Gopachandra considered to be the founder and the first important ruler of the independent kingdom of vanga. He is thought to have flourished not later than the second quarter of the sixth century AD. Gopachandra kingdom that arose in Bengal on the ruins of the Gupta empire seems to have comprised originally the eastern and southern Bengal and the southern part of western Bengal. Five copperplates discovered at or near kotalipara (Faridpur district), one in Mallasarul (Burdwan district), and one in Jayramapur (Balleshvara district) reveal the existence of three rulers of this kingdom named Gopachandra, Dharmaditya, and Samacharadeva. But very little is known about them.

The title maharajadhiraja assumed by Gopachandra indicates that he was independent and powerful. Under his rule, two important provinces were Vardhamana- bhukti and Navyavakashika (or Suvarnavithi). It is highly probable that the headquarters of Gopachandra was in Kotalipara of Faridpur district. It is known from the Mallasarul copperplate of Gopachandra that one maharaja Vijayasena was a vassal chief of Vardhamana- bhukti. If this Vijayasena and Vijayasena of Gunaighar copperplate of Vainyagupta is same, it may be assumed that there was no long interval between the reigns of Vainyagupta (507-08 AD) and Gopachandra. If it is assumed further, as seems very likely, that Vijayasena, who ruled over the Vardhamana- bhukti under Gopachandra, also held the same office under Vainyagupta, it may reasonably be concluded that Vainyagupta ruled over eastern, southern, and western Bengal, and that this imperial province of the Guptas constituted an independent kingdom under Gopachandra and his successors.

The Jayrampur copperplate of Gopachandra bears testimony to his flourishing rule over dandabhukti (southwest part of west Bengal and the bordering area of Orissa). The Mallasarul granted copperplate land in Vardhamana- bhukti, which proves that the southern part of West Bengal was also within his kingdom.

Because of scanty information very little about Gopachandra is known. But on the basis of the copperplates it may be said that he was the first independent and sovereign ruler of the Vanga kingdom. [Aksadul Alam]

Bibliography RC Majumdar, History of Ancient Bengal, Calcutta, 1971.