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Ancient History / Post-Mauryan Era

Satavahana Dynasty Notes

The founder of Satavahana dynasty was Simuka. The capital of Satavahanas was Pratistanapura (present Paithan in Aurangabad district) located on the banks of river Godavari and later shifted to Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh. Satavahana dynasty period extends for four and half centuries (225 BC - 225 AD).

Rulers of Satavahana Dynasty

The Satavahana kingdom was spread from one coast in the east to the other coast in the west of the Deccan area. The official language of Satavahana empire was Prakrit. On Satavahana coins, we can find Prakrit and also Pali language. The religion of Satavahanas was Vedic religion. Around 30 kings ruled from this dynasty. Some of the famous kings from this dynasty are

    3rd king Satakarni I

    He succeeded Kanha, who was the brother of Simuka. Satakarni I was the son of the founder of Satavahana dynasty, Simuka. Naneghat (near Nasik) Prasasti describes the victories of Satakarni I. It was issued by his wife Naganika.

    The inscription says, he performed Rajasuya Yaga and Asvamedha Yaga. According to the inscription, he had two titles named "Apratihatachakra" (the wielder of the unchecked wheel) and "Dakshinapatha pati" (Lord of Southern India).

    11th king Kuntala Satakarni

    Two eminent scholars were present in the court of Kuntala Satakarni namely, Gunadhya who wrote Brihatkatha in Paisachi Prakrit and Sarvavarman who wrote Katantra Vyakarana (meaning Simple Grammar), a Sanskrit book.

    17th king Hala

    Hala took the title Kavi-vatsala. He wrote Gatha Saptasati (700 poems dealing with erotic love and romance). A novel Lilavati (written in 800 CE) describes the romance between the king Hala and a princess of Simhaladvipa.

    23rd king Gautamiputra Satakarni

    Gautamiputra Satakarni was the first king to take matronymic name because of polygamy. Nasik inscription was issued by his mother Gautami Balasri. It is issued 19 years after the death of Gautamiputra Satakarni.

    Nasik inscription describes that he defeated the Shakas, the Yavanas and the Pahlavas. He had titles, Ekabrahmana, Dvijakula Vardhana (protector of twice born), Tri-Samudra-ToyaPita-Vahana (one whose subjects drank water of 3 seas).

    24th king Vasishthiputra Pulumavi

    He is one of the sons of Gautamiputra Satakarni. Pulumavi was defeated by Rudradaman I. He shifted the Satavahana capital from Pratistanapura to Dhanyakataka (or Amaravati) situated on the banks of Krishna river.

    25th king Vasishthiputra Satakarni

    Vasishthiputra Satakarni succeeded his brother Vasishthiputra Pulumavi. He was married to Saka dynasty princess, Rudradamanika, daughter of Rudradaman I. In a cave at Kanheri, an inscription describes about the marriage between Vashishtiputra Satakarni and daughter of Rudradaman I.

    27th king Yajna Sri Satakarni

    Lot of his coins made of Potin (alloy of 4-5 metals), Lead, Copper were found in so many places. Potin coins have the symbol "Ship", which indicates international trade.

    According to one tradition, famous Mahayana Buddhist scholar Acharya Nagarjuna was in the court of Yajna Sri Satakarni. Madhyamaka and Sunyata philosophies were developed by Acharya Nagarjuna, who is known as second "Tathagata" or second Buddha.

    Nagarjuna is also known as Indian Einstein as he talked about Theory of Relativity. Books written by Nagarjuna are (i) Madhyamaka karika, (ii) Prajnaparamita, (iii) Suhrullekha, (iv) Arogyamanjari (Book on medicine).

    30th king Pulomavi III

    He was the last ruler of Satavahana dynasty. Some scholars consider him as Pulomavi IV. During his period, Satavahana Empire was divided into Samantas. Maharashtra region was ruled by Abhiras with capital at Nashik. Karnataka region was ruled by Chutus with capital at Banavasi. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana region was ruled by Ikshvaku dynasty with capital at Vijayapuri (Nagarjunakonda).

Extra Information

During the rule of Satavahana dynasty, Odisha was ruled by Mahameghavahana Dynasty (or Chedi Dynasty). They ruled from Kalinga Nagari. Hathigumpha (near Bhubaneswar) inscription (Prasasti) in Prakrit language, talks about the king named Kharavela. He followed Jainism. He was the third king of Mahameghavahana dynasty.


  1. Nanaghat inscription was issued by whom?

    1. Gautami Balasri

    2. Hala

    3. Vasishthiputra Pulumavi

    4. Naganika


    Ans: D

  2. The famous philosopher Acharya Nagarjuna was in the court of which of the following Satavahana dynasty kings?

    1. Yajna Sri Satakarni

    2. Gautamiputra Satakarni

    3. Kuntala Satakarni

    4. Simuka


    Ans: A