Ancient Indian history came to an end with the reigns of Harsha and Pulakeshin II. After Harsha’s death in the 12th century, India’s destiny was mostly in the hands of various Rajput Kingdoms. The name Rajput is derived from “Rajputra,” the son of a ruler. Between the 8th and 14th centuries, the term was applied mostly to a group of warriors who claimed Kshatriya caste status.
North-western India was dominated by aggressive and expansionist Turkic tribesmen, whose main method of warfare was rapid advance and retreat. The disintegration of the Gurjara Pratihis in northwestern India led to a time of political uncertainty. The break-up of the Pratiharas empire led to the formation of Rajput states.
There were nearly 36 Rajput clans, the major among them being:
- 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 Chandelles 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, paving the way for the Muslims to invade India at a later period. Rajputs patronized Hinduism and Jainism to a certain extent. They also upheld the Varna system and the Privileges of Brahmanas.
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 the 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. The decline of Pratihars led to Palas, Tomars, Chauhans, Rathors, Chandellas, Guhillas, and Parmars became independent rulers.
The Palas From the 8th To 12th Century AD
There was complete anarchy in Bengal 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 the 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, the son of Dharampala, became the next ruler.
Devpal (815 – 855 AD) He captured Assam and Orissa.
The 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 the 12th century, the 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 establish 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 power and founded the city of ‘Delhi’, in 736 AD.
- In 1043 AD, Mahipala Tomar captured – Thaneshwar, Hansi, and Nagarkot.
- The Tomars were the feudatories of the Pratiharas.
- They founded the city of Delhi in 736 AD. During the 9th-12th century, the Tomars of Delhi ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana.
- Mahipala Tomar captured Thaneshwar, Hansi, and Nagarkot in 1043 AD.
Tomars became the feudatories of the Chauhans when Delhi was captured by them in the 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 the 12th Century, they were captured.
- Ujjain from Paramaras of Malwa
- Delhi from the Tomars
They shifted their capital to Delhi. The most important ruler was ‘Prithviraj Chauhan’
Ajay Rr Chauhan, king of Sakhambari established a city called Ajaymeru which was later known as Ajmer.
His successor Vigraharaj captured Dhillika from Tomar Kings.
After the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan, the dynasty was weakened.
Qutbuddin Aibak dealt the final blow by defeating the dynasty in 1197 AD.
- 1st Battle of Tarain (1191) Muhammed Ghori Vs. Prithviraj Chauhan – Ghurids lost the battle.
- 2nd Battle of Tarain(1192) Muhammed Ghori Vs. Prithviraj Chauhan – Prithviraj Chauhan lost the battle. This led to Delhi and Eastern Rajasthan passing under Turkish rule.
Govindaraja IV, the son of Prithviraj Chauhan was appointed to the throne of Ajmer as the vassal of the Ghurids.
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 Chandelles Of Bundelkhand
They established themselves in the 9th century
- The Chandella chief ‘Yasovarman’ had his capital at ‘Mahoba’
- Kalinjar was their important fort
- Bundelkhand was also known as Jejakabhukti
- The Chandelas built the most famous Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in 1050 AD and a number of beautiful temples at Khajuraho. Vidyadhara is noted for having commissioned the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple.
- The Paramal, the last Chandela ruler, was defeated by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1203 AD.
The Guhillas Or Sisodias Of Mewar
The Rajput ruler ‘Bapa Rawal’ was the founder with capital at ‘Chittoor’. 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 fights to the Mughals.
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Pirawa Tehsil of Jhalawar District of Rajasthan, Neemuch, and Mandsaur of Madhya Pradesh, and some parts of Gujarat.
The region was a part of the Rajput-ruled Mewar Kingdom or the Udaipur Kingdom. In 1568, Akbar captured Chittorgarh, the capital of Mewar.
Maharana Sanga (1508 – 1528)
- Rana Sanga of Mewar belonged to the Sisodiya clan and was a contemporary of Ibrahim Lodhi and Babur.
- The Battle of Khanwa, in 1527 took place between Babur and Rana Sanga in which Babur won and established the Mughal’s rule firmly in North India.
Maharana Pratap (1572 – 1597)
- Rana Pratap of Mewar belonged to the Sisodiya Rajputs as was Rana Sanga.
- He was a contemporary of Akbar.
- When Akbar sent a number of envoys in making Rana Pratap a vassal and submitting to Akbar, Rana refused and the Battle of Haldighati was fought in 1576 between Raja Man Singh I of Amber and Maharana Pratap in which Maharana Pratap was defeated by the Mughals.
The Paramaras Of Malawa
- They were the feudatories of the Pratiharas
- They asserted their independence in the 10th century AD
- They were a part of the Agnivanshi Rajput dynasty. Established in the 9-10th Century, they were vassals of Rashtrakutas.
Their capital was – ‘Dhara’, Bhoja was an important ruler in their period.
Raja Bhoja (1018 – 1069 AD), was their most famous ruler. Constructed a beautiful lake and College at Dhara (Bhopal).
The later Paramara rulers moved their capital to Mandu after Dhar was sacked multiple times by their enemies. Mahalakadeva, the last known Paramara king, was defeated and killed by the forces of Alauddin Khalji of Delhi in 1305 CE.
The reign came to an end with the invasion of Ala-ud-din Khilji.
The Chalukyas of Gujarat
- The Chalukya dynasty ruled parts of what is now Gujarat and Rajasthan in north-western India, between c. 940 CE and c. 1244 CE. Their capital was located at Anahilavada (modern Patan).
- Mularaja was the founder of the dynasty. During the rule of Bhima I, Mahmud of Ghazni plundered the Somnath temple.
- Mularaja is said to have built the Mulavasatika temple for Digambara Jains and the Mulanatha-Jinadeva temple for the Svetambara Jains.
- The Dilwara Temples and the Modhera Sun Temple were constructed during the reign of Bhima I.
- Rani-ki-Vav was commissioned by Queen Udayamati.
The Kalachuris of Tripuri
- The Kalachuris of Chedi ruled parts of central India during the 7th to 13th centuries from their capital Tripuri near Jabalpur.
- The kingdom reached its zenith during the reign of Lakshmikarna, who assumed the title Chakravartin after military campaigns against several neighboring kingdoms.
- The Karan temple at Amarkantak was built by Lakshmikarna (1041 – 1173 CE).
Contribution Of The Rajputs
During the time of the Rajputs the Bhakti cult started.
Development of regional languages- Marathi, Gujarati, and Bengali was well developed
Literary works during Rajputs–
- 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.
- Bala Ramayan
Art and Architecture during Rajputs
- Mural and miniature paintings became popular
- Temple Architecture developed:-
- The Khajuraho group of temples
- The lingraj temple at Bhubaneshwar
- The sun temple at Konark
- The dilawara temple at Maunt Abu
Palaces Developed during the Rajputs
- Forts at