Legends of Ganga Dynasty Origin

There are various legendary stories of Ganga Dynasty Origin, especially when during 8th to 10th century AD. Let us analyse them

Legends of Origin
Ikshvaku Lineage
Traditional Account of Gangas, says Harischandra of the Ikshvaku vamsa (ikshvaku of Ramayana, Mahabharata) had a son named Bharata, whose wife Vijaya Mahadevei bathed in Ganges to remove her langour and begot Gangadatta, whose posterity were Gangas. On one of inscription, Bhagadatta, was betowed the government of Kalinga, while to sridatta his brother, was given the ancestral kingdom with the elephant which became the Ganga Crest. God Indra gave to priya Bandhu one of this dynasty five tokens with a warning that they would disappear if the king proved an apostate. During the agression by Mahipala of Ujjain on the territory of Padmanabha Ganga demanding surrender of the five tokens, the two sons of padmanabha Ganga with their sister and attendent brahmins and the tokesn were sent southwards to escape assault. These two sons Didiga and Madhava were the founders of Ganga Dynasty. This is 9th century Legend.

Ganges Lineage
Kalinga Ganga inscriptions says that Purvasu, son of Yayati being without sons practiced self restraint and propitiated the river Ganga, which means the obtained a son Gangeya, whose decendents were victorious in the world as Ganga Line.

Krishna Lineage
Durvinita is mentioned in the Gummareddipura Plates as belonging to the lineage of Krishna.

Kanva Lineage
Jayaswal says that Gangas are from Kanvayanas of Magadha. Last king of Kanvayanas was Susarman was taken prisoner and removed to the south by satavahana. The Kanvayana empire according to Jayaswal ended in 28 BC. So he says the Ganga Empire started around that time.

Tumbura Lineage
In the Andhavaram copperplate inscription of Indravarman III of Ganga dynasty, the Gangas are described as the descendants of the Tumbura dynasty. Vayu Purana that at the foot hills of the Vindhyas, there was a Janapada (human habitation) named Tumura, Tumbura.

Kongu region.
Some historians claim the earliest home of the Gangas was the Kongu region in Tamil Nadu accepting in to the twelfth century Shimoga inscription. They further qualify their reasoning with a seventeenth century chronicle called Kongidesarajakkal. They have identified Perur (the place where the prince supposedly met the Jain guru) as a location in the Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu. This is because some inscriptions call them Konganiyarasas (kings of Kongu region).However it has been pointed out that this epithet may have come into use only because the Kongu region came under their control quite early in their rule. However studies has proven that the earliest lithic record calling the Ganga kings Konganipattam (Kongani crown) starts only with the Serugunda inscription of 6th century, during the rule of King Avinita, indicating the conquest of the Kongu region by Avinita. This is proof enough, , that the Gangas were not natives of the Kongu region of modern Tamil Nadu either. Perur is now identified as Cudappah, Andhra Pradesh.

Ganga Pallava Theory
The Ganga Pallava Theory was propounded by Mr.Hultzsch . His theory is based on Bahur plates which also mention that Konkani verma who is the ancestor of Gangas. According to this theory.

Nirputanga is not a pallava , He unsurped the title of Pallvas, Name Konkani verma present in the geneology in Bahur plates proves that he is decendent of Western Ganga Dynasty not Pallava Dynasty. If you see Ganga-Pallava theory then it is based on the presence of Name.Kongani verma in the plates.

This theory does not take into account that that there is not proof to establish that Nirputanga is decendent of Konkani verma, Konkani mentioned in plates is same as konkani verma of Ganga dynasty, Nirputanga is not decendent of Nandi varma pallavamalla. In this background another person called Venkayya came into picture and added more masala into it. His theory is based on the premise that if the king calls himself pallava then he is pallava. He adds further that the Dantivarman mentioned in Triplicane, Tiruvellarai inscriptions and Nandipottaraiyan of Pallavatilaka family are Pallavas, so the family continued to exist after the death of Nandivarman pallavamalla at the hands of western chalukya king vikramaditya II. But he does not apply the theory to Bahur plates, where Nirputanga calls himself Pallava. And Venkayya proposes the Nandivarman, Danti, are pallava family and there existed another Ganga-Pallava dynasty consist Narashimavarman, Danti, Nandi and Nirputanga of Bahur plates. They carry titles Vijaya. This theory fell flat when inscriptions of Valuvar,Velurpaliayam proved beyond doubt that Successors of Nandivarman pallavamalla has Ko-Visaya Prefix and Nirputanga is son of Nandivarman III. The deciphering of Vayalur plates has given complete geneology of Pallvas as after pallava, asoka, Harigupta, Aryavarman, and Some others. , we have Kalinda, Byamalla, Kamalla, Vimala, Konkanika, Kalabhartri, Chutupallava,Vikrakurchamalla. Which shows the close political association and Marital relations between Pallavas and Gangas.
Bharata Lineage
According to the 1122 AD. inscription of Kalluragudda the Gangas were descendents of the Ikshvaku dynasty which was ruling Ayodhya. The queen Vijayamahadevi, wife of Bharatha of Ayodhya while taking bath in river Ganga birth to a son Gangadatha. The dynasty of Gangadatha who was born by the grace of Ganga river became the Gangas. Vishnugupta of that lineage was so valorous that Lord Indra was pleased by him and he gave him an elephant as a reward. The elephant thus was adopted in the emblem of Gangas. This is a legend and could not be accepted as an historical evidence. However, the story further runs up to the establishmeht of a kingdom by Dadiga and Madhava. Indra was pleased with Padmanabha, another king of this lineage and gave him five emblems or ornamentals seals and cautioned him that if any of the king’s descendents took to unethical path the seals would be destroyed. The king Mahipala of Ujjaini wanted these emblems and brought pressure on Padmanabha. But he refused to give them up and a battle was waged. However, as a precaution he sent his two sons Madhava and Dadiga to south. These brothers who thus came to south met a jain ascetic by name Simhanadi and under his directions they established a small kingdom. It was called Gangavadi 96,000.

Northern origins.
Dr. S.N. Rajaguru has given the following opinion:“Different royal dynasties, while narrating their geneology, were eager to identity themselves with the famous solar or lunar dynasties of the Puranas” Dr. H. K. Mahatab and other historians have given similar opinions and have said that for this reason the geneology available from these inscriptions do not tally with the historical facts.

Ganga and Gangas
Most theories has been based on Ganga and River Ganges. Somehow they should be related. Ganga Empire is called Gangavadi or Gangapadi. However Gangas started their kingdom in Kolar and later Nandi Hills(Near Bangalore). Only later Talavanapura (Talakad) was established as Capital. Inscriptions call them Konganis after their Kongani verma, though they call themselves Kanga vamsa.

Kalinga Gangas
The Western Ganga king Durvinita is mentioned in Gummareddipura Plates as belonging to the lineage of Krisna, a fact which induces the conclusion that the both Gangas were same like the Kalinga Gangas who formed an important line in the seventh and eigth centuries and continued their rule down to the sixteenth century.

Pallava - Ganga
Ganga Harivarma was installed to the throne by Pallava Simhavishnu. We can arrive at the Chronology by Synchronism of Pallavas and Gangas for the starting point of Ganga Dyansty. We arrive at 340 for Kongani Madhava Coronation.

Simhanandin cornation of Dadiga.
Konganivarman and son Madhava if assumed ruled for 100 years than, we arrive at date 350 AD. Now his brother Dadiga helped by by Acharya Simhanandin for foundation of Ganga Rule. This is mentioned in many inscriptions and is a collateral fact. Acharya Simhanandin is mentioned with Elacharya Padmanandin. But nowhere is Kundakunda is Mentioned, whose is dated in 8 BC- 44 AD. Now Samadrabhatra is mentioned before Simhanandin in inscriptions and he cannot be dated before 250 AD. But this will also take Simhanandin past 300 AD. So Cornation of Kongani Verma is around 340AD.

Simhanandi Vow for Gangas.
If you fail in what you promise, if you
descend from the J aina Sasana, if you take the
wives of others, if you are addicted to spirits or
flesh, if you associate with the base, if you give
not to the needy, if you flee in battle-your
race will go to ruin

(From Inscriptions we get )
Kampa (Founder)
Padmanabha (Saka 111 or 188 AD) (188 - 239)(Contemproary of Mahipala)(Daughter Alabbe)
Madivarma (Madhava Verma) (Married Alabbe)(Sons Konganivarma Madhava, Dadiga, Unknown)
Konganivarman Madhava Mahadhiraja (340-370AD)(Son Madhavavarma)(Conquerer of Bana Mandala)
Dadiga (Defeated Matsya Army)(Crowned by Simhanandi)
Kiriya Madhavavarma Mahadhiraja I (Wrote Commentary on Dattaka Sutra) (Sons Harivarma, Aryavarma, Krishnavarma)

Talakad Mainline
Harivarman (390-410AD) (Used Elephants in War, Built Capital Talavanapura(Talakad))
Vishnugopa (Worshipper of Narayana (Vishnu), protector of Brahmans, Cows)
Madhava II Tandangala (430-466AD) (Married Sister of Kadamba Krishnavarma)(Worshipper of Tryambaka (Shiva))
Avinita Kongani(466-495AD)(Appointed as Infant on Mothers Lap)(Under Jain Guru VijayaKirti) (Married Daughter of Skandavarma Raja of Punnad)
Durvinita Kongani (495 - 535AD) (Wrote Commentary on Kiratarajuniya (by Bharavi))(Jain Grammarian and his Perceptor Pujyapada wrote Sabdavatara)(Defeated Pallava Jayasimha, annexed Kaduvetti and placed his daughters son on throne)(Conquered Andari,Alattur(in Coimbator), Porulaye(in Chengalpet), Pennagara(in salem) and others)(Worshipped Vishnu)
Mushkara (Mokkara)(535-608AD)(Married daughter of Sindhu Raja) (Son Srivikrama)
Srivikrama (608 - 654) (Sons Bhuvikrama(Monovinita, Sri Vallabha, Kesiga), Durgamara(Dugga), Shivamara(SthiraVinita, Ghana Vinita, Sripurusha, Navakama, Nava Chokka, Sivakumara)(Married Princess of Sindhu Raja(Sindha ruler of Erambarige))

(Bhuvikrama of Kolar Branch Took over the Talakad Branch after Death of Srivikrama)
Sivamara I (Sons Duggamara, Ereganga (Ereyappa)) (Navakama, Prithuvi Kongani,Sripurusha I) (679 - 713)(Has under his guardianship two grandsons of Pallavas)
EreGanga (Son Sripurusa II (Muttarasa))
Prithvipati (Prithuyasas)(726)(Defeated Pandya Varguna, lost life saving his friend)(sons Marasimha, Kamaranava(brothers Went to Kalinga to establish Eastern Gangas))
Sripurusha II (Muttarasa, Permanadi, Prithuvi Kongani) (726-777) (Grandson of Sivamara)(Sons Sivamara,Duggamara, Lokaditya)(Reconquered Kaduvetti from Pallavas)(Changed capital to Manne in Nelamangala)(Reinstated Bana King Hastimalla)(Author of Gajas Astra)
Shivamara II(Saigotta) (780 - 814) (Son Marasimha)(Author of Gajashataka)(Took on the Combined might of Rastrakutas, Chalukyas, Haihaya Chiefs at Murungundur (Mudugundur,Mandya))(Twice Imprisoned by Rastrakutas)(Died Fighting Rastrakutas)
(Rastrakuta Appointed own Viceroys Dharavarsha's Son Kambha or Ranavaloka (802AD), Chakki Raja (813AD))
Vijayaditya (814-869)(Brother of Shivamara)
Rachamalla I (Satyavakya)(869 - 893)(Son of Vijayaditya)(Sons Ereyappa, Buttuga)
Ereyappa (Mahendrantaka)(921 AD)
Butuga (Ganga Gangeya)(930-963) (Slew half brother Ereyappa and took Crown)(Married Rastrakuta Amoghavarha Daughter)(Expanded Kingdom to Banavasi, Belvola, Purigere, Kisukad, Bginad, Subdued seven Malavas)(Defeated and Killed Chola king at Takkola)(Son Marula Deva )
Neetimarga I (Marula, Nanniya Ganga)(Son of Buttuga)(893 - 915) (Married daugher of Rastrakuta Krishna)
Marasimha (Nolambakulantaka)(963-974AD)(Slain all Nolambas)
Rachamalla II (974 - 984AD) (Indepedent of Rastrakutas)(Minister Chamunda Raya Erected the Gomata Image at Sravana Belgola)
Rakkasaganga (Govindara) (984) (Brother of Rachamalla)
Ganga Raja (996-1004)
Neetimarga Permanadi (1004- 1025AD)

Paruvi Branch
Vijaya Krishnavarma (Sons Simhavarma, Viravarma)
(reunited to Talakad Branch by Madhava II)

Kaivara Branch

(reunited to Talakad Branch by Madava II)

Kovalala Nadu (Kolar) BranchSrivallabha(Defeated Pallavas under Mahendra Varma Pallava 633AD)(Married Princess of Renadu Chola)
Ajavarma Mahadhiraja Kaduvisama
Jayateja (810AD)

Inscriptions linking Gangas to North India and Ganges, come in 9th and 10th century AD, when every dynasty in India linked themselves to Rama, Krishna or Ikshvaku lineage. Gangas are no exception. The rulers mentioned Kampa, Madiverma, Kongani, Dadiga, Durvanita, Avinita are all Kannada Names, though Padmanabha, Madhava are sanskrit names. The Kannada Names indicate that they are local dyansty. Ganga rulers were also one of the earliest dynasties to use Kannada in Administration and Inscriptions.

There are several Gangavadi's in Karnataka alone, let alone South India. So Ganga being a Holy river, it is not surprising that Gangas called their kingdom Gangavadi.

Indologists have confused us lot about chronology due to multiple branches of Gangas ruling simultaneously. Now many inscriptions which were termed spurious has been found to be genuine in the context of acceptance of multiple branches of Ganga Dynasty. The same problem has been found and solved in the case of Multiple Branches of Kadamba, Pallava Dynasties has been now identified and chronology corrected.

Certain Branches of Ganga and Pallava had matrimonial relations. So there are Ganga names in Pallava inscriptions and vice versa. That should not be the basis for Ganga Pallava theory.

Eastern Gangas are decendents of Prithvipati of Ganga Dynasties. So both have same stories on their origin.

Kongu desa rajjakkal was composed in 19th century AD under British, it is based on this the kongu claims are based. We have to note here that the author dates rastrakutas ahead of Gangas and cheras in the Kongu region, because he likes them more. This work is anything but historical. If you see its claim kongani madhava cornation by Simhanandi in Skandapura, there are twenty odd places in Karnataka with the name Skandapura and goes against inscriptional evidence that he was crowned near Nandni hills and there is even a skandapura in Doddaballarpur known today known as Kandavara.

Kongu region got its name because it was conquered and ruled by Kongani Madhava. Even today you can see Koundar (Related to Gowdas of Karnataka) in Kongu region speaking Tamil with Kannada Grammar. These region were under Ganga rule for around 800 Years. The Indigenous rulers who came out of Kongu region like Adigaman dynasty can be seen owing alligence to Hoysalas rather than Cholas. So there is a strong link between Kongu region and Gangas. But to suggest that Perur near Coimbator is Ganga perur and Kongani got his name from Kongu region is false. The Simhanandi Perur has been identified as Ganga perur near Cuddapah region. We can see that nearby Raichur region in karnataka in ancient time was known.

Early Gangas of Talakad by Srikanth Shastri
Gangas of Talakad by M V Krishna Rao
Sources of Karnataka History by Srikanth shastri
Indian Archeology Review 1978-79
The Origin of Ganga Dynasty - A New Insight by Harihar Kanungo

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  1. Eastern Ganga's are descendants of Western Ganga's right?

  2. One of the excellent blog. I strongly believe that students and teachers take full advantage and carry on their own research to find out more about kannada and karnataka.

  3. https://books.google.co.in/books?id=_ZEIAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Manual+of+the+Salem+District++Volume+2&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiMrrvCsonKAhVVBI4KHazCC0cQ6AEIGzAA#v=onepage&q=Manual%20of%20the%20Salem%20District%20%20Volume%202&f=false

    1. Book is very old and does not take into account recent findings

  4. 'brothers Went to Kalinga to establish Eastern Gangas' - How dd they come to Kalinga? Any evidence, base or credible source to back this claim? I find nothing kannada with Eastern Gangas.


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