The Bhaumas are believed to be the descendants of the Bhuiyan tribe of Orissa
. The Bhaumakara dynasty was established in 736 AD and their rule came to be known as Bhauma Samvat. Their reign extended from Medinapur (in Jharkhand
) in the north to Ganjam district
(in Andhra Pradesh
) in the south. Guhadevapataka, now called Viraja in modern
), served as their capital. The first king of the Bhaumakaras dynasty was Ksemankaradeva.
Though the earlier rulers of this dynasty favoured Buddhist religion and made every effort to popularize it, the later rulers embraced Shaivism, Vaishnavism and the
Shakti cult. It is held that most of the Buddhist sites discovered at Orissa date back to the Bhaumakara period when
Buddhism had reached its zenith. Large numbers of monasteries were built during this period. At the same time the rulers actively contributed towards building of Hindu shrines. The rulers patronised temples and Buddhist monasteries, and supported the priests or monks associated with the institutions. Several of the grants were made directly to groups of
Dharma Mahadevi, the widow of Santikara II, was the last ruler of the Bhaumakara dynasty before the Somavamsis seized power.