Middle Kingdoms of India, Part 21


Amaravathi Stupa relief
Chennai Museum

Apr 30, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of India's great history, religious movements and temple architecture.

The Satavahanas Empire

"Following the demise of the Mauryan Empires the Satavahanas rose as the successor state to check and contend with the influx of the Central Asian tribes from the Northwest into mother India. The Satavahanas straddling the Deccan plateau also provided a link for transmission of Buddhism and contact between the Northern Gangetic plains and the Southern regions, even as the Upanishads were gaining ground.

Eventually weakened both by contention with the northwestern invaders and internal strife they broke up and gave rise to several nations around the Deccan and Central India regions. As the Gupta Empire arose in the Indo-Gangetic Plain they ushered in a "Golden Age", and rebirth of empire as a decentralized local administrative model and the spread of Indian culture proliferated until its collapse under the Huna invasions.

After the fall of Gupta Empire, the Gangetic region broke up into several states temporarily reunited under Harsha then giving rise to the Rajput dynasties. In the Deccan the Chalukyas arose, forming a formidable nation and marking the migration of the centers of cultural and military power long held in the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the new nations forming in the southern regions of India.

The Satavahana Empire started out as feudatories to the Mauryan Empire but declared independence with its decline. They were the first Indic rulers to issue coins struck with images of their rulers embossed. They are known for their patronage of Buddhism, resulting in Buddhist monuments from Ellora to Amaravati. They formed a cultural bridge and played a vital role in trade and the transfer of ideas and culture to and from the Gangetic plains to the southern tip of India.

They had to compete with the Sungas and then the Kanvas of Magadha to establish their rule. Later they had to contend in protecting their domain from the incursions of Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas. In particular their struggles with the Western Kshatrapas weakened them and the empire split into smaller states."

Cave Temples at Ellora


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