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SHILA MAHADEVI (8TH CENTURY)


Shila Mahadevi was a Rashtrakuta ruler and wife of king Dhruva. She ruled jointly with her husband over a territory that stretched from beyond the Vindhyas in the north to the kingdom of the Pallavas in the south. King Dhruva was able to extend his territory by annexing the Pallav kingdom and defeating the Ganga king to the south of them. Shila Mahadevi seems to have been co-ruler de facto, not just in name. She was the daughter of a mighty king, Vittarasa, who has been identified with Vishnuvardhana IV of the Eastern Chalukya dynasty. An epigraph in existence from her reign shows that she could give out very large gifts to sages and scholars on her own authority. In the document she is referred to as ‘Parameshwari’ and ‘Paramabhattarika’, both high titles. Rajashekhara (see Avantisundari) mentions a Shila-bhattarika who is the peer of Bana in writing in the Panchali style. The appellation ‘bhattarika’ possibly indicates royal status, and the reference may be to this queen, or to Shila of Kanauj, who was queen to Bhojaraja.
 
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