MUKUNDADEV THE LAST INDEPENDENT HINDU KING OF THE THEN ODISHA
As it has been described the chalukya dynasty had been established by MUKUNDA DEV the then last Hindu King of Odisha. He was on the throne from 1560-1568A.D. From the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi established by PULAKESIN-II of the famous Western Chalukya dynasty of Vadmi, it seems that MUKUNDA DEV claimed his descent. He is described as the son of SARAVA RAJU and Grandson of SINGA RAJU, in his inscription on the Bhimeswar Temple at Draksarama in the Eastern Godabari district. He is known as TELINGA MUKUNDA DEV as per Odisha Tradition. In the Sarvasidhi Taluk of the Vizag District, a mention of a feudatory dynasty known as BAHUVALENDRAS and as HARICHANDANAS has been made by FERISHTA. Possibly MUKUNDA DEV belonged to this ruling family who were the feudotaries of the Gajapati originally. By defending the fort of KATAK, first he came into prominence in the politics of the then Odisha when KATAK was besieged by RAGHUBHANJA in the reign of GOBINDA BIDYA DHARA.
MUKUNDA DEV was in possession of the southern parts of the GAJAPATI KINGDOM upto the river Godvari as per his inscription at DRAKSARAMA. The king of GAUDA had been defeated by MUKUNDA DEV. His kingdom was extended upto Triveni in the North before 1567A.D. MUKUNDA GHATA constructed on the Ganges at Triveni in the Hooghly district, corroborates the afore- said epigraphical evidence. There is still a considerable influence of Odisha at Triveni till today as a great embankment had been built by the king on which the road from MAGRA to TRIVENI has been laid.
Being, an able leader MUKUNDA DEV succeeded in preserving the prestige of GAJAPATI empire though he got the throne through murder. In the politics of Bengal, he became involved which ultimately cost him his life and throne. To Ibrahim Sur very unwisely MUKUNDA DEV gave shelter who was a great enemy of SULAIMAN KARRANI, the Sultan of Bengal. As a result he incurred his displeasure. By exchanging embassis with the great Moghul Emperor Akbar he gave further offence to the Sultan. Akbar gained upper hand in these diplomatic relations. His ultimate aim was to annex Bengal into his empire and for this purpose he wanted support from MUKUNDA DEV, though he was not in favour of strengthening the military strength of Hindu Kingdom. Akbar did not help MUKUNDA DEV when Odisha was invaded by the Sultan of Bengal in 1568A.D. Perhaps he wanted that Odisha should become a part of Bengal so that he will ultimately annex Bengal along with Odisha to his empire.
Under the command of his son BAYAZID assisted by SIKANDAR UZBAG and KALAPAHAD, MUKUNDA DEV was attacked by SULAIMAN KARRANI in 1568A.D, through DHALBHUM and MAYURBHANJ for which ODISHA King was not prepared. To resist the invaders, the king sent RAGHUBHANJ CHHOTRAY who turned to be a traitor at this stage. Bengal army irresistibly reached KATAK and MUKUNDA DEV had no other alternative but to surrender.
About Muslim invasions of 1568, different versions have been given in MADALA PANJI. It is stated in MADALA PANJI two different armies of Bengal marched against Odisha in two different directions as per their systematic planning. One expedition fought against MUKUNDA DEV on the bank of Ganges and the other proceeded towards KATAK under the command of KALA PAHADA and BAYAZID without any resistance. At this time RAMA CHANDRA BHANJA, the commandant of SARANGA GADA declared himself to be the king of Odisha.
After having all these developments, MUKUNDA DEV hastened to KATAK but he had to submit before the invaders because of the treachery of RAMA CHANDRA BHANJA who killed MUKUNDA DEV near SARANGA GARH. On the same day RAMA CHANDRA BHANJA also was killed by the enemy. There is another tradition which goes as follows. MUKUNDA DEV fought with the invaders at GOHIRA TIKARA (near JAJPUR) and was killed in the battle. As per another tradition two traitors, by name SIKHI and MANAI helped KALAPAHADA for the death of MUKUNDA DEV.
Thus there are different stories about the death of MUKUNDA DEV. By the traitor RAMACHANDRA BHANJ, most probably MUKUNDA DEV was killed. This traitor has sometimes been described as RAMACHANDRA BHANJ and sometimes RAMACHANDRA DEV by Madala Panji. The latter name seems to be correct. He had been put in charge of important fort of SRANGA GADA as he was a local chief. The Muslim army occupied Odisha after the fall of the important fort of KATAK and SARANGA GADA.