Early Medieval Period

Post Ancient/Early Medieval History is the period which marks the end of ancient period and start of medieval period. Political fragmentation, feudalism and creation of various states are highlights of this period. In South India, this was period where king played role of ritual head and lacks a firm revenue infrastructure or a standing army. This period from 600-1200 CE can be classified into two phases:

Pushyabhutis of Thanesar

The fall of the Gupta Empire had resulted in the division of northern India into several kingdoms. Around 5th century Kashmir, Punjab, and North West India was annexed and came under the sovereignty of the Hunas. Different feudatories of the Guptas declared their independence and start ruling in North and Western India. Pushyabhutis/Vardhanas declared their independence and gained prominence after the fall of the Guptas and they established their capital at Thanesar (near Kurukshetra, Haryana).

Prabhakar Vardhana (6th Century CE)

  • He was the first notable king of Pushyabhutis but 4th ruler from the family, who laid the foundation of this dynasty.
  • He had been preceded by his father, Adityavardhana, grandfather Rajyavardhana I and great-grandfather, Naravardhana.
  • Inscriptions suggest that Banabhatta, the seventh-century bard and chronicler of the Pushyabhutis/Vardhanas, may have been wrong to call these earlier rulers kings and that they may instead have been mere feudatory rulers of minor significance
  • He defeated the rulers of Punjab, Malwa, Gujarat, Sindh and Gandhara.
  • He also resisted the invasion of Hunas.
  • He married his daughter Rajyashri with Maukhari ruler Grahavarman of Kannauj.
  • His elder son Rajya Vardhana took the throne after him, but Rajya Vardhana was killed by Shashanka, the king of Gauda (region of Bengal and Bihar).

Harsha Vardhana (c.606-647 CE)

  • Harshavardhan was one of the foremost rulers in the history of India. His long reign of more than 40 years enjoy the place of great significance in Indian History. The Harshavardhan reign shines like a moon in the age of political fragmentation. His achievements in the fields of peace & war were equally remarkable.


  • Rajya Vardhana had succeeded Prabhakar Varadhana inititally. However, Harsha succeeded his brother, when Rajya Vardhana left the regins of governance in the hands of Harsha Vardhan as he had to undertake a campaign against ruler of Malwa, Devagupta and Shashanka, the ruler of Gauda, who had imprisoned their sister rajyashri and killed her husband Grahavarman. Rajya Vardhan defeated Malwa army and killed Devagupta, but was unfortunately killed by Shashanka, who also cut Bodhi tree and occupied Kannauj.
  • Harsha ascended the throne at the age of sixteen years.
  • Harsha marched towards Kannauj for the rescue of his sister Rajyashri, who was on the verge of commiting He defeated Shashanka and took the control over parts of Kongoda in Orissa.
  • Harshavardhan was Shaiva but he also supported Buddhism. He took the title of Sakalottarapathanath (Lord of the North).
  • Harsha brought Punjab, Kannauj, Bengal, Orissa and Mithila regions under his control and assumed the title of ‘Siladitya’:
  • As per Nausasi copper plate inscription, he also defeated the following:
  • Ruler of Sindh
  • Vallabhi King, Dhruvasena II
  • Pulkeshin II defeated him on the bank of the River Narmada.
  • Harsha’s Empire included following:
  • Thaneswar
  • Kannauj
  • Ahichchhatra
  • Shravasti
  • Prayag
  • Harshavardhana moved his capital from Thaneswar to Kannauj.
  • Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang visited India during 629-643 CE and left detailed account of the beauty, glory and opulence of Kannauj.



  • Harsha was a great patron of the art and learning, He wrote three dramas Priyadarshika, Ratnavali (both romantic comedies) and Nagananda (based of Bodhisattva Jimutavahana).
  • Many famous writers were part of his court such as:
  • Banabhatta: Author of Harshacharita & Parvatiparinay
  • Mayura: Author of Mayurashataka
  • Bhartrihari: Author of Vakapadiya
  • Matanga Divakara
  • Harsha was able to maintain diplomatic relations with his Chinese counterpart T’ang Emperor sent three embassies to his court. The last of these, under Wang-hiuen-tse, came to India in 647 CE after Harsha’s death.


  • The Emperor appointed provincial governors known as Lokapalas who were posted at chosen centers in different quarters. The provinces were known as Bhuktia, districats as Vishayas, sub-divisions of districts as Patakas and Villages as gramas.
  • Next to the sovereign were the chief minister and the mantriparishad. Avanti was the supreme minister of war and peace. For maintaining law and order, a great number of military and executive officers were employed.
  • According to Hiuen-Tsang, both ministers and officials received land grants instead of salaries. The revenues of Harsha’s Empire were divided into four parts. The first part was spent on the king. The second part was spent on scholars.The third part was spent on public servants and the fourth part was spent on religious activities.
  • The army of Harsha was organized into four traditional divisions. Probably 60,000 elephants and 100,000 horses.
  • Lawlessness was not the order of the day but there were plots against kings including one against Harsha. The offender was punished by imprisonment for life. Trial by or deal was common.

Socio-Economic and Cultural Setup

  • According to Hiuen-Tsang who visited Harsha’s kingdom, there was an existence of caste system in Indian society. Also there was rise of several mixed and sub-castes.
  • Hiuen-Tsang also mentions the existence of untouchables and outcastes. The position of women had also declined considerably during this period. Yet women were not regarded as inferior to men.
  • In the religious field, the ascendancy of Brahmanism brought about the decline of Buddhism. Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Jainism were also practiced. Harsha was considered to be liberal and secular king.
  • The chief source of revenue was the one-sixth produce of land. Few other taxes were imposed on ports, ferries etc. Return from royal lands, mines and tributes from vassals filled royal coffers were also the revenue sources.



Maukharis of Kannauj

Coins of Maukharis of Kannauj

The Maukharis belong to a very ancient family. A clay seal of the Maukharis has been found at Gaya belonged to the Maurya period. Reference to a Maukhari general is found in an inscription dated 239 A.D., discovered at Kota in Rajputana.

Four stone inscriptions of different Maukhari families have been in this area, which indicate ex­istence of seven Maukhari families during the third century. The Maukharis claimed descent from Asvapati, mentioned in the Mahabharata as the King of Madra in the Central Punjab.

They were feudatories of the Guptas. They used the title of Samanta. They ruled over the Kannauj which gradually replaced Pataliputra as the political centre of northern India. Harsha’s sister Rajyashri was married to Grahavarmana.

Hari Varhmana Maukhari (mid-6th Century):

·         Harivarman, the first ruler of Maukhris, assumed the title of Maharaja.

·         He is described in his inscriptions as one who had carried on extensive military campaigns and brought other kings under subjection.

Advaita Varmana

  • He had succeeded his father, and is said to have assumed the title of Maharaja.

Ishanavarmana (c.554-560 CE)

  • According to Asirgarh copper plate inscription, Ishanavarman was the first full-fledged independent Maukhari king.who took the title ‘Maharajadhiraja’.
  • Ishanavarman claims to have defeated the Andhras, Sulikas and the Gaudas.
  • He had suffered defeat at the hands of Kumaragupta and probably also by Damodargupta.
  • He offered resistance to Hunas and defeated them.

Sarvavarmana (c.560-585 CE)

  • He succeeded kingdom after his father Ishanavarmana.
  • He did maintain his hold on Magadha and kept the later Guptas under subordination.
  • Asirgarh copper plate inscription narrates his victory over Damodargupta, and describes Nimara as a ‘Maukhari outpost in the Deccan.’

Avanti Varmana (c.585-600 CE)

  • Sarvavarmana was succeeded by his son Avanti Varmana who took title of ‘Maharajadhiraja’.
  • He extending his boundary of the kingdom.
  • He transferred his capital to Kannauj.

Grahavarmana (around c.600 CE)

  • He succeeded Avantivarmana.
  • He was married to Rajyashri, the daughter of Prabhakar Vardhana of the Pushyabhutis.
  • He was killed by the Deva Gupta of the later Gupta lineage.

Chalukyas of Badami


Chalukyas of Badami was one of the most powerful dynasties and marked an important milestone in the history of South and Central India from 6th century CE to 12th century CE. The Chalukyas set up their kingdom in Western Deccan with the capital of Vatapi (modern Badami in Karnataka). The Chalukyas of Badami was also called as Western Chalukyas. The Eastern Chalukyas ruled in Vengi (Eastern Andhra Pradesh) from 624 CE. The Chalukyas of Lata ruled in present day Gujarat region. Pulkeshin I was founder of this Dynasty.

Pulakeshin I (c.535-566 CE)

  • He was the founder of Kingdom.
  • He made his capital at Vatapi (Badami, Karnataka).
  • He performed a number of Yajnas sacrifices such as

Kirtivarman I (c.566-598 CE)

  • Kirtivarman took the throne after his father Pulkeshin I.
  • Kirtivarman I further expanded the kingdom and was able to defeat the Kadambas of Banavasi (near Mysore),
  • He also defeated the Mauryas of the Konkan and the Nalas of the Bastar

Mangalesha (c.598-609 CE)

  • Mangalesha, brother of Kirtivarman I took the throne under his control but this was challenged by the Kirtivarman I’ son Pulkeshin.
  • After this series of war broke out between Mangalesha and Pulakeshin II, in which Pulakeshin II emerged triumphant.

Pulakeshin II (c.610-642 CE)

  • He was the most powerful and famous king of this dynasty, who achieved many military successes.
  • His childhood name was Ereya and ascended the Chalukya throne as Pulakeshin II.
  • As per Aihole Inscription, he won the battle against the following Kingdoms:
  • Kadambas of Banavasi
  • Alupas and Gangas of Mysore
  • Eastern Deccan Kingdoms
  • South Kosala
  • Kalinga
  • He defeated Harsha Vardhana on the banks of river Narmada and took the title of Dakshinapatheshvara (Lord of the South).
  • He also defeated Pallvas king Mahendravarman I. He established his brother Vishuvardhana in the region between Krishna and Godavari, known as Vengi.
  • Hsuan Tsang visited his kingdom and he explained the tolerance of Pulkeshin II for other religion.
  • He was killed during his second expedition against the Pallavas ruled by the King Narsimhavarman.
  • Badami was ruled by the Pallavas for 13 years as successor of Pulkeshin II failed to maintain unity among them.

Vikramaditya I (c.655-680 CE)

  • He was successful in pushing the Pallavas out of Badami and in re-establishment of authority over whole Chalukayas kingdom. He was also captured Pallava’s capital Kanchi.
  • He took the title Rajamalla (the Sovereign of the Mallas’ or Pallavas).
  • He also defeated the Cheras, Cholas and Pandyas.

Vinayaditya I (c.680-696 CE)

Ø  He succeeded Vikramaditya after his death.

Vijayaditya (c.696-733 CE)

  • His 37 year rule was a prosperous one and is widely known for his prolific temple building activity.

Vikramaditya II (c.733-743 CE)

  • The Vatapi dynasty was at its peak again during the rule of the Vikramaditya II, who is known for his repeated invasions of the territory of Tondaimandalam and his subsequent victories over Pallava King Nandivarman II.
  • He avenged the earlier humiliation of the Chalukyas by the Pallavas and engraved a Kannada inscription on the victory pillar of the Kailasanath Temple.
  • He is also known for benevolence towards the people and the monuments of Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital.
  • During his reign, Arab Intruders of the Umayyad Caliphate invaded southern Gujarat, which was under Chalukya rule, but the Arabs were defeated and driven out by Pulakesi, a Chalukya governor of Navsari.
  • He later also overran the other traditional kingdoms of Tamil country, the Pandyas, the Cholas and the Cheras, in addition to subduing a Kalabhra ruler.

Kirtivarman II (c.743-757 CE)

  • Last ruler of this dynasty who was defeated by the Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga. Thus, Chalukyan rule came to an end in about 757 CE and one of the feudatories, the Rashtrakutas came into prominence.

The Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi

In the mid-8th Century, the Eastern Chalukyas established themselves in Vengi in Andhra Pradesh. Initially, the capital of the Eastern Chalukyas was Vengi, but later it was moved to Rajamahendavaram (modern Rajamundry).

Vishnuvardhana (c.624-641 CE)

  • Pulakeshin II was succesful expedition against Pallavas king He established his brother Vishuvardhana as the governor in the region between Krishna and Godavari, known as Vengi.
  • Vishnuvardhana declared independence, after the death of Pulakeshin.

Vijayaditya II (c.808-847 CE)

  • Vishnuvardhan was succeeded by Vijayaditya.
  • He led successful military expeditions against the Rashtrakutas, the Gangas, and also led campaigns into Gujarat. Even the Rashtrakuta inscriptions acknowledge their defeat at the hands of Vijayaditya and they admit that ‘the glory of their kingdom was drowned in the ocean of the Chalukyas’.

Vijayaditya III (c.848-892 CE)

  • He claimed to have won over not only the Pallavas, the Pandyas, the Gangas, the Rashtrakutas, the Kalachuris, and South Kosala, but also gave shelter to a Chola King.

Bhima I (c.892-922 CE)

  • Rashtrakuta King captured Bhima I but later released him.

Vijayaditya IV (c.922 CE)

  • Some political stability was restored during the reigns of Bhima II and Amma II, but it did not last for a long time and subsequently in 999 CE, the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi were conquered by the Chola king Rajaraja.


  • The Badami Chalukyas adopted a monarchical form of government. The hereditary principle was followed generally and when it was violated occasionally, it led to a war of succession.
  • Sons of the king were trained with necessary skills in the art of warfare and peace. The rulers generally assumed high-sounding titles like Paramabhattaraka, Maharajadhiraja and Parameswara. Theoretically, the king wielded unlimited power, though in practice he was controlled by political needs of the Samantas who wielded considerable power – the power structure was hierarchical.
  • The king was assisted by a Mantrimandali and a set of high officials. Mahasandhivigrahika is very often mentioned in the records.
  • The three important military officers:
  • Baladhikrita
  • Dandanayaka
  • Mahaprachanda Dandanayaka
  • The kingdom consisted of two parts: one ruled by the king directly and the other ruled by Samantas. The position of the Samantas also varied. The king exercised control over the Samantas through his representative stationed in the feudatory kingdom.
  • The kingdom was divided into three Rastras:

Vishaya – The head of Vishaya was called Vishayapati.

Bhukti – The head of Bhukti was called Bhogapati.

Grama – The Gramabhogikas or Gamundas were incharge of the villages.

The towns were under the control of Narapatis or Nagarapatis.

  • The principal source of revenue for the state was land revenue. The rulers collected money through direct and indirect taxes resulting in high incidence of taxation on the common man. Land tax was collected in kind.

Art, Architecture, and Literature

  • The Chalukyas of Badami were well known as patrons of art, architecture, education and literature. The rulers gave Agraharas as gifts to learned Brahmins. Besides Agraharas, we come across Ghatikas or Vedic colleges.





  • Vijayanka or Vijaya Bhattarika, identified as the wife of Chandraditya, son of Pulakesin II is also a recognized Sanskrit scholar of those times.
  • Pujyapada wrote a treatise on medicine entitled Kalyanakaraka in Sanskrit. Two eminent scholars of reputation, Syamakundacharya and Srivardhadeva also flourished during the reign of the Chalukyas of Badami. Srivardhadeva also known as Tumburacharya wrote a commentary on Tattvardha Mahasastra with the title of Cudamani.
  • The majority of structures were built for Hindu deities, while a few are also built for the Jain and the Buddhist worshippers. While Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal constitute the major centres of artistic excellence, minor centres like Lakkundi cave temples, one each for the Buddhists, the Jainas and the Hindus, are found at Aihole.
  • Similar rock-cut caves are also found at Badami. Groups of four pillared rock art halls of the same type are found at Badami, of which three are Hindu caves and one Jain.
  • Each cave comprised a pillared verandah, a columned hall and a small square cellar cut deep into the rock. Of the three Hindu caves, one is a Vaishnava cave belonging to AD 578. The cave contains fine reliefs of Vishnu seated, and of Anantapadmanabha and Narasimha. Both of them are located in the verandah.
  • Ladh Khan is a 15 metre square low flat-roofed building with a small square cell and porch set on the roof. It was a moot hall converted into a temple.
  • Hucimalligudi is a construction that appears to be similar to that of the temple of Durga. The Jaina temple of Meguti, though unfinished, exhibits some development in the direction of erection of structural temples.

The Chalukyas of Lata

They were the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas and declared themselves independent around 10th century with diminishing power of the Western Chalukyas and started ruling in the Lata region of Nimbarka.

Barappa (c.970-990 CE)

  • He was dynasty’s first ruler, is identified as general of Western Chaulkyas King Tailapa II and was subsequently made the governor of the Lata region.
  • According to one theory, a joint army of Barappa and the Shakambhari king Vighraraja II defeated the Solanki ruler Mularaja.
  • According to Hemachandra’s Devyashraya Kavya, Mularaja’s son Chamunda-raja invaded Lata and killed Barappa.

Gogi-raja (c.990-1010 CE)

  • Barappa’s son Gogi-raja may have revived the family’s rule in the Lata region.

Kirti-raja (c.1010-1030 CE)

  • A copper plate inscription of Kirti-raja was discovered in Surat, which lists the names of his ancestors as Gogi, Barappa and Nimbarka.

Vatsa-raja (c.1030-1050 CE)

  • Vatsa is believed to have built a golden umbrella for the god Somanatha.

Trilochana-pala (c.1050-1070 CE)

  • As per copper plate inscriptions related to Trilochana-pala shows that he took the title as ‘Maha-Mandaleshwara’.
  • The 1050 CE inscription records his donation of the Ekallahara village to a Brahmin named Taraditya.

The Pallavas of Kanchi

Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple

The term Pallav mean ‘creeper’, this is Sanskrit version of the word tondi. So, the Pallavas were probably a pastoral local tribe who established their authority in the land of creepers called Tondaimandalam, mostly comprising of southern Andhra Pradesh and northern Tamil Nadu with their capital at Kanchi. In the last quarter of the 6th Century, the ruler who played a crucial role in the Pallavas’s rise to power was Simhavishnu.



  • He supposedly defeated the Ikshvakus and laid a firm foundation for the Pallava Empire.
  • Putting an emd to the political disturbances caused by the Kalabhras, he conquered the land up to the Kaveri and set up capital at Kanchi.
  • He took the title of “Avanisimha” (Lion of the Earth).

Mahendravarman I (c.590-630 CE)

  • He was the son of Simhavishnu, who defeated the Kalabhras and re-established the Pallava kingdom.
  • During his reign, conflict between Chalukyas of Badami and the Pallavas heightened and he was defeated by Pulkeshin II at Pullalur who annexed the northern part of the Pallava Kingdom.
  • He was patron of arts, was himself a poet and musician. He wrote the Mattavilasa Prahasanna and initiated the construction of the famous cave temple at Mahabalipuram.
  • He was earlier a Jaina but later took up Shaivism under the influence of Appar.

Narasimhavarman I/Mahamalla (c.630-668 CE)

  • He avenged his father’s defeat and not only defeated Pulkeshin II but also invaded the Western Chalukyan Kingdom and captured Badami with the help of the Sri Lankan prince, Manavarma.
  • He claimed to have won over not only the Chalukyas but also the Cholas, Cheras and the Kalabhras.
  • He dispatched two naval expeditions to help his friends Manavarma, but subsequently Manavarma was defeated and he had to seek political refuge at his court.
  • He was enthusiastic patron of architecture and along with constructing the port of Mamallapuram; he also ordered the construction of the rathas at Mahabalipuram. It is in honor of Narasimhavarman I that Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram.

Mahendravarman II (c.668-670 CE)

  • The Pallava-Chalukya conflict continued for subsequent decades and Mahendravarman II died fighting the Chalukyas.

Parmeshvarman I (c.670-695 CE)

  • He defeated the Chalukya king Vikramaditya and also the Gangas.
  • He built temple at Kanchi.

Narsimhavarman II/Rajasimha (c.700-728 CE)

  • He constructed Rajasimheshvara/Kailashnatha Temple.
  • He constructed Shore Temple at Mahabakipuram.
  • He sent as ambassador to China.

Parmeshvarman II (c.728-731 CE)

Nandivarman II (c.731-795 CE)

Dantivarman (c.795-846 CE)

  • During his reign, Rashtrakuta king Govind III invaded Kanchi.

Nandivarman III (c.846-869 CE)

  • He managed to defeat the Pandyas.

Aparajita (c.880-893 CE)

  • He was last known Pallava king who, with the help of Western Gangas and Cholas, defeated the Pandyas at a battle at Shripurambiyam.


The Pandyas of Madurai


The Pandyas were involved in internecine wars with the other contemporary powers such as the Pallavas. They were in control of Madurai and Tirunelvelli district of Tamil Nadu.

Kadugon (c.590-620 CE)

·         He took the title of ‘Pandyadhiraja’.

·         He is known for ending the Kalabhra rule, marking the beginning of a new era in the Tamil speaking region.

Maravarman Avanishulamani (c.620-640 CE)

  • He took the title of Maravarman.
  • He was the son of Kadungon and credited with ending the Kalabhras’s rule in the area and revived the Pandyas. It is noteworthy to understand that during that time, the rise of Kalabhras was not seen in a positive light as they posed a serious challenge to the Pallavas and other rulers in Tamil land.
  • They put an end to the brahmadeya rights granted to the Brahmanas in numerous villages and mostly patronized Buddhist monasteries.

Jayantavarman (c. 640-670 CE)

·         He was also known as Seliyan Sendan.

Arikesari Maravarman (c. 670-710 CE)

·         He was also known as Arikesari Parankusa.

·         He performed the Hiranyagarbha and Tulabhara rituals.

Rajasimha (c.735-765 CE)

  • He defeated the Pallavas and had the epithet of Pallavas-bhanjana (breaker of the Pallavas). He expande the Pandya Empire

Jatila Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan (c.765-815 CE)

  • He expanded the Pandyan Empire

Shrimara Shrivallabha (c.815-862 CE)

  • The Pandyas were completely overpowered by Cholas in the 10th

Varagunavarman II (c. 862-880 CE)

  • He was the contemporary of the great Saivite saint and author Manikavasagar who wrote the epoch making book Tiruvasagam.

Parantaka Viranarayana (c. 880-900 CE)

  • He succeeded Varagunavarman II.

Maravarman Rajasimha III (c. 900-920 CE)

  • He was the last Pandya king.
  • He opposed the Chola king of Thanjavur at Kodumbalur and plundered the Chera capital at Vanchi in Kongu Nadu.
  • After the successive defeats, he fled to Ceylon but was not get shelter then he went to Kerala, as he himself had descended in part from a Chera king where he spent the rest of his days keeping a low profile.

The Pratihara Dynasty

The Pratiharas were an Indian dynasty that ruled a large kingdom in northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. However the political history of the Pratiharas was marked with their career of enormous warfare. The ascendancy of the Pratihara power began with Nagabhatta I, who ascended the throne in the middle of the 8th century. He extended his control in the east and south from Mandor, conquering Malwa as far as Gwalior and the port of Bhrauch in Gujarat. He established his capital at Ujjaini in Malwa.

The greatest achievement of Nagabhatta was his victory against the Arabs. The Arabs had snatched a portion of Malwa. Thus the strong foundation of the Pratihara kingdoms was threatened. He inflicted a violent defeat to the Arabs. Thus the Arabs remained confined in the region of Sind and could not penetrate into India.

Nagabhatta I (c.730-760 CE)

  • He was known for checking the invasion of the Arabs and offered most successful resistance to the Arabs.
  • He offered strong resistance to Arabs and defeated them under Junaid and Tamin during the Caliphate campaigns in India.
  • He exercised control over the areas of Malwa, Rajputana, and Gujarat.

Vatsaraja (c.780-800 CE)

  • He extended his kingdom to a large part of North India and made Kannauj (in western U.P) his capital.
  • Vatsaraja’s policy of expansion brought him into conflicts with Dharampala, the Pala King of Bengal and Bihar and also with Rashtrakuta king Dhruva. This conflict was famously known as the ‘tripartite struggle’.
  • Vatsaraja defeated Dharampala (Pala King) who eyed to capture the Kannauj.
  • He was defeated by Dhruva, the Rashtrakuta King.

Nagabhatta II (c.800-833 CE)

  • During tripartite struggle, Dharampala was again defeated by Nagabhatta II, but Nagabhatta was defeated by Rashtrakuta king Govind III.
  • Nagabhatta II was succeeded by his own Ramabhadra, who ruled briefly, and was succeeded by his son Mihir Bhoja.

Bhoja I/Mihir Bhoja (c.836-885 CE)

  • He was the grandson of Nagabhatta II, who had long reign of over 48 years and proved to be the most successful and popular ruler of Pratiharas.
  • In early years of his reign he was defeated by the Palas, Rashtrakutas and the Kalchuris, but he subsequently made a comeback.
  • With aid of feudatories such as the Chedis and the Guhilas, he won victories over the Palas and the Rashtrakutas.
  • According to Arab travelers, the Pratiharas rulers had the best calvary in India.
  • Expansion checked by Sankarvarman of Kashmir and rashtrakuta Krishna II and Devapala.
  • He was a devotee of Vishnu and adopted the title of “Adivarah”.
  • The Kalachuris, the Chandals and the Arabs of Sindh acknowledged his supremacy.

Mahendrapala (c.885-910 CE)

  • Under Bhoja and his successor Mahendrapala I, the Pratiharas empire reached its peak of prosperity and power.
  • At the time of Mahendrapala I, the Empire reached west to the border of Sindh, east to Bengal, north to the Himalayas, and south past the Narmada.
  • He fought a battle with the King of Kashmir but had to yield to him some of the territories in the Punjab won by Bhoja.
  • He took the title of “Maharajadhiraja” of Aryavarta (Great King of Kings of Northern India).
  • His court was adorned by Rajashekhar, who was an eminent Sanskrit poet, dramatist and critic who wrote:
  • Karpuramanjari: A famous play written in Sauraseni Prakrit to please his wife, Avantisundari, a woman of taste and accomplishment. He is perhaps the only ancient Indian poet to acknowledge a woman for her contribution to his literary career.
  • Kavya Mimansa (around c.880-920 CE): A practical guide for poets that explains the elements and composition of a good poem.
  • Vidhasalabhanjika
  • Balaramayana
  • Prapanch Pandav
  • Balabharata
  • Bhusan Kosh

Mahipala I (c.913-944 CE)

  • He was defeated by the Rashtrakuta King Indra III, who completely devasted the city of Kannauj.
  • Gujarat passed into hands of the Rashtrakutas in this period, in al likelihood, as Al Masudi in his accounts mention that Pratihara Empire had no access to the sea.

Rajyapala (c.960-1018 CE)

  • The Rashtrakuta king Krishna III invaded north India in about 963 CE defeated the Pratihara ruler.
  • Raid of Mahmud Ghazni on Kannauj; Rajyapala fled from battlefield.
  • He was murdered by Vindhyadhar Chandella.

Yashpala (c.1024-1036 CE)

  • Last ruler of this dynasty.
  • By 1090 CE, the Gadhavalas conquered Kannauj.


The Palas Dynasty


The Pala Dynasty, which originated in the region of Bengal as an imperial power during the Late Classical period on the Indian subcontinent. The dynasty was named after its ruling dynasty, whose rulers bore names ending with the suffix of Palau, which meant “protector”. They were followers of the Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. They were insightful diplomats and military conquerors. Their army was equipped with war elephant cavalry.


Gopala (around c.750 CE)

  • According to the Khalimpur copper plate inscription of Dharampala, Gopala in order to rescue the people from matsya-nyaya (a period of anarchy), founded the Pala dynasty when he was elected the king by notable men of the realm.
  • He displaced the later Guptas of Magadha and Khadga dynasty of eastern Bengal.
  • Gopala was an ardent Buddhist and according to Buddhist scholar Taranatha, Gopala built the famous monastery at

Dharmapala (c.770-810 CE)

  • Though he initially suffered defeats at the hands of the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas, but later he conquered large parts of northern India and raised the Pala Empire to great heights.
  • He was real founder of Pala Dynasty because he greatly expanded the boundaries of the empire, and made the Palas a dominant power in the northern and eastern India.
  • He was a great patron of Buddism.
  • He revived the Nalanda University and founded the Vikramshila University.
  • He built the great Vihara at Somapuri in Verendri and the Vihara in Paharpur.

Devapala (c.810-850 CE)

  • He was staunch Buddhist and constructed many temples and monasteries in Magadha.
  • He patronized the Vikramashila University and the Nalanda University.
  • Famous poet Vajradatta, who was author of Lokesvarashataka, was one of the gems of his court.
  • He expanded the realm of the authority of Pala Empire by conquering present day Assam and Orissa.

Mahendrapala (c.850-851 CE)

  • Jagjivanpur copper plate states that he was son of Devapala and younger brother of Shurapala I.

Shurapala I (c.852 CE)

  • As per Jagjivanpur inscription, He was younger brother and royal envoy of Mahendrapala.

Vigrahapala I (c.853 CE)

  • He ruled for very short period and after that became ascetic.

Narayanapala (c.854–908 CE)

  • Badal pillar inscription of his minister Bhatta Guravamishra provide information about his reign.

Rajyapala (c.908–940 CE)

  • He was seventh ruler of the Pala dynasty and was succeeded by his son Gopala II.

Gopala II (c.940–960 CE)

  • He was eighth ruler of the Pala dynasty who ruled for 20 years and was succeeded by Vigrhapala.

Vigrahapala II (c.960– 986 CE)

  • He was ninth ruler of Pala dynasty and was succeeded by Mahipala.

Mahipala I (c.988–1036 CE)

  • He was one of the mighty rulers of Pala dynasty who expanded his boundaries as far as Varanasi.

Nayapala (c.1038–1053 CE)

  • He was eleventh ruler of Pala dynasty.
  • He defeated the Kalachuri king Karna.

 Vigrahapala III (c.1054–1072 CE)

  • He was twelfth ruler of the Pala dynasty and ruled for 15 years.
  • He was succeeded by Mahipala II.

Mahipala II (c.1072–1075 CE)

  • He was thirteenth ruler of the Pala dynasty and ruled for 5 years.
  • He was succeeded by Shurapala II.

Shurapala (c.1075–1077 CE)

  • He was fourteenth ruler of the Pala who ruled for two years.
  • He was succeeded by Ramapala.

Ramapala (c.1077–1130 CE)

  • He was fifteenth ruler of the Pala dynasty.
  • Sandhyakar Nandi was his court poet who wrote a Sanskrit two meaning base poem-like novel Ramacharitam.

Kumarapala (c.1130–1140 CE)

  • He was sixteenth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 10 years.
  • He was succeeded by Gopala III.

Gopala III (c.1140–1144 CE)

  • He was seventeenth ruler of the Pala dynasty and ruled for 4 years.
  • He was succeeded by Madanapala.

Madanapala (c.1144–1155 CE)

  • He was eighteenth ruler of Pala lineage and ruled for 18 years.

Govindapala (c.1155–1159 CE)

  • He was last ruler of Pala dynasty but his lineage is questionable.





The Rashtrakuta


Rashtrakuta dynasty ruled Deccan  from about 735 to 982 CE. The Rashtrakutas considered themselves descendants of Satyaki. Historians differ on the question of their origins. It is evident from a few chalukya kings’ inscriptions that they were vassals of the Chalukyas. Rashtrakutas were of Kannada origin and their mother tongue was Kannada. Dantidurga defeated Chalukya Kirtivarman II and established an impressive empire with the Gulbarga region in modern Karnataka as its capital.


Dantidurga (c.735–756 CE)

  • He was founder of the Rashtrakuta Empire of Manyakheta. His capital was situated in Gulbarga area of Karnataka.
  • He is said to have conquered Kalinga, Kosala, Kanchi, Srisril, Malwa, Lata etc. and occupied Maharashtra by defeating Chalukya King Kirtivarman II.
  • He took the titles Rajadhiraja and Parameshvara.

Krishna I (c.756–774 CE)

  • He succeeded Dantidurga and conquered the territories that were still under the control the control of Chalukayas.
  • He effectively battled the Western Ganga Dynasty King Sripurusha (and obtained some domain in Gangavadi, present day Southern Karnataka) and the Shilaharas of South Konkan.
  • He defeated the Eastern Chalukya ruler Vishnuvardhana IV.
  • He was a great patron of art and architecture.
  • The Kailasanatha Temple in Ellora was built under his reign. He was in charge of building 18 Shiva temples.

Govinda II (c.774–780 CE)

  • He succeeded Krishna I. Later, he left the administration to his younger brother named Dhruva Dharavarsha.

Dhruva (c.780–793 CE)

  • He was the one of the striking rulers of Rashtrakuta Dynasty.
  • He defeated Gurjara-Pratihara King Vatsyaraja, the Pallavas of Kanchi and the Pala King Dharmapala of Bengal.

Govinda III (c.793–814 CE)

  • He succeeded his father Dhruva Dharavarsha.
  • He was militarily the best emperor with multiple successes from Cape Comorin in the south to Kannauj in the north, from Banaras in the east to Broach (Bharuch) in the west.
  • From his capital in Mayurkhandi in Bidar area, Govinda III directed his northern battle in 800 AD. He effectively acquired the accommodation of Gurjara-Pratihara Nagabhata II, Dharmapala of Pala Empire and the ruler of Kannauj, Chakrayudha. Govinda III died in 814 AD, and was succeeded by his son Amoghavarsha.

Amoghvarsha or Sarva (Amoghavarsha I) (814–878 CE)

  • He was one of the greatest rulers of the Rashtrakuta tradition.
  • His rule of 64 years is one of the longest unequivocally dated monarchical rules on record. Amoghavarsha I was an expert writer and researcher.
  • He composed the Kavirajamarga, the most punctual surviving abstract work in Kannada, and Prashnottara Ratnamalika, a religious work in Sanskrit.
  • He moved the Rashtrakuta superb capital from Mayurkhandi in the Bidar local to Manyakheta in the Gulbarga region in the advanced Karnataka state.

Krishna II (878–914 CE)

  • He was ascended the Rashtrakuta throne after the death of his renowned father Amoghavarsha I.
  • The rule of Krishna II saw huge advances in writing, in spite of the fact that in the issues of development of the domain, his rule was blended.
  • He endured a few inversions against the Eastern Chalukyas ruled by King Gunaga Vijyaditya III whose leader sought after Krishna II to central India.

Indra III (c.914-929 CE)

  • Grandson of Amoghvarsha who crushed the different rebellions and re-established the empire.
  • He defeated Pratihara Mahipala I and sacked Kannauj in 915 CE, and emerged as the most powerful ruler of his times.

Amoghavarsha II (c.929–930 CE)

  • He succeeded his father Indra IIIupon his death, and was himself assassinated by his brother and successor, Govinda IV.

Govinda IV (c.930–935 CE)

  • He was the younger brother of Amoghavarsha II. He became the Rashtrakutaemperor in 930 as described in the Kalasa record of Chikmangalur.
  • He was a very unpopular ruler who indulged in licentious acts. Control over Kannaujwas lost during his rule.
  • The Chalukyasof Vengi defeated him and much territory was lost. His own feudatories including King Arikesari of Vemulavada in Andhra revolted against him and placed Amoghavarsha III on the throne in 935.
  • Govinda IV had matrimonial relationship with the Cholas of Kanchi and finally found refuge with them when his feudatories revolted. Govinda IV patronised Kannada poet Ravinagabhatta.

Amoghavarsha III (c.934–939 CE)

  • His Kannada name was Baddiga, was in exile in Tripuri and was a younger brother of Indra III and uncle to Govinda IV.
  • He came to power with the help of feudatory King Arikesari of Vemulavada in Andhra and other vassals who revolted against Govinda IV.
  • He was married to Kundakadevi, a princess from the Kalachuri dynasty of Tripuri. His daughter was married to Western Ganga King Bhutuga II to whom a large territory was given as dowry.

Krishna III (c.939 – 967 CE)

  • He was the last great warrior and capable ruler of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty of Manyakheta. He was a wise manager and adroit military campaigner.
  • He pursued numerous wars to bring back the wonderfulness of the Rashtrakutas and assumed an essential part in revamping the Rashtrakuta realm.
  • At his top, he ruled an inconceivable realm extending from Narmada stream in the north to the Kaveri waterway delta in the south and included Tamil country (Tondaimandalam) while levying tribute on the king of Ceylon.

Khottiga (c.967–972 CE)

  • He took the title of Nityavarsha.
  • The Paramara King Siyaka II plundered Manyakheta and Khottiga died fighting them. This information is available from the Jain work Mahapuranawritten by Pushpadanta.

Karka II (c.972–973 CE)

  • He had military successes against the Cholas, Pandyas, and Gurjaras. His able feudatory, the Western Ganga King Marasimha II defeated the Pallavas.
  • But the weaknesses created by the earlier plunder of Manyakheta by Paramara King Siyaka II exposed the Rashtrakutas to further depredation who did not survive for long.
  • During this time of confusion, Chalukya Tailapa II declared independence and killed Karka II.

Indra IV (c.973–982 CE)

  • He was the last Rashtrakuta ruler and a nephew of the feudatory king of Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad. The Ganga king Marasimha II tried hard to keep the dwindling Rashtrakuta Empire intact but in vain. Marasimha II committed Sallekhana in 975 and Indra IV followed him in 982 at Shravanabelagola. Thus, the dynasty of Rashtrakutas vanished into history.

Adminstrative Structure of Rashtrakutas 

  • The kingdom was categorised into Mandala or Rashtras(regions). A Rashtra was ruled by a Rashtrapathi who once in a while was the emperor himself.
  • Amoghavarsha I’s realm had 16 Rashtras. Under a Rashtra was a Vishaya (district) regulated by a Vishayapathi. The ministers once in a while ruled more than a Rashtra.
  • Beneath the Vishaya was the Nadu took care of by the Nadugowda or Nadugavunda; infrequently there were two such authorities, one taking on the position through heredity and another appointed centrally. The most minimal division was a Grama or villageadministered by a Gramapathi or Prabhu Gavunda.

Rashtrakutas’s contribution in Art, Culture and Literature

Literature under Rashtrakutas
  • Rashtrakutas widely patronized the Sanskrit literature.
  • Trivikrama wrote Halayudha composed Kavirahasya during the reign of Krishna III.
  • Jinasena composed Parsvabhudaya, a biography of Parsva in verses.
  • Gunabhadra wrote the Adipurana, the life stories of various Jain saints.
  • Sakatayana wrote Amogavritti a grammar work.
  • Viracharya – a Great mathematician of this period wrote Ganitasaram.
  • During the period of the Rashtrakutas, the Kannada literature saw its beginning.
  • Kavirajamargacomposed by Amogavarsha’s was the first poetic work in the Kannada language.
  • Pampa was the greatest of the Kannada poets and Vikramasenavijaya is his famous work.
  • Santipurana was another great work wrote by Ponna another famous Kannada poet.The art and architecture of the Rashtrakutas can be found at Ellora and Elephanta.
Architecture under Rashtrakutas
Kailasanatha Temple
  • The temple is carved out of a massive block of rock measuring 200 feet long, and 100 feet in breadth and height.
  • The central face of the plinth has imposing figures of elephants and lions which give an impression that the entire structure rests on their back
  • It has three-tiered sikhara or tower which resembles the sikhara of the Mamallapuram rathas
  • There is a pillared hall with 16 square pillars in the interior of the temple
  • A sculpture of the Goddess Durga is engraved as slaying the Buffalo demon.
  • In the interior of the temple there is a pillared hall which has sixteen square pillars.
  • The sculpture of the Goddess Durga is shown as slaying the Buffalo demon.
  • In another sculpture Ravana was making attempts to lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva.
  • Originally called as Sripuri, Elephanta is an island near Bombay.
  • The Portuguese named it as Elephanta after seeing the huge figure of an elephant.
  • The sculptures in Ellora and Elephanta has close similarities
  • There are huge figures of dwara-palakas at the entrance to the sanctum.
  • Trimurthi is the most magnificent figure of this temple. The sculpture is six metres high and said to represent the three aspects of Shiva as Creator, Preserver and Destroyer.

The Cholas


Brihadeeswara Temple

The founder of the Chola Empire was Vijayalaya, who was first feudatory of the Pallavas of Kanchi. He captured Tanjore in 850 A.D. He established a temple of goddess Nishumbhasudini (Durga) Tanjore. They successfully South India through their naval strength extended their influence in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. They had trade contacts with the Arabs in the West and with the Chinese in the East.

Years Rulers
848-869 CE Vijayalaya Chola
871 – 907 CE Aditya I
907-953 CE Parantaka Chola I
953-956 CE Gandaraditya Chola
956-957 CE Arinjaya Chola
957-973 CE Sundara Chola
973-985 CE Uttama Chola
985-1014 CE Rajaraja Chola I
1014-1044 CE Rajendra Chola I
1044-1054 CE Rajadhiraja Chola
1054-1063 CE Rajendra Chola II
1063-1067 CE Virarajendra Chola
1067-1070 CE Athirajendra Chola
1070-1122 CE Kulothunga Chola I
1122-1135 CE

Vikrama Chola

1135-1150 CE Kulothunga Chola II
1150-1173 CE

Rajaraja Chola II

1173-1178 CE Rajadhiraja Chola II
1178–1218 CE Kulothunga Chola III
1218–1256 CE Rajaraja Chola III
1256–1279 CE

Rajendra Chola III


Vijayalaya Chola (c.848–869 CE)

  • He was the founder of the Chola Empire, earlier a feudatory of the Pallavas.
  • He took the title of
  • He established his power in the area around Eraiyur, captured Tanjore and extended his kingdom along the lower Kaveri.
  • He built solesvara temple of Narttamalai, Pudukkottai.

Aditya I (c.871 – 907 CE)

  • He was known by the surname
  • He was the son of Vijayalaya who extended the Chola dominions by the conquest of the Pallavas and Pandyas at the ‘Battle of Shripurambiyam’ and occupied the Western Ganga Kingdom.
  • Later in c.893 CE, he defeated and killed his Pallava overlord Aparajita thus bringing Tondaimandalam under his control.
  • He also allied with the Cheras and conquered Kongudesha from Pandyas.
  • He entered into a matrimonial alliance with the Pallavas by marrying a Pallava princess.
  • He built 108 temples for Shiva along the banks of the Kaveri.

Parantaka Chola I (c.907-953 CE)

  • He took the title of Maduraiyum Elamum Konda Parakesarivarman– Parakesarivarman who conquered Madurai and Sri Lanka.
  • Best part of his reign was marked by increasing success and prosperity.

Gandaraditya Chola (c.953-956 CE)

  • He was known as “Merkey elundarulina devar” – the king who was pleased to go west.
  • He had written Tamil hymn on Siva of the Chidambaram Temple.
  • He was a reluctant monarch and focussed more on religious work and not on empire building.

Arinjaya Chola (c.956-957 CE)

  • He was also referred to by the names Arikulakesari, Arikesari, or Arindama.
  • There is some debate among group of historian regarding whether Arinjaya actually succeeded Gandaraditya or whether Arinjaya ruled on his own right. There is little epigraphic evidence available to give us any concrete information on Arinjaya’s rule.

Sundara Chola (c.957-973 CE)

  • He was known by the name Madhurantakan Sundara Chola and Parantaka Chola II.
  • During his reign, both the both Sanskrit and Tamil literature received encouragement. The Buddhist works on Tamil grammar, Virasoliyam eulogises him as a parton of letters and of Buddhism.

Uttama Chola (c.973-985 CE)

  • He was the son of the illustrious Sembiyan Mahadevi and the cousin of Parantaka II.

Rajaraja Chola I (c.985-1014 CE)

  • He was greatest Chola ruler, who helped raise the Chola Empure to become the largest dominion in South India till the 13th
  • He led a naval expedition against the Sailendra Empire (Malaya Peninsula) and expanded Chola trade with China.
  • He built the Brihadeswara Temple in Thanjavur, one of the largest Hindu temples.
  • During his reign, the texts of the Tamil poets Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar were collected and edited into one compilation called Thirumurai.
  • During his reign he developed and re-organized an excellent revenue system wherein land was surveyed and then revenue was assessed.

Rajendra Chola I (c.1014-1044 CE)

  • He completed the victory over the Ceylon by defeating the Sri Lanka king Mahinda V. The royal insignia of the king and the queen of Sri Lanka were captured and Sri Lanka was not able to free herself from the Chola control for another 50 years.
  • He completey overran the Pandyas and Cheras and included them in his empire.
  • He built a new capital city called Gangaikonda Cholapuram to commemorate his victory after defeating Mahipala, the Pala king of Bengal and Bihar.
  • He built sixteen miles long and three miles wide artificial lake which was one of the largest man-made lakes in India.
  • He was a great patron of learning and was known as Pandita-Chola.

Rajadhiraja Chola (c.1044-1054 CE)

  • He maintained the Chola authority over most of Lanka, Vengi, Kalinga, etc.
  • He performed the horse sacrifice and earned the title Jayamkonda Cholan (The Victorious Cholan).
  • He was also known as Vijaya Rajendra Cholan (the victorious Rajendra Cholan).
  • He also assumed the title Jayangonda Chola.

Rajendra Chola II (c.1054-1063 CE)

  • He was crowned in battlefield.
  • He planted Jaystambha at Kolhapur.
  • He is best remembered for his role in the battle of Koppam along with his elder brother where he dramatically turned towards the Chalukyan King Someshvara I, after the death of his brother in 1054.

Virarajendra Chola (c.1063-1067 CE)

  • He was one of the most underrated Chola kings, mainly because a major part of his life was spent as a subordinate of his two elder brothers Rajadhiraja Chola I and Rajendra Chola II.
  • The famous grammatical work in Tamil, Virasoliyam was written by Buddhamitra during his period.

Athirajendra Chola (c.1067-1070 CE)

  • His reign was marked by civil unrest, possibly religious in nature.

Kulothunga Chola I (c.1070-1122 CE)

  • He got the title Kulottunga, literally meaning the exalter of his race.
  • Famous poet Jayamkondar Jayamkondar who wrote the poem Kalingattu parani to celebrate the military victories of Kulottunga Chola was one of the gems of his court.
  • He established Chola overlordship over the Sri Vijaya province Kedah in Malaysia.

Vikrama Chola (c.1122-1135 CE)

  • He was a great devotee of Siva and greatly patronised the temple at Chidambaram.
  • Took the title of Vikrama Chola was Tyagasamudra – the ocean of sacrifice.

Kulothunga Chola II (c.1135-1150 CE)

  • His reign was known for general peace and good governance.
  • He was also called Tirunirruchola.

Rajaraja Chola II (c.1150-1173 CE)

  • He initiated the construction of the very famous Airavateswarar Temple at Darasuram near Kumbakonam.
  • During his rule the chola navies did remain dominant in the western sea as well as eastern sea.

Rajadhiraja Chola II (c.1173-1178 CE)

  • He was known to have raised flower gardens around the place.
  • During his reign witnesses the local feudatories and chieftains.

Kulothunga Chola III (c.1178–1218 CE)

  • He gained victories in war against the Hoysalas, Pandyas of Madurai, Cheras of Venad, the Sinhala kings of Eelam (Ceylon), as well as the Chodas of Velanadu and Nellore.
  • He initiated commissioned the Sarabeswara or Kampahareswara temple at Tribhuvanam near Kumbakonam which is considered a great specimen of Dravidian Architecture.
  • He built the mukha-mandapa of Sabhapati, the gopura of Goddess Girindraja (Sivakami) and the verandah around the enclosure (prakara harmya) in the Siva Temple of Chidambaram.

Rajaraja Chola III (c.1218–1256 CE)

  • Under his reign, the Chola had lost most of their control of the territories south of the river Kaveri and their hold on the Vengi territories in the north was slipping with the emergence of the Hoysala power.

Rajendra Chola III (c.1256–1279 CE)

  • During his reign, Pandyas destroyed the fort and the outer wall of the temple at Gangaikonda Cholapuram.


  • The capital of the Cholas was Tanjore. The Chola Empire was divided into three major administrative units called Central Government, Provincial government and local government. An Uttaramerur inscription throws light on the administration of the Cholas.
  • The administration was headed by the king. The Chola kingship was hereditary in nature.
  • As per the Chola royal family tradition, the eldest son succeeded the king to the Chola throne. The heir apparent was calledYuvaraja. The tiger was the royal emblem of Chola kings.
  • The king was assisted in his work by a council of ministers. The lower officials were called Siruntaramwhile higher officials were called
  • The whole empire had been divided into nine provinces called mandalams. Each province was headed by a viceroy who received orders from the king.
    Each mandalam was divided into number of Kottams or Valanaduswhich was further sub-divided into nadu. Each nadu was further divided into villages called Urs.
  • Chola government depended mainly on the land revenue as the main source of income. 1/6 of the land producewas collected as tax. Besides land revenue, customs and tolls were the other source of income for the empire. Moreover, taxes on ports, forests and mines contributed to the treasure of the king.
  • The Cholas possessed an efficient army and navy. The army was made of 70 regiments. Chola kings imported highly efficient Arabian horses at a very high price.
    The Chola king acted as the chief justice, as the trial in major cases were conducted by the king himself. The minor disputes at the village level were heard by the village assembly.
  • One of the most important administrative units of the Cholas wasNadu. Each nadu was headed by a Nattar while the council of nadu was named nattavai.
  • The responsibility of the village administration was entrusted to the village assembly called Grama Sabha, the lowest unit of the Chola administration. It was involved in the maintenance of roads, tanks, temples and public ponds.
  • The village assembly was also in charge of payment of taxes due from the villages to the King’s treasure.
  • The village administration was carried on effectively by variyamswho used to be the male members of the society. There were types of variams. For example the justice was administered by Niyaya variyam while temples were looked after by the Dharma variyan. The control of the finance was given to the pon variyam.



The Rajput Clans


A Rajput (from Sanskrit raja-putra, “son of a king”) is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of Western, Central, Northern India and some parts of Pakistan. They claim to be descendants of ruling Hindu warrior classes of North India. Rajputs rose to prominence during the 6th to 12th centuries. Until the 20th century, Rajputs ruled in the “overwhelming majority” of the princely states of Rajasthan and Saurashtra, where the largest numbers of princely states were found. The Rajput population and the former Rajput states are found spread through much of the subcontinent, particularly in north, west and central India. Populations are found in Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

There are several major subdivisions of Rajputs, known as vansh or vamsha, the step below the super-division jati. These vansh delineate claimed descent from various sources, and the Rajputs are generally considered to be divided into three primary vansh: Suryavanshi denotes descent from the solar deity Surya, Chandravanshi from the lunar deity Chandra, and Agnivanshi from the fire deity Agni. Lesser-noted vansh include Udayvanshi, Rajvanshi, and Rishivanshi.  The histories of the various vanshs were later recorded in documents known as vanshaavaliis. Rajputs who are descended from the thirty-six royal Kshatriya clans mentioned in the sacred books, the Puranas, and in the two great Indian epics, the “Mahabharata” and the “Ramayana”, are classified into three basic lineages (vanshas or vamshas):

Suryavanshi or Raghuvanshies

The clans of the solar dynasty, descended through Manu, Ikshvaku, Harischandra, Raghu, Dasaratha and Rama.

Chandravanshi or Somavanshies

The clans of the lunar dynasty, descended through Yayati, Deva Nausha, Puru, Yadu, Kuru, Pandu, Yudhisthira and Krishna.

  1. The Yaduvanshi lineages are a major sub-branch of the Chandravanshi lineage. Lord Krishna was born a Yaduvanshi.
  2. The Puruvanshi lineages are a major sub-branch of the Chandravanshi Rajputs. The Kauravs and Pandavs of the epic Mahabharata were Puruvanshis.


The Agniculas the clans of the fire dynasty, descended from Agnipala, Swatcha, Mallan, Gulunsur, Ajpala and Dola Rai.

The Chahamanas of Shakambhari

The Chauhan dynasty ruled Shakambari region in 11th century, it was a politically strong dynasty known for its policies. The great Rajputs were the kings of Chauhan dynasty known for their bravery and loyalty. They originally belonged to Agnivanshi Clan (descendants of the Fire God). The territory ruled by them was known as Sapadalaksha.

The Tripartite Struggle for control of northern India took place in the ninth century. The struggle was between the Pratihara Empire, the Pala Empire and the Rashtrakuta Empire. After the disappearance of centralized politics in northern India, many states came into existence and struggle for supremacy among them. One of the political ambitions of the period of 8th to 12th century was to conquer and ruled over the city of Kannauj which was a symbol of imperial power. Kannauj became centre of contentment between these three powers. Many of their military activities were directed to conquer Kannauj. Pratiharas became more powerful sometimes but was later defeated by the Palas. The Rashtrakutas fled away to the west and south Deccan. While these powers were busy in fighting against each others, their feudatories established numbers of small regional kingdom in northern India.

When the Pratihara power declined after the Tripartite Struggle, the Chahamana ruler Simharaja assumed the title Maharajadhiraja.


In the early 12th century, Ajayaraja II moved the kingdom’s capital to Ajayameru (modern Ajmer). For this reason, the Chahamana rulers are also known as the Chauhans of Ajmer.The Chahamanas fought several wars with their neighbours, including the Chaulukyas of Gujarat, the Tomaras of Delhi, and the Paramaras of Malwa. From 11th century onwards, they started facing Muslim invasions, first by the Ghaznavids, and then by the Ghurids. The dynasty’s power effectively ended in 1192 CE, when the Ghurids defeated his nephew Prithviraja III.

Years Rulers
917–944 CE Vakpatiraja I
944-971 CE Simharaja
971-998 CE Vigraharaja II
998-1012 CE Durlabharaja II
1012-1026 CE Govindaraja III
1026-1040 CE Vakpatiraja II
1040 CE Viryarama
1045-1065 CE Chamundaraja
1065-1070 CE Durlabharaja III
1079-1090 CE Vigraharaja III
1090-1100 CE Prithviraja I
1100-1135 CE Ajayaraja II
1135-1150 CE Arnoraja
1150 CE Jagaddeva
1150-1164 CE Vigraha raja IV
1164-1165 CE Amaragangeya
1165-1169 CE Prithviraja II
1169–1178 CE Someshvara
1178–1192 CE Prithviraja III
1192 CE Govindaraja IV
1193–1194 CE Hariraja


Vakpatiraja I (c.917–944 CE)

  • He was also known as Vappayaraja, was an Indian king belonging to the Shakambhari Chahamana dynasty. He ruled the Sapadalaksha country, which included parts of present-day Rajasthan in north-western India.
  • He appears to have made an attempt to throw off the Gurjara-Pratihara overlordship, and was the first Chahamana king to assume the title Maharaja.

Simharaja (c.944-971 CE)

  • He founded the independent Chahamana Dynasty.
  • He took the title of

Vigraharaja II (c.971-998 CE)

  • He defeated Mularaja I. He also captured Chitttor.

Durlabharaja II (c.998-1012 CE)

  • Durlabha-raja was a son of the Chahamana king Simharaja.
  • He succeeded his brother Vigraharaja II on the Chahamana throne.

Govindaraja III (c.1012-1026 CE)

  • The Muslim ruler Mahmud of Ghazni invaded the Chahamana kingdom during the reign of Govinda.
  • The Prabandha Koshastates that Govindaraja defeated Mahmud.

Vakpatiraja II (c.1026-1040 CE)

  • According to Prithviraja Vijaya, Vakpati defeated and killed Ambaprasada, the ruler of Aghata (identified with modern Ahar).

Viryarama (c.1040 CE)

  • Viryarama succeeded Vakpatiraja II as the Chahamana king, and was succeeded by Chamundaraja after a very short reign.
  • According to Prithviraja Vijaya, Viryarama was killed by the Paramara king Bhoja.

Chamundaraja (c.1045-1065 CE)

  • Chamundaraja appears to have defeated a Muslim army, as suggested by multiple texts including Prabandha KoshaHammira Mahakavyaand Surjana Charita. The Prabandha Kosha describes him as “the slayer of the Sultan”, while the Hammira Mahakavya states that he defeated one “Hejim-ud-Din”.
  • The Chahamana kingdom bordered the Ghaznavid Empire, and it is possible that Chamundaraja foiled a Ghaznavid invasion.
  • No Ghaznavid Sultan after Mawdud of Ghazni is known to have personally led an army to India; it is possible that the “Sultan” slayed by Chamundaraja was a Ghaznavid general.
  • According to Prithviraja Vijaya, Chamundaraja commissioned a Vishnu temple at Narapura (modern Narwar in Ajmer district).

Durlabharaja III (c.1065-1070 CE)

  • Durlabha-raja III, also known as Dusala, succeeded his father Chamundaraja on the Chahamana throne.
  • Durlabha seems to have faced Muslim invasions, most probably from the Ghaznavids, whose king was Ibrahim. The Prithviraja Vijayastates that he was killed in a battle with the Matangas.

Vigraharaja III (c.1079-1090 CE)

  • Vigraharaja III, also known as Visala or Bisala, was a son of the Chahamana king Chamundaraja.
  • The name of Vigraharaja’s queen was Rajadevi, as attested by the Bijolia rock inscription. The epic poem Vigraharaja Rasoclaims that he married Rajamati, the daughter of the earlier Paramara king Bhoja.

Prithviraja I (c.1090-1100 CE)

  • Prithviraja succeeded his father Vigraharaja III on the Chahamana throne.
  • Prithviraja appears to have been a Shaivite. According to the Prithviraja Vijaya, he built a food distribution centre (anna-satra) on the road to Somnath temple for pilgrims.

Ajayaraja II (c.1100-1135 CE)

  • He carried on the aggressive policy, defeated the Paramaras and captured their capital Ujjaini.
  • He founded the city of Ajayameru (Ajmer).

Arnoraja (c.1135-1150 CE)

  • Arnoraja repulsed a Ghaznavid invasion from the west, and also defeated several neighbouring Hindu kings including the Paramaras and the Tomaras.
  • He had to face defeats against the Chaulukyas, and was ultimately killed by his own son, Jagaddeva.

Jagaddeva (c.1150 CE)

  • He ascended the throne after killing his father Arnoraja, and ruled briefly before being dethroned by his brother Vigraharaja IV.

Vigraha raja IV (c.1150-1164 CE)

  • He moved the capital from Shakambhari to Ajmer.
  • He captured Delhi from the Tomars in 1151 CE but allowed them to rule as feudatories.
  • He also took possession of Eastern Punjab, sacked and plundered Gujarat.
  • He also came in conflict with the Paramaras of Malwa, which was probably ruled by their famous ruler Bhoja.
  • He authored a famous play named as Harikeli Nataka.
  • The structure that was later converted into the Adhai Din ka Jhopra mosque was constructed during his reign.
Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra is large and imposing structure in the city of Ajmer in Rajasthan. Originally a Sanskrit college with a temple of Saraswati within it, it was converted into a mosque by Qutb-ud-Din-Aibak, on the orders of Muhammad Ghori, in 1192 CE. However, the new mosque retained most of the original Hindu and Jain features, especially on the ornate pillars, with only the effigies of Hindu Gods and Goddesses removed neatly. The conversion to a mosque was completed in 1199 CE, and further beautified by Iltutmish of Delhi in 1213 CE. The structure was used as a mosque up to 1947. After the independence of India, the structure was turned over to the Jaipur circle of ASI (Archaeological survey of India) and is today visited by people of all religions, as a fine example of a mix of Indian, Hindu, Muslim and Jain architectures.

Amaragangeya (c.1164-1165 CE)

  • Amaragangeya was a son of the Chahamana king Vigraharaja IV.
  • He appears to have ascended the throne as a minor, and ruled for a very short period. He was succeeded by his paternal cousin Prithviraja II, who was a son of Vigraharaja’s brother Jagaddeva.

Prithviraja II (c.1165-1169 CE)

  • Prithviraja was a son of the Chahamana king Jagaddeva.
  • Prithviraja appears to have faced Muslim invasions from the west. According to the 1168 CE Hansi stone inscription, he assigned his maternal uncle Kilhana as the in-charge of the Ashika Fort (modern Hansi), anxious to save it from Hammira (Emir). The “Hammira” can be identified with Ghaznavid king Khusrau Malik, who controlled Lahore at the time.

Someshvara (c.1169–1178 CE)

  • He was brought up at the Chaulukya court in Gujarat by his maternal relatives. After death of Prithviraja II, the Chahamana ministers brought him to the capital Ajmer and appointed him as the new king. He is said to have commissioned several Shiva temples in Ajmer, and is best known as the father of Prithviraja III (Prithviraj Chauhan).

Prithviraja III (c. 1178–1192 CE)

  • He was popularly known as Prithviraj Chauhanor Rai Pithora in the folk legends, was an Indian king from the Chahamana (Chauhan) dynasty.
  • Early in his career, Prithviraj achieved military successes against several neighbouring Hindu kingdoms, most notably against the Chandela king Paramardi, Chalukya Bhima II and Gahadvala Jayachandra.
  • Ascended the throne at the young age of 11, after death of his father Someshvara, but took the reigns of Administration in his hands when he was 16.
  • Led an expedition in Bundelkhand against Chandella ruler and its capital Mahoba and it was in this struggle the famous Chandella warriors Alha and Udal lost their lives.
  • He defeated Muhammad Ghori defeated Prithiviraj Chauhan in the First battle of Tarain in c.1191 CE.
  • In 1192 CE, Muhammad Ghori defeated Prithiviraj Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain, and subsequently executed him. His defeat at Tarain is seen as a landmark event in the Islamic conquest of India.
  • Two great poems, Prithviraj Raso and Prithviraj Vijaya, were written by his court poets Chandbardai and Jayanka respectively.

Govindaraja IV (r. c.1192 CE)

  • After defeating and killing his father Prithviraja III, while he was still a minor, the Ghurid invaders appointed him as a vassal ruler of the Chahamana kingdom. His uncle Hariraja dethroned him for accepting the Ghurid suzerainty.

Hariraja (c.1193–1194 CE)

  • Hariraja was the son of the Chahamana king Someshvara and queen Karpuradevi. He and his elder brother Prithviraja III were born in Gujarat.
  • Hariraja revolted against the Ghurid rule in the Chahamana capital Ajmer, forcing Govindaraja to take shelter in the Ranthambore Fort. When the Ghurid governor Qutb al-Din Aibak heard about this, he rushed from Delhi to Ranthambore. Hariraja made a retreat, knowing that he would not be able to defeat the Ghurid army. While the Ghurids were busy fighting other Hindu dynasties such as the Gahadavalas, Hariraja once again invaded Ajmer in 1193 CE. This time, he managed to recapture Ajmer, and became the new Chahamana king, with support from Prithviraja’s former general Skanda. Subsequently, Hariraja sent a force led by Jatira (called Jihtar or Jhitar in Muslim accounts) to capture Delhi. However, this force had to retreat in fear of a larger Ghurid army. As Jatira’s force was returning to Delhi, Hariraja set out from Ajmer with another army in its support. The Ghurids decisively defeated the Chahamana forces in the ensuing battle.
  • According to the 16th century Muslim historian Firishta, Hariraja and Jaitra were killed in this battle. However, the near contemporary 13th century source Taj-ul-Maasirstates that Jaitra “sacrificed himself in the flames of a fire”. Hammira Mahakavya by the Jain scholar Nayacandra Suri also states that Hariraja had to fall back to Ajmer, where he determined that any further resistance against the Ghurids was fruitless. As a result, he and his family then committed suicide by self-immolation.

The Chauhan dynasty then retired to Ranthambor and ruled there in diminishing glory. But in c.1301 CE, Ala-ud-Khalji captured Ranthambor and uprooted the last stronghold of Chauhan power.

The Chandellas of Bundelkhand



831-845 CE Nannuka
845-865 CE Vakpati
865 & 885 CE Jayashakti & Vijayashakti
885-905 CE Rahila
905 – 925 CE Harsha
925-950 CE Yashovarman
950-999 CE Dhanga
999-1002 CE Ganda
1003-1035 CE Vidyadhara
1035-1050 CE Vijayapala
1050-1060 CE Devavarman
1060–1100 CE Kirttivarman
1100–1110 CE Sallakshana-Varman
1110–1120 CE Jayavarman
1120–1128 CE Prithvi-Varman
1128–1165 CE Madana-Varman
1164-1165 CE Yashovarman
1165-1203 CE Paramardi

Khajuraho Temples

The Chandelas of Jejakabhukti (Bundelkhand) were a royal dynasty in Central India. They ruled much of the Bundelkhand region (then called Jejakabhukti) between the 9th and the 13th centuries. The Chandelas initially ruled as feudatories of the Gurjara-Pratiharas of Kanyakubja (Kannauj). The 10th century Chandela ruler Yashovarman became practically independent, although he continued to acknowledge the Pratihara suzerainty. By the time of his successor Dhanga, the Chandelas had become a sovereign power. Their power rose and declined as they fought battles with the neighbouring dynasties, especially the Paramaras of Malwa and the Kalachuris of Tripuri. From the 11th century onwards, the Chandelas faced raids by the northern Muslim dynasties, including the Ghaznavids and the Ghurids. The Chandela power effectively ended around the beginning of the 13th century, following Chahamana and Ghurid invasions. The Chandelas are well known for their art and architecture, most notably for the temples at their original capital Khajuraho. They also commissioned a number of temples, water bodies, palaces and forts at other places, including their strongholds of Ajaigarh, Kalinjar and their later capital Mahoba.

Nannuka (c.831-845 CE)

  • He was the founder of the Chandela dynasty of India. He ruled in the Jejakabhukti region (Bundelkhand in present-day Madhya Pradesh).

Vakpati (c.845-865 CE)

  • Vakpati is known from two inscriptions found at Khajuraho, dated Vikrama Samvat 1011 (954 CE) and 1059 (1002 CE).
  • He succeeded his father Nannuka as the Chandela ruler. The eulogistic inscriptions describe him as a king famous for his bravery, modesty and knowledge. The inscriptions claim that he defeated several enemies and was a favourite of his subjects.

Jayashakti & Vijayashakti (c.865 and 885 CE)

  • Vakapati’s son Jayashakti (Jeja) and Vijayashakti (Vija) consolidated the Chandella power.
  • According to a Mahoba inscription, the Chandella territory was named “Jejabhukti” after Jayashakti.

Rahila (c.885-905 CE)

  • In many inscriptions, Vijayashakti’s successor Rahila is credited with several military victories.

Harsha (c.905 – 925 CE)

  • Harsha married the Chahamana princess Kanchuka, which indicates a rise in his social status.
  • According to a fragmentary Khajuraho inscription, Harsha restored a king named Kshitipala-deva on the throne. This Kshitipala has been identified with the Gurjara-Pratihara ruler Mahipala. Harsha probably helped Mahipala restore the Pratihara ruler after the Rashtrakuta king Indra III sacked the Pratihara capital Kannauj around 915 CE.

Yashovarman (c.925-950 CE)

  • He practically established the Chandelas as a sovereign power, although he formally acknowledged suzerainty of the Gurjara-Pratiharas.
  • Yashovarman conquered the important fortress of Kalanjara, and according to 954 CE Khajuraho inscriptions, he had several other military successes, including against the Gaudas, the Khasas, the Chedis, the Kosalas, the Mithila, the Malavas, the Kurus, the Kashmiris and the Gurjaras.
  • He is also notable for having commissioned the Lakshmana Temple at Khajuraho.

Dhanga (c.950-999 CE)

  • The first independent Chandella king who took the title of Maharajadhiraja and under whose reign th Chandellas had become a sovereign power as unlike the earlier Chandella had become a sovereign power as unlike the earlier Chandella inscriptions, the record of Dhanga do not mention any Pratihara overlord.
  • A Khajuraho inscription claims that the rulers of Kosala, Kratha (a part of Vidharbha region), Kuntala, and Simhala listened humbly to the commands of Dhanga’s officers. It also claims that wives of the kings of Andhra, Anga, Kanchi, and Radha resided in his prisons as a result of his success in wars.
  • Like his predecessor, Dhanga also commissioned a magnificent Vishwanath Temple at Khajuraho.

Ganda (c.999-1002 CE)

  • Dhanga’s successor Ganda appears to have retained the territory he inherited.

Vidyadhara (r. c.1003-1035 CE)

  • In 1018 CE, the Ghaznavid king Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Kannauj, whose Pratihara king (possibly Rajyapala) fled the city, allowing the Ghaznvids to sack it without facing much resistance. According to the 12th century Muslim historian Ali ibn al-Athir, Bida, the king of Khajuraho killed the king of Kannauj as a punishment for this cowardice.
  • Mahmud later invaded Vidhyadhara’s kingdom and the conflict ended with Vidyadhara paying tribute to Mahmud.
  • By the end of Vidhyadhara’s reign, the Ghaznavid invasions had weakened the Chandella Kingdom. Taking advantage of this, the Kalachuri king Gangeya-deva conquered eastern parts of the kingdom.
  • Vidhyadhara is noted for having commissioned the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple.

Vijayapala (c.1035-1050 CE)

  • Vijayapala was born to the Chandela ruler Vidyadhara.
  • By the end of Vidyadhara’s reign, the Ghaznavid invasions had weakened the Chandela kingdom. Taking advantage of this, the Kalachuri king Gangeya-deva conquered eastern parts of their kingdom. A fragmentary Mahoba inscription claims that Vijayapala broke the pride of Gangeya in a battle.
  • The Kachchhapaghatas of Gwalior probably gave up their allegiance to the Chandelas during Vijayapala’s reign. This is indicated by the use of high-sounding titles for the Kachchhapaghata ruler Muladeva in the Sas-Bahu inscription.
  • Vijayapala’s sachiva (chief minister) was Mahipala, who was the son of Vidyadhara’s chief minister Shivanga.

Devavarman (c.1050-1060 CE)

  • Devavarman was born to the Chandela ruler Vijayapala and his queen Bhuvanadevi.

Kirttivarman (c.1060–1100 CE)

  • Kirttivarman was the son of the Chandela ruler Vijayapala. He was preceded by his elder brother Devavarman, who probably died without any heir.

Sallakshana-Varman (c.1100–1110 CE)

  • The inscriptions of his descendants suggest that he achieved military successes against the Paramaras, the Kalachuris of Tripuri and the ruler of Kanyakubja.

Jayavarman (c.1110–1120 CE)

  • The Chandela descriptions contain only vague eulogies of him, so little historical information is known about his reign. He abdicated the throne in favour of his uncle Prithvi-Varman.

Prithvi-Varman (c.1120–1128 CE)

  • After Jayavarman abdicate the throne and retired, Prithvivarman became the new king.

Madana-Varman (c.1128–1165 CE)

  • He revived the Chandela glory by subduing the neighbouring kingdoms, and commissioned several tanks and temples.

Yashovarman (c.1164-1165 CE)

  • He is mentioned in the Bateshvar inscription of his own son Paramardi-deva, but other Chandela inscriptions do not mention his name in the list of Chandela kings.

Paramardi (c.1165-1203 CE)

  • He was the last powerful Chandella King.
  • During 1182-1183 CE, the Chahamana ruler Prithviraj Chauhan invaded the Chandela kingdom of Jejakabhukti. The Chandela records do not mention this invasion, presumably to avoid describing the humiliating defeat of their king. The Chandella force led by Alha Udal, and other generals, was defeated in this battle.

The Chandella power did not fully recover from their defeat against the Delhi Sultanate. The Chandella power continued to decline because of the rising Islamic influence, as well as the rise of other local dynasties, such as the Bundelas, the Baghelas, and the Khangars.

The Paramaras of Malwa



  Vairisimha (I)
  Siyaka (I)
  Vakpati (I)
  Vairisimha (II)
948-972 Siyaka II
972-990 Munja/Vakpatiraja II/Prithvivallabha
990-1010 Sindhuraja
1010-1055 Bhoja
1055-1060 Jayasimha I
1060–1086 Udayaditya
1086-1094 Lakshmadeva
1094-1133 Naravarman

Coins of Naravarman

The Paramaras of Malwa were originally based in Mount Abu area of Rajasthan. According to tradition, the sage Vishwamitra stole Vashistha’s Kama Dhenu. In order to retrieve his cow, Vashishtha performed a sacrifice on Mout Abu and out of this sacrificial fire emerged a hero who seized his cow and was named Paramaras (slayer of enemies). He was thereafter crowned the king. The earliest known Paramara king, Upendra, was believed to be of the lineage of this hero. There are several branches of this dynasty, though the main branch ruled at Malwa, with its capital at Dhara. The c.949 CE Harshola copper plates issued by the Paramara king, Siyaka II, establish that the early Paramara rulers were feudatories of the Rashtakutas of Manyakheta, and were probably established in the 10th century CE.

Upendra (around 1st quarter of the 9th century CE)

  • It is believed that he was made ruler of Deccan by the Rashtakuta King Govinda III, after the latter’s successful military expedition in Malwa.
  • The Paramaras were temporarily eclipsed whey they lost Malwa to the Pratiharas and their power was revived in the mid-10th century by Vairasimha II and Siyaka II.

Vairisimha (I), 9th century;

  • He was considered fictional by some historians.

Siyaka (I), 9th century;

  • He was considered fictional by some historians.

Vakpati (I), 9th-10th centuries;

  • He was called Vappairaja or Bappiraja in Harsola copper plates.

Vairisimha (II), 10th century

Siyaka II (c.948-972 CE)

  • Around 972 CE, Siyaka (also known as Harsha) threw off his allegiance to the Rashtrakutas.
  • He not only defeated the Rashtrakuta king, Khottiga, at Kalighatta on the banks of the Narmada, but also sacked the Rashtrakuta capital Manyakheta, and established the Paramaras as a sovereign power.

Munja/Vakpatiraja II/Prithvivallabha (c.972-990 CE)

  • He extended his empire and achieved many military successes against the following:
  • The Kalachuris- he sacked the capital Tripuri.
  • The Hunas
  • The Guhilas of Medapati Aghata – He sacked the capital of Guhilas.
  • The Chahamanas of Naddula – He annexed Mount Abu and southern part of Jodhpur.
  • He was finally defeated by the Western Chalukyan ruler, Tailapa II. As a result of this defeat, the Paramaras lost their southern territories.
  • He adopted the titles of Amoghavarsha/Prithvivallbaha/Sri-vallabha.
  • He was a poet and patron of the arts and literature.

Sindhuraja (c.990-1010 CE)

  • He was Munja’s brother, who defeated Western Chalukya king Satyashraya, and recovered the territories lost to Tailapa II.
  • He also achieved the military success against a Huna Chief, the Somavanshis of south Kosala, the Shilaharas of Konkana, and the ruler of Lata.
  • His court poet Padamgupta wrote his biography, Nava-Sahasanka-Charita.

Bhoja (c.1010-1055 CE)

  • Bhoja fought wars with nearly all his neighbours in attempts to extend his kingdom, with varying degrees of success. At its zenith, his kingdom extended from Chittor in the north to upper Konkan in the south, and from the Sabarmati River in the west to Vidisha in the east.
The Shilahara Dynasty was a royal clan that established itself in northern and southern Konkan, present-day Mumbai and southern Maharashtra during the Rashtrakuta period.

They were split into three branches; one branch ruled North Konkan, the second South Konkan (between 765 and 1029), while the third ruled what is now known as modern districts of Satara, Kolhapur and Belgaum between 940 and 1215 after which they were overwhelmed by the Chalukya.

  • Bhoja’s first military aggression appears to be his invasion of the Lata region (in present-day Gujarat), around 1018 CE. Bhoja subjugated the Chalukyas of Lata, whose ruler Kirtiraja may have served as his feudatory for a brief period. Bhoja’s invasion of Lata brought him close to the Shilahara kingdom of northern Konkana, which was located to the south of Lata.


  • Sometime before 1019 CE, Bhoja formed an alliance against the Chalukyas of Kalyani with Rajendra Chola and Gangeyadeva Kalachuri.
  • Bhoja might have contributed troops to the Kabul Shahi ruler Anandapala’s fight against the Ghaznavids. He is believed to have granted asylum to Anandapala’s son Trilochanapala. Bhoja may have also been a part of the Hindu alliance that expelled Mahmud’s governors from Hansi, Thanesar and other areas around 1043 CE.
  • Bhoja’s attempt to expand his kingdom eastwards was foiled by the Chandela king Vidyadhara. However, Bhoja was able to extend his influence among the Chandela feudatories, possibly after Vidyadhara’s death. The Kachchhapaghatas of Dubkund, who were the northern neighbours of the Paramaras, were originally Chandela feudatories. However, their ruler Abhimanyu accepted Bhoja’s suzerainty. Bhoja also launched a campaign against the Kachchhapaghatas of Gwalior, possibly with the ultimate goal of capturing Kannauj, but his attacks were repulsed by their ruler Kirtiraja.
  • Bhoja defeated and killed Viryarama, the Shakambhari Chahamana ruler. Encouraged by this success, he also waged a war against the Chahamanas of Naddula. But in this second campaign, his army was forced to retreat, and his general Sadha was killed.
  • During the last years of Bhoja’s reign, sometime after 1042 CE, Jayasimha’s son and successor Someshvara I invaded Malwa, and sacked his capital Dhara. Multiple Chalukya inscriptions dated between 1058 and 1067 CE state that the Chalukyas plundered the important Paramara cities, including Dhara, Ujjayini and Mandapa. Bhoja re-established his control over Malwa soon after the departure of the Chalukya army. Nevertheless, the defeat was a major setback for the Paramaras, and pushed back the southern boundary of their kingdom from Godavari to Narmada.
  • He adopted the title of Parameshvara-Paramabhattaraka, which is considered to be identical to the title of Paramara-Deva.
  • He said to have founded the city of Bhojpur, credited with the building of not only Bhojeshwar Temple but also three dams in that area. He is often compared to the fabled Vikramaditya.
  • He is considered a righteous scholar king who himself was a polymath. His writings cover a wide variety of topics such as grammar, poetry, architecture, yoga, and chemistry. He patronized the arts, literature, and the sciences. He established the Bhoj Shala, which was a cntre for Sanskrit studies, and a temple of Sarasvati in present day Dhar.

Jayasimha I (c.1055-1060 CE)

  • Bhoja’s on and successor who faced the joint Kalachuri-Solanki invasion immediately after Bhoja’s death.
  • Bilhana’s writings suggest that he sought help from the Chalukyas of Kalyani.

Udayaditya (c.1060–1086 CE)

  • Udayaditya appears to have had the hereditary fondness for literature and art, and to have brought up his sons as scholars, and his second son Naravarman is believed to have been the author of more than one Prashasti.

Lakshmadeva (c.1086-1094 CE)

  • Nagpur Prashasti inscription of 1105 CE credits him with extensive military conquests.

Naravarman (c.1094-1133 CE)

  • Naravarman succeeded his elder brother Lakshmadeva as the Paramara king.
  • Naravarman was a poet, and composed hymns to various deities and eulogies of his ancestors. The Nagpur Prashasti may have been composed by him. He restored the Mahakala temple of Ujjain, and composed a hymn in the deity’s honour. Gold (5.2 g), silver (2.9 g) and copper coins issued by Naravarman have been found in Indore.
  • Mahalakadeva, the last known Paramara king, was defeated and killed by the forces of Ala-ud-din Khalji of Delhi in c.1305 CE; although epigraphic evidence suggests that the Paramara rule continued for few years after his death, until c.1310 CE, at least in the north-eastern part of Malwa. A later inscription shows that area had been captured by the Delhi Sultanate by c.1338 CE.


The Islamic conquests of North India

Rise of Islam in Arabia

Islam was founded in 7th century by Prophet Muhammad (570-632 CE) in Arabia in the city of Mecca.In a very short period of time; Islam expanded itself from North Africa to the Iberian Peninsula, to Iran and India. This religion transformed the religious, political, and social life, of the people of Arabia and other parts of the world. Islam lays an emphasis upon the belief in one God (Allah) and its holy book, the Quran, which is considered as the Supreme Authority in Islam. Every Muslim is asked to pray five times a day, to fast during the month of Ramzan (or Ramadhan), to distribute alms, and to make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in their lives, if possible.


Miniature from Rashid-al-Din Hamadani’s Jami al-Tawarikh, c. 1315, illustrating the story of Muhammad’s role in re-setting the Black Stone in 605. (Ilkhanate period)

Muhammad receiving his first revelation from the angel Gabriel.

A Brief History of Islam

  • In 613 CE, Muhammad found himself of receiving messages of Allah, and learned that he was a prophet in the same lineage as Moses and Jesus Christ.
  • Arabs became intolerant against Muhammad when Muhammad began insulting the traditional Pagas deities and insisted that the pagan Arabs and their ancestors will burn in hell for endless life for worshipping false gods. They placed a trade embargo on Muhammad.
  • Muhammad and his followers fled from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE, where they were welcomed by locals.
The Battle of Badr, fought on Tuesday, 13 March 624 CE (17 Ramadan, 2 AH in the Islamic calendar) in the Hejaz region of Western Arabia (present-day Saudi Arabia), was a key battle in the early days of Islam and a turning point in Muhammad’s struggle with his opponents among the Quraish in Mecca. The battle has been passed down in Islamic history as a decisive victory attributable to divine intervention or by secular sources to the strategic genius of Muhammad. It is one of the few battles specifically mentioned in the Quran. All knowledge of the battle at Badr comes from traditional Islamic accounts, both hadiths and biographies of Muhammad, recorded in written form some time after the battle. There is little evidence outside of these of the battle. There are no descriptions of the battle prior to the 9th century.
  • Muhammad attacked the guarded merchant carvans with armed soilders of the Arabs in 624 CE and took many captive. This incident is known as Battle of Badr and was the first major battle in the Muslim conquest of Arabia.
  • In 630 CE, Muhammad conquered his hometown of Mecca and over the next years he sent his armies all over Western Arabia to conquer the remaining Pagan tribes.
  • After the death of the prophet in c.632 CE, the task of providing religious and political leadership to the Muslims passed on to the Caliphs known as the Rashidun.
  • Between c.632 and 661 CE, there were four pious Caliphs, all close companions of the Prophet.
  • The first four Caliphs who ruled after the death of Muhammad are often described as the “Khulafaʾ Rashidun”. The Rashidun were either elected by a council or chosen based on the wishes of their predecessor. In the order of succession, the Rashidun were:
  • Abu Bakr (c.632-634 CE)
  • Umar ibn al-Khattab, (Umar І, 634–644 CE): Umar is often spelled Omar in some Western scholarship.
  • Uthman ibn Affan (644–656 CE): Uthman is often spelled Othman(or Osman) in some non-Arabic scholarship.
  • Ali ibn Abi Talib (656–661 CE): During this period however, Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (Muawiyah I) controlled the Levant and Egypt regions independently of Ali.

The Age of Conflict (c.1000-1200 CE)

The period from c.1000 to 1200 CE witnessed many changes both in West and Central Asia and in northern India as well. The continous incursions of the Turkish tribesmen from central Asia, the mercenary of the Turkish soliders who switched loyalties often and the strife between the different Muslim sects and between the different regions made the period restless and gave it the tag of the ‘Age of Conflict’.

Muhammad bin Qasim (c.712 CE)

  • He was the first Muslim invader who invaded Sindh.
  • Muḥammad ibn Qasim was Umayyad general who conquered and controlled the Sindh and Multan along the Indus River for a short period of four years for the Umayyad Caliphate. He was born and raised in the city of Ta’if (in modern-day Saudi Arabia). Qasim’s conquest of Sindh upto southern-most parts of Multan enabled further Muslim conquests on the Indian subcontinent.

The Ghaznavids and Mahmud of Ghazni







Qasim leading his troops in Battle.
Muhammad bin Qasim



The Samanid Empire simply Samanids, was a Sunni Iranian empire, ruling from 819 to 999. The empire was centered in Khorasan and Transoxiana during its existence; at its greatest extent, the empire encompassed all of today’s Afghanistan, large parts of Iran, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and parts of Kazakhstan and Pakistan.
  • Two military families arose from the Turkic slave-guards of the Samanid Empire, the Simjurids and Ghaznavids.


The Simjurids were a Turkic family that served the Samanid emirs of Bukhara in the 10th century. They played an influential role in the history of Eastern Iran and Southern Afghanistan during that time, and by the second half of the 10th century they had built a semi-independent principality in Khorasan.
  • The Simjurids received grant in the Kohistan region of eastern Khorasan. The Samanid generals Alpatagin and Abu al-Hasan Simjuri competed for the governorship of Khorasan and control of the Samanid Empire by placing on the throne emirs they could dominate after the death of Abd al-Malik I (Emir of Samanid Empire) in 961 CE.
  • His death created a succession crisis between his brothers. A court party instigated by men of the scribal class — civilian ministers rather than Turkic generals — rejected the candidature of Alpatagin for the Samanid throne. Mansur I was installed instead, and Alpatagin marched to South of the Hindu Kush where he was able to captured Ghazna and became the ruler of the city as a Samanid authority.
The Amu Darya, also called the Amu or Amo River, and historically known by its Latin name Oxus, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers, in the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve on the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, and flows from there north-westwards into the southern remnants of the Aral Sea. In ancient times, the river was regarded as the boundary between Greater Iran and Turan
  • The Simjurids enjoyed control of Khorasan South of the Amu Darya but were hard-pressed by a third great Iranian dynasty, the Buyid dynasty, and were unable to survive the collapse of the Samanids and the subsequent rise of the Ghaznavids.
Sabuktigin (c.977-998 CE)
  • He was the founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty.
  • Sabuktigin lived as a slave during his youth and later married the daughter of his master Alpatagin, the man who seized the region of Ghazna in political fallout for the throne of the Samanids of Bukhara.
  • He defeated Hindu Shahi King Jayapala and forcing him into a humiliating treaty.
Mahmud of Ghazni (c.998-1030 CE)
  • The period between c.1000-1027 CE saw Mahumd Ghazni invading Indian territories 17 times. His main interest behind conquest of India were:
  • To accumulate the vast amount of wealth that existed in India so that he could transform Ghazni into a region of formidable power in the entire Central Asia.
  • To spread Islam and to destroy Hindu temples.
  • He used to attack in hot summer season and would go back on onset of monsoons so that his forces would not get trapped in flooding rivers of Punjab.
Mahmud receiving a robe from Caliph Al-Qadir; 14th-century illustration from Rashid-al-Din Hamadani’s Jami’ al-tawarikh


  • In 1001 CE, Battle of Waihind (also known as Battle of Peshawar) was fought between Mahmud Ghazni’s army and the Hindu Shahi army of Jayapala, near Peshawar. Jayapala was defeated and captured, and as a result of the humiliation of the defeat, Jayapala immolated himself in a funeral pyre.
  • In 1004-06 CE, Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the rulers of Multan.
The Khokhar is a community of the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. They were designated as an agricultural tribe during the British Raj era. The term agricultural tribe was according to the Punjab Land Alienation Act, 1900.
  • In c.1008 CE, the Second battle of Waihind (also known as Battle of Chachh) between Mahmud of Ghazni and Anandapala was fought near Peshawar. Even though Anandapala was supported by the Sultan of Multan and many princes of north-eastern India, like the rulers of Kannauj, Rajasthan and the Khokhars, despite his forces being numerically larger, he lost the war. Major reason behind Mahmud’s success was his fast moving cavalry, in comparison to the slow Indian troops, which were mainly driven by elephants. He annexed Punjab to have easy access to India.
Second Battle of Waihind, c. 1008 CE


  • In c.1014 CE, Mahmud took Thanesar and burnt the temple of Mathura.
  • In c.1018 CE, he sacked Kannauj by defeating its Chandella King Vidhyadhara. In the same year he defeated and killed two more rulers, Hindu Shahi Trilochanpala and his son Bhimapala, thereby conquering Rahib and Lahore.
  • In c.1025 CE, he plundered the wealth of Somanth Temple. Mahmud captured the city after serious struggle which claimed more than 50,000 lives of defenders. It is important to note that Mahmud left Somanth after a fortnight when he came to know that Chalukayan ruler of Gujarat, Bhima I, had completed preparations to confront him. It was Bhima I who repaired the Somnath temple.
  • In c.1026 CE, he returned and punished Jats for colluding against him.
  • He patronized three important people:
  • Al Biruni – the scholar from Central Asia and the composer of the Kitab-ul-Hind.
  • Firdausi – the Persian poet called the Homer of the East, writer of the
  • Utbi – the court historian of Mahmud of Ghazni, writer of the Kitab-ud-Yamni.

During the 17 invasions of India by Mahmud Ghazni did not show any intent to conquer the sub-continent. They not only exposed the inherent military weakness of Indian rulers but Ghazni’s conquests especially with the inclusion of Punjab and Afghanistan in his kingdom, made the Indian frontiers weak. His conquest opened the gates of India to be conquered from the north-west and this made it easier for other Afghan and Turkish rulers to enter India into the Gangetic valley at any time. One such ruler was Muhammad Ghori.


The Ghurid Dynasty and Muhammad Ghori

The actual founder of Islamic Empire in India was Shahabuddin Muhammad, popularly called Muhammad Ghori, who was the Sultan of the Ghurid Empire along with his brother Ghiyath ud-din from c.1173-1202 CE, and the supreme ruler of the Ghurid Empire from c.1202-1206 CE. He was one of the greatest rulers of the Ghurid dynasty.

Muhammad Ghori

In c.1173 CE, Muhammad Ghori ascended the throne at Ghazni while his elder brother was ruling at Ghur. Being a very ambitious ruler, was not satisfied with only Ghazni and wanted to expand his empire to get hold of more power and control. He was well aware of India’s political, religious, social, and military weaknesses and also the enormous wealth that India had. It is pertinent to note that unlike Mahumd of Ghazni, Muhammad Ghori was very much interested in establishing a permanent Empire in India and not merely looting its wealth.

Muhammad Ghori (c.1173-1206 CE)
  • He was the real founder of the Islamic Empire in India. There were as many as seven major invasions of Muhammad Ghori against India, and mostly he emerged as the winner.
  • In c.1175 CE, he led his first expedition against Multan, which was largely successful. In the same campaign, he captured Uchch from the Bhatti Rajputs and established a fort there.
  • In c.1178 CE, he again marched to conquer Gujarat but the Chalukya ruler of Gujarat, Solanki Bhima II, defeated him at the Battle of Kayadara. But this defeat did not discourage Muhammad Ghori and he realized the nexessity of creating a suitable base in Punjab before venturing on the further conquest of India.


The Battle of Gujarat or Kayadara (1178) was a defeat suffered by Muhammad of Ghur during his first campaign against a Hindu ruler in India. In 1178 he turned south, and led his army from Multan to Uch and then across the desert towards the Gujarat capital of Anhilwara (modern Patan).

Gujaratwas ruled by the young Raja Bhimdev II (ruled 1178-1241), a member of the Solanki dynasty (one of several Chalukya dynasties), although the age of the Raja meant that the army was commanded by his mother Naikidevi. Muhammad’s army had suffered greatly during the march across the desert and Naikidevi inflicted a major defeat on him at the village of Kayadra (near to Mount Abu, about forty miles to the north-east of Anhilwara). The invading army suffered heavy casualties during the battle, and also in the retreat back across the desert to Multan.

Muhammad of Ghur never returned to Gujarat. An army led by Qutb al-din Aibek, his deputy in India, invaded in c.1195-97 and plundered the capital, but then returned to Delhi. Gujarat wasn’t annexed by the Sultanate of Delhi until 1297.

  • He thus launched a campaign against the Ghaznavid possessions in Punjab. As a result he conquered Peshawar c.1179, Sindh in c.1182 CE, Punjab and Lahore in 1190 CE.
  • First Battle of Tarrain (c.1191 CE): Ghori’s possession of Punjab and his attempt to advance into the Gangetic Doab brought him to direct conflict with Rajput ruler, Prithivraja Chauhan, who had already overrun many small states in Rajputana, captured Delhi and wanted to extend with claims of Tabarhinda (Bhatinda). In the first battle fought at Tarain, Ghori’s army was routed and he narrowly escaped death. Prithviraj conquered Bhatinda but he made no efforts to garrison it effectively. This gave Ghori an opportunity to re-assemble his forces and make preparation for another advance into India.
  • Second Battle of Tarain (c. 1192 CE): This battle is regarded as one of the turning points in Indian history, as Prithviraj Chauhan was defeated and Ghori emerged successful. Turkish forces under Ghori were well organized with swift-moving cavalry. The bulky Indian forces were no match against the superior organization, skill, and speed of Turkish cavalry. It is pertinent to note that the Turkish cavalry used two superior technologies, namely the use of horse shoes and the use of iron stirrups. A large number of Indian soldiers were killed. Prithviraj escape, but later captured near Saraswati. He was allowed to ruler over Ajmer for sometime as the coins pertaining to this period bear legend “Prithvirajadeva” on one side and the words “Sri Muhammad Sam” on the other side. However, soon after, Prithviraj was executed on the charges of conspiracy.


2nd Battle of Tarain

  • The Turkish army captured the fortresses of Hansi, Saraswati, Samana, Delhi and Ajmer.
  • Battle of Chandwar (c. 1194 CE): Ghori defeated Jaichandra (the ruler of Kannauj) of the Gahadavalas dynasty. Thus, the battles of Tarain and Chandwar laid the foundations of Turkish rule in Northern India. After this invasion, Qutub-ud-din Aibak was made the viceroy of Muhammad Ghori.
  • After this, Ghori returned to Ghazni to carry out his conquests in the western frontiers, leaving the affairs of India in the hand of trusted slave general Qutab-ud-din Aibak, who continued his conqests in India.
  • Revolt of Khokhars (c.1205 CE): Ghori had to again come to India to crush the revolt of the Khokhars.

However, in 1206 CE, Ghori was killed by someone near Dhamyak district of Jhelum (now in Pakistan) while going back to Ghazni. This reign of India passed on to Aibak, who the foundation of Slave Dynasty.