Story of Prabhavatigupta, The first female monarch in India

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Story of PrabhavatiguptaThe first female monarch in India, Prabhavatigupta, was the daughter of Chandra Gupta II of the Gupta Empire and Kubera-Naga. story of prabhavatigupta

Kubera-Naga was a princess who was sent to the Gupta court as a political hostage. Braving the extremely difficult situations she was sent into, Kubera-Naga managed to become one of the chief Gupta queens and gave birth to Prabhavati. Prabhavati, just like her mother, was politically smart, and her actions transformed the fate of the Deccan. It is said that her contribution to history did not get enough credit. Let’s find out more about Prabhavatigupta.

The story of Prabhavatigupta, the first female monarch in India.

Prabhavati was a brave, fearless girl who helped her father, Chandragupta, with resources and support in his final defeat of the Sakas of Gujarat.  Interestingly, she identifies herself not just with her natal family but more so. She mentioned her gotra as Dharana, the gotra of the Guptas, and not Vishnuvriddha, that of the Vakatakas.

Married to Rudrasena II

Prabhavati was married to Rudrasena II, who was the crown prince of the Vakatakas dynasty in about 388 AD. King Rudrasen II was a follower of Shaivism while the influential was a follower of Vaishnavism but after marriage Rudrasen also became a Vaishnava. It was Prabhavati’s impact on her husband which led him to continue the social, cultural, and religious policies of her natal family. He initiated the same system of large scale religious patronage, across all religions and sects, in the Vakataka region as was prevalent in the Gupta empire. Prabhavati Gupta had two sons, Diwakar Sen and Damodar Sen.

History of Vakataka Dynasty –

The Vakataka dynasty was founded in 255 AD. In Vindhya Shakti, the most famous ruler of this dynasty was Raja Pravarsena I who conducted four Ashwamegh Yajnas during his reign.
Culturally, the state of Vakataka has played an important role in advancing the ideals and social institutions of the Brahmin religion towards the south. The Vakataka dynasty was considered to be the best of all the dynasties ruling in Dakshinapath, which ruled from the middle of the third century to the sixth century.
This dynasty ruled in central India and the upper part of South India and became popular due to its principles. The people of the Vakataka dynasty were Brahmins of Vishnu Vriddhi Gotra.
Vakataka got fame due to Maharaj Rudrasen, the third ruler of the Vakataka dynasty, but due to negligence, he could not handle his kingdom.
Due to bad conditions, Emperor Samudragupta killed Vakataka king Rudrasen I in the battle of Kaushambi. Based on the Vakataka records, it is known that many generations of this dynasty remained secret, which led to the dynasty’s army and prestige for many years.

After Prithvisena I, his son Rudrasena II (385-390 AD) ascended the throne and took over the kingdom. At this time the influence of the Guptas on the Wakataks was growing and they became friends.
Rudrasen II came under this influence and left his Kulagat Shaivism and adopted Vaishnavism which was the religion of Chandragupta. Unfortunately, Rudrasen died at the young age of 30, after which his wife, Prabhavati Gupta, became the patron saint of the Wakataka kingdom.

Story of Prabhavatigupta

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Death of Rudrasena II

After the death of Prabhavati’s husband in 390 A.D., Prabhavati Gupta ruled for 20 years with the help of her father. It seemed unthinkable for a woman to be the ruler at that time but after the death of her husband, she protected her kingdom till her sons took over. Around 405 AD, Prabhavati assumed power as the regent for her three minor sons. She also moved her residence from Padmapura to Nandivardhana at the foot of the Ramagiri hills.

Achievements

Showcasing herself on the Udaigiri built by Chandragupta she built the Ramagiri and Mandhal sanctuaries which are unique in their iconography and have a very unique idea of the co-existence of Hinduism.

When she moved to Nandivardhana, she had her sculptors experiment with new forms of iconography and had set up a workshop for the production of high-quality red sandstone sculptures.

As her son Pravarsena grew up, he built a new capital for himself at Pravarpura.

Story of Prabhavatigupta

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Death of Prabhavati Gupta

When she died in her 70s (not clearly mentioned anywhere), a funerary monument was built for her between Ramagiri and Pravarpura which was protected by the guardian of her mother’s family, a Naga. Her journey and story is the most fascinating phase of history which seems to have been ignored in our history books.

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