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Subjects /Indian History / Medieval History / The Rajput Period from 647 AD to 1200 AD

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07 Mar 2021

The ancient Indian history came to an end with the rule of Harsha and Pulakeshin II. After the death of Harsha to the 12th Century, the destiny of India was mostly in the hands of various Rajput dynasties. The name Rajput derived from “Rajputra”, the son of a ruler. Between the 8th and 14th century the term was mostly applied to a body of warriors who claimed Kshatriya caste status.

There were nearly 36 Rajput clans, the major among them were:

  •     The Pratiharas of Avanti
  •     The Palas of Bengal
  •     The Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer
  •     TheTomars of Delhi
  •     The Rathore of Kannauj
  •     The Guhilas or Sisodias of Mewar
  •     The Chandellas of Bundelkhand
  •     The Parmars 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 to 11th Century AD

The Pratiharas were also known as Gurjar Pratiharas as they belonged to the Gurjar race. They ruled over northern and western India from the 8th to 11th Century AD.

Founder – Nagabhatta I (725 – 740 AD)

Capital – Kannauj

  • He defeated Arabs of Sind
  • He captured Kathiawar, Malwa, Gujrat and several parts of the Rajputana.

Successors:  Vatsaraja and Nagabhatta II

Mihirbhoja was the most powerful Pratihara king.

  • He was able to stop the Muslim invasion under Junaid of Sind in 725 AD

Mahendrapala (885 – 908 AD) was the son of Mihirbhoja.

Decline of Pratiharas

Rajyapala was the last Pratihara king.

The Pratihara power began to decline after Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the kingdom in 1018 AD

Decline of Pratihars led to Palas, Tomars, Chauhans, Rathors, Chandellas, Guhillas and Parmars became independent rulers.

The Palas from 8th to 12th Century AD

There was a complete anarchy in Bengal in between 750 and 760 AD. The chieftains of Bengal selected Gopala as the king of Bengal and Bihar in order to put an end to anarchy.

Gopala (765 – 769 AD)

Founded the Pala dynasty.

Dharampala, the son of Gopala, succeeded as next king.

Dharampala (769 – 815 AD)

  • He brought Kannauj, Bengal and Bihar under his control after defeating the Pratiharas.
  • He was a Buddhist.
  • He founded several monasteries and the famous ‘Vikramsila’ university.
  • He also renovated ‘Nalanda’ university

Devpal, son of Dharampala, became the next ruler.

Devpal (815 – 855 AD)

He captured Assam and Orissa.

Decline of the Palas

The Pala dynasty started declining after the death of Mahipala.

The last Pala king was Govinda Pala.

By the middle of 12th century, Pala kingdom gave way to the rising power of the Senas.

The Tripartite Struggle of Kannauj

1. Pratiharas of Central India

2. Palas of Bengal

3. The Rashtrakutas of Deccan

All wanted to established their supremacy over Kannauj. The struggle lasted for 200 years and weakened all of them and enabled the Turks to overthrow them.

The Tomars of Delhi

  • They were feudatories of the Pratiharas.
  • They rose to pwer and founded the city of ‘Delhi’, in 736 AD
  • In 1043 AD, Mahipala Tomar captured – Thaneshwar, Hansi, Nagarkot.

Tomars became the feudatories of the Chauhans when Delhi was captured by them in 12th Century.

The Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer

They were the feudatories of the Pratiharas and declared their independence in the 11th century at Ajmer.

In the early part of 12th Century they captured

  • Ujjain from Paramaras of Malwa
  • Delhi from the Tomars

      They shifted their capital to Delhi

      Most important ruler was ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’

Rathores of Kannauj from 1090 to 1194 AD

After the decline of Pratiharas, Rathors established themselves on the throne of Kannauj.

Jaichanda was their last great ruler.

He was killed in the battle of Chandawar, in 1194 AD by Muhammad of Ghori.

The Chandellas of Bundelkhand

They established themselves in 9th century

  • The Chandella chief ‘Yasovarman’ had his capital at ‘Mahoba’
  • Kalinjar was their important fort

The Chandellas build a number of beautiful temples at ‘Khajuraho’ – the most famous being ‘Mahadeva Temple’ (1050 AD).

  • Qutb-ud-din Aibak defeated ‘Paramal’, the last Chandella ruler in 1203 AD.

The Guhillas or Sisodias of Mewar

The Rajput ruler ‘Bapa Rawal’ was the founder with capital at ‘Chittor’

During the time of Rana Ratan Singh of Mewar, ‘Ala-ud-din Khilji’ invaded his territory and defeated him in 1307, Ratan Singh’s wife Rani Padmini performed Jauhar.

The Sisodia rulers – Rana Sangha and Maharana Pratap gave tough fight to Mughals.

The Paramaras of Malawa

  • They were the feudatories of the Pratiharas
  • They asserted their independence in 10th century AD

Their capital was – ‘Dhara’

Raja Bhoja (1018 – 1069 AD), their most famous ruler

  • Constructed beautiful lake and College at Dhara (Bhopal)

Reign came to an end with invasion of Ala-ud-din Khilji.

Contribution of the Rajputs

During the time of Rajputs the Bhakti cult started.

Development of regional languages- 

Marathi, Gujrati and Bengali were well developed

Literary works-

  • Kalhan’s – Rajatrangini
  • Jayadev’s – Gita-Govindam
  • Somadeva’s – Kathasaritsagar
  • Chand Bardai – the court poet of Prithviraj Chauhan, wrote- ‘Prithviraj Raso’
  • Bhaskar Charya – Siddhant Siromani, a book on astronomy
  • Rajsekhar – court poet of Mahenderapala and Mahipala.
  • Karpuramanjari
  • Bala Ramayan

Art and Architecture during Rajputs

  • Mural and miniature paintings became popular
  • Temple Architecture developed :-
  1. The Khajuraho group of temples
  2. The lingraj temple at Bhubaneshwar
  3. The sun temple at konark
  4. The dilawara temple at Maunt Abu

Palaces at:

  • Jaipur
  • Udaipur
  • Forts at
  • Jaisalmer
  • Chittor
  • Mandu
  • Jodhpur
  • Gwalior