Thursday, October 21, 2010

Avantivarman: Kashmir's Development Man

In the history of Kashmir, the Utpala dynasty holds a special place. The founder of the Utpala dynasty was Avantivarman who ruled from AD 855 to 883. He was more interested in internal administration than military conquests. New towns and irrigation works were constructed. One of these towns was Suyyapura (modern Sopar), called after his minister and engineer Suyya who gave a further impetus to the agriculture of Kashmir by draining marshes and protecting the fields against the deluge of avalanches. It is said of Suyya that he “made the streams of Indus and Jhelum flow according to his will, like a snake charmer his snakes.”

Avantivarman founded a new city Avantipur (Bantipur). A patron of learning , Avantivarman, in his court, has two poets, Ratnakara and Anandavardhan. In his time, according to the Kashmiri poet Kalhana, author of Rajatarangini (“rivers of kings”), rice was sold for 36 dinaras per khari, as against 2000 dinaras earlier, showing the revival of the country’s prosperity,

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