Vallabhi


Vallabhi

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

Vallabhi has been a famous Jain center, and there is a possibility that the Maitrakas (Sun-worshippers) may have embraced Jainism later on. But when Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited Vallabhi during 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 including Buddhism. Gunamati and Sthiramati are stated to be two famous Buddhist scholars of Vallabhi at the middle of seventh century. Vallabhi was famous 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.

Maitraka rule ended with the sacking of Vallabhi by the barbarians in 524, according to James Tod [Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol I, 2002, pp 177, 187.] and in second or third quarter of the 8th century by various other scholars [History and Culture of Indian People, Classical age, p 150, (Ed) Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr R. C. Majumdar.] . There is no agreement among the scholars as to who these barbarians were.

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 [Annals and Antiquities of Mewar, 2002, Vol I, pp pp 178, 202, James Tod.] . 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") [Glossary of Tribes, 1914, p 444fn, Sqq., H. A. Rose; Ancient Kambojas, People and the Country, 1981, p 306, Dr J. L. Kamboj; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, p 416, S Kirpal Singh] . This and some other traditions of "Karnal Kamboj" seem to connect them with Vallabhi (Kambay) in Saurashtra [Op cit., p 444fn, Sqq., H. A. Rose; The Kambojas Through the Ages, 2005, pp 416-417, S Kirpal Singh, Ancient Kambojas, People and the Country, 1981, p 305-306, Dr J. L. Kamboj.] .

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 " [Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, 2002, Vol-I, pp 178, 71, James Tod.] . This reference seems to connect the ancestors of the Sisodias to the same Gajni as of the Kamboj traditions.

References


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