Origin of Ikshvaku Dynasty

The Ikshvakus (Sanskrit इक्श्वाकू Telugu ఇక్ష్వాకులు) were one of the earliest dynaties of Andhra pradesh. They ruled the eastern Andhra country along the Krishna river during the later half of the second century CE. Their capital was Vijayapuri (Nagarjunakonda). Some scholars have suggested that this dynasty was related to the ancient Ikshvakus of Hindu mythology. Rama of Ramayana, who is considered as the incarnation of Vishnu belonged to the line of Ikshvaku. According to Hindu mythology, Ikshvaku, who was the Manu and father of Kukshi, was the founder of the Suryavanshi dynasty, reigning from Ayodhya at the commencement of the Treta Yuga. Archaeological evidence has suggested that the Andhra Ikshvakus immediately succeeded the Satavahanas in the Krishna river valley. Ikshvakus have left inscriptions at Nagarjunakonda, Jaggayyapeta, Amaravati and Bhattiprolu.

Let us see the facts and determine the Andhra Ikshvaku Dynasty.
Literary Sources
A Kannada poem Dharmamrita states that the Ikshvakus of Andhra were the descendents of the renowned Ikshvakus of northern India. The oriental scholars like Buhler and Rapson expressed the view that the northern Ikshvakus might have migrated south. According to the Vayu Purana, Manu, the great patriarch of ancient India had nine sons of whom Ikshvaku was the eldest. His capital was Ayodhya. He had one hundred sons, and the eldest Vikushi succeeded his father as the ruler of Ayodhya. Of the rest, fifty sons founded small principalities in Northern India. Forty eight of his sons migrated to the south and carved out kingdoms for themselves. Buddhist literature refers to the penetration of the Ikshvakus into South India and declares that they founded the Asmaka, Mulaka and other principalities. These Kshatriyas settled down in the south and became merged with the races there. In Dharmamrita a reference was made that during the lifetime of the 12th Tirthankara, a prince named Yasodhara hailing from the Ikshvaku family came from the Anga kingdom to Vengi in the south. We are informed that the prince was so impressed with beauty of the region, and the fertility of the soil that he made it his permanent home and founded a city called Pratipalpura. It is believed that Pratipalapura is the modern Bhattiprolu, a town in Guntur District.

Analysis
  • Finding lineage to ancient Mahabhrata and Ramayana dynasties is not a new phenomenon, All kings all over the country has done this.
  • Dharmamrita is a 12th century work and Ikshvaku rule existed in 3rd and 4th centuries. So this book is just quoting the legends.
  • The word Ikshvaku means bitter gourd, these myths may have been attempt to glorify their background by linking their name to Legendary Ikshvakus.
  • Vayu purana dated between 6th and 8th centuries talks mainly of Manu ikshvaku's and nothing about Andhra Ikshvaku's
  • Inscriptions refer to Ikkhaku kings
  • Asmaka , Mulaka existed before Satavahans, there is no evidence to support Ikshvaku existed prior to Satavahans. Asmaka , Mulaka were republics(Mahajanapadas), may be they were presided by Buddhist councils, so this can be attempt by Buddhist literature to link the two as Ikshvaku patronised Buddhism.
There is very little evidence to show who they are ,but they are legendary, so we see the Telugu chodas linking to them, so does many others. But may be they are just a local dyansty, we never know.

Kannada origin
It is generally accepted that Ikshvaku's are Telugu origin ,but their diety happens to be Virupaksha which shows kannada origin.

khaipnaka, Sagaraipnaka formed from Vitokha, Sagara are used for daughters of the kings which show ikshavakus as karnata /Kuntala origin. Ikshvaku princess Kodabalisiri , was possibly the queen of a Cutukula Satakarni of Banavasi.

Also the inscriptions of Nagarjunakonda have kannada influence, May they came from west that is Karnataka.

Also the Dialect shows the influence of Kannada like Kanda(kannada)- child, Chali(kannada)- cold, talava (Kannada) - Leader

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5 comments:

  1. Beautiful analysis, simply thought provoking.

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  2. I thought the word iksavaaku means sugar cane. will u please explain the etymology of the word ikshavaaku which u say in the article is bittergourd? rutujawakankar@gmail.com

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  3. The word Ikshvaku means "bitter gourd". Ikshvaku was the first king and founder of the Sun Dynasty The legend of Sumati, the wife of King Sagar, tells that she produced offspring with the aid of a bitter gourd.

    Ikshkvaku supposed to have introduced Sugarcane Cultivation. May be confusion due to that.

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    Replies
    1. Thnx a lot Moda sattva, Will u please elaborate this legend of sumati and offspring with aid of bitter gourd? there is a saying in marathi that a pregnant woman should not go under a bittergourd creeper... I think it has a connection to this .
      thnx
      rutujawakankar@gmail.com

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    2. Below Link gives how the children were born. I feel you can Google and find more info.
      http://www.yousigma.com/religionandphilosophy/balakanda-chapter38.html

      Don't Put you email on the blog.

      Delete

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