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    Gautamiputra Satakarni ruled the Satavahana Empire in the present-day Deccan region of India. He was known as the most important and powerful ruler of the Satavahana dynasty. They ruled in the 1st or 2nd century BC, although the exact date is unknown. His reign has been variously dated as 86–110 AD.

Gautamiputra Satakarni (106 - 130 AD) - Ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty - Ancient India History Notes



 Gautamiputra Satakarni (106 – 130 AD) – Ruler of the Satavahana Dynasty – Ancient India History Notes

     Coins of Gautamiputra Satakarni, Satavahana inscriptions, and royal genealogies in various Puranas provide information about him. The most famous of these is the Nasik Prashasti (eulogy) inscription of his mother Gautami Balashri, which attributes her to extensive military conquests. According to historical evidence, Gautamiputra revived after the decline of Satavahana power due to Saka invasions. In this article, we will discuss Gautamiputra Shatkarni (106-130 AD) which will prove to be helpful for the preparation for all competitive exams including UPSC.

Gautamiputra Satakarni – History

    Except for the Brahmanda Purana, Gautamiputra is mentioned in all the Puranas containing the lineage of the Satavahana kings.

   According to the Bhagavata, Matsya, and Vishnu Puranas, Shivaswati was his predecessor. However, Shivaswati is historically unknown: no coins or inscriptions bearing her name have been found.

    In the Vayu Purana, Shivaswami is named as the ancestor of Gautamiputra. The name “Gautamputra” is not mentioned at all in the Brahmanada Purana; Instead, it refers to a king named “Yantramati”, who ruled for 34 years and was preceded by Swatisena.

    According to the Nashik Prashasti, an inscription discovered in Cave No. 3 of the Pandavaleni Caves in Nashik, Gautami Balashri was the mother of Gautamiputra Satakarni. This inscription dates back to the 19th year of his son Vasishtiputra Pulumavi. It documents the donation of a village to Buddhist monks of the Bhadrayaniya sect. 

    Shatkarni is a title shared by several Satavahana kings. “Gautamputra” literally means “son of Gautam”. Such matrimonial terms can also be found in the names of other Satavahana kings, such as Vasisthaputra Pulumavi (“Pulumavi, son of Vasisthi”). These do not indicate matriarchy or a system of matrilineal descent.

    The actual reason for the term marriage appears to be that because rulers married different daughters from different royal families, a prince was best identified with reference to his mother.

Gautamiputra Satakarni – Features

    Gautamiputra Shatkarni is considered to be the greatest king of the Satavahana dynasty.

    It is believed that at one time the Satavahanas were deprived of their dominion in the upper Deccan and western India. Gautamiputra Satakarni revived the fortunes of the Satavahanas.

    He claimed that he was the only Brahmin who had defeated the Shakas and killed many Kshatriya rulers.

    It is believed that he destroyed the Kshaharat dynasty of his adversary Nahapana. More than 800 Nahapana silver coins (found near Nashik) bear the marks of rediscovery by the Satavahana king. Nahapan was a powerful western satrap king.

    His kingdom extended from Krishna in the south to Malwa and Saurashtra in the north, as well as from Berar in the east to Konkan in the west.

    In a Nasik inscription of his mother Gautami Balashri, he is described as the destroyer of the Shakas, Pahlavas, and Yavanas (Greeks), the overthrow of the Kshaharatas, and the restorer of the glory of the Satavahanas. He is also known as Ekabrahman (an unmatched brahmin) and Khatiya-DP-Manmada (destroyer of the pride of Kshatriyas).

    He has been conferred the titles of Rajaraja and Maharaja. He gave land to Buddhist monks. The Karle inscription mentions the grant of the village of Karajik in Maharashtra near Pune.

    As mentioned in the Junagadh inscription of Rudradaman I, he lost some of the conquered Kshaharat territories to the Kardakak line of the Shaka satraps of western India in the latter part of his reign.

    Gautamiputra (Gautam’s son) was named after his mother Gautami Balashri. His son Vasisthaputra Pulumayi succeeded him.

Rise of Satavahana Shakti

    The Satavahana power rose to prominence in the south during the first half of the second century AD. This time, the man of fortune was a king named Gautamiputra Satakarni.

    His achievements as a conqueror and an able administrator raised the prestige of the Satavahana dynasty to new heights, and he came to be regarded as its greatest emperor.

    Gautamiputra was the first to expand his army and make it a formidable fighting force. After that, he led campaigns against foreign Saka rulers, driving them out of Maharashtra.

He conquered that region and waged war against the Yavanas and Palhavas and gained control over the western regions. 

 Like Emperor Kharavela of Kalinga, Gautamiputra Shatakarni has mentioned his victories in his inscriptions.

    According to his inscriptions, Gautamiputra Satakarni’s kingdom included the Godavari basin, Suratha or modern Kathiawar, Aparanta, or Asmaka in northern Konkan, the land of Anupa on the Narmada, Vidarbha or modern Berar, Accra or eastern Malwa, and Avanti or western Malwa.

    Thus it is inferred that the region of Gautamiputra extended from Kathiawar in the north to the Krishna River in the south and from Konkan in the west to Berar in the east.

    Although Gautamiputra established his power over a vast area, it proved difficult for him to consolidate his rule over the land north of the Vindhyas. Foreign invasions made it impossible to hold the conquered areas beyond the Vindhya Mountains for a long time.

    An alien race known as the Scythians conquered Malwa during the lifetime of Gautamiputra.

    Other conquered regions on the northern side of the Vindhya ranges also became independent from the Satavahana power.

Gautamiputra Satakarni – Patron of Brahmanism

    Gautamiputra Shatkarni was a supporter of Brahmanism. According to Brahmanical orthodoxy, he prohibited inter-caste marriages among the established ‘four varnas’.

    On the other hand, he was a kind king who cared about the welfare of his subjects. He took several steps to help the farming population of his country and improve the agricultural conditions.

    He was also a humanitarian ruler who helped the poor and needy.
    In his empire, the people lived in peace and prosperity and this reflects his liberal monarchy.

Gautamiputra Satakarni – Military Victory

    According to historical evidence, the Western satraps (known as Sakas by the Satavahanas) expanded their empire at the expense of the Satavahanas in the years before the reign of Gautamiputra Satakarni.

    According to the Nasik inscription of his mother, Gautamiputra revived the Satavahana power.

    According to the inscription, he defeated the Shakas (Western satraps), Pahlavas (Indo-Parthians), and Yavanas (Indo-Greeks).
    It also claims that he won many battles against a group of enemies.

Gautamiputra Satakarni – Administration

    The location of the capital of Gautamiputra is uncertain. In the Nasik inscription of his eighteenth reigning year, he is described as the “Lord of Benakatak”.

    The inscriptions of Gautamiputra Satakarni indicate that his kingdom was divided into institutions called Ahars. Each ahar was governed by an amatya or amaka.

    The inscriptions mention three types of settlements: Nagara (town), Nigma (town), and Gama (village).

    In the inscription of Nashik Prashasti, he has been called Ekabrahman. This word of his has also been used as “protector of Brahmins” or “keeper of Brahmanism”.

    However, the king also patronized Buddhist monks.

    According to one of his inscriptions in Nasik, the monks were exempted from taxes and were exempted from any interference by the royal authorities.

    The Nashik Prashasti also states that the king’s happiness and sorrow were the same as those of his citizens. He claims that he did not like destroying lives, not even the enemies who insulted him.

    The inscription compares them with great heroes like Rama, Keshava, Arjuna, Bhimsen, Nabhaga, Nahusha, Janamejaya, Sagara, Yayati, and Ambareesh.

Gautamiputra Shatkarni and Nahapana

    Gautamiputra Shatakarni was the most powerful king of the Satavahanas. He defeated the Saka ruler Nahapana and re-issued Nahapana coins bearing his own royal emblem.

    The caves excavated by Gautamiputra Satakarni and the western king Kshatrapa Nahapana are located in Nashik.

    The Nasik Prashasti inscription states that Gautamiputra overthrew the Kshaharata (or Khagrata) family, to which Nahapana belonged.

    The Nasik inscription dated the 18th year of Gautamiputra’s reign states that he confirmed the land concession to the Buddhist monks who lived on the Triromi peak. This land was formerly owned by Nahapana’s son-in-law, Rishabhdatta (aka Ushavadatta), who bestowed it. monks.

    A Nahapana coin hoard discovered at Jogalthambi in Nashik district contains coins re-mined by Gautamiputra.

    Most historians now agree that Gautamiputra and Nahapana were contemporaries and that Gautamiputra defeated Nahapana.

    The conquest of Gautamiputra and the end of the kingdom of Nahapana at the beginning of the Saka era, in 78 AD, the year of the accession of Castana, and assumes the entire kingdom of Gautamiputra around 60–85 AD.


In his inscriptions, Gautamiputra was described as the destroyer of the Shakas, Pahlavas, and Yavanas. He was also known as the “Lord of the Western Vindhyas”. He referred to himself as ‘Raja-Raja’ or King of Kings and ‘Maharaja’. After a long reign, this king died in 130 AD.

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