Historic Copper Plates found in Matvan

Two sets of copper-plate inscriptions written in Sanskrit were obtained in 1970 from Matvan. The late Dr. Shobhana Gokhale had published these Matvan plates of two Traikutaka kings.

The earlier set belongs to the Traikutaka king Madhyamasena and is dated to the Abhira year 256. The era is unspecified but assumed to be Kalacuri (on the basis of its palaeography) and thus corresponds to A.D. 506 (256 + 248-49 = 505-06 A.D.). These plates were issued from Aniruddhapura in which Madhyamasena granted a village to a Brahmin. These plates attest to Traikutaka rule in northern Konkan called ‘Aparanta‘ in those times. The Traikutaka kings derived their family name from the Trikuta hill range in Aparanta (currently bordering Nashik district on the west). A charter consisting of this set of two copper plates is kept in the Deccan College Post-Graduate & Research Institute, Pune.

The other set of plates belongs to the Traikutaka king Vikramasena and date to the 2nd tithi in the dark fortnight of Chaitra in the Abhira year 284, again without an era but assumed to be Kalacuri, thus A.D. 533 (284 + 248-49 = 533-34 A.D.). These plates record the grant, by Vikramasena, of the village Panchamalaka to a Brahmana of Kallivana (modern Kalvan in Nasik district). The first seven lines of this record that donates a village are the same as on the grant of A.D. 504. The inscription is the earliest one to refer to the Kalacuris, and it was issued from the victorious “Aniruddhapura of the Katachuris” (this city is believed to have been a capital of the Traikutakas situated somewhere in south Gujarat). The apparent mention of a Kalacuri victory is not supported by mention of a conqueror, which is unusual. Dr. Shobhana Gokhale suggested that the monarch was the father of Krsnaraja (circa A.D. 550-575 – the first known Katachchuri king of Mahishmati) and that Vikramasena might have been ruling western Maharashtra under them. Mr. Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi noted that the word ‘Katachchurinam’ substituted on the A.D. 533 grant in place of the word ‘Traikutakanam’ on the earlier one probably indicates that a political revolution was underway when the donation was being processed so the grantee had the name of the new power (Kalacuris who conquered Gujarat and Maharashtra including Konkan from the Traikutakas and the Vishnukundins who were then ruling over them) inscribed on the plate to ensure its authority. He also agrees that the Kalacuri king was probably Krsnaraja’s father. Mr. Sadashiv Gorakshkar and Mr. Karl Khandalavala believe it unlikely that Vikramasena would have been designated by full regal titles if he was just defeated in A.D. 533. Mr. Karl Khandalavala suggests that the Mauryas superceded the Traikutakas around A.D. 533 and reigned until A.D. 620 or so, at which time the Chalukyas took over the area.

Both the aforementioned kings do not mention their father’s name in their grants, but it’s not unlikely that Madhyamasena was the son of Vyaghrasena (Abhira Year 242 as found on Surat plates) and Vikramasena that of Madhyamasena.

As a second line of thought, Mr. Harish Thosar pleads that the years mentioned in the Traikutaka copper plates be regarded as of the Saka era instead of the Kalachuri era. He also quotes the reference from Chandravalli inscription that the Kadamba king Mayurvarman had a conflict with the Abhira and Traikuta kingdom and Mayurvarman ruled in 325-60 A.D. So, he argues that this places the Abhiras and Traikutakas as contemporary rulers in the 4th century A.D. If Saka era is considered, then the dates obtained are as follows:
256 + 78 = 334 A.D.
284 + 78 = 362 A.D.
Thus we arrive at the date of 4th century A.D. for the copper plate grants.
In the third century A.D., Madhariputra Sakasena was ruling over Aparanta. In the fourth century A.D., Aparanta was under the control of the Konkan Mauryas as revealed by the Vada inscription in Thane (dated 400 A.D.), Khandesh was being governed by the Abhiras. Considering the geographical locations of the Traikutaka rulers according to their inscriptions (found in Surat, Kanheri and Matvan) i.e. mainly Surat and Nasik district areas and also observation made by Mr. Amiteshwar Jha with regard to the coin types of the Traikutakas [which have close similarity with the coins of Ksatrapas (dated 240 A.D.) and this is possible only when the Ksatrapas were succeeded by the Traikutakas], the dates mentioned in Traikutaka copper plates are likely to be of the Saka era rather than of the Kalachuri era.

Text on the Matvan Plates of King Vikramasena:

Text on the 1st Copper Plate of Traikutaka King Vikramasena

Text on the 1st Copper Plate of Traikutaka King Vikramasena found in Matvan

Text on the 2nd Copper Plate of Traikutaka King Vikramasena

Text on the 2nd Copper Plate of Traikutaka King Vikramasena found in Matvan

1. Literary and Historical Studies in Indology – Vasudev Vishnu Mirashi
2. Buddhist caves in the western Deccan (pages 71 to 74)

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