...THERE was unprecedented religious activity in the age of the Vākāṭakas. The founder
of the royal family was the Gṛithapati Vākāṭaka, who was a follower of Buddhism. He
went on a pilgrimage to the distant holy place of Amarāvatī in the Guṇṭur District of
Andhradēśa where he has left an inscription recording his gift of a stone pillar for the
longevity of himself, his two wives, friends and relatives.1 The gift was made at the instance
of the Thēra (Buddhist Bhikshu) Bōdhika. The descendants of this Gṛihapati Vākāṭaka changed
their religious faith and became staunch supporters of the Vēdic and Purāṇic religion. They
were guided in this by a pious Brāhmāṇa family of Vallūra. This family maintained its
reputation for Vedic learning for several generations.2 Its founder was Yajñapati, who
was probably a contemporary of the Vākāṭaka king Vindhyaśakti. His son Dēva had
great influence with the ruling prince; for, we are told that on account of him the whole
kingdom including the king engaged itself in religious activities.3 As a matter of fact, we
find a phenomenal religious activity in that age. Pravarasēna I, the son of Vindyaśakti I,
who had made extensive conquests, performed a large number of Vedic sacrifices such as
four Aśvamēdhas and the seven Sōma sacrifices including the Vājapēya.4 Thereafter we
have no record of Vedic sacrifices being performed by later Vākāṭaka kings,5 but they must
have extended liberal patronage to learned Brāhmaṇas and helped them in the performance
of Śrauta sacrifices.6 Thus, one grant of Pravarasēna II records the gift of 8000 nivaṛtanas of land to as many as a thousand Brāhmaṇas.7 Several other grants of this prince and his
mother as well as of some princes of the Vatsagulma branch have been discovered, which
recording gifts of land and even of whole villages to learned Brāhmaṇas.
Purāṇic Hindusim also received a fillip during the age of the Vākāṭakas. Several
temples dedicated to Hindu gods were erected throughout their dominion. Most of the
Vākāṭaka princes were devotees of Śiva. So the temples of that god must have been mush
larger in number than those of other deities. Owing to paucity of inscriptions we do not,
however, notice many references to them. Pravarasēna I, the great Emperor who distinguished himself by his numerous Vedic sacrifices, is known to have constructed a temple
of Śiva under the name of Pravarēśvara.8 The territorial division of twenty-six villages in
which it was situated came to be known by its name. His grandson Rudrasēna I, who
succeeded him, also constructed a dharmasthāna (temple) at Chikkamburi,9 modern Chikmārā
in the Chāndā District, which was probably dedicated to his ishṭa-dēvatā Mahābhairava.
1 Ep. Ind., Vol. XV, p. 267.
2 No. 26, line 8.
3 Ibid., line 5.
4 See e.g. No. 3, line I.
5 They are known to have performed Gṛihya rites like the Gaṇayāga. The Jāmb. plates off
Pravarasēna II record his gift to a Brāhmaṇa who is described as Gaṇa-yājin. No. 3, line. 19.
6 Ancestors of the famous Sanskrit poet Bhavabhūti, who were learned and pious Brāhmaṇas and
originally belonged to Udumbara, were probably invited by the Vākāṭakas to their capital Padmapura,
where they settled down and performed several Vedic sacrifices. See Ep. Ind., Vol. XXII, pp. 210 f.
7 No. 6, line 20.
8 No. 4, line 13; No. 5, line 14, line 1. The names of Śiva generally ended in īśvara and
those of Vishnu in svāmin. So the temple of Pravarēśvara was probably dedicated to Śiva.
9 No. 1, line 6.