mentions his ancestors−Chaṇḍapati, his son Sōllapēya and the latter’s son Sūra. To Sūra. To Sūra
Sōḍḍhala was born from his wife Pampāvatī. This family enjoyed the patronage of the Chaulukya kings of Lāṭa. Sōḍḍhala lost his father in his boyhood. Then Gaṅgādhara, son of the
then reigning king Gōggirāja of Lāṭa, brought him up. Gōggirāja was succeeded by his son
Kīrtirāja. His son Siṁharāja was a fellow-student of Sōḍḍhala. They studied under a teacher
named Chandra. Sōḍḍhala gave evidence of poetic talent even in his student life. Later, as
the political situation in Lāṭa changed, Sōḍḍhala migrated to Sthānaka (modern Thāṇā), the
capital of the Northern Śilāhāras. He became a court-poet of the Silāhāra king Chhittarāja.
Once upon a time Sōḍḍhala composed a beautiful verse containing to word pradīpa. Being
pleased with it, Chhittarāja gave him the title of Kavi-pradīpa. Chhittarāja’s brothers Nāgārjuna
and Mummuṇirāja, who succeeded him one after the other, also treated Sōḍḍhala with great
At Sthānaka Sōḍḍhala received a cordial invitation for return to Lāṭa from Vatsarāja,
the successor of the aforementioned Kīrtirāja, who was a dear friend of the Śilāhāra king
Mummuṇi. So he went back to Lāṭa. Once upon a time, while Vatsarāja was sitting in his
sabhā with his courtiers and poets around him, a merchant showed him a collection of pearls.
The king then uttered the following verse:
(What is the use of these stray pearls ? If you make a necklace of these, it will give us rare
Sōḍḍhala at once understood the suggested sense of the verse. But he kept quiet. When
he went home, he said to himself, “The king has, indeed, rebuked me. He wants to suggest
to me that instead of wasting my energy in composing stray verses of the muktaka type, I should
compose a great kāvya. Now, if such a kāvya is to be composed, it should rather be of the
champū type than of the gadya or the padya type.” For the composition of such a work he repaired
to one of his villages where he would get the necessary facilities as well as tranquility. He completed the work in a few days and then started for the capital of Lāṭa with the kāvya tied in
a piece of cloth. On his way through a dense forest he noticed a very white shrine of Goddess
Sarasvatī. He entered it and praised the goddess with an extempore verse. As it was then
evening and his fellow-travellers had gone ahead, he sat down in the mattavāraṇaka (aisle)
of the maṇḍapa of the shrine for rest. He then noticed two beautiful statues of door-keepers.
one on each side of the garbha-gṛiha. At night there arose a bright flame of light, without being
fed by oil. Immediately thereafter, there issued from the statues two heavenly beings wearing
the sacred thread. They praised the goddess with an extempore verse and then sat in the oppo-
Soḍḍhala has given considerable information about his ancestors, fellow-students, friends
and contemporaries in th present work. His family originally belonged to Lāṭa (Southern
Gujarāt). It held the important office of the Dhruva or Revenue Collector of the following
among other divisions –Sikkarahārīya-72, Vāhirihāra-700, and Annāpallīya-70. Sōḍḍhala
This name is given as Gōgirāja in the edition of the Udayasundarīkathā (see Errata at the end), but it occurs
as Gōggirāja in inscriptions. See Bhandarkar’s List of Northern Inscriptions, Nos. 1088 and 1092.
This may have been due to the raids of the Chaulukyas of Aṇahilapāṭaṇa. Mūlarāja is known to have
killed Bārappa, the father of Gōggirāja, and annexed Lāṭa to his dominions. See Chaulukyas of Gujarāt
by A.K. Majumdar, pp. 28 f.
Such soubriquets are traditionally known to have been borne by some other Sanskrit poets. Thus, Kālī-
dāsa was known as Dīpaśikhā-Kālidāsa on account of his verse in the Raghuvaṁśa (VI, 67) and Bhāravi
as Chhattra-Bhāravi on account of a verse (V. 39) in the Kirātārjunīya.
Udayasundarīkathā, p. 12.
This shrine is described as having been built by Bhārgava. So it may not have been very distant from
Bhṛigukachchha. Sōḍḍhala describes it as situated on the way from Śūrpāraka to the capital of Lāṭa.
Sōḍḍhala has used this word many times in the Udayasundarikathā. Mattavāraṇī, from which it is derived,
denoted ‘a wing’ in Bharata’s Nātyaśāstra as shown by us elsewhere. Mattavāraṇaka used here and in other
passages of Sōḍḍhala’s work seems to denote ‘an aisle’ separated from the middle portion of a hall by a
row of pillars.