Satakarni Satavahana was the third Satavahana Monarch who succeeded Kanha of Satavahana lineage. Historians have gathered historical details about Satakarni Satavahana from Puranic references, excavated coins and inscriptions. Satakarni Satavahana’s exact period is quite debated in Indian history. Some historians believe that he ruled the Deccan area in 187 BC – 131 BC
Satakarni Satavahana – Early Life
Historians are divided in their opinion about who succeeded Kanha, whether it’s Satakarni Satavahana or Mallakarni. Mallakarni’s name has been mentioned in the Matsya Purana. However, other Puranic references state that Kanha’s throne was taken over by Satakarni Satavahana and many Historians go by this evidence too.
Satakarni Satavahana’s royal lineage is further confirmed in the inscriptions of Naneghat, Nasik pointing towards the fact that Satakarni Satavahana was the beloved son of the founder of Satavahana Dynasty-Simuka whereas, Kanha was just a Satavahana-Kula(born in Satavahana family as described in Nasik Edict).
Historians opine that Satakarni Satavahana would have ruled over Deccan region for approximately 56 years as mentioned in Matsya Purana. Satakarni Satavahana is accredited for his long reign and aggressive conquests that strengthened the Satavahana Empire built by his father.
Satakarni Satavahana – Conquests and expansion of territories
According to the Naneghat accounts, Satakarni Satavahana had to face extreme enmity from Sungas and Kalingas. Another edict in Hathigumpha says that a king named Satakamini was warned by Kalinga king – Kharavela by sending a mighty army to Satakamini’s kingdom. Historians believe that Satakamini was indeed Satakarni Satavahana who had a fierce enmity with Kalinga King Kharavela.
One of the significant contribution of Satakarni Satavahana to his Empire was the acquisition of Malwa(West). The inscriptions at Naneghat by his royal consort Nayanika praise the king for how he ousted Shungas to conquest the west region. The edict further declares that Satakarni Satavahana was unstoppable in his conquests and went on to acquire the east of Vidharba and Valley of Narmada River.
Satakarni Satavahana – Religious sacrifices and Naneghat edict
Satakarni Satavahana married a princess called Naganika or Nayanika who was passionately involved in royal affairs of the Kingdom. The dutiful wife who bore two sons to Satakarni Satavahana-Vedishri and satishri ensured that Satakarni Satavahana’s fame is engraved forever in Naneghat edict situated near present day Nasik.
The Naneghat edict is one of the most important historical evidences for Satavahana Empire’s rule in the Deccan region. According to the inscription Satakarni Satavahana was so courageous that he had earned the title’ Lord of South’ or Dakshinapathi and he had performed the sacred rituals of ‘Ashwamedha’ twice which shows that he was an emperor who had complete control over the Deccan area.
Satakarni Satavahana – Last Years
Historians have gathered that Satakarni Satavahana’s throne was inherited by Vedishri who was too young to be crowned as king. How Satakarni Satavahana died is not known but according to the Naneghat edict, it was Nayanika who looked after the kingdom after Satakarni Satavahana on behalf of her young son. Scholars believe that Vedishri succumbed to death for unknown reasons and was succeeded by his youngest sibling Satishri or Sivasvati.
Legacy of Satavahana Empire
Satavahana Dynasty is one of the resplendent empires in Indian history that boasts of greatest warriors and rulers. Even with the limited evidence that Historians and Scholars have gathered about Satavahana, the glory of Satavahana Kings is unparalleled.