Gautamiputra Satakarni was one of the outstanding rulers of ancient India. He was the son of Sivaswati and Gautami Balasri. His achievements and personality were explained in the Nasik inscription of his mother Balasri. At the time of his accession, the situation of Satavahana empire deeply shaded.
It was around 30 A.D the Saka rulers who were based in the central asia invaded India. During that phase the major part of India was being ruled by the Satavahanas. The Sakas defeated Satavahanas and established Kshatrapa dynasty around 34 A.D expanding their territory to Maharashtra and southern Gujarat.
Downfall of Satavahana Dynasty( 35 A.D to 60 A.D):
The Sakas overthrew king Sri Satakarni I, shrinking his kingdom which mainly consisted of the Deccan region. As a result, the Satavahana dynasty’s glory damaged greatly. To the misfortune of king Satakarni, in a battle of the Kalinga empire, Satavahana dynasty constantly lost many parts of its territory. After the demise of Sri Satakarni I, the power which the Satavahana dynasty enjoyed in the 1st century B.C started to diminish during the first century of the christian era. However , the Satavahana dynasty has not departed from the history and progressed ruling over the Andhra Region, it had to satisfy with a considerably smaller territory in this period.
Rise of Satavahana Dynasty Power:
The Satavahana dynasty re-fuelled its power during the initial stage of second century A.D.and gained the reputation in the south again. The man behind this revamp was Gautamiputra Satakarni. With his accomplishments as a ruler and a capable administrator he elevated the calibre of the Satavahana regime to a new altitude and got recognition as a great emperor.
- Gautamiputra Satakarni was one of the outstanding rulers of ancient India. He was the son of Sivaswati and Gautami Balasri. His achievements and personality explained in the Nasik inscription of his mother Balasri.
- At the time of his accession, the situation of Satavahana empire deeply shaded. Gautamiputra Satakarni initially increased the strength of his battalion and nurtured it as an active and energetic fighting force.
- The Khushanas in the Indo-Gangetic plain, Karatas in the western Deccan were making great progress. The foreign tribes of Sakas, Yavanas, and pahlavas, who had embraced Hinduism. And they settled in the India disturbed the peace and order of the deccan.
- Satakarni did not lose heart or courage in this situation but fought with and destroyed the Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas.
- He defeated Saka Satrap Nahapana, and conquered the territories of Anupa, Aprantha, Saurashtra, Kukura and Avanti from him. These territories are now in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
- He also conquered Vidarbha, Assaka (now called Nizamabad, a district in Telangana) and Mulaka( Aurangabad of Maharashtra) the boundaries of his empire extended from eastern rajasthan to Cuddalore in Tamilnadu, from Rushikulya(orissa) to Vaijayanti in Karnataka. It included the entire Andhra Pradesh (before split), parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Karnataka and Tamilnadu.
Just like the Kalinga ruler Kharavela, Gautamiputra Satakarni documented his win over others in his inscriptions. It is evident from his inscriptions that the reign of Gautamiputra Satakarni encompassed territories like northern Konkan or Aparanta, Asmaka in the Godavari basin, Suratha or modern Kathiawad, Vidarbha or modern Berar, the land of Anupa on the bank of river Narmada, Eastern Malwa or Akara, and Western Malwa or Avanti. It is thus estimated that the territory of Gautamiputra extended from Kathiawad in the north to the river Krishna in the south, and from Konkan in the west to Berar in the east.
One of his titles “Tri Samudra Toya Peeta Vahana” (one whose horses drank waters of three oceans), suggest the facts that his armies had touched the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. Besides a conqueror, Gautamiputra Satakarni, a great administrator and patronized the Vedic religion. His mother and wife Vasishti noted for their charity and patronage for both Vedic and Buddhist faiths.
It appears that he returned the territories conquered by him from Sakas to them. The Junagadh inscription issued by Rudradamana supports this. Gautamiputra son Vasishtiputra Satakarni married the daughter of Rudradamana, but good relations maintained between these two dynasties for only sometime.