(Last Updated on : 08-04-2009)
The Yadavas are spread throughout India. They include the Abhiras or Abirs of Northern India, Raos of Haryana, 'Gwallas' (cowherd) of Uttar Pradesh, Mandals of Bihar, Pradhans of Orissa, Ghoshals of Bengal, Gopas and Reddis of Andhra Pradesh and Wodeyars of Karnataka. Some historians think that the Jats are Yadavas in origin, that the Gujjars and the Marathas were also Yadavas and that they and the Gujjars intermarried. The princely houses of Baroda, Bikaner and Alwar chose to align themselves with the Rajputs, though their roots were in Yadava stock.
The Yadavas who ruled southern India till the 13th century were the Mauryas, Shalivahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas of Devagiri and Mankhed, Haihayas of Chedidesh (near Jabalpur), Kalachuris of Kalyan in Hyderabad, Bhattis of Jaisalmer and Shelars and Shilahars of Southern Maharashtra. The Rashtrakutas, too, were Yadavas. The Kailash Temple cut out of solid rock at Ellora, stands as a perpetual monument to the greatness of Krishna I (756-73). In their inscriptions from the ninth century onwards, the Rashtrakutas are spoken of as Yadavas.
After the 14th century, Yadava power declined. Some of them linked themselves with the Suryavanshi Kshatriyas.
The Yadavas are dynamic people with a capacity for assimilation and absorption, a quality to which their survival after the fratricidal Mahabharata war may well be attributed. This tribe has intermingled and has gradually separated from the main Yadava fold. Socially and economically they began to be classed as backward. High caste Hindus often call them Sudras but the Yadavas call themselves 'Somavanshi Kshatriyas.'
The contribution of the Yadavas to the composite culture of India is immense: the nomadic art forms, the Abhira language (Apabhramsa), the Raslila and certain ragas like Ahir-Bhairav, Abhirika, Gopika and Kannadagula, and perhaps most of all, the Krishna cult.