Contact Us | Kannada Section | Jobs

Best viewed with
Internet Explorer (IE) 4
and higher.
Site optimized for IE 5.0.

Partner Sites:

Buy Kannada Books Online
The Music Magazine
Newspapers and Magazines
- Hosa Digantha
- Star Of Mysore
- Jai Kannadamma
- Madhva Kalyana
- Pattanga
- Paryaya
- Aapthasamvada
- Lokadarshana
- Tippu Express
- Lankesh
- History 
- Mr. Kannadiga
- RSS-Story
- Careers
- Rajakiya
- Quiz
- Puzzles (Kannada)
- Puzzles (English)
- Kannada Kootas
- Colleges
- Foto Feature
- Kannada Cross-word
- Harate
- FiiÔºgu
- Columns
- My Town
- Thoo Nimma
- Jai Kannadamma
- Essay contest 
- Halli Jana
- Vijay Angadi and Organic Agriculture
-Current Affairs
- Ayodhya
- Teekasthra
- Shashidhar Bhat
- Sandeep Shenoy
- P.L.Indrajit
- K.B.Ganapthy
- AS Murthy
- Sreesha Belakvaadi
- Prof's corner
- Know your law
- Kollegal
- Weekend Special
- Kharabath
- My Days in India
- Rashmi Shenoy
- Leena's Lair
- Tamankar Nidley
- Sarpa Loka
- S Prasad
- V. Lakshmikanth
- Gopinath Rao
- Dr. R.G.Mathapati
- Usha Kattemane
- Prof VKJ
Art and Cinema 
- Movies (Eng)
- Movies (Kan)
- Interviews 
- Kannada Lyrics
- Kannada Theatre
- Classical Music
- Yakshagana
- Rebel Star Ambi
- History
- Navodhaya
- Book Reviews
- Poetry (English) 
- Poetry (Kannada)
- Kuvempu
- Karanth
- Bendre 
- Kailasam 
- Gokak 
- Maasthi 
- Ranna 
- Ananthamurthy
- Kannada Writers
- Ogatugalu
Akbar and Birbal
- Children's Stories
- Short Stories
- Travel
- Wild life
- Weather
- Temples
Food and Health
- Health 
- Ayurveda
- Recipes
- Snacks
- Sweets
- Temples
- The Geetha
- Islam
- Muslim Traditions
- Hindu Calendar
- Horoscope (Month)
- Horoscope (Week)
- Festivals
- Pooja
- Dasara
- Learn Sanskrit
- Learn Thulu
- Learn Coorgi
- Learn Konkani
Crime World  
- Memoirs of Manja
- Muthappa Rai
- Kothwala
Love and Romance 
Olavina Ole
- Ninagaagi
- Valentine
Your Voice 
- Visitors Feedback
- Our Issues

Weekly News Updates
from Hassan, Mangalore,
Mysore and More

Karnataka History

Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to read more about the History of Karnataka.

The economic prosperity of the Satavahana period was secured by profitable agriculture and industries and lucrative commerce. The maritime activities of the period are indicated by the ship-type coins of Pulamavi and Sriyajna Satakarni. Ptolemy and the author of the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea mention some of the ports and cities of the period. The important ports were Broach, Sopara and Kalyana; some of the well-known market towns of the interior were Paithan, Tagara, Junnar, Nasik, Vaijayanthi and Dhanyakataka. The empire had commercial contacts with the Roman Empire, as indicated by the discovery of a large number of Roman coins at several places on the coast.

Merchants and people of various professions organized themselves into guilds known as Nigamas or Shrenis. The Junnar record speaks of the Dhanikashrini (guild of corn-dealers) and an inscription from Nasik refers to Kolikanikaya (guild of weavers). Similarly, there were guilds for the Black-smiths, potters, braziers or scribes. Each guild had an alderman (Sethi) and its office or guildhall (Nigamasabha). The regulations of the guilds had the force of laws. They also functioned as banks, receiving deposits and advancing money, thus promoting commercial and industrial activities. They also made gifts of their own religious institutions and participated in various kinds of social services.

The currency of the country consisted of Karshapanas which were of both silver and copper. Suvarna, a gold coin, was equal to 35 silver Karshapanas. One Karshapana weighed 146.4 grains and one Ratti was equal to 1.83 grains. Dinara, a Greek coin must have crept into circulation in the Satavahana dominions.

The Satavahana period was an age of intense religious activity. Hinduism co-existed with Buddhism in an atmosphere of harmony. The Satavahana rulers were the followers of Vedic religion and performed a number of Vedic sacrifices. Saptasati opens with a passage in adoration of Shiva. Gautamiputra Satakarni is described as Agamanam Nilaya or the abode of the Agamanas, Ekabrahmana or the sole Brahmana, and is said to have emulated the examples of the epic heroes like Rama, Kesava, Arjuna, Nahusa or Yayati. The Vedic Gods like Dharma, Indra, Chandra and Surya are mentioned in the Naneghat record. The mention of Samkarsana and Vasudeva indicates the prevalence of Bhagavata form of Hinduism. The worship of Shakti and Ganesha was prevalent. According to Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar, the bull was adored and serpent-worship was prevalent.

Buddhism flourished throughout the Satavahana period and as Prof. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri points out, the first two centuries of the Christian Era constituted the most glorious epoch of Buddhism in India. Buddhism is said to have entered Andhradesa prior to the time of Asoka. Numerous Buddhist sects like Dharmottariyas, Mahasangikas, Chaityakiyas, Rajagirikas, or Siddhartakas are mentioned in the Satavahana inscriptions. The Mahayana school had many followers in Andhradesa during the later part of the Satavahana period. The Buddha was worshipped both in the iconic and the symbolic form. The latter consisted of the worship of the footprints of the Master, the Dharmachakra, the Bodhitree, and the like. Many centres of Buddhism came into prominence during this period like Nasik, Karle, Kanheri, Amaravati, Bhattiprolu, Attaluru, Motupalli and others, where many Viharas and Chaityas were built.

Sewell has noticed the existence of the Jaina antiquities in different parts of Andhra Pradesh. It is said that Kundakundacharya, a Digambara teacher, was patronised by the Satavahana rulers.

The Satavahana period witnessed rich literary activity. Prakrit was the official language, and all the Satavahana inscriptions are in the Prakrit language and the Brahmi script. Kannada must have been one of the spoken languages in the Empire. Prakrit literature flourished during this period. One of the best literary productions of the time was the Saptasati (also called Gathasaptasati), an anthology of 700 verses, edited by the Satavahana king, Hala, who had the title of Kavi-Vatsala. The work is dedicated to Sringara, and the verses have a double meaning. Many poets and their works figure in the Saptasati. Hala's minister, Sarvavarman, is said to have written the Katantra, a work on Sanskrit grammar. Gunadya was another literary figure of this period, and his Brihatkatha was written in the Paisachi Prakrit. It is known by its later Sanskrit translations of Somadeva, Kshamendra and Brihatswami. Besides, Hala's marriage is the theme of a later Prakrit work, 'Lilavati'. It is said that the Digambara Jaina Scholar Kundakundacharya was a great writer in Prakrit, who wrote Philosophical works like Prabritasara, Rayanasara, Samanyasara, Pravachanasara and Dvadasanupreksha.

The glory of the Satavahanas is amply reflected in the tradition of art and architecture which they evolved and developed. Many sites in Andhra like Goli, Jaggayapeta, Ghantasala, Bhattiprolu, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda have revealed the remains of stupas and sculptures. The Stupa at Amaravati sports a drum which is 20 feet high, with its four rectangular offsets. It was surrounded by a railing 192 feet in diameter and 600 feet in circumference and it stood 13 or 14 feet high above the pavement.

The Amaravati sculptures show the influence of the Gandhara and the Mathura schools to some extent, and yet they have, as Sir John Marshall has pointed out, "…great originality, freedom of treatment", and " spontaneous exuberance…". Nature is most charmingly depicted, with emphasis on vigour, activity and grace. Female figures are sensuously carved, and the onlookers cannot easily miss the erotic appeal of the figures and situations. The Amaravati school also started the practice of depicting the Buddha as a divine being, receiving worship. Indeed, the Amaravati school of art, " struck a quite novel and unique chord in the symphony of Indian plastic art".

Nagarjunakonda is another centre of the Satavahana art. Here the Amaravati tradition seems to continue. Here too the Buddhist themes dominate the artistic creations, although some scholars find definitive evidences to show the influence of the Naga tradition. The Chaitya hall at Karle is another example of the magnificence of the Satavahana architecture. It is more than 124 feet long, 46 feet broad and 46 feet high. It consists of the Garbhagriha, the Pradakshina and the Mantapa. Light and air into the Chaitya hall must have entered only through the doorway and the elegant Chaitya window in which the structural wood work remains. They are responsible for the " soft luminous atmosphere" inside the hall. There is also a Chaitya at Kanheri; the remains of a brick Chaitya at Chandravalli and of a Stupa at Sannati have also been discovered in Karnataka. Dr. K. V. Sundara Rajan thinks that art schools like the Kshatrapa, the Vakataka, Kalachuri, Chalukya, Pallava, Pandya, etc., had a direct obligation to the art of the Satavahanas.

In the field of painting, the Ajanta school starts with the Satavahanas. Cave No. X is assigned to the second century B.C. Buddha is shown here seated on a cushion, wearing red robes. There is a chandan mark on his forehead. By his side are standing monks and householders. Some others have been wrongly attributed to the Satavahana period; they seem to belong to a later date, perhaps to the 6th century A. D. Nevertheless, the Satavahanas created a tradition in the art of painting.

to be continued...
Mr. Arthikaje

Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to read more about the History of Karnataka.

© 1998-00 OurKarnataka.Com,Inc. All rights reserved. Disclaimer