Even though India was ruled by several dynasties in the last 2000 years, only handful of dynasties had succeeded to retain power for centuries. One among such elite dynasties is the Rashtrakuta Dynasty which had strong hold on southern, central and northern India between the sixth and the thirteenth centuries.
Krishna I, Govinda II and Amoghavarsha were few of the popular emperors from the Rashtrakuta dynasty. Today let us make an attempt to know another great king of Rashtrakuta dynasty, Dantidurga, who was also the founder of this great dynasty.
Dantidurga was also known as Dantivarman or Dantidurga II whose reign spanned from 735CE to 756 CE. After coming to power, he made Gulbarga, a district in Karnataka, as his capital.
Dantidurga was son of Indra II and Samangad inscription states that this emperor’s mother was a Chalukya princess from Gujarat and her name was Bhavanaga. The Samangad inscriptions are currently found in Kholapur district, Maharashtra. This inscription further states that he defeated the most powerful Karnata-Bala of the Badami Chalukyas.
Throughout his reign, Dantidurga displayed his valour by defeating several powerful emperors of his time. The Ellora record mentions that titles like Rajadhiraja and Parameshvara were awarded to him after he defeated the Chalukyas in the year 753.
Few other notable victories of Dantidurga were over the kings of Lata (Gujarat), Malwa, Tanka, Kalinga and Sheshas (Nagas).
It was during the king Dantidurga’s time that the Arabs conspired to expand their empire in India. But because of the powerful Chalukyan Empire at the South of the Mahi River, the Arabs’ intention failed.
During this fierce battle, Dantidurga was a prince yet played a pivotal role in sending back the Arabs. Then he was a subsidiary to Chalukyas and had the Chalukya viceroy at Navsari, Avanijanashraya Pulakeshin succeeded in chasing away the Arabs.
Dantidurga’s Rashtrakuta dynasty was so popular throughout the world that an Arabic text titled Silsilat al-Tawarikh had stated that the Rashtrakutas were one of the four principal empires of the world. This is enough to speak the greatness of the dynasty that was started from Zero by Dantidurga.
After playing a prominent role is chasing away the Arabs, Dantidurga went on defeating Chodas of Srisaila, went right upto Kanchi, capital of the Pallavas. These were the hereditary enemy of the Chalukyas.
Now Dantidurga’s next aim was to defeat the Chalukyan king Kirtivarman but it was next to impossible. Initially Dantidurga weakened the Chalukyan dynasty by attacking the outlying areas and later on planned to attack the core regions.
With every passing year, the Rashtrakutas went from strength to strength. In the initial years, Rashtrakutas had control on four lakh villages and during its zenith, the Rashtrakutas had seven and a half lakh villages under them. Interesting, half of this was achieved during Dantidurga’s period.
After the death of Dantidurga, he was succeeded by his uncle Krishna I who succeeded in establishing the Rashtrakuta rule in all parts of the state of Karnataka and he was called as Subhatunga and Akalavarsha.