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Mewar as the Locus of Guhila State (Part-I)

The Guhila lineages had appeared and dominated a large part of Rajasthan during the Early Medieval period. However, the trajectory of History proves that the Guhilas of Mewar (Southern Rajasthan) successfully carved out a full fledged state in Mewar between the tenth and thirteenth century. — Prof. Nandini Kapur Sinha


The Guhilas of Chatsu initially started their political career in the area of Tonk in the seventh century. They seem to have extended their power up to the area of Chatsu near Jaipur by the tenth century. Their growing territorial expanse and political power is evident from prestigious claims made in the Chatsu inscription of Guhila ruler Bäläditya (tenth century). They laid claims to the status of Brahmaksatränvita and to the lineage of Guhilavamsa. Baladitya took pride in his overlords, the Gurjara Pratihâras who controlled eastern and southern Rajasthan till the tenth century. Yet their subordinate political status as allies of the Pratihâras was no deterrent to their prestigious social linkages. They consolidated their power in eastern Rajasthan through matrimonial alliances with contemporary Paramära and Cahamana chiefly families. However, it is important that no record of this Guhila family appears beyond the tenth century. It seems that the Guhilas of Chatsu had been integrated into the growing kingdom of the Cähamânas of Sâkambhari who held major parts of eastern Rajasthan by the late tenth century.

The Guhilas of Unstra

Memorial Stone Inscriptions of 1179-80 and of 1190 at an ancient Jain temple at Unsträ suggest the existence of a pocket of Guhila power in this arid tract of Marwar. The inscriptions record the deaths of Rãnã Tihunapala’ and Rãnã Motiœvara, both of the Guhilautra (Guhila) lineage. The Inscription of 1179-80 also records that Rãnã Tihunapâla’s wives, Pälhanadevi (of the Bodana lineage) and Mätâdevi, became satis.” Rânâ Motiúvara’s wife, Raji of the Mohili lineage, also became a sati.”

The title of râna and the limited territorial control of the Guhila chiefs of Unstrã suggest that they served in the capacity of subordinate allies and probably died fighting for the cause of an overlord.” The overlord could be a Nädol Cahamäna ruler as an inscription of King Samanta Simhadeva of 1202 is found at a nearby site at Bali, Bamnera  The presence of Bodana and Mohili Rajputs also suggests that Unstra was a part of the Cahamãna state of Nadol as Bodana and Mohili are the two subdivisions of the Cahamãna clan. Unlike the contemporary Nâgdâ Ahada Guhilas, the Guhila ranäs of Unstrå made no claim to exalted origin. They simply referred to themselves as Guhila.” This may have been in keeping with their subordinate status.

The Guhilas of Bagodia

A Bâgodia Tirthamba Inscription of 1054 points to the existence of chiefly Guhila families at Bagodia, near Jodhpur (Marwar). It is also a memorial stone inscription: it refers to the death of one Dhalavana, son of Alaja Vichari, a Guhilaputra, Its recording of the construction of a devali(temple), further suggests the association of the Guhilas with this area.

The Guhilas of Nadol

A Guhila base of power at Nadüladägikä, Nädol (Pali district) is evident from the Jadvaji Jain Temple Inscription of the Reign of Nadol Câhamana Ruler, Maharajaputra Rayapãladeva (1137-8) and from the Adinath Temple Inscriptions of the same Guhila family. Both inscriptions record grants of grains, shares from oil-mills, incense, flowers, etc., by Thakkura Rajadeva, son of Udhärana of the Guhila limeage.” The donations were granted from Nadüladägikâ. In addition, the grants included parts of the duties levied on pack oxen going to and from Nadüladägikä. Thakkura Rajadeva is described as ‘holding Naduladägikä’.” Both these charters suggest the position of the Guhila family as subordinates of the Cahamänas of Nadol.

The Guhilas of Mangrol

The Sobhadi Vão Stone Inscription of 1146 takes us to a Guhila centre of power outside Rajasthan: Mängrol, in Saurashtra. The genealogical list in the inscription eulogises Guhila Sahajiga’s sons as protectors (military officials) of Saurashtra. In the same genealogical line, the contemporary Guhila Mülaka bears the title of nayaka (chief) of Saurashtra.

The progenitor of the family, Úri Sähâra is simply referred to as a Sri Guhila. Thus the Guhilas of Mängrol seem to have been integrated into Caulukyan polity of Gujarat through a system of distribution of roles and services evident in such administrative titles as nayaka of Saurashtra. However, the absence of any other claim indicates that the Guhilas of Mängrol enjoyed territorial and political power only within Saurashtra. The limited political power is also evident from the political ranking of Guhila Mülaka in the Thakkura category.”

The Guhilas of Nagda-Ahada and state formation in Mewar, Tenth-Thirteenth centuries

It was the Guhila family of Nagda-Ahada which appears to be directly connected with the rise of a state. It is with the history of this family that we shall be concerned now. The imperial Pratihâras held their sway over southern Rajasthan inthe ninth century but their continuous military campaigns kept Pratihära Bhoja 1 (836-92) occupied in the north, with Devapala of Gauda in the east, and with the Rästrakütas of Deccan for most of his reign.” There was no direct annexation of southern Rajasthan by the Pratihâras in the period. Like their contemporary neighbours, the Nägda-Ähada Guhilas are likely to have acknowledged Pratihara supremacy over northern India. But such acknowledgement must have been temporary in their case as is apparent from the decline of the Pratihära power in southern Rajasthan by the mid-tenth century. The presence of Pratihära repre sentatives at the strategic fortress of Chittaur (as is evident from the Sirur inscription of the time of Rästrakûta Amoghavarsa of 866 and Karhad Plates of Krsna II of 959) could not therefore, effectively interrupt the political career of the Nägda-Ahada Guhilas.

The Guhilas of Nägda-Ahada not only consolidated their power in their base region but also territorially integrated the central part of the Mewar hills and possibly touched the northern Mahi basin. For this, we have a circumstantial evidence: the total disappearance of the Guhila house of Kiþkindhã after the eighth century. The Nägdä-Ahada house might have expanded southwards at the expense of the Kiþkindha Guhilas. It is equally significant to note that, of all the Guhilas of southern Rajasthan, it is only the Guhila house of Nagda-Ahada which figures as political subordinates of the Pratihâras in Mewar along with a small ruling family of the Cähamanas at Pratapgarh in district Chittaurgarh bordering Mandasaur (upper Banas plain) in tenth century. There is no trace of the Guhilas of Dhavagartã or those of Kiºkindha in Pratapgarh Inscription (942-6), the only epigraphical record from Mewar dating to the reign of Pratihära Mahendrapala II. This extension of Nägdä-Ahada Guhila territory was achieved through military superiority. In fact, grants made by Bhartrpatta II at Pratapgarh indicate that the Nägdä-Ahada Guhilas held some territorial claim in the southern part (Pratapgarh) of the upper Banas plain before 950. The title of mahäräjädhiräja for Guhila Bhartrpatta (II) in the Pratapgarh records (as against the title of bhupo or mahâsämantas for the Cahamanas” of Pratapgarh) is significant in this respect.

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