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Medieval History / Regional Dynasties

Rise of Small Kingdoms in North India

There was a rise of small kingdoms in North India during the medieval period. The North Indian kingdoms list includes some of the dyansties like Shah Mir dynasty in Kashmir, Sharqi dynasty of Jaunpur, Sulanate of Bengal, Eastern Ganga dynasty in Odisha, Sultans of Malwa, Sultans of Gujarat, Sisodia, Rathore and Kachwaha dynasties of Rajasthan, etc.

Shah Mir dynasty in Kashmir Region

  • Shah Mir founded this independent dynasty in Kashmir. The important king of this North Indian dynasty is Zain-ul-Abidin.

  • Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-1470) - He is the greatest of all Kashmiri kings. He set up industries like shawl making, carpet making, paper and book binding, etc. People of Kashmir used to call him Bud Shah. Historians call him Akbar of Kashmir because of his religious tolerance. He also abolished Jizya tax. High positions were given to Kashmiri pandits.

    He built many number of temples. He is a regular visitor to Amarnath shrine. In the middle of Wular lake, he built (in Zaina Lank, an artificial island) a mosque and a palace. He got translated (through scholars) Mahabharata and Rajatarangini into Persian.

Sharqi dynasty of Jaunpur

  • They are also called Jaunpur Sultanate as their capital was Jaunpur. Jaunpur Sultanate is an important kingdom of North India. Jaunpur kingdom was founded by Malik Sarwar, who had the title Malik-us-Sharq.

  • Hussain Shah Sharqi (1450-1505) - He was the last ruler of Sharqi dynasty. He was a great musician of Hindustani Sangeet. He invented a new raga called Jangula. He built Atala Masjid in Jaunpur.

Sulanate of Bengal

  • Ilyas Shahi Dynasty - Ilyas Shahi dynasty ruled Bengal for around 150 years. Governor Sham-ud-din Ilyas Shah made an independent Bengal kingdom with two capitals Pandua and Gaur.

  • Hussain Shahi dynasty - Ala-ud-din Hussain Shah was the founder of this dynasty. He respected the Hindu religion. He was worshipper of Lord Krishna. He gave lot of respect to Chaitanya (contemporary to him). He was a great patron of Bengali literature. He got translated Sanskrit books into Bengali. Mahabharat was translated as 'Pandabbijay' by Kabindra Parameshvar. Husain Shah was considered the "Incarnation of Krishna" by Bengalis.

  • During Bengal Sultanate period, Mahabharata was retold as Kashidasi Mahabharat by Kashiram. Ramayana was translated into Bengali by Krittibas Ojha. Bhagavata Purana was translated by Maladhar Basu.

Eastern Ganga Dynasty in Odisha

  • During 10th C to 16th C, Odisha remained independent and never became part of Delhi Sultanate. In Persian literature, Odisha was known as Jajnagar. Bhanu Deva III was the ruler when invasion of Firoz Shah Tughlaq took place.

  • Eastern Ganga dynasty is one of the important regional kingdoms of India that ruled Odisha for nearly 1000 years from 5th C to 15th C. They built magnificent temples of Odisha. (There was a Ganga Dynasty in Mysore region called Western Gangas)

  • Anantavarman Chodaganga - He ruled between 11th and 12th C. He is one of the important Indian rulers of medieval period. He built Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar and Jagannath Temple in Puri. Both are Nagara style temples.

  • Langula Narasingha Deva - He built the Sun Temple (also called Black Pagoda, which used black stones) at Konark. It was built in the form of a chariot, the vehicle of Sun God. It has 24 wheels representing 24 hours and 7 horses representing 7 days a week. The height of the wheels is 10 feet.

  • After Eastern Ganga dynasty, Gajapati and Bhoi dynasties ruled over Odisha.

Sultans of Malwa

  • Their capital was Mandu.

  • Baz Bahadur - He was a great poet, musician and a builder. He remained a devotee of Krishna. Malwa was conquered by Akbar (Akbar's first conquest). He considered himself as Krishna and danced in Vrindavan with Gopis.

Sultans of Gujarat

  • Their capital was Ahmedabad.

  • Mahmud Begada - He was conqueror of two forts namely, Girnar Fort and Champaner Fort. There was a Sanskrit scholar in his court named Udayaraja, who wrote a book "Rajavinoda" on Mahmud Begada. Barbosa, a Portuguese traveler visited the king. He gave unbelievable information about the king like (i) He was administered poison since childhood (ii) The king used to take 10-15 kg of food for one meal and 100-200 bananas along with it.

  • Akbar conquered Gujarat sultanate in 1572. In memory of this victory, he built Fatehpur Sikri.

Rajput Rulers of Rajasthan Region

  • Sisodia Dynasty - It ruled the Mewar region with capital at Chithode. It constantly fought with Mughals. Famous kings in this dynasty are Rana Sangram Singh and Rana Pratap Singh.

  • Rathore Dynasty - They were rulers of Marwar region with capital at Jodhpur. Jodha Bai was from this state.

  • Kachwaha Dynasty - They were rulers of Amber region with capital at Amber. They were the first Rajput kings to have a matrimonial alliance with Akbar.

In addition to the above mentioned North Indian kingdoms list, there was emergence of new kingdoms in north India throughout the medieval period.