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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.), Jaipur
Map of Bhavnagar district

Vallabhipur (बल्लभीपुर) is a town in Bhavnagar district in Gujarat. Its ancient name was Walai, Ballabhi (बल्लभी), Vallabhi. Also known as Vallabhipura. According to Alexander Cunningham[1] the city of Balabhi was founded in 319 AD.


It is an ancient city located in Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat, in western India, near Bhavnagar.



Legend states that a Kshatriya named Vijayasena founded the city around the 3rd century.

James Tod writes that By what route Kanaksen, the first emigrant of the solar race, found his way into Saurashtra from Lohkot (Lahore), is uncertain : he, however, wrested dominion from a prince of the Pramara race, and founded Birnagara in the second century (A.D. 144). [3]

Four generations afterwards, Vijayasen, founded Vijayapur, supposed to be where Dholka now stands, at the head of the Saurashtra peninsula. Vijayapur has been doubtfully identified with Bijapur in the Ahmadabad district (BG, i. Part i. 110). [4]

Vidarba was also founded by him, the name of which was afterwards changed to Sihor. [5]

But the most celebrated was the capital, Valabhipura, which for years baffled all search, till it was revealed in its now humbled condition as Walai, ten miles west of Bhavnagar. The existence of this city was confirmed by a celebrated Jain work, the Satrunjaya Mahatma. The want of satisfactory proof of the Rana's emigration from thence was obviated by the most unexpected discovery of an inscription of the twelfth century, in a ruined temple on the tableland forming the eastern boundary of the Rana's present territory, which appeals to the ' walls of Valabhi ' for the truth of the action it records. And a work written to commemorate the reign of Rana Raj Singh opens with these words : "In the west is Sorathdes, (Saurashtra) a country well known : the barbarians invaded it, and conquered Bal-ka-nath ; all fell in the sack of Valabhipura, except the daughter of the Pramara." [6]

Sack of Vallabhi

It is an ancient city. A Jain scroll which Colonel James Tod obtained from a Jain guru in Sanderao gives the earliest description of founding of the town. The scroll mentions that on the sack of Valabhi city in Gujarat, thirty thousand Jain families abandoned Valabhi and led by their priests found a retreat for themselves in Marwar, where they erected the towns of Sanderao, Bali and Nadol in 524 AD.[7]

List of The Maitrakas of Vallabhi (470–776 CE)

History of The Maitrakas

The Maitrakas, descending from general Bhatarka, a military governor of the Saurashtra peninsula at the time of Gupta ruler Skandagupta (455-467), had ruled the peninsula and parts of southern Rajasthan from Vallabhi from the fifth to the eighth centuries.

The first two Maitraka rulers Bhatarka and Dharasena I used only the title of Senapati (general). The third ruler, Dronasimha, declared himself Maharaja.[8] King Guhasena stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata alongside his name as his predecessors had done, a term that denotes the cessation of displaying of the nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords. He was succeeded by his son Dharasena II, who used the title Mahadhiraja. His son, the next ruler Siladitya I, Dharmaditya was described by Chinese scholar and traveller Xuanzang as a "monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion". Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I.[9][10][11]

A virdi copperplate grant of 616 CE at the time of Kharagraha I shows that his territories included Ujjain. During the reign of the next ruler, his son Dharasena III, north Gujarat was assimilated into the kingdom. Dharasena II was succeeded by another son of Kharagraha I, Dhruvasena II, Baladitya. He married the daughter of Harshavardhana. His son Dharasena IV assumed the imperial titles of Paramabhattaraka Mahrajadhiraja Parameshvara Chakravartin. Sanskrit poet Bhatti was his court poet. The next powerful ruler of this dynasty was Siladitya III. During the reign of Siladitya V, Arabs probably invaded. The last known ruler of the dynasty was Siladitya VII.[12][13] The Maitrakas came under the rule of Harsha in the mid-seventh century, but retained local autonomy, and regained their independence after Harsha's death. Maitraka rule ended with the sacking of Vallabhi by the barbarians in 524, according to James Tod[14] and in second or third quarter of the 8th century by various other scholars.[15]

There is no agreement among the scholars as to who these barbarians were.

Gajni or Gayni is one of the ancient names of port of Vallabhi (Cambay), the ruins of which are about three miles from the modern city.[16] H. A. Rose and several other scholars have identified this Gajni with the Gajni referenced in the traditions of Karnal Kamboj (Garh Gajni Nikaas, Lachhoti Ghaggar).[17] This and some other traditions of Karnal Kamboj seem to connect them with Vallabhi (Kambay) in Saurashtra.[18]

Visit by Xuanzang in 640 AD

Alexander Cunningham[19] writes about Valabhadra, or Balabhi : The ruins of the famous city of Balabhi were dis-

[p.317]: covered by Tod near Bhaonagar, on the eastern side of the peninsula of Gujarat. In an inscription of the fifth century the country is called " the beautiful kingdom of Valabhadra,"[20] but in the local histories and traditions of the people, it is generally known as Balabhi. This also was the name in the time of Hwen Thsang, who calls the kingdom Fa-la-pi, or Balabhi. In ancient times, however, the peninsula of Gujarat was only known as Surashtra, and under this name it is mentioned in the Mahabharata and in the Puranas. It is called Surashtrene by Ptolemy and the author of the ' Periplus ;' and its people are most probably intended by Pliny under the corrupt name of Suarataratae, or Varetatae, for which I would propose to read Suratae. The change in the name of the country is alluded to in an inscription, dated in the Saka year 734, or A.D. 812, of Raja Karka, whose remote ancestor Govinda is said to have been the ornament of the Saurashtra kingdom, " which lost its appellation of Sau-rajya from the ruin that had fallen npon it."[21] Karka's father is called Raja of Lateswara, which at once identifies his kingdom with Balabhi, as Hwen Thsang notes that Balabhi was also called Pe-Lo-lo, or northern Lara, which is the common pronunciation of the Sanskrit Lata. As Karka was only the fifth in descent from Govinda, the name of Saurajya or Saurashtra could not have been restored by these representatives of the old family before the middle of the seventh century. From a comparison of all the data I conclude that the old name of Saurashtra was lost in A.D. 319, when the successors of the Sah kings were sup-

[p.318]: planted by the Vallabhas, and the capital changed from Junagarh to Valabhi. The establishment of the Balabhi era, which dates from A.D. 319, is said by Abu Rihan to mark the period of the extinction of the Gupta race, whose coins are found in considerable numbers in Gujarat. This date may therefore be accepted with some certainty as that of the establishment of the Balabhi dynasty, and most probably also as that of the foundation of their city of Balabhi.

According to the native histories and local traditions Balabhi was attacked and destroyed in the Samvat year 580, which is equivalent to A.D. 523, if in the Vikrama era, or A.D. 658, if in the Saka era. Colonel Tod has adopted the former; but as Hwen Thsang visited Balabhi in A.D. 640, the date must clearly be referred to the later era of Saka. If the statement is correct, we may refer the capture of Balabhi to Raja Govinda of the Baroda copper-plate inscription, who is recorded to have re-established the old family, as well as the old name of the former kingdom of Saurashtra. As he was the great-grandfather of the grandfather of Karka Raja, who was reigning in A.D. 812, his own accession must have taken place in the third quarter of the seventh century, that is, between A.D. 650 and 675, which agrees with the actual date of A.D. 658, assigned by the native historians for the destruction of Balabhi, and the extinction of the Balabhi sovereignty in the peninsula of Gujarat.

About a century after their expulsion from Balabhi the representative of the Balabhis, named Bappa or Vappaka, founded a new kingdom at Chitor, and his son Guhila, or Guhaditya, gave to his tribe the new

[p.319]: name of Guhilawat, or Gahilot, by which thcy are still known.

About the same time[22] a chief of the Chaura tribe, named Ban Raja, or the " Jangal Lord," founded a city on the bank of the Saraswati, about seventy miles to the south-west of Mount Abu, called Analwara Pattan, which soon became the most famous place in Western India. Somewhat earlier, or about A.D. 720, Krishna, the Pahlava prince of the peninsula, built the fort of Elapura, the beauty of which, according to the inscription, astonished the immortals. In it he established an image of Siva adorned with the crescent.

Following this clue I incline to identify Elapura with the famous city of Somnath, which, as the capital of the peninsula, was usually called Pattan Somnath. According to Postans[23] the old " city of Pattan" is built upon a projection of the " mainland, forming the southern point of the small port and bay of Verawal." This name I take to be the same as Elapura or Elawar, which, by a transposition that is very common in India, would became Erawal. Thus Nar-sinh has become Ran-si, and Ranod is used indifferently with Narod, but we have a still more striking instance in the change from the ancient Varul to the modern Elur or Elora. Now Patan Somnath was famous for a temple of Siva, which enshrined a figure of the god bearing a crescent on his head as Somnath, or the " lord of the moon." This appellation was therefore the proper name of the temple, and not of the city, which I conclude must have been Elapura or Erawal, the modern Verawal.

[p.320]: The earliest notice that we possess of Somnath is contained in the brief account of the successful campaign of Mahmud of Ghazni. According to Ferishta[24] the fortified city of Somnath was situated " on a narrow peninsula, washed on three sides by the sea." It was the residence of the Raja, and Naharwala (a trans- position of Analwara) was then only " a frontier city of Gujarat." This agrees with the native histories, which place the close of the Chaura dynasty of Analwara in S. 998, or A.D. 941, when the sovereignty passed into the hands of the Chalukya prince Mula Raja, who became the paramount ruler of Somnath and Analwara.

After the time of Mahmud, Somnath would appear to have been abandoned by its rulers in favour of Analwara, which is mentioned as the capital of Gujarat in the time of Muhammad Ghori and his successor Aibeg.[25] It was still the capital of the kingdom in A.H. 697, or A.D. 1297, when the country was invaded by the army of Ala-ud-din Muhammad Khilji, which occupied Nahrwala, or Analwara, and annexed the province to the empire of Delhi.

During all these transactions Ferishta invariably designates the peninsula, as well as the country to the north of it, by the modern name of Gujarat. The name is not mentioned by Abu Rihan, although he notices both Analwara and Somnath. It occurs first in the Mojmal-ut-tawarikh of Rashid-ud-din, who wrote in A.D. 1310, just thirteen years after the conquest of the country by the Muhammadan king of Delhi. Now I have already shown that the name of Gurjjara was confined to Western Rajputana in the

[p.321]: time of Hwen Thsang, and that it was still a distinct country from Saurashtra in A.D. 812, when Karka Raja of Lateshwara recorded his grant of land. Between this date and A.D. 1310, there is a gap of five centuries, during which period we have no mention of Gurjjara in any contemporary records.

I have a strong suspicion, however, that the movement of the Gujars towards the peninsula must have been connected with the permanent conquest of Delhi, Kanoj and Ajmer by the Muhammadans, which ejected the Chohans and Rathors from Northern Rajputana and the Upper Ganges, and thrust them towards the south.

We know that the Rathors occupied Pali to the cast of Balmer in the Samvat year 1283, or A.D., 1220. This settlement of the Rathors must have driven the great body of the Gujars from their ancient seats and forced them to the south towards Anhalwara Pattan and Eder. This was actually the case of the Gohils, who, being expelled from Marwar by the Rathors, settled in the eastern side of the peninsula, which was named after them Gohilwara.

In the time of Akbar the Gujars had certainly not penetrated into the peninsula, as Abul Fazl does not name them in his notice of the different tribes which then occupied the Sirkar of Surat. But even at the present day there is no large community of Gujars in the peninsula, so that we must look for some other cause for the imposition of their name on a large province which they have never completely occupied.

Origin of Gujarat: In my account of the province of Gurjjara I have already noticed an old inscription of the kings of the Gurjjara tribe. From this record we learn that in s. 380, or A.D. 458 the Gujars had pushed their conquests

[p.322]: as far south as the banks of the Narbada. In that year, and subsequently in A.D. 463, their king Sri Datta Kusali[26] made several grants of land to certain Brahmans in the district of Akrureswara, near Jambusara, which I take to be Akalesar, on the south bank of the Narbada, opposite Bharoch. But before S. 394, or A.D. 472, the Gujars must have been driven back to the north, as far at least as Khambay, as the Chalukya prince Vijaya made several grants of land to the same Brahmans in the town of Jambusara, which lies between Bharoch and Khambay. It is certain, therefore, that the Gujars had occupied the country to the north of the peninsula as early as the fifth century of the Christian era. But two centuries later they had already lost their power, as Hwen Thsang found a Kshatriya prince on the throne of Gurjjara. They must still, however, have Continued to form the bulk of the population of the countries to the west and south of Mount Abu ; and as Alaf Khan, the first Muhammadan conqueror, under Ala-ud-din Khilji, fixed his head-quarters at Naharwara, or Analwara, in the very heart of the Gujar country, I think it probable that the name of Gujarat was then first applied to this new province of the Delhi empire ; and as the peninsula of Saurashtra formed a part of the province, it was also included under the same general appellation. I therefore look upon the extension of the name of Gujarat to the peninsula as a political convenience rather than an ethnographical application. Hamilton[27] notes that the greater part of Malwa and Khandes was formerly called Gujarat; and this is borne out by

[p.323]: Marco Polo, who distinguishes between the peninsula, which he calls Sumenat (Somnath) and the kingdom of Gozurat, which he places on the coast to the north of Tana ; that is, about Bharoch and Surat. Even at the present day the name of Gujarat is not known to the natives of the peninsula itself, who continue to call their country Sarat and Kathiawar;[28] the latter name having been a recent adoption of the Mahrattas.

The capital of Balabhi is described by Hwen Thsang as 30 li, or 5 miles, in circuit. Its ruins were first discovered by Tod, although he did not actually visit them.[29] But they have since been visited by Dr. Nicholson,[30] according to whom they are situated at 18 miles to the west-north-west of Bhaonagar, near the village of Wale. The ruins are still known by the name of Vamilapura, which is only a slight trans-position of Valami, or Valabhipura. The remains are scattered over a wide extent, but there is nothing remarkable about them, except the unusually large size of the bricks. In the time of Akbar, however, these remains would appear to have been much more considerable, as Abul Fazl[31] was informed that "at the foot of the mountains of Sironj is a large city, now out of repair, although the situation is very desirable. Mabidehin and the port of Ghogha are dependent upon it." The vicinity of Ghoga is a sufficient indication to enable us to identify this ruined city with the present remains of Balabhi, which are only about 20 miles distant from Ghoga.

[p.324]: In the seventh century Hwen Thsang describes the kingdom of Balabhi as 6000 li, or 1000 miles, in circuit, which is very near the truth, if we include the districts of Bharoch and Surat, on the neighbouring coast, as well as the whole of the peninsula of Surashtra. But in this part of the pilgrim's travels the narrative is frequently imperfect and erroneous, and we must therefore trust to our own sagacity, both to supply his omissions and to correct his mistakes. Thus, in his description of Bharroch, Hwen Thsaug omits to tell us whether it was a separate and independent chiefship, or only a tributary of one of its powerful neighbours, Balabhi, Malwa, or Maharashtra. But as it has generally been attached to the peninsula, I infer that it most probably belonged to the great kingdom of Balabhi in the seventh century. In the second century, according to Ptolemy, Barygaza formed part of the kingdom of Larike, which, in Hwen Thsang's time, was only another name for Balabhi.

In the tenth century, according to Ibn Haukal,[32] it belonged to the kingdom of the Balhara, whose capital was Analwara ; but as this city was not founded for more than a hundred years after Hwen Thsang's visit, I conclude that in the seventh century Bharoch must have formed part of the famous kingdom of Balabhi. With this addition to its territories, the frontier circuit of Balabhi would have been as nearly as possible 1000 miles.

बल्लव-बल्लभी जनपद

दलीप सिंह अहलावत[33] के अनुसार बल्लव-बल्लभी जनपद गुजरात काठियावाड़ में था। इस प्रदेश पर जाटवंश का राज्य था। महाभारत काल के पश्चात् बल या बालियान जाटवंश का शासन इस जनपद पर रहा। यहां के राजा ध्रुवसेन द्वितीय (बालियान जाट गोत्री) के साथ सम्राट् हर्षवर्द्धन (वैस या वसाति जाटवंशज) ने अपनी पुत्री का विवाह किया था। चीनी यात्री इत्सिंग ने लिखा है कि “इस समय भारत में नालन्दा और बल्लभी दो ही विद्या के घर समझे जाते हैं।” दूसरे चीनी यात्री ह्यूनसांग ने बलवंश की इस राजधानी को 6000 बौद्ध भिक्षुओं का आश्रयस्थान तथा धन और विद्या का घर लिखा है। सन् 757 ई० में सिंध के अरब शासक ह्शान-इब्न-अलतधलवी के सेनापति अबरुबिन जमाल ने गुजरात काठिवाड़ पर चढ़ाई करके बल्लभी के इस बलवंश के राज्य को समाप्त कर दिया।

Notable persons


External links


  1. The Ancient Geography of India: I. The Buddhist Period, Including the Campaigns of Alexander, and the Travels of Hwen-Thsang. By Sir Alexander Cunningham, p.316-316
  2. Jat History Dalip Singh Ahlawat,p.291
  3. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I, Annals of Mewar, p.253
  4. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I, Annals of Mewar, p.253
  5. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I, Annals of Mewar, p.253
  6. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I, Annals of Mewar, p.253
  7. James Tod: Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Volume I, Publisher: Humphrey Milford Oxford University Press 1920, Annals of Mewar,p.254
  8. Roychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, pp.553-4
  9. Mahajan V.D. (1960, reprint 2007). Ancient India, S.Chand & Company, New Delhi, ISBN 81-219-0887-6, pp.594-6
  10. "Paul Monroe's encyclopaedia of history of education". Google Books. 28 August 2014. p. 177.
  11. "Hiuen Tsang's Gujarat travel: 'Valabhi was at par with Nalanda' - TOI Mobile". The Times of India Mobile Site. 14 September 2014.
  12. Roychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, pp.553-4
  13. Mahajan V.D. (1960, reprint 2007). Ancient India, S.Chand & Company, New Delhi, ISBN 81-219-0887-6, pp.594-6
  14. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol I, 2002, pp 177, 187.
  15. History and Culture of Indian People, Classical age, p 150, (Ed) Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr R. C. Majumdar.
  16. Annals and Antiquities of Mewar, 2002, Vol I, pp 178, 202, James Tod
  17. Glossary of Tribes, 1914, p 444fn, Sqq., H. A. Rose; Ancient Kambojas, People and the Country, 1981, p 306, Dr J. L. Kamboj; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 416, S Kirpal Singh
  18. Op cit., p 444fn, Sqq., H. A. Rose; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, pp 416-417, S Kirpal Singh, Ancient Kambojas, People and the Country, 1981, p 305-306, Dr J. L. Kamboj.
  19. The Ancient Geography of India/Gurjjara, p.316-324
  20. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1838, p. 976.
  21. Ibid., 1839, p. 300. Inscription from Baroda.
  22. ' Ayin Akbari," ii. 73. Abul Fazl gives Samvat 802, or A.D. 745, if referred to the era of Vikramaditya.
  23. Journ. Asiat. Soc. Bengal, 1838, p. 866.
  24. Brigg's translation, i.69
  25. Ibid., i. 179, 194.
  26. Professor Dowson in Journ. Royal Asiat. Soc, new series, i. 280.
  27. Gazetteer, in voce 'Gujerat,' i. 60.
  28. Elphinstone, 'India,' i. 550.
  29. 'Travels in Western India,' p. 268.
  30. Jouurn. Royal Asiat. Soc, xiii. 146.
  31. 'Ayin Akbari,' ii. 69.
  32. Elliot, Muhammada Historians of India, i. 03.
  33. जाट वीरों का इतिहास: दलीप सिंह अहलावत, पृष्ठ-291

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