In this article we have compiled a list of top sixteen kings of India. They are: 1. Gangeyadeva (1019-Nearly 1041 A.D.) 2. Lakshmi Karna (1041-1072 A.D.) 3. King Sindhuraja 4. King Dhanga (954-1002 A.D.) 5. King Ganda (1002-1019 A.D.) 6. Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-Nearly 760 A.D.) 7. Jayapida Vinayaditya (779-810 A.D.) 8. Vallalasena or Ballalasena (1158-Nearly 1178 A.D.) and a few more.
Rajput King # 1. Gangeyadeva (1019-Nearly 1041 A.D.):
Among the Kalachuris of Tripuri, the most notable was Gangeyadeva, son of Kokkalla II. He engaged himself in many wars of conquest. Having sought the alliance of Paramara Bhoja and Rajendra Chola, he attacked the Chalukya king, Jayasinha II, but he failed to gain success.
He quarrelled with Parmara Bhoja and was defeated by him in a battle. His progress towards Bundelkhand was checked by the Chandela ruler, Vijayapala. However, he conquered Utkala and also annexed the territories up to Banaras and Bhagalpur towards north-east.
Rajput King # 2. Lakshmi Karna (1041-1072 A.D.):
Kama, son and successor of Gangeyadeva, proved one of the greatest generals of his age. He annexed Allahabad to his kingdom, kept under occupation a part of West Bengal, fought against the rulers of the South like the Cholas, the Kuntalas and the Pandyas. Thus, he fought many battles.
But, it seems that he failed to extend the territories of his kingdom. During his later period, Bhima I defeated him, the Chandelas gained ascendancy of Malwa and the Chalukya king, Somesvara also defeated him. Thus, the powers of the Kalachuris began to decline during the later period of his reign.
The successors of Kama were weak rulers. They failed to defend their kingdom. Ultimately, their kingdom was occupied by the Chandelas.
Rajput King # 3. King Sindhuraja:
Munja was succeeded by his brother Sindhuraja. He was also a capable commander. He defeated the Chalukya king Satyasraya and recovered the territories lost by Munja. He also succeeded in conquering Aparanta, defeating the king of Huna-mandala and subjugating Lata. But he did not live long and died about 1000 A.D.
Rajput King # 4. King Dhanga (954-1002 A.D.):
Dhanga, son and successor of Yaso Varman, proved to be the greatest king of the Chandelas. He had inherited a powerful kingdom from his father and raised his power and prestige further. He declared himself independent of the Pratiharas and captured the eastern part of their kingdom. He snatched away Banaras from the Palas and successfully fought against the Kuntalas and the Andhras thereby extending his territories further.
He sent help to support the Hindushahi king, Jayapala, against Sabuktigin. He was also a patron of learning and fine arts and built many temples at Khajuraho. Dhanga was the first independent king of the Chandela dynasty and assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja. He was also the greatest king of his dynasty and ranks among the powerful rulers of central India.
Rajput King # 5. King Ganda (1002-1019 A.D.):
Ganda, son and successor of Dhanga, was also a capable ruler. He sent his son Vidyadhara to punish Rajyapala, the Pratihara ruler of Kannauj, who, instead of facing Mahmud of Ghazni, had fled away. Rajyapala was killed by Vidyadhara. Ganda was succeeded by his son, Vidyadhara. Once in 1019 A.D., and again in 1022 A.D., Mahmud of Ghazni invaded Kalinjar and plundered a part of it but failed to capture it.
Vidyadhara was succeeded by Vijayapala, Kirti Varman and Madana Varman respectively. In 1165 A.D. Parmardideva was the ruler of Kalinjar who was defeated by Prithviraj Chauhan of Delhi. Afterwards Qutb-ud-din Aibak defeated Parmardideva and occupied greater part of Bundelkhand. The rulers of this dynasty, however, continued to rule over a part of Bundelkhand till Ala-ud-din Khalji conquered the rest of their kingdom.
Rajput King # 6. Lalitaditya Muktapida (724-Nearly 760 A.D.):
Lalitaditya proved the most illustrious king of this dynasty. He kept good relations with China, defeated Tibetans and the mountain tribes on the north-western frontiers of his kingdom such as the Dards, the Kambojas and the Turks, and conquered part of Punjab. However, his main success was against Yaso Varman, the powerful ruler of Kannauj. He defeated Yaso Varman and made himself master of Kannauj.
After that, according to Kalhana. Lalitaditya undertook a digvijaya or world-wide campaign and defeated all rulers of India including those of the south. This seems to be an exaggeration.
Yet, it is acceptable that Lalitaditya was a great conqueror and his conquests made Kashmir the most powerful kingdom of north India at that time. Lalitaditya was a liberal and generous ruler. He gave protection to Hinduism and Buddhism. He built many towns, monasteries, temples and images of gods. His most famous building was the Martanda (Surya) temple, ruins of which still exist.
Rajput King # 7. Jayapida Vinayaditya (779-810 A.D.):
The successors of Lalitaditya proved weak rulers. Only one among them, Jayapida, tried to revive the glory of the dynasty and attempted to conquer Magadha but failed. He was a patron of scholars. He was followed by a succession of weak rulers and the dynasty was replaced by another one, the Utapala dynasty about the middle of the ninth century A.D.
Rajput King # 8. Vallalasena or Ballalasena (1158-Nearly 1178 A.D.):
Vijayasena was succeeded by his son, Vallalasena. It is suggested that he conquered Mithila and north Bihar. But his reign remained mostly one of peace and prosperity. However, it is certain that he kept those parts of the empire intact which he had inherited from his father.
Rajput King # 9. Gopala (750-770 A.D.):
Sasanka, the contemporary ruler of emperor Harsha, had established a powerful empire in Bengal. But after his death anarchy prevailed in Bengal for about a century. The absence of a powerful king remained its primary cause. Being troubled by the unsettled state of affairs of Bengal, tie nobles elected Gopala as their leader who laid the foundation of the mighty empire of the Palas in Bengal.
Gopala was a Kshatriya by caste and had proved his valour and capability as a successful leader prior to his election as king. His original kingdom was Vanga or east Bengal. He was a devotee of Buddha but he pursued the policy of war and conquest to extend his empire. Even after him the Pala rulers kept their faith in Buddhism though they fought against their rivals to safeguard and extend their empire.
Rajput King # 10. Govindachandra (1114-1154 A.D.):
Govindachandra was the son and successor of Madanachandra. He proved a capable ruler and extended the boundaries of his kingdom both by war and diplomacy. He snatched away Magadha from the Palas, conquered Malwa and fought against the rulers of Orissa and Kalinga. He maintained good relations with the Kashmir ruler Jayasingha, Gujarat ruler Jayasingha Siddharaja and also with the Chola rulers of the south.
He also succeeded in defeating the Ghaznavid Muslim governor of Lahore and thus checked the penetration of the Muslims towards the east. Thus, by war and diplomacy Govindachandra established an extensive empire in north India and revived the glory of Kannauj. He was certainly the greatest ruler among the Gahadvalas.
Rajput King # 11. Vijayachandra (1154-1170 A.D.):
Govindachandra was succeeded by his son Vijayachandra. He was also a capable ruler. He kept the boundaries of his empire intact and defeated the Ghaznavids of Lahore and thus saved north India from further Muslim invasions.
Rajput King # 12. Jayachandra (1170-1193 A.D.):
Jayachandra was the last powerful ruler of the Gahadvalas. His empire included entire Uttar Pradesh and a part of Bihar. He tried to extend his empire further towards east but was defeated and checked by Lakshmanasena, the then ruler of Bengal. The romantic story of his daughter Sanyogita with the Chauhana ruler Prithviraja III of Ajmer and her elopement with him are not testified by historical evidence. However, he and Prithviraja III were enemies of each other.
They were rival neighbours and the main cause of it was, probably, the political ambition of each in extending his empire at the cost of the other. Jayachandra fought against Muhammad Ghauri in 1193 A.D. in the vicinity of Chandawar in the Etawah District and was killed. Kannauj was occupied by the Muslims.
Harichandra, son of Jayachandra tried to recover Kannauj from the hands of the Muslims but failed. Harichandra’s successor was Adakkamala who was forced to seek shelter in Central India. There he settled in the State of Nagod and Kannauj was finally occupied by the Muslims during the reign of Sultan Iltutmish.
Rajput King # 13. Vatsaraja (Nearly 778-8(15 A.D.):
Nagabhatta was succeeded by his brother’s sons, Kakkuka and Devaraja. However, nothing is known about them. Devaraja was succeeded by his son Vatsaraja who proved a powerful ruler.
Vatsaraja was an ambitious ruler and tried to be the lord of north India. He snatched away central Rajputana and a part of north India towards the east from the hands of the Bhandi—the ruling dynasty which probably was related to the Vardhanas, Imperial dynasty of Kannauj, lndrayudh, the ruler of Kannauj, accepted his suzerainty.
His ambition to capture Kannauj led him into conflicts with the Pala ruler Dharmapala and the Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva. He succeeded in defeating Dharmapala but was defeated by Dhruva who afterwards captured Kannauj.
Rajput King # 14. Nagabhatta II (805-833 A.D.):
Vatsaraja was succeeded by his son Nagabhatta II who revived the lost prestige of the empire. After the defeat of Vatsaraja by Dhruva the Pratihara empire was limited only to Rajputana. Nagabhatta II revived the policy of conquest and extension of the empire. He defeated the rulers of Andhra, Saindhava, Vidarbha and Kalinga. He subdued Matsayas in the north, Vatsas in the east and Turuskka (Muslims) in the west.
Dharmapala had defeated Indrayudh and made Chakrayudh, his brother, the ruler of Kannauj under his suzerainty. Nagabhatta attacked Kannauj and after defeating Chakravudha occupied it. This led him into conflict with the Pala ruler Dharmapala. The Kakka-Pratihara of Jodhpur, the Chalukvas of southern Kathiawar and the Guhilot of Mewar supported him in this conflict.
He succeeded in defeating Dharmapala and entered into his territories as far as Monghyer in Bihar. But he could not enjoy his success for long. The Rashtrakuta ruler Govind III, who was equally ambitious to capture Kannauj, attacked north India. Probably Govind III was invited by Dharampala and Chakravudha to avenge their defeat by Nagabhatta as they readily submitted to Govind III when he reached the North.
The battle between Nagabhatta and Govind III took place sometime in 909 or 910 A.D. in which Nagabhatta was defeated. After the battle Govind III retired to the South and, later on, the Rashtrakutas did not get time to interfere in the politics of northern India for about half a century. Yet, the power of the Pratiharas was weakened and they lost hold over Malwa and Gujarat.
It also gave an opportunity to Pala king Dharmapala and his son Devapala to regain and increase their power in the North. However, Nagabhatta having lost his western part of the empire to the Rashtrakutas, tried to extend his empire towards the east and succeeded in conquering territories as far as Gwalior, Kalinjar and up to Kannauj.
Rajput King # 15. Rambhadra (Nearly 833-836 A.D.):
Rambhadra, the son and successor of Nagabhatta II proved incapable and lost some of his territories, probably, to Pala ruler, Devapal. He ruled only for three years and was succeeded by his son Mihirbhoj. Mihirbhoj proved an ambitious and capable ruler and began a new and glorious chapter in the history of the Pratiharas.
Rajput King # 16. Mahendrapala I (Nearly 885-910 A.D.):
Mahendrapala I succeeded to the throne of his father, Mihirbhoja. He not only succeeded in maintaining the empire of his father but also extended it further.
The Rajatarangini of Kalhana suggests that he lost some territory in the Punjab to Sankara Varman, the king of Kashmir, but this is doubtful. He conquered Magadha and a part of northern Bengal. It is believed that his empire extended from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas and from the eastern to the western ocean.