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Tripartite Struggle| Struggle for Kanauj, The Palas, The Pratihara Dynasty, The Rashtrakutas

Importance of Kanauj

• Kanauj was the capital of Harsha and considered the symbol of the sovereignty of north India.

• Control of Kanuaj also implied control of the upper Gangetic valley and its rich resources in trade and agriculture.

• This center was best for trade and commerce as it was connected to silk route.

Tripartite struggle 

Tripartite Struggle

• Kanauj was ruled by Ayudh rulers who were weak which attracted the the Gurjara-Pratiharas of Bhinmal (Rajasthan), the Palas of Bengal and Bihar and the Rashtrakutas of the Manyakheta (Karnataka) who fought against each other.

• This tripartite struggle for Kannauj continued for almost two centuries.

• It ultimately ended in favour of the Gurjara-Pratihara ruler Nagabhata II who made the city the capital of the Gurjara-Pratihara state, which ruled for nearly three centuries.

The Palas

• This dynasty came to be known as the ‘Pala’ dynasty as the names of all the succeeding kings ended with ‘Pala’ which meant “protector” in the ancient language of Prakrit.

• The Pala kingdom included Bengal and Bihar, which included the major cities of Pataliputra, Vikrampura, Ramvati (Varendra), Monghyr (Munger), Tamralipti and Jaggadala.

• The Pala kings were the followers of Buddhism, especially Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism.

• The Pala empire was founded by Gopala, probably in 750 and ended the anarchy prevailing there. He was elected king by the notable men in the area.

→ He built the famous monastery at Odantapuri.

• Dharmpala, son of Gopala succeeded him who reigned between AD 770- AD 810.

→ He revived Nalanda University.

→ He also founded the Vikramshila University.

→ He was defeated by Dhurva (Rashtrkuta) and Nagabhatta II (Pratihara).

→ He captured Kannauj and placed his puppet ruler, Chakrayudha on the throne.

Devapala, the son of Dharmapala, who succeeded to the throne in 810 and ruled for 40 years,

→ He extended his control over Pragjyotishpur (Assam) and parts of Orissa.

→ He shifted the capital to Monghyr (Munger).

After the death of Devpala, the Pala empire were on the verge of declining. A series of invasions led by the Chandellas and the Kalachuris started weakning the power of Pala Empire. The Pala dynasty was succeeded by Sena dynasty of Bengal.

The Pratihara Dynasty

The Pratiharas were also called Gurjar-Pratihars probably because they originated from Gurjaratra or Southwest Rajasthan.

• The dynasty was founded by Nagabhatta I who traced his descent from Laxmana.

→ He resisted the Arab incursions from Sindh into Rajasthan.

→ His territories includes Malwa and parts of Rajputana and Gujarat.

Nagabhata I was succeeded by Kakkuka and Devraja however they were not famous rulers and sources of their information is very limited.

• Vatsaraja, the son of Devaraja was a powerful ruler who ascended the throne in about 778 AD.

→ His empire comprised Malawa and eastern Rajputana.

→ He defeated Dharmapala, the Pala ruler of Bengal but defeated by the Rashtrakuta ruler, Dhruva III.

Nagabhatta II was the son and successor of Vatsaraja, ruled from about 805 AD to 839 AD.

→ He suffered a crushing defeat by the Rashtrakuta Govinda III thus he established himself in Gurjaratra.

→ Later, he defeated took Chakrayudha, the ruler of Kanauj and shifted his capital there.

→ The rulers of Andhra, Saindhava, Vidarbha and Kalinga pledged to him.

Ramabhadra, the son Nagabhatta II succeeded him and reigned for about 3 years.

Mihir Bhoja was the son of Ramabhadra who ruled from 836 AD to 885 AD.

→  He was the greatest ruler of the dynasty was Bhoja.

→ By about 836 he had recovered Kanauj which remained the capital of the Pratihara empire for almost a century.

→ He was defeated by the Pala ruler, Devapala when he tried to extend his control towards east.

→ A sanguinary battle was fought between Bhoja and Krishna II at Ujjayini on the bank of Narmada in which he defeated Krishna II and occupied Malwa.

→ According to an inscription. his territories extended to the eastern side of the river Sutlej.

→ After the death of Devapala and the weakening of the Pala empire, Bhoja also extended his empire in the east.

→ Bhoja was a devotee of Vishnu, and adopted the title of ‘Adivaraha’ which has been found inscribed in some of his coins.

→ Bhoja probably died in about 885.

• Bhoja was succeeded by his son Mahendrapala I who ruled till about 885 to 909 AD.

→ He conquered the greater part of Magadha and North Bengal.

→ He lost some territory in Punjab to ruler of Kashmir.

• After the death of Mahendrapala I, his son Bhoja II came to the throne but he was soon displaced by his half brother Mahipala.

• Mahipala ruled from about 912 to 944 A.D.

→ Between 915 and 918, the Rashtrakuta King Indra III again attacked Kanauj and devastated the city.

→ Inspite of initial failures, he was able to re-establish the fortune with the help given to him by his powerful feudatories.

→ Towards the end of his reign Krishna III, the Rashtrakuta King occupied two forts of the Pratiharas.

Mahipala I was succeeded by his son Rajyapala II who maintained the Pratihara empire intact.

• Devapala ascended the throne in about 948 A.D.

→ It was during his reign that the Chandellas came into prominence.

The Pratihara dominated north India for over hundred years from the first quarter of ninth century to the middle of the tenth century. There was steady decline in the power of Pratihara and gradually it was divided among the Chalukyas of Anhilwada, the Chandellas of Jejakabhukti, Chedis of Dahala, Parmaras of Malava, the Guhilas of Southern Rajputana, the Chahumanas of Sakambhari and the Kachhwahas ghatas of Gwalior.

The Rashtrakutas

The Deccan was ruled by the Rashtrakutas at the time when the Palas and the Pratiharas were ruling North India. Rashtrakutas claimed descent from Satyaki (the Yadava king of Mahabharata). They were feudatories of the Chalukyas of Badami. Their original home was Lattalura (modern Latur) in the Osamanabad district of Maharashtra.

Dantidurga was the first independent ruler of Rashtrakuta kingdom.

→ He took part in the campaign organised by Vikramaditya II, the Chalukya emperor and Pulkeshin to push back the Arabs in about 738 A.D. where Arabs were defeated.

→ He destroyed the Gurjara kingdom of Nandipuri.

→ He defeated the Chalukya king, Kritivarman II and won victory over Vallabha.

→ He fixed his capital at Manyakhet or Malkhed near modern Sholapur.

→ He defeated Pratihara and annexed Malwa.

→ He took up the titles of Maharajadhiraja, Parameshvara and Paramabhattaraka.

→ Dantidurga died sometime before 758 A.D.

• Dantidurga was succeeded by his uncle Krishna I who ruled from 758 to 773 AD.

→ The Chalukya king, Kritivarman II was not completely crushed by the Dantidurga. This task was done by Krishna I who defeated him and the Chalukya empire was completely finished by about 760 AD.

→ He annexed Chalukyas of Vengi (Eastern Chalukyas)

→ He built Monolithic Ellora temple and Kailasha temple in Dravidian Style.

Govinda II was the son and successor of Krishna I.

→ When he was Yuvraj, he had inflicted a crushing defeat on the Chalukya king of Vengi

→ After he became King, he drove himself into the of pleasures and debauchery.

→ He left the whole empire into the care in the hands of his younger brother, Dhruva.

• Govinda II was succeeded by Dhruva who forcefully drove him out of the throne.

→ He ruled from 780 to 793 AD.

→ He defeated the Pratihara ruler, Vatsaraja.

→ He was also successful against Dharampala of the Pala Dynasty.

Govinda III was the successor of Dhruva who ruled between 793 to 814 AD.

→ He tried his luck in North India and very much successful in this.

→ Chakrayudha, the puppet ruler of Kanauj who made an unconditional surrender to Govinda III.

→ He defeated Nagabhatta II.

• Govinda III was succeeded by Amoghavarsha who ruled from 814 to 878 AD.

→ He sat on the throne at the age of 13-14.

→ In the initial years, he had to face rebellions from everywhere such as his ministers, tributary princes however he successfully tackled all of them.

→ He attacked Vijayaditya II and defeated him in about 830 AD.

→ He was follower of Jainism.

→ He wrote 1st Kannada book Kavirajmarga.

Krishna II was the son and successor of Amoghavarsha who ruled for 36 years from 878 to 914 AD.

→ His most important wars were against the Pratiharas and the Eastern Chalukyas.

→ Krishna II invaded the Chola kingdom in order to put his grandson on the throne but he was defeated at Vallala.

Indra III was the grandson of Krishna II who ruled from 940 to 968 AD.

→ He defeated the Cholas in Battle of Takkolam and captured Tanjore.

→ He also built Gandmartandamitya and Krishneshwara temple at Rameshwaram.

Khottiga was the younger brother and successor of Krishna III in 967 AD.

→ During his reign in 972 AD, Parmara King Singaka reached Malked, the Rashtrakuta capital and completely ransacked it.

Karaka II succeeded Khottiga.

→ Taila II, who was as feudatory of the Rashtrakutas revolted in 973 AD and defeated Karakka II In 975 AD.

The empire was divided into several provinces called Rashtras under the control of Rashtrapati. Law and order was responsibility of Kosta – pala or Kotwal. Vaishnavism & Shaivism religion prominently flourished. Jainism & Buddhism along with Muslims were welcomed & allowed to preach their faith freely. After the defeat of Karaka II, the Rashtrakutas kingdom disappeared.

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