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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Bhikshachara (b.1100 - d.1130 AD, also Bhikshāchara (भिक्षाचर) or Bhikshu, was a King of Kashmir in 1120 AD for a short period of only 6 months and 12 days.[1] He was son of Bhoja of Kashmir and grandson of Harsha of Kashmir (b.1059, ruled. 1089-1101 AD) of Lohara dynasty.

Genealogy of Harshadeva

Rajatarangini[2] provides us following Genealogy of Nara:

Genealogy of Nara, King of Darvabhisara

Formerly at Darvvabhisara there lived a king named Nara of the Gotra of Bharadvaja, who had a son named Naravahana, and Naravahana had a son named Phulla. Phulla had a son named Sarthavahana, his son was Chandana, and Chandana had two sons, Gopala and Sinharaja, Sinharaja had several children, his daughter Didda was married to Kshemagupta. Didda made Sanggramaraja (son of her brother Udayaraja) king. She had another brother, Kantiraja, and he had a son named Jassaraja, Sanggramaraja had a son named Ananta, while of Jassaraja were born Tanvangga and Gungga. Ananta's son was Kalasharaja, and of Gungga was born Malla. Kalasha's son is king Harshadeva, and Malla's sons were Uchchala and Sussala.

Harshadeva's son was Bhoja whose son was Bhikshachara.

Jat clan

  • Achara - There is need to find relation of Bhikshachara and Achara Jat clan looking to curious history of Bhikshachara as given below.

Mention by Panini

Bhikshachara (भिक्षाचर) is mentioned by Panini in Ashtadhyayi. [3]


The Damaras became riotous, and Harsha ordered the lord of Mandala to massacre them. [4]

Uchchala and Sussala sons of Malla rose against Harsha. [5]

Harsha's son Bhojadeva died before the king in rebellion. [6]

Uchchala, who had been, to Hiranyapura, was coronated by Brahmanas there.[7]

Harsha spent his last days in great sorrow and was killed by Damaras.[8]

Bhikshachara was grandson of Harsha of Kashmir. He put himself at the head of Damaras and drove away Sussala and became king in 1120 but he deisgraced himself by his debauchery. There arose a popular outcry and Sussala re-occupied the throne in 1121 AD. Sussala , however, could not dispose off Bhikshachara who made repeated attempts to regain the throne. For years Kashmir witnessed a series of factious fights in which Damaras played a leading role. In 1123 AD Sussala abdicated in favour of his son Jaysimha while retaining all powers in his hand. In 1128 AD Sussala was treacherously murdered. [9]

In Rajatarangini

Rajatarangini[10] tels us that Bhikshachara, on account of his amour towards Jayamati, wife of Sussala, was ordered to be killed. He was by the king's orders taken by the executioners at night to the place of execution. There he was dashed on stone and thrown into the Vitasta. But kind fate landed him on a bank where the trees were waved by the wind. A certain Brahmana who had some money revived him to life; and thinking that Asamati was a relative of Didda, the daughter of Shahi, he brought Bhikshachara to Didda, and wily Didda, took him and sent him to another country and there in the south he lived privately. When Naravarmma, king of Malava came to know who he was, he instructed him in learning and in arms as his own son.

Some say that Jayamati saved Bhikshachara by destroying another boy like him, and of his age. When

[p.21]: the king learnt, through his spies that Bhikshachara had returned from foreign countries, his affection towards Jayamati began to abate. But the patient king without disclosing his designs concluded terms with the kings through whose territories Bhikshachara was to come to prevent his entrance into Kashmira.

Some again say, that after Bhikshachara had been killed, Didda brought a boy like him and caused him to be known by Bhikshachara's name.

Retirement of Bhikshu

Rajatarangini[11] tells us ...When the Damaras and the citizens deserted the, enemy and went over to the king and received befitting rewards, Manujeshvara and Koshta, both of whom aspired after reward from the king and wished for his friendship, quarreled between themselves, each wishing to go over first to the king. Bhikshu heard of this from the sooth-sayers, collected his attendants, and set out in the month of Ashada intending to go to some other country. The Damaras who followed him could not assuage his anger with pleasant words, nor make him turn back.

The vicious Koshteshvara, — himself a prostitute's son, — longed for the very beautiful wife of Bhikshu.

But who could touch his wife, or hold the .... (?)* of an angry lion, or the jewel in the hood of a serpent or the flame of the fire?

When Bhikshu asked Somapala for shelter, he did not give it, because he had made his peace with the son of Sussala. The victor had every where made attempt to kill Bhikshu, consequently Bhikshu went to Sulhari, crossing over an unapproachable tract of that country. "There is kindness in Trigartta, good behaviour at Champa, -ifts (?)* at Madramaṇḍala and friendship at Darvvabhisara. When you stay away, the king,

* word is not clear

[p.132]: relieved of fear, will oppress the Damaras. They will then gradually welcome you and make you king." Though the ministers told him that it would be well for him to ask the help of the people for the conquest of the dominion of Naravarmma, Bhikshu did not accept their counsel ; he adopted the advice of his father-in-law, and his servants left him on the plea that their families at home were anxious for them. [VIII(i),p.131-132]

Reappearance of Bhikshachara

Rajatarangini[12] tells us ...Oppressed by the king, Koshtaka and others invited Bhikshachara who was ambitious of obtaining the kingdom and he came again. In one day he traversed fifteen yojanos and reached the village of Shilikākoṣhta situated on the hills. Eager after conquest, Bhikshu did not mind the trouble which arose from hunger, thirst, fatigue, fear of enemies and travelling, but remained, silent. .... Even at the time of Bhikshu's prosperity , adverse fat worked against success. At this time the younger brother of Prithvihara was defeated, his finger was cut, and not knowing the approach of Bhikshu he took shelter with the king. Koshteshvara and Prithvihara went to Bhikshu and there remained like two serpents made inert by charm. They led Bhikshu to another place and assuaged the fatigue of travelling. He then went to Sulhari by the way leading to Kārkoṭadraṅga. Arrived there, Bhikshachara, in the excess of his pride, kept himself warm with the thought of attacking Kashmira. As the water which has increased in bulk seeks to enter some cleft, even so did Bhikshu for an opportunity. But the king on the other hand entered the capital and devised means to oppose Bhikshu's plan. [VIII (i),p.137]

Bhikshu's last struggle

Rajatarangini[13] tells us ....Udaya, lord of Kampana, crossed over the Saṅkaṭa in the month of Vaishakha and fought a battle with Bhikshu who was attended by the Khashas. At first Udaya had few soldiers with him, but when his army increased, Bhikshu entered the fort which was besieged. Now the king went to Vijayakshetra and swelled the army of the lord of Kampana by sending some squadrons. The king's soldiers discharged stones by means of engines, showered arrows and hurled various weapons. Those within the fort fought by throwing stones. On account of the stones which fell on the infantry, — and which were marked with the name of Bhikshu, — the king's army could not take the fort. [VIII(i), p.145]

Rajatarangini[14] tells....Now, Dengapala said to Bhikshu that Jayasimha who was then at a distance had obtained possession of the kingdom, and as he was angry with him he would kill him. Bhikshu thought that Dengapala should attach himself to some party and he replied accordingly. The Damaras advised Bhikshu to flee to Phalapura, breaking open the privy. But Bhikshu who possessed a noble heart refused the advice because he thought that the people would speak ill of him, and say that he had fled like a dog, through, the privy hole, with all his limbs covered with unclean things. [VIII (i) ,p.147-148]

Death of Bhikshu

Rajatarangini[15] tells us that At the age of thirty years and nine months, on the tenth lunar day of the dark moon, in the month, of Jaishtha, in the year 6 (=1130 AD), Bhikshu died. [VIII (i), p.155]

External links


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