Mainpuri (मैनपुरी) is a district town in Uttar Pradesh.
Reference - Mainpuri History on NIC
The history of the district may be traced back to remote antiquity.The presence of certainold indigenous people like Ahirs, Bhars, Cherus and Meos, who probably represent the remnants of the descendants of the aborigines,amply testifies that in primitive times the region including this district was inhabited, though the bulk of the area was covered with forest and only clearings here and there served as human habitations.
The mute memorials in the shape of fragments of masonry, broken pottery,etc. which have been found in a number of kheras or mounds on which stand many modern villages and towns bespeak the enjoyment of settled and civilisation by this area since very early times.
The earliest people of the Aryan stock, who settled in this region were probably the Krivis, a Rigvedic tribe. They originally resided on the banks of the Sindhu and the Chenab and seem to have moved from there to the east,across the Yamuna, to the area which after wards came to be known as the Panchala, lying within the bounds of Madhyadesha, a stronghold of Vedic culture and civilisation. Their domination roughly extended to the present districts of Bareilly, Badaun and Farrukhabad and the adjoining parts of Uttar Pradesh including portions of this district. Extending from the Ganga in the west to the Saryu in the east, it had two divisions -the northern, with its capital at Ahichhatra and the southern, with its capital at Kampilya, now in the Farrukhabad district.
According to Pauranic tradition, Brihadvasu, son of Ajamidha, a Bharata king of Turvasu family, was the founder of the kingdom which later came to be known as South Panchala with Kampilya and Makandi as its capitals. It stretched from the south of the river Ganga as the river Carmanvati (Chambal), obviously including this district. the Panchalas are said to have been so named after the five sons of Bhrimyasva, the fifth in line from Brihadvasu. They were nicknamed "the five capable ones", Panchalas, their territory, also being designated Panchalas as it represented the kingdom for the maintenance of which five capable persons were enough. According to some scholars, the Panchalas were a composite people made up of five Rigvedic tribes, or they represented a confederation of five such tribes. The Panchalas were closely associated with the Kurus. The Kuru- Panchalas together were regarded as pre-eminent, parexcellence among the people living in Madhyadesa. Their territory was the home of Brahmanism, they were noted for their orthodoxy, they spoke the best Sanskrit and possessed a learned academy, the Panchala Parishat, which had its centres in their cities. They were examples of good manners and pure speech.
After the death of Bhrimyasva, the kingdom was divided among his five sons, each receiving a small principality. But Divodesa, an important king of this dynasty extended the kingdom considerably and probably integrated all the five units under him. During the reign of Sudasa, probably fifth in descent from Divodasa the kingdom rose to great eminence. He was the chief participant in the celebrated "Battle of ten kings " and defeated the confederate tribes. It is not known if he attempted any consolidation of his conquests. His successors were weak but in due course the kingdom of South Panchala was revived by its ruler, Nipa, with whom another dynastic change occurred and his descendants were called Nipas. Brahmadatta known as pitrvartin, was a prominent king of this dynasty . He is said to have made a yogatantra on the instructions received from his preceptor, Jaigisavya. Tradition has it that he revised and rearranged Vedic and exegetical texts. He is credited with having fixed the Kramapatha of the Rigveda and of the Atharuaxeda, while his minister, Kandarika, that of Sambveda. The other kings of this dynasty were Visvaksena, Udaksena and Bhallata. Ugrayudha of the Dvimidha dynasty, forced Prishta, a prince of north Panchala to seek shelter at Kampilya, by killing his grandfather and annexing his realm. He also overthrew Nipas and killed Janamejaya, their king, whose death brought an end to the dynasty. The celebrated Paurava prince, Bhishma, killed Ugrayudha and restored to Prishta his ancestral kingdom . It seems that South Panchala also came under his sway. Prishta was succeeded by his son Drupada, who a class-mate of Drona, son of Bharadvaja a great sage. The two received instruction in military science from Bharadvaja and in other disciplines from another sage, Agnivesha. Prince Drupada had assured Drona to favour and help him on becoming king, but after as ascending the throne he and showed discourtesy to his friend, who felt offended and decided to take revenge. He asked the royal princes sons of Pandu and Dhritarashtra to march against Drupada, who was defeated and captured and his country was overrun. An agreement was made between the victors and the vanquished according to which the conquered realm, south of the river Ganga, known as south Panchala, reverted to Drupada and the North Panchala was retained by Dronacharya.
Mainpuri district was, in all probability, a part of Drupada's dominion.To avenge his defeat by Drona, Drupada practised austerity to beget a son, who would be able to fulfil his desire. As a result of performing tapa, he was favoured with a son,named Dhristadyumna. In course of time the Pandava brothers had to leave the kingdom due to the hostile attitude of their cousin, Duryodhana, son of Dhritarashtra, the king of Hastinapur. While wandering from place to place, they happened to arrive at the capital of South Panchala at the opportune moment of the Svayamvara of the kings daughter, Draupadi. Arjuna, the third Pandava, who impressed Drupada with his skill in archery and other Qualities, won the kings daughter for himself and his brothers. The alliance proved a turning point in the fortunes of the Pandavas. They were offered a part of the kingdom with Indraprastha as its capital, but they were not allowed to live in peace. In a game of dice, Yudhishtira lost his kingdom to Duryodhana and had to go in exile for thirteen years spending the last year incognito. After the expiry of the period of their banishment, the Pandava, not receiving their due share in the kingdom, were forced to fight at Kurukshetra, the war known as Mahabharata, for their claim,about 1400 B.C. Drupada sided with the Pandavas. The Somakas and the Srinjayas, the remnants of the Panchalas, appear to have joined Drupada in the war. Participation in the Mahabharata war gave Drupada an opportunity to pay off past scores by getting Drona killed at the hands of his son, Dhristadyumna, who himself was put to death by Ashvatthama, son of Dronacharya, After the great war the Pandavas ruled over this region probably till the reign of Janamejaya.
Practically nothing is heard in the post-Mahabharata period about the two divisions, the common name, Panchala, being used for the entire region. The principality of North Panchala seems to have merged into or become a dependency of the kingdom of South Panchala, and Kampilya, which had till then been the capital of the South Panchala, came to be its chief city. It was one of the prominent centres of Brahmanical learning and culture. No details about the kings who ruled this region are available and in the absence of any recorded material the history of this tract relating to this period is obscure.
That the Kuru-Panchala continued, is testified by the tradition that Janamejaya, son of Parikshit, a Kuru king, performed a great sacrifice on the banks of the river Arind at Bardan, now Known as Parham, a corrupt form of Parikshitgarh, of this district which formed part of Panchala. The occasion for the sacrifice was, allegedly provided by the death of Parikshit, of a snake bite. A masonry tank said to have been built by Janamejaya to mark the site of the sacrificial pit, Known as Parikshit kund, still exists at this place. close to this village a very large and high khera containing the ruins of a fort and some stone sculptures has been found . It is said to date back to the time of Parikshit. A popular belief is that as a consequence of the virtues of that sacrifice snakes are still harmless in this place and its neighborhood.
According to the Chhandogya Upanishad the whole of the northern doab, including the area covered by the South Panchala, of which this district formed part, suffered from natural calamities such as floods, locusts and hailstorms. The capital of the Kurus being washed away, Nichakshu, fourth in line from Janamejaya, shifted his capital from Hastinapur to Kausambi. Their migration across the South Panchala and passage through that region brought about a fusion of the Kurus and the Panchalas about 820 B.C.
For about three centuries the history of this region is shrouded in obscurity except that in the sixth century B.C. Bimbisara, a prominent ruler of the Haryanka dynasty of Magadha, extended his kingdom up to Kannauj, obviously including the present district of Mainpuri. In that period Panchala ranked as a minor power. In the list of the sixteen premier states it figures as the tenth. Again little is Known about the history of this district till about the middle of the fourth century B.C. when the territory was annexed to the Nanda empire of Mahadha, probably in the reign of Mahapadma, who was a great military genius. This tract which was under the Panchalas was in all probability, a part of the Nanda dominion as its dependency. It appears from the Arthasastra of Kautilya that during this period the Panchala territory had its own republican form of government, the title of the head being raja. The prosperous condition of this area, the land being exceedingly fertile and the government efficient, was in striking contrast with the conditions prevailing in the area directly governed. It testifies to the fact that Nanda allowed a considerable amount of autonomy to the Panchala region including this district.
In the Mauryan period Panchala retained its separate entity probably as a vassal of that empire. Ashoka, the most important king of the dynasty, patronised Buddhism and took keen interest in the regulations meant for a spiritual life. A number of mounds containing the ruins of Buddhist shrines, the viharas at places like Anjani, Jasrao and Asauli prove that due to the efforts of Ashoka, the district came under the influence of Buddhism.
With the downfall of the Mauryas, a new dynasty, known as Sunga, came to power under Pushyamitra ( 184-148 B.C.) who revived the Brahmanical religion. During this period the region, covering this district; which continued to be known as Panchala, was overrun by the yavanas ( Greeks), along with the other parts of the empire, as mentioned in the Yuga purana, a section of the Gargi Samhita. The Yavanas stayed for a short time in this region and the last Yavana king, Menander, probably ruled over the South Panchala region which, according to Patanjali, extended to the east as far as the Kuru kingdom and to the south-cast to the territory of the Surasena.
The Greeks were followed by the Sakas and the Kusanas.In the beginning of the Christian era or the first century B.C. It is likely that the region containing this district passed over to the administration of a Saka Kshatrapa, Ranjuvuala, who made Mathura his capital. His coins are also found in this district.
Thereafter the district came under the sway of the Kusanas. Kaniska, the greatest of the Kusana emperors, conquered the whole of Northern India. A number of coins of his reign and of that of Huviska, one of his descendants have been found at Mainpuri. A hoard of Indo-Sassanian coins discovered at Eka, a village in this district, prove that they had some kind of ties with the Kusanas.
Hereafter, no details are available about the history of this district till the time of Harshavardhana, except that it become part of the kingdom of the Guptas and the Maukharis in succession. During Harshas reign ( 606-647 A.D.), the Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, traveled from Ahichhatra to Sanssika. It may be presumed that during his journey he might have traversed a part to the Mainpuri district. He does not mention any place of this district probably because none was known to possess any significance from the Buddhist point of view.
For more than half a century after the death of Harsha, the history of this region as that of the rest of northern India spells anarchy and confusion. In the first quarter of the eighth century a very powerful monarch, Yashovarman, occupied the throne of Kannauj, and ruled from 725 A.D. to 752 A.D. After his defeat by Lalitaditya of Kashmir, the history of the region, including this district, is completely obscure. Another king who ascended the throne of Kannauj was Vajrayudha, whose accession may be placed about 770 A.D. His existence is borne out by an incidental reference made by Rajshekhar, a dramatist of the Pratihara court, in the Karpuramanjari. He mentions Kannauj as the capital of Vajrayudba, the king of Panchala, in reference to the record of a travel of a merchant named Sagardatta, who had gone on business to the royal city. The reference may signify that Panchala was the name of a country, of which Kannauj was the capital. It is evident that the country comprising the present district was occasionally called Panchala.
The Ayudhas were ousted about the beginning of the ninth century A.D.by Nagabhatta II. (805-833 A.D. ), a Gurjara Pratihara king and the district continued for more than a century under the subordination of the Pratiharas. In 1018 A.D. Mahmud of Ghazni, after sacking and plundering the magnificent temples of Mathura which were known for their fabulous wealth, marched across Mainpuri on his way to Kannauj. No resistance seems to have been offered to his advance in this district which probably had on holy or rich town to attract the conquerors fanaticism or greed. On reaching Kannauj, Mahmud gave a death-blow to the already tottering Gurjara-Pratihara power. The reputed Arab scholar, Alberuni, came to India in the wake of Mahmud invasions and wrote a book on India in which he has referred to Panchala as one of the nine great kingdoms.
During the period of transition between the Gurjara Pratiharas and the Gahadvalas several small principalities sprang up. Taking advantage of the unsettled conditions then prevailing, the Rashtrakutas made themselves independent at Budaun. In an undated Budaun inscription, Vodamayuta (Budaun)is specifically described as the ornament of the land of Panchala, of which this district formed part, and is praised so profusely as to prove that it was the only prominent city in the possession of Chandra, a Rashtrakuta king. The omission of Kannauj, which was considered the most glorious city of that period in the inscription, implies that Kannauj presumably was not included in the territory of the Rashtrakutas.
In the last decade of the eleventh century Chandradeva Gahadavala (1089-1100 A.D.) established his authority over Kannauj after defeating the Rashtrakuta ruler of Panchala. The last great king of this dynasty was Jayachandra ( 1170 - 1194 A. D. ), famous alike in legend and history, whose power and extensive Jurisdiction struck even the Muslim historians. In 1194 A.D. he was defeated and killed by Shihab-ud-din Ghuri at Chandawar in Agra district on the band of the Yamuna near Mainpuri. The victorious army proceeded southward along the left bank of the Yamuna towards Rapri which is situated about 72 km. from Mainpuri and attacked the petty chieftain of that place at Kharka about 5 Km. north - west of Rapri and defeated the ruler. To commemorate the victory the name of the place was changed to Fatehpur. the conquests of Ghuri left the district in a state of anarchy.
By 1206 A. D. Ghuri had completed the conquest of the lower western doab, including this district, which there after became a part of the sultanate of Delhi. The same year, before his departure, Ghuri bestowed the government of the conquered tracts including this district, on his trusted lieutenant, Qutb-ud-din Aibak ( 1206 - 1210 ) During the regency of Aibak, the Hindu chiefs of this district tried to resist the Muslim over – lordship of this region, but their attempts to recover their lost domains failed as a result of Aibak s ceaseless campaigns against them. Rapri this district became the headquarters of an iqta or fief and continued to be the seat of government for several centuries under successive Muslim rulers.
In 1259, Bhongaon in this district was given away as a fief to Malik Sher Khan, a nephew of Balban, by the then sultan , Nasir-ud-din Mahmud (1246-1265), he held it till 1260 .
In 1312, Malik Kafur, the veteran commander of sultan Ala-ud-din Khilji ( 1296-1316 ), stayed at Rapri while returning with huge quantities of rich booty from Malabar and Dwar Samudra in the Deccan. He founded here a mosque with an inscription which is an eulogy of Ala-ud-din s reign. Subsequently upon Kafur was conferred the fief of Rapri by the sultan.
In 1392, the district became the centre of intense political activity when Bir Bhan, the muqaddam of Bhongaon, supported by the Tomar raja of Gwalior and Sarvadharan of Etawah, raised the standard of revolt against sultan Muhammad Shah Tughluq ( 1390 - 1394). But the large force dispatched by the sultan under Islam Khan, the vizier, crushed the rebellion, and devastated the district and its adjoining areas.
In 1393, Bir Bhan again rose in arms and was joined by Sarvadharan and Abhai Chand , the muqaddam. The sultan sent another expedition under Mukarrab-ul-Mulk, the governor of Jalesar, in Etah district, to deal with the rebels. When the two parties came in sight of each other. Mukarrab-ul-Mulk adopted a conciliatory course, and by promises and engagements, induced the raise to submit. The duped insurgents were then taken to Kannauj, where they were treacherously put to death with the exception of Sarvadharan of Etawah who made good his escape.
Muhammad Shah died in 1394 , and was succeeded by his son, Nasiruddin Mahmud shah, who appointed Khwaja Jahan Malik Sarwar as the governor of Jaunpur. Malik Sarwar succeeded in extending his sway as far as Rapri in this district, with the result that the administration of the district passed into the hands of Sharqi rulers of Jaunpur.
- Jat Samaj, Agra : September, October 1999
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