THE HOME OF THE VAKATAKAS
THE HOME OF THE VĀKĀṬAKAS
...THE Vākāṭakas are generally believed to be of northern origin. Thus, Vincent
Smith, in his article on the Vākāṭakas, says, ‘If Vindhyaśakti and Pravarasēna are the
same persons as Vindhyaśakti and Pravīra of the Purāṇas, the origin of the family
must be sought somewhere in the area now known as Central India’. Jayaswal went
one step further and derived the dynastic name Vākāṭaka from Vakāṭa or Vākāṭa on the
analogy of Traikūṭaka, which is plainly formed from Trikūṭa. He identified this Vākāṭa,
the supposed home-land of the Vākāṭakas, with Bāgāṭ, a village in the northernmost part
of the former ōrchhā State, six miles east of Chirgaon in the District of Jhānsī. ‘The
Brāhmaṇa’. says Jayaswal, ‘who, according to the Purāṇas, was the first annointed king and
the founder of the dynasty and who assumed the appropriate appellation of Vindhyaśakti,
adopted the name of his own town as his dynastic title’. The northern origin of the
Vākāṭakas has been tacitly admitted by almost all scholars who have written on this subject1.
I therefore propose to examine critically the evidence on which it is based.
...(1)The main basis of this theory of the northern origin of the Vākāṭakas is the
following passage in the Purāṇas2 :–
...This passage is introduced with the words, ‘Hear also the future rulers of Vidiśā’,
and mentions towards the close the names of Vindhyaśakti and Pravīra, who are undoubtedly kings of the Vākāṭaka dynasty. It has, therefore, been supposed that Vindhyaśakti and
Pravīra ruled somewhere in Central India, not far from Vidiśā, modern Bēsnagar near
Bhilsā. This passage mentions several kings; but none of them, with the exception of the
two mentioned above, are known from any other source. Besides, it is not clear how
far the scope of the introductory statement extends.
That all the kings mentioned in this passage were not of Vidiśā was realised by Pargiter
also, who gave the heading ‘Dynasties of Vidiśā, etc.’ to it. It is noteworthy that the
passage introduces Śiśuka, the ruler of Purikā, in verse 5. Purikā, we know from the
1 See e.g. N.H.I.P., Vol. VI, p.96. The southern origin of the Vākāṭakas was first out by
me in N.U.J., No. 3, pp. 22 f.
2 D.K.A., pp. 49-50.