Kālañjara Stone Inscription of the time of
Paramardideva, Saṃvat 1258 

Author: Prof. D. P. Dubey,  Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology
University of Allahabad
& Ashish K. Dubey

Kālañjara Stone Inscription of the time of Paramardideva, Saṃvat 1258

The inscription, edited here for the first time, is engraved on a stone slab measuring 82 x 52 cm, which was retrieved from one of the steps of a large reservoir named Koṭitīrtha in the Kālañjara fort by the Archaeological Survey of India during the conservation work in 2010. It is now preserved in the Amān Singh palace site museum on the right bank of the reservoir. The writing, covering a space of 72 x 41 cm of the slab, is protected by the border measuring eight cm broad and one cm high on all sides. The average size of letters is 2 cm. 

The language is Sanskrit; and except for the opening Siddham om namaḥ Sivāya and the date with the words magalam mahāsrīḥ at the end of line 20, the whole record is metrically composed in an artistic kāvya style abounding in figures of speech like anuprāsa, rūpaka, utprekṣā, upamā, apahnuti and vyatireka. There are altogether 29 verses in the 20 lines which the inscription contains. The verses are not marked by numbers, and one of them (No. 20) offends against the metre. The characters belong to the Nāgarī alphabet of the twelfth century CE and resemble those of the Kālañjara stone inscription of Paramardideva, which was incised about two months later in Saṃvat 1258. The letters are beautifully formed and carefully engraved in general. The mistakes in engraving have been corrected by us in the deciphered text at appropriate places. 

As regards orthography, we may note that (1) b is generally denoted by the sign for v as in vindavaḥ, vahukṛita-, vrāhmī, l.1; vabhāra, l.8ś ālaṃvya, viṃva, vandhoḥ, l.9; vabhūva, ivāṃvu, l.10; tryaṃvakendunā, l.14, though it is employed in bibhrāṇābharaṇaṃ, l.2 and bibharti, l.6; (2) the class-consonant following r is sometimes doubled as in mūrttiḥ, kīrttivarmma, l.3; -darppo, l.4; jayavarmma-, pṛithvīvarmma, l.5; kṣmābharttuḥ, vārttā-, l.7; karppūra, l.12; -suvarṇṇa-, l.15; (3) the dental sibilant is often used for palatal as in vanse, l.3; kāsyapīṃ, l.8; subhaṅkara, l.12; sāntātmanaḥ, l.13; vansānukīrttanaṃ, l.18; prasastim-imāṃ, l.19; prasastiḥ, l.20, and vice versa is the case in a few examples like Walila, l.13 and kiWalaya, l.15; and lastly (4) the anusvāra is often used for all the nasals. The mātrās above the letters are ornamentally treated. The letter dh appears generally with a horn on its left limb. Confusion is occasionally caused in the formation of t and bh, both looking almost alike; e.g. veṣṭita-bhogibhoga, l.2. 

The date is given in the line 20 as Friday, the first day of the bright fortnight of the Aśvina month in the (Vikrama) year 1258. The date regularly corresponds to Friday, the 1st August, 1201 CE current. Fifteen inscriptions including seven copper-plate grants ranging in date from CE 1167 to CE 1201 of the time of king Paramardideva are already published,1 the number exceeding those of the time of any other ruler of the house. The last of his inscriptions Kālañjara stone inscription-is dated Monday, the 8th October, 1201 CE. The present inscription was engraved about two months before his last known date. Hereafter the inscription comes to an end with the expression which means “may fortune attend”. 

The inscription belongs to the time of king Paramardideva of the Chandella dynasty ruling at Kālañjara. Its object is to record the construction of a pañcāyatana temple on the bank of Koṭitīirtha in the memory of his father by Vīrasiṃha, the son of Somarāja who was a great grandson of Sallakṣaṇa. The main deity installed in the temple is not named. As the temple was built in memory of Somarāja who appears to be a devotee of Siva from the descriptions in lines 13-15 and Kālañjara itself being a noted Saiva centre, we may presume that the main deity installed in the temple was Siva. This laudatory account was written by Mahīdhara, the son of Kīrttipāla, of the Gauḍa family. He is described as a friend of learned men (kavi-bandhuḥ), prudent in literary compositions (sāhitya-pārdṛisvā), abode of virtues (guṇa-dhāma), well-versed in writing the precious royal documents (bhūpati-ratnalipi-vidhānajñaḥ) and one who delighted the heart of compassionate persons (sahṛidaya-hṛiday-āhlādaka) (ll.18-19). It was engraved by the foremost artisan (silpinām-agraṇī) Mahāgaṇa, the son of Sāḍhala who was an employee in the stone-cutters’ mint (ṭaṅkasālā-niyukta). Both the composer and engraver are not known from other sources of the Chandella history. 

The inscription is a prasasti, as stated in lines 19-20, and falls into two parts. The first part, which begins with the symbol for siddham followed by a short sentence paying obeisance to Siva, contains three verses in lines 1-3 invoking the blessings of Gaṇesa (Elephant-faced god-- kuñjar-āsya), Siva and Moon. The inscription then proceeds in verses 4-9 to refer to the genealogical account of the house of Moon from Kīrttivarman to Paramardideva. The expression pīyūṣamayasya vaṃse used just before the name of Kīrttivarman and the names of kings in the genealogy show that the kings mentioned in the inscription belonged to the lunar dynasty of the Chandellas. The first part is separated by a flowery design from the second part which contains a description of the family of Rajapāla of a kṣatriya family, who was a minister under king Kīrttivarman (ll.7-17). 

The record solves some family riddles of the Chandella house, particularly related to king Jayavarmadeva, son of Sallakṣaṇavarman, who had a very short reign period and was succeeded by his uncle Pṛithvīvarman, the co-uterine younger brother of Sallakṣaṇavarman. Trivedi thinks that “the procedure of an uncle succeeding his nephew appears to be unusual. This leads to the assumption of some family struggle or war of succession”.2  A Kālañjara stone inscription of the later Chandella king Vīravarman indicates that “being wearied of government Jayavarmadeva abdicated the throne in favour of ------ and proceeded to the divine river to wash away his sins”.3 But the inscription under study clearly says that Jayavarmadeva held the reign of the kingdom in his tender arms, i.e. he became king in his childhood when his father Sallakṣaṇavarman, who had made the Mālava king his tributary, died in his prime youth. His uncle Prithvīvarman killed him by cheating when he inflicted a deadly wound on his heart by his lotus shaped bracelet in a wrestling bout (ll 4-6). There is no doubt that it was a case of disputed succession culminating in a coup-de-etat by Prithīvarman. An Ajayagaḍh rock inscription of the time of Vīravarman supplements the information in this inscription, when it informs that ‘Sallakṣaṇavarman’s sword took away the fortune of the Mālavasś’4 his contemporary Mālava (Paramāra) king being Naravarman. 

The record also supplies new information about the family of a minister. It informs that Rajapāla who became a minister in the time of Kīrttivarman, belonged to the Kṣatriya family and in his house inside the Kālañjara fort sacrificial oblations were regularly offered to the deity into fire (l.7). His son Sallakṣaṇa was well-versed in the sāstras, he was old and wandered about clinging to a stick, comparable to a sacrificial post, and his fame resembled the shadow of Moon (l. 9). His son was Tejapāla whose son was Aniruddha. The latter’s son was Subhaṅkara, a devotee of Siva. His son was Somarāja whose son was Vīrasiṃha who built the temple in his memory on the bank of Koṭitīrtha at roof of the Kālañjara mountain. All the members of this minister’s family were pious and learned (ll. 10-17). Sallakṣaṇa of this inscription seems quite different from Sallakṣaṇa who was a minister under king Paramardideva. The BaṭeWvara stone inscription informs that latter’s father was Lāhaḍa and he was a Brāhmaṇa of the Vasiṣṭha-gotra (vasiṣṭha-gotraṃ---visuddhavṛittā viprāḥ--).5 

Two geographical names Kālañjara and Koṭitīrtha are mentioned in the inscription. The former is the well-known fort of the same name in the Banda district of U. P. and situated about 145 km west-south-west of Allahabad. The latter is a large reservoir, 142 metre in length with several flights of steps, and is still the object of pilgrimage within the fort. It is also mentioned in the Charkhārī copper-plate inscription of the Chandella king Devavarman, dated V. S. 1108/ CE 1052.6 

Metres: verses 1,7,8,12,14,15,17,21,23, 25,26,28, anuṣṭubh; verses 2,3,20,22,24, sārdūlavikrīḍita; verses 4,6,9,16,18,19, upajāti; verses 5,27, āryā; verse 10, sikhariṇī; verses 11,29, mālinī; verse 13, vasantatilakā 

References :

Prof. D. P. Dubey, Ph.D.
Professor Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology
University of Allahabad
General Secretary: Society of Pilgrimage Studies
4A/2/1 Muirabad, Allahabad - 211002
Uttar Pradesh, INDIA
Mob: +91 9415351832