The Post Gupta Era History And Important Ruled Dynasties-In this article we published the detailed history of The Post Gupta Era, and all details about those dynasties which were ruled in India after the Gupta Empire.
The Gupta Era
With the decline of the imperial Guptas at the close of 5th or the beginning of 6th Century, Magadha and its capital Pataliputra, lost their importance. After the fall of the Guptas, five major centres of power and their centres emerged in North India.
A brief description of these power is given below
It was a barbarious race, which came to India from Central Asia. Hunas invaded India for the first time during the reign of Kumaragupta. They could not succeed in India under Kumaragupta and Skandagupta but under weak Guptas they could penetrate into India. They established their supremacy in North India. Toramana was their ablest ruler and Mihirakula the most uncultured one. (The Post Gupta Era History And Important Ruled Dynasties)
They held the region of Western Uttar Pradesh around Kannauj. They had conquered a part of Magadha. Isanavarman and his son Sarvavarman were powerful rulers of this dynasty and adopted the title of Maharajadhiraja.The Post Gupta Era History And Important Ruled Dynasties
They established a kingdom in Saurashtra with Vallabhi as capital. Under the able guidance of Bhatarka, Vallabhi not only became a seat of learning and culture but also a centre for trade and commerce. The Post Gupta Era History And Important Ruled Dynasties
They ruled over a territory in Bengal and were quite lesser known of the four kingdom. Its most powerful ruler was Sasanka. He invaded Maukharis, killed Grahavarman and imprisoned his wife Rajyasri (sister of Harshavardhana). He treacherously murdered Rajyavardhana (elder brother of Harshavardhana), who was the ruler of Thaneshwar.
Their capital was Thaneshwar. Une of the most important ruler of this dynasty was Prabhakarvardhana. Harshavardhana belonged to this dynasty.
|•Out of all the five dynasties that followed the Guptas, the Pushyabhutis became the most powerful under Harshavardhana, who shifted his capital to Kannauj.|
•Kannauj remained the centre of political activity in North India till Turkish conquests at the end of 12th Century.
The Harshavardhana (Harsha’s Rise to Power)
The kingdom of Thaneshwar rose to importance under its King Prabhakaravardhana, a feudal of Gupta family and belonged to Pushyabhuti Dynasty. He had distinguished himself by waging successful wars against the the Malvas the Hunas of the North-Western Punjab and Rajputana. After he had fallen ill, his elder son Rajyavardhana was crowned as king, who was later murdered by Sasanka, the King of Bengal in AD 606. On the tragic murder of his elder brother, Harsha was called to the vacant throne by the Council of Ministers in AD 606. The Post Gupta Era History And Important Ruled Dynasties
- His first expedition against Gaudas was a failure, but he was soon to extend his authority with the help of Bhaskarvarman of Kamarupa, as mentioned in a book Arya Manjusri Mool Kalpa.
- He is said to have established his control over five indies – Orissa, Gauda, Mithila, Kanyakbhuja and Svarstha (Punjab).
- Harsha defeated Dhruvasena II Baladitya, the Maikraka ruler of Vallabhi (Gujarat).
- He conquered Kongoda Ganjam (Orissa) and offered its 80 township as a gift to a local Buddhist Monk Jayasena.
- Harsha was defeated by Pulakeshin II on the banks of river Narmada. This is mentioned in Aihole inscription of Pulakeshin II authored by Ravikriti, who describes Harsha as the Lord of Northern country (Saka
- Harsha is generally regarded as the last great Hindu Emperor of India, but he was neither a staunch Hindu nor the ruler of the whole country.
- His authority was limited to the North India except Kashmir. Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa were under his direct control, but his sphere of influence spread over a much wider area.
- Mostly, the feudatories seem to have accepted his suzerainty.
- The Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang sent three embassies to Harsha’s court.
Administration under Harsha
The Harsha Empire was divided into provinces called Bhuktis. Bhuktis were further subdivided into Visayas (districts), Visayas were divided into tehsils or pathaks and villages or gramas. He governed his empire on the same lines as the Gupta’s did, except that his administration had become more feudal and decentralised. He shifted his capital from Thaneshwar to Kannauj. The Post Gupta Era History And Important Ruled Dynasties
Important Officials in the Harsha Administration
|Mahasandhivigrahak Officer to decide about war and peace|
Mahabaladhikrita Highest Official of the Army
Baladhikrita The Commander
Vrihadeshwara Head of Cavalry
Ayuktak Ordinary Officer
Katuka Head of Elephant Brigade
Uparika Maharaja Provincial Head
|•The Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang visited India during Harsha’s reign. He has left a lengthy account of his travels. Hiuen Tsang noticed that Buddhism was not as popular in all parts of India as he had thought it would be. But in Eastern India, it was still popular.|
•Nalanda University was still a famous centre of Buddhism. He also recorded the existence of a rigid caste system and talked about the existence of many sub-castes. He also took note of many out-castes and untouchables, who were segregated and not allowed to mix with the people of the higher Vamas and had habitations marked with a distinguishing sign.
The Harsha was primarily a worshipper of Shiva, though his anscestors were worshippers of Sun. He was tolerant to other religions as well. He endowed the land grants to the priests of both Hindu and Buddhist religions. In his later life, he became a great patron of Buddhism. He convened a grand assembly at Kannauj widely publicise to doctrines of Mahayan Buddhism.
Assemblies Under Harsha
The two great assemblies under Harsha are
- At Kannauj, Harsha arranged a big assembly of 20 kings, 3000 monks acquainted with Buddhism. 3000 Brahmins and Nirgranthas (Jainas) and 1000 scholars from all over India.
- It was presided over by Hieun Tsang. For three weeks, topics of Mahayana Buddhism were discussed. This was a shot in arms of Mahayana Buddhism.
- Quinquennial distribution by the king to the people was held at Prayag. Here a great assembly for 75 days was held.
- The images of Buddha, Sun and Shiva were publicly worshipped and gifts of valuable articles and clothing were given to about 50 lakh persons belonging to all faiths.
- Hiuen Tsang was invited by Harsha to witness. his 6th quinquennial distribution of alms and gifts (Maha Moksha Parishad) at Prayag. Hieun Tsang writes that Harsha actually gave away everything in the royal treasury and became a monk.
Harsha was a lover of literature and wrote three dramas Ratnawali, Nagananda and Priyadarshika. He patronised Banbhatta who wrote Kadambari, Harshcharitra and Parvati Parinaya. He also patronised Haridatta and Jayasena.
|Death of Harsha and Its Impact|
•Harsha ruled for about fourty-one years his death in AD 647. His death facilitated the growth of petty territories to become states. He also did not seem to have left any heir to the throne of Kannauj, which
was usurped by his minister after his death.
•Harshavardhana was known as the king of the entire North India.
Deccan and South India Dynasties
By the beginning of the 7th Century, the Chalukyas of Badami, the Vakatakas and the Ikshavakus emerged as the three major states in Deccan. While in South India after the fall of Satavahanas, the Pallavas established a powerful kingdom
The Vakatakas was a powerful dynasty ruling contemporaneously with Guptas. Inscriptions and Puranas testify that in the hey-day of their glory they dominated the entire country of Bundelkhand, central provinces, Berar, Northern Deccan up to the sea, besides exercising suzerainty over their weaker neighbours. The Vakatakas it seems were Brahmins and in their inscriptions they called themselves as Haritaputras.
- Vindyasakti was the founder of the Vakatakas.
- Pravarasena I was the son of Vindyasakti. He assumed imperial titles as maharajadhiraja and Samrat. He is said to have perfomed sacrifices such as Asvamedha, Vajpeya.
- Gautamiputra was the son of Pravarasena I. He married the daughter of the Bharasiva king, Bhavanaga but did not
ascend the throne.
- Rudrasena I was the next ruler and is identified with Rudradeva mentioned in the Allahabad Pillar inscription as having suffered defeat at the hands of Samudragupta.
- Prithivisena, next came to the throne. His reign was known for peace and prosperity.
- Rudrasena II was married to Prabhavatigupta, the daughter of Chandragupta II. He rendered help to Chandragupta II in finishing off the Shakas. Under Prabhavatigupta’s influence, he became a Vaishnavaítr. After the death of her husband, Prabhavati ruled on behalf of her minor sons Damodarsen and Divakarsena.
- Pravarsena II built the city of Pravarapura, made it his capital and built there a temple of Ramachandra. He composed a famous Prakrit poem Setubandha. Kalidas wrote Meghadutam in Pravarasena II court. After him, the Vakatakas gradually become weak, and the Vakatakas power was ultimately shattered some time in the second quarter of the AD 6th Century by the Kalachuris of the South.
Contribution of the Vakatakas
The Vakatakas patronised economy by promoting the expansion of agriculture. They gave innumerable land donations to Brahmins and officers of the state. They were given cultivable waste lands, which in the long term led to feudalism, The Vakatakas in turn got the support of the feudal lords. The Vakatakas also patronised trade and commerce and controlled regions, through which important trade routes passed. But they did not issue any coins as did the earlier Satavahanas average covered.
The Vakatakas were patrons of Brahminical religion. Devotees of Vishnu and Shiva, the Vakatakas perfomed various sacrifices and patronised Hindu culture. But, they continued protection to Buddhist and Jain traders.
Pravarasena II the Vakataka ruler wrote the Prakrit poem Setubandha. Kalidas wrote Meghadutam in his court. Another Vakataka ruler Sarvasena wrote the book Harivijaya. Vakatakas used Prakrit language for their inscription.
Art & Architecture
Vakatakas patronised the Ajanta school of paintings, which flourised under them. The Vakatakas oversaw the construction of many Brahminical temples during their reign.
The Chalukyas (AD 543-753)
Chalukyas of Badami (Capital-Badami/Vatapi)
The most prominent of the post Gupta dynasties of the Deccan was that of the Chalukyas of Badami. Jayasimha was the first Chalukyan king. But Pulkeshin I is generally attributed to be the first Chalukyan king. Pulkeshin II was the most important ruler of this dynasty, who ruled from AD 608 and was a contemporary of Harshavardhana. He defeated the Kadambas, the Ganges of Mysore and Harsha’s Army. But he was defeated and killed by the Pallava ruler Narasimhavarmana in a later battle. Pulkeshin II’s court poet Ravikirti wrote the eulogy of his patron in the Aihole inscription.
Chalukyas of Vengi (Capital-Vengi)
This dynasty was founded by Pulkeshin II’s brother Kubjavishnu Vardana. He transformed his capital from Pishtapura to the ancient city of Vengi in Andhra Vijayaditya III (AD 848-892) is credited with victories over the Pallavas, the Pandyas and the Rashtrakutas. The power of Eastern Chalukyas (Chalukyas of Vengi) was weakened in AD 10th Century any they became the allies of the Cholas. Kulottuna Chola annexed the kingdom in 1076.
Western Chalukyas of Kalyani
- The later Chalukyas who ruled over Kalyani claim descent fram he main line of Chalukyas of Vatani. The kingdom was reestablished by Taila I in AD 973, when he defeated the last Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha IV. During his rule (AD 973-997), he brought under his control extensive territories, including Southern part of the Paramara Kingdom of Malwa.
- Someshvara I(AD 1043-1068) was involved in a protracted war with the Cholas and was finally defeated by the Chola ruler, Virarajendra, to the Battle of Kudai.
- Someshvara II (AD 1068-1076), a tyrannical ruler, was overthrown by his brother, Vikramditya II Tribhuvanamala (AD 1076-1126) the hero of Bilhana’s Vikramankadevacharita. He was undoubtedly the greatest ruler of the Western Chalukyas
- He introduced the Chalukya-Vikrama Era (AD 1076). He successfully fought against the Chalukyas of Anhilwara, the Cholas and the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana. He is said to have sent an embassy to Ceylon.
•Gangaraja Durvinita wrote a famous book on grammar known as Shabavatara. He also translated Brihatkatha written by Gunadva into Sanskrit.
• Udayadeva wrote a grammar book known as Jainendra Vyakarana.
•Somadev Suri wrote the book Nitivakyamrita about morality.
•Ban wrote Vikramankdeva Charita.
•Mahendravarmana I was called Vichitrachitta and Mattavilasa as he had authored Mattavillasa Prahasana.
With the death of Jagadekamalla II, the Chalukyas power was eclipsed and the throne was usurped by the Kalachuri minister of war, Vijjala or Vijjana. With the rise of the Yadavas of Devagiri and the Hoyasalas, the Chalukyas Dynasty ceased to exist by the middle of the 13th Century.
Achievements of the Chalukyas
The Chalukyas, who ruled Deccan from the 6th to 8th Century AD and again from the 10th to 12th Century AD occupy an important place in the history of the Deccan.
Their importance may be summarised as follows .
- The Central Government under the Chalukyas of Badami exercised a paternalistic control over the village administration which is unlike the administrative practice of South India.
- The army of the Chaulkyas consisted of a small standing army, but looked after civil administration whenever the need arose.
- They patronised education and learning. They promoted both Sanskrit and Prakrit.
- Though Chalukyas were Brahminical Hindus, they promoted other religions also like, Jainism made much progress under them.
- The Chalukyas developed the Deccan or Vesara style in the building of structural temples.
The Kingdom of South India
- The term Pallava means creeper, and is a Sanskrit version of the Tamil word Tondai, which also carries the same meaning. The Pallavas were possibly a local tribe, who established their authority in the Tondai Nadu or the land of creepers. But it took them some time to be completely civilised and acceptable because in Tamil the word Pallava is also synonym of robber. Simha Vishnu (AD 575-600) was the real founder of this dynasty. His son and successor Mahendravarman (AD 600-630) was defated by the Chalukyan king Pulkeshin II. With this started the great struggle between the Pallavs and the Chalukyas.
- Narasimhavarman I (AD 630-668) was the most successful Pallava king. In 642, he occupied the Chalukyan (Capital Vatapi), and probably killed Pulakeshin II. The Kailashnath temple at Kanchi and seven Pagodas as well as some other mansions were built in the reign of Narasimhavarman. The striking feature of the Kailashnath temple and seven Pagodas is that they were cut out of solid rocks.
- Many prominent scholars like Bharavi, Dandin, Dingnang, Mayursarman etc achieved a lot in the domain of literature due to the Pallavan aid and assistance.
- The Pallavan Power was wiped out by Aditya I, a Chola king, who routed Aparajitavarman and annexed the Pallava kingdom.
Conflict Between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas
- The main interest in the political history of Penninsular India from the 6th to the 8th Century centres round the long struggle between the Pallavas of Kanchi and the Chalukyas of Badami for supremacy.
- The Pandyas, who were in control of Madurai and Tinnevelly district of Tamil Nadu, joined this conflict as a poor third.
- The Pallavas and the Chalukyas quarreled with each other for plunder, prestige and territorial resources. Both tried to establish supremacy over the land lying between the Krishna and the Tungabhadra.
- The first important event in this a long conflict took place in the reign of Pulakeshin II (609-642), the most, famous Chalukya king. In his conflict with the Pallavas, he almost reached the Pallava capital, but the Pallava as purchased peace by ceding their Northern provinces to Pulakeshin II.
- Pulakeshin’s second invasion of the Pallava Territory ended in failure. The Pallava King Narasimhavarman (AD 630-668) occupied the Chalukya capital at Vatapi in about AD 642, when Pulakeshin II was probably killed in fight against the Pallavas
- The Chalukya King Vikramaditya II (AD 733-745) is said to have overrun
Kanchi three times. In AD 740, he completely routed the Pallavas.
|◆ Nausasi copper plate inscription gives information about Harshavardhan’s expedition against Vallabhi, Harsha defeated Vallabhi ruler Dhruvasena II.|
◆ Hiuen Tsang gives elaborate description of Harsha’s preparation for war with Pulakesin II.
◆ The post Guptan society witnessed an increase in Varnashrama dharma.
◆ Hiuen Tsang defined Sudras as those engaged in agriculture.
◆ The period saw rise in the number of subcastes.
◆ Decline in trade and commerce led to rise in number of self sufficient villages.
◆ Popularity of Buddhism declined despite of the patronage given by Harsha. Vaishnavism, which was patronised by the Guptas also lost some popularity and Saivism became the main theistic system of this period.
◆ The Chalukyas developed the Deccan or Vesara style of temple architecture.
◆ Alhole was a town of temples, had as many as 70 temples, and the most remarkable are
1. Ladh Khan temple 2. Huccimaligudi temple 3. Durga temple 4. The Jaina temple of Meguti.
◆ The Chalukyas of Badami are said to have a great navy.