THE NORTH INDIAN KINGDOMS – THE RAJPUTS

Medieval period

 Lies between the 8th and the 18th century A.D

 The Early Medieval period (8th-12th century A.O.)
 Later Medieval period (12th-18th century)
 Rajputs who belonged to the early medieval period
 The Rajput Period (647A.D- 1200 A.D.)
 The Ancient Indian history came to an end with the rule of Harsha and Pulakesin II

 From the death of Harsha to the 12th century, the destiny of India was mostly in the hands of various Rajput dynasties.

The popular theories are

 They are the descendants of Lord Rama (Surya vamsa) or Lord Krishna (Chandra vamsa) or the Hero who sprang from the sacrificial fire (Agni Kula theory),
 They belong to the ancient Kshatriya families,
 They are foreigners.

There were nearly 36 Rajput’ clans. The major clans were

 The Pratiharas of Avanti.
 The Palas of Bengal.
 The Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer
 The Rathors of Kanauj
 The Guhilas or Sisodiyas of Mewar
 The Chandellas of Bundelkhand
 The Paramaras of Malwa
 The Senas of Bengal
 The Solankis of Gujarat.

The Rajputs lacked unity and struggled with one another

They also neglected the frontiers of India and gave way for the Muslims to invade India at a later period.

The Pratiharas 8th-11th Century A.D

 The Pratiharas were also known as Gurjara
 They ruled over northern and western India from the 8th to the 11th century A.D.
 Nagabhatta I (725-740.A.D.) was the founder of the Pratihara dynasty with Kanauj as his capital.
 Vatsaraja and Nagabhatta II played a vital role in consolidating the empire.
 Mihirabhoja was the most powerful Pratihara king.
 During his period, the empire extended from Kashmir to Narmada and from Kathiawar to Bihar.
 Mahendrapala (885-908 A.D.) son of Mihirabhoja, was also a powerful ruler.
 He extended his control over Magadha and North Bengal

Pratiharas-A bulwark

• The Pratiharas stood as a bulwark of India’s defence against the aggression of the Muslims from the days of Junaid of Sind (725.A.D.) to that of Mahmud of Ghazni

Decline of the Pratiharas

 Rajyapala was the last Pratihara king.
 Vast empire was reduced to Kanauj.
 The Pratihara power began to decline after Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the kingdom in 1018
A.D.
 After the decline of the Prathiharas their feudatories Palas, Tomars, Chauhans, Rathors, Chandellas, Guhilas and Paramaras became independent rulers.
 There was complete anarchy in Bengal between 750-760 A.D.

Gopala (765-769.A.D.)

 Restored order and founded the Pala dynasty.
 Extended his power over Magadha and the Pala dynasty
 Ruled over northern and eastern India.

Dharmapala (769-815 A.D.)

 The son of Gopala, succeeded him.
 He brought Kanauj, Bengal and Bihar under his control
 Became the master of Northern India after defeating the Pratiharas.
 He was a staunch Buddhist and founded several monasteries and the famous Vikramasila
University.
 He also renovated the Nalanda University

Dharmapala’s son Devapala (815-855 A.D.)

 Succeeded him kept the Pala territories intact
 Captured Assam and Orissa. His successors were weak.
 During the reign of (998-1038. A.D.) The Palas became powerful again
 The Pala dynasty started declining after the death of Mahipala.
 The last Pala king was Govinda Pala

Tripartite Struggle for Kanauj

 The Pratiharas of Central India, the Palas of Bengal and the Rashtrakutas of Deccan wanted to establish their supremacy over Kanauj and the fertile Gangetic Valley.
 Their Tripartite struggle lasted nearly 200 years and weakened all of them and enabled the
Turks to overthrow them.

The Tomars of Delhi

 The Tomars were the feudatories of the Pratiharas.
 They rose to power and founded the city of Delhi in 736 A.D.
 In 1043 A.D., Mahipala Tomar captured Thaneshwar, Hansi and Nagarkot.
 The Tomars became the feudatories of the Chauhans when Delhi was captured by them in middle of the 1 2th century

The Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer

 The Chauhans who were the feudatories of the Pratiharas declared their independence in the
1101 century at Ajmer.
 In the early part of the 12th century they captured Ujjain from the Paramaras of Malwa and
Delhi from the Tomars.
 They shifted their capital to Delhi.

 The most important ruler of this dynasty was Prithvtraj Chauhan

Rathors of Kanauj (1090-1194 A.D.)

 The Rathors established themselves on the throne of Kanauj from 1090 to 1194 A.D.
 Jaichand was the last great ruler of this dynasty.
 He was killed in the battle of Chandwar in 1194A.D. by Muhammad of Ghori.

The Chandellas of Bundelkhand

 Established themselves in the 9th century.
 The Chandella Chief Yasovarman had his capital at Mahoba.
 Kalinjar was their important fort.
 The Chandellas built a number of beautiful temples at Khajuraho, the most famous being the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple (1050 A.D.)
 Qutb-ud-din Aibak defeated, Paramal the last Chandella ruler in 1203A.D.

The Guhllas or Slsodlyas of Mewar

 The Rajput ruler Bapa Rawat was the founder of the Guhila or the Sisodiya dynasty with its capital at Chittor
 During the period of Rana Ratan Singh of Mewar,
 Ala-ud-din khilji invaded his territory and defeated him in 1307 A.D.
 The Sisodiya rulers – Rana Sangha and: Maharana Pratap gave a tough fight to the Mughal rulers of India

The Paramaras of Malwa

 The Paramaras were also the feudatories of Pratiharas. They asserted their independence in the
10th century and their capital was at Dhara.
 Raja Bhoja (1018-1069) was the most famous ruler of this period.
 He constructed a beautiful lake (More than 250 sq. miles) near Bhopal. He set up a college at
Dhara for the study of Sanskrit Literature.
 The reign of the Paramaras came to an end with the invasion of Ala-ud-din Khilji

Nature of the Rajputs

 The Rajputs were great warriors and chivalrous by nature.
 They believed in protecting the women and the weak.

Religion

 The Rajputs were staunch followers of Hinduism
 They also patronized Buddhism and Jainism.
 During their period that the Bhakti Cult started.

Government

 The Rajput government was feudal in character.
 Each kingdom was divided into a large number of Jagirs held by the Jagirdars.

Some of the literary works of this period are

 Kalhana’s Rajatarangin
 Jayadeva’s Gita Govindam
 Somadeva’s Kathasaritasagar

 Chand Bardai, the court poet of Prithviraj Chauhan, wrote Prithviraj Raso in which he refers to the military exploits of Prithviraj Chauhan.
 Bhaskara Charya wrote Siddhanta Shinomani, a book on astronomy

Rajasekhara
 The court poet of Mahendrapala and Mahipala
 His best known works were
 Karpu ramanjari , Bala and Ramayana

Art and Architecture
 Mural paintings and Miniature paintings became popular during this period.
 Khajuraho group of temples,
 Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneshwar
 The Sun Temple at Konark
 The Dilwara Temple at Mount Abu

End of the Rajput Power
 During the Rajput period there were no strong military power
 To keep the warring princes in check and to co-ordinate their activities against foreign invasions.

Some popular terms
 Jauhar: Amass suicide of women in order to escape defilement at the hands of foreign victors.
 Gita Govindam: ‘Song of the cowherd
 Rajatarangini -‘River of Kings’,
 Kathasaritasagara -Ocean of tales’

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