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Verse 11. Cite earlier authors: The oldest extensive works containing the royal chronicles [of Kashmir] have become fragmentary in consequence of [the appearance of] Suvrata's composition, who condensed them in order that (their substance) might be easily remembered.

Verse 12. Suvrata's poem, though it has obtained celebrity, does not show dexterity in the exposition of the subject-matter, as it is rendered troublesome [reading] by misplaced learning.

Verse 13. Owing to a certain want of care, there is not a single part in Ksemendra's "List of Kings" (Nrpavali) free from mistakes, though it is the work of a poet.

Verse 14. Eleven works of former scholars containing the chronicles of the kings, I have inspected, as well as the [Purana containing the] opinions of the sage Nila.

Verse 15. By looking at the inscriptions recording the consecretations of temples and grants by former kings, at laudatory inscriptions and at written works, the trouble arising from many errors has been overcome.

Despite these stated principles, and despite the value that historians have placed on Kalhana's work, it must be accepted that his history was far from accurate. Kalhana lived in a time of political turmoil in Kashmir, at that time a brilliant center of civilization in a sea of barbarism. Kalhana was an educated and sophisticated Brahmin, well-connected in the highest political circles. His writing is full of literary devices and allusions, concealed by his unique and elegant style. Kalhana was a poet.

Kalhana borrowed from authors such as Ksemendra, Padmamiriha and Chavillakara, and tells us that he used many other sources to confirm his information including engravings, literary manuscripts, other histories and local verbal traditions. Certainly, some of his descriptions show evidence of such research. However, he clearly used his imagination to fill in the gaps. The Gonandiya dynasty, taking its name from the legendary first king of Kashmir, is revived twice in the Rajatarangi?i, but with little historical evidence. Perhaps Kalhana used it as a literary device, where the ancient and legitimate dynasty was periodically displaced by invaders and usurpers, but always re-emerged.

Kalhana's chronology, particularly in the first three books, is highly inaccurate. For a man of his time, exact dates may have been more a way to add realism and emphasis to the account. What mattered was the story.

The Rajtarangini Kalhanas chronicle
The author of the Rajatarangini history chronicles the rulers of the valley from earliest times, from the epic period of the Mahabharata to the the reign of Sangrama Deva (c.1006 CE), before the Muslim era. The list of kings goes back to the 19th century BCE[4]. Some of the kings and dynasties can be identified with inscriptions and the histories of the empires that periodically included the Kashmir valley, but for long periods the Rajatarangini is the only source.

This work consists of 7826 verses, which are divided into eight books called Tarangas (waves).

Kalha?a’s account of Kashmir begins with the legendary reign of Gonarda, who was contemporary to Yudhisthira of the Mahabharata, but the recorded history of Kashmir, as retold by Kalha?a begins from the period of the Mauryas. Kalha?a’s account also states that the city of Srinagar was founded by the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, and that Buddhism reached the Kashmir valley during this period. From there, Buddhism spread to several other adjoining regions including Central Asia, Tibet and China.

The Dynasties - Kalhana wrote during the time of Jayasimha (AD 1127-59).

The kings of Kashmir described in the Rajatarangi?i can be roughly grouped into dynasties as in the table below.

Notes in parentheses refer to a book and verse. Thus (IV.678) is Book IV verse 678.

Gonanda I
The Rajatarangini (I.59) lists Gonanda I as the first king of Kashmir, a relative of Jarasasamdha of Magadh.

Lost and Unknown kings

Skipping over "lost kings" we come to Lava of an unknown family. After his family, Godhara of another family ruled (I.95).

The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive and powerful political and military empire in ancient India, founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 322 BCE. His grandson Ashoka the Great (273-232 BCE) built many stupas in Kashmir, and was succeeded by his son Jalauka.

After a Damodara ("of Asoka's kula or another"), we have Hushka, Jushka and Kanishka (127-147 CE) of the Bactrian Kushan Empire.

(Note the confusion of dates in this and the following sections. Kalhana appears to made little attempt to determine the actual dates and sequence of rule of the kings and dynasties he recorded)

After an Abhimanyu, we come to the main Gonandiya dynasty, founded by Gonanda III. He was (I.191) the first of his race. Nothing is known about his origin. His family ruled for many generations.

Some others
Eventually a Pratapaditya, a relative of Vikrmaditya (not the Shakari) became king (II.6). After a couple of generations a Vijaya from another family took the throne (II.62).

His son Jayendra was followed by Sandhimat-Aryaraja (34 BCE-17 CE) who had the soul of Jayendra's minister Sandhimati. Kalhana says that Samdhimat Aryaraja used to spend "the most delightful Kashmir summer" in worshiping a lingam formed of snow/ice “in the regions above the forests” (II.138). This too appears to be a reference to the ice lingam at Amarnath.

Kalhana describes the rules of Toramana and Mihirakula (510-542 CE), but does not mention that these were Huna people: this is known from other source.

Gonandiya again
After the Huna, Meghavahana of the Gonandiya family wasbrought back from Gandhara. His family ruled for a few generations. Meghavahana was a devout Buddhist and prohibited animal slaughter in his domain.

Karkota dynasty (625-1003 CE)
Gonandiya Baladitya made his officer in charge of fodder, Durlabhavardhana (III.489) his son-in-law because he was handsome. Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-760 CE) of this dynasty created an empire based on Kashmir and covering most of Northern India and Central Asia.

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