The statements in Bombay Gazetteer of Pliny’s Odambaris are about the people of Kutch and this refers to their town Orbadaro which is situated in the east of the river Indus. Orbadaro is no longer accepted. The first probably refers to the Udumbaras who were in Punjab. The only thing we can accept from Ptolemy’s descriptions of the geography of this region is reference to Kanthis’ expression which is: “In Syrastrene on the Gulf of Kutch.” McCrindle explains this statement as referring to the Gulf of Kutch and says that the south coast of Kutch is still called Kantha. But as stated in Bombay Gazetteer, this name is also appropriate to the stripes of land along its north shore. The word in true means only the ‘coastline’ and nothing more. As the editor of McCrindle’s Ptolemy says that it can not refer to the whole Gulf of Kutch.
The ‘outer part’ or the portion near the entrance of the Gulf is afterwards described by the author of the Periplus as Barake. This view is conformed by the recent excavations at the site and the discussion of its ancient times in literature and archeology. Further mention in the Periplus to Eirinon as referring to the Rann of Kutch, which was even then dividable into two parts, greater and less and described as ‘unexplored, dangerous to ships, one-dimensional and with violent eddies’ can not be taken to refer to the Great and Small Ranns (Deserts) of Kutch respectively as the words of Bombay Gazetteer seem to involve. These ranns (Deserts) are situated respectively to the north and east directions of Kutch. However, the translation by Schoff makes the statement more clear and understandable. He says, “Beyond the river Sinthus, there is another gulf, not crossable, running in towards the north; it is called Eirinon; its parts are separately like the small gulf and the great; in the both parts of water is one-dimensional shifting sandbanks happening repeatedly and a great way from shore so that when the shore is not even in sight, ships run position and if they attempt to hold their routes they are broken down.” This is an accurate explanation of the Great and Little Ranns of Kutch. The conditions have changed a little during last 2000 years.
From Historical Period to the Coming of the Sakas:
The history of Kutch in the true sense begins with the Sakas, who ruled the whole Western part of India, including Kutch, Saurashtra, Gujarat, Northern Maharashtra and Western Malwa for nearly three centuries and a quarter from 78 A. D. to 400 A. D. Their capital is supposed to be Ujjain, though most of their inscriptions have been found in Kutch and Saurashtra. The earliest records consist of memorial stones and have been found on an artificial mound at Andhau. Now a still earlier stone inscription has been found at Andhau. Thus, we can confidently say that the Sakas, also called Kardamakas, ruled in Kutch and probably dominated Gujarat and Malwa from Kutch. It is indeed unfortunate that of their 325 years rule, we can say nothing about the system of administration, society and religion, unless we calculate approximately whatever little is known from Saurashtra.
From the inscriptions of Andhau and Khavda, one can easily say that Buddhism and Jainism had spread to Kutch and that the custom of enlarging stones in memory of the dead, called paliyas, so much common in Kutch and Saurashtra, goes back to this period. It was suggested that this custom was introduced by the Sakas. The geology of the country might also be responsible for the origin of this custom. It is found that here as in parts of Andhra-Mysore long rectangular pieces of the solid materials of stone could be easily made. The four inscriptions of Andhau show that the full title of the King Rudradaman was not fully known and he was honourably called Rajan. More important, almost the entire family of the King consisting of a wife Yasodatta, daughter Simhamitra and brother Rishbhadeva seemed to have died on one day and every one was honoured by the production of a memorial stone at Andhau near Khavda or Pachcham by one Madana. Their brother and sister belonged to Aupassatika gotra, while the wife Yasodatta belonged to Shrenika gotra. These few names are extremely interesting for the light they throw on the cultural history. First, they show that the bearers of these names were originally Kshatriyas or after their conversion to Jainism, they took names such as Rishabhadeva, which were popular in Jainism, even the gotra name Shrenika reminds one of the family names of Bimbisara, the famous king of Magadha.
The Mewasa inscription is still more important because it mentions the name of Hariloka and Vasura in connection with one Abhira. In both these names, the first part of the names Hari and Vasu are important for act of tracing the antiquity of Krishna worship though with Sakas or Iranian suffixes as in the name of Rudradaman. One should also note the absence of the reckoning by mentioning the days of the week. Only the year and the Tithi (date) of the half of the month are given.
During this long rule, the Saka dominance had been challenged from within and without that there was a division in the family and sub branch came into power after it has been secondary from the study of Saka currency. This has been further confirmed by the discovery of a new inscription of Abhira Isvardeva from Daulatpur in Kutch.