Reign of Salankayana

Salankayana ruled from 3rd century AD to 5th century AD. They were known as Salankayana after the Gotra name. They were the feudatories of Ikshvakus. They Ruled near vengi area, with Vengi (Eluru) as the capital. Salankayana is another of the Phantom kingdoms of Andhra for Indologists. Their date is fixed based on Samudra Gupta inscription mention of Hastivarman of Vengi. What we are looking here is to know more about them and also fix their dates.

Let us see Salankayana rulers first.
Deva Varma (Founder)
Ruled in last quarter of 3rd Century AD.
Performed Asvamedha Yagna (320AD)
Might have killed Jayavarma of Brihatpalayanas(Speculation), Annexed territories north of krishna river from Jayavarma

Hastivarma I
Succeeded Deva Varma
Might have Established friendly relations with Pallavas.(Speculation)
Built number of Temples
Established Chaturvidyasala (centre of Vedic learning)

Nandi varma I
Known for Valour
Known for giving gifts.

Hastivarma II
Defeated by Samudragupta
Mentioned in Allahabad Pillar Inscription
To check amibitious brother Achandavarma, he appointed his son skandavarman as yuvaraja, but however his son died.


chandavarman succeeded Hastivarma II and ruled for some years.
Komarti plates Ganjam Dist given in sixth year of Chandavarman, talks about his son Vijaya Nandi varman and earlier ruler Devavarman

Nandivarma II
son of Achandavarma Ruled for some years, but was put to end by Vishnukundinas.
Issued Kolleru Plates

Ellore Prakrit grant

Kollair grant
Nandivarman, Eldest son of Candavarman

Peddavegi grant
Nandivarman I, Son of Hastivarman
Candavarman, son of Nandivarman I
Nandivarman II, eldest son of Candavarman.

Kanteru grant - II

Various scholars have debated and arrived at this Genealogy.
Nandivarma I
Nandivarma II

Salankayana was a vedic Rishi and his gotra was adopted by this dynasty of Vengi. However they are simply called Salankayana not as Salankayana gotra. The Word Salankayana indicates Nandi, the bull of Shiva. So the crest of Salankayana was connected with name of their family not of Gotra.

Similarity in names of Pallava, Brihatphalayana, Salankayana and the epithey Pitrabhakta, which bore the emblem of bull, raise the assumpton they are of same stock. But they can all be feudatories of Chutus.

Salankayana's patronised vedic culture
Worshipped Sun. Also worshipped Shiva and Vishnu
During their time Hinduism spread to Neighborhood Burma and Combodia
Tolerant of Buddhism
scholars like Dignaga, Buddhapalita, Bhavaviveka propagated Buddhism without any Hurdles.

Historical Records
Panini and Patanjali
Panini and Patanjali indicates Salankayana in North West India. Panini gives Salankayana twice. Once as Gotra and another time as ruler of place called Salankayanaka.

Ptolemy locates a tribe , the salakenoi somewhere about the oroudian mountains bordering the region of Maisoloi (Machulipatnam), showing presence of Salankayana in Vengi around Ist Century AD.

A Salankayana minister named Bhutila was either stationed or had relatives in Kousambi as per the prakrit grant found in Kausambi. Let us see the Prakrit grant.

Terracota Figure in Nagpur
A terracota seal of Salankayana has been found in Adam near Nagpur by I K Sharma who conducted excavations at Peddavegi. A Carnelian Intaglio(Pendent) near a stupa of 4th century AD.

Aparashaila Sect

Aparashaila a Buddhist sect got established in First century BC. Now the Vijaya Nandivarma or Nandivarma II establised the a vihara for the sect in his regime. So his regime has to be post this period.

Allahabad Pillar Inscription

Allahabad pillar inscription says that Salankayana king ruled from Vaingeyaka (Lord of Vengi).
Now going to Allahabad inscription, we have hastivarma of Vengi, Burnell identifies Hastivarma of Allahabad inscription with Hastivarma of Salankayana.

Ellore Plates
Devavarman Ellore plates given in 13th year talks about Asvameda. Eventhough grant talks about Asvameda sacrifice. The Inscription is in Sanskrit.

Hastivarma , Nandivarma I and Candavarma
Now Hastivarma and Nandivarma I does not give any grants. Candavarman name is found in Kollair and Peddagavi plates. So we know very little about these kings. Hastivarma is defined in peddagavi plates as winner of many battles.

Let us see who are the neighbors of Salankayana

Andhra Ikshvaku Reign
Vashistaputra sri Santamula was the first important king of Andhra Ikshvakus and he seems to have asserted independence may be from Chutus. His son Virapurushadata gave his daughter to Banavasi Prince. He took his wife from Saka ruler of Ujjain. We know around 278AD, Andhra Ikshvaku regime ended. Ikshvakus ruled for 100 years. Ikshvaku followed vedic faith, but were staunch supporters of Buddhism. The Same seems to be case with Salankayana. Salankayana takes the same titles as Ikshvakus. This may indicate they are roughly of same period. May be Buddhist influence. Or they may have replaced Ikshvakus. Salankayana may be feudatory of Andhra Ikshavakus. Pallava Branch led by Bappa succeeded Ikshavakus in south of Krishna.

Brihat (Vastness) + Palayana (Moving).
The Brihatpalayanas ruled the Krishna district with their capital as Pithunda near Machilipatnam. The Hathigumpha inscription describes that this city has been destroyed by Kharavela [180 BCE] of Kalinga. The city of Pithunda is referred to as metropolis in one of Ptolemy's work.

Jayavarma, the only king known of the dynasty ruled Krishna district with Pithunda as his capital between A.D. 270-285. A princess of his family was married to the Andhra Ikshvaku king. A copper plate grant issued by Jayavarma was discovered at Kondamudi, near Tenali at around A.D.280. The grant is in the form of an order issued by Jayavarma from his victorious camp at Kudura(Guduru near Machilipatnam) to the governor of Kuduru ahara(district). It pertains to the grant of land in favour of a number of Brahmins. The charter issued in Prakrit describes Jayavarma as the devotee of Maheswara and calls him Raja. Nothing is known about the relations of the Brihatpalayanas with the neighbouring kingdom of the Ikshvakus or Pallavas or Salankayanas.


Names of Pallavas and Salankayanas were similar. The Emblem of seated bull is found in both grants. Six generations of Salankayana and pallavas do not acknowledge each other and they never come in conflict with each other. Earliest grants of both dynasties are in Prakrit and later in Sanskrit. Both belong to Bharadvaj gotra. While Salankayana worshipped shiva in the form of Chitra Radhaswami, Pallavas are agni worshippers. The Same way there is no Ikshvaku- pallava conflicts. Most of the the sound Indian Dynasties are from Naga Line, so Bull is one of their emblems. So we can't read much into this symbol.

We have Pallava record Mangadur grant of simhavarman assigned to middle of fifth century donating land in vengo rastra. So that might be time that Salankayana rule has ended. But we cannot say that Pallavas ended the rule, as there is not mention of Salankayana rule being ended by Pallavas. We also cannot give a long period of Pallava occupation of Vengi, as there is none to record.

Around Same time or little later, we have vishnukundin Madhavavarman I extending kingdom to vengi. Hereagain as we have seen in Vishnukundin Article does mention Salankayana or Vishnukundin ending the reign of Salankayana There is no mention of any salankayana or their rule in the inscriptions.

Ananda Gotrikas
Looking at Gorantla and Mattepad records, experts have come to following conclusions. Ananda Kings ruled from Guntur. Known Kings were Kandara(Krishna), Attivarman(Hastivarman), Domodavarman. They have been placed in 3rd century AD. The inscriptions are written in Sanskrit with Kings names in Prakrit. Their flag is similar to Kadambas. Where they liberated with Mayurasarma wars with pallavas. They Claim their lord is Lord of Vegavati. That may indicate Salankayana. The characters of the inscriptions are similar to Salanakayana. So we can say that Salankayana is the lord of Ananda Gotrikas. Now Ananda Gotrikas is said have defeated Ikshvaku in the battle of Dhanyakataka.

Matharas Dynasty
Matharas dynasty started in the early part of 4th century AD around Mahendra region. Vishakavarman was the first king of Matharas dynasty. Umavarman extended the kingdom to whole of Kalinga around in the middle of 4th century AD and shifted capital to Simhapuram in Srikakulam district . His son Saktivarman extended the kingdom from Mahanadi to Krishna. Saktivarman shifted captial to Pistapuram. The Dynasty came to end with fight between Pitrabhaktas, Vashistas and Matharas to the close of 5th century AD.

Indonesian Records

A new Dynasty of Tarumanagara was established in Salakanagara in Indonesia in 358AD. This dyansty has its origin in Salankayana Dynasty from Vengi. Maharshi Rajadirajaguru Jayasingawarman established the kingdom after marrying the local sundanese princess.

The Name Salakanagara  means silver in sanskrit. This kingdom was established by Indian merchants settlements in western Java around 130 AD. My opinion is that the name could have been due to trading with Salankayana. Now with collapse of Salankayana the rulers find refuge with the same people who got settled.

If we take this information into view. We can say that the the Salankayana dyansty ended rule around 358 AD.

Dating discussion
Aparashaila a Buddhist sect got established in First century BC. Vijaya nandivarman established a Vihara for this sect. So definitely the king is post first century BC.

From Ptolemy accounts, it is clear that Salankayana were ruling at Vengi around 2nd century AD. They should had extensive sea trade, so as to be known to Ptolemy and also colony of traders who took the name of devavarman to Indonesia.

Around 250 AD. Chutu empire disintegrated. Pallavas inherited much of South India due to marital alliance with Chutus.

Around 350AD. Pallavas empire fractured. Kadambas, Gangas in Karnataka and others also took piece of cake. Pallavas were put out of Andhras by Ananda Gotrikas.

If you take out the Samudra Gupta Alahabad inscription. Start of Historical Salankayana is around First Century AD. Devavarma is a prominent ruler. With coming of Hastivarman the geneology become clear.

They may be worshppers of Siva and later changed to Vishnu worshippers, as evidenced by the Bull emblem and names like Nandivarman.

Vishnukundin dyansty came into being around 5th century AD. They ruled from 450AD to 615 AD. Madhavavarman I who came around 470 AD extended his kingdom to Vengi. He does not seems have encountered Salankayana there either as friend or foe. He mentions himself as the son in law of Vakatakas and nothing else about vakatakas. Last branch of Vakataka dynasty ended around his time.

We have Simhavarman Pallava donating land in Vengo rastra and around same time Madhavavarman Extended his kingdom to Vengi. So Around 450AD , there is no Salankayana in Vengi. Both don't Acknowledge Salankayana presence in the area. Salankayana is a famous local dynasty and if they have ended their rule. Both would have mentioned salankayana was defeated by them. So we have to conclude that salankayana were not there around 450AD.

Salankayana Timeline
Let us try to reconstruct the turn of events.
Around 278 AD. Andhra Ikshvakus of Krishna Valley were put to end by combined Abhiras, Salankayana, Brihatpalayas. Brihatpalyas are ruling koduru or Masulipatnam. salankyana are ruling in Vengi. Pallavas in Guntur. Each of them got a piece part of territory and ruled independently.

Aound 350 AD. Ananda Gotrikas over threw Pallavas out of Guntur. Kadambas , Gangas, Banas threw pallavas out of Karnataka. Saktivarman of Matharas dynasty in Kalinga extended his kingdom to Krishna. And If we take references from indonesian history , then we can say that Salankayana rule has ended around 360 AD.

Around 450 AD in Andhra. Pallavas occupied south of Krishna and Vishnukundin occupied North of Krishna. Vishnukundin expands to Vengi and we find no mention of Salankayana there. So Salankaya were not there around 450 AD.

From the accounts of Panini and Patanjali, we can say that Salankayana is an ancient dyansty. They may be Naga with saivite devotion. The settled around Vengi in the first century AD, as the feudatories of Chutu Satakarnis as the keeper of Eastern sea board as evidenced by Ptolemy. As chutus are Vaisnavite we have change in religion of Salankayana to vaishnavite. They were also feudatories of Ikshvakus. The Chutus went down in 250 AD and Ikshvakus went down around 270AD. Soon we have Salankayana ruler Devavarman proclaiming himself to be Maharaja. The Salankayana Dynasty comes to end around 350 AD and branch of the dyansty migrates to Indonesia and sets up a kingdom there.

Buddhist Remains in Andhra and the History of Andhra Between 225 and 610 A.D. By K. R. Subramanian
Vakataka - Gupta Age Circa 200-550 A.D. edited by Ramesh Chandra Majumdar, Anant Sadashiv Altekar 

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  1. Hello , I am from Indonesia of the tribe " Sundanese " . This paper (Reign of Salankayana) , is very appealing to me .
    I would slightly straighten you have written ( Indonesian Records ) . Here , I would straighten :
    1 ) You mention Salankanagara kingdom . Not that , but , the truth is Salakanagara ( Salaka / Salak = Silver , Nagara = Country. Silver Country, as Ptolomeus said Argyre )
    2 ) You wrote : " Jayasingawarman established the kingdom after marrying the local Sudanese princess " . In this sentence , you have write the Sundanese as " “Sudanese" . It’s not correct , it should be, you write it as " Sundanese "
    3 ) A little about the Salakanagara Kingdom:
    a ) Salakanagara Kingdom ( 130-362 AD ) , evolved into the Kingdom Tarumanagara ( 358-669 AD ) and evolved again into the Kingdom of Sunda ( 669-1579 AD ) . Since then , people referred to as the Sundanese People ( not Sudanese )
    b ) Sundanese kingdom split into two kingdoms , the Kingdom of Padjadjaran ( about 1030-1579 AD ) and the Kingdom of Sunda Galuh ( about 932-1579 AD )
    3 ) If you want the data concerning the Kingdom Salakanagara ( West Java ) , I can help you ( I am a descendant of Sunda Kingdom of Padjadjaran )
    Thank you

  2. Thanks Eddy for Pointing out mistakes. I am Sorry about all the mistakes.

    I am trying to date Salankayana reign. Since there is a wide trade between Indonesia and Vengi Region ruled by salankayana. Indonesia is records will be much help.

    I am interested in the time period 132 -669 time period. Is there a religious or inscription record to throw more light on this period. Indologists have fixed salankayana to 4th century AD based on Samudra Gupta Allahabad pillar inscription mention of hastivarma of Salankayana. So I am interested in any record about Salankayana from Indonesia



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