Early Medieval India

Gurjara Pratiharas, Palas & Rashtrakutas

The Gujara Pratiharas:

  • GurjaraPratihara dynasty was founded by Nagabhatta-I.
  • Al-Masudi, an Arab travellor calls the Gurjara Pratihara kingdom, Al-Juzr and the king, Baura.
  • The Pratiharas were revived under Vatsaraja's son and successor, Nagabhatta-II, who also defeated Pala king Dharmapala.
  • Bhoja, also known as Mihir Bhoja, was the greatest king of the Pratihara dynasty. Bhoja was a Vishnu worshipper. Bhoja called himself 'Adi Varaha.'
  • Bhoja defeated Kalchuris of Gorakhpur and the Chandellas of Bundelkhand. Bhoja also recovered Kannauj from Palas.
  • Bhoja was succeeded by his son Mahendrapal.
  • The great Sanskrit poet and dramatist Rajashekhar lived at the court of Mahipala, a grandson of Bhoja.
  • Rajashekhar wrote Karpurmanjari, Bal Ramayan, Bal Mahabharata and Kanya Mimamsa.

The Palas:

  • The Pala Kingdom was founded by Gopala.
  • Gopala was succeeded by his son Dharmapala.
  • Dharmapala was defeated by the Rashtrakuta ruler, Dhruva.
  • The Gurjara Pratihara ruler, nagabhatta-II also defeated Dharmapala.
  • An Arab merchant Sulaiman, who visited India in the middle of the ninth century, wrote an account of the pala kingdom. He calls it Ruhma (means Dharma, short for Dharmapala).
  • The Palas were the followers of Buddhism.
  • The Nalanda University was revived by Dharmapala. He also founded the Vikramshila University, which became second only to Nalanda in fame.
  • The Palas had close trade contacts and cultural links with south-east Asia.
  • The powerful Sailendra dynasty, which ruled over Malaya, Java, Sumatra and neighboring islands, was Buddhist in faith. He sent many embassies to the Pala court and sought permission to build a monastery at Nalanda for the benefit of foreign students.

The Rashtrakutas:

  • This dynasty was found by Dantidurg.
  • Rashtrakutas were called Ballahara by Arabs.
  • Their capital was Mankir or Manyakheta (present Malkhed near Sholapur, Maharashtra).
  • Arab travelers refer Rashtrakuta ruler as the king of the kings (malik-al-muluk) or Al-Hind.
  • Krishna-I built the famous Shiva temple (rock cut temple at Ellora).
  • Dhruva incorporated the symbols of Ganga and Yamuna into Rashtrakuta emblem.
  • Amoghavarsha composed one of the earliest text in Kannada literature, the 'Kaviraj Marga". He ended his life by taking Jai Samadhi in the Tungabhadra river.
  • The rashtrakutas also fought constantly against the eastern Chalukyas of vengi and in the south against the Pallavas of Kanchi and the Pandyas of Madurai.
  • The greatest Rashtrakutas rulers were Govinda-III and Amoghavarsha.
  • Krishna-III defeated the Chola king Parantaka-I and annexed the northern part of Chola empire.
    he then pressed down to Rameshwaram and set up a pillar of victory there and built a temple.
  • The Rashtrakutas patronized not only Shaivism and Vaishnavism but also Jainism as well.
  • The great aprabhamsha poet, Svayambhu lived at the Rashtrakutas court.

Cholas of Thanjavur:

  • Cholas were the greatest among all south Indian dynasties.
  • Vijalaya Chola was the founder of Chola dynasty.
  • Rajaraja-I annexed important territories in Indian Ocean like Maldives Islands and Sri Lanka (northern part) also called Anuradhapura, thereby making Cholas a naval power. Cholas maintained a huge navy.
  • Rajaraja-I constructed Brihasdiswara temple at Thanjavur. It is also called Rajarajeswara temple. It is the tallest temple in South India.
  • Rajendra-I was the most important Chola king. He controlled the whole of Indian Ocean. his influence reached south east Asian islands.
  • Rajendra-I sent an expedition to north India. his army emerged victorious there and he assumed the title "Gangaikonda Chola".
  • He constructed a new capital Gangaikonda-cholapuram. he also constructed a Shiva temple, also called Brihadiswara temple.

Arrival Muslims:

Mahumud of Ghazini:

  • In 1001, Mahmud defeated Jayapala, a Hindushahi king who ruled from Peshawar and in 1008-09, Mahmud defeated Anandapala, son of Jayapala in Battle of Waihind.
  • from 1008-1025/26, he made 17 raids into India and the subsequent raids of Mahmud were aimed t plundering the rich temples of cities.
  • He completely destroyed the Somnath temple of Gujarat in 1025 and looted its wealth.
  • Al-Beruni accompanied Mahmud to India with his army and Firdausi was a poet in the court of Mahmud.
  • Mahmud of Ghazni died in 1030 AD.

Mohammad Ghori:

  • His real name was Muizuddin Mohammad bin sam. In 1173, he ascended the throne ar Ghazni and started moving towards India around 1175.
  • He entered India through Gomal Pass and conquered Multan and Uchch.
  • In 1911, he was defeated by Prithviraja Chauhan in the First Battle of Tarain and in 1192, He defeated Prithviraja Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain.
  • Prithviraja was captured and released. he ruled over Ajmer for sometime and soon later, executed on a charge of conspiracy.
  • In 1194, Mohammad ghori defatted Jaichand, ruler of Kannuj in Battgle of Chandawar and killed him.
  • He deputed Qutbuddin Aibak as in charge of his Indian possessions.
  • Image of goddess Lakshmi has been found on coins of Mohammad Ghori. his name is also written in devanagiri script on the coin.
  • Mohammad Ghori led his last campaign into India in 1206 in order to deal with the Khkhar rebellion. he crushed the rebellion, but on his way back to Ghazni, he was killed by a Muslim fanatic belongining to a rival sect.

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