Origin of Satavahana Andhra Myth

Satavahana Dynasty is also called Andhra’s. Let us analyze this

Who is Satavahana dynasty?
The Satavahanas were the political successors of the Mauryas in the Deccan and their rule lasted for four and a half centuries from about 230 B.C. their empire seems to have extended from the Konkan Coast in the West to the Godavari and Krishna Deltas in the East, while to the South it must have reached as far as Chandravalli.

Where is this claim made?
If we search the various sources. We can see this claim comes only with reference to Puranas.Those who claim Satavahana as Andhra’s cite the Puranas as the only source. Let us see the various Puranas.

1. No where in the Puranas Satavahana’s is mentioned.
2. No where we have any references to Satavahana kings.

So what does the purana’s tell?

Matsya Purana: Sisuka Vishnu Purana: Sipraka
Vayu Purana: Sindhuka Bhagvatha Purana: Vrsola Bali (i.e. Strong Sudra)
Brahmanda Purana: Chismaka

All this is supposedly to refer to King Simuka who established Satavahana dynasty.

All Purana’s refer second king as Krishna

Third is given as
Matsya: Sri-Mallakarni Vayu, Brahmanda, And Vishnu: Sri Satakarni
Bhagvatha: sri-Santakarna

The List of Names in Matsya Purana
1.Sisuka (Chimuka)-23 years, 2.Krishna-18 yrs, 3.Sri Mallakarni (Satakarni I)-10yrs, 4.Purnotsanga-18 yrs, 5.Skandhastambhi-18 yrs, 6.Satakarni (Satakarni II)-56 yrs, 7.Lambodara-18 yrs, 8.Apilaka-12 yrs, Meghasvati-18yrs, 0.Svati-18 yrs, 11.Skanasvati 7 rs, 12.Mrgendra Svatikarna-3yrs, 13.Kuntala Svatikarna 8 yrs, 14.Svatikarna-1 yr, 15.Pulumavi (Pulumavi I)-36 yrs, 16.Riktavarna-25 yrs, 17.Hala-5 yrs, 18.Mandalaka-5 yrs, 19.Purindrasena-5 yrs, 20.Sundara Satakrna-1 yr, 21.Chakora Svatikarna-6 months,22.Sivasvati-28 yrs,23.Gautamiputra Satakarni-21 yrs,24.Pulumavi(Pulumavi II)28 yrs,25.Sivasri-7 yrs,26.Sivaskanda Satakarni-7 yrs,27.Yajnasri Satakarni-29 yrs,28.Vijaya-6 yrs,29.Chandasri Satakarna-10 yrs, and 30.Pulumavi(Pulumavi III).

Let us see what the coins and inscriptions say
Chimuka, Krishna, Satakarni I, Satakarni II, Sata, Apilaka, Hala, Gautamiputra Satakarni, Vasistiputra Sri Pulumavi, Vasistiputra Sivasri Satakarni, Vasistiputra Satakarni, Sivasri Pulumavi, Skanda Satakarni, Gautamiputra Yajna Satakarni, Vijaya Satakarni, Vasishtiputra Chandra Satakarni, Pulumavi, Kausikiputra Satakarni, Saka Satakarni, Rudra Satakarni, Kumba Satakarni and Karna Satakarni.

Let us see when the purana’s are written?
Puranas were written between 300AD to 1000AD. A difference of around 500 years, significant time for discrepancies to creep in. which is why it misses out on many names and many characteristics of Satavahana’s. The reason why they were Andhra’s has crept in.

Some writers like V.S. Sukthankar, H. C. Raychaudhury and K. P. Jayaswal have not accepted the identification of Satavahanas with the Andhras.They have argued that the inscriptions mention these rulers as Satavahanas and not as Andhra’s, and that the language of the inscriptions is Prakrit and not Andhra. Moreover, the early evidences of the Satavahanas rule are not found in Maharashtra, and they might only have drifted into Andhradesa towards the end of their rule.

Some of these kings are not listed in the Puranas. It may be relevant to note that except for Chimuka no other Satavahana king called himself as Satavahana. Most others called themselves as Satakarnis or Pulumavis after their great early rulers of that name. No purana ever mentioned a king by the name as Satavahana or Sadavahana.

Let us see other evidences.

1. Contemporary inscriptions at Hathigumpha (150BC) referred to them as
2. Line four of Hathigumpha inscription refer him as Satakamni
3. Epigraph of Visitthiputta Ananda of (1st Century BC) refer him as Satakani
4. Nasik Inscription of (1st century BC) refer him as Sadakani
5. Nanghat inscription refer Satakani
6. Coins issued by Satavahanas refer as Satakani, Satakamni

Vahana and kanni means same that is son, so we can reasonably assume sata as dynastic name. It means Sata’s Son

You can see none them refer them as Andhra’s, only in purana’s you can see Andhra Tag that is also not to the same names. So we can clearly see Satavahana’s are not Andhra’s.

So if they are not Andhra’s who are they?
1.Satavahan’s have their capital in Paithan. The ancient city of Pratisthan
now Paithan was the seat of Satvahana dynasty who ruled from 2nd century
BC to 2nd century AD. This is in ancient kuntala (kanara country) and not
2.Chutu’s (another line of Satkarnis) occupied most of the western Karnataka
with a capital at Vaijayantipura (Banwasi). Even though one more line of
Satakarni’s ruled Andhra, but chutu’s are called Kannada rulers.
3.Kuntala Satakarni denotes the king is from kuntala not Andhra.
4.Satavahanas never called themselves Andhra’s
5.Sukthankar held the view that Bellary district was the original home of
the Satavahanas
6.Satavahan’s were more interested in western region than in eastern Andhra
region showing they were not from the region

So Satavahan’s are of Kuntala and Kannada origin not Andhra Origin

In ancient times the areas south of the Godavari river including southern districts of modern Maharashtra, northern districts of modern Karnataka and south Karnataka districts of Shimoga and Chitradurga were collectively called Kuntala. An inscriptional passage the upper valley of the Krishna points to this theory [Ep. Ind., Vol. XII, p. 153. See Mirashi, Studies in Indology,]. In the Sanskrit work Udayasundarikatha of Soddhala (11th cent. A.D.) Pratishthana on the Godavari is said to be the capital of the Kuntala country. In early times Kuntala was probably included in the larger country called Maharashtra. The Aihole inscription of Pulakeshi II includes all these areas mentioned in Kuntala as Maharashtra. This designation of the entire area seems to be confirmed in Chinese notes as well. During these times, Kuntala came to denote the predominantly Kannada-speaking country, further corroborating views of historians such as Dr. Altekar and Dr. P.B. Desai. The Early Chalukyas of Badami and the Later Chalukyas of Kalyani were known as Kuntaleshvaras or lords of Kuntala. All their inscriptions are in Kannada and Sanskrit and their regal capitals at different times, Badami, Manyakheta(Malkhed in Gulbarga district) and Kalyani were also in present day Karnataka, which historically would be southern Kuntala. During these times however, the districts of Kolhapur, Satara, Sholapur, Ahmadnagar and Bid which are now Marathi-speaking, were included in Kuntala, indicating that Kannada country spread much further north of today's political boundaries. The Kannada classic Kavirajamarga calls the entire region between the Godavari and Kaveri rivers as Karnataka indicating Kannada country at one time extended far north and east of present day boundaries. Perhaps this was the region that embraced Hale Kannada as the official language. It is well known that during these times, Kannada and Telugu were written in Hale Kannada script. The Early Rashtrakuta, who were ruling over this territory as feudatory of the Chalukyas, were known as Kuntaleshvaras as well and their inscriptions call their overlords at that time as Karnataka Bala. Much later their imperial empire would rule large parts of India from regal capital Manyakheta in present day Karnataka, though as their empire grew they had many provincial capitals.
Their oldest inscription is found in Satara district of Maharashtra belonging to 6th century. In it Rashtrakuta king Avidheya has donated a village to learned Brahmins. The inscription is in Sanskrit written in Brahami script. This has confirmed their origin at above place generally called Kuntala. From above theories it is clear that the ancient regional names such as Kuntala, Karnata or Maharshtra may have covered large common areas in the deccan at different times in Indian history


  1. Excellent research and explanation!!

    According to Bhagavatam, Andhras are an inferior race (Shudras). But the Satavahanas do not appear to be Shudras in history. Satavahana and Andhra cannot be the same.

  2. Your article is very well written.
    The written Telugu does appear only in 1022 AD ( Nanayya's Mahabharatham).

    Telugu script is derived from Kannada whose parent is Brahmi script. Telugus (and maharashtrians) share a
    common heritage with Kannada people.

    Kannada Adi Kavi Pampa's ancestors hailed from Vengi Mandala which is present day AP.

    Satavahana king Hala's Gathasaptashathi seems to contain lots of kannada words such as pottu, podey, theer etc.

    Satavahanas must be of Kannada origin who also promoted prakrit used by Buddhists.

    Narasimha M.

  3. As far as Adi Kavi Pampa is concerned , he hails from Banvasi, We have been able to deduce from inscriptions and from his works. Pampa ancestors hailing from Vengi is a spurious claim. Do you have material to support the claim, please do post.

  4. ModaSattva,
    what I meant was that even
    in vengi mandala people probably spoke a language equivalent of Hale Kannada.

    Here is one URL to look at about Pampa's ancestors:

    Pampa was probably born in Banavasi and was very proud of
    his Banavasi. Pampa does talk about his ancestors in one of his works.

    There are other famous Kannadigas from vengi Mandala such as NagaVerma I ( 950 AD) Brahmin/Jain Kavi, Madhava Vidyaranya ( 1336 AD) ( Karnataka Rajya Pratistapaka), Saayana (1350 AD?) the famous commentator of Vedas. Saayana happens to be the brother of Vidyaranya. Descendents(smartha HK) of Vidyaranya's family and Saayana still reside in central Karnataka and Mysore.

    Narasimha M.

  5. Can you give me the work he mentions about his ancestors and exact passage. The source you have mentioned is a blog, And it does not provide any backup for the statment. It is vague statments like these that create lot of confusion. somebodyelse quotes the same and you have a fullfledged theory.

    Vengi mandala spoke Telugu, it is the main centre of telugu, The Western Andhra pradesh of today (Telangana and Rayalseema) is kannada cultural zone and probably many hale Kannada speakers there. Chalukyan Platoon was positioned there in vengi precisely because it is not a native kannada area.

    The others you have provided to be from vengi, need proof too. Otherwise there is no reason to believe they are from vengi.

  6. According to Kannada literary work "KaviRaja Marga (875 AD)"
    The Land between Godavari and Kavery spoke Tirul( chaste) Kannada.

    Pampa(940 AD) in His Vikramarjuna Vijaya has stated that his great grand father's Father was Madhava Somayaji of Srivatsa Gotra and belonged to Vengi Palu Agrahara in Vengi Mandala.

    According Kannada professor R. NarsimhaCarya, NagaVerma I( Kannada Poet) ( 990 AD) belonged to a Brahmin/Jain Family from Vengi Mandala.
    Nagaverma was a poet in the court of western Ganga's.

    Now regarding Madhava VidyaRanya(and his brother Saayana Charya), I stand corrected.
    VidyaRanya is supposed to be from Ekachakra Nagara in Telangana Region and belonged to a Kannada Brahmin Family.
    VidyaRanya is known as Karnataka Rajya pratishtapaka
    for founding VijayNagar Empire. Later in life VidyaRanya became the ShankaraCharya of Sringeri Matha. This Information is well known and can be found in any Karnataka history text book.

    Cheers !
    Narasimha M.

  7. Dear Narasimha
    I cant accept your arguement, repeatedly you fail to produce any original text to support on the issue of origin. Quote the text where the above said scholars said they are from outside karnataka. What you are saying is "somebody said that they are from andhra,so we should accept they are from Andhra", I cant accept that.

  8. Greetings,
    It is not "Somebody saying".
    My previous posting on this is sufficient proof of authenticity.

    Also don't try to propagate Andhras as a separate race because they share a common heritage with Karnata desha
    which includes modern day southern and central maharashtra.

    Keep up the good work of blogging.
    Goodluck and cheers,

  9. Dear Narasimha
    I did not mean to offend you , but I perfer go with primary sources. Regarding Old Kannada in Vengi , We had the Vengi Chalukya dialect till the end of the sixteenth century AD.
    There is a common shared history between Telugu and Kannada people. But you know that Andhra history was written in Hyderbad , Tamil Nadu History is written in Chennai, Maharastra History in Bombay. But where did the Karnataka history got written? In chennai, Hyderabad and Bombay. So the views of the history writers in these places are not always good regarding karnataka history. Many of the glorious things of the past were claimed by these history writers as their own and we have lot of disputes with them. I dont mean to hurt anybody, but we have to spade a spade.

  10. Greetings to Moda Sattva,
    I agree with you on this history with glorious past being claimed all over internet. There is lot of noise
    on who ruled and blah, blah..blah.

    Major chunks of South and central(some times) India was ruled by Karnataka rulers from 250 BC to 17th century until the fall of VijayNagar empire.

    The most unfortunate thing about Indian history is the theory
    of Aryan Invasion which is a total
    bull. The people of Bengal , North and Bombay got sold on this
    theory and are repeating this like parrots even after the colonialists left the country.

    Narasimha M.

  11. Hello Sir, Satavahanas are none other than Andhras. This was proved by eminent Historians Vincent Smith, E.J. Rapson, L.D. Barnett, R.G. Bhandarkar, Maramanda Rama Rao and Gurty Venkata Rao.
    Your 4t point (argument)that "Satavahanas never called themselves Andhra’s" is ridiculous.The ruling dynasty refers to itself by the dynastic name or the name of the gotra and not by the name of the people. The Ikshvakus, Vishnukundins and Kakatiyas who ruled over Andhra after Satavahanas also did not call themselves Andhras. So if you say Ikshvakus, Vishnukundins and Kakatiyas are not Andhras, people will laugh over you.

    Your 6th point (argument) that "Satavahan’s were more interested in western region than in eastern Andhra region showing they were not from the region"
    and also 1st point that "Satavahan’s have their capital in Paithan" can be explained by the point that Satavahanas in order to resist the foreign tribes that invaded from the north like the Greeks, they made Paithan or Prathishtanapuram as their capital, since it was strategically located on the highway that connected the Dakshinapatha with the north. Further, it controlled the passes in the north that connected the mainland of the Deccan with the west coast. The assocaiation of the Satavahanas with Paithan was shortlived. Only the Early rulers stayed there. The Capital was shifted to the Eastern Deccan or the Andhra region once the danger of Foreign invasion was removed.

    Also onlu two inscriptions( Naneghat and Nashik) were dicovered in Maharashtra. But recent excavations in Telangana Disticts of Andhra Pradesh resulted in the discovery of a large number of Satavahana coins and seals. At Kotilingala several coins of Simukha, the founder of Satavahana Dynasty, and those of Kanha and Satakarni I were found. Similarly at Kondapur, Peddabankur, Dhulikatta several selas, coins, teraacotta objects were discovered testifying to the fact that the region was an active centre of Satavahana trade and commerce. The fact that coins of Simukha, the founder of Satavahana Dynasty, were found in Dhulikatta of KarimNagar District of AP is a strong proof that Telangana was the nucleus of the Satavahana empire.

  12. Dear Vamsi
    Satavahanas did not call themselves Andhras ,but they called themselves Kuntaleswaras, Which is a kannada country.

    Satvahanas had capital in paithan, because paithan is the capital of kuntala. Being from kuntala they have capital in Paithan.

    Satakarnis ruled the whole of South India, their coins are found alover India, Your logic that they are Andhra because coins have been found in Telangana Region is baseless. Telangana region then was as much as kannada region as telugu region today.

    Si-mukha(Sweet face), Puli-mei(Tiger Body) are pure Kannada names

  13. I suggest every researcher to to first look into_
    1)The entry of first human beings from South Africa forests into pre-historic India called 'Koya's, the'ko'lord believers.Should they be called aborigines (adima jaty)who must have settled first at 'Ko-lar'named after their 'KO'lord.We can also see many names of places begining with 'Ko'.Kannappa'was a 'Koya'who was a devotee of 'Ko' lord whom much later arrived 'Aryans'named as 'Shiva'of thrimoorties.
    2)Kannadas were first known as
    'Ten-ugu'(Ten = south ,ugu = spoke)and Telugus as Tel-agu'(Tel = white , Agu = stone)and were branches of none other than 'Koyas'.(Evidence is similarity of Kannada and Telugu scripts)
    3)As we look at further human migrations we find that 'Merovian's(today called 'Meru's allover India)came hundreds of years before 'Aryans'entry.During post Aryan cultural aggressions and sage Vashishtar's mediation 'Merovians' had to turn into today's Tamils with south settlement.
    4)The ancestors of 'Andhras'(who are boasting themselves as 'Satavahanas')are the 'Centra Asia'forest tribes who fallowed Aryans as their servents and were reffered as 'Andhra bhrutyas'(Andhra servents)During later further developments they learned the Aryan 'cultural aggression tac-tics and applied on aborigine Teelugu people to enjoy today's Andhra pradesh.Today's Telangana movement for seperation is evident.

  14. I do get lot of Bizarre theories on origins of particular community of people, this is the the most bizarre.

    What were you drinking at the time of commenting this.

    Andhra Brityas means servants of Andhra, Andhra Brityas are the satakarnis who served Andhra dynasty or servants of Andhra dynasty. It is not Andhra people.

    Kannadigas, Telugus and Maharastrians are all same people, the cultural, linguistic similarities are quite evident. Languages have evolved differently as Telugu and Marathi only recently, before that all of them all themselves as speakers of Karnata bhasha.

    Ko in all south Indian languages means head or king

    What is the evidence for your theories.

  15. Andhra Brityas can also mean 'Andhras who are servants'. There is an argument that they were vassals of Mauryans and after the death of Ashoka declared their independence.
    Also in Manu Smriti and other Puranas also you find reference to Andhras but not Karnataka or Maharashtra, etc. See this: "... the issue of a Nishada father and a Vaideha mother is a Karavara, and that of a Vaideha father on Karavara mother is an Andhra" (Manu, X, 36). Admittedly Manusmriti is the oldest or one of the oldest dharmashastras. Can you cite any references to Karnataka or Maharashtra in such old Dharmashastras or puranas, etc. Of course, the Andhras of those days may not be the same as Andhras of these days, but in case the lineage continues does it not mean Andhras are more ancient in lineage than Karnataka and Maharashtras,etc.? So another theory could be Andhra is vamsa nama (or even a race name) and the language they spoke mainly developed into Telugu, though Kannada variety of Andhras can also be not ruled out.

  16. 1. Kuntala is Karnataka region
    2. Which is the edition of Manu Smriti are you talking about
    3. No Satavahanas or Andhra Britiyas called themselves andhras,but they called themselves Kuntalas.
    4.There are two different dynasties. One is Satavahanas (Andhras as per Puranas)ruling from Magadha and there is Andhra Brityas (Chutus, Abiras etc) ruling from Kuntala , Malwa etc . Indologist have confused us and we are still in that muddle.

  17. Why dont you update in wiki as wiki is referred by many people.
    My sincere request to put up your understandings in wiki.

    1. You can Apply for Id and start editing the wiki

  18. This blog is born out of Frustrating experiences on Wiki. Wiki is just not about putting information on it. The information has to be guarded against being vandalized. You can't be guarding the info being taken, altered and so on, all the time. You can take a break and come back to see that the whole page on the wiki is rewritten to something else.

    This is especially true of Kannada and Karnataka articles. Many have been changed to derogatory articles on Kannada and Karnataka

    This blog helps to keeps the information I put it on.

  19. Is it possible to put a petition seeking change in the texts that students read in india based on your research. By doing that atleast kannada/karnataka history can be told to all students.

  20. I
    read an article which says that Shalivahana or Shatavahana was born in
    the village of Tangada in Turuvekere taluk of Tumkur district. The
    article said that there are some 'suruli dakhale' (inscriptions on thin
    metal sheets or palm leaves which can be rolled up and stored in a
    tubular, metal boxes). It has become a legend among the people of this
    region that this grea 'Shakapurusha' was born in their land. It needs to
    be probed into.

  21. Further, if the Satavahanas and Andhras are not identified
    as one and the same, then number of difficulties will arise. In
    view of certain common names and the order of succession,
    one has to say that two different dynasties with same names
    of kings ruled over the same area during the same period, which
    is impossible. Thus it appears most likely that the Satavahanas
    belonged to the Andhra Community.

    1. Let us put some facts in to perspective

      According to puranas
      Andhras ruled from Magadha
      Andhrabrityas ruled Deccan

      According to Inscriptions and Coins
      Satavahanas, satakarnis ruled deccan and Malwa

      Satakarnis lookup to Simuka and consider them to be the greatest. First time that south Indian Dynasty ruled Magadha, may be whole of India. All the inscriptions are from Satakarnis who ruled deccan and Malwa. Some inscriptions like nanaghat inscription have simuka name as first as salute to the great man, that is construed as simuka ruling in south India. or Maharastra by western scholars

      Now Andhra has several meanings and I don't want to get into it.

      I think Andhras and satakarnis(Satavahanas) are different but related dynasties.

  22. Dear Moda sattva,
    I am happy about your aggrandisement of Kannada and your claim as if all rulers belonged kannada. OK. One thing is quite certain that all the 3- Kannada, Marathi and Telugu have common origins and there never was any strife or rift among these people. Marathis dominated not only Maharastra but also central India, Gujarath and Malwa. Telugus dominated entire south India including Srilanka- throughout the history but kannadigas are limited to south and west Karnataka-exclusive of Bangalore and Tumkur. This is the reality of the day. You can never escape the realities of today by citing the history.

    1. We are discussing history not the current state affairs.so stick to subject. There r other forums to discuss who dominates whom please comment there.

  23. Hi Moda Sattva,
    I recently saw a display of a so called signet ring in facebook which is supposed
    to belong to post satavahana period. I donot know how to read brahmi. The person who has
    posted it says that it is read as 'Murukasa' in brahmi. here is the link:


    It is being interpreted as the name of the person is 'muruku'.

    However, I look at it as somekind of kannada word 'moorukaasu' currency. Maybe that signet
    was being used as a stamp of price tag on something of the value of 'moorkaasu'?

    Can you please take a look and throw some light here.

    Narasimha M.


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