastya when the latter approached him. The sage asked the mountain to remain in that position until he returned from the south which he never did. Agastya was followed by several other sages who established their hermitages in the different regions of the south. The cluster of hermitages on the bank of the Godavari was called Janasthana to distinguish it from the surrounding forest country. The region to the south of the Godavari was inhabited by the aborigines, who are called Rakshasas in the Ramayana. The sages living in the Janasthana were constantly harassed by these Rakshasas. " These shapeless and ill-looking monsters testify to their abominable character by various cruel and terrific displays. They implicate the hermits in impure practices and perform great outrages. Changing their shapes and hiding in thickets adjoining the hermitages, these frightful beings delight in terrifying the devotees; they cast away their sacrificial ladles and vessels; they pollute cooked oblations and utterly defile the offerings with blood. These faithless creatures inject frightful sound into the ears of the faithful and austere hermits. At the time of the sacrifice they snatch away the jars, the flowers and the sacred grass of these sober-minded men." [Muirs Original Sanskrit Texts, Vol. V.]
We learn from the Ramayana that Rama accompanied by his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, met Agastya near the Godavari. The hermitage of the sage is, by tradition, located at Akola in the Ahmadnagar District, but from the Uttararamacharita of Bhavabhuti, it appears that it was situated on the Murala (modern Mula), which was then probably a direct tributary of the Godavari. Agastya presented Rama with a bow and two quivers and advised him to settle down at a place called Panchavati from the five great banyan trees which grew there.
Janasthana and Panchavati were situated on the fringe of the great forest called Dandakaranya. In the Uttararamacharita Bhavabhuti tells us that the Dandaka forest extended southward up to Janasthana on the Godavari. [Mirashi, Studies in Indology, Vol. I (Second edition), p. 19.]
The central part of the Deccan was divided into several countries known by different names. The region on the north of the Godavari, now included in the Aurangabad District, was known by the name of Mulaka. This country together with its capital Pratishthana is mentioned in the Pali literature. To the north of Mulaka lay the country of Rishika, now called Khandesh. Along the southern bank of the Godavari extended the country of Ashmaka (Pali, Assaka) which comprised the modern Ahmadnagar and Bhir Districts. Later, this country came to be included in Kuntala, which extended far to the south. It comprised what is now known as the Southern Maratha Country as well as Northern Karnataka. In an inscriptional passage the upper valley of the Krishna is said to be included in the country of Kuntala. In the Udayasundarikatha of Soddhala (11th century A.D.) Pratishthana on the Godavari is said to be the capital of the Kuntala country. In early times Kuntala was probably included in the larger country called Maharashtra. The Aihole inscription (7th century A.D.) speaks of three Maharashtras, which probably included Vidarbha, Northern Maharashtra and Kuntala. In later times
Kuntala came to denote the predominantly Kanarese country now included in the Karnataka State. It is described as a seven and a half-lakh province. The Early Chalukyas of Badami and the Later Chalukyas of Kalyani were known as Kuntaleshvaras or lords of Kuntala. In early times, however, the districts of Kolhapur, Satara, Sholapur, Ahmadnagar and Bhir, which are now Marathi-speaking, were included in Kuntala. As we shall see, the Early Rashtrakutas, who were ruling over this territory were known as Kuntaleshvaras (or lords of Kuntala).
Coming to historical times, we find that this country was included in the Empire of Harsha. An inscription issued by the Dharmamaha-matra of Ashoka has been found at Deotek in the Chanda district of Vidarbha. It was issued in the fourteenth regnal year of Ashoka and interdicts the capture and killing of animals. Again, the fifth and thirteenth rock-edicts of Ashoka mention the Rashtrika-Petenikas and Bhoja-Petenikas. According to many scholars, the Petenikas were inhabitants of Pratishthana in the Aurangabad District, the Rashtrikas ruled as Maharathis, while the Bhojas held Vidarbha. It seems that a full set of the fourteen rock-edicts of Ashoka were engraved at Sopara (ancient Surparaka) in the Thana District. One of these edicts had been found several years ago, while recently a fragment of edict has been noticed in its vicinity.
According to the Buddhist chronicles Dipavamsha and Mahavamsha of Ceylon, the third Buddhist Council was held at Pataliputra under the presidentship of Moggaliputta Tissa in the seventeenth regnal year of Ashoka. After the Council was over, Tissa sent missionaries to different countries for the preaching of Buddhism. Of them, Dharmarakshita was sent to Aparanta (Konkan) and Mahadharmarakshita to Maharashtra. From the Mahavamsha we learn that Mahadharmarakshita propagated Buddhism in Maharashtra by narrating to the people the story of Naradakassapa Jataka. As a result of this, eighty-four thousand were converted to Buddhism and thirteen thousand became monks. There is, no doubt, much exaggeration in this account, but there is no doubt that Buddhism was first introduced in Maharashtra in the reign of Ashoka. This led to the excavation of caves in the different parts of Maharashtra. Some of these were excavated at Pitalkhora and Ajanta in the Aurangabad District which borders the Ahmadnagar District on the north.
The excavations at Nevasa did not disclose any remains of the Maurya period. It seems that the site was abandoned in that period and was re-occupied in the first century B. C. or at most in the first half of the second century B. C.
After the overthrow of the Maurya dynasty in circa 184 B. C. the imperial throne in Pataliputra was occupied by Senapati Pushyamitra,
the founder, of the Shunga dynasty. His son Agnimitra was appointed Viceroy of Malwa and ruled from Vidisha, modern Besnagar, a small village near Bhilsa in Madhya Pradesh. Vidarbha was then ruled by Yajnasena who had imprisoned his cousin Madhavasena, who was a rival claimant. Agnimitra intervened in this dispute and divided the country between the two cousins. They probably were the feudatories of the Satavahanas who rose to power after the death of Ashok. Vidarbha at this time was invaded by Kharvela, the ruler of Kalinga, but he withdrew at the approach of the Satavahana forces who rushed to the aid of their feudatories. The ruling king of the Satavahana dynasty was Satakarni. The first king of this dynasty was Simuka (Shrimukha) though Satavahana was the founder of the family. The dominion of Simuka probably comprised Pune, Nasik, Ahmadnagar and Aurangabad districts. The most powerful ruler of the dynasty was Krishna who ascended the throne as the son of Simuka, viz., Satakarni, was a minor. Krishna was followed by Satakarni I who seems to have extended his rule over the whole of the Deccan. He was probably the same ruler during whose regime, Kharvela of Kalinga sent an army against Vidarbha. Satakarni performed the Rajasuya and Ashwamedha as also several shrauta sacrifices, perhaps to commemorate his victories in the Deccan. Satakarni was followed by his son Vedishri and a number of other princes among whom only one name and that of Hala stands out. He flourished in the first century A. D. and was the reputed author of the Gathasaptashati. Some years after Hala's reign Maharashtra was conquered by the Shaka Kshatrapas and was ruled over by Nahapana appointed by the contemporary Kushana emperor. Nahapana flourished in the first quarter of the 2nd century. Satavahanas were thus forced to leave western Maharashtra and they seem to have repaired to their old capital Pratishthana Later Gautamiputra Satakarni retrieved the fortunes of the family by defeating Nahapana. His dominion was comprised of Rishika (Khandesh), Ashmaka (Ahmadnagar and Bhir districts), Mulaka (Aurangabad District), Akara and Avanti (Eastern and Western Malwa), Suratha (Kathiawad), and Aparanta (North Konkan). Among the successors of Gautamiputra, the most note-worthy was Yajnashri Satakarni who ruled over a large kingdom extending from Konkan in the west to Andhra Desh in the east. However within fifty years after Yajna Satakarni, the rule of the Satavahanas came to an end.
During the age of the Satavahanas the central part of the Deccan, comprising the Ahmadnagar and Aurangabad districts must have attained a high level of prosperity. Pratishthana, the Satavahana capital, lies just beyond the northern border of the Ahmadnagar district. It lay at the centre of the trade-routes from Tagara (modern Ter in the Osmanabad district) in the south to
Ujjayini in the north and to Nasik, Kalyan and Surparaka (modern Sopara) in the west. The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea mentions both Tagara and Pratishthana as important trading centres in the south. From them various kinds of merchandise were taken to Barygaza (Broach). From Pratishthana a great quantity of onyx stone and from Tagara a plentiful supply of fine linen cloth and all kinds of muslins and mallow-coloured stuffs and several other kinds of merchandise were carried by wagons to the ports on the west coast.
The excavations at Nevasa have thrown a flood of light on the social and economic condition in Maharashtra in the Satavahana age. "The houses were built on mud and rubble foundation. The walls were uniformly of bricks and the roofs covered with tiles which were fixed on to the rafters with iron nails. The size of the rooms excavated was probably 7 feet by 9 feet. Each house or a group of houses had a soak-pit which served as a sanitary convenience. The residents ate wheat mung, bajri or nachna and oil of karadi seed.
...... It was at this time or
slightly earlier that wheat and other grains began to be ground in rotary querns (Marathi, jate). This mechanical contrivance, as well as some household utensils, like the turning shovel (Marathi, ulathane), copper and bronze dishes with an omphalos or projection in the centre, fine red polished pottery cups, dishes and sprinklers or small spouted lotas, but definitely huge wine jars with handles on either side, called ' Amphora' were brought to Nevasa owing to Roman or Mediterranean contact. It was also probably due to this relation that a nude
mother goddess...... became popular in India and occurs throughout
the Deccan and northern India. [From History to Pre-history, p. xiii.]
Several punch-marked and inscribed coins were found in the Satavahana layers in the excavations at Nevasa. The copper coins with the legend Rano Siri Satavahanasa are of the elephant or the horse type and differ markedly from those of the founder of the family, viz., King Satavahana. [Ibid., p. 172 f.] It seems that the coins with this legend continued to be struck for a long time during the reigns of several kings. This appears to be a more plausible view than the surmise that there were several kings with this name. Some later coins have the legend Satakarni. The stratigraphic evidence shows that the Satavahana family originated in the 3rd-2nd century B. C. rather than in the first century B. C. as supposed by some scholars. About A. D. 250 the Satavahanas were supplanted in western Maharashtra by the Abhiras and in Vidarbha by the Vakatakas. The founder of the Abhira dynasty was Ishwarsena. A number of feudatories of the Abhiras ruled in various parts of Maharashtra; one such family is known from an inscription in cave XVII at Ajanta which mentions Ashmaka in verse
10. Bhagwanlal conjectured that the family ruled over the Ashmaka country, i.e., Ahmadnagar district. This view is not correct, for the verse shows that Ashmaka was one of the countries raided by the princes in the family; it was not their home-land. They were probably ruling over Rishika or Khandesh, though we have no definite knowledge of their capital.
The Abhiras were later supplanted by their feudatories, the Traikutakas. Ahmadnagar district was probably included in their kingdom though definite evidence of this is lacking. As stated earlier, the Vakatakas rose to power in Vidarbha after the downfall of the Satavahanas, the elder branch ruling from Nandivardhan and the other, viz., Vatsagulma branch ruling from Bashim. It may be noted that though the Ahmadnagar district does not appear to have been under their direct rule in any period, its rulers were their feudatories in some period or the other. However Harishena of the Vatsagulma branch of the Vakatakas carried his arms in all directions conquering Avanti, Kosala, Kalinga and Andhra, Lata and Trikuta and Kuntala. The Ahmadnagar district was evidently comprised in his wide dominion.
Harishena is the last known Vakataka ruler. The causes that led to the disintegration of his great empire have not been recorded in history, but the last chapter of the Dashakumaracharita of Dandin, who flourished only about 125 years after the fall of the Vakatakas, seems to have preserved a living tradition about the last period of Vakataka rule.' [C. I.I., Vol. v, pp. xxxii f.] The ruler of Ashmaka (Ahmadnagar district) appears to have played an important role in bringing about the downfall of the Vakataka empire.
It seems that Harishena's son, though intelligent and accomplished in all arts, neglected the study of the Science of Politics (Dandaniti). He gave himself up to the enjoyment of pleasures and indulged in all sorts of vices, neglecting the affairs of the State. His subjects imitated him and led a vicious and dissolute life. Finding this a suitable opportunity the crafty ruler of the neighbouring Ashmaka country sent his minister's son to the court of Vidarbha. The latter ingratiated himself with the king and egged him on in his dissolute life. He also decimated his forces by various means. Ultimately, when the country was thoroughly disorganised, the ruler of Ashmaka instigated the king of Vanavasi (North Kanara district) to invade Vidarbha. The king of Vidarbha called all feudatories to his aid and decided to give battle to the enemy on the bank of the Varada (Wardha). But while he was fighting with the forces of the enemy, he was treacherously attacked in the rear by some of his own feudatories and was killed on the battlefield. Thus ended the Vakataka dynasty after a glorious rule of two hundred and fifty years.
As stated above, the ruler of Ashmaka (Ahmadnagar district) was a feudatory of the Vakatakas. He took a prominent part in over-throwing the last Vakataka king, the son of Harishena. Thereafter he occupied Vidarbha for some time. Cave XXVI at Ajanta, which is of the Chaitya type, seems to have been excavated in this period. A Sanskrit inscription incised in it tells that it was excavated by a monk named Buddhabhadra, who was on terms of friendship with Bhavviraja and his son Devaraja, two ministers who successively held office under a king of Ashmaka. Unfortunately, the king has not been named in this record and we have no other records mentioning him or his family.
The king of Ashmaka could not have held Vidarbha for long; for the country was soon occupied by the Vishnukundin king Madhavavarman I. The Vishnukundins were, however, soon ousted from Maharashtra and Vidarbha. Northern Maharashtra and Vidarbha were occupied by the Kalachuri king Krishnaraja, while southern Maharashtra was ruled over by the Rashtrakutas of Manpura. The Ahmadnagar district seems to have been included in their dominion from this period onward. The founder of the Early Rashtrakuta family was Mananka. Mananka, the progenitor of the family, flourished in circa A. D. 350. He founded Manapura, which he made his capital.
These Rashtrakutas of Manapura came into conflict with the Vakatakas of the Vatsagulma branch. The Pandarangapalli plates of Avidheya, a successor of Mananka, state that Mananka harassed the rulers of Ashmaka and Vidarbha. On the other hand, an inscription in Cave XVI at Ajanta states that the Vakataka king Vindhyasena (i.e., Vindhyashakti II) defeated the king of Kuntala, who evidently belonged to this Rashtrakuta family. It was Chandragupta II-Vikramaditya, who brought about reconciliation between the Vakatakas and the early Rashtrakutas. Later Harishena, the last-known ruler of the Vakataka family, raided Kuntala and exacted tribute from its king.
After the Vishnukundins were ousted from western Maharashtra, the ruler of Kuntala seems to have declared his independence and extended his kingdom. The Ahmadnagar district was probably incorporated in his dominion. Hereafter we do not hear of the Ashmaka country either in literature or in inscriptions.
As stated above, the Vishnukundins were succeeded by the Kalachuris in northern Maharashtra. The Kalachuri ruler Buddharaja came in conflict with Mangalesha, belonging to the Early Chalukya dynasty and suffered a crushing defeat at his hands. As the Chalukya king had to retire due to internal dissensions Buddharaja continued to hold his kingdom intact. He was however over-thrown by Pulakeshin of the Chalukyas of Badami who rose to power in the first half of the sixth century.
Pulakeshin soon annexed both southern and northern Maharashtra and is said to have thereby become the lord of three Maharashtras including Vidarbha. Pulakeshin II was succeeded by his son Vikramaditya I after a long continued struggle. He appointed his younger brother Dharashraya Jayasimha to govern south Gujarat, north Konkan and the Nasik district. The Ahmadnagar district also may have been placed in his charge, though definite proof of this is lacking.
The Early Chalukyas were devotees of Vishnu, but during their time Buddhism continued to flourish as before in Maharashtra. Caves I to V and XXI to XXVIII at Ajanta with the exception of cave XXVI were excavated in the seventh century A. D. Again, Viharas were also excavated at Aurangabad and Ellora in this period, those at the latter place being triple-storeyed and of elaborate design. No Brahmanical structural temples of their age have survived, but there are some Brahmanical cave-temples at Ellora such as the Dashavatara cave, the Ravana-ki-khai and the Dumar Lena, which belong to this period. These caves are note-worthy for their exquisitely-modelled figures. Burgess places the Dhokeshvar cave in the Ahmadnagar district in the period A. D. 550-600.
The Rashtrakutas, who succeeded the Early Chalukyas in the Deccan, originally hailed from Lattalura (modern Latur in the Osmanabad district). When they rose to power, they were probably ruling in the Aurangabad district, where their earlier records have been found. The Ahmadnagar district also may have been included in their dominion. Dantidurga was the real founder of Rashtrakuta imperial power. He made extensive conquests, and there is no doubt that he ruled over Karnataka, Konkan, Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Gujarat.
Dantidurga was succeeded by his uncle Krishna I, who completed the conquests commenced by Dantidurga and shattered the power of the Early Chalukyas completely.
The Rashtrakuta family produced several great conquerors who boldly invaded north and south India and achieved memorable victories. Among them could be mentioned Govinda III, Indra III and Krishna III. The Rashtrakuta power became weak after the death of Krishna III. Within six years his large empire crumbled like a house of cards. Taila II, who was a Mahasamanta of the Rashtrakutas, suddenly came into prominence.
Among the successors of Taila II, the most famous is Vikramaditya, the founder of the Chalukya Vikramaditya era. He ascended the throne in A. D. 1075. He had to fight against the Cholas, the Chalukyas of Gujarat and the Hoysalas and signally defeated them.
The decline of Chalukya power commenced soon after the reign of Vikramaditya VI. Taila III, the last Chalukya king, was overthrown by the Kalachuri Bijjala, who was his commander-in-chief, in A. D.
1157. The Kalachuri usurpation lasted for about two decades. Bijjala's reign is noted for the rise of the Lingayat sect.
In the last quarter of the twelfth century A. D. the Yadavas of Devagiri came into prominence. They had previously been ruling over Seunadesha (Khandesh) as feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyani. The founder of this family was Dridhaprahara, the son of Subahu. His son and successor was Seunachandra I, from whom the country came to be known as Seunadesha. It corresponds to modern Khandesh and comprised the country from Nasik to Devagiri.
Bhillama II, one of the early Yadava kings, assisted Tailapa of the Later Chalukya dynasty in his war with Munja. His copper-plate grant dated in the Shaka
year 922 (A. D. 1000) was discovered at Sangamner, the chief town of the Sangamner taluka of the Ahmadnagar district. [Ep. Ind., Vol.
II, pp. 217 f.] The plates were issued by the king on the occasion of a solar eclipse at the holy bathing place of the confluence of the Aruna and the Godavari at Nasik and record the grant of the village Arjunondhika as well as some land between the villages Laghu-Arjunondhi and Laghu-Vavvulavedra. The place of Arjunondhi is now taken by the village Rajapur near Sangamner. Vavvulavedra is modern Velhale, two miles north of Rajapur. On the rise of the Later Chalukyas Bhillama transferred his allegiance to them. The next king was Vesugi, who married a Shilahara princess, the daughter of Gogi, the successor of Jhanjha, ruling over north Konkan. His son was Bhillama III, whose Kalas Budruk plates dated in Shaka 948 (A. D. 1025) were found in the Akola taluka of Ahmadnagar district. [Ind. Ant., Vol. XVII, pp. 120 f.] They were issued by the king from his capital Sindinagara (modern Sinnar) and record the grant which he made on the occasion of a solar eclipse after having bathed in the Devanadi, which flowed by the capital. The object of the grant was the village Kalasa, which was bounded on the east by Sangamika, on the south by Tamraprastara, on the west by Thuna and on the north by the river Payodhara. The donees were the Mahapradhana Manam-vanayaka and twenty-five other Brahmans whose names have not been specified. The donated village Kalasa is modern Kalas Budruk. Of the boundary villages Sangamika is modern Sangamner and Thuna is Thugaon Budruk, which lies 2 miles to the west by north. Tamraprastara has now disappeared. Payodhara, the river which bounded it on the north, is evidently modern Pravara, which flows just to the north of Kalas Budruk. Bhillama III was followed by his son Vadugi. After the latter's death the throne was usurped by his brother Vesugi, who was succeeded by Bhillama IV. But Seundachandra II, the son of Vadugi and grandson of Bhillama
III, fought with the usurpers and wrested the ancestral kingdom from them. Seunachandra helped Vikramaditya I
in obtaining the throne from his elder brother Someshwara II. His son Airamadeva also took an active part in defeating Someshwara II. The Asvi plates of Airamadeva, dated in Shaka 1020, record the king's grant of the village Konkane in the Sangamner 84, situated in Srinagara 2500 in Seunadesha. [J. B. B. R. A. S. (N. S.), Vol. III, pp. 189 f. Ep. Ind., Vol. XXXVI, pp. 249 f.] The villages Konachi, Maniyavali, Jamyarave. Vadagava, Samgamvi, Kapathaka and Meshipaniya
are mentioned in the grant while stating the boundaries of the donated village.
All of them can still be identified in the Sangamner taluka of the Ahmadnagar district. This donated village Konkane-grama is modern Konkangaon, 7 ½ miles to the east of Sangamner. Konachi is Konchi, 10 miles east of Sangamner. Maniyavali is now called Manoli and Jamyarave is now known as Jorve. Vadagava still retains its old name unchanged and lies 5 miles east of Sangamner. Kapathaka is now called Kavathe-Kamaleshvar, 10 miles north of Sangamner. Meshipaniya may have been the name of a stream flowing in the vicinity.
Bhillama V, a later prince of the main branch of the Yadava family, made a bid for paramount power in the Deccan. He led victorious expeditions against the Hoysalas, the Paramaras and the Chalukyas and made himself master of the whole country north of the Krishna. He then founded the city of Devagiri (modern Daulatabad) and made it his capital. Thereafter the Yadavas ruled from that city.
Bhillama V was succeeded by Jaitugi or Jaitrapala under whose son Singhana, the power of the Yadavas greatly increased. He achieved several memorable victories. Singhana was succeeded by Krishna who was followed by his brother Mahadeva.
From the recently discovered Kalegaon Plates we know the exact date of his coronation as the 29th August A. D. 1261. These plates were issued on the occasion of Mahadeva's coronation and record the gift of the village Kalugamva named also Pattavardhanapura evidently after coronation. This is evidently the modern Kalegaon where the plates were found. Most of the boundary villages can still be traced in the vicinity of Kalegaon. Thus Khambhgaon, Nimbaravi, Ranjangaum and Dahigaum are respectively identical with Khamgaon. Nimbari, Ranjani and Dahigaon, all in the vicinity of Kalegaon in the Ahmadnagar district. [ Ibid., Vol. XXXII. pp. 31 f.]
Mahadeva left the throne to his son Ammana, but the latter was soon deposed by Krishna's son Ramachandra, who captured the impregnable fort of Devagiri by means of a coup d' etat. Ramachandra won several victories as stated in the Purushottampuri plates dated in the Shaka year 1232 (A. D. 1310). [ Ep. Ind., Vol. XXV, pp. 199 f.]
A copper-plate inscription of Ramachandra was found at Paithan in
the Aurangabad district. It is dated in the Shaka year 1193 (A. D. 1272) and records the grant of the village Vedathana together with the hamlets of Patara-Pimpalgrama and Vaidya-Ghogharagrama, of which he formed an agrahara. The boundaries of the agrahara, viz., the villages Vahagaon, Neuragaon, Deigaon, Khatigaon, Aluegaon, Nagamthana, Jategaon, Pania and Vadakhala have also been specified in the grant. Most of these villages can be identified in the Aurangabad and Ahmadnagar districts. Vadathana cannot be traced, but the hamlets Patar-Pimpalgaon and Vaidya-Ghogharagrama are identical with the village Gade-Pimpalgaon, 12 miles north-west of Nevasa in the Ahmadnagar district, and Ghogargaon, two miles to its north-west.
In A. D. 1294 Ala-ud-din Khilji invaded the kingdom of Ramachandra and suddenly appeared before the gates of Devagiri. Ramachandra was taken unaware and could not hold out long. He had to pay a heavy ransom to the Muslim conqueror. He continued, however, to rule till A. D. 1310 at least; for the afore-mentioned Purushottampuri plates are dated in that year. He was succeeded by his son Shankaragana some time in A. D. 1311. He discontinued sending the stipulated tribute to Delhi. He was then defeated and slain by Malik Kafur. Some time thereafter, Harapaladeva, the son-in-law of Ramachandra, raised an insurrection and drove away the Muhammedans, but his success was short-lived. The Hindu kingdom of Devagiri thus came to end in A. D. 1318.