Satavahana Dynasty

Indian family that, according to some interpretations based on the Puranas belonged to the Andhrajati (“tribe”) and was the first Deccanese dynasty to build an empire in daksinapatha (southern region). The Satavahanas (also called Andhra and Shalivahan) rose to power in Maharashtra around 200 B.C. They remained in power, for about 400 years. Almost the whole of present day Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and South India were under Satavahana rule. Paithan in Maharashtra, formerly called Pratishthan, was the capital of the Satavahanas. The founder of the Satvahanas was Simuka. But the man who raised it to eminence was Satakarni I. Sri Yajna Satakarni was the last great king in this dynasty. After him, the empire began to decline.

Gautamiputra Satakarni was the famous king during the Satvahana dynasty. He defeated the Sakas (Scythians), Yavanas (Greeks) and Pahlavas (Parithans). His empire extended upto Banavasi in the south, and included Maharashtra, Konkan, Saurashtra, Malwa, west Rajasthan and Vidharbha. His son, Vasishtiputra, ruled at Paithan on the banks of Godavari.

Two other cities, Vaijayanti (in North Kanara) and Amravati (in the Guntur district), attained eminence during the Satvahana period. Kings succeeding Gautamiputra lost many of their territories. But the power of Satvahanas revived under Sri Yajna Satakarni, who was the last great king. After him, the empire began to decline.

The Satavahanas inaugurated the Shalivahana Shaka. Satavahanas were very able rulers. Their empire was divided into provinces called Aharas, each under an Amatya (minister). They had a large army. They were lovers of literature and architecture. Prakrit was the court language. Women took part in assemblies.

The Karle caves in Maharashtra were built during this period. Some caves of Ajanta were also built during this period. The construction of 29 galleries of Ajantha Caves continued until 650 AD.

Vasishthiputra Pulumavi, Vasishthiputra Satakarni, Yadnyashri Satakarni are some other Satavahana rulers who succeeded Gautamiputra Satakarni. However, the glory of the Satavahana power began to recede after Yadnyashri -Satakarni.