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Evolution of State in Early Medieval Orissa

Autor:   •  November 7, 2018  •  979 Words (4 Pages)  •  27 Views

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Rulers recruited warriors and soldiers belonging to the nuclear areas. Chinese accounts mention of dark coloured elephants of Orissa. The ruling dynasties later adopt the title of Gajapati due to their tremendous cavalry strength. Naval force was not much built upon but the Gangas incorporated horses into their armies. War horses became popular symbols of art and architecture. The Codagangas also undertook building of forts at strategic points in dense jungles such as those in Jaipur, Cuttack,Choudwar,Cuttack and Sarangagarh.


Being outsiders in the region, the later Gangas sought to legitimize their kingship over the newly conquered territories. The process of legitimation for power consolidation took various forms. On one hand, the rulers adopted grand titles. Secondly, Kulke observes absorption of people of the annexed territories into the caste fold of the Hindu order by employing them into the military folds. This process has been termed as Kshatriyaization. Along with the people, Brahmanas vested the rulers with paraphernalia of a Hindu royalty. This new Hindu cult not only comprised of rituals and rites but also an anthropomorphic deity. The deities of the tribes of nuclear areas were integrated into the larger deity of the state. Pursottama who was a subsidiary deity under the Somavamsis assumes the new form of Jagannatha or Lord of the World under the imperial Gangas.

The state also undertook temple construction activities. The jagannatha temple at Puri , Lingaraja temple at bhubhaneshwar, Surya temple at Konark in these ways combined aspects of both Tirtha and an imperial temple and projected imperial power vis-à-vis the rival states such as cholas. Royal patronage provided for pilgrimage to these places helped in their emergence as temple towns or sacral centers.

According to Hermann Kulke, the Hindu raja claimed an altogether different position now. He not only occupied an elevated rank but also derived his political and social legitimation from the state deity himself. Kulke divided this kind of a legitimation into 2 folds: Vertical Legitimation that is achieved through incorporation and integration of tribal cults and Horizontal Legitimation that is achieved through land grants, temple building and genealogies that aimed at equating a Raja’s status with fellow Rajas of rival states. A Eschmann observes the phenomenon of temple cults where a lot of nuclear deities earned a temple for themselves (kuladevta)

The idea of Panchadevta(Visnu/Jagannatha,Siva/Lingaraja,Durga/viraja, Surya and Ganesha) emerges into a new regional cult and new regional loyalty.


Political structures are emerging in Orissa out of regional integration and through a complex interplay of legitimization, hinduisation, sanskritisation and cult appropriation.


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