- Lies between the 8th and the 18th century A.D
- The Early Medieval period (8th-12th-century A.D.)
- 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 North Indian kingdoms – The Rajputs
The popular theories about Rajputs
- 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 the 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
- 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
The 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.
- 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 12th 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 Prithviraj 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.
- The Rajputs were staunch followers of Hinduism
- They also patronized Buddhism and Jainism.
- During their period that the Bhakti Cult started.
- 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 Shiromani, a book on astronomy
- 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 coordinate 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’