Western Kshatrapas

The Western Kshatrapas, or Western Satraps, (35 - 405 AD) were Saka rulers of the western and central part of India (Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh). They were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, and the Satavahana who ruled in Central India.

Though they are known as Sakas in the literature, they are commonly referred to as Western Kshatraps due to their reign in the western region of India and Malwa. The shorter lived of the two dynasties is the family Kshaharata of which only the rulers Abhiraka, Bhumaka and Nahapana are known, that too through their coinage. Though there is no concrete evidence other than through their coins, it would seem that Nahapan was probably the last ruler of the dynasty Kshaharata. His territory included Gujarat to Ujjain and Nasik. But soon, he lost his territory to Satavahanas due to the conflict with the kingdoms of the northern Deccan and the Ganges valley.

Another Saka chieftain, Chastana, laid the foundation of his dynasty around 78 AD in the kingdom of Malwa. The dynasty is referred to as Chastana. Here they dramatically burst into the Indian politics in the mid second century under the reign of Rudradaman. With the declining Kushana power, he strengthened his reign and took up the title Mahakshatrapa, but soon had to invite troubles from the Satavahanas. The conflict became so gruelling between Rudradaman and Satavahanas, that in order to contain the conflict, a matrimonial relationship was concluded by giving Rudradaman's daughter to the Satavahana king. But that did not stop Rudradaman from raging a war against Satavahanas and in fact Satavahanas were defeated twice in his hands. Such was the greatest of the Saka ruler and Chastana's grandson Rudradaman-I.

After the death of Rudradaman, the Sakas entered a political quietude until the end of fourth century AD. Damajadasari was the son and successor of Rudradaman-I. However it was Rudrasimha-I, the brother of Rudradaman ascended the throne instead of his son Jivadaman. Rudrasena-I, the son of Rudrasimha-I was the next Saka Satrap. He was followed by many insignificant satraps. Although it is known from the records that Rudrasimha-III, the Saka member was killed by Chandragupta-II (Vikramadhitya) while sacking the Saka capital in 388 AD, It is doubtful that the dynasty was important. The dynasty seems to have ended with the death of Visvasena, the son of Bhartridaman.