South Indian Inscriptions
THE HOME OF THE VAKATAKAS
Harivaṁśa1, was situated at the foot of the Ṛikshavat mountain, which is usually identified with the Sātpudā range. The town was therefore situated south of the Vindhyas. Pravīra (or Pravarasēna I), the son of Vindhyaśakti, is mentioned in this passage immediately after Śīśuka, probably because that Vākāṭaka prince succeeded the latter in that territory. It may be noted in this connection that Purikā appears to be mentioned as a capital of Pravīra in the next verse. Pargiter gives the following reading of it :–
...If this reading is adopted, the name of the Vākāṭaka capital would be Kāñchanakā, but this reading would make the particle cha meaningless and inserted in the line merely for pādapūraṇa. I, therefore, adopt Jayaswal’s ingenious emendation meaning that Pravarasēna ruled from two capitals Purikā and Chanakā. The verse, if thus read, would satisfactorily explain why the Vākāṭaka king is mentioned immediately after Śiśuka. He evidently annexed the latter’s kingdom and made Purikā a second capital of his empire, which thus extended to the Vindhyas in the north. This passage in the Purāṇas does not, therefore, give any indication that the Vākāṭakas originally belonged to Central India.
........(2)Another argument which is sometimes advanced to prove the northern origin of the Vākāṭakas is the identification of Rudradēva mentioned in the Allāhābād pillar inscription of Samudragupta with Rudrasēna I of the Vākāṭaka dynasty. This implies the existence of the Vākāṭaka empire in North India during the reigns of the early kings, Rudrasēna I and his grandfather Pravarasēna I. The identification is, however, extremely unlikely. Rudradēva, who is mentioned in that inscription as a king of Āryāvarta exterminateed by Samudragupta, must have been previously ruling north of the Vindhyas. We have, however, no inscription of the reigon of the Vākāṭaka Rudrasēna I or of any earlier king of the dynasty from North India. The only record of Rudrasēna I discovered so far is the stone inscription found at Dēoṭēk in the Chāndā District of Vidarbha2. Rudrasēna I was, therefore, ruling in Vidarbha, not in Central India. Besides, as Dr. Altekar has already observed,3 if Rudrasēna I had been exterminated by Samudragputa, it is extremely unlikely that his son Pṛithivishēṇa I would ever have selected a Gupta princess (viz. Prabhāvatīguptā) to be his daughter-in-law. For all these reasons, the identification of Rudradēva of the Allāhābād pillar inscription with the Vākāṭaka Rudrasēna I is extremely unlikely and it cannot substantiate the northern origin of the Vākāṭakas.
(3)The surest indication of the rule of any king in a particular territory is the
original findspot of his stone inscriptions. Copper-plates and coins are easily carried
from place to place and are sometimes found hundreds of miles away from their original
places. Stone inscriptions are generally not transported in this manner. Now, there is
not a single inscription of any Vākāṭaka king found north of the Vindhyas. Two stone
inscriptions4 of a prince named Vyāghradēva, who describes himself as ‘meditating on the
feet of the Vākāṭaka Pṛithivīshēṇa’ have, however, been discovered in Central India –
one at Nachnē-ki-talāi in the former Jasō State, and the other at Ganj in the former
1 Cf. Harivaṁśa, Vishṇuparvan, 38, 22, ऋक्षवन्तं समभितस्तीरे तत्र निरामये। निर्मिता सा पुरी राज्ञा पुरिका नाम नामतः॥
Ṛikshavat is mentioned in the Vishṇupurāṇa as the source of the Tāpī, Payōshṇī and Nirvindhyā and
therefore corresponds to the Sātpuḍā mountain. Cf तापीपयोष्णीनिर्विन्ध्याप्रमुखा ऋक्षसम्भवाः ॥