India | West Bengal


The Sena Dynasty originated south of the country in Karnataka. They were Brahma- Kshatriyas by caste. The Senas came to Bengal and were employed as generals in high offices under the Palas who ruled Bengal. Initially, they established themselves as vassal lords and gradually rose in power to form an independent kingdom in West Bengal. The whole of Bengal came under a single administration for the first time under the Sena Dynasty. This dynasty ruled Bengal for little over a hundred years from 1097 to 1225.

The founder of Sena dynasty, Vijayasena, took advantage of a revolt during the reign of King Mahipala II and strengthened his position. He defeated the Palas and captured the kingdom of Gauda, in Bengal. He extended his hold over Bihar in the west and Vanga (southeastern Bengal). He had a very long reign of about 62 years (1098-1160).

Vijayasena was succeeded by his son Vallalasena whose reign lasted about 18 years. A devotee of Lord Shiva like his father, Vallalasena was a great scholar and celebrated author. His works included the ‘Danasagara’ he wrote in 1168 and ‘Adbhutasagara’ that he left incomplete. His successor, Laksmanasena was the first king among the Senas to assume the title of ‘Gaudeshvara.’ Laksmanasena came to the throne at a fairly mature age. He wrote several Sanskrit verses and also completed the unfinished 'Adbhutasagara.’ Laksmanasena was famous for his exceptional qualities and generosity. During the end of his reign, signs of unrest erupted within his empire and disintegration set in.

The Sena period witnessed significant development in Sanskrit literature. Vallalasena and Laksmanasena were themselves accomplished authors. Sculptural art also flourished under the patronage of the Sena kings.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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