Avantivarman

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Avantivarman (r. 855-883 A.D.) (अवन्तिवर्मन) was an Utpal clan ruler of Jammu and Kashmir in 9th century. [1]

The Genealogy of Utpala dynasty is: Utpalaka or UtpalaSukhavarmanAvantivarman (855) → Shankaravarman (A.D. 883 to 901) → Raja ParthUnmattavanti (937 AD)

Variants of name

History

Avantiverman (853-888 A.D.) belonged to Utpala dynasty emerged as a powerful King. He was most sagacious king. He built temples at Avantipur after his name. His Minister Suyya was a great genius. His court had a pride on two poets-Ranakar and Ananvardhana. During his time price of paddy showed a deep decline from 36 to 20 dinars. Suyya who was a great engineer is said to have drained a large chunck of wasteland during his regime. His memory is commemorated by Suyyapur or Sopore, a township in Baramulla district. It is said that when this great engineer was working in Sopore no people were coming forth to plunge themselves in gushing water. The king thereupon ordered that a part of treasury may be thrown into the water, a large number of people plunged into the river to get as many coins as they could. The skill of Suyya worked and the river was cleared of silt. [2]

Sopore town in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir was founded by the famous Utpala engineer and irrigation minister Suyya during the peaceful reign of king Avantivarman in 880 CE.[3]

In Rajatarangini

Rajatarangini[4] tells us that in the Karkota family, Lalitapida had a concubine named Jayadevi, the daughter of Kalpapala an inhabitant of Akhuva (IV.678). Her son was Chippatajayapida. The young Chippatajayapida was advised by his maternal uncle Utpalaka or Utpala (IV.679). Eventually the Karkota dynasty ended and a grandson of Utpala became king. When Sukhavarmmā was on the point of becoming king, he was murdered by his envious friend Shushka. Shura the minister, then thought Avantivarmma son of Sukhavarmma, to be fit for the throne ; and in order to prevent disturbances among the people, he in the Kashmira era '31+ deposed the reigning king Utpalapua, and raised Avantivarmma, to the throne.

Rajatarangini[5] writes that [p.106]: Avantivarmma cleared the kingdom of all enemies, and by his good behaviour pleased the good. The minister obeyed the orders of the king, and the king complied with the requests of the minister. The king was forgiving and grateful, the minister devoted to his master, and without vanity. Such a union is rare. The wise king, although he had obtained a kingdom, did not forget his past condition and used to meditate in the following manner : — " The regal dignity inspires ambition in great minds, and leads men to crime. There is none who is favored with royal dignity but feels misery in the end. How can she (Fortune) who rose from the ocean along with the courtesans of heaven, learn to be faithful to one. She has no affection, and has followed no king to the other world though long solicited. The stores of golden drinking vessels of departed kings no longer belong to them ! Why do not kings feel ashamed to eat from plates from which others have eaten before them? "Who does not fear to look on the huge plates of silver marked with the names of departed kings? Who can feel pleasure at the sight of those unholy necklaces which have been taken out from the necks of dying kings? And who does not feel terrified to touch these ornaments left by them with their regrets and lamentations at the time of their death.


[p.107]: Wealth is purified when bestowed on proper persons."

Thus thinking, the king broke the golden ornaments and things, and gave them to Brahmanas. One Brahmana instead of saying, " admirable ! king," when he received the gift, addressed him by name and said " admirable ! Avanti ! " The king was so pleased at this that he bestowed much wealth on him. The king gave away everything in charity retaining only his Chamara and umbrella, and thus he spent the accumulated wealth of his predecessors.

Suravarmma:

His brother and brother's son rose against him several times, but he defeated them in battle, and having restored peace in his kingdom, he divided bis wealth among his friends and servants, out of affection towards them. Out of his affection too for his step-brother Suravarmma he raised him to the dignity of heir-apparent. This Suravarmma bestowed the villages of Khadhuya and Hastikarna to Brahmanas, and set up images of two gods named" Suravarmmasvami and Gokula. The holy king also set up a Matha, the pride of the world, and bestowed the village of Panchahasta on Brahmanas. Another brother of the king named Samara, set up images of Rama and his brothers as well as one of Samarasvami. The two younger brothers of Sura named Dhira and Vitrapa who were accountants, built up two temples named after them. These two brothers went up bodily to Kailasa, the heaven of Shiva ! Sura had a door-keeper


[p.108]: named Mahodaya who set up a god named Mahodaya soami. It was in this temple that Rāmaja whose school of grammar was then celebrated, was employed as expositor. Prabhakaravarmma, the king's minister, built a temple of Vishnu named Prabhakarasvami. He had a tame shuka bird who accompanied other Shukas and brought many pearls ; whereupon the minister built the celebrated Shukavali.

The minister Shura patronized learning and encouraged the learned, and many learned men were brought to the court in royal carriages drawn by pair, and were well received. The following authors flourished in this reign :Muktākann, Shivasvami, A'nandavardhana and Ratnākara. Kritamandāra the bard of the minister Shura used to repeat the following sloka in the court as a hint to his master. " This is the time to do good, while fortune lasts, for fortune is naturally fleeting, and danger is always at hand, and when danger comes, there will be no more opportunity to do good." Shura raised many edifices, and among others one for Hara- Parvati, a figure half male and half female, at the shrine Sureshvari. This temple was very strongly built. And having set up the god Shureshvara, he built the temple Shura-matha, as high as his own mansion, for the dwelling of devotees. He built a beautiful town named Shurapura and brought there the celebrated drum which was is Kramavartia. Ratnavardhnna, his son, set up an image


[p.109]: of Shiva named Bhuteshvara at Sureshvari, and built a matha within the enclosure of Shuramatha. Kavyadevi, his wife, set up a Shiva named Kavyadevishvara at Sureshvari.

The king who had no vanity in him, allowed his brothers and Shura and Sura's sons to bear the royal arms. The king was from his childhood a Vishnuvite, but out of regard for Shura he inclined towards Shivaism. He built the town of Avantipura at Vishvoukasara the shrine ,where the souls of the dead receive salvation. There, before he became king, he had set up the image of the god Avantisvami, and after becoming king he set up that of Avantishvara. And out of his silver bathing vessel he made three seats for three gods, Tripureshvara, Bhutesha, and Vijayesha.

His minister Shura was so devoted to him, that he cared neither for his life nor for virtue nor oven for his son in the service of the king. One day, when the king had offered his offerings, befitting his wealth, to god Bhuteshvara, he saw that the wild Utpalashāka vegetable had been placed by the priests on the seat of the god. And when the king asked the reason, they fell prostrate, and clasped their hands, and replied : — " In Lahora there lives a fiery and strong man named Dhanva who is as beloved of Shura as his own son. He always worships gods and has the power to bring down rain. Now this person has taken possession of the villages attached to the temples and consequently this wild vegetable is


[p.110]: all which can be had, and which has been offered to the god." The king pretended not to hear the above, and feigning to be suddenly attacked with colic pain, left worship, and went out. But Shura guessed that there was some reason for the king's leaving off the worship and getting a sudden attack of colic pain, and began to enquire into the matter. And when he learnt the true reason he became angry. He entered the temple of Bhairava which was near the temple of Bhutesha, and in which was Mitrichakra. There he prevented the people from crowding, and encircled by a few followers, he repeatedly sent messengers to bring Dhanva. Dhanva, cruel though brave, arrived with his infantry. But no sooner had he entered the temple than the armed men of the minister severed his head from his body, even before the god Bhairava. The minister threw the bleeding body into a neighbouring tank, and went out to assuage the anger of the king. The king heard that the minister had beheaded him whom he had loved as his son, and wondered, and his anger abated. And when Shura enquired about the health of the king, he replied that his pain was gone. The minister then raised him from his bed and caused him to finish his worship. Thus the minister who understood the motives of the king, was ready to serve him and even to sacrifice his own life, although not ordered to do so. The king and the minister were never angry with each other, and never have a king and a minister like them been seen or heard of.


[p.111]: For ten years during this reign, animals did not kill one another ; in so much that Patina fish left the cold water, and basked fearlessly under the autumn sun on the banks.

Suyya:

In this reign lived Shrikallata and other sages. And though their history is long, yet I shall relate briefly the anecdote of one of them as it concerns the present history. Kashmira, intersected with many rivers and lakes, was never a very productive country. It was owing to the vigorous efforts of Lalitaditya that the country was drained in some place and the produce of the land had been a little increased. But after the death of Jayapida, the kings who succeeded were feeble, and the waters again increased to their former bulk. And the consequence way a famine. Paddy was sold at one thousand and fifty dinars per khari (खारी).* To save men and animals from this calamity, Suyya, one of the sages, was born. No one knew of , his birth ; and it was apparent from his actions that, although born in tho Kali Yuga, ha was not born of man. Suyya, a chandali by caste, was on one occasion sweeping the dust from the roads, when she found a now earthen pot covered; and on raising the cover, she saw a boy lying in it, and performing Japa; and its eyes were like lotus leaves. She thought that some unfortunate mother must have left the beautiful child there. While she was thus thinking,


* 32 seers=l drona, 16 drona=l khari.


[p.112]: suddenly, and out of affection for the child, the milk came into her breast. Without polluting the child with her touch she lodged it in the house of a wet nurse of tho Shudra caste, to whom she gave money enough for its support. The child was named Suyya ; and when he grew up and was educated, he became the tutor of boys in a rich man's house. He was, for his good conduct and intellect, considered as chief in the circle of the learned. Ono day, when some people were grieving on account of the recent floods, be remarked that he had intellect, but not money, and he could therefore give no redress. This speech was reported to the king by his spies, and the king wondered, and caused him to be brought before him. The King asked him as to what he had said. He fearlessly repeated that be had intellect but no money. The courtiers pronounced him to be mad, but the king, in order to try his intellect, placed all his wealth at the disposal of this man. Suyya took out many vessels filled with dinnaras , and went by boat to Madava. There in the village named Nandaka, which was under water, he threw a pot of dinnaras, and returned. Although the courtiers pronounced him to be undoubtedly mad, the king heard of his work, and enquired as to what he did afterwards. At Yakshadara in Kramarajya he began to throw dinnaras by handfuls into tho water. The Vitasta was there obstructed by rocks which had fallen into its bed from both its rocky banks ; and tho villagers who were suffering from scarcity, began to search for the


[p.113]: dinnaras, and in so doing removed the rocks which, were in, the bed of the river, find cleared tho passage of the water. No sooner had the water flowed out than Suyya raised a stone embankment along the Vitasta, which was completed within seven days. He then cleared the bed of the river, and then broke down the embankments. The passage was now quite open, and the river flowed easily, and rapidly towards the sea, as if anxiously and eagerly, after this long detention; and consequently the land again appeared above the waters. He then cut now canals from the Vitasta wherever he thought that the course of the river had been obstructed. Thus many streams issued out of one main river, even like the several heads of a serpent from one trunk. Sindhu which flowed from Trigrama to the left ; and Vitasta on the right were made to meet one another at Vainyasvami.

And even to this day the junction made by Suyya near this town exists ; as also the two gods Vishnusvami and Vainyasvami at Phalapura and Parihasapura situated on either side of the junction; and the god Hrishikesha whom Suyya worshipped, just at the junction. And to this day may also be seen the trees which grew on the banks of the river as it flowed before, distinguished by marks of ropes by which boats were tied to them. Thus Suyya diverted the course of rivers. He raised a stone embankment seven yojanas in length ; and there- by brought tho waters of tho Mahapadma lake under control. He joined the waters of the lake Hahapadma with


[p.114]: those of the Vitasta, and built many populous villages after, having rescued the land from the waters. The low lands which he protected by embankments are to this time called Kundala, and there the harvest is very plentiful. Even to this day when the rivers become narrow in autumn, marks of the pillars which were erected by Suyya may be distinguished. When the waters receded, the jars of dinnaras which he had thrown in deep water at Nandaka, wore found again. He examined several places and irrigated many villages, the produce of which did not depend on rains, by means of artificial canals cut from the Chanula and other rivers until the whole country became fruitful. Thus Suyya benefited the country such as even Kashyapa or Valadeva had not done. Before his time, paddy sold in Kashmira at two hundred dinnaras a Khari even after a bumper crop, but since his time the same quantity has sold at only thirty-six dinnaras. He built a beautiful city after his own name on the Vitasta where it issued from the Mahapadma lake, and he made a law that as long as the world existed the fishes and birds of the lake should not be killed. He bestowed the village of Suyyakundala to Brahmanas, and erected a bridge Suyyasetu after the name of her who had found him in the street.

Avanti-varmma and other kings built thousands and thousands of villages on the land thus rescued from tho waters.

King Avanti reigned well even like Mandhata. He was at last attacked with a mortal disease and retired to the

Avantipur

Avantipur, 70 km from Pahalgam is known for two ruined Hindu temples.

Location: 29-km Southeast Of Srinagar, Anantnag District, Kashmir Region, J&K

Main Attractions: Two Ruined Hindu Temples

Built In: Between 855 And 883 AD

Built By: King Avantivarman

Situated at the foot of one of the spurs of the mountain Wastarwan, this temple site overlooks the Jhelum, which wends its tortuous way gently by the side of the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Reign Of Utpala Dynasty

The foundation of the town of Avantipura has been ascribed to Avantivarman by Kalhana who noted: 'At the site called Vishvaikasara, which procures final beatitude for those who die, the king founded the Avantipura, an abode of abundant enjoyments'. From this statement it appears that the place had already been a holy centre before the town was established by the king after his own name.

Avantivarman, the first king of the Utpala dynasty, was the son of Sukhavarman and the grandson of Utpalaka or Utpala who was a maternal uncle of the Karkota king Chippatajayapida, son of Lalitapida and Jayadevi, daughter of a spirit - distiller. Taking advantage of the minority of the king, Utpala and his four brothers virtually grasped the regal powers and ultimately caused the death of their royal nephew and became king makers. Then ensured an internecine strife and rivalry among the brothers themselves.

After the death of Utpala, his son Sukhavarman consolidated his power, placed his nominee Utpalapida on the throne and practically became the de facto ruler. Eventually he had been on the point of usurping the crown when he was killed by one of his relatives. Soon afterwards Utpalapida was dethroned by the minister Sura who crowned Avantivarman as the king.[6]

A King's Passion For Art & Learning:

Though of an inglorious lineage, Avantivarman made himself illustrious by virtue of his peaceful pursuits, conscientious care of his subjects and liberal patronage of arts and learning and made himself fondly live in the memory of posterity. He did not launch on an ambitious career of conquests. Aided by his wise and faithful minister Sura, the great king devoted his energies to the consolidation of his kingdom by subduing the unruly opponents and turbulent chiefs and brought back the much needed peace and prosperity to the country, hitherto town by court intrigues, factions and oppression of the subjects during the reign of the later feeble puppet kings of the Karkota dynasty.

The ruins of Avantipur - Jammu and Kashmir.

He made earnest efforts to ameliorate the economic condition of the people and picked up a gifted person, Suyya, who by his engineering operations regulated the course of the Vitasta, thereby arresting the devastating periodical floods and consequent famine, and promoted irrigation and agricultural operations over an extensive area with the result that output of crops increased tremendously. His court was adorned by men of learning and poets like "Muktakana", "Shivasvamin", "Anandavardhana" and "Ratnakara". His just and peaceful rule of twenty-eight years was made further memorable by a large number of religious foundations and endowments, not only by himself but by his relatives and officials.

Building Of The Two Temples:

At Avantipura itself Avantivarman erected two magnificent temples, one dedicated to Lord Vishnu called "Avantisvamin" and the other to Lord Shiva called "Avantisvara" the former built before his accession to the throne and the latter after obtaining sovereignty. The king was a devout worshipper of Lord Vishnu from his childhood and remained Vaishnava in the core of his heart till his death. However, out of great regard for his minister Sura who was a devotee of Shiva, he made the other temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

It appears that Avantivarman made the required provision for the maintenance of the temples at Avantipura and the ritualistic worship of the images by lavish endowments. Thus, according to Kalhana, the greedy Kalasa (AD 1063-89) of the first Lohara dynasty confiscated the villages, which had formed the endowment of the Avantisvamin temple.

In the time of Kalhana and immediately after the accession of King Jayasimha (AD 1128-55) of the second Lohara dynasty when his position became precarious due to the uprisings and attacks of Bhikshachara, the great grandson of Kalasa, and his powerful Damara allies, the Avantisvamin temple braced a siege when its courtyard protected by mighty stone walls provided shelter to royal officers Bhasa and Kshemananda and their companions who were besieged by the Damaras of Holada.

The stone walls of the enclosure of the temple withstood the siege successfully and the Damaras headed by the powerful Tikka could not overcome the besieged, 'though they fought them by lighting fires, throwing stones and making breaches' Ultimately, the Damaras had to disperse at the approach of Sujji, the commander-in-chief of Jayasimha, to relieve Bhasa and his retinue.

Avantipur Temples

Avantipur Temple Ruins

The temples in Avantipur are both situated on the road southeast of Srinagar and are very easy to find. The two temples dating from the 9th century are only 1 km apart. One is a Shiva Temple, which is renovated and in daily use. The larger, the Avantiswami Temple is now a ruin. King Awantivarman, who ruled Kashmir from 853 to 888 AD built both temples and dedicated the larger, the Avantiswami Temple to the Hindu God Vishnu.[7]

Shiva Temple Avantipur

The likeness to the Sun Temple in Martrand is stiking. Both the Sun Temple and the Avantiswami Temple shows an outward appearance of Greek architecture. The temples are built by the same materials, a sandstone, which has not proven its durability very well over the centuries. Both temples are highly eroded and not much is left of the very rich carvings, that has been all over the temple surfaces.

In 18th century the Avantiswami Temple was excavated by the English. Some idols were taken to museums in England, but quite a few can still be seen in the SPS Museum in Srinagar.

उत्पल - उप्पल गोत्र का इतिहास

कैप्टन दलीप सिंह अहलावत[8] ने उत्पल-उप्पल गोत्र का इतिहास वर्णन इस प्रकार किया है। इन्होने अवंतिपुर शहर बसाया, जहाँ उसके बौद्ध मंदिरों के खंडहर आज ही देखे जा सकते हैं।[9]

अवन्तिवर्मन: इस उत्पल जाट राजवंश का महाराजा अवन्तिवर्मन कश्मीर नरेश सम्वत् 912 (855 ई०) में सम्पूर्ण डोगरा प्रदेश पर शासन करता था।

शंकरवर्मन: उसके पश्चात् इसके पुत्र राजा शंकरवर्मन शासक हुए, जिसके पास एक लाख घुड़सवार, 9 लाख पैदल सैनिक और 300 हाथियों की सेना थी। इसने विक्रमी संवत् 959 (902 ई०) तक अनेक विजययात्राओं में मन्दिरों को भी लूटा।

राजा पार्थ: इसके पुत्र राजा पार्थ के शासनकाल में अकाल के कारण मरने वालों की लाशों से जेहलम नदी का जल देर तक श्रीनगर को दुर्गन्धित किए रहा था। इस राजा पार्थ ने प्रजा से साधारण ऊंचे दर पर सम्पूर्ण अनाज मोल लेकर सैंकड़ों गुने ऊंचे दर से बेचा। उसने बड़ी प्रसन्नतायुक्त उत्सुकता से अपने महलों के पास दम तोड़ते अपनी प्रजा को देखा।

उन्मत्तवन्ति: वि० सम्वत् 994 (937 ई०) में इसके पुत्र उन्मत्तवन्ति ने तो क्रूरताओं की एक ऐसी सीमा स्थिर की जिसे अभी तक कोई न लांघ सका। इन अत्याचारों व क्रूरता के कारण इस राजवंश का अन्त हो गया।

जाटों और खत्रियों में इस वंश की समान रूप से संख्या है। वीर योद्धा हरीसिंह नलवा इसी वंश के महापुरुष थे (इसकी जीवनी देखो, पंजाब केसरी महाराजा रणजीतसिंह प्रकरण)।

उत्पल जाटों ने बीकानेर के पास बड़ी खाटू के समीप पलाना गांव बसाया। उस गांव के बाद अन्य स्थानों पर बसने वाले उन जाटों ने अपना परिचय पिलानिया नाम से देना आरम्भ कर दिया।

इस वंश का बांहपुर बहुत ऊंचा घराना है, जो कुचेसर भरतपुर के वैवाहिक सम्बन्धों से जातीय जगत् में विशेष प्रसिद्ध हुआ। यहां के राजा कर्णसिंह ने वैधानिक रीति से ऊंचा गांव इस्टेट की स्थापना की। वहां पर कुं० सुरेन्द्रपालसिंह जी (बहनोई महाराजा भरतपुर) ने एक नया किला और दर्शनीय राजमहल बनवाया। उप्पल-उत्पल जाटों की सिक्खों में बहुसंख्या है।

References


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