Was a coastal kingdom from K'taka the longest ruling dynasty in Indian history?

02:41 PM May 15, 2020 | Harsha Rao |
On May 1, 2019, Prince Naruhito, the 60-year-old son of the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, ascended the throne after his father abdicated citing ill health. He was the 126th to be enthroned to the "Chrysanthemum Throne" of the "Land of the Rising Sun." The new emperor carried a very heavy weight of his imperial dynasty's heritage because the first recorded emperor of this dynasty started to rule the Japanese archipelago on February 11, 660 BCE - 2680 years ago. The Yamato dynasty or the Japanese imperial dynasty is the oldest successively ruling dynasty in the world. No force, including countless domestic wars till the 19th century and two nuclear bombs in the 20th, could break the dynasty's rule and the subjects it ruled over. In India, many kingdoms and their ruling dynasties are claimed by historians to have existed for the longest period of time. The Cholas and the Pandyas in southern India are prominent amongst them. However, these dynasties' rule was not continuous. At the tranquil coastal plains of Karnataka, one obscure dynasty and their kingdom existed uninterrupted for almost 1200 years. The dynasty was called Alupa and their kingdom was the Aluvakheda Arusasira. The Alupas were also called Aluva, Aluka and Alapa. The Kingdom of Aluvakheda extended from Gokarna in Uttara Kannada district to the Payaswini river in Kerala's Kasargod district. Bounded at the west to the Western Ghats. The kingdom came into existence approximately at 200 CE. Its capital was initially at Mangaluru later it was moved to Udyavara in Udupi and during its end, it was at Barkur. Their origins, like all other kingdoms and dynasties of ancient India, is unclear and missing important parts. It is known that in the year 450 CE King Pashupati was the reigning monarch as his name is mentioned on the inscription at Halmidi in Hassan district. Then the next name to appear in the chronology is King Aluvarasa I whose rule started at the beginning of 600 CE. King Aluvarasa I's reign is confirmed during this time period by the record that he was the father in law of the Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin II. As all the kings in ancient India, the Alupas too were great patrons of arts, craft, trade and temple building. The most famous temples in southern coastal Karnataka were built by them: the Panchalingeshwara temple at Barkur, the Brahmalingeshwara temple at Brahamavar, the Koteshwara temple at Kotinatha, the Sadashiva temple at Suratkal, the Sri Rajarajeshwari temple at Polali, the Sri Manjunatheshwara temple at Kadri, the Sri Mahishamardini temple at Neelavara, the Sri Panchalingeshwara temple at Vittla and the Sri Anantheshwara temple at Udupi. Surprisingly, no accounts are available stating their military organisations or any wars and conquests they were involved in. One reason for this is guessed that the kingdom was semi-independent - it was suzerain to neighbouring kingdoms or empires of Chalukyas, Hoysalas Rashtrakutas and Kadambas thus ensuring relative peace and stability for its subjects with security entrusted to their overlords. The end of the Alupas was as unconfirmed as were their beginnings. The last supposed ruler from the dynasty is said to be King Veerapandya II. By 1444 CE, it is assumed that the new and extremely mighty Vijayanagara Empire subsumed Aluvakheda Arusasira probably through matrimonial unions in their intention to form a united southern Indian realm against the harassing new sultanates formed in northern and central India. The present-day Alva community is supposedly the lineage of this once mighty regals.    

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