(Last Updated on : 22-05-2010)
The Kuntalas are twice mentioned in the Markandeya Purana list of tribes, once in connection with the peoples of Kasi and Kosala which means that they were a Madhyadesa tribe, and elsewhere along with the Asmakas, Bhogavardhanas, Naisikas, Andhras, etc., which suggests that they were a people of the Deccan. The Bhisma Parva of the Mahabharata
, however, seems to locate the people in three different regions. One verse seems to locate them in the Madhyadesa, while another has located them in the Deccan which is also upheld by a reference apparently to the same people in the Karna Parva
. A third reference in the Bhishma Parva
has suggested location of the tribe somewhere in the western region.
It has been pointed out by historians that the country of the Kuntalas of the Madhyadesa should be identified with the region near Chunar which has been called Kuntila. But according to historical accounts it can be said that Kuntalas of the Madhyadesa had not attained much historical eminence. The Kuntalas of the west also have hardly any place in history. But the Kuntalas of the Deccan appear to have risen to considerable importance in historical times.
History states that that there were several families of the Satakarnis of the Deccan, and one or more of these families had ruled over Kuntala of the Kanarese districts before the Kadambas. A Satavahana of Kuntala is also referred to in the Kavyamimasa of Rajasekhara. This king ordered the use of Prakrit to the exclusion of every other language by the ladies of his inner apartments. The king had been often identified with king Hala who had hailed from Kuntala.
It has been pointed out in the historical records that the Kuntala region included the southern part of the Bombay Presidency and the northern portion of Mysore
, and it was ruled at one time by the kings of the Nanda Dynasty
. Kuntala had figured in history also in later times. An Ajanta Inscription credits the Vakataka king Prthivisena I with having conquered the lord of Kuntala. Another Vakataka king Harisena claimed victories over Kuntala along with Lata, Avanti, Andhra, Kalinga and a lot more.