| Raja of the Ganga Dynasty
|Raja of the Ganga Dynasty|
|Regent of the Ganga Dynasty|
|Time of Regency|| 690-695 (Palaka I)
700 (Khadaga II)
|General of the Northern Armies|
|Time in Office||695-719|
|General of the Southern Armies|
|Time in Office||683-695|
|Born|| 657 |
|Died|| 723 |
Chandrajara I was the son of Khanchana I and Raja of the Ganga Dynasty from 719 to 723. He was an important political figure of the late 7th and beginning 8th centuries, and is remembered as the man responsible for the Ganga Buddhist Crisis, for his anti-Buddhist policies and as the leader of the Grina Faction.
In the turmoil that followed the death of Khadaga II, he was able to crown himself Raja after the two persons before him in the line of succession (Mahakala and Jagadevra) left the Ganga Dynasty. He was, however, contested by many pretenders during his reigns, as well as constantly fighting with the Indian Empire who tried to invade his remaining lands.
Chandrajara is the fourth son of Khanchana I, and the third from his second wife. During most of his youth, he considered himself as the forgotten child, Palaka being his father's heir and Jagadevra his mother's little boy. He, however, found a friend in his younger brother Ramapala, who was his moral compass for most of his youth until the death of his younger brother in 667, which traumatized Chandrajara.
As he grew up, he began to admire his uncle Chandravarman, the General of the Northern Armies. He saw in him a figure of respect, and saw similarities between them, as both were second to their brother in Khanchana I's eyes (in Chandrajara case, to Palaka, and in Chandravarman case, to Somesvara). He even decided to begin a military carrier to follow the footsteps of his personal hero.
During the First Great War of India, Chandrajara was refused the right to fight on the front by his father, even if Palaka was already there fighting side-by-side with Chandravarman. He was instead affected to Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, were he would protect the son and wife of Palaka. Chandrajara took it as an insult, but complied to his father's orders. During his time in Anuradhapura, he became close to the son of Palaka, Khadaga, and even taught the young boy himself, becoming a father figure for the young boy.
Under Palaka I
When he learned that Palaka had became the new Raja, Chandrajara had hope he would be sent to the front to fight alongside Chandravarman, Somesvara and Palaka I. But his brother told him the same thing that his father said: "Stay in Anuradhapura and protect Khadaga". This would anger Chandrajara even more, to the point he first thought of missing the coronation of his brother at first. His absence forced Palaka to delay his coronation until Jagadevra convinced Chandrajara to come.
When the time came to receive office in the administration, Chandrajara asked for the role of General of teh Northern Armies, the title once held by his idol Chandravarman, who died the last year. This would also have allowed him to lead troops in the new territories gained from the First Great War of India. But he was instead awarded the title of General of the Southern Armies, which affected him in a peaceful region of the kingdom. Chandrajara took this as a personal insult, and thought it was Palaka's payback for the coronation. This however allowed him to remain close with the Yuvraj Khadaga.
When Palaka went to the Chenla Kingdom, he leaved his brothers as regent. Chandrajara used this time to begin his politics of persecution over the Buddhist population, although he was as violent as he later became, still fearing his brother's wrath if something was to happen. Five years later, he had became feared by the Ganga Buddhists, and the news of Palaka I returning to punish him and Jagadevra was acclaimed by many. Chandrajara was not one of them, and was actually pretty pissed off about it. Some theories say that he was responsible of his brother's death. When he heard the news of his brother's death, Chandrajara accused the Chenla Kingdom of killing him, but never pushed any threats against them.
Under Khadaga II and Ganga Buddhist Crisis
Under his nephew, Chandrajara and Jagadevra rose to power and gained much more influence, particularly on Khadaga II, who trusted them. This helped Chandrajara to put in place his anti-Buddhist policies, which were supported by his nephew. Many became closer to the brothers, seeing in them the true masters of the Ganga Dynasty. Chandrajara easily took leadership of them, founding the Grina Faction. The Grina Faction went unchallenged until 701, when Jagadevra was replaced by Mahakala as Main Treasurer of the Ganga Dynasty. Mahakala and his supporters became known as the Nila Faction, which opposed the power of the Grina Faction, especially Chandraja and Jagadevra.
But even with this, nobody was able to stop Chandrajara from influencing his nephew. He advised Khadaga II to pass more and more persecution laws against the Buddhists, which in the end resulted in a revolt known as the Ganga Buddhist Crisis. Even if Chandrajara saw it as a rebellion from those filthy Buddhists, he never made the difference between the rebels and the pacific population, causing many massacres during his campaigns up north to deal with the insurrection. Because of this, he never saw the Indian forces coming.
He finally learned of what happened after the death of Palaka, which made everyone realize the danger of the situation. Khadaga II asked his uncle to lead military forces against the Indian armies until he made a plan to deal with the invaders. Following those orders, he fought as hard as he could, but was not able to push back the Indians, only to slow their progression.
But as he was fighting on the front line, he received terrible news from Bhubaneswar. His brother Jagadevra had murdered Khadaga II and left the realm to hide in the Gupta Dynasty. Enraged, he sent a letter to Raja Ravivarma II of the Gupta Dynasty, saying he wanted the head of his traitor brother, a demand which was not allowed by the Raja.
When Mahakala renounced his right on the throne in favor of Prince Thepaman, Chandrajara was furious. He was trying to unite was was left of the Ganga Dynasty, and his nephew was selling it to a Buddhist prince. Chandrajara could simply not allow it. The news of Jagadevra doing about the same for the Gupta's Raja pissed him even more. He accused them of betraying their lineage as descendant of Khanchana I. But the situation also had an advantage for Chandrajara. After the death of Palaka, he was still a long way from the throne, since Mahakala and his sons passed before him, and even so Jagadevra was older. But with both of them selling the throne to foreign rulers, Chandrajara considered their right on the throne as null, thus leaving him as the Raja.
With the forces he assembled, he decided to become the new Raja of the Ganga Dynasty in order to save its independence. However, he still needed a capital were he could crown himself. Bhubaneswar was burning and destroyed by revolts, a former shadow of itself. Anuradhapura was in the south, and Chandrajara in the north, which would have forced him to go throughout Indian occupied territories. In the end, he chose another city as his capital, as near city named Dhanbad. With his allies, he went there, but wasn't received well by the soldier guarding the city, the officer in charge being an old member of the Nila Faction. Chandrajara first led the siege against them, but was unsuccessful to take the city. In the end, it was his son Khadaga who succeeded, making a deal with the officer guarding the city that he would gain a major place in Chandrajara army after the coronation (the man, named Dharapatta Skanda, would indeed be named General of the Southern Armies). As soon as Chandrajara entered the city, he began preparation for his coronation, which happened in a rush two days later.
Chandrajara I was a military Raja, and his time as a general of the Ganga armies helped him in those times of war. He left his son to deal with Dhanbad, then wage war against the Indian Empire. He used many tactics of guerrilla-like warfare, striking were the Indians were at their weakest. He even pushed into Indian territories in 722, hoping to strike where it would hurt the most. Sadly, he died in 723, leaving his son Khadaga III a crumbling realm assaulted by Indian invaders. In the following two years, the Indian Empire would eventually conquer the rest of the Ganga Dynasty, ending the Ganga Dynasty and thus Chandrajara I dream of an independent Ganga.
- Marapati (F): 678-721
- Khadaga (M): 681-728
- Vindarama (M): 686-888
- Ivnajari (F): 690-738