The Vishnukundina Empire was one of the Middle kingdoms of India, controlling the Deccan, Orissa and parts of South India during the 5th and 6th centuries, carving land out from the Vakataka Empire. It played an important role in the history of the Deccan during the 5th and 6th centuries CE.

The founder of the Vishnukundin dynasty was Vikramendra I. Its original capital Vinhukonda in the Krishna district seems to have derived its name from the dynastic name. Vikramendra’s son and successor Govindavarman I took the imperial title maharaja.

The real founder of Vishnukundin power, however, was Govindavarman I’s son and successor Madhavavarman I alias Janashraya. He was married to a Vakataka princess.He performed eleven ashvamedhas, a thousand agnishtomas and several other Vedic sacrifices such as bahusuvarna, ~ pundarika, purushamedha, vajapeya, rajasuya, prajapatya and hiranyagarbha.

He seems to have extended his sovereignty over a vast area including western Maharashtra and Karnataka as well. He also invaded south Kosala and the kingdom of the eastern Gangas. He, however, suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Maukhari king Ishanavarman.

After ruling for about 50 years, i.e. from AD 475 to 525, his kingdom was divided by his grandsons. Consequently the Kalachuris and the Rashtrakutas annexed two of them. The third one ruled by Indravarman survived. Indravarman ruled from AD 525 to 555. Govindavarman II was the last important Vishnukundin ruler who was defeated and deposed by Pulkeshin II. The Vishnukundins wereparamamaheshvara and their family deity was Shriparvatasvamin.

Early and important rulers of vishnukundins


  • founder of dynasty
  • Built Indrapura or indrapalanagaram.


Madhava varma

  • Tittle – Avasista vividadivya
  • He performed many devine tests

Govinda varma I

  • Issued Tummelagudem inscription
  • Gives information about govinda varma I.
  • According to the inscription govinda varma I wife Parama Bhattaraka Mahadevi built Govindaraja vihara at Indrapuram or indrapalanagaram. Govinda varma I donated penapaka village. Tummelagudem name changed to indrapalanagaram.


Madhava varma II

  • Greatest in this dynasty
  • He changed capital from amarapuram to denduluru.
  • He performed – 11 Ashwamedha’s, 1 Hiranya Garbha and 1000 other rituals
  • In Andhra highest numer of yagas was performed by Madhava varma II
  • He conqured devarashtram by defeating vasistas
  • He conquered pitapuram
  • According to Kanpur inscription he defeated vakatakas king Prithvi sena and married princess of vakaktakas
  • According to Velpuru pillar inscription (guntur) Madhava varma II built Dhantamukha swamy temple at velpuru
  • Titles of Madhava varma II are Devadi deva, Parama Brahmana, Paramesti


Vikramenda varma I

  • He gave donations to Asanappura vihara

Vikramenda varma II

  • Pulakesin II defeated Vikramenda varma II, conqured vishnukundin kingdom in 616 AD – known from Marturu inscription of pulakesin II

Administration of vishnukundins

For administrative convenience, the empire was divided into a number of Rashtras and Vishayas. Inscriptions refer to Palki Rashtra, Karma rashtra, Guddadi Vishaya, etc.  Madhav Varma III appointed members of the royal family as Viceroys for various areas of the kingdom.  The king was the highest court of appeal in the administrator of justice. The Vishnukundin rulers established various kinds of punishments for various crimes. They were known for their impartial judgment and high sense of justice.

Art and architecture under vishnukundins


The Vishnukundin contribution to art especially architecture has hardly won the recognition it deserves at the hands of the scholars who devoted themselves to the afetudy of Indian art and architecture. She Vishnukundins inherited the artistic traditions of both the Ikshvakus whom they succeeded and the Vakatakas with whom they came into contact# enriched them by their own contribution and transmitted it to posterity.

There is a group of interesting Brahmanical cave temples in and around Vijayawada, situated on the northern bank of the river Krishna in Andhra Rradesh. There are two caves in Vijayawada# five in Hogalrajapuram and five more in the village of Undavalli, situated three Kins, away on the opposite bank of the river. There is a long lozenge shaped hill at western end of Vijayawada near the barrage recently constructed. There are two sets of caves in the western slope of this hill. Of these, pne is excavated at the foot of a projection of the hill and the other is 90 metres higher up and reached by a flight of steps.

The village of Mogalarajapuram is now almost a part of the growing town of Vijayawada. There are several hills and these hills contain five caves which are of great architectural value.

This cave is the nearest to the town of Vijayawada and excavated in the eastern face of a hill and faces the east. It is 6.50 metres broad and 2.45 mts. High.

It consists of two rock walls in the north and south with open space between them. These walls do not have any koataa or niches. Beyond this open space there is a mantana of three rows of two pillars each with corresponding pilasters in the northern and southern walls. It has a plain adhiatana below. The back wall of the mantana has a projecting part containing an entrance in the centre with a kosta on each side.

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