"Solanki" Chalukya Dynasty

The Solanki are a Hindu Rajput dynasty of India, who ruled the kingdom of Gujarat from the 9th century to the 13th century. Anhilwad (Siddhpur Patan) served as their capital. Gujarat was a major center of Indian Ocean trade, and Anhilwad was one of the largest cities in India, with population estimated at 100,000 in 1000 A.D. The Solankis were patrons of the great seaside Shiva Temple at Somnath in Kathiawar; Bhimdev-I helped rebuild the temple after it was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1026. His son Karandev conquered the Bhil king Ashapal and after his victory he established a city called Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati River, the city is now  known as Ahmedabad.

After 1243, the Solankis lost control of Gujarat to their feudatories, of whom the Vaghela chiefs of Dholka came to dominate Gujarat. In 1297 Gujarat was conquered by the Delhi Sultanate.

Descendants of the Anhilwad Solankis, Vyaghra Dev, brother of the Solanki King of Gujarat, moved to and ruled the state of Rewa, in Bagelkhand (eastern Madhya Pradesh) in the middle of the twelfth century, and obtained the fortress of Marpha. His son Karandev married a Kalchuri (Haihaya) princess of Mandla, and received the fortress of Bandogarh which served as the seat of the Solankis of Bagelkhand until its destruction by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1597. After the destruction of Bandogargh, the Solankis moved their capital to Rewa. From 1812 to 1947 the Solanki Rajas of Rewa were a princely state of British India. In 1947, the last Raja of Rewa acceded to newly independent India.

As vassals of the Valabhis, Chavadas held their sway over parts of north Gujarat. They assumed independent control after the fall of Valabhi. Vanraj Chavda, the most prominent of the eight Chavada kings, founded a new capital at Anhilpur Patan. He reconquered his father's lost territories and founded the Chavada dynasty which lasted a shade under a century.

Samantsinh, the last Chavada ruler, did not have an issue and he adopted Mulraj who came in 942 AD and set up what came to be known as the Solanki dynasty. Ambitious as he was, he started expanding his frontiers and established his complete and total hold over Saurashtra and Kachchh by defeating Grahripu of Junagadh (Saurashtra) and Lakho Fulani of Kachchh. Mulraj Solanki's reign marked the start of the most glorious period in the history of Gujarat during which Gujarati culture flowered as manifested in art, architecture, language and script. It is described as the golden period in Gujarat chequered history. Mulraj himself adopted the title of Gurharesh (King of Gurjardesh). The territoporieds under the sway of the Solanki dynasty came to be known by different variations of the word Gurjar like Gurjardesh, Gurjara-Rastra and finally Gujarat.

The one name stand out in the Solanki dynasty is 'Siddhraj' Jaysinh who ruled for 47 years from 1094 and considered as the most prominent Solanki King. Apart from Saurashtra and Kachchh, 'Siddhraj' Jaysinh had also conquered the Malwa. One of the favourite legends with the Gujarat Bards is woven round the siege of Junagadh by 'Siddhraj' Jaysinh.

Somnath Temple

Solanki Dynasty Rulers of Gujarat:

  • Mulraj-I Solanki (942-997)
  • Durlabharaj Solanki (1009-1021)
  • Bhimdev-I Solanki (1021-1063)
  • Karandev Solanki (1063-1093)
  • "Siddhraj" Jaysinh Solanki (1093-1143)
  • Kumarpal Solanki (1143-1173)
  • Ajavapal Solanki (1173-         )
  • Bhimdev-II Solanki(       -1242)
  • Tribuvanpal Solanki(1242-1244)
  • Mulraj-II Solanki (                )

Devadhidev Mahadev

Dr. K.M. Munshi (1887-1971): Dr. Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi was a litterateur specially known for his historical novels in Gujarati. Below are some of his well-known books for Solanki Dynasty which gives really very good pictures about those days and not only Solanki Rajput but every Rajput may consider worth reading, give it a try if you can read Gujarati:

  • Patan Ni Prabhuta (The Greatness of Patan)
  • Gujarat No Naath (The Ruler of Gujarat)
  • Jai Somnath (Great Shiva)
  • Raja Dhiraaj (The Emperor)