Satavahana: First Empire Of Deccan Of India

India is famous in the world for its longest surviving civilization. A lot of civilizations came and go, but Indian culture is still continuously evolving. The history of Indian culture has seen a large number of empires and dynasties that contributed to this journey of Indian civilization. The Satavahana dynasty is one of the key dynasties on that list.

Donation inscription by Satavahanas, Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


We found the description of Satavahanas even in Puranas, ancient Indian Literature. Purana regarded Satavahanas as Sriparvatiyas. According to Puranas, people of different places were classified into different tribes and the Satavahana dynasty belonged to the Andhra tribe. The Satavahanas ruled in the Deccan region of India. They were the 1st dynasty of Deccan to rule in daksinapatha as an empire. The daksinapatha was one of the most prominent ancient routes of South India.
According to researchers and historians, the Satavahana dynasty started in the late 2nd century BCE and ended in the initial phase of 3rd century CE. So, researchers say that their reign started in the third century BCE, but there is no archaeological proof of this statement. Before the Satavahanas, the Deccan region was under the control of the Mauryan empire. No one knows about the beginning of the Satavahana dynasty. But it is written in the Puranas that the 1st Satavahana ruler defeated the Kanva reign. After the decline of Mauryans, the Satavahanas recognized harmony in the region.

In the primary phase of the empire, their territorial expansion was limited to the western Deccan region of the Indian subcontinent. This can be interoperated with the help of various inscriptions found in the caves of the region, such as Karle, Nanaghat, etc. The boundaries of the empire undergone constant changes throughout the rule. Pratishthana and Amaravati were considered as the power centres of the Satavahana dynasty. They both were used as the capital cities. Dharanikota was the 1st capital of Satavahana king Simukha. During later stages, Simukha made Pratishtana his new capital. Dharanikota was located in today’s Guntur district and Pratishtana was situated at the site of today’s Paithan in Aurangabad of Modern Indian state of Maharashtra.
There are a lot of wars that happened during the timeline of the Satavahana reign. Most of the wars were fought against the western kshatrapas. western kshatrapas conflicted with them because of trading ports on the Western coasts of the Deccan. At that time, those Western ports were the centre of Indo-Roman trade and were considered as the centre of economic power.

Nasik Caves, Built under the patronage of Satavahanas, Photo Dharma from Sadao, Thailand, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The most famous Satavahana kings were Gautamiputra Shatakarni, Vashisthiputra Pulumavi, Shivashri Shatakarni, etc. Shri Yajna is the last significant king in the Satavahana empire’s history. Later on, the successors of Shri yajna were relatively week. That’s why, the empire was disintegrated and later on capture by Iksvakus, etc.

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