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Medieval History / Early Medieval Era

Rajput Kingdoms of Early Medieval Period

    There were 36 Rajput kingdoms of early medieval period that ruled over North India. Some important Rajput kingdoms are Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty, Chandela dynasty, Paramara dynasty, Solanki dynasty, Chahamana dynasty, Gahadavala dynasty, etc. Rajputs are the bravest and honest people. They are ready to die for the word that is given. Colonial-era historians characterized them as being the descendants of Huns and Scythians but it is very much disputed. Many historians believe that Rajputs are local tribes, who got civilized over a period of time and got transformed into the ruling class.

    Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty

    • Gurjara Pratiharas ruled first from Ujjain and later ruled from Kannauj. Their founder is Nagabhata I, who himself claimed as Agnikula Kshatriya.
    • Mahendrapala - A Sanskrit scholar was present in his court (10th C), named Rajasekhara, who wrote Karpuramanjari, Kavyamimamsa, Viddhasalabhanjika, Balabharata, Balaramayaṇa.
    • Rajyapala - Muhammad Ghazni plundered Kannauj city during his period.
    • Mihira Bhoja - He was the greatest king of Pratihara dynasty. Arab traveller Sulaiman visited India during his period.

    Chandela Dynasty

    • The Chandela kingdom was a feudatory of the Gurjara-Pratihara kingdom. They initially ruled from Khajuraho and later from Mahoba. They ruled mostly the Bundelkhand area. Nannuka was the founder of Chandela dynasty.
    • Under the king Dhanga, Chandelas established their sovereignty. Dhanga constructed most of the temples.
    • Ganda was an important king of Chandela dynasty. He was twice defeated by Mahmud Ghazni. He was responsible for the confederation of Rajputs but was defeated by Mahmud of Ghazni.
    • Chandelas are the first kings to use inscriptions in Hindi.
    • Temples built by Chandelas - The famous Khajuraho temples were built by Chandelas. They built some of the best Nagara temples in the country. Some of the temples are Lakshmana Temple, Chaturbhuja Temple, Devi Jagadambi Temple, Vishwanatha Temple, Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Adinatha Temple (Jain temple), Parshvanatha Temple (Jain temple), etc.

    Paramara Dynasty

    • They are also called Pawar dynasty. They ruled the Malwa region with Dhara (modern Dhar) as capital. The founder of this dynasty is Upendra.
    • King Bhoja -
      • He was an important king of this dynasty. He took the title of Kaviraja and he wrote many books. Some of his books are Ayurveda Sarvasva (on medicine), Samarangana Sutradhara (on architecture), Tattvaprakasha (on Shaivism), Yuktikalpataru (on Administration), Rajamartanda (on yoga), Sarasvati Kantabharanam (Sanskrit grammar for poetic narrations), etc.
      • He built a new city called Bhojpur, very close to Bhopal. In Bhojpur, a sanskrit college was started with a Saraswati temple. This college is popularly known as Bhojshala or Saraswati Kantabharana Mahavidyalaya.
      • He started Vagdevi cult and started worshipping Saraswati. Government of India has taken the replica of Vagdevi from his period for the Jnanpith award.

    Solanki Dynasty

    • They are also called Chalukyas of Gujarat as they ruled mostly the Gujarat area and some parts of Rajasthan. They ruled with Anahilavada (modern Patan) as their capital. Mularaja was the founder of this dynasty.
    • Bhima I - During his reign around 1024-25 AD Mahmud Ghazni invaded his kingdom and raided the Somnath temple. During this invasion, Bhima I ran away from his capital and took shelter in Kanthkot. Somnath temple is the most sacred Shiva temple and one of the Jyotirlingas. He had a Jain minister by name Vimala, who built Vimal Vasahi temple at Dilwara in Mount Abu (Best Jain temple in India).
    • Early rulers of Solanki dynasty were attacked by Mahmud Ghazni and later rulers by Muhammad Ghori.
    • A jain scholar named Hemachandra was in the court of Jayasimha Siddharaja and Kumarapala, son of Jayasimha. Kumarapala was influenced by Hemachandra and he banned animal eating in Gujarat. Some of the books written by Hemachandra are Kumarapala Charita, Parisistaparvan, Trishashti Shalaka Purusha Charita (Lives of 63 Jain Monks), Neminatha Charita, Abhidhana Chintamani, etc.
    • Bhima II - In 1178, at the Battle of Mount Abu, Muhammad Ghori was defeated by Bhima II and Muhammad Ghori ran away from the war. Bhima II had two Jain ministers in his court namely, Vastupala and Tejapala. Both built many Jain temples at Mount Abu.

    Chahamana Dynasty

    • They are also called Chauhan dynasty. Their capital was located at Shakambhari and hence they were known by their capital as Chahamanas of Shakambhari. There were also other Chahamanas like Chahamanas of Naddula, Chahamanas of Jalor, etc. The founder of Chahamanas of Shakambhari is Vasudeva.
    • Vigraharaja IV expanded the Chahamana territories greatly. He defeated the Tomaras of Delhi. He wrote a Sanskrit drama Harakeli Nataka (Vaishnavite drama).
    • Prithviraja III -
      • He is popularly known as Prithviraj Chauhan. A scholar named Jayanaka wrote a book named Prithviraja Vijaya. One more scholar by name Chand Bardai wrote a book called Prithviraj Raso. It is about the love story of Prithviraj and the princess Samyukta of neighboring Gahadavala kingdom. It is the first book in Hindi literature. It was written in Braj Bhasha, which is one of the dialects of Hindi language.
      • Two wars were fought between Muhammad Ghori and Prithviraj Chauhan (in 1191 and 1192) at Tarain near Sthaneshvara. In the first battle, Ghori was defeated and he ran away. The second battle of Tarain is responsible for Muslim rule in India. Prithviraj Chauhan was killed and Chauhan Dynasty came to an end. Ghori appointed a governor named Qutb-ud-din Aibak. When Ghori died in 1206, Qutb-ud-din Aibak proclaimed independence and established Muslim kingdom with Delhi as capital.

    Gahadavala Dynasty

    • Gahadavala ruled from the capital Kannauj. They came after Pratiharas. Their founder is Yashovigraha.
    • Jayachandra - He was a staunch rival of Prithviraj Chauhan. Against his wishes, his daughter Samyukta ran away with Prithviraj Chauhan and to take revenge he made an alliance with the Ghurids to defeat Prithviraj Chauhan. In 1194 AD, in the battle of Chandawar, Ghurids under Qutb-ud-din Aibak defeated Jayachandra. A Sanskrit scholar by the name Sriharsha was in the court of Jayachandra. Sriharsha wrote a book called Naishadha Charita. It was being translated into many languages.
    • Govindachandra - His minister Lakshmidhara was a great jurist. Lakshmidhara wrote two law books named Krtya-Kalpataru and Kalpadruma.