INDIA BETWEEN 750 and 1200 AD

Political Conditions

Triangular Conflict for Kanauj

  • Kanauj became a cause of disagreement between three powers-Rashtrakutas, Pratiharas and Palas. 
  • This was to exhaust all three of them leaving the field open to their feudatories that resulted in the founding of small regional kingdoms all over northern India.
  1. Palas Gopala: 
    • Gopala, who was allegedly elected by the people, founded the Pala dynasty. 
    • He founded the famous Odantapuri Vihara. 
    • He had his capital at Pataliputra.



    • The greatest king of the Pala dynasty was Gopala’s son, Dharampala.
    • The struggle for the mastery of Kanauj started in his time. 
    • He founded the Vikramsila University and the Somapura Vihara in Bihar.



    • The son of Dharamapala extended the empire to Pragjyotipur (Assam) and parts of Orissa. 
    • He permitted the Sailendra ruler of Sri Vijaya (Indonesia), Balaputradeva to construct a ‘vihara’ at Nalanda. However, after his death, the Pala empire distintegrated.



    • It was revived in the first quarter of 11th century AD by Mahipala-I and continued until the middle 12th century AD, when Vijayasena (founder of the Senas) over threw them.
  1. Pratiharas

Nagabhatta I: 

    • They were at first local officials but gradually carved out a principality in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
    • They came into prominence because of the resistance they posed under their ruler Nagelbhatta I to the incursion of the Arab rulers of Sind into Gujrat.



    • The real founder and greatest ruler of the Pratihara dynasty was Bhoja, because he rebuilt the empire after its temporary destruction by the Rashtrakutas. 
    • Sulaiman, an Arab merchant, visited his empire.



Mahindrapala I: 

    • He maintained the empire of Bhoja and extended it over Magadha and North Bengal. 
    • Rajasekhara, whose famous works include Karpuramanjari, Kavyamimamsa, etc, adorned his court.


    • He was succeeded by his son Mahipala, during whose reign the Rashtrakutta Indra III attacked Kanauj and devastated it.


  1. Rashtrakutas Dantidurga: 
    • He founded the dynasty by overthrowing the last Chalukya ruler of Badami, Kirtivarman
    • He was also the builder of the Dasavatara Cave at Ellora.


Krishna I: 

    • He consolidated the empire by scoring victories over the Gangas of Mysore and Chalukyas of Vengi.
    • The kailasa or Siva temple at Ellora is attributed to him.


Amoghavarsha I: 

    • He transferred the capital from Ellora to Manayakheta (Malkhed), which was built by him. 
    • Known for his patronage of literature, he wrote the Kavirajamarga (pioneering work in Kannada) and Ratnamalika (a work on Jainism) in kanada.
    • Famous Jaina scholars like Harisena, Jinasena and Gunabhadra lived at his court.


Indra III 

    • One of the two greatest Rashtrakutes; he carried the arms into the heart of the Gangetic valley with his victories over the Pratiharas and Palas. 
    • Al-Masudi, and Arab traveler, visited his kingdom.


Krishna III: 

    • Another greatest Rashtrakuta ruler; he defeated all his contemporaries; including the Chola ruler Parantaka I (battle of Takkolam). 
    • He is credited with building a number of temples, including the famous Krishnesvara temple at Ramesvaran.



    • Taila, the founder of Chalukyas of Kalyani (also known as Later or Western Chalukyas), overthrew this last ruler of the Rashtrakuta dynasty.


Rajput Kingdoms

Origin of Rajupts


    • Most authorities accept the view that Rajput clans were either descendant of Hunas settled in northern and western India or of those tribes and peoples like Khazars or Gujaras who had entered India with the Huna invaders.
    • The Rajputs were divided into a number of clans of which four claimed a special status. 
    • They claimed descent from a mystical figure that arose out of vast sacrificial fire pit near Mt. Abu. Consequently, they were described as the Agnikula or Fire Family.


Four Agnikula Clans 1. Paiharas:

    • Also known as Pratiharas, they should not be confused with the main Pratiharas.
    • Based in southern Rajasthan, they were the weakest of the four and lasted for a short period.


  1. Chauhans:
    • Based in eastern Rajasthan, they became independent under Simharaja.
    • However, the real founder was Vigraharaja II, who extended the kingdom into some parts of Gujarat.


Main Chauhan Rulers:

Ajayaraja II 

    • The next important ruler, carried on the aggressive policy and founded the city of Ajayameru (Ajmer).


Vigraharaja III, 

    • Their greatest conqueror captured Delhi form the Thomars and plundered Gujarat. 
    • He also patronized literature and authored a famous play, Harikeli Nataka.


Prithviraja III 

    • The most famous of the Chauhans, scored victories over all the neighbors, including the Chandella, Paramardi, Chalukya Bhima II and Gahadvala Jayachandra. 
    • He defeated Muhammad of Ghur in the first battle of Panipat (1191), but in turn was defeated in the second battle (1192). 
    • His court poets Chand Bardai and Jayanaka wrote the two great poems of Prithvirajaraso and Prihvirajavijaya respectively.


  1. Solankis:
    • Also known as Chalukyas of Gujarat. 
    • They were centred in the region of Kathiawar with Anahilapataka as their capital. They became independent under Mularaja I.
    • During the reign of Bhima I, Mahumad of Ghazni plundered the temple of Mt. Abu.
    • Jayasimha Siddharaja, the greatest ruler of the dynasty, is credited with victories over the Paramaras, Chauhans, Chandellas and Kalyani Chalukyas.
    • He was also a great patron of literature (Hemachandra’s Sidha Hemachandra) and architecture (the famous Rudra Mahakaal temple of Siddhapura).
    • Kumarapala was a great patron of Jainism and the famous Hemachandra was his preceptor.
    • During the reign of Mularaja II, Muhammad of Ghur made his first attack on India but was defeated and turned back at Mt. Abu.
    • Alauddin Khalji defeated Karnadeva, the last Hindu ruler of Gujarat.


  1. Pawars:
    • Also Known as Paramaras, they established control in Malwa with their capital at Dhar. Siyaka II was the first important ruler of the dynasty.
    • Munja was a successful general and scored victories over Kalachuris and Sulankis. Ultimately, Kalyani Chalukya Taila killed him.
    • Bhojadeva, the most famous of the Paramaras, is credited with the authorship of more than twenty-three books on varied subjects. 
    • They include Samarangana Sutradhara and a commentary on Patanjali’s Yogastura.  He was also a great builder, the Saraswati temple at Dhara being his creation.
    • Mahalakdeva, the last ruler, lost his kingdom to Alauddin Khalji.


Other Important Rajput Clans Chandellas:

    • They became prominent in the region of Bundelkhad. Known as Jejabhukti after one of their early ruler is Jayasakti, with their capital at the temple city of Khajuraho in M.P.
    • Their first important ruler was Yasovarman, who not only extended the kingdom but also built the famous Chaturbhuja (Vishnu) temple at Khajuraho.
    • However, the regin of Dhanga witnessed the peak of Chandella power for the temple building activity. 
    • The temples of Viswanatha, Jinanatha and Dinanatha at Khajuraho were built during his period.
    • The last known Chandella was Viravarman II, who was defeated by Alauddin Khalji.



    • Also known as Haihayas, they ruled Chedi or Dahala-mandala with their capital at Tripuri (near Jabalpur) in M.P.
    • They came into prominence under Kolkalla I, but their greatest ruler was Gangeyadeva who assumed the title of Trikalingadhipati after conquering Orissa.



    • With their capital at Kanauj, they came into prominence under Chandradeva, who imposed a tax called ‘turushkadanda’ either to defray the expenses of war against Muslim invaders or to pay a tribute to the latter.
    • Their greatest king was Govindachandra who scored victories over both the Kalachuris and Chandellas. 
    • His minister, Lakshmindra, was the author of several legal works, including Kalpadruma.
    • Muhammad of Ghur defeated Jayachandra, the last important Gahadvala, in the battle of Chandwar (1193). He patronized Sriharsha, the author of Naisadhacharita.



    • Reckoned as one of the thirty-six Rajput clans, they controlled the Haryana region.
    • Anangpal Tuar founded the capital city of Dhillika (later Delhi) and started the Tomara dynasty.
    • Their independence ended when Chauhan Vigraharaja III captured Delhi.


C. Causes for Muslim Conquest


Political Weaknesses: 

  • The ceaseless internal fighting, growth of local class loyalties etc.


Social Weakness: 

  • The increasing privileges to the higher castes were responsible for the growing apathy of the large section of the Indian society to the political events in India.


Backwardness in Science and Technology: 

  • The growing insularity of India, the rigid attitude of the intellectual classes, and the contempt in which the artisans and the working population.


Military Advantages of Turks:  

  • High quality horses were bred in Central Asia, Iran and Arabia, whereas the Indian states had to import them.
  • Turks had already become experts in the new style of warfare of the armoured equestrian and the mounted archer, where as the Indians were still dependent heavily on the elephant and infantry.


Growth of Feudalism: 

It resulted in several weaknesses in the organization of the Indian armies.


Art and Architecture Nagara Style of Temples: 

  • The fundamental characteristics of the Nagara style of temples found all over north India are the cruciform ground plan and curvilinear tower (sikhara). 
  • Certain regional variations appeared in the formal development of the style, but they did not alter its basic characteristics.
  • The most prominent among them are the kandariya Mahadeva, Devi Jagadmaba, Duladeo, Parsvanatha, Lakshmana and the Viswanatha temples.


Temples of Western India

  • The western Indian variation has been called the Solanki style named after the rulers.
  • The famous Jaina temples of Dilwara, Mount Abu (Rajasthan) and the most not worthy are the ones built by Vimala in 1031 AD and by Tejpala in 1230 AD.
  • Another important temple is the famous Rudra Mahakal temple, built by Siddharaja.


Temples of Malwa and Khandesh

  • Yet another variety of the Nagara sytle developed during the hegemony of the Paramaras.
  • The finest monument of this type is furnished by the Nilakantesvara temple at Udayapur in M.P. built by the Paramara king Udayaditya in the 11th century AD.
  • The temple at Ambarnatha (Thana district, Maharashtra) is another good illustration.