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Sep 19 2018 16:14 EST


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Vallabhi (modern Vala) is an ancient city located in Saurashtra peninsula in Gujarat, in western India, near Bhavnagar. Also known as Vallabhipura, it was the capital of the ancient Maitraka Dynasty.

Origins and history
Legend states that a Kshatriya named Vijayasena founded the city around the 3rd century. The Maitrakas, descending from general Bhatarka, a military governor of the Saurashtra peninsula at the time of Gupta ruler Skandagupta (455-467), had ruled the peninsula and parts of southern Rajasthan from Vallabhi from the fifth to the eighth centuries.

The first two Maitraka rulers Bhatarka and Dharasena I used only the title of Senapati (general). The third ruler, Dronasimha, declared himself Maharaja.[1] King Guhasena stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata alongside his name as his predecessors had done, a term that denotes the cessation of displaying of the nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords. He was succeeded by his son Dharasena II, who used the title Mahadhiraja. His son, the next ruler Siladitya I, Dharmaditya was described by Chinese scholar and traveller Xuanzang as a “monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion”. Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I.

A virdi copperplate grant of 616 CE at the time of Kharagraha I shows that his territories included Ujjain. During the reign of the next ruler, his son Dharasena III, north Gujarat was assimilated into the kingdom. Dharasena II was succeeded by another son of Kharagraha I, Dhruvasena II, Baladitya. He married the daughter of Harshavardhana. His son Dharasena IV assumed the imperial titles of Paramabhattaraka Mahrajadhiraja Parameshvara Chakravartin. Sanskrit poet Bhatti was his court poet. The next powerful ruler of this dynasty was Siladitya III. During the reign of Siladitya V, Arabs probably invaded. The last known ruler of the dynasty was Siladitya VII.[1][2] The Maitrakas came under the rule of Harsha in the mid-seventh century, but retained local autonomy, and regained their independence after Harsha’s death. Maitraka rule ended with the sacking of Vallabhi by the barbarians in 524, according to James Tod[5] and in second or third quarter of the 8th century by various other scholars.[6] There is no agreement among the scholars as to who these barbarians were.

Vallabhi was a noted center of the Jains. It was here in 453 or 466 AD that the Vallabhi council of the Jains produced in writing the religious canon (Jain Agams) under the leadership of the all Jain Acharya Shraman Devardhigani along with other 500 Jain Acharyas. The idols of each of them is present in the basement of the Jain temple here.

However when the Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited Vallabhi during the second quarter of 7th century, he found its ruler to be a Buddhist follower. When Itsing, another Chinese traveller visited Vallabhi in the last quarter of 7th century, he found the city as a great center of learning Jainism including Buddhism. Gunamati and Sthiramati are stated to be two famous Buddhist scholars of Vallabhi at the middle of seventh century.

Vallabhi was noted for its catholicity and the students from all over the country, including the Brahmana boys, visited it to have higher education in secular and religious subjects. We are told that the graduates of Vallabhi were given higher executive posts.

Gajni or Gayni is one of the ancient names of port of Vallabhi (Cambay), the ruins of which are about three miles from the modern city. H. A. Rose and several other scholars have identified this Gajni with the Gajni referenced in the traditions of Karnal Kamboj (Garh Gajni Nikaas, Lachhoti Ghaggar).This and some other traditions of Karnal Kamboj seem to connect them with Vallabhi (Kambay) in Saurashtra.

One of the bardic chronicles of Sisodias of Mewar reads thus about the destruction of Gajni and the killing of Siladitya-VI and his defence forces:

” The barbarians had captured Gajni. The house of Siladitya was left desolate. In its defence, his hero fell; of his seed but the name remains “. This reference seems to connect the ancestors of the Sisodias to the same Gajni as of the Kamboj traditions.

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