In this article we will discuss about the Rajput dynasties of Northern India.
After the death of Harsha, his empire was divided between his nobles and governors. Yet, the fame of Kannauj persisted. Yaso Varman further revived it. The same way the ideal of establishment of great empires was not given up by the Hindu rulers after the death of Harsha. Lalitaditya, the ruler of Kashmir tried to fulfill this ideal and therefore, attempted to conquer the entire north India.
Yaso Varman, the ruler of Kannauj and the Chalukya ruler Vinyaditya also attempted the same and therefore, came in conflict with each other. The Gurjara Pratiharas in Western India, the Palas in Bengal and the Rashtrakutas in the South also pursued the same ideal and each of them tried to conquer Kannauj which resulted in a tripartite struggle between them for the sovereignty of India.
Thus, the Hindu kings pursued the principles of Hindu polity upto nearly 1000 A.D. and a few of them succeeded as well in achieving it. The capital of these ambitious rulers mostly remained Kannauj or such was the ambition of each one of them. Therefore, Kannauj remained the central point of the politics of north India and the rulers of Kannuaj always attempted to be the sole masters of northern India.
They also took up the responsibility of defending the Indian frontiers against foreign attacks. That is why the Arabs failed to penetrate further into India beyond Sindh and Multan and India could defend, for nearly 250 years, its north-western frontiers against the attacks of those Muslim invaders who had successfully conquered practically the entire Western Asia and a part of Europe and Africa.
Of course, the presence of powerful Hindu rulers in the mainland of India was responsible for it but the primary cause of the success of Indians was their internal strength. India, though divided politically, was successful in maintaining the ancient ideals of the Hindus regarding polity, religion and society nearly upto 1000 A.D. As soon as it lost those ideals and failed to check its political disintegration, moral and religious deterioration and social tensions after 1000 A.D. or, rather, even prior to it, it succumbed to the invasions of powerful Turks.
Thus, Hindu India did not become weak just after the death of Harsha, as is generally supposed to be, but after the fall of the Gurjara-Pratihara empire about 1000 A.D. Actually the fall of the Gurjara-Pratihara empire meant the loss of the ideal of Hindus of great empires. At the same time, the Indians lost their religious and moral idealism, their sense of social solidarity and contacts with the outside world. It ultimately led to its cultural debasement and subjugation by foreign Turks.
The Empire of Kannauj:
Nothing is known about the antecedents of their family. But this family also ruled over Kannauj and had three successive rulers — Vajrayudha, Indrayudha and Chakrayudha. In 770 A.D., Vajrayudha was the ruler of Kannauj. In 783 A.D. or 784 A.D. Indrayudha ascended the throne. By that time, the Pratiharas in the west, the Palas in the east and the Rashtrakutas in the south had become powerful.
Each of these powers tried to conquer Kannauj. Indrayudha was first defeated by the Pratihara ruler Vatsraj and then by the Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva. Afterwards, the Pala ruler Dharmapala forced Indrayudha to leave the throne and placed Chakrayudha on it. Then the Rashtrakuta ruler Govind III attacked Kannauj and got submission of both Chakrayudha and Dharmapala. Ultimately, the Pratihara ruler Nagabhatta II defeated Chakrayudha and conquered Kannauj.
Thus, the Ayudha dynasty failed to produce any capable ruler. The glory of Kannauj was lost by them. The only importance of their period is the tripartite contest between the Palas, the Rashtrakutas and the Pratiharas for the occupation of Kannauj.
The glory of Kannauj was again revived by the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty who made it its capital and built up again a strong and extensive empire in north India. Many scholars expressed the view that the Gurjaras were foreigners who came to India, probably, along with the Hunas towards the close of fifth century A.D. They established themselves in Punjab, Rajputana and Gujarat.
Their main settlements were in the west of the Aravali hills in Rajputana which up to the sixth and seventh centuries were called Gurjar rastra. But now this view has been opposed by many other scholars who claim that the Gurjaras were purely Indians. The ruling family of the Gurjaras belonged to their Pritahara clan. So, the empire which was created by them was called the Gurjara-Pratihara empire.
The foundation of the Pratihara Kingdom was laid by Harichandra near modern Jodhpur in the middle of the sixth century A.D. Harichandra was a Brahamana. His one wife was Brahamana while the other one was a Kshatriya. His sons from his Brahamana wife were called Pratihara Brahamanas while his sons from his Kshatriya wife established the ruling dynasty of the Pratiharas. He had four sons and each of them established a separate kingdom for himself.
Harichandra, his successors and other branches of the family ruled over Jodhpur, Nandipura. Broach. Ujjayani (Avanti), etc. The foundations of the greatness of the Pratihara dynasty was laid by Nagabhatta I, the ruler of Ujjayani. Nagabhatta I ruled between 730-756 A.D. and came into prominence because of his successful resistance to the Arabs. He successfully claimed suzerainty over the Pratihara rulers of Jodhpur.
Broach and Nandipura, established an empire which extended from Gujarat to Gwalior and resisted the Arab invasions towards further east of Sindh. Probably, he fought against the Rashtrakuta ruler Dantidurga as well and was defeated by him. However, the success of Dantidurga was short-lived and Nagabhatta left to his successor an extensive empire which included Gujarat. Malwa and a part of Rajputana.
The Gahadvalas Dynasty:
The fall of the Partiharas and the invasions of Sultan Mahmud destroyed the glory of Kannauj. The Chedis, the Parmaras, the Cholas etc., in turn, attacked and destroyed the city of Kannauj. But once again the glory of Kannauj was revived by the Gahadvalas. There is no unanimity of opinion regarding the antecedents of the Gahadvalas. Certain scholars described them as being related to the Rashtrakutas but it is doubtful. However, the Gahadvalas have been accepted as Rajputs.
Chandradeva was the first ruler of this dynasty who seized the throne of Kannauj from the Rashtrakuta ruler Gopal sometime between 1080-1085 A.D. He conquered practically the whole of modern Uttar Pradesh and ruled up to 1100 A.D.
Very little is known about his son and successor Madanchandra or Mandanapala.
The Palas and the Senas of Bengal:
Another great empire in Northern India was established by the Palas in the middle of the eighth century A.D. Nothing is certain about the antecedents of the Palas but it is certain that their homeland was Bengal. The Palas contested for the sovereignty of Kannauj against the Pratiharas and the Rastrakutas, established an extensive empire with Bengal as its base and provided it unity, prosperity and glory for about four centuries.
The Extinction of the Pala Dynasty:
Kumarapala, Gopala III and Madanapala ruled in succession for thirty- years after the death of Ramapala. During this period, internal dissensions, revolts of the nobles and foreign attacks destroyed the Pala kingdom. During the reign of Kumarapala there occurred a revolt in Kamarupa. Kumarapala sent his minister Vidyadeva to suppress the revolt. Vidyadeva suppressed the revolt but declared himself an independent ruler there.
The same way, Bhoja Varman declared himself independent in east Bengal. Foreign invasions also took place at that very time. Ananta Varman, the king of Kalinga captured Orissa and attacked Bengal deep up to the Hooghly while Govindachandra, the ruler of Kannauj, occupied Patna. However, the Senas and the Nanyas proved to be the worst enemies of the Palas.
The Sena ruler Vijayasena snatched away Gonda from them and the Nanya ruler Gangeyadeva occupied north Bihar. Thus, the power of Madanapala, the last ruler of the Palas, was restricted to central Bihar. Nothing is known about the successors of Madanapala. Thus by the middle of the twelfth century A.D., the power of the Palas was finished and their last ruler, Madanapala, died as an ordinary noble.
The Importance of the Palas:
The Pala emperors established an extensive empire in north India which kept up the importance of Bengal for nearly 400 years. The Palas were the patrons of Buddhism and therefore, encouraged Buddhist learning, literature, religion and fine arts. They contributed to the growth of Buddhism and formation of Tantric sect or the religion of Thunderbolt in Buddhism.
They constructed and repaired many Buddhist monasteries and Viharas. The University of Vikramasila was established with their support and all possible help was given to the University of Nalanda. They also helped in the growth of Bengali literature and developed an art of architecture, sculpture and painting which influenced the arts of even South East Asia. Thus, the Palas helped in enriching the Indian culture and also in extending it beyond the frontiers of India.
After the Palas the Senas succeeded in establishing an empire in Bengal. The Senas called themselves Karnata-Kshatriya or Brahma-Kshatriya. Probably, the original home of the Senas was in Kannada-speaking region in the South. The earliest known member of the Sena dynasty was Samantasena, who established his rule at Radha in Bengal.
His son, Hemantasena, consolidated his position in Radha during the troublesome times that followed the occupation of that country by the Kalachuri king Kama and declared his independence by the end of the eleventh century. However, the greatest ruler of the Sena dynasty was his son, Vijayasena.
The Chahamanas or Chauhanas of Delhi and Ajmer:
The Chauhanas occupy an important place among the Rajput dynasties of this period. They were divided into several branches. Among them, the earliest known branch ruled at Lata up to middle of the eighth century. However, their most important branch was one which established its supremacy in Sakambhari pradesa, near modern Jaipur, in the early years of the seventh century.
The founder of this dynasty was Vasudeva. He was succeeded by Samanta, Purnatalla, Jayaraja, Vigraharaja I, Chandraraja, Gopendraja and Durlabharaja I respectively. Durlabharaja I ruled in the last quarter of the eighth century. About this time, the dynasty became a feudatory to Pratiharas. Durlabharaja I accepted the overlordship of the Pratihara ruler, Vatsaraja while his successor, Govindaraja I gained preeminence at the court of Pratihara ruler, Nagabhatta II.
Govindaraja I was succeeded by Chandraraja II, Guvaka II, Chandana and Vakpatiraja I respectively. Vakpatiraja ruled in the first quarter of the tenth century, defied the authority of the Pratiharas and made himself an independent ruler. His son and Successor, Singharaja, extended his kingdom and assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja. Singharaja was succeeded by Vigraharaja II, Durlabharaja II, Govindaraja III, Vigraharaja III, Prithviraja I, Ajayaraja who founded the city of Ajmer and Arnoraja respectively.
Arnoraja defeated the successor of Sultan Mahmud near Ajmer and conquered Bundelkhand, Delhi and part of the Punjab. However, he was defeated by Kumarapala, ruler of Gujarat. Yet, Arnoraja successfully fought against the Turks for nearly twenty years, extended his territories towards Malwa and Punjab and captured Delhi from the hands of the Tomaras. Arnoraja was murdered by his own son, Jagdeva. But Jagdeva failed to rule for long. Very soon his younger brother, Vigraharaja IV alias Visaladeva, captured the throne.
Vigraharaja IV proved one of the great kings of Chauhanas. He avenged the humiliation of his father by defeating Kumarapala, the ruler of Gujarat, conquered Delhi and Hansi, fought many battles against the Muslims in Punjab and, thus, took the responsibility of defending India against their further invasions.
His empire included large territories of Punjab, Rajputana and western Uttar Pradesh and many rulers of Malwa and Rajputana accepted his suzerainty. He, thus, made the Chauhanas one of the great powers of northern India. Vigraharaja IV was, however, not only a successful commander but also a patron of learning and fine arts. Mahakavi Somadeva, who composed the Lalita Vigraharaja-nataka in his honour, was at his court.
He himself was a man of learning who composed the Harakeli-nataka. He established a college at Ajmer, which, later on, was converted into a mosque by Qutb-ud-din Aibak. Thus, Vigraharaja extended the power and honour of the Chauhanas. Dr Dashratha Sharma writes of him: “Vigraharaja IV’s reign is to be regarded as the golden age of Sapadalaksha.”
Vigraharaja IV was succeeded by his son Apara-Gangeya but he, probably, was killed by his cousin. Prithviraj II. Prithviraja II also died soon and then the throne was offered to his uncle, Somesvara, by his nobles. Somesvara died in 1177 A.D. He was succeeded by his son, Prithviraj III, who proved to be the last and the greatest ruler of Chauhanas of Delhi and Ajmer.
The Chalukyas or the Solankis of Anhilwada (Gujarat):
It is not clear whether the Chalukyas of Gujarat were in some way related to the Chalukyas of south India. Most probably it was a different dynasty which existed in Gujarat prior to the rise of the Chalukyas in the south. The dynasty grew into prominence and assumed imperial dignity during the rule of its founder ruler, Mularaja I, who conquered large territories and made Anhilwada (Anhilwara) his capital.
In his old age Mularaja abdicated his throne in favour of his son, Chamundaraja. After some time, Chamundaraja abdicated his throne in favour of his son, Vallabharaja and, after his death, to his second son Durlabharaja. During the later period of his reign Durlabharaja gave his throne to his nephew Bhimaraja I. By that time the empire of the Chalukyas had become quite powerful in northern India.
Mahmud of Ghazni overran and plundered the temple of Somanatha during the reign of Bhimaraja I (1022-1064 A.D.). Bhimaraja fled to Kutch at the approach of the Turks but returned to his capital after the departure of the invader. Bhimaraja handed sovereignty of the state to his son Kama in 1064 A.D. and retired to a place of pilgrimage. Kama fought against the Pamiaras of Malwa and the Chauhanas of Marwar.
Kama was succeeded by his son Jayasinha who assumed the title of Siddhraja and proved the greatest king of his dynasty. He fought against the Chauhanas of Sakambhari, the Paramaras of Malwa, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand and the Chalukyas of Kalyana and succeeded against all of them. His kingdom extended up to Bali in Jodhpur and Sambhar in Jaipur in the north, Bhilsa in the east and Kathiawar and Kutch in the west.
He lost a part of his empire due to the revolts which occurred during the later period of his reign. Yet, he left an extensive kingdom to his successor. Jayasinha had no son of his own and therefore, adopted the son of his minister Udayana, as his successor. But Kumarapala, the great-grandson of Kshemaraja, who was a son of Bhima I by a concubine claimed the throne for himself and secured it some time between 1143-1145 A.D.
Kumarapala was a capable commander. In the early part of his reign, his kingdom was invaded by Chauhana Arnoraja, Parmara Vikramasinha and king Ballala of Malwa. But he defeated all of them and kept intact the boundaries of his kingdom. Further, he conquered Konkan in the south. While all other rulers of the Chalukyas so far had been Saivas, Kumarapala was inclined towards Jainism.
After the death of Kumarapala there ensued a war of succession between Pratapamalla, son of his sister, and Ajayapala, son of his brother, Mahipala. Pratapamalla was supported by the Jainas, while Ajayapala was supported by the Brahmanas. Ajayapala succeeded in this conflict but was soon murdered by Pratihara Vajjaladeva. Then, Mularaja II, son of Ajayapala, succeeded to the throne but, as he was a minor, his mother Nayikadevi looked after the administration on his behalf.
Mularaja defeated Muhammad of Ghur in 1178 A.D. near Mt. Abu. But he died the same year and was succeeded by his brother, Bhimadeva II (1178-1239 A.D.). Bhimadeva II was a courageous ruler but did not prove successful. However, all Muslim invasions were repulsed during his reign. Only once, in 1197 A.D., Qutb-ud-din Aibak was able to plunder his capital, Anhilwada, even though it was not a permanent conquest.
However, one of his relations who was a minister, Lavanaprasad, succeeded in establishing an independent kingdom in south Gujarat. It meant the establishment of independent Baghela kingdom in south Gujarat which, ultimately, absorbed within itself the entire kingdom of the Chalukyas of Gujarat. In 1299 A.D., Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, two generals of Ala-ud-din Khalji, wrested the whole of Gujarat from the then Baghela ruler, Kama and Gujarat became a part of the empire of the Turk Sultans of Delhi.
Hindushahi or Brahmanashahi Dynasty:
Even after the fall of the Kushana empire, the descendants of the mighty Kushanas continued to rule over Afghanistan and Gandhara Pradesh. They used the title of Shahis of Shahiyas for themselves. As they had accepted Hinduism or Buddhism as their religion, they were also called Hindu-Turks and their kings Turki-Shahis.
These Turki-Shahi rulers constantly fought against the Arabs between the seventh century and the middle of ninth century A.D. After that the last ruler of this dynasty, Lagaturman, was deposed from the throne by his Brahamana Minister, Kallar, who laid the foundation of a new dynasty called the Hindushahi or Brahamanashahi dynasty in the second half of the ninth century A.D.
In the Rajatarangihi, Kallar has been referred to as Lalliyashahi and described as one of the most powerful rulers of north India. His empire covered the entire area between the valley of Kabul and the valley of Kishanganga in Kashmir. Besides, the rulers of Punjab acknowledged his suzerainty. However, Kallara was pressurised by the attacks of the Turks and he shifted his capital from Kabul to Udbhanda which was situated on the right bank of river Indus fifteen miles above Attock in Rawalpindi district.
Kallar was succeeded by Sri-Samanta, Kamaluka and Bhima respectively. Bhima married his daughter to Sinharaja, ruler of the Lohrain valley in south-west of Kashmir. Her daughter was Didda who was married to Kshema Gupta, ruler of Kashmir. Thus, the Hindushahi dynasty became related to the ruling dynasty of Kashmir. Bhima had one or two successors but nothing is known about them.
In the late tenth century A.D., Jayapala became the ruler of the Hindushahi dynasty. His empire included western Punjab, North-Western Frontier Province and east Afghanistan. At this very time, a powerful empire grew up at Ghazni on the western side of the kingdom of Jayapala. The rulers of Ghazni tried to extend their empire towards the East which resulted in hereditary enmity between the rulers of Ghazni and their neighbouring rulers of the Hindushahi dynasty.
Jayapala. Anandapala, Trilochanapala and Bhimapala, successive rulers of the Hindushahi kingdom fought against Sabuktigin and Mahmud, rulers of Ghazni. They were the first who boldly tried to check the invasions of the Turks on India but failed. Ultimately, the Hindushahi kingdom was destroyed by Mahmud of Ghazni in the beginning of the eleventh century A.D.
The Hindushahi kingdom played a significant role in the history of India. The rulers of this dynasty fought for the defence of India against the powerful Turks for about half a century. Besides, among contemporary rulers of India, Jayapala and his successors were the only rulers who could be credited with pursuing an aggressive policy against the Turks. Of course, they succumbed to the rising power of the Turks but their heroic resistance against them has given them a respectable place in Indian history.
The Kingdom of Kashmir:
Kashmir is situated in the north of India. Being surrounded by mountains from all sides, it has always lacked proper means of communication with the rest of India. Therefore, its history and culture has differed from the rest of the country. Yet, it has the unique advantage of possessing a written history from the earliest times. The Rajatarangini, written by Kalhana in the twelfth century A.D. provides us quite useful information about the history of Kashmir.
However, it does not help us in finding out the history of Kashmir prior to the seventh century A.D. By known facts, we simply know that Kashmir was included in the empire of emperor Asoka. After the death of Asoka, his son Jaluka established an independent kingdom in Kashmir. After many centuries we find that the Kushana rulers Kaniska and Huviska, ruled over Kashmir. The Gupta rulers did not conquer Kashmir. Afterwards, the Huna ruler Mihirakula established his rule in Kashmir.
1. Naga-Karkota Dynasty:
We know the history of Kashmir from the beginning of the seventh century A.D. when Durlabha Vardhana of Naga-Karkota dynasty established his rule there. Durlabha Vardhana ruled for 36 years. He had good relations with emperor Harsha Vardhana of Kannauj. The Chinese traveller. Hiuen Tsang, visited Kashmir during his reign. He was succeeded by Durlabha who ruled for 50 years. His son, Chandrapida, succeeded to the throne after him. During his reign, the Arabs attacked Kashmir in 713 A.D. but were defeated. Chandrapida was succeeded by his brother, Lalitaditya Muktapida.
2. The Utpala Dynasty:
Avanti Varman (885-888 A.D.) was the founder of this dynasty. He did not engage himself in wars of conquest. Rather, he worked intensively for the consolidation of his kingdom and succeeded in bringing about economic prosperity to Kashmir.
He was succeeded by Sankara Varman who tried to restore Kashmir to its former position as a great political power. He, therefore, engaged himself in wars of conquest and exhausted his treasury. All his successors proved themselves as weak rulers, which led to the ruin of this dynasty. Its last ruler was Sura Varman II who was dethroned in 939 A.D.
3. After Sura Varman, an assembly of the Brahmanas elected Yasaskara, son of Prabhakaradeva, treasurer of the kings Sankara Varman and Gopala Varman. Yasaskara ruled for nine years between 939-948 A.D. and restored peace and order in the country. He was succeeded by his son, Sangramadeva, who, after a year, was killed by his minister, Parva Gupta.
4. Parva Gupta also died after a year and his son. Kshema Gupta, succeeded him in 950 A.D. Kshema Gupta married Didda, the daughter of Sinharaja, king of Lohara. Kshema Gupta ruled between 950-958 A.D. He was succeeded by Abhimanyu. Nandi Gupta, Tribhuvana, Bhima Gupta and lastly by his wife Didda herself respectively. In fact. Didda was the real power behind the throne after the death of her husband. She was an ambitious woman who, ultimately, captured the throne herself in 980 A.D. after getting murdered Bhima Gupta and. before her death in 1003 A.D., appointed her nephew Sangramaraja of Lohara as her successor.
5. The Lohara Dynasty:
The Lohara dynasty failed to produce any capable ruler. Sangramaraja supported Trilochanapala of the Hindushahi dynasty against Sultan Mahmud. In 1021 A.D Mahmud attacked Kashmir but failed to capture it. But, otherwise, Sangramaraja had no creditable record.
His successor also proved incapable and Kashmir was troubled by internal disruption and the oppression of its rulers on their subjects. Ultimately, one Muslim adventurer, Sahamera, captured the throne of Kashmir in 1338 A.D. He called himself Sultan Shams-ud-din. He and his successors ruled Kashmir for a long time.
The Chandelas of Bundelkhand or Jejakabhukti:
Chandelas have been accepted as one of the 36 ruling Rajput dynasties. After the break-up of the Pratihara empire, a number of dynasties rose to power in central and western India. One of them was the Chandelas who established their power in Bundelkhand. The dynasty was founded by Nannuka in the first quarter of the ninth century A.D. In the beginning, the Chandela rulers were the vassals of the Pratiharas of Kannauj.
Only when the power of the Pratiharas broke down, they assumed independence. Nannuka was succeeded by his son, Vakapati, who extended his kingdom up to the Vindhya hills. Vakapati was succeeded by his son, Jayasakti alias Jejjaka and, henceforth, the country ruled by the Chandelas was called Jejakabhukti after his name. Jayasakti was succeeded by his brother, Vijjayasakti, also known as Vijjaka. His son, Rahila, who succeeded him, conquered Mahoba.
After the death of Rahila, his son Harsha, ascended the throne. Harsha ruled between 900-925 A.D. He helped the Pratihara Mahipala I to recover the throne of Kannauj which was captured by the Rashtrakuta Indra III. Harsha was succeeded by his son Yaso Varman, also known as Laksha Varman, near about 925 A.D. By this time, the powers of the Pratiharas had started disintegrating.
Yaso Varman took advantage of it. He snatched away Kalinjar from the Pratiharas, fought against the Palas, the Kosalas, the Malavas, the Kalachuris and the Gurjaras. He extended his territories up to the river Yamuna towards the north and made the power of the Chandelas most effective in Bundelkhand and its neighbouring territory.
The Parmaras of Malwa:
Some scholars have expressed the view that the Parmaras belonged to the family of the Rashtrakutas of the Deccan. But, generally, it is believed that the original home of the Parmaras was Mt. Abu, in the Sirohi State of Rajputana. However, it is certain that in the beginning the Parmaras were the feudatory chiefs of the Rastrakutas. Malwa and its old capital, Ujjayani, remained the bone of contention between the Rashtrakutas and the Pratiharas for a long time.
Finding themselves incapable to rule Malwa directly, the Rashtrakutas always handed over its administration to one of their feudatory chiefs and one of them was Upendrakrishnaraja who was the founder ruler of the dynasty of the Parmaras. Upendra established his kingdom in the beginning of the ninth century A.D. and made Dhara its capital.
The weakness of later Rashtrakutas and the Pratiharas gave an opportunity to Parmaras to extend their power and prestige in Malwa. Upendra was succeeded by Vairesingha, Siyab I, Vakapati I and Vairesingha II respectively but very little is known of them. Then Siyaka II, also known as Harshasinga, ascended the throne and ruled between 949-973 A.D.
Siyaka II took advantage of the weakness of the Pratiharas and extended his kingdom. He defeated Chalukya Avani Varman Yogaraja II, the ruler of Saurashtra and also one of the Huna chiefs of the north-west. But he was defeated by Yaso Varman of Khajuraho who pushed back his boundaries to the Betwa river. In the later part of his reign, Siyaka II decided to throw off the yoke of the Rashtrakutas and revolted against the then Rashtrakuta ruler, Khottiga II, successor of Krishna III.
Khottiga II decided to assert his suzerainty and a battle took place between the two. Siyaka succeeded after a hard fight, even plundered Manyakheta, the capital of the Rashtrakutas and pushed the southern boundary of his kingdom to the river Tapti. Thus, Siyaka II succeeded not only in extending the boundary of his kingdom but also in achieving the independence of his dynasty.
King Munja. Siyaka II left his throne in favour of his son Munja as he became ascetic in the later part of his reign. Munja was known as Utpala and also as Vakapatiraja II. He proved a capable commander and defeated the rulers of the Kalachuris, the Hunas, the Guhilas, and the Chalukyas of Lata and Anhilapataka.
However, his greatest enemy was Chalukya Taila II of Deccan. Both the Chalukyas and the Paramaras were annexing the territories of the disintegrated empire of the Rashtrakutas and were, thus, close rivals to each other. Munja succeeded in repulsing the attacks of the Chalukyas six times.
And, then, in order of get rid of the menace, once for all, he decided to attack the territories of his sworn enemy and succeeded in defeating the forces of the Chalukyas. But, much against the advice of his minister Rudraditya, he crossed the river Godavari and penetrated deep into the enemy territory. There he was entrapped by the enemy, taken prisoner and afterwards killed.
It was a tragic end of a great king who was a great warrior and had extended the territory, power and prestige of his dynasty. Besides, Munja was a poet and also a great patron of art and literature. Many scholars of repute like Dhananjaya, Bhatta Halavudha, Dhanika, and Padma Gupta flourished at his court. He also dug many tanks and built a number of temples. Munj-Sagar lake near Dhara was also constructed by him which exists even today.
The Kalachuris of Chedi:
The Kalachuris, also known as Haihayas, were an ancient race. They established their kingdom south of the kingdom of the Chandelas in Madhya Pradesh. Kokkalla I was the founder ruler of this dynasty who ruled during 845-888 A.D. and raised his kingdom to a respectable position in his own time. Kokkalla I was one of the greatest generals of his age.
He defeated the Partihara ruler, Bhoja I and his feudatory chiefs, the Arabs of Sindh, the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna II and attacked up to east Bengal. Afterwards, his relations with the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas became cordial. He made Tripuri (near Jabalpur) his capital.
His descendants were called the Kalachuris of Tripuri or Dahala. Kokkalla married a Chandela princess and had eighteen sons who, except the eldest one, were made rulers of different divisions. One of his sons established his independent kingdom in south Konkan whose capital was Ratanpur. His descendants were called the Kalachuris of Ratanpur.
The Guhilas of Mewar:
The Atpur inscription, dated 977 A.D. gives the names of 20 kings of the dynasty of the Guhilas or Sisodiyas but does not give the name of Bappa Rawal. It seems that the dynasty was founded by Guhadatt who established his small principality near Udaipur in the sixth century. Bappa Rawal, the most illustrious ruler of this dynasty, was the ninth ruler in succession. He recaptured Mewar from the Arabs and has, therefore, been regarded as the real founder of this dynasty.
He also raised the power and prestige of Mewar. Both Guhadatt and Bappa Rawal were Brahamanas though, afterwards, they were regarded as Rajputs and their descendants claimed their ancestory from Ramachandra, the hero of Ramavana. The Guhilas of Udaipur constituted the main branch of Guhilas. Another branch of this family established its rule at Jaipur.
The Guhilas accepted the suzerainty of the Pratiharas when Pratiharas became powerful. The Sisodiyas also belong to one branch of Guhilas. The Sisodiyas gained prominence in the twelfth century and Mewar became the most powerful kingdom of Rajputana under them. However, Rana Ratansinha of Mewar was defeated by Ala-ud-din Khalji and Mewar was occupied by him in 1303 A.D.
The Tomaras of Delhi:
The Tomaras established their kingdom in the north-east of the kingdom of the Chauhanas of Sakambhari. It is believed that Delhi was established by Tomaras in 736 A.D. In the beginning, the Tomaras remained feudatory chiefs of the Pratiharas.
Afterwards, the Tomaras made themselves independent and, making Delhi as their base, established their kingdom in Haryana and part of the Punjab. They remained independent till the middle of the twelfth century. Then, Chauhana Vigraharaja III took the Tomaras under his suzerainty.
The Arabs and the Turks:
The Arabs occupied Sindh and Multan in the eighth century but failed to penetrate deep into India.
The Turks invaded India in the eleventh century under their ruler, Mahmud of Ghazni and plundered India several times. Next, Muhammad of Ghur attacked India in the twelfth century and established the Turkish empire in India.