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Abhira Dynasty

c.220 AD - c.340 AD : Abhiras / Abheeras (c.203 - c.370) were subordinate rulers of Western Satraps and declared independence after fall of Satavahanas
Founder : Isvarasena
Language : Sanskrit
Religion : Hinduism (Saivism)
The Abhiras were in power for 67 years according to most puranas and one hundred and 67 years according to Vayu purana. At about 270 A.D Abhiras lost sovereign status due to the rise of Traikutakas in Western Deccan and Ikshavakus in Eastern Deccan.
An Abhira King is known to have devoted an embassy to the Sassanian king Naresh in the Year 293AD. 

The Abhiras were from the Yaduvanshi Kshatriya clan. Some of them entered the military service of the Western Satraps (Sakas), and helped them in conquest of new territories. By 181 A.D, the Abhiras had gained considerable influence at the Kshatrapa court. Some of them were even serving as generals. 

The Gunda inscription dated Saka year 103 (181 CE) refers to Abhira Rudrabhuti as the senapati (commander-in-chief) of the Saka satrap (ruler) Rudrasimha.
The history of the Abhiras is shrouded in much obscurity. The Abhira dynasty was founded by Ishwarsena. The branch came to power after the demise of the Satavahanas in the Nasik region of Maharashtra, with the help and consent of the Western Satraps (Sakas). They were known as Gavali rajasindicating that they were cowherds by profession before becoming kings. Ten Abhira kings ruled in the Maharashtra region of the Deccan, whose names have not been mentioned in the Puranas. An Abhira king is known to have sent an embassy to the Sassanid Shahanshah of Persia, Narseh, to congratualte him on his victory against Bahram III.

 Gupta Empire, a period that oriental historians have named the "Golden Age of India." recorded Abhira as a "frontier kingdom" which paid an annual tribute. This was recorded by Samudragupta's Allahabad Pillar inscription

The following is the list of the sovereign and strong Abhira rulers
Abhira Sivadatta
A general in the service of Rudrasimha I who deposed his master in 188 A.D and ascended the throne. Rudrasimha I soon deposed him and regained the throne in 190 A.D.

Sakasena alias Saka Satakrni
Another king claiming to be a son of Mathari besides Abhira Ishwarsena is Sakasena.

Abhira Ishwarsena alias Mahaksatrapa Isvaradatta : 248 AD
Ishwarsena was the first independent Abhira king. He was the son of Abhira Sivadatta and his wife Mathari.
Isvarasena an Abhira Chief, known from an inscription in Cave X at Nasik dated 250 A.D. was the founder of this kingdom. Sivadatta, the father of Rajan Isvarasena, bears no title in the epigraph, which indicates that he was not a king. 
Ishwarsena started an era which later became known as the Kalachuri-Chedi era. His descendants ruled for nine generations.Ishwarsena's coins are dated only in the first and second years of his reign and are found in Saurashtra and Southern Rajputana.
An inscription from Nasik mentions a king, named Madhariputra Abhira Isvarasena, the son of Abhira Sivadatta. It records a gift made to a woman, named VisnudattS, the ^akanl, the wife of Ganapaka Rebhila, daughter of a ^aka, named Agnivarman, and mother of Ganapaka Vi^vavarman.
The Traikuta rule of Aparanta or Konkan begins in A.D. 248 or 284 A.D (Traikuta era) exactly the time of Ishwarsena's rule, hence Traikutas are identified with the Abhira dynasty.
Isvarasena has been identified by Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar with Mahakshatrapa Isvaradatta, known from his coins found in Gujarat with the coins of Saka Kshatrapa Rudrasena III.

Abhira Vashishthiputra Vasusena 
After the death of Abhira Vashishthiputra Vasusena, the Abhiras probably lost their sovereign and paramount status. The Abhiras lost most of their domains to the rising Vakatakas (north) and the Kadambas (south-west).The Abhiras were finally supplanted by their feudatories, the Traikutakas. But still many petty Abhira chieftains and kings continued to rule until the fourth century, roughly till 370 AD, in the Vidarbha and Khandesh region. They continued to rule, but without sovereignty, until they came into conflict with the Kadamba king Mayurasarman and were defeated.

An inscription dated to the 30th regnal year of the rajn Abhira Vashishthiputra Vasusena has been discovered at the ruined Ashtabhuja-svamin temple in Nagarjunakonda. It records the consecration of a wooden image of AshtabhujasYdmi by Mahdgrdmika Mahd talavara, Mahddandandyaka Sivasevana of Kausikagotra, Yonarajas of Sanjayapura, Rudradaman Saka of Avanti and Vishnu-Rudra-Sivalananda Satakarni of Vanavasi.

Abheeras ruled the Telangana region contemporary to Ikshvakus. Vakatakas occupied the regions of Maharashtra, Telangana by vanishing the Abheeras during the last phase of 4th century.


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