Middle Kingdoms of India, Part 48


BY: SUN STAFF - 12.4 2021

Konark Sun Temple - Konark, Odisha
Built by King Narasimhadeva I (1236–1264 A.D.)

A serial presentation of India's great history, religious movements and temple architecture.

The Eastern Gangas

'The Eastern Ganga dynasty ruled over Kalinga from the 11th Century to the early 15th Century A.D.[61]. Kalinga consisted of parts of modern day Odisha (Orissa), West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

The Eastern Gangas had their capital at Kalinganagar, known today as Srimukhalingam, in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, where it borders Odisha. This dynasty is well remembered for building the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, which was erected by King Narasimhadeva I (1238–1264 A.D.).

Even before then, however, was their greatest architectural legacy: the abode of Lord Jagannatha in Puri Dham. Over the course of their rule, the Eastern Ganga established what became a new style of temple architecture in North India.

The dynasty was founded by King Anantavarma Chodaganga Deva (1078–1147), who was a very pious ruler and a patron of religion, art and literature. He is most famously known for having built the great Puri Jagannath Temple.

The Temple at Jagannatha Puri
Built by King Anantavarma Chodaganga Deva (1078–1147 A.D.)

King Anantavarman Chodagangadeva was succeeded by a long line of illustrious rulers such as Narasimhadeva I. The rulers of Eastern Ganga dynasty not only defended their kingdom from the constant attacks of the Muslim rulers from both northern and southern India but were perhaps one of the few empires to have successfully invaded and defeated their Muslim adversaries.

King Narasimha Deva I invaded the Muslim kingdom situated in Bengal and handed a heavy defeat to the Sultan there. This ensured that the Sultanate didn't encroach upon the domains of the Ganga Emperors for nearly a century. His military exploits survive to this day as folklore in Odisha.

The Eastern Ganga kingdom prospered through trade and commerce, and their wealth was mostly used in the construction of temples. The rule of the dynasty came to end under the reign of King Bhanudeva IV (1414–34), in the early 15th Century.'

(To be continued...)