Naikidevi Chandel: The battle of Kayara and the sociomilitary history of Godwad

Kyara or Kasahrda is a dusty unremarkable village near Mount Abu, a prominent hill station and ancient seat of Abu-Chandravati Parmars. It lies in Abu Road tehsil of Sirohi district of Rajasthan. From the early 13th century upto independence, this region also called Godwad and previously a part of Gurjaradesa, was ruled by Deora Chauhans – a branch of Nadulla Chauhans.

But this forgotten village has had a memorable place in Indian military history and particularly the cultural history of Maru-Gurjara i.e. the region of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Historically called Kasahrada or Kayadra, it was the scene for a famous battle fought between Rajputs led by Imperial Solankis and Emperor Muhammad Ghori of Ghurid Empire in 1178 CE.

The Ghaznavid Empire was for some time taken over by Oghuz Turks. Muhammad of Ghur and his brother Ghiyasuddin defeated Oghuz turks and laid foundation of Ghurid Empire. After securing his position and capturing Multan in 1175 CE, he turned his attention towards Anhilwara-Patan (modern day Patan in Gujarat) in 1178 CE.

Anhilwara-Patan in north Gujarat was the capital of the Imperial Solanki aka Chaulukya dynasty that ruled much of Gujarat and parts of southern Rajasthan. After Emperor Ajaypala Solanki’s death, his infant son Mularaja II ascended the throne. Due to Mulraja II’s infancy, his mother Naikidevi acted as the regent.

Naikidevi was daughter of king Paramardi as per Acharya Merutunga’s Prabadh Chintamani. Prominent historian, AK Majumdar, identifies this Paramardi as Paramardi Chandel (reigned 1165-1203 CE) of Jejakabhukti based upon Prabandh Chintamani and Barra plates’ inscription. Parmardi’s successor Trailokyavarman’s Garra inscription (Epigraphia Indica XVI, p. 277) talks about grants to Chandel martyrs who joined Imperial Solankis at the battle. Recently, a few groups have tried linking Naikidevi with Kadambas of Goa. However. the Brahmin Kadambas of Goa have no historical ties with Rajput Solankis of Gujarat (A K Majumdar, Chalukyas of Gujarat, 131) (AK Srivastava, Disintegration of North Indian Hindu States, p. 33 & 38). Even the Vaghelas, who came after the Solankis and Kadambas, did not marry the Seuna princes from the same region in south. The Madanpur inscription dated 1182 CE indicates Solanki help to Paramardi Chandella when Jejakabhukti was invaded by the Imperial Chauhans. It was a move by Naikidevi to release the pressure off her father Parmardin Chandella.

The Chandels were a neighbouring but independent power of Jejakabhukti (present-day Bundelkhad). The two armies met at Kasahrada near the foothills of Mt. Abu on the northern borders of the Solanki Empire. The Imperial Solanki forces led by Naikidevi Chandel were reinforced by their feudatories – Kelhan of Nadul Chauhans, Kirtipal of Jalore Chauhans, Abu Chandravati Parmars, and Durjanshalji Jhala. One of the heroic generals of the battle was the Gujarati Empire’s Prime Minister Jagadev Pratihara, who even finds mention in the Ola memorial inscription from Jaisalmer dated V.E. 1239 (R Somani, Prithviraj Chauhan and His Times, p. 53).

The Ghurid forces were badly defeated by the Imperial Solankis under Naikidevi Chandel as attested by Sundha Inscription of Kirtipal Chauhan. A century later Badauni writes “Then in the year 574 AH, proceeding by the way of Multan, he led an army against Gujarat and was defeated by the ruler of that country and with great difficulty reached Ghazni and obtained relief”. This battle shook the invaders’ psyche so much that later another face-off in the 13th century in the same place didn’t reach armed conflict. Fearful of the same result, Turks retired without giving battle.

Learning from the 1178 CE debacle, the Ghurid Emperor renewed his plans to invade India from Punjab facing Tomar Rajputs of Delhi, the Bhatti Rajputs of Bhatner and the expanding Imperial Chauhan power that began touching Sirhind.

However, history is as intertwined with anthropology as much as it is with demography. A brief look – the descendants of Imperial Solanki Rajputs are still found across both North Gujarat (Patan, Mehsana, Banaskantha) and Saurashtra. Similarly, the Nadul Chauhans are survived by the Balecha, Bodana and Balot branches of Chauhans. Kirtipala Chauhan of Jalore was an ancestor to both Songara branch of Jalore and Deora Chauhans of neighbouring Sirohi. The descendants of Abu-Chandravati Parmars are the Parmar Rajputs of Banaskantha, Sabarkantha and Surendranagar districts of Gujarat. Danta & Santrampur have been headquarters of Abu Parmars, ever since they were forced to relocate by Deora Chauhans from Abu. Durjanshalji Jhala’s descendants went onto rule a part of Gujarat, that eventually became Zalavad. The Chandel clan of Naikidevi is found in eastern Bundelkhand and Purvanchal. The branch of Pratihara Rajputs, to which Jagadev Pratihar belonged, is predominantly found in South Gujarat especially Bharuch, Surat and Vadodara.

The Battle of Kasahrada also marks an important but forgotten chapter in the Socio-military history of Gurjaradesa (Gau-char bhoomi), the country of vast pasturelands covering North Gujarat and South Rajasthan. Its contours run the risk of being defiled by powers hell bent on instigating polarization in the society. It behoves to ask why the caste-chauvinists of modern India often make such flimsy claims over histories and figures completely unrelated to them. This socio-political phenomenon is termed Rajputization, where the said groups use state support, vote-bank politics, money, and muscle power to either invent a Rajput past or fabricate association with a Rajput clan.

क्षत्रिय सामाजिक, राजनीतिक और धार्मिक चेतना मंच।

Jai Ramdev ji | Jai Tejaji |JaiGogaji |Jai Jambho ji| Jai Dulla Bhati | Jai Banda Bahadur |

Important Links

Contact Us

© 2023 kshatriyavoice

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart