Ikshvakus Dynasty and Who are they ?
Ikshvakus, who succeeded the Satavahanas ruled Krishna valley with Vijayapuri as their capital for nearly 100 years.
- Also known as Vasistiputra Santamula in his inscription according to the prevalent practice of the adoption of matronymy.
- Founder of the dynasty performed Asvamedha sacrifice probably to celebrate the extermination of Satavahana dynasty; With Vijayapuri as his Capital, he extended his sway over Krishna Valley region.
- Most powerful Monarch of Dakhshinapath as he was regarded as Samrat in Dakshinapatha by his contemporaries and the descendants. Numerous extolling epithets attached to his name also attest to this fact.
- Shrewd diplomat, Entered into matrimonial alliances with the Pugiyas, ruling some parts of Nellore, Guntur, and Kurnool Districts; Dhahakas of an area near Sriparvatha region and Sakas of Ujjain to enhance his power.
- Gave his sister Chantisri to Skandasri of the Pugiya family. Got his sister Chantisri's daughter and second sister Hammasri's daughters, Bapisri and Chantisri, married to his son Virapurusha Datta to prevent division in family and to consolidate bonds with his powerful brother-in-law.
- Encouraged agriculture by donating vast tracts of land and ploughs; patronized vedic religion, performed Asvamedha, Agnistoma, Agnihotra and Vajapeya sacrifices. Worshipper of Kartikeya. Philanthropist gave away crores of gold coins, lakhs of ploughs and cows to donees.
- son and successor of Santamula-I through his wife Madhari entered into matrimonial alliance with the neighbouring kings and strengthened his position.
- Married Ujjaini Maharajabalika, Mahadevi Rudradhara Bhattarika, a near relative of Rudra Sena, the Saka king. Gave his daughter, Kodabalasri, in marriage to a prince of Vanavasi to check the expansion of Abhiras.
- Denounced Vedic religion and embraced Buddhism which is clear from some sculptures showing him trampling a Siva Lingam.
- Built a great stupa over the Buddha's tooth relic, in Nagarjunakonda valley. Ladies of his family also built a number of 'Viharas' and 'Chaityas'.
- son and successor of Virapurushadatta. Donations were given liberally to Buddhist viharas and chaityas during his period.
Both Buddhism and Aryanism (Vedic religion) were the prominant religions during this period.
The popularity of Buddhism in general and Mahayana Buddism in particular reached its zenith during this period in Andhra. Nagarjunakonda became a very important Buddhist piligrimage centre because of a Stupa erected on a tooth of Buddha and also because of a Buddhist centre of learning. Buddhist piligrims from different parts of the country flocked to Nagarjunakonda, Amaravathi and Jaggayyapefa.
Ikshvaku royal ladies, patronised Buddhism by giving generous donations for the construction of Buddhist Vihara's, Chaityas and Stupas. Virapurushadatta constructed a great Stupa over Buddha's tooth relic in Nagarjunakonda. He denounced Vedic religion and embraced Buddhism. He was shown trampling Sivalingarrt in one of the sculptures.
Santamula-ll also gave donations to Buddhists.
Santamula-I, the founder of this dynasty patronised Vedic religion. He performed Vedic sacrifices like Agnishtoma, Vajapeya, etc.
Temples of Hindu gods like Kumaraswami.Ashtabhuja Swami, Pushpabhadraswami and Hariti were constructed in Nagarjunakonda valley.
Social Conditions and The Varna System
Women, particularly royal ladies, enjoyed high status. Sati came into practice as seen from a sculptural representation. Practice of marrying patemal aunt's daughters emerged in this period. Santamula-I got his sister's daughter married to his son Virapurushadatta.
- Numerous viharas, chaityas, and stupas were constructed at Nagarjunakonda, Amarayati and Jaggayapeta. The stupas neither have the gateways of Sarnath stupa nor railings of Amaravathi stupa. They probably had railing of wood.
- Temples of Hindu gods like Kumaraswami, Pushpabhadraswami, etc. were constructed. According to A.N.Venkataramana Ikshavakus were the first to start temple architecture even before the Guptas.
- At Vijayapuri, remnants of palaces, houses, drainage system, bathing ghats etc, were discovered which suggested urbanization.
Coins Used During Ikshvakus Dynasty:
Amaravathi school of sculpture continued to flourish; Ikshvaku sculpture represents the last phase of Amaravati school of sculpture. Light green marble was used for sculptural representations. The sculptural representations were about the incidents from Buddha's life-, royal affairs like kings, queens, feudatories and emblems, and incidents of social life, dancing, hairstyles, dress styles, bathing scenes, Prakrit was the language of court, etc in the earlier period. In the later Ikshvaku period Sanskrit was used in place of prakrit in inscriptions. santamuia-! encouraged Agriculture by donating vast tracts of lands and plough.
Industry organised in the form of guilds. Foreign trade continued
Hereditary monarchy based on military feudal bureaucracy was their political system.