Aikṣvākus Kuvalayāśva — Dhundhumāra, a king from Rg-vedic times

Rupa Bhaty
5 min readJul 1, 2022

His connection to Southern Rajasthan


The gazetteer notes that there was a subjugation of Southern Rajasthan by Kuvalayāśva — One of the Aikṣvāka King

Read here, pg 21 Gazetteer Of India Rajasthan Barmer by Joseph, D.c

The Anarta Kingdom is usually known as northern Gujarat and southern Rajasthan region. From the above gist of Gazetteer of India-Rajasthan-Barmer we get the clue that King Kuvalayāśva subjugated the people of southern Rajasthan.

Where to place Kuvalayāśva in the myriad timeline?

Kuvalayāśva is a name of the prince Dhundhumār, the one who killed Asura Dhundhu. Note that Aikṣvākus King Brihadratha of Maitrayāṇī Araṇyaka Upaniṣad(MAU) notes Kuvalayāśva as his predecessor. We have already found Brihadratha’s timeline to be 34500 BCE.

34500 BCE; Benchmark

In fact, he existed before 34500 BCE. One of the Rg-vedic Kings is thus. King Brihadratha’s location during the conflict with Turvasus and Yadus is still unknown. Although they lived on the banks of Ikṣumatī, the gazetteer does provide us a hint that they also spread out across South Rajasthan. Rāma recalls Ikṣumatī’s final act for Saraswati in Rāmāyaṇa.

When was Barmer habitable? A hint from Lithic assemblage

I had written in detail about the Sudden Disruption of Paleolithic Culture in Thar in “Finding the times of Haryashva and Maru” read here. I will repeat some point to recall again.

  1. There is an absence of the Upper Palaeolithic during the Terminal Pleistocene (~40 ka to 10 ka B.P.) in Thar. The south-west monsoon was almost weak, fluvial and even aeolian processes were dormant between 22 ka and 13–14 ka B.P. As a result of these conditions the climate became arid with dwindling water sources.
  2. These unsuitable climatic conditions must have compelled the stone age hunter-gatherers to migrate from this region to eastern or south-eastern parts of the Thar. (Nimi lineage went east and then far north east posterior to some Janaka towards present day Nepal, when Nepal became habitable)
  3. Blinkhorn et al. (2013) proposed Sahel like Savanna type vegetation between 70 ka and 40 ka B.P (probable time of Ikshvakus, Videhas (Haryashva and Maru) and Ailas (Ajamidha-Ajmer) and Five early tribes (Purus, western Nagas-Kadrus etc) in Rajasthan region.

The lithic assemblages, found only before 40K BCE, are apparently suggestive of inhabitation 40000 years before present. The ethnographic and toponymy memories suggests Aikṣvākus with neighboring Videhas did live in Rajasthan. The Bhattis and Johiyas claim their descent from this ancient tribe. Note that the lithic assemblages again re-appear during holocene times in Rajasthan. Post 40k BP Aikṣvākus did go far west and east, away from highly arid region, probably towards Arḡandāb (in Greek called Arachōtós)-Harauvatiš, i.e., on the banks of tributaries of River Helmand, upper Ishkuman (Gilgit-Baltistan, latter Ikshumati?) and Marusudar River ( latter Marudvṛdha? or earlier Susartu?) in Afganistan- Pakistan-Kashmir bringing memories of early migration of names from Saraswati region to western side of the then pan India.

Is there a hint of names of rivers migrating?

Note that the Old Persian form of Saraswati’s name is Harauvatiš (h-r-u-v-t-i-); this form is the etymological equivalent of Vedic Sárasvatī. Thus the province is named after its main river, the modern Arḡandāb (in Greek called Arachōtós), a tributary of the Helmand. To find them at appropriate places are a painstaking research. As of now it appears that the names followed the King’s expedition. Sarayu of Rg veda is definitely the Hari Rud (Old Iranian *Harayu “with velocity”).

Ishkuman- Latter River Ikshumati. Earlier Ikshumati was near Drishadvati named after wife of Nriga (one of the siblings of Ikshvaku)

A glimpse of pre 40000 BCE

Suvā́stu is unquestionably the River Swat, which has been inhabited since 45000 B.C. by modern human with behaviour like home construction and construction of fire hearths. Ayodhya originated in the eastern Indian region of Eastern Sarayu. We discover that rice has been grown sporadically since 9000 to 16000 BCE (Lahuradev). Ramayana happens around 12209 BCE (Nilesh Oak).

All of these indicate that the Ikshvakus dispersed both eastward and westward after 40000 years ago. East served as Haven, and West had been tactical. Up to the Mauryan Period, the capital of all of India was located on the Ganges. Later, however, Delhi-Dhilli (the birthplace of Dhillons) evolved into a major haat-bazar and the entryway to the eastern and southern corridor. Therefore, later it would seem that whoever settled in Kurukshetra-Delhi became the monarch of whole of India, this pattern reestablishes after the Brahmavarta times of Rg-Veda in Kurukshetra during the times of Mahabharata.

Well, I was giving just a little glimpse of what would had happened.


  1. Rg-vedic Aikṣvāku Kings still bear themselves in the memories of toponymy and are present in the ethnographic memory which is apparently clear from Gazetteer of Rajasthan.
  2. Kuvalayāśva — Dhundhumāra is an Aikṣvāku king prior to King Brihadratha is clear from his mentions in MAU.
  3. Kuvalayāśva — Dhundhumāra is not mentioned in Rg-veda, but evidently is a Rg-vedic King who killed an Asura Dhundhu.
  4. 40000 BP is the time of glaciation of Himalayas and time of arid conditions and conditions of Ocean levels declining. The rift for land by the river sides were evident.
  5. There was sudden halt of lithic assemblages on Rajasthan sites until Holocene.
  6. This goes very well with the placing of Kuvalayāśva — Dhundhumāra before 40000+ BP.
  7. This also gives fare idea that only very few prominent kings were remembered during Rg-vedic times, some of which doesn’t find its mention in other text. For eg. Brihadratha etc are not found in Ramayana or Purana but only in MAU.

The question will remain when before 40k BCE Aikṣvākus Kuvalayāśva — Dhundhumāra lived in Rajasthan. How this memory remained intact till Holocene times when the area was again rehabilitated?

It may always remain unclear for when Aikṣvākus Kuvalayāśva — Dhundhumāra lived in Rajasthan before 40k BCE. How did this recollection memory survive until the Holocene, when the area underwent another round of rehabilitation? Do we get any clue from cultural memory?

The Cultural memory

The clue is in a custom called ḍhuṇd, “to locate-find” which is performed when the first child is born in Rajputs. I will elaborate on this some other time. As of now enjoy the area called Dhundhar.

Dhundhar — ढूंढाड़

Dhundhar — ढूंढाड़

Happy reading…

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ढूंढ = बच्चे के जन्म की प्रथम होली पर किया जाने वाला रिवाज।



Rupa Bhaty

Architect and Adjunct Assistant Professor at School of Indic studies, Institute of Advanced Sciences, MA, USA