Other Dynasties and Rulers – Cholas Empire
(7th Century – 12th Century AD)
History of Harshavardhana (AD 606 – 647) :
- Belonged to Pushyabhuti family & son of Prabhakar Vardhan.
- Originally belonged to Thaneshwar, but shifted to Kannauj (after Harsha’s death Kannauj was won from Harsha’s successors by the Pratiharas).
- Brought ‘5 Indies’ under his control (Punjab, Kannauj, Bengal, Bihar and Orissa).
- Defeated by Pulakesin – II, the great Chalukya king, on the banks of Narmada in 620. Pulakesin – II bestowed the title of ‘Sakalottara – patha – natha’ – ‘the lord of the entire north’ – on him.
- Chinese pilgrim, Hieun Tsang (Prince of Travelers) visited during his reign. He spent about eight years (635 – 643) in the dominions of Harsha and earned his friendship. Hieun Tsang has left a detailed account of a grand assembly held at Kannauj in 643 attended by representatives of Hinduism and Jainism.
- Harsha used to celebrate a solemn festival at Prayag (Allahabad), at the end of every five years.
- Harsha was a great patron of learning. He established a large monastery at Nalanda. Banabhatta, who adorned his court, wrote Harshacharita and Kadambari. Harsha himself wrote 3 plays – Priyadarshika, Ratnavali and Nagananda.
- After the death of Harsha in 647, the empire once again broke up into petty States.
- I – tsing, another Chinese pilgrim, visited in 670 AD.
The Vakatakas History :
- The Vakatakas came to control parts of the Deccan and Central India till the rise of the Chalukyas.
- The founder of this Brahmin dynasty was Vindhyasakti.
- Most important king was Pravarsen – I who performed 4 Ashwamedha yagyas.
- Chandragupta – II married his daughter Prabhawati to the Vakataka king, Rudrasena – II.
Chalukyas of Vatapi (Badami) :
- Founder : Pulakesin – I.
- Established their kingdom at Vatapi (modern Badami, Karnataka).
- Pulakesin – II Was their most famous king, who was a contemporary of Harsha. He sent an embassy to the Persian king, Khusro – II. His court poet, Ravikirti, wrote Aihole inscription. Hiuen Tsang visited his kingdom.
- They were the maritime powers of their time.
- Much of the paintings and sculptures of the Ajanta and Ellora caves were completed during the Chalukyan reign. They builr several magnificent temples in Aihole and other places. Aihole is called the cradle of Indian temple architecture.
- There were two more Chalukya dynasties which were separate entities. They were Eastern Chalukvas of Vensi and Western Chalukvas of Kaivani.
- Vengi dynasty was founded by Pulakesin ll’s brother, Kubja – Vishnu-Vardhana. The power of Eastern Chalukyas was weakened in the tenth century and they became the allies of Cholas.
- The greatest ruler of Kalyani Chalukyas was Vikramaditya II Tribhuvanamalla. He was the hero of Bilhana’s Vikramankadeva Gharita. He introduced the Chalukya – Vikrama era (1076 A.D).
The Rashtrakutas Dynasty :
- Founder : Dantidurga.
- Originally district officers under Chalukyas of Badami.
- Their king, Krishna – I is remembered for constructing the famous rock – cut Kailasha temple at Ellora. It was constructed in the Dravidian style and elaborately carved with fine sculptures.
- Their king, Amoghvarsha, is compared to Vikramaditya in giving patronage to men of letters. He wrote the first Kannada poetry named Kaviraj marg and Prashnottar Mallika. He built the city of Manyakheta as his capital.
- Their king, Krishna – III set up a pillar of victory and a temple at Rameshwaram.
- Rashtrakutas are credited with the building of cave shrine of Elephanta. It was dedicated to Shiva, whose image as Mahesh (popularly known as Trimurti), counts among the most magnificent art creations of India. The three faces represent Shiva as creator, Preserver and Destroyer.
The Gangas Dynasty :
- Also called Chedagangas of Orissa.
- Their king Narsimhadeva constructed the Sun Temple at Konark.
- Their king Anantvarman Ganga built the famous Jagannath temple at Puri.
- Kesaris, who used to rule Orissa before Gangas built the Lingaraja temple at Bhubhaneshwar.
The Pallavas History :
- Founder : Simhavishnu. They set up their capital at Kanchi (south of Chennai).
- Narsimhavarman was their greatest king. He founded the town of Mamalapuram (Mahabalipuram) which he adorned with beautiful rock – cut Raths or Seven Pagoras. Hieun Tsang visited Kanchi during his reign.
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