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Ancient History / Post-Mauryan Era

Saka Dynasty in India


    The Saka dynasty in India is not a single dynasty. Sakas are also called Indo-Scythians. They came from Central Asian region. They entered India tribe after tribe. They have set up different independent Saka kingdoms like Kapisa Sakas (Afghan), Taxila Sakas, Mathura Sakas, Ujjain Sakas, Bharukachha Sakas (modern Bharuch region, Gujarat) and many more. Ujjain and Bharukachha Sakas have some historical importance.



    Kardamaka Dynasty

    • The dynasty that ruled the Malwa and parts of Gujarat region was Bhadramukhas or Kardamaka dynasty. They are called Ujjain Sakas as their capital city was Ujjain. The Kardamaka dynasty was founded by "Satrap" Castana or Chastana.

    • The most important ruler of Kardamaka dynasty was Rudradaman I, who was the grandson of Chastana. He took the title "Mahakshatrapa" (Great Satrap). He defeated the Satavahanas and defended his kingdom but later had a matrimonial relationship with Satavahanas by giving his daughter to Vashishtiputra Satakarni.

    • At Junagadh, one inscription (Prashasti) of Rudradaman I was found. It was the first Sanskrit inscription in India. The inscription talks about the "Sudarshan" lake history.

      It says Sudarshan lake was built by Chandragupta Maurya. It was rebuilt during the period of Ashoka. This lake was again repaired by Rudradaman I without Vishti (forced labor or without remuneration).

    Kshaharata Dynasty

    • Bharukachha Sakas ruled from Barygaza, the modern Bharuch in Gujarat. The dynasty that ruled this region was Kshaharata dynasty. Satavahanas were their staunch rivals.

    • The important ruler of Kshaharata dynasty was Nahapana. Parts of the Nasik caves, which are also called Pandavleni Caves, were constructed during the reign of Nahapana. He also constructed the chaitya cave complex in Karla Caves.

    • Nahapana fought a battle with Gautamiputra Satakarni. In this war (only through epigraphical and numismatic evidence), Nahapana was killed and the entire territory became part of Satavahanas.

    • Nasik Prasasti, an inscription by Gautami Balashri, mother of Gautamiputra Satakarni, has given a title called Kshaharatavamsa Nirvasheshakara (one who uprooted Kshaharata dynasty) to Gautamiputra Satakarni.

    • At a place called Jogalthambi, a hoard of thousands of silver coins were found, which were minted by Nahapana of Kshaharata Saka dynasty but overstruck by Gautamiputra Satakarni.