Saini Kings

Geneaology of Post-Kushan Shoorsaini Kings of Mathura Region per Bhat Mookji and Bayana Bhat

" शौरसैनी शाखावाले मथुरा व उसके आस पास के प्रदेशों में राज्य करते रहे | करौली के यदुवंशी यादव शौरसैनी कहे जाते हैं | समय के फेर से मथुरा छूटी और सं. 1052  में बयाने के पास बनी पहाड़ी पर जा बसे | राजा विजयपाल के पुत्र तहनपाल (त्रिभुवनपाल) ने तहनगढ़ का किला बनवाया | तहनपाल के पुत्र धर्मपाल (द्वितीय) और हरिपाल थे जिनका समय सं 1227 का है | "

- पृष्ठ 302 ,   नयनसी री ख्यात ,  दूगड़ (भाषांतकार )

"They had their kingdom in Karauli in Rajasthan. They were called Shoorsainis. Sri Krishna's grandfather was Shoorsen because of which the region around Mathura was known as Shoorsen and Yadavas of this region were called Shoorsainis."

 -Mangi Lal Mahecha, Rājasthāna ke Rājapūta (The Rajputs of Rajasthan) , Rajasthan, 1965

In the geneaologies given below, Dharam Pala (Pkt. Dham Pal)  is described as 77th in line from Krishna  and is roughly dated to have ascended to throne in about 800 A.D.  He is the first Shoorsaini king who was known to have revived the dynasty after long periods of Maurya, Kushan,  and Gupta rule of region around Mathura and Delhi.



Geneaology of Shoorsaini Kings of Kadamb Vana (Modern Kaman) per Chaunsat Khamba Inscription

"If we place Vatsadaman in A.D. 750 to 775, the head of the family, Phakka, will date from A.D. 600, reckoning twenty five years to each generation. As none of the names agree with those of the Yadava princes of Bayana, as recorded by the bards, it seems probable that these chiefs of Kaman, or Kadamba-vana, were only a branch of the famous Surasenas of Mathura."

-REPORT OF A TOUR IN EASTERN RAJPUTANA IN 1882-83 , VOLUME XX, pp 59 ,  A. Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India



 Notes :

Philological Evidence and Correspondence of Accounts & Clan Names

In  the  above  list first fifteen kings or lineal descendants of Dharam Pal upto Raja Kanwar Pal may be safely linked with the Sainis of Punjab and many other Rajput clans in the neighboring hills.  Saini clan of Dhamrait and Pathania clan of Dhamrial may be derived from the name of Dharam Pal. This is also suggested by the fact that older name of Nurpur, the capital of Pathania Tomaras, is described as "Dhameri"  in Gurdaspur district which was supposedly founded by Raja Jeth Pal  in 1095 AD .  This Raja Jeth Pal is likely  given as Jaita Pal in Bhat Mookji's geneaology.  Not only this , there is a "Dhameri"  about hundred  miles west of Delhi, and the name  "Dhampal"  is also found as a clan among Jadhava line of Marathas.

Normally, when clans migrate to distant lands they generally try their best to retain the memory of their ancestors and older habitations. This is generally done by founding new habitations named after their revered ancestors or after  the names of  the cities or towns they inhabited in their former abodes.  In many cases similar sounding names  in distantly located groups may trace back to a common ancestory or place of origin. 

 Similarly, Saini clan of  "Thinday" , generally distorted as "Thind",  may  have some association with Raja Tahan Pal who was also known as "Thind Pal" colloquially.  In like fashion, "Adhania Kshatriya" , another clan of Sainis of Punjab, could be linked with Adhan Pal, a Shoorsaini Rajput chief.  While philological speculation like this may not necessarily  constitute a definitive proof in itself , the uncanny similarity of names and native accounts from independent sources  is quite remakarable nonetheless.

The Case of Yaduvanshi Taank Rajputs of Mainpuri and Punjab 

Yet another example of this correspondence- and perhaps even more convincing one -  is that  of  "Taank" Rajputs.  Taank is a significant clan amoung Sainis of Punjab who , as noted by many scholars, invariably claim Yaduvanshi decent from Mathura (TM Dak, 1994).  Taank  Rajputs are sometimes described as remnants of  "Takshak"  tribe but Saini Taanks have no such recollecton of being linked with Takshaks, and see themselves only as Yaduvanshis  who came from Mathura along with other Saini clans after Turk invasion.  And after a perusal of the similarities of accounts and names among Sainis and Rajput clans of hills and Mewat as underscored above, it would almost seem no co-incidence that Taank Rajputs of Mainpuri in Oudh (present UP)  also claimed to be Yaduvanshis (Crooke, 1890)  like their Saini Taank counterparts in Punjab even though two groups  with common origin are now probably  not even aware of each others existence.  Taank Rajputs of Mainpuri  considered themselves connected with the Yaduvanshi rulers of Karauli whose ancestors , as we had already noted,  were also called Shoorsainis or Sainis  at a certain point of  time in history ( SS Sashi, 1996; Cunningham, 1885).

Established Facts

"Surasenas had a separate dialect, known in ancient times as Suraseni, just as their descendants..."

-REPORT OF A TOUR IN EASTERN RAJPUTANA IN 1882-83 , VOLUME XX, pp 2 ,  A. Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India

There are however few facts that we can be absolutely sure of without any need of synthesis and deduction. One  is that the kings mentioned in the bhat vamsavalis or geneaologies were  called  "Shoorsaini" or more generally, just "Saini" atleast till about 13 AD. Rana Hamir's General is described as one Gurdan Saini  by Amir Khusro as late as this period. It is very well established that Rana Hamir Dev Chauhan was associated with Shoorsainis of Mathura and Bayana  as both Chauhans and their Yadava allies remained in rebellion against Muslim rule  until much after the defeat of Prithvi Raj Chauhan in the 1192 AD (Sharma, 1966).

Another pertinent fact we can be sure of is that many clan names of Sainis of Punjab are also found among Meos and Hill Rajputs who derive their descent from identical lineages and that the ABO blood group and gene distribution frequencies of  Sainis of Punjab are identical with those of their Rajput conterparts on the neighboring hills (SIngh IP, SIngh D., 1961).


  • REPORT OF A TOUR IN EASTERN RAJPUTANA IN 1882-83 , VOLUME XX, A. Cunningham, Archaeological Survey of India, pp 2,  7, 57-59, Published by Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1885 ,Item notes: v.20 1882-1883, Original from the University of Michigan
  • "The Tank Rajputs of Mainpuri say they are Yaduvansis and claim kinship with the Yadava princes of Jesalmer and Kuraoli" ,  An ethnographical hand-book for the N.-W. provinces and Oudh , pp177 , William Crooke,North-Western provinces and Oudh government press, 1890 - Social Science / Expanded and translated quote of Crooke (1890) :"मैनपुरी के टांक राजपूत अपने को यदुवंशी मानते हैं और करौली और जैसलमेर के यादव राजकुंवरों से अपना सम्बन्ध बताते हैं । पुराने समय में यह लूट पाट के लिए जाने जाते थे और अभी भी इनके सरदारों  की आदतें शंका से ऊपर नहीं हैं । अकबर के समय में कोसमा के पुरुषों ने उनके सरदार के दो पुत्रों के नेतृत्व में शाही सामान  लूटा जो  इनके इलाके से गुज़र रहा था । इसकी सजा में एक भाई को जबरन मुस्लमान बनना पड़ा । अब इस कबीले की एक मुसलमान और हिन्दू शाखाएं दोनों हैं । मुस्लमान शाखा का चरित्र भी बहुतसा हिन्दुओं जैसा ही  है ।"
  • American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 1961 Sep;19:223-5.The study of ABO blood groups of Sainis of Punjab, SINGH IP, SINGH D.,PMID: 13913332
  • People of India: Haryana, Saini, pp 430 , Kumar Suresh Singh, Madan Lal Sharma, A. K.
     Bhatia, Anthropological Survey of India, Published by Published on behalf of Anthropological Survey of India by Manohar Publishers, 1994
  • "The Shura Rajputs , of whom Hammira's minister and commander, Ranamalla, was one, probably represented the ancient Surasenakas [sic]", Rajasthan Through Ages, A comprehensive and authentic history of Rajasthan prepared under the orders of the Government of Rajasthan, pp 13, Dr. Dasharatha Sharma, MA , D.Litt , Rajasthan State Archives, Bikaner, 1966