Middle kingdoms of India

Middle kingdoms of India

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Encyclopedia
Middle kingdoms of India (or Classical India) refers to the political entities in India from the 3rd century BC after the decline of the Maurya Empire
Maurya Empire
The Maurya Empire was a geographically extensive Iron Age historical power in ancient India, ruled by the Mauryan dynasty from 321 to 185 BC...

, and the corresponding rise of the Satavahana dynasty, beginning with Simuka
Simuka
Simuka was an Indian king and the founder of the Satavahana dynasty. He is described as Sishuka or Sindhuka in the Puranas. He is also known as Gadabhilla, father of Vikrama in the accounts of the Jains, and is said to have ruled in the area of Pratishthan and Malwa.He was succeeded by his brother...

, from 230 BC. This is known as the classical period of India, during which India is estimated to have had the largest economy of the world controlling between one third and one fourth of the world's wealth. The "Middle" period
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 lasts for some 1,500 years, and ends in the 13th century, with the rise of the Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

 and the end of the Chalukya Cholas
Chalukya Cholas
The Later Chola dynasty ruled the Chola Empire from 1070 C.E. until the demise of the empire in the second half of the 13th century. This dynasty was the product of decades of alliances based on marriages between the Cholas and the Eastern Chalukyas based in Vengi and produced some of the greatest...

 (Rajendra Chola III
Rajendra Chola III
Rajendra Chola III was the son of Rajaraja Chola III who came to the Chola throne in 1246 CE. Although his father Rajaraja III was still alive, Rajendra began to take effective control over the administration...

 died 1279).

The Northwest


The Mauryan Empire, during the 2nd century BC, became a collage of regional powers with overlapping boundaries. The whole of north-west attracted a series of invaders between 200 BC and 300 AD. The Puranas
Puranas
The Puranas are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography.Puranas...

 speak of many of these tribes as foreigners and impure barbarians (Mlechhas). First the Satavahana
Satavahana
The Sātavāhana Empire or Andhra Empire, was a royal Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar and Prathisthan in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward...

s and later the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

, both successor states to the Mauryan Empire, attempt to contain the expansions of the successive before eventually crumbling internally due pressure exerted by these wars.

The invading tribes were influenced by Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 which continued to flourish under the patronage of both the invaders and the Satavahana
Satavahana
The Sātavāhana Empire or Andhra Empire, was a royal Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar and Prathisthan in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward...

s and Gupta
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

s and provides a cultural bridge between the two cultures. Over time, the invaders became "Indianized" as they influence society and philosophy across the Gangetic plains and are conversely influenced by it. This period is marked by both intellectual and artistic achievements inspired by cultural diffusion and syncretism
Syncretism
Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

 as the new kingdoms straddle the Silk route.

The Indo-Scythian Sakas



The Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians is a term used to refer to Sakas , who migrated into Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, Gandhara, Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE....

 are a branch of Sakas (Scythians), who migrated from southern Siberia
Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

 into Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

, Sogdiana
Sogdiana
Sogdiana or Sogdia was the ancient civilization of an Iranian people and a province of the Achaemenid Empire, eighteenth in the list on the Behistun Inscription of Darius the Great . Sogdiana is "listed" as the second of the "good lands and countries" that Ahura Mazda created...

, Arachosia
Arachosia
Arachosia is the Latinized form of the Greek name of an Achaemenid and Seleucid governorate in the eastern part of their respective empires, around modern-day southern Afghanistan. The Greek term "Arachosia" corresponds to the Iranian land of Harauti which was between Kandahar in Afghanistan and...

, Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

, Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, and into parts of Western and Central India, Gujarat, Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 and Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

. The first Saka king in India was Maues
Maues
Maues was an Indo-Scythian king who invaded the Indo-Greek territories.-Conqueror of Gandhara:...

 or Moga who established Saka power in Gandhara and gradually extended supremacy over north-western India. Indo-Scythian rule in India ended with the last Western Satrap Rudrasimha III
Rudrasimha III
Rudrasimha III was the last ruler of the Western Satraps in India, in the 4th century CE.A fragment from the Natya-darpana mentions the Gupta king Ramagupta, the elder brother of Chandragupta II, decided to expand his kingdom by attacking the Western Satraps in Gujarat. The campaign soon took a...

 in 395 CE.

The invasion of India by Scythian tribes from Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

, often referred to as the Indo-Scythian invasion, played a significant part in the history of India
History of India
The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

 as well as nearby countries. In fact, the Indo-Scythian war is just one chapter in the events triggered by the nomadic flight of Central Asians from conflict with Chinese tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s which had lasting effects on Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

, Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

, Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

 and India as well as far off Rome in the west. The Scythian groups that invaded India and set up various kingdoms
Monarchy
A monarchy is a form of government in which the office of head of state is usually held until death or abdication and is often hereditary and includes a royal house. In some cases, the monarch is elected...

, included besides the Sakas other allied tribe
Tribe
A tribe, viewed historically or developmentally, consists of a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states.Many anthropologists use the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups .Some theorists...

s, such as the Medii, Xanthii, Massagetae
Massagetae
The Massageteans or Massagetaeans were an Iranian nomadic confederation in antiquity known primarily from the writings of Herodotus. Their name was probably akin to Thyssagetae.-Name:...

, Getae
Getae
The Getae was the name given by the Greeks to several Thracian tribes that occupied the regions south of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria, and north of the Lower Danube, in Romania...

, Parama Kambojas, Avars
Avars
Avar or Avars may refer to:* Eurasian Avars, a nomadic people that conquered the Hungarian Steppe in the early Middle Ages* Uar * Caucasian Avars, a modern people of the Caucasus** Avar language, the language of the Caucasian Avars...

, Bahlikas, Rishikas
Rishikas
Rshikas were an ancient tribe living in the northern division of ancient India. They find references in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, Brhat Samhita, Markendeya Purana etc. Ashtadhyayi of Pāṇini does not mention the Rishikas, but Mahabhasya of Patanjali does make reference to this people. Mahabharata...

 and Paradas.

The Indo-Greeks




The Indo-Greek Kingdom
Indo-Greek Kingdom
The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom covered various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries BC, and was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic kings, often in conflict with each other...

 (or sometimes Graeco-Indian Kingdom) covered various parts of the north-west and northern Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 during the last two centuries BCE, and was ruled by more than 30 Hellenistic
Hellenistic civilization
Hellenistic civilization represents the zenith of Greek influence in the ancient world from 323 BCE to about 146 BCE...

 kings, often in conflict with each other. The kingdom was founded when the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius
Demetrius I of Bactria
Demetrius I was a Buddhist Greco-Bactrian king . He was the son of Euthydemus and succeeded him around 200 BC, after which he conquered extensive areas in what now is eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan thus creating an Indo-Greek kingdom far from Hellenistic Greece...

 invaded India early in the 2nd century BC; in this context the boundary of "India" is the Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush
The Hindu Kush is an mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a...

. The Greeks in India were eventually divided from the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
Greco-Bactrian Kingdom
The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was the easternmost part of the Hellenistic world, covering Bactria and Sogdiana in Central Asia from 250 to 125 BC...

 centered in Bactria (now the border between Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

). The expression "Indo-Greek Kingdom" loosely describes a number of various dynastic polities. There were numerous cities, such as Taxila
Taxila
Taxila is a Tehsil in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site.Taxila is situated about northwest of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road...

  Pakistan's Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, or Pushkalavati
Pushkalavati
Pushkalavati is an ancient site situated in Peshawar valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. It is located on the banks of Swat River, near its junction with Kabul River, now it is known as Charsadda...

 and Sagala
Sagala
Sagala or Sangala, the ancient Greek name for the modern city of Sialkot in present day Pakistan, was a city of located in northern Punjab, Pakistan...

. These cities would house a number of dynasties in their times, and based on Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

's Geographia
Geographia (Ptolemy)
The Geography is Ptolemy's main work besides the Almagest...

and the nomenclature of later kings, a certain Theophila
Theophilos (king)
Theophilos was a minor Indo-Greek king who ruled for a short time in the Paropamisadae. He was possibly a relative of Zoilos I and is only known from coins. It is possible that some of Theophilos' coins in fact belong to another ruler, in Greek Bactria, during approximately the same period.-Time of...

 in the south was also probably a satrapal or royal seat at some point.

During the two centuries of their rule, the Indo-Greek kings combined the Greek and Indian languages and symbols, as seen on their coins, and blended ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

, Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 and Buddhist religious practices, as seen in the archaeological remains of their cities and in the indications of their support of Buddhism, pointing to a rich fusion of Indian and Hellenistic influences. The diffusion of Indo-Greek culture had consequences which are still felt today, particularly through the influence of Greco-Buddhist art
Greco-Buddhist art
Greco-Buddhist art is the artistic manifestation of Greco-Buddhism, a cultural syncretism between the Classical Greek culture and Buddhism, which developed over a period of close to 1000 years in Central Asia, between the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE, and the Islamic...

. The Indo-Greeks ultimately disappeared as a political entity around 10 AD following the invasions of the Indo-Scythians, although pockets of Greek populations probably remained for several centuries longer under the subsequent rule of the Indo-Parthians and Kushans.

The Yavanas



The Yavanas were described as living beyond Gandhara. There was another country mentioned in the epic as Parama Yona, in the far west of Yavana. This could be the Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

 of Greece, somehow related to Indian Ionians or Yavanas. The name Yavana could be the Sanskritized form of the name Ionia. Some believes that the name Ionia originated from the Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 word Ayonija meaning one who born not from a (human) womb or people with extra ordinary origins. Yavanas, Sakas, Pahlavas and Hunas
Huna people
Huna is the name under which the Xionite tribes who invaded northern India during the first half of the 5th century were known.-History:...

 were sometimes described as Mlechhas. Sometimes along with them, the Madras, Kambojas, Kekeyas, Sindhus and Gandharas were included. This name was used to indicate their cultural differences with the Vedic culture, prevailed in the Kuru
Kuru Kingdom
Kuru was the name of an ancient kingdom in Vedic India, and later a republican Mahajanapada state. The kingdom was located in the area of modern Haryana, Delhi and western Uttar Pradesh in India. They formed the first political center of the of the Vedic India, with its capital at Hastinapur. It...

Panchala
Panchala Kingdom
This article is about the kingdom of Panchala during the epic-ages. For the historical kingdom, see Panchala.Panchala Kingdom extended from Himalayas in the north to river Charmanwati in the south during the period of Mahabharata. It had Kuru, Surasena and Matsya kingdoms to the west and the forest...

 Kingdoms.

The Indo-Parthians



With the rise of the Parthians, the Indus Valley was once again brought under the influence of Persia as they conquered the Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians is a term used to refer to Sakas , who migrated into Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, Gandhara, Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE....

. The Indo-Parthian Kingdom
Indo-Parthian Kingdom
The Gondopharid dynasty, and other so-called Indo-Parthian rulers, were a group of ancient kings from present day eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan who ruled India, during or slightly before the 1st century AD...

 was founded by Gondophares
Gondophares
Gondophares I a Seistani representative of the house of Suren as well as founder and first king of the Indo-Parthian Kingdom. He seems to have ruled c...

 around 20 BCE when he declared his Independence from the Parthians. The kingdom last only briefly until its conquest by the Kushans in the late 1st century CE, and was a loose framework where many smaller dynasts maintained their independence.

The Pahlavas



The Pahlavas are a people mentioned in ancient Indian texts like the Manu Smriti
Manu Smriti
' , also known as Mānava-Dharmaśāstra , is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism...

, various Puranas, the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

, the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

, and the Brhatsamhita. In some texts the Pahlavas are synonymous with the Pallavas, a dynasty of Southern India: While the Vayu Purana distinguishes between Pahlava and Pahnava, the Vamana Purana and Matsya Purana refer to both as Pallava. The Brahmanda Purana and Markendeya Purana refer to both as Pahlava or Pallava. Bhishama Parava of the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

 does not distinguish between the Pahlavas and Pallavas. The Pahlavas are said to be same as the Parasikas
Saka
The Saka were a Scythian tribe or group of tribes....

. According to P. Carnegy, the Pahlava are probably those people who spoke Paluvi or Pehlvi, that is the Parthian language
Parthian language
The Parthian language, also known as Arsacid Pahlavi and Pahlavanik, is a now-extinct ancient Northwestern Iranian language spoken in Parthia, a region of northeastern ancient Persia during the rule of the Parthian empire....

. Buhler similarly suggests Pahlava is an Indic form of Parthava meaning 'Parthia
Parthia
Parthia is a region of north-eastern Iran, best known for having been the political and cultural base of the Arsacid dynasty, rulers of the Parthian Empire....

n'. In a 4th century BCE, Vartika of Katyayana
Katyayana
Kātyāyana was a Sanskrit grammarian, mathematician and Vedic priest who lived in ancient India.-Works:He is known for two works:...

 mentions the Sakah-Parthavah demonstrating an awareness of these Saka-Parthians, probably by way of commerce.

The Western Satraps



The Western Satraps, or Western Kshatrapas (35–405) were Saka
Saka
The Saka were a Scythian tribe or group of tribes....

 rulers of the western and central part of India (Saurashtra and Malwa: modern Gujarat, Southern Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

 and Madhya Pradesh states). Their state, or at least part of it, was called "Ariaca
Ariaca
Ariaca was a region of Western India beyond Barigaza, mentioned in ancient geographical sources.According to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Ariaca was part of the kingdom of Nambanus, though to be the Western Satrap ruler Nahapana:...

" according to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea or Periplus of the Red Sea is a Greco-Roman periplus, written in Greek, describing navigation and trading opportunities from Roman Egyptian ports like Berenice along the coast of the Red Sea, and others along Northeast Africa and India...

. They were successors to the Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians is a term used to refer to Sakas , who migrated into Bactria, Sogdiana, Arachosia, Gandhara, Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan, from the middle of the 2nd century BCE to the 4th century CE....

, and were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and were possibly their overlords, and the Satavahana
Satavahana
The Sātavāhana Empire or Andhra Empire, was a royal Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar and Prathisthan in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward...

 (Andhra) who ruled in Central India. They are called "Western" in contrast to the "Northern" Indo-Scythian satraps who ruled in the area of Mathura, such as Rajuvula
Rajuvula
Rajuvula was an Indo-Scythian Great Satrap who ruled in the area of Mathura in northern India in the years around 10 CE. In central India, the Indo-Scythians conquered the area of Mathura over Indian kings around 60 BCE...

, and his successors under the Kushans, the "Great Satrap" Kharapallana and the "Satrap" Vanaspara. Although they called themselves "Satraps" on their coins, leading to their modern designation of "Western Satraps", Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 in his 2nd century Geographia
Geographia (Ptolemy)
The Geography is Ptolemy's main work besides the Almagest...

still called them "Indo-Scythians". Altogether, there were 27 independent Western Satrap rulers during a period of about 350 years. The word Kshatrapa stands for satrap
Satrap
Satrap was the name given to the governors of the provinces of the ancient Median and Achaemenid Empires and in several of their successors, such as the Sassanid Empire and the Hellenistic empires....

, and its equivalent in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

 Ksatrapavan, which means viceroy or governor of a province.

The Kushans




The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries) originally formed in Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

 on either side of the middle course of the Oxus River or Amu Darya
Amu Darya
The Amu Darya , also called Oxus and Amu River, is a major river in Central Asia. It is formed by the junction of the Vakhsh and Panj rivers...

 in what is now northern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

 and Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

; during the 1st century CE, they expanded their territory to include the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

 and much of the Ganges basin, conquering a number of kingdoms across the northern part of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 in the process. The Kushans conquered the central section of the main Silk Routes and, therefore, had control of the overland trade between India
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

, Persia, China and the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

.

The Indo-Sassanid Kushanshahs



The rise of a new Persian dynasty, the Sassanids saw them re-exert their influence into the Indus region and conquer lands from the Kushans setting up the Kushanshahs around 240 AD. They were to maintain their influence in the region until they were overthrown by the rising Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

. Afterwards they were displaced in 410 CE by the invasions of the Indo-Hephthalites.

The Hephthalite Hunas



The Hephthalite
Hephthalite
The Hephthalites or Hephthalite is a pre-Islamic Greek term for local Abdali Afghans, who's famous ruler was Nazak Abdali . Hephthalites were a Central Asian nomadic confederation of the AD 5th-6th centuries whose precise origins and composition remain obscure...

 were another Central Asian nomadic tribe to invade. They are also linked to the Yuezhi
Yuezhi
The Yuezhi, or Rouzhi , also known as the Da Yuezhi or Da Rouzhi , were an ancient Central Asian people....

 who founded the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

. From their capital in Bamiyan, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 they extended their rule across the Indus and Northern India thereby pressuring the collapse of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

. They were eventually defeated by the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 in alliance with other Turkic tribes.

The Rais



The Rai Dynasty
Rai Dynasty
The Rai Dynasty was an Aryan dynasty of Sindh, from c. 489–690 AD. The influence of the Rai empire extended from Kashmir in the east, Makran and Debal port in the west, Surat port in south, Kandahar, Sistan, Suleyman, Ferdan and Kikanan hills in the north, ruling an area of over 600,000...

 of Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 were patrons of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 even though they also established a huge temple of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 in present-day Sukkur
Sukkur
Sukkur, or Sakharu , formerly Aror and Bakar, is the third largest city of Sindh province, situated on the west bank of Indus River in Pakistan in Sukkur District. However, the word Sakharu in Sindhi means "superior", which the spelling of the city's name in Sindhi suggests is the origin of the...

, derived from original Shankar
Shankar
Shankar or Shamkar is a Sanskrit noun, and means "Beneficent" or "Giver of Bliss". It generally refers to a Hindu descriptions of one of the chief gods, Lord Shiva.It may also refer to:-People:...

, close to their capital in Al-ror
Alor (Sukkur)
- History :Aror was the ancient capital of Sindh, now modern Rohri adjacent to Sukkur, Sindh, Pakistan. In 711 AD, Aror was captured by the army of Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim. In 962 it was hit by a massive earthquake that changed the course of the Indus River...

. This is consistent with the historical accounts from the times of Emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

 and Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 because Indian monarchs never sponsored a state religion and usually patronized more than one faith. The influence of the Rai state exdended from Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

 and Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

 in the east, Makran
Makran
The present day Makran is a semi-desert coastal strip in the south of Sindh, Balochistan, in Iran and Pakistan, along the coast of the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman. The present day Makran derived its name from Maka, a satrap of Achaemenid Empire....

 and Debal (Karachi
Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

) port in the west, Surat
Surat
Surat , also known as Suryapur, is the commercial capital city of the Indian state of Gujarat. Surat is India's Eighth most populous city and Ninth-most populous urban agglomeration. It is also administrative capital of Surat district and one of the fastest growing cities in India. The city proper...

 port in south, Kandahar
Kandahar
Kandahar is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of about 512,200 as of 2011. It is the capital of Kandahar Province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m above sea level...

, Sistan
Sistan
Sīstān is a border region in eastern Iran , southwestern Afghanistan and northern tip of Southwestern Pakistan .-Etymology:...

, Suleyman, Ferdan and Kikanan hills in the north.

The Gandharan Kambojas



The Gandhara Satrapy became an independent kingdom based from Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and vied with the Tang dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

, Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, the Islamic Caliphate and Turkic tribes for domination in the region.

The Shahis



The Shahi (Devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

 शाही), Sahi, also called Shahiya dynasties ruled portions of the Kabul Valley
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 (in eastern Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

) and the old province of Gandhara
Gandhara
Gandhāra , is the name of an ancient kingdom , located in northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. Gandhara was located mainly in the vale of Peshawar, the Potohar plateau and on the Kabul River...

 (northern Pakistan from the decline of the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
The Kushan Empire originally formed in the early 1st century AD under Kujula Kadphises in the territories of ancient Bactria on either side of the middle course of the Oxus in what is now northern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.During the 1st and early 2nd centuries...

 in 3rd century to the early 9th century. The kingdom was known as Kabul-shahan or Ratbel-shahan from (565–670 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

) when the capitals were located in Kapisa and Kabul, and later Udabhandapura
Hund
Hund is a small village in Swabi district, situated on the right bank of the Indus River about 15 km upstream of Attock Fort and at a distance of about 80 km to the east of Peshawar in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, of Pakistan...

 (also known as Hund) for its new capital. In ancient time, the title Shahi appears to be a quite popular royal title in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and the north-western areas of the Indian sub-continent. It was used by Achaemenids, Sakas, Kushanas, Hunas
Huna people
Huna is the name under which the Xionite tribes who invaded northern India during the first half of the 5th century were known.-History:...

, Bactria
Bactria
Bactria and also appears in the Zend Avesta as Bukhdi. It is the ancient name of a historical region located between south of the Amu Darya and west of the Indus River...

ns, by the rulers of Kapisa/Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

  and Gilgit
Gilgit
Gilgit is a city in northern PakistanGilgit may refer to other terms related with the area of the city:* Gilgit River* Gilgit Valley* Gilgit District* Gilgit Agency * Gilgit Airport...

. In Persian form, the title appears as Kshathiya, Kshathiya Kshathiyanam, Shao of the Kushanas and the Ssaha of Mihirakula
Mihirakula
Mihirakula was the most important Sveta Huna ruler in India. He was the son of Toramana, the founder of Huna power in India. He ruled his horde from 502 to 530 ....

 (Huna chief). The Kushanas are stated to have adopted the title Shah-in-shahi ("Shaonano shao") in imitation of Achaemenid practice. The Shahis of Kabul/Gandhara are generally split up into two eras—the Buddhist-Shahis and the Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

-Shahis, with the change-over thought to have occurred sometime around 870 AD.

The Gangetic Plains and Deccan


Following the demise of the Mauryan Empires the Satavahana
Satavahana
The Sātavāhana Empire or Andhra Empire, was a royal Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar and Prathisthan in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward...

s rose as the successor state to check and contend with the influx of the Central Asian tribes from the Northwest. The Satavahanas straddling the Deccan plateau also provided a link for transmission of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and contact between the Northern Gangetic plains
Indo-Gangetic plain
The northern Plains also known as the Indo - Gangetic Plain and The North Indian River Plain is a large and fertile plain encompassing most of northern and eastern India, the most populous parts of Pakistan, parts of southern Nepal and virtually all of Bangladesh...

 and the Southern regions even as the Upanishads were gaining ground. Eventually weakened both by contention with the northwestern invaders and internal strife they broke up and gave rise to several nations around Deccan and central India regions even as the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 arose in the Indo-Gangetic Plain
Indo-Gangetic plain
The northern Plains also known as the Indo - Gangetic Plain and The North Indian River Plain is a large and fertile plain encompassing most of northern and eastern India, the most populous parts of Pakistan, parts of southern Nepal and virtually all of Bangladesh...

 and ushered in a "Golden Age" and rebirth of empire as decentralized local administrative model and the spread of Indian culture until collapse under the Huna
Huna people
Huna is the name under which the Xionite tribes who invaded northern India during the first half of the 5th century were known.-History:...

 invasions. After the fall of Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 the Gangetic region broke up into several states temporarily reunited under Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 then giving rise to the Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 dynasties. In the Deccan, the Chalukyas arose forming a formidable nation marking the migration of the centers of cultural and military power long held in the Indo-Gangetic Plain
Indo-Gangetic plain
The northern Plains also known as the Indo - Gangetic Plain and The North Indian River Plain is a large and fertile plain encompassing most of northern and eastern India, the most populous parts of Pakistan, parts of southern Nepal and virtually all of Bangladesh...

 to the new nations forming in the southern regions of India.

The Satavahanas



The Sâtavâhana Empire started out as feudatories to the Mauryan Empire but declared independence with its decline. They were the first Indic rulers to issue coins struck with their rulers embossed and are known for their patronage of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 resulting in Buddhist monuments from Ellora to Amaravati
Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh
Amaravathi is a small town situated on the banks of the River Krishna in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is famous for its Amareswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is one of the famous Pancharamas. Amaravati, also known as Dhanyakataka/Dharanikota was the site of a...

. They formed a cultural bridge and played a vital role in trade and the transfer of ideas and culture to and from the Gangetic plains to the southern tip of India.

They had to compete with the Sunga
Sunga Empire
The Sunga Empire or Shunga Empire was a royal Indian dynasty from Magadha that controlled vast areas of the Indian Subcontinent from around 185 to 73 BCE. The dynasty was established by Pusyamitra Sunga, after the fall of the Maurya Empire...

s and then the Kanva
Kanva dynasty
The Kanva dynasty replaced the Sunga dynasty in Magadha, and ruled in the eastern part of India from 75 BCE to 26 BCE.The last ruler of the Sunga dynasty was overthrown by Vasudeva of the Kanva dynasty in 75 BC. The Kanva ruler allowed the kings of the Sunga dynasty to continue to rule in obscurity...

s of Magadha
Magadha
Magadha formed one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas or kingdoms in ancient India. The core of the kingdom was the area of Bihar south of the Ganga; its first capital was Rajagriha then Pataliputra...

 to establish their rule. Later they had to contend in protecting their domain from the incursions of Sakas, Yavanas and Pahlavas. In particular their struggles with the Western Kshatrapas
Western Kshatrapas
The Western Satraps, Western Kshatrapas, or Kshaharatas were Saka rulers of the western and central part of India...

 weakened them and the empire split into smaller states.

The Kharavela



Kharavela
Kharavela
Khārabēḷa was the third and greatest emperor of the Mahāmēghabāhana Dynasty of Kaḷinga . The main source of information about Khārabeḷa is his famous seventeen line rock-cut Hātigumphā inscription in a cave in the Udayagiri hills near Bhubaneswar, Orissa.During the reign of Khārabēḷa, the Chedi...

 was the warrior king of Kalinga. He was responsible for the propagation of Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 in the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 but his importance is neglected in many accounts of Indian history. According to the Hathigumpha inscription
Hathigumpha inscription
The Hathigumpha inscription , from Udayagiri, near Bhubaneshwar in Orissa, was written by Kharavela, the king of Kalinga in India, during the 2nd century BCE...

 near Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar
Bhubaneswar is the capital of the Indian state of Orissa, officially Odisha. The city has a long history of over 2000 years starting with Chedi dynasty who had Sisupalgarh near present-day Bhubaneswar as their capital...

, Orissa, he attacked Rajagriha
Rajgir
Rajgir is a city and a notified area in Nalanda district in the Indian state of Bihar. The city of Rajgir was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha, a state that would eventually evolve into the Mauryan Empire. Its date of origin is unknown, although ceramics dating to about 1000 BC have...

 in Magadha, thus inducing the Indo-Greek king Demetrius
Demetrius I of Bactria
Demetrius I was a Buddhist Greco-Bactrian king . He was the son of Euthydemus and succeeded him around 200 BC, after which he conquered extensive areas in what now is eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan thus creating an Indo-Greek kingdom far from Hellenistic Greece...

 to retreat to Mathura.

The Kharavelan Jain kingdom had a formidable maritime empire with trading routes linking it to Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Burma, Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

, Bali
Bali
Bali is an Indonesian island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands, lying between Java to the west and Lombok to the east...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

 and Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

. Colonists from Kalinga settled in Sri Lanka, Burma, as well as the Maldives
Maldives
The Maldives , , officially Republic of Maldives , also referred to as the Maldive Islands, is an island nation in the Indian Ocean formed by a double chain of twenty-six atolls oriented north-south off India's Lakshadweep islands, between Minicoy Island and...

 and Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

. Even today Indians are referred to as Keling
Keling
Keling is a word used to describe people originating from the Indian subcontinent by native Malaysians and Indonesians. It is now generally considered offensive by majority of Indians....

 in Malaysia because of this.

The Guptas




The Classical Age refers to the period when much of the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 was reunited under the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 (ca. 320 AD–550 AD). This period is called the Golden Age of India and was marked by extensive achievements in science, technology
Science and technology in ancient India
The history of science and technology in the Indian subcontinent begins with prehistoric human activity at Mehrgarh, in present-day Pakistan, and continues through the Indus Valley Civilization to early states and empires. The British colonial rule introduced some elements of western education in...

, engineering, art
Indian art
Indian Art is the visual art produced on the Indian subcontinent from about the 3rd millennium BC to modern times. To viewers schooled in the Western tradition, Indian art may seem overly ornate and sensuous; appreciation of its refinement comes only gradually, as a rule. Voluptuous feeling is...

, dialectic, literature
Indian literature
Indian literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter. The Republic of India has 22 officially recognized languages....

, logic
Indian logic
The development of Indian logic dates back to the anviksiki of Medhatithi Gautama the Sanskrit grammar rules of Pāṇini ; the Vaisheshika school's analysis of atomism ; the analysis of inference by Gotama , founder of the Nyaya school of Hindu philosophy; and the tetralemma of Nagarjuna...

, mathematics
Indian mathematics
Indian mathematics emerged in the Indian subcontinent from 1200 BCE until the end of the 18th century. In the classical period of Indian mathematics , important contributions were made by scholars like Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara II. The decimal number system in use today was first...

, astronomy, religion and philosophy
Indian philosophy
India has a rich and diverse philosophical tradition dating back to ancient times. According to Radhakrishnan, the earlier Upanisads constitute "...the earliest philosophical compositions of the world."...

 that crystallized the elements of what is generally known as Hindu culture. The decimal numeral system
Decimal system
Decimal system may refer to:* The decimal number system, used in mathematics for writing numbers and performing arithmetic.* The Dewey Decimal System, a subject classification system used in libraries....

, including the concept of zero
0 (number)
0 is both a numberand the numerical digit used to represent that number in numerals.It fulfills a central role in mathematics as the additive identity of the integers, real numbers, and many other algebraic structures. As a digit, 0 is used as a placeholder in place value systems...

, was invented in India during this period. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors in India.

The high points of this cultural creativity are magnificent architectures, sculptures and paintings. The Gupta period produced scholars such as Kalidasa
Kalidasa
Kālidāsa was a renowned Classical Sanskrit writer, widely regarded as the greatest poet and dramatist in the Sanskrit language...

, Aryabhata
Aryabhata
Aryabhata was the first in the line of great mathematician-astronomers from the classical age of Indian mathematics and Indian astronomy...

, Varahamihira
Varahamihira
Varāhamihira , also called Varaha or Mihira, was an Indian astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer who lived in Ujjain...

, Vishnu Sharma, and Vatsyayana
Vatsyayana
Vātsyāyana is the name of a Hindu philosopher in the Vedic tradition who is believed to have lived during time of the Gupta Empire in India...

 who made great advancements in many academic fields. Science and political administration reached new heights during the Gupta era. Strong trade ties also made the region an important cultural center and set the region up as a base that would influence nearby kingdoms and regions in Burma, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Malay Archipelago
Malay Archipelago
The Malay Archipelago refers to the archipelago between mainland Southeastern Asia and Australia. The name was derived from the anachronistic concept of a Malay race....

 and Indochina
Indochina
The Indochinese peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. It lies roughly southwest of China, and east of India. The name has its origins in the French, Indochine, as a combination of the names of "China" and "India", and was adopted when French colonizers in Vietnam began expanding their territory...

.

The Gupta period marked a watershed of Indian culture: the Guptas performed Vedic sacrifices to legitimize their rule, but they also patronized Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, which continued to provide an alternative to Brahmanical orthodoxy. The military exploits of the first three rulers - Chandragupta I
Chandragupta I
The Gupta dynasty first seems to be in eminence with the accession of Chandra Gupta I, son of Ghatotkacha to the throne of the ancestral Gupta kingdom. While his two ancestors were given the title of Maharaja , Chandra Gupta I is described in his inscriptions as Maharajadhiraj signifying a rise in...

 (ca. 319–335), Samudragupta
Samudragupta
Samudragupta , ruler of the Gupta Empire , and successor to Chandragupta I, is considered to be one of the greatest military geniuses in Indian history according to Historian V. A. Smith. His name is taken to be a title acquired by his conquests...

 (ca. 335–376), and Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II
Chandragupta II the Great, very often referred to as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta Vikramaditya in Sanskrit; was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire in northern India. His rule spanned c...

 (ca. 376–415) —brought much of India under their leadership. They successfully resisted the North-Western Kingdoms until the arrival of the Hunas
Huna people
Huna is the name under which the Xionite tribes who invaded northern India during the first half of the 5th century were known.-History:...

 who established themselves in Afghanistan by the first half of the 5th century, with their capital at Bamiyan. Nevertheless, much of the Deccan and southern India were largely unaffected by this state of flux in the north.

The Vakatakas




The Vakataka Empire was the contemporaries of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 and the successor state of the Satavahana
Satavahana
The Sātavāhana Empire or Andhra Empire, was a royal Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar and Prathisthan in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward...

s they formed the southern boundaries of the north and ruled over today's modern day states of Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

 and Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

 during the 3rd and 5th centuries. The rock-cut Buddhist viharas and chaityas of Ajanta Caves (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), built under the patronage of the Vakataka rulers. They were eventually overrun by the Chalukyas.

The Harsha Vardhana



After the collapse of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

, the gangetic plains fractured into numerous small nations. Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 of Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

 was able to briefly bind them together under his rulership. Only a defeat at the hands of the Chalukyas (Pulakesi II
Pulakesi II
Pulakesin II is the most famous ruler of the Chalukya dynasty. In his reign the Chalukyas of Badami saw their kingdom extend over most of the Deccan.-Early life and accession:...

) prevented him from expanding his reign south of the Narmada River
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

. This unity did not last long beyond his reign and his empire fractured soon after his death in 647 AD.

The Gurjars



From 550 to 1018 AD, the Gurjars played a great part in history of Northern India nearly for 500 years. Present day Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

 was under the rule of Gurjars for centuries with capital at Bhilmal
Bhinmal
Bhinmal is a town in the Jalore District of Rajasthan, India. It is 72 km south of Jalore town. The name Bhinmal is derived from the word Shrimal.Bhinmal was old capital of the kingdom of the Gurjars during medieval period....

 (Bhinmal or Srimal), situated nearly 50 miles to the north west of Mount Abu. The Gurjars of Bhilmal conquered Kannuaj on the Ganges at the beginning of 9th century and transferred their capital to Kannuaj and founded an empire which at its peak was bounded on the east by Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, on the west by the lost river, the Hakra
Ghaggar-Hakra River
The Ghaggar-Hakra River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season. The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage and as the Hakra downstream of the barrage...

, and the Arabian Sea
Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by the Arabian Peninsula, on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui in northeastern Somalia and Kanyakumari in India...

, on the North By the Himalaya and Sutlaj, and on the South by the Jumna and Narmada
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

. The region round Broach
Bharuch
Bharuch , also known as Broach, is the oldest city in Gujarat, situated at the mouth of the holy river Narmada. Bharuch is the administrative headquarters of Bharuch District and a municipality of more than 1,50,000 inhabitants. As Bharuch is a major seaport city, a number of trade activities have...

, which was offshoot of this kingdom, was also ruled by the Gurjaras of Nandipuri (or Nadol).

The Vishnukundinas



The Vishnukundina Empire was an Indian dynasty that ruled over the Deccan, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 and parts of South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 during the 5th and 6th centuries carving land out from the Vakataka Empire
Vakataka
The Vākāṭakas were a royal Indian dynasty that originated from the Deccan in the mid-third century CE. Their kingdom is believed to have extended from the southern edges of Malwa and Gujarat in the north to the Tungabhadra River in the south as well as from the Arabian Sea in the western to the...

. The Vishnukundin reign came to an end with the conquest of the eastern Deccan by the Chalukya, Pulakesi II
Pulakesi II
Pulakesin II is the most famous ruler of the Chalukya dynasty. In his reign the Chalukyas of Badami saw their kingdom extend over most of the Deccan.-Early life and accession:...

. Pulakesi appointed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana
Kubja Vishnuvardhana
Kubja Vishnuvardhana was the brother of Chalukya Pulakesi II. Vishnuvardhana ruled the Vengi territories in the eastern Andhra Pradesh as the viceroy under Pulakesi II from around 615 CE. Eventually Vishnuvardhana declared his independence and started the Eastern Chalukya dynasty Kubja...

 as Viceroy to rule over the conquered lands. Eventually Vishnuvardhana declared his independence and started the Eastern Chalukya dynasty.

The Maitrakas



The Maitraka Empire ruled Gujarat in western India from the c. 475 to 767. The founder of the dynasty, Senapati (general) Bhatarka, was a military governor of Saurashtra peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

 under Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

, who had established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat approximately in the last quarter of 5th century. The first two Maitraka rulers Bhatarka and Dharasena I used only the title of Senapati (general). The third ruler Dronasimha declared himself as the Maharaja. King Guhasena stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata along his name like his predecessors, which denotes the cessation of displaying of the nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords. He was succeeded by his son Dharasena II, who used the title of Mahadhiraja. His son, the next ruler Siladitya I, Dharmaditya was described by Hiuen Tsang
Xuanzang
Xuanzang was a famous Chinese Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator who described the interaction between China and India in the early Tang period...

 as a "monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion". Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I. Virdi copperplate grant (616 CE) of Kharagraha I proves that his territories included Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

.

The Gurjara Pratiharas



The Gurjara Pratihara Empire (Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

: गुर्जर प्रतिहार) formed an Indian dynasty that ruled much of Northern India
Hindustan
Hindustan or Indostan, literal translation "Land of River Sindhu ", is one of the popular names of South Asia. It can also mean "the land of the Hindus"...

 from the 6th to the 11th centuries. At its peak of prosperity and power (c. 836–910), it rivaled the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 in the extent of its territory.

Pointing out the importance of the Gurjara Pratihara empire in the history of India Dr. R.C. Majumdar has observed,
"the Gurjara Pratihara Empire which continued in full glory for nearly a century, was the last great empire in Northern India before the Muslim conquest
Muslim conquest in the Indian subcontinent
Muslim conquest in South Asia mainly took place from the 13th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into the region, beginning during the period of the ascendancy of the Rajput Kingdoms in North India, from the 7th century onwards.However, the Himalayan...

. This honour is accorded to the empire of Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

 by many historians of repute but without any real justification, for the Pratihara empire was probably larger, certainly not less in extent rivalled the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 and brought political unity and its attendant blessings upon a large part of Northern India. But its chief credit lies in its succecessful resistance to the foreign invasions from the west, from the days of Junaid. This was frankly recognised by the Arab writers themselves.

Historians of India, since the days of Eliphinstone
Lord Elphinstone
Lord Elphinstone, of Elphinstone in the County of Stirling, is a title in the Peerage of Scotland. It was created in 1510 for Alexander Elphinstone who was killed at the Battle of Flodden three years later. He was succeeded by his son, the second Lord, killed at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547....

, has wondered at slow progress of Muslim invaders in India compared to their rapid advance in other parts of the world. Arguments of doubtful validity have often been put forward to explain this unique phenomenon. Now there can be little doubt that it was the power of the Gurjara Pratihara army that effectively barred the progress of the Muslims beyond the confines of Sindh
Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

, their first conquest for nearly three hundred years. In the light of later events this might be regarded as the "chief contribution of the Gurjara Pratiharas to the history of India".

The Rajputs



The Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

were a Hindu clan who rose to power across a region stretching from the gangaetic plains to the Afghan mountains, and refer to the various dynasties of the many kingdoms in the region in the wake of the collapse of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 and Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 and marks the transition of Buddhist ruling dynasties to Hindu ruling dynasties.

The Chauhans




The Chauhan dynasty flourished from the 8th to 12th centuries AD. It was one of the four main Rajput dynasties of that era, the others being Pratiharas, Paramara
Paramara
Paramara is a Maratha, Gurjar,& Rajput clan of India.The Paramara clan belongs to the Agnivansha of Rajputs ancient Kshatriyas...

s and Chalukyas. Chauhan dynasties established themselves in several places in North India
North India
North India, known natively as Uttar Bhārat or Shumālī Hindustān , is a loosely defined region in the northern part of India. The exact meaning of the term varies by usage...

 and in the state of Gujarat in Western India. They were also prominent at Sirohi in the southwest of Rajputana
Rajputana
Rājputāna was the pre-1949 name of the present-day Indian state of Rājasthān, the largest state of the Republic of India in terms of area. George Thomas was the first in 1800 A.D., to term this region as Rajputana...

, and at Bundi and Kota in the east. Inscriptions also associate them with Sambhar, the salt lake area in the Amber
Amber
Amber is fossilized tree resin , which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents...

 (later Jaipur) district (the Sakhambari branch remained near lake Sambhar and married into the ruling Gurjara–Pratihara
Pratihara
The Gurjara Pratihara , often simply called Pratihara Empire, was an imperial Indian dynasty that ruled much of Northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. At its peak of prosperity and power , the Gurajara-Pratihara Empire rivaled or even exceeded the Gupta Empire in the extent of its...

, who then ruled an empire in Northern India). Chauhans adopted a political policy that saw them indulge largely in campaigns against the Chalukyas and the invading Muslim hordes. In the 11th century they founded the city of Ajayameru (Ajmer
Ajmer
Ajmer , formerly written as Ajmere, is a city in Ajmer District in Rajasthan state in India. Ajmer has a population of around 800,000 , and is located west of the Rajasthan state capital Jaipur, 200 km from Jodhpur, 274 km from Udaipur, 439 km from Jaisalmer, and 391 km from...

) in the southern part of their kingdom, and in the 12th century captured Dhilika (the ancient name of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

) from the Tomaras and annexed some of their territory along the Yamuna River.

The Chauhan Kingdom became the leading state in Northern India under King Prithviraj III
Prithviraj III
Prithvi Raj III, commonly known as Prithviraj Chauhan , was a king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century....

 (1165–1192), also known as Prithvi Raj Chauhan or Rai Pithora. Prithviraj III
Prithviraj III
Prithvi Raj III, commonly known as Prithviraj Chauhan , was a king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty, who ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi in northern India during the latter half of the 12th century....

 has become famous in folk tales and historical literature as the Chauhan king of Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

 who resisted and repelled the invasion by Mohammed of Ghor at the first Battle of Tarain in 1191. Armies from other Rajput kingdoms, including Mewar
Mewar
Mewar is a region of south-central Rajasthan state in western India. It includes the present-day districts of Pratapgarh, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara and some of the part of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The region was for centuries a Rajput kingdom that later...

, assisted him. The Chauhan kingdom collapsed after Prithviraj and his armies fled the battle ground against Mohammed of Ghor in 1192 at the Second Battle of Tarain.

The Kachwaha



The Kachwaha originated as tributaries of the preceding powers of the region. Some scholars point out that it was only following the downfall, in the 8th-10th century, of Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

 (the regional seat-of-power, following the break-up of Harsha
Harsha
Harsha or Harsha Vardhana or Harshvardhan was an Indian emperor who ruled northern India from 606 to 647 AD. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana and younger brother of Rajya Vardhana, a king of Thanesar, Haryana...

's empire), that the Kacchapaghata state emerged as a principal power in the Chambal
Chambal River
The Chambal River is a tributary of the Yamuna River in central India, and forms part of the greater Gangetic drainage system. The river flows north-northeast through Madhya Pradesh, running for a time through Rajasthan, then forming the boundary between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh before turning...

 valley of present-day Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

.

The Paramaras



The Paramara dynasty was an early medieval Indian dynasty who ruled over Malwa region in central India. This dynasty was founded by Upendra in c.800. The most significant ruler of this dynasty was Bhoja I who was a philosopher king
Philosopher king
Philosopher kings are the rulers, or Guardians, of Plato's Utopian Kallipolis. If his ideal city-state is to ever come into being, "philosophers [must] become kings…or those now called kings [must]…genuinely and adequately philosophize" .-In Book VI of The Republic:Plato defined a philosopher...

 and polymath
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

. The seat of the Paramara kingdom was Dhara Nagari (the present day Dhar
Dhar
Dhār is located in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh state in central India. It is the administrative headquarters of Dhar District. The town is located west of Mhow, above sea level...

 city in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

 state).

The Solankis




The Solanki were Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Gurjar Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 clan who ruled parts of western and central India between the 10th and 13th centuries. Solankis are descended from 6th-century Badami Chalukya. The name Solanki comes from Chalukya the ancient Indian dynasty. During 543-566, Pulakesi I,
established the kingdom at Vatapi (present-day Badami
Badami
Badami , formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples...

, Bagalkot District
Bagalkot district
Bāgalkot district is an administrative district in the Indian state of Karnataka. The district headquarters is located in the town of Bagalkot. The district is located in northern Karnataka and borders Belgaum, Gadag, Koppal, Raichur and Bijapur...

 in North Karnataka
North Karnataka
North Karnataka is an arid plateau from elevation in the Karnataka state of southwest India. It is drained by the Krishna River and its tributaries the Bhima, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, and Tungabhadra...

 of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

).

Historians like Vincent Smith, Dr. K. Jamanadas and K. M. Munshi states that Solanki along with other Agnikula Kshatriyas are of Gurjar origin. Dr. Dashrath Sharma states that Solankis were of Brahmin
Brahmin
Brahmin Brahman, Brahma and Brahmin.Brahman, Brahmin and Brahma have different meanings. Brahman refers to the Supreme Self...

 origin, though from the work of other scholars it has been shown that Solankis were descendents of the Gujjar
Gujjar
The Gurjar are an ethnic group in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Alternative spellings include Gurjara, Gujar, Gurjjara and Gūrjara. The spelling Gurjara or Gurjar is preferable to the rest....

s.

In Gujarat, Anhilwara (modern Siddhpur Patan
Patan, Gujarat
Patan was a capital of Gujarat in medieval times. It is the administrative seat of Patan District in the Indian state of Gujarat and administered by municipality. The city contains many Hindu and Jain temples as well as few mosques, dargahs and rojas...

) served as their capital. Gujarat was a major center of Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 trade, and Anhilwara was one of the largest cities in India, with population estimated at 100,000 in the year 1000. The Solankis were patrons of the great seaside temple of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 at Somnath Patan in Kathiawar
Kathiawar
Kathiawar or Kathiawad is a peninsula in western India, which is part of the Saurashtra region on the Arabian Sea coast of Gujarat state. It is bounded on the north by the great wetland of the Rann of Kutch, on the northwest by the Gulf of Kutch, on the west and south by the Arabian Sea, and on...

; Bhima Dev helped rebuild the temple after it was sacked by Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni , actually ', was the most prominent ruler of the Ghaznavid dynasty who ruled from 997 until his death in 1030 in the eastern Iranian lands. Mahmud turned the former provincial city of Ghazni into the wealthy capital of an extensive empire which covered most of today's Iran,...

 in 1026. His son, Karandev, conquered the Bhil
Bhil
Bhils are primarily an Adivasi people of Central India. Bhils are also settled in the Tharparkar District of Sindh, Pakistan. They speak the Bhil languages, a subgroup of the Western Zone of the Indo-Aryan languages....

 king Ashapall or Ashaval, and after his victory established a city named Karnavati on the banks of the Sabarmati River
Sabarmati River
The Sabarmati River is a river in western India and one of the biggest rivers of north Gujarat. River Sabarmati is one of the major West flowing river of Gujarat which originates from Dhebar lake in Aravalli Range of the Udaipur District of Rajasthan and meets the Gulf of Cambay of Arabian Sea...

, at the site of modern Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad
Ahmedabad also known as Karnavati is the largest city in Gujarat, India. It is the former capital of Gujarat and is also the judicial capital of Gujarat as the Gujarat High Court has its seat in Ahmedabad...

.

The Tanwars (Tomara)



The Tanwar dynasty flourished from 8th to 12th century AD. It ruled from Delhi and Anangpal Tuar in 10th century AD was justly titled 'Paramount Soveirgn of India'. This dynasty claimed to be genelogical descendants of Chandra Vanshi Pandavas and ruled small principalities and villages till Anangpal Tuar - I in 8th century expanded and established Tomar rule at Indraprastha (Delhi
Delhi
Delhi , officially National Capital Territory of Delhi , is the largest metropolis by area and the second-largest by population in India, next to Mumbai. It is the eighth largest metropolis in the world by population with 16,753,265 inhabitants in the Territory at the 2011 Census...

), the place of abode of his ancestors. They ruled from modern day Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

 and Delhi and were later defeated by Gahadavala's at Kannauj and later by Chauhan's of Ajmer. The last Tomar King married his daughter to Chauhan ruling family and his maternal Grandson Prithviraj Chauhan was proclaimed his heir apparent. A total of 19 Tomar rulers ruled Thanesar
Thanesar
Thanesar is an old and historic town on the banks of the Sarsawati Ghaggar river in the state of Haryana in northern India. It is located in Kurukshetra District, approximately 160 km northwest of Delhi...

 (modern-day Haryana
Haryana
Haryana is a state in India. Historically, it has been a part of the Kuru region in North India. The name Haryana is found mentioned in the 12th century AD by the apabhramsha writer Vibudh Shridhar . It is bordered by Punjab and Himachal Pradesh to the north, and by Rajasthan to the west and south...

-Delhi). Jaipal Tuar was ruling at the time of Gaznavid invasion in 10th century.

The Palas



Pala Empire was a Buddhist dynasty that ruled from the north-eastern region of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

. The name Pala (Modern
Bengali language
Bengali or Bangla is an eastern Indo-Aryan language. It is native to the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, which comprises present day Bangladesh, the Indian state of West Bengal, and parts of the Indian states of Tripura and Assam. It is written with the Bengali script...

  pal) means protector and was used as an ending to the names of all Pala monarchs. The Palas were followers of the Mahayana
Mahayana
Mahāyāna is one of the two main existing branches of Buddhism and a term for classification of Buddhist philosophies and practice...

 and Tantric
Vajrayana
Vajrayāna Buddhism is also known as Tantric Buddhism, Tantrayāna, Mantrayāna, Secret Mantra, Esoteric Buddhism and the Diamond Vehicle...

 schools of Buddhism. Gopala
Gopala (Pala king)
Gopala was the founder of the Pala Dynasty of Bengal. The last morpheme of his name pala means "protector" and was used as an ending for the names of all the Pala monarchs...

 was the first ruler from the dynasty. He came to power in 750 in Gaur
Gaur, West Bengal
Gour, or Gaur , as it is spelt mostly in modern times, or Lakhnauti is a ruined city, in the Malda district of West Bengal, India, on the west bank of the Ganges river, 40 kilometers downstream from Rajmahal.-History:...

 by a democratic election
Election
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy operates since the 17th century. Elections may fill offices in the legislature, sometimes in the...

. This event is recognized as one of the first democratic elections in South Asia since the time of the Mahā Janapadas
Mahajanapadas
Mahājanapadas , literally "great realms", were ancient Indian kingdoms or countries...

. He reigned from 750-770 and consolidated his position by extending his control over all of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. The Buddhist dynasty
Dynasty
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers considered members of the same family. Historians traditionally consider many sovereign states' history within a framework of successive dynasties, e.g., China, Ancient Egypt and the Persian Empire...

 lasted for four centuries (750-1120 AD) and ushered in a period of stability and prosperity in Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. They created many temples and works of art as well as supported the Universities of Nalanda
Nalanda
Nālandā is the name of an ancient center of higher learning in Bihar, India.The site of Nalanda is located in the Indian state of Bihar, about 55 miles south east of Patna, and was a Buddhist center of learning from the fifth or sixth century CE to 1197 CE. It has been called "one of the...

 and Vikramashila. Somapura Mahavihara
Somapura Mahavihara
Somapura Mahavihara in Paharpur, Badalgachhi Upazila, Naogaon District, Bangladesh is among the best known Buddhist viharas in the Indian Subcontinent and is one of the most important archeological sites in the country...

 built by Dharmapala
Dharmapala of Bengal
Dharama Pala was the second ruler of the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the son and succeessor of Gopala , the founder of the Pala Dynasty. He greatly expanded the boundaries of the Pala Empire founded by his father and made the Palas the most dominant power in...

 is the greatest Buddhist Vihara
Vihara
Vihara is the Sanskrit and Pali term for a Buddhist monastery. It originally meant "a secluded place in which to walk", and referred to "dwellings" or "refuges" used by wandering monks during the rainy season....

 in the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

.

The empire reached its peak under Dharmapala
Dharmapala of Bengal
Dharama Pala was the second ruler of the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the son and succeessor of Gopala , the founder of the Pala Dynasty. He greatly expanded the boundaries of the Pala Empire founded by his father and made the Palas the most dominant power in...

 and Devapala
Devapala
Deva Pala , was a powerful emperor from the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the third king in the line and had succeeded his father, emperor Dharamapala...

. Dharmapala extended the empire into the northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

. This triggered once again the power struggle for the control of the subcontinent. Devapala
Devapala
Deva Pala , was a powerful emperor from the Pala Empire of Bengal region in the Indian Subcontinent. He was the third king in the line and had succeeded his father, emperor Dharamapala...

, successor of Dharmapala, expanded the empire to cover much of South Asia and beyond. His empire stretched from Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

 and Utkala in the east, Kamboja (modern day Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

) in the north-west and Deccan in the south. According to Pala copperplate inscription Devapala exterminated the Utkalas, conquered the Pragjyotisha (Assam), shattered the pride of the Huna
Huna people
Huna is the name under which the Xionite tribes who invaded northern India during the first half of the 5th century were known.-History:...

, and humbled the lords of Pratihara
Pratihara
The Gurjara Pratihara , often simply called Pratihara Empire, was an imperial Indian dynasty that ruled much of Northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. At its peak of prosperity and power , the Gurajara-Pratihara Empire rivaled or even exceeded the Gupta Empire in the extent of its...

s, Gurjara  and the Dravidas.

The death of Devapala ended the period of ascendancy of the Pala Empire and several independent dynasties and kingdoms emerged during this time. However, Mahipala
Mahipala
Mahipala I is considered the second founder of the Pala dynasty. Gopala I established the dynastic rule of the Palas in the middle of the 8th century CE. The Pala Dynasty ruled Bengal and Bihar for about four centuries from the middle of the 8th century CE...

 I rejuvenated the reign of the Palas. He recovered control over all of Bengal and expanded the empire. He survived the invasions of Rajendra Chola and the Chalukyas. After Mahipala I the Pala dynasty again saw its decline until Ramapala
Ramapala
Ramapala was the successor to the Pala king Shurapala II, and fifteenth ruler of the Pala line reigning for 53 years. He is recognised as the last great ruler of the dynasty, managing to restore much of the past glory of the Pala lineage. He crushed the Varendra rebellion and extended his empire...

, the last great ruler of the dynasty, managed to retrieve the position of the dynasty to some extent. He crushed the Varendra
Varendra
Varendra was a region of Bengal, now in Bangladesh. It included the Pundravardhana or Pundra Kingdom region.According to Cunningham the boundary of Varendra was the Ganges and the Mahananda on the west, the Karatoya on the east, the Padma on the south and the land between Koochbihar and the Terai...

 rebellion and extended his empire farther to Kamarupa, Orissa and Northern India.

The Pala Empire can be considered as the golden era of Bengal. Never had the Bengali people reached such height of power and glory to that extent. Palas were responsible for the introduction of Mahayana Buddhism in Tibet
Tibet
Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people...

, Bhutan
Bhutan
Bhutan , officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked state in South Asia, located at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by the Republic of India and to the north by the People's Republic of China...

 and Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

. The Palas had extensive trade as well as influence in south-east Asia. This can be seen in the sculptures and architectural style of the Sailendra Empire
Sailendra
Sailendra is the name of an influential Indonesian dynasty that emerged in 8th century Java.The Sailendras were active promoters of Mahayana Buddhism and covered the Kedu Plain of Central Java with Buddhist monuments, including the world famous Borobudur.The Sailendras are considered to be a...

 (present-day Malaya
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

).

The Candras



The Candra Dynasty who ruled over eastern Bengal and were contemporaries of the Palas.

The Eastern Gangas



The Eastern Ganga dynasty rulers reigned over Kalinga
Kalinga (India)
Kalinga was an early state in central-eastern India, which comprised most of the modern state of Orissa/Utkal , as well as the Andhra region of the bordering state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a rich and fertile land that extended from the river Damodar/Ganges to Godavari and from Bay of Bengal to...

 which consisted of the parts of the modern day Indian states of Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

, West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

, Jharkhand
Jharkhand
Jharkhand is a state in eastern India. It was carved out of the southern part of Bihar on 15 November 2000. Jharkhand shares its border with the states of Bihar to the north, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the west, Orissa to the south, and West Bengal to the east...

, Chattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 from the 11th century to the early 15th century. Their capital was known by the name Kalinganagar, which is the modern Srimukhalingam in Srikakulam District of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

 bordering Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

. Today they are most remembered as the builders of the Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple
Konark Sun Temple is a 13th-century Sun Temple , at Konark, in Orissa. It was constructed from oxidized and weathered ferruginous sandstone by King Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is an example of Orissan architecture of Ganga dynasty...

 a World Heritage site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

 at Konark
Konark
Konark is a small town in Puri district in the state of Orissa, India, on the Bay of Bengal, sixty-five kilometers from Bhubaneswar. It is the site of the 13th-century Sun Temple , built in black granite by King Narasimhadeva-I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. The temple is a World Heritage Site...

, Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

. It was built by King Narasimhadeva I (1238–1264). During their reign (1078-1434) a new style of temple architecture came into being, commonly called as Indo-Aryan architecture. This dynasty was founded by King Anantavarma Chodaganga Deva (1078–1147). He was a religious person and a patron of art and literature. He is credited for having built the famous Jagannath Temple
Jagannath Temple (Puri)
The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath and located in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Orissa, India. The name Jagannath is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat and Nath...

 of Puri in Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

.

King Anantavarman Chodagangadeva was succeeded by a long line of illustrious rulers such as Narasimhadeva I
Narasimhadeva I
Narasimha Deva I was generally thought to be one of the greatest rulers of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. He ruled the dynasty from 1238–1264. Today he is most remembered as the builder of the Konark Sun Temple, a World Heritage Site at Konark, Orissa....

 (1238–1264). The rulers of Eastern Ganga dynasty defended their kingdom from the constant attacks of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 rulers. This kingdom prospered through trade and commerce and the wealth was mostly used in the construction of temples. The rule of the dynasty came to end under the reign of King Bhanudeva IV (1414–34), in the early 15th century.

The Senas



The Palas were followed by the Sena dynasty
Sena dynasty
The Sena Empire was a Hindu dynasty that ruled from Bengal through the 11th and 12th centuries. At its peak the empire covered much of the north-eastern region in the Indian Subcontinent. They were called Brahma-Kshatriyas, as evidenced through their surname, which is derived from the Sanskrit,...

 who brought Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 under one ruler during the 12th century. Vijay Sen
Vijay Sen
Vijay Sen was the founder of the Sen dynasty of Bengal, which ruled for more than 100 years. His ancestors came from the Karnat country. It appears from his records that he inherited the position of a subordinate ruler in Rarh under the Palas...

 the second ruler of this dynasty defeated the last Pala emperor
Pala Empire
The Pāla Empire was one of the major middle kingdoms of India existed from 750–1174 CE. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent, all the rulers bearing names ending with the suffix Pala , which means protector. The Palas were often described...

 Madanapala
Madanapala
Madanapala was the successor to the Pala king Gopala III, and eighteenth and final ruler of Pala lineage reigning for 18 years. He was succeeded by Govindapala, whose lineage of that name is questionable....

 and established his reign. Ballal Sena
Ballal Sena
Ballal Sen was the second ruler of the Sen dynasty of Bengal. Son and successor of Vijay Sen, Ballal Sen is known from the extant Kuljigranthas to have introduced social reforms in Bengal, especially the system of Kulinism.-See also:* Prithvi Raj Chauhan* List of rulers of Bengal* History of...

 introduced caste system in Bengal and made Nabadwip
Nabadwip
Nabadwip is a city and a municipality in Nadia district in the Indian state of West Bengal. Its name means "9 islands" in the Bengali language. The islands are named Antardwip , Simantadwip, Rudradwip, Madhyadwip, Godrumdwip, Ritudwip, Jahnudwip, Modadrumdwip, and Koladwip...

 the capital. The fourth king of this dynasty Lakshman Sen
Lakshman Sen
Lakshman Sen was the fourth king of the Sen dynasty of Bengal, who ruled for about 28 years. Lakshman Sen succeeded his father Ballal Sen...

 expanded the empire beyond Bengal to Bihar
Bihar
Bihar is a state in eastern India. It is the 12th largest state in terms of geographical size at and 3rd largest by population. Almost 58% of Biharis are below the age of 25, which is the highest proportion in India....

, Assam
Assam
Assam , also, rarely, Assam Valley and formerly the Assam Province , is a northeastern state of India and is one of the most culturally and geographically distinct regions of the country...

, northern Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

 and probably to Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

. Lakshman was later defeated by the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s and fled to eastern Bengal were he ruled few more years. The Sena dynasty brought a revival of Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 and cultivated Sanskrit literature
Sanskrit literature
Literature in Sanskrit begins with the Vedas, and continues with the Sanskrit Epics of Iron Age India; the golden age of Classical Sanskrit literature dates to late Antiquity . Literary production saw a late bloom in the 11th century before declining after 1100 AD...

 in India.

The Varmans


The Varman Dynasty (not to be confused with the Varman dynasty
Varman dynasty
The Varman dynasty ruled Kamarupa from 350 to 650. Pushyavarman the first historical ruler of Assam established this dynasty in c350 AD...

 of Kamarupa) ruled over eastern Bengal and were contemporaries of the Senas.

The Varman dynasty of Kamarupa



The Varman dynasty was the first historical dynasty of the Kamarupa kingdom, established by Pushyavarman in the 4th century. The kingdom under the Varman rulers, especially under Kumar Bhaskara Varman
Kumar Bhaskara Varman
Kumar Bhaskara Varman was the last and most illustrious of the Varman dynasty rulers of the Kamarupa Kingdom. He came to power after his brother Supratishthita Varman had died. A bachelor king, he died without an heir...

, extended up to the Karatoya river
Karatoya River
Karatoya River , a small stream in Rajshahi Division of Bangladesh, was once a large and sacred river. A channel of it presently flows by the ancient ruins of Mahasthangarh in Bogra District. The Karatoya mahatmya bears testimony to its past greatness...

 in the west and Sadiya
Sadiya
Sadiya is a small town in the Tinsukia district of the North-eastern Indian state of Assam. It stands on a grassy plain, nearly surrounded by forested Himalayan mountains, on the right bank of what is locally considered the main stream of the Brahmaputra river...

 in the east and included the Sylhet
Sylhet
Sylhet , is a major city in north-eastern Bangladesh. It is the main city of Sylhet Division and Sylhet District, and was granted metropolitan city status in March 2009. Sylhet is located on the banks of the Surma Valley and is surrounded by the Jaintia, Khasi and Tripura hills...

 division of present-day Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

. This dynasty ruled from their capital in the vicinity of present-day Guwahati
Guwahati
Guwahati, Pragjyotishpura in ancient Assam formerly known as Gauhati is a metropolis,the largest city of Assam in India and ancient urban area in North East India, with a population of 963,429. It is also the largest metropolitan area in north-eastern India...

 till the middle of the 7th century.

The Mlechchha dynasty of Kamarupa



The Mlechchha dynasty succeeded the Varman dynasty in Kamarupa and ruled to the end of the 10th century. They ruled from their capital in the vicinity of the present-day Tezpur
Tezpur
Tezpur is a city and the administrative headquarters and municipal board of Sonitpur district in the state of Assam in northeastern India. Tezpur is an ancient city on the banks of the river Brahmaputra and is the largest of the north bank towns with a population exceeding 100,000...

.

The Pala dynasty of Kamarupa



The Pala dynasty of Kamarupa succeeded the Mlechchha dynasty in Kamarupa and ruled till the end of the 12th century.

The Twipras



The Twipra kingdom and dynasty ruled in the Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

 region.

The South


In the first half of the millennium the South saw various smalled kingdoms rise and fall mostly independent to the turmoil in the gangetic plains and the spread of the Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 to the southern tip of India. During the second half of the millennium after the fall of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 we see a gradual shift of the balance of power both military and cultural from the northern states to the rise of large southern states.

In fact, from the mid-seventh to the mid-13th centuries, regionalism was the dominant theme of political or dynastic history of South Asia. Three features commonly characterize the sociopolitical realities of this period.
  • First, the spread of Brahmanical religions was a two-way process of Sanskrit
    Sanskrit
    Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

    ization of local cults and localization of Brahmanical social order.
  • Second was the ascendancy of the Brahman priestly and landowning groups that later dominated regional institutions and political developments.
  • Third, because of the seesawing of numerous dynasties that had a remarkable ability to survive perennial military attacks, regional kingdoms faced frequent defeats but seldom total annihilation.


Peninsular India was involved in an 8th-century tripartite power struggle among the Chalukyas (556–757), the Pallava
Pallava
The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

s (300–888) of Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

, and the Pandyas. The Chalukya rulers were overthrown by their subordinates, the Rashtrakutas (753-973). Although both the Pallava
Pallava
The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

 and Pandya kingdoms were enemies, the real struggle for political domination was between the Pallava
Pallava
The Pallava dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which ruled the northern Tamil Nadu region and the southern Andhra Pradesh region with their capital at Kanchipuram...

 and Chalukya realms.

The emergence of the Rashtrakutas heralded a new era in the history of South India. The idiom of a Pan-Indian empire had moved to south. South Indian kingdoms had hitherto ruled areas only up to and south of the Narmada River
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

. It was the Rashtrakuta
Rashtrakuta
The Rashtrakuta Empire was a royal dynasty ruling large parts of the Indian Subcontinent between the sixth and the 10th centuries. During this period they ruled as several closely related, but individual clans. Rastrakutas in inscriptions represented as descendants of Satyaki, a Yadava well known...

s who first forged north to the Gangetic plains and successfully contested their might against the Palas
Pala Empire
The Pāla Empire was one of the major middle kingdoms of India existed from 750–1174 CE. It was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty from Bengal in the eastern region of the Indian subcontinent, all the rulers bearing names ending with the suffix Pala , which means protector. The Palas were often described...

 of Bengal and the Rajput
Rajput
A Rajput is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and in some parts of Pakistan. Rajputs are descendants of one of the major ruling warrior classes in the Indian subcontinent, particularly North India...

 Prathiharas of Gujarat.

Despite interregional conflicts, local autonomy was preserved to a far greater degree in the south where it had prevailed for centuries. The absence of a highly centralized government was associated with a corresponding local autonomy in the administration of villages and districts. Extensive and well-documented overland and maritime trade flourished with the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s on the west coast and with Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

. Trade facilitated cultural diffusion in Southeast Asia, where local elites selectively but willingly adopted Indian art, architecture, literature, and social customs.

The interdynastic rivalry and seasonal raids into each other's territory notwithstanding, the rulers in the Deccan and South India patronized all three religions - Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

. The religions vied with each other for royal favor, expressed in land grants but more importantly in the creation of monumental temples, which remain architectural wonders. The cave temples of Elephanta Island
Elephanta Island
Elephanta Island is one of a number of islands in Mumbai Harbour, east of Mumbai, India...

 (near Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 or Bombay, as it was known formerly), Ajanta
Ajanta
The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are 29 rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE. The caves include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art as well as frescos which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya...

, and Ellora (in Maharashtra), and structural temples of Pattadakal
Pattadakal
Pattadakal is a village in Karnataka. It lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district. It is 22 km from Badami and about 10 km from Aihole...

, Aihole
Aihole
Aihole is a temple complex in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It is a very popular tourist spot in north Karnataka. It lies to the east of Pattadakal, along the Malaprabha River, while Badami is to the west of both....

, Badami
Badami
Badami , formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples...

 in Karnataka and Mahaballipuram and Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 in Tamil Nadu are enduring legacies of otherwise warring regional rulers.

By the mid-7th century, Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 and Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 began to decline as sectarian Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 devotional cults of Shiva
Shiva
Shiva is a major Hindu deity, and is the destroyer god or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. God Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power lives a life of a...

 and Vishnu
Vishnu
Vishnu is the Supreme god in the Vaishnavite tradition of Hinduism. Smarta followers of Adi Shankara, among others, venerate Vishnu as one of the five primary forms of God....

 vigorously competed for popular support.

Although Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 was the language of learning and theology in South India, as it was in the north, the growth of the bhakti
Bhakti
In Hinduism Bhakti is religious devotion in the form of active involvement of a devotee in worship of the divine.Within monotheistic Hinduism, it is the love felt by the worshipper towards the personal God, a concept expressed in Hindu theology as Svayam Bhagavan.Bhakti can be used of either...

 (devotional) movements enhanced the crystallization of vernacular literature
Vernacular literature
Vernacular literature is literature written in the vernacular—the speech of the "common people".In the European tradition, this effectively means literature not written in Latin...

 in all four major Dravidian languages
Dravidian languages
The Dravidian language family includes approximately 85 genetically related languages, spoken by about 217 million people. They are mainly spoken in southern India and parts of eastern and central India as well as in northeastern Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and...

: Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

, Telugu
Telugu language
Telugu is a Central Dravidian language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu...

, Malayalam
Malayalam language
Malayalam , is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. It is spoken by 35.9 million people...

, and Kannada
Kannada language
Kannada or , is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Karnataka. Kannada, whose native speakers are called Kannadigas and number roughly 50 million, is one of the 30 most spoken languages in the world...

; they often borrowed themes and vocabulary from Sanskrit but preserved much local cultural lore. Examples of Tamil literature include two major poems, Cilappatikaram
Cilappatikaram
Silappatikaram Silappatikaram has been dated to likely belong to the beginning of Christian era, although the author might have built upon a pre-existing folklore to spin this tale. The story involves the three Tamil kingdoms of the ancient era, the Chola, the Pandya and the Chera...

 (The Jewelled Anklet) and Manimekalai
Manimekalai
Manimekalai or Maṇimekalai , written by the Tamil Buddhist poet Seethalai Saathanar is one of the masterpieces of Tamil literature. It is considered to be one of the five great epics of Tamil literature. Manimekalai is a poem in 30 cantos...

 (The Jewelled Belt); the body of devotional literature of Shaivism
Shaivism
Shaivism is one of the four major sects of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Followers of Shaivism, called "Shaivas," and also "Saivas" or "Saivites," revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer,...

 and Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism is a tradition of Hinduism, distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu, or his associated Avatars such as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God....

—Hindu devotional movements; and the reworking of the Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

 by Kamban in the 12th century. A nationwide cultural synthesis had taken place with a minimum of common characteristics in the various regions of South Asia, but the process of cultural infusion and assimilation would continue to shape and influence India's history through the centuries.

The Sangam Era Kingdoms




Farther south were three ancient Tamil states - Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

 (on the west), Chola
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

 (on the east), and Pandya (in the south) —. They were involved in internecine warfare seeking regional supremacy. They are mentioned in Greek and Ashokan sources as important Indian kingdoms beyond the Mauryan Empire. A corpus of ancient Tamil literature
Tamil literature
Tamil literature refers to the literature in the Tamil language. Tamil literature has a rich and long literary tradition spanning more than two thousand years. The oldest extant works show signs of maturity indicating an even longer period of evolution...

, known as Sangam
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

 (academy) works, provides much useful information about life in these kingdoms in the era 300 BC to 200 AD. There is clear evidence of encroachment by Aryan
Aryan
Aryan is an English language loanword derived from Sanskrit ārya and denoting variously*In scholarly usage:**Indo-Iranian languages *in dated usage:**the Indo-European languages more generally and their speakers...

 traditions from the north into a predominantly indigenous Dravidian culture in transition.

Dravidian social order was based on different ecoregions rather than on the Aryan varna paradigm, although the Brahmans had a high status at a very early stage. Segments of society were characterized by matriarchy
Matriarchy
A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society....

 and matrilineal succession—which survived well into the 19th century—cross-cousin marriage, and strong regional identity. Tribal chieftains emerged as "kings" just as people moved from pastoralism toward agriculture sustained by irrigation based on rivers by small-scale water tanks (as man-made ponds are called in India) and wells, as well as maritime trade with Rome and Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

.

Discoveries of Roman gold coins in various sites attest to extensive South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

n links with the outside world. As with Patliputra
Patliputra
Pāṭaliputra , modern-day Patna, was a city in ancient India, originally built by Ajatashatru in 490 BC as a small fort near the River Ganges, and later the capital of the ancient Mahājanapadas kingdom of Magadha....

 in the northeast and Taxila
Taxila
Taxila is a Tehsil in the Rawalpindi District of Punjab province of Pakistan. It is an important archaeological site.Taxila is situated about northwest of Islamabad Capital Territory and Rawalpindi in Panjab; just off the Grand Trunk Road...

 in the northwest (in modern Pakistan), the city of Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, the capital of the Pandyan Kingdom
Pandyan Kingdom
The Pandyan dynasty was an ancient Tamil dynasty. The Pandyas were one of the four Tamil dynasties , which ruled South India until the 15th century CE. They initially ruled their country Pandya Nadu from Korkai, a seaport on the Southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, and in later times moved...

 (in modern Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

), was the center of intellectual and literary activity. Poets and bards assembled there under royal patronage at successive concourses to composed anthologies of poems and expositions on Tamil
Tamil language
Tamil is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by Tamil people of the Indian subcontinent. It has official status in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and in the Indian union territory of Pondicherry. Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore...

 grammar. By the end of the 1st century BC, South Asia was crisscrossed by overland trade routes, which facilitated the movements of Buddhist and Jain
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 missionaries and other travelers and opened the area to a synthesis of many cultures.

The Cheras



From early pre-historic times, Tamil Nadu was the home of the four Tamil states of the Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

, Chola
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

, Pandya and Pallavas. The oldest extant literature
Sangam literature
Sangam literature refers to a body of classical Tamil literature created between the years c. 600 BCE to 300 CE. This collection contains 2381 poems composed by 473 poets, some 102 of whom remain anonymous The period during which these poems were composed is commonly referred to as the Sangam...

, dated between 300 BC and 600 AD mentions the exploits of the kings and the princes, and of the poets who extolled them. Cherans, who spoke Tamil language ruled from the capital of Karur
Karur
Karur is a large town and a municipality in Karur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu situated on the banks of Amaravati. Karur district was formed on 30 September 1995 by trifurcating Tiruchirappalli district. It is the administrative headquarters of Karur District. Karur has a very long...

 in the west and traded extensively with West Asian kingdoms.

An unknown dynasty called Kalabhras
Kalabhras
The Kalabhras dynasty ruled over the entire Ancient Tamil country between the 3rd and the 6th century in an era of South Indian history called the Kalabhra interregnum. The Kalabhras displaced the kingdoms of the early Cholas, early Pandayan and Chera dynasties. Information about its origin and...

 invaded and displaced the three Tamil
Ancient Tamil country
The Sangam period is the classical period in the history of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other parts of South India, spanning about the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE...

 kingdoms between the 4th and the 7th centuries. This is referred to as the Dark Age in Tamil
Tamil people
Tamil people , also called Tamils or Tamilians, are an ethnic group native to Tamil Nadu, India and the north-eastern region of Sri Lanka. Historic and post 15th century emigrant communities are also found across the world, notably Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, South Africa, Australia, Canada,...

 history. They were eventually expelled by the Pallavas and the Pandyas.

The Kalabhras



Little of their origins or the time during which they ruled is known beyond that they ruled over the entirety of the southern tip of India during the 3rd to the 6th century, overcoming the Sangam era kingdoms. The appear to be patrons of Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 and Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 as the only source of information on them is the scattered mentions in the many Buddhist and Jain literature of the time. They were contemporaries of the Kadambas
Kadambas
The Kadamba Dynasty was an ancient royal family of Karnataka that ruled from Banavasi in present day Uttara Kannada district. The dynasty later continued to rule as a feudatory of larger Kannada empires, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta empires for over five hundred years during which time they...

 and the Western Ganga Dynasty. They were overcome by the rise of the Pallavas and the resurgence of the Pandyan Kingdom
Pandyan Kingdom
The Pandyan dynasty was an ancient Tamil dynasty. The Pandyas were one of the four Tamil dynasties , which ruled South India until the 15th century CE. They initially ruled their country Pandya Nadu from Korkai, a seaport on the Southernmost tip of the Indian Peninsula, and in later times moved...

.

The Kadambas




The Kadamba Dynasty (345–525 CE) was an ancient royal family of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 that ruled from Banavasi
Banavasi
Banavasi is an ancient temple town in Uttara Kannada District bordering Shivamogga district in the South Indian state of Karnataka .-History:Banavasi is one of the oldest towns in the Karnataka state...

 in present day Uttara Kannada
Uttara Kannada
Uttara Kannada also known as North Canara or North Kanara, is a district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. It is bordered by the state of Goa and Belgaum District to the north, Dharwad District and Haveri District to the east, Shimoga District and Udupi District to the south and the...

 district. The dynasty later continued to rule as a feudatory of larger Kannada empires, the Chalukya and the Rashtrakuta
Rashtrakuta
The Rashtrakuta Empire was a royal dynasty ruling large parts of the Indian Subcontinent between the sixth and the 10th centuries. During this period they ruled as several closely related, but individual clans. Rastrakutas in inscriptions represented as descendants of Satyaki, a Yadava well known...

 empires for over five hundred years during which time they branched into Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

 and Hanagal. At the peak of their power under King Kakushtavarma, they ruled large parts of Karnataka. During the pre-Kadamba era the ruling families that controlled Karnataka, the Mauryas, Satavahanas and Chutus were not natives of the region and the nucleus of power resided outside present day Karnataka. The Kadambas were the first indigenous dynasty to use Kannada, the language of the soil at an administrative level. In the history of Karnataka, this era serves as a broad based historical starting point in the study of the development of region as an enduring geo-political entity and Kannada as an important regional language.

The dynasty was founded by Mayurasharma
Mayurasharma
Mayurasharma , a Brahmin scholar and a native of Talagunda , was the founder of the Kadamba Kingdom of Banavasi, the earliest native kingdom to rule over what is today the modern state of Karnataka, India. He took the name of Mayuravarma to emphasise his change from the Brahmin to the Kshatriya...

 in 345 which at times showed the potential of developing into imperial proportions, an indication to which is provided by the titles and epithets assumed by its rulers. One of his successors, Kakusthavarma
Kakusthavarma
Kakusthavarma was a ruler of the Kadamba Dynasty of Banavasi in Southern India during the 4th century. Under his rule, the dynasty attained the height of its greatness. Talagunda and Halmidi inscriptions praise him as a formidable Kadamba warrior. He was able to maintain a good relationship with...

 was a powerful ruler and even the kings of imperial Gupta Dynasty of northern India cultivated marital relationships with his family, giving a fair indication of the sovereign nature of their kingdom. Tiring of the endless battles and bloodshed, one of the later descendants, King Shivakoti adopted Jainism. The Kadambas were contemporaries of the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad
Talakad
Talakad is a desert-like town on the left bank of the Kaveri river at a spot where the river makes a sharp bend. It is 45 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India. A historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand. Now it is a scenic...

 and together they formed the earliest native kingdoms to rule the land with absolute autonomy.

The Western Gangas




The Western Ganga Dynasty (350–1000 CE) was an important ruling dynasty of ancient Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 in India. They are known as Western Gangas to distinguish them from the Eastern Gangas
Eastern Ganga dynasty
The Eastern Ganga dynasty reigned from Kalinga and their rule consisted of the whole of the modern day Indian state of Orissa as well as parts of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh from the 11th century to the early 15th century. Their capital was known by the name Kalinganagar, which is...

, who in later centuries ruled over modern Orissa
Orissa
Orissa , officially Odisha since Nov 2011, is a state of India, located on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal. It is the modern name of the ancient nation of Kalinga, which was invaded by the Maurya Emperor Ashoka in 261 BC. The modern state of Orissa was established on 1 April...

. The general belief is the Western Gangas began their rule during a time when multiple native clans asserted their freedom due to the weakening of the Pallava dynasty of South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

, a geo-political event sometimes attributed to the southern conquests of Samudragupta
Samudragupta
Samudragupta , ruler of the Gupta Empire , and successor to Chandragupta I, is considered to be one of the greatest military geniuses in Indian history according to Historian V. A. Smith. His name is taken to be a title acquired by his conquests...

. The Western Ganga sovereignty lasted from about 350 to 550 CE, initially ruling from Kolar
Kolar
Kolara is a city in the South Indian state of Karnataka. It is the headquarters of Kolar District. It is known for being one of the gold mining sites in India....

 and later moving their capital to Talakad
Talakad
Talakad is a desert-like town on the left bank of the Kaveri river at a spot where the river makes a sharp bend. It is 45 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India. A historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand. Now it is a scenic...

 on the banks of the Kaveri in modern Mysore district
Mysore district
Mysore District is an administrative district located in the southern part of the state of Karnataka, India. The district is bounded by Mandya district to the northeast, Chamrajanagar district to the southeast, Kerala state to the south, Kodagu district to the west, and Hassan district to the north...

.

After the rise of the imperial Chalukya dynasty
Chalukya dynasty
The Chalukya dynasty was an Indian royal dynasty that ruled large parts of southern and central India between the 6th and the 12th centuries. During this period, they ruled as three related yet individual dynasties. The earliest dynasty, known as the "Badami Chalukyas", ruled from Vatapi from the...

 of Badami
Badami
Badami , formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples...

, the Gangas accepted Chalukya overlordship and fought for the cause of their overlords against the Pallavas of Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

. The Chalukyas were replaced by the Rashtrakutas
Rashtrakuta Dynasty
The Rashtrakuta Empire was a royal dynasty ruling large parts of the Indian Subcontinent between the sixth and the 10th centuries. During this period they ruled as several closely related, but individual clans. Rastrakutas in inscriptions represented as descendants of Satyaki, a Yadava well known...

 of Manyakheta
Manyakheta
Manyakheta on the banks of Kagina River in Gulbarga district, Karnataka state was the capital of Rashtrakutas from . It is 40 km from Gulbarga city. The capital was moved from Mayurkhandi in Bidar district to Mānyakheṭa during the rule of Amoghavarsha I...

 in 753 CE as the dominant power in the Deccan. After a century of struggle for autonomy, the Western Gangas finally accepted Rashtrakuta overlordship and successfully fought alongside them against their foes, the Chola dynasty
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

 of Tanjavur. In the late 10th century, north of Tungabhadra river, the Rashtrakutas were replaced by the emerging Western Chalukya Empire and the Chola Dynasty saw renewed power south of the Kaveri. The defeat of the Western Gangas by Cholas around 1000 resulted in the end of the Ganga influence over the region.

Though territorially a small kingdom, the Western Ganga contribution to polity, culture and literature of the modern south Karnataka region is considered important. The Western Ganga kings showed benevolent tolerance to all faiths but are most famous for their patronage towards Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 resulting in the construction of monuments in places such as Shravanabelagola
Shravanabelagola
Shravana Belgola is a city located in the Hassan district in the Indian state of Karnataka and is 158 km from Bangalore. The statue of Gommateshvara Bahubali at Śravaṇa Beḷgoḷa is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in Jainism, one that reached a peak in architectural and sculptural...

 and Kambadahalli
Kambadahalli
Kambadahalli is a village in Mandya district of Karnataka state, in southwestern India. Previously known as Kambapuri, it is one of the oldest and most important Jain religious centers in Karnataka. The monuments here were built by the Western Ganga Dynasty in the 9th - 10th century...

. The kings of this dynasty encouraged the fine arts due to which literature in Kannada and Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 flourished. Chavundaraya
Chavundaraya
Chavundraya was a military commander, poet and a minister in the court of the Western Ganga Dynasty of Talakad . A person of many talents, in 982 he commissioned the Gomateshwara, a monolithic sculpture in Shravanabelagola, an important place of pilgrimage for Jains...

's writing, Chavundaraya Purana of 978 CE, is an important work in Kannada prose. Many classics were written on subjects ranging from religious topics to elephant management.

The Badami Chalukyas


The Chalukya Empire, natives of the Aihole
Aihole
Aihole is a temple complex in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It is a very popular tourist spot in north Karnataka. It lies to the east of Pattadakal, along the Malaprabha River, while Badami is to the west of both....

 and Badami
Badami
Badami , formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples...

 region in Karnataka, were at first a feudatory of the Kadambas.
They encouraged the use of Kannada in addition to the Sanskrit language in their administration. In the middle of the 6th century the Chalukyas came into their own when Pulakesi I made the hill fortress in Badami his center of power. During the rule of Pulakesi II
Pulakesi II
Pulakesin II is the most famous ruler of the Chalukya dynasty. In his reign the Chalukyas of Badami saw their kingdom extend over most of the Deccan.-Early life and accession:...

  a south Indian empire sent expeditions to the north past the Tapti River
Tapti River
The Tapi River ancient original name Tapi River , is a river in central India. It is one of the major rivers of peninsular India with a length of around 724 km...

 and Narmada River
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

 for the first time and successfully defied Harshavardhana, the King of Northern India (Uttarapatheswara). The Aihole
Aihole
Aihole is a temple complex in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It is a very popular tourist spot in north Karnataka. It lies to the east of Pattadakal, along the Malaprabha River, while Badami is to the west of both....

 inscription of Pulakesi II, written in classical Sanskrit language and old Kannada script dated 634, proclaims his victories against the Kingdoms of Kadambas, Western Gangas, Alupas
Alupas
The Alupas kings were a minor dynasty who ruled parts of coastal Karnataka. Later with the dominance of Kadambas in Banavasi, they became feudatory to them. With the changing political scenario, soon they became the feudatories to Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara Rayas...

 of South Canara, Mauryas of Puri
Puri
Puri is district headquarter, a city situated about south of state capital Bhubaneswar, on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal in the Indian state of Orissa. It is also known as Jagannath Puri after the Jagannath Temple . It is a holy city of the Hindus as a part of the Char Dham pilgrimages...

, Kingdom of Kosala
Kaushal
The word Kaushal in Devnagri thesaurus means clever, perfect orskillful. Kaushal means "Excellence".Kaushal is also used as a name in parts of India and Nepal....

, Malwa, Lata and Gurjaras of southern Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

. The inscription describes how King Harsha of Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

 lost his Harsha (joyful disposition) on seeing a large number of his war elephants die in battle against Pulakesi II.


These victories earned him the title Dakshinapatha Prithviswamy (lord of the south). Pulakesi II continued his conquests in the east where he conquered all kingdoms in his way and reached the Bay of Bengal
Bay of Bengal
The Bay of Bengal , the largest bay in the world, forms the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean. It resembles a triangle in shape, and is bordered mostly by the Eastern Coast of India, southern coast of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to the west and Burma and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the...

 in present day Orissa. A Chalukya viceroyalty was set up in Gujarat and Vengi (coastal Andhra) and princes from the Badami family were dispatched to rule them. Having subdued the Pallavas of Kanchipuram, he accepted tributes from the Pandyas of Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

, Chola dynasty
Chola Dynasty
The Chola dynasty was a Tamil dynasty which was one of the longest-ruling in some parts of southern India. The earliest datable references to this Tamil dynasty are in inscriptions from the 3rd century BC left by Asoka, of Maurya Empire; the dynasty continued to govern over varying territory until...

 and Chera
Chera dynasty
Chera Dynasty in South India is one of the most ancient ruling dynasties in India. Together with the Cholas and the Pandyas, they formed the three principle warring Iron Age Tamil kingdoms in southern India...

s of the Kerala region. Pulakesi II thus became the master of India, south of the Narmada River. Pulakesi II is widely regarded as one of the great kings in Indian history. Hiuen-Tsiang, a Chinese
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 traveller visited the court of Pulakesi II at this time and Persian emperor Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

 exchanged ambassadors. However, the continuous wars with Pallavas took a turn for the worse in 642 when the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I was a Tamil king of the Pallava dynasty who ruled South India from 630–668 CE. He shared his father Mahendravarman I's love of art and completed the work started by Mahendravarman in Mahabalipuram....

 avenged his father's defeat, conquered and plundered the capital of Pulakesi II who may have died in battle. A century later, Chalukya Vikramaditya II
Vikramaditya II
Vikramaditya II was the son of King Vijayaditya and ascended the Badami Chalukya throne following the death of his father. This information comes from the Lakshmeshwar inscriptions in Kannada dated January 13 735...

 marched victoriously into Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

, the Pallava capital and occupied it on three occasions, the third time under the leadership of his son and crown prince Kirtivarman II. He thus avenged the earlier humiliation of the Chalukyas by the Pallavas and engraved a Kannada inscription on the victory pillar at the Kailasanatha Temple. He later overran the other traditional kingdoms of Tamil country, the Pandyas, Cholas and Keralas in addition to subduing a Kalabhra ruler.

The Kappe Arabhatta
Kappe Arabhatta
Kappe Arabhatta was a Chalukya warrior of the 8th century who is known from a Kannada verse inscription, dated to c. 700 CE, and carved on a cliff overlooking the northeast end of the artificial lake in Badami, Karnataka, India. The inscription consists of five stanzas written out in ten lines in...

 record from this period (700) in tripadi (three line) metre is considered the earliest available record in Kannada poetics. The most enduring legacy of the Chalukya dynasty is the architecture and art that they left behind. More than one hundred and fifty monuments attributed to the them, built between 450 and 700, have survived in the Malaprabha basin in Karnataka. The constructions are centred in a relatively small area within the Chalukyan heartland. The structural temples at Pattadakal
Pattadakal
Pattadakal is a village in Karnataka. It lies on the banks of the Malaprabha River in Bagalkot district. It is 22 km from Badami and about 10 km from Aihole...

, a UNESCO
UNESCO
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations...

 World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

, the cave temples of Badami
Badami
Badami , formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples...

, the temples at Mahakuta
Mahakuta group of temples
The Mahakuta group of temples is located in Mahakuta, a town in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka state, India. It is an important place of worship for Hindus and the location of a well-known Shaiva monastery. The temples are dated to the 6th or 7th century and were constructed by the early kings...

 and early experiments in temple building at Aihole
Aihole
Aihole is a temple complex in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It is a very popular tourist spot in north Karnataka. It lies to the east of Pattadakal, along the Malaprabha River, while Badami is to the west of both....

 are their most celebrated monuments. Two of the famous paintings at Ajanta
Ajanta
The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra, India are 29 rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century BCE. The caves include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of both Buddhist religious art as well as frescos which are reminiscent of the Sigiriya...

 cave no. 1, "The Temptation of the Buddha" and "The Persian Embassy" are also credited to them.

Further, they influenced the architecture in far off places like Gujarat and Vengi
Vengi
The Vengi kingdom extended from the Godavari River in the north to Mount Mahendragiri in the southeast and to just south of the banks of River Krishna in the south of India. This area was part of Kalinga until that kingdom was conquered by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire in the mid 3rd century...

 as evidenced in the Nava Brahma temples at Alampur.

The Pallavas




The 7th century Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallavas under Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I
Mahendravarman I was a Pallava king who ruled the Northern regions of what forms present-day Tamil Nadu in India in the early 7th century. He was the son of Simhavishnu, who defeated the Kalabhras and re-established the Pallava kingdom....

 and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I
Narasimhavarman I was a Tamil king of the Pallava dynasty who ruled South India from 630–668 CE. He shared his father Mahendravarman I's love of art and completed the work started by Mahendravarman in Mahabalipuram....

. The Pallavas were not a recognised political power before the 2nd century. It has been widely accepted by scholars that they were originally executive officers under the Satavahana Empire
Satavahana
The Sātavāhana Empire or Andhra Empire, was a royal Indian dynasty based from Dharanikota and Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh as well as Junnar and Prathisthan in Maharashtra. The territory of the empire covered much of India from 230 BCE onward...

. After the fall of the Satavahanas, they began to get control over parts of Andhra and the Tamil country. Later they had marital ties with the Vishnukundina
Vishnukundina
The Vishnukundina Empire was an Indian imperial power controlling the Deccan, Orissa and parts of South India during the 5th and 6th centuries, carving land out from the Vakataka Empire. It played an important role in the history of the Deccan during the 5th and 6th centuries CE...

 who ruled over the Deccan. It was around 550 AD under King Simhavishnu
Simhavishnu
Simhavishnu , also known as Avanisimha , son of Simhavarman III and one of the Pallava kings of India, was responsible for the revival of the Pallavan dynasty. He was the first Pallava monarch whose domain extended beyond Kanchipuram in the South...

 that the Pallavas emerged into prominence. They subjugated the Cholas and reigned as far south as the Kaveri River
Kaveri River
The Kaveri , also spelled Cauvery in English, is a large Indian river. The origin of the river is traditionally placed at Talakaveri, Kodagu in the Western Ghats in Karnataka, flows generally south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan plateau through the...

. Pallavas ruled a large portion of South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 with Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram
Kanchipuram, or Kanchi, is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district...

 as their capital. Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture
Dravidian architecture was a style of architecture that emerged thousands of years ago in Southern part of the Indian subcontinent or South India. They consist primarily of pyramid shaped temples called Koils which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting...

 reached its peak during the Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha was a Pallava king who ruled in South India during the 6th century. Succeeding his father Paramesvaravarman I in the year 700 CE, he ruled for nearly 3 decades, until he was succeeded by his son Paramesvaravarman II in 728 CE.-Ascension to the throne:By the time...

 built the Shore Temple
Shore Temple
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD. It was built on a promontory sticking out into the Bay of Bengal at Mahabalipuram, a village south of Chennai in the state of Tamil Nadu,...

 which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many sources describe Bodhidharma
Bodhidharma
Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century AD. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch'an to China, and regarded as the first Chinese patriarch...

, the founder of the Zen
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

 school of Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 in China, as a prince
Prince
Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

 of the Pallava dynasty.

The Eastern Chalukyas



Eastern Chalukyas were a South Indian dynasty whose kingdom was located in the present day Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

. Their capital was Vengi
Vengi
The Vengi kingdom extended from the Godavari River in the north to Mount Mahendragiri in the southeast and to just south of the banks of River Krishna in the south of India. This area was part of Kalinga until that kingdom was conquered by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire in the mid 3rd century...

 and their dynasty lasted for around 500 years from the 7th century until c. 1130 CE when the Vengi kingdom merged with the Chola empire. The Vengi kingdom was continued to be ruled by Eastern Chalukyan kings under the protection of the Chola empire until 1189 CE, when the kingdom succumbed to the Hoysalas and the Yadavas
Yadu
Yadu is one of the five Indo-Aryan tribes mentioned in the Rig Veda . The Mahabharata, the Harivamsha and the Puranas mention Yadu as the eldest son of king Yayati and his queen Devayani. The prince of King Yayati, Yadu was a self-respecting and a very established ruler...

. They had their capital originally at Vengi now (Pedavegi, Chinavegi and Denduluru) near Eluru
Eluru
Eluru is a city and a municipal corporation in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is the headquarters of West Godavari district and has a population of 5,15,343 approximately. Eluru is situated on the national highway NH 5 connecting Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam and about east of state...

 of the West Godavari district end later changed to Rajamahendravaram (Rajamundry).

Eastern Chalukyas were closely related to the Chalukyas of Vatapi (Badami
Badami
Badami , formerly known as Vatapi, is a town and headquarters of a taluk by the same name, in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka, India. It was the regal capital of the Badami Chalukyas from 540 to 757 AD. It is famous for rock cut and other structural temples...

). Throughout their history they were the cause of many wars between the more powerful Cholas and Western Chalukyas
Western Chalukyas
The Western Chalukya Empire ruled most of the western Deccan, South India, between the 10th and 12th centuries. This dynasty is sometimes called the Kalyani Chalukya after its regal capital at Kalyani, today's Basavakalyan in Karnataka and alternatively the Later Chalukya from its theoretical...

 over the control of the strategic Vengi country. The five centuries of the Eastern Chalukya rule of Vengi saw not only the consolidation of this region into a unified whole, but also saw the efflorescence of Telugu
Telugu people
The Telugu people or Telugu Prajalu are an ethnic group of India. They are the native speakers of the Telugu language, the most commonly spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali...

 culture, literature, poetry and art during the later half of their rule. It can be said to be the golden period of Andhra history.

The Pandyas



Pallavas were replaced by the Pandyas in the 8th century. Their capital Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 was in the deep south away from the coast. They had extensive trade links with the Southeast Asian maritime empires of Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Srivijaya was a powerful ancient thalassocratic Malay empire based on the island of Sumatra, modern day Indonesia, which influenced much of Southeast Asia. The earliest solid proof of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6...

 and their successors. As well as contacts, even diplomatic, reaching as far as the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. During the 13th century of the Christian era Marco Polo
Marco Polo
Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

 mentioned it as the richest empire in existence. Temples like Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-alavai is a historic Hindu temple located in the south side of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India...

 at Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 and Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple
Nellaiappar Temple is one of the famous Shiva Temples situated at the heart of Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India.-History:...

 at Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli
Tirunelveli , also known as Nellai , and historically as Tinnevelly, is a city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the headquarters of the Tirunelveli District and the sixth biggest city in Tamil Nadu...

 are the best examples of Pandyan Temple architecture. The Pandyas excelled in both trade as well as literature and they controlled the pearl fisheries along the South Indian coast, between Sri Lanka and India, which produced some of the finest pearls in the known ancient world.

The Rashtrakutas




In the middle of 8th century the Chalukya rule was ended by their feudatory, the Rashtrakuta family rulers of Berar
Berar Sultanate
-Berar in Ancient History:Subah Berar and Gondwana the Vidarbha region known as Gulshan-e-Berar in medieval period since Khilji dynasty to mughal period according Aine-Akbari and Alimgeer Namah report the berar is hole Fourteen sarkar...

 (in present day Amravati district
Amravati district
Amravati district is a district of Maharashtra state in central India. Amravati is the administrative headquarters of the district.The district is situated between 20°32' and 21°46' north latitudes and 76°37' and 78°27' east longitudes. The district occupies an area of 12,235 km²...

 of Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

). Sensing an opportunity during a weak period in the Chalukya rule, Dantidurga
Dantidurga
Dantidurga , also known as Dantivarman or Dantidurga II was the founder of the Rashtrakuta Empire of Manyakheta. His capital was based in Gulbarga region of Karnataka...

 trounced the great Chalukyan "Karnatabala" (power of Karnata). Having overthrown the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas made Manyakheta
Manyakheta
Manyakheta on the banks of Kagina River in Gulbarga district, Karnataka state was the capital of Rashtrakutas from . It is 40 km from Gulbarga city. The capital was moved from Mayurkhandi in Bidar district to Mānyakheṭa during the rule of Amoghavarsha I...

 their capital (modern Malkhed in Gulbarga district
Gulbarga District
Gulbarga district is one of the 30 districts of Karnataka state in southern India. Gulbarga city is the administrative headquarters of the district...

). Although the origins of the early Rashtrakuta ruling families in central India and the Deccan in the 6th and 7th centuries is controversial, during the eighth through the 10th centuries they emphasised the importance of the Kannada language in conjunction with Sanskrit in their administration. Rashtrakuta inscriptions are in Kannada and Sanskrit only. They encouraged literature in both languages and thus literature flowered under their rule.

The Rashtrakutas quickly became the most powerful Deccan empire, making their initial successful forays into the doab
Doab
A Doab is a term used in India and Pakistan for a "tongue" or tract of land lying between two confluent rivers...

 region of Ganges River
Ganges River
The Ganges or Ganga, , is a trans-boundary river of India and Bangladesh. The river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. By discharge it...

 and Jamuna River
Yamuna
The Yamuna is the largest tributary river of the Ganges in northern India...

 during the rule of Dhruva Dharavarsha
Dhruva Dharavarsha
Dhruva was one of greatest ruler of the Rashtrakuta Empire. He ascended the throne after replacing his elder brother Govinda II. Govinda II had become unpopular among his subjects on account of his various misconducts and demeanors as a ruler, including excessive indulgence in sensual pleasure....

. The rule of his son Govinda III
Govinda III
Govinda III was a famous Rashtrakuta ruler who succeeded his illustrious father Dhruva Dharavarsha. He was militarily the most successful emperor of the dynasty with successful conquests from Cape Comorin in the south to Kannauj in the north, from Banaras in the east to Broach in the west...

 signaled a new era with Rashtrakuta victories against the Pala Dynasty of Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

 and Gurjara Pratihara
Pratihara
The Gurjara Pratihara , often simply called Pratihara Empire, was an imperial Indian dynasty that ruled much of Northern India from the 6th to the 11th centuries. At its peak of prosperity and power , the Gurajara-Pratihara Empire rivaled or even exceeded the Gupta Empire in the extent of its...

 of north western India resulting in the capture of Kannauj
Kannauj
Kannauj , also spelt Kanauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is traditionally derived from the term Kanyakubja . Kannauj is an ancient city, in earlier times the capital...

. The Rashtrakutas held Kannauj intermittently during a period of a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains. Because of Govinda III's victories, historians have compared him to Alexander the Great and Pandava
Pandava
In the Hindu epic Mahābhārata, the Pandava are the five acknowledged sons of Pandu , by his two wives Kunti and Madri. Their names are Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. Although, Karna is told by Lord Krishna that according to the laws and ethics he is the first son of Kunti making...

 Arjuna
Arjuna
Arjuna in Indian mythology is the greatest warrior on earth and is one of the Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata. Arjuna, whose name means 'bright', 'shining', 'white' or 'silver' Arjuna (Devanagari: अर्जुन, Thai: อรชุน, Orachun, Tamil: Arjunan, Indonesian and Javanese: Harjuna,...

 of the Hindu epic Mahabharata
Mahabharata
The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India and Nepal, the other being the Ramayana. The epic is part of itihasa....

.
The Sanjan inscription states the horses of Govinda III drank the icy water of the Himalayan stream and his war elephants tasted the sacred waters of the Ganges River. Amoghavarsha I, eulogised by contemporary Arab traveller Sulaiman as one among the four great emperors of the world, succeeded Govinda III to the throne and ruled during an important cultural period that produced landmark writings in Kannada and Sanskrit. The benevolent development of Jain religion was a hallmark of his rule. Because of his religious temperament, his interest in the arts and literature and his peace loving nature, he has been compared to emperor Ashoka
Ashoka
Ashok Maurya or Ashoka , popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was an Indian emperor of the Maurya Dynasty who ruled almost all of the Indian subcontinent from ca. 269 BC to 232 BC. One of India's greatest emperors, Ashoka reigned over most of present-day India after a number of military conquests...

. The rule of Indra III
Indra III
Indra III was the grandson of Rashtrakuta Krishna II and son of Chedi princess Lakshmi. He became the ruler of the empire due to the early demise of his father Jagattunga. He had many titles such as Nithyavarsha, Rattakandarapa, Rajamarathanda and Kirthinarayana. He patronised Kannada poet and...

 in the 10th century enhanced the Rashtrakuta position as an imperial power as they conquered and held Kannauj again. Krishna III
Krishna III
Krishna III, whose Kannada name was Kannara , was the last great warrior and able monarch of the Rashtrakuta Dynasty of Manyakheta. He was a shrewd administrator and skillful military campaigner. He waged many wars to bring back the glory of the Rashtrakutas and played an important role in...

 followed Indra III to the throne in 939. A patron of Kannada literature and a powerful warrior, his reign marked the submission of the Paramara
Paramara
Paramara is a Maratha, Gurjar,& Rajput clan of India.The Paramara clan belongs to the Agnivansha of Rajputs ancient Kshatriyas...

 of Ujjain
Ujjain
Ujjain , is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini...

 in the north and Cholas in the south.

An Arabic writing Silsilatuttavarikh (851) called the Rashtrakutas one among the four principle empires of the world. Kitab-ul-Masalik-ul-Mumalik (912) called them the "greatest kings of India" and there were many other contemporaneous books written in their praise. The Rashtrakuta empire at its peak spread from Cape Comorin in the south to Kannauj in the north and from Banaras in the east to Broach (Bharuch) in the west.
While the Rashtrakutas built many fine monuments in the Deccan, the most extensive and sumptuous of their work is the monolithic Kailasanatha temple at Ellora, the temple being a splendid achievement. In Karnataka their most famous temples are the Kashivishvanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal. All of the monuments are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Western Chalukyas


In the late 10th century, the Western Chalukyas, also known as the Kalyani Chalukyas or 'Later' Chalukyas rose to power by overthrowing the Rashtrakutas under whom they had been serving as feudatories. Manyakheta
Manyakheta
Manyakheta on the banks of Kagina River in Gulbarga district, Karnataka state was the capital of Rashtrakutas from . It is 40 km from Gulbarga city. The capital was moved from Mayurkhandi in Bidar district to Mānyakheṭa during the rule of Amoghavarsha I...

 was their capital early on before they moved it to Kalyani (modern Basavakalyan
Basavakalyan
Basavakalyan is a town in Bidar District of the state of Karnataka, India, and was historically known as Kalyan.-History:Basavakalyan's history dates back to 3000 years with its name being mentioned in Guru Charitra....

). Whether the kings of this empire belonged to the same family line as their namesakes, the Badami Chalukyas is still debated. Whatever the Western Chalukya origins, Kannada remained their language of administration and the Kannada and Sanskrit literature of their time was prolific. Tailapa II
Tailapa II
Tailapa II had titles Nurmadi Taliapa and Satyashraya Kulatilaka. He re-established the Western Chalukya dynasty after a period of 220 years during which time they had been in eclipse. The revived Chalukya kingdom rose to its height of power under Vikramaditya VI. The revived dynasty came to be...

, a feudatory ruler from Tardavadi (modern Bijapur district), re-established the Chalukya rule by defeating the Rashtrakutas during the reign of Karka II
Karka II
Karka II succeeded his uncle Kottigga Amoghavarsha to the Rashtrakuta throne. He had military successes against the Gurjaras, Rajputs and his feudatory, the Western Ganga King Marasimha II defeated the Pallavas...

. He timed his rebellion to coincide with the confusion caused by the invading Paramara
Paramara
Paramara is a Maratha, Gurjar,& Rajput clan of India.The Paramara clan belongs to the Agnivansha of Rajputs ancient Kshatriyas...

 of Central India to the Rashtrakutas capital in 973. This era produced prolonged warfare with the Chola dynasty of Tamilakam
Ancient Tamil country
The Sangam period is the classical period in the history of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other parts of South India, spanning about the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd century CE...

 for control of the resources of the Godavari River
Godavari River
The Godavari is a river that runs from western to southern India and is considered to be one of the big river basins in India. With a length of 1465 km, it is the second longest river in India , that runs within the country and also the longest river in South India...

Krishna River
Krishna River
The Krishna River , is one of the longest rivers in central-southern India, about . It is also referred to as Krishnaveni in its original nomenclature...

 doab region in Vengi
Vengi
The Vengi kingdom extended from the Godavari River in the north to Mount Mahendragiri in the southeast and to just south of the banks of River Krishna in the south of India. This area was part of Kalinga until that kingdom was conquered by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire in the mid 3rd century...

. Somesvara I
Somesvara I
Somesvara I succeeded his father Jayasimha II as the Western Chalukya king. He was one of the greatest kings of the later Chalukya Dynasty. In spite of many reverses he managed to safeguard the integrity of the Chalukya kingdom. He founded the city of Kalyani, present day Basavakalyana and moved...

, a brave Chalukyan king, successfully curtailed the growth of the Chola Empire to the south of the Tungabhadra River
Tungabhadra River
The Tungabhadra River is a sacred river in southern India that flows through the state of Karnataka to Andhra Pradesh, where it serves as the chief tributary of the Krishna River...

 region despite suffering some defeats while maintaining control over his feudatories in the Konkan, Gujarat, Malwa and Kalinga
Kalinga
Kalinga is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Tabuk and borders Mountain Province to the south, Abra to the west, Isabela to the east, Cagayan to the northeast, and Apayao to the north...

 regions. For approximately 100 years, beginning in the early 11th century, the Cholas occupied large areas of South Karnataka region (Gangavadi).
In 1076, the ascent of the most famous king of this Chalukya family, Vikramaditya VI
Vikramaditya VI
Vikramaditya VI became the Western Chalukya King after deposing his elder brother Somesvara II. Vikramaditya's reign is marked by the start of the Chalukya-Vikrama era. Vikramaditya VI was the greatest of the Western Chalukya kings and had the longest reign in the dynasty. He earned the title...

, changed the balance of power in favour of the Chalukyas. His fifty year reign was an important period in Karnataka's history and is referred to as the "Chalukya Vikrama era". His victories over the Cholas in the late 11th and early 12th centuries put an end to the Chola influence in the Vengi region permanently. Some of the well known contemporaneous feudatory families of the Deccan under Chalukya control were the Hoysalas, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty and the Southern Kalachuri. At their peak, the Western Chalukyas ruled a vast empire stretching from the Narmada River
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

 in the north to the Kaveri River
Kaveri River
The Kaveri , also spelled Cauvery in English, is a large Indian river. The origin of the river is traditionally placed at Talakaveri, Kodagu in the Western Ghats in Karnataka, flows generally south and east through Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and across the southern Deccan plateau through the...

 in the south. Vikramaditya VI is considered one of the most influential kings of Indian history. Important architectural works were created by these Chalukyas, especially in the Tungabhadra river valley, that served as a conceptual link between the building idioms of the early Badami Chalukyas and the later Hoysalas. With the weakening of the Chalukyas in the decades following the death of Vikramaditya VI in 1126, the feudatories of the Chalukyas gained their independence.

The Kalachuri
Kalachuri
Kalachuri Empire is this the name used by two kingdoms who had a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries, one ruling over areas in Central India and were called Chedi or Haihaya and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka...

s of Karnataka, whose ancestors were immigrants into the southern deccan from central India, had ruled as a feudatory from Mangalavada (modern Mangalavedhe in Maharashtra). Bijjala II
Bijjala II
Bijjala II 1130 - 1167 CE was the most famous of the southern Kalachuri kings and ruled initially as a feudatory of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI. He ruled as the Mahamandalesvara or chief and ruled over Karhada 4,000 and Tardavadi 1,000, designations given to...

, the most powerful ruler of this dynasty, was a commander (mahamandaleswar) during the reign of Chalukya Vikramaditya VI. Seizing an opportune moment in the waning power of the Chalukyas, Bijjala II declared independence in 1157 and annexed their capital Kalyani. His rule was cut short by his assassination in 1167 and the ensuing civil war caused by his sons fighting over the throne ended the dynasty as the last Chalukya scion regained control of Kalyani. This victory however, was short-lived as the Chalukyas were eventually driven out by the Seuna Yadavas.

The Yadavas



The Seuna, Sevuna or Yadava dynasty (Marathi
Marathi language
Marathi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by the Marathi people of western and central India. It is the official language of the state of Maharashtra. There are over 68 million fluent speakers worldwide. Marathi has the fourth largest number of native speakers in India and is the fifteenth most...

: देवगिरीचे यादव) (850–1334) was an Indian dynasty, which at its peak ruled a kingdom stretching from the Tungabhadra to the Narmada
Narmada River
The Narmada , also called Rewa is a river in central India and the fifth largest river in the Indian subcontinent. It is the third largest river that completely flows within India after Ganges and Godavari...

 rivers, including present-day Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, north Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

 and parts of Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

, from its capital at Devagiri (present-day Daulatabad in Maharashtra). The Yadavas initially ruled as feudatories of the Western Chalukyas
Western Chalukyas
The Western Chalukya Empire ruled most of the western Deccan, South India, between the 10th and 12th centuries. This dynasty is sometimes called the Kalyani Chalukya after its regal capital at Kalyani, today's Basavakalyan in Karnataka and alternatively the Later Chalukya from its theoretical...

. Around the middle of the 12th century, they declared independence and established rule that reached its peak under Singhana II. The foundations of Marathi
Marathi people
The Marathi people or Maharashtrians are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group, that inhabit the Maharashtra region and state of western India. Their language Marathi is part of the southern group of Indo-Aryan languages...

 culture was laid by the Yadavas and the peculiarities of Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

's social life developed during their rule.

The Kakatiyas



The Kakatiya dynasty was a South Indian dynasty that ruled parts of what is now Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh , is one of the 28 states of India, situated on the southeastern coast of India. It is India's fourth largest state by area and fifth largest by population. Its capital and largest city by population is Hyderabad.The total GDP of Andhra Pradesh is $100 billion and is ranked third...

, India from 1083 to 1323. They were one of the great Telugu
Telugu people
The Telugu people or Telugu Prajalu are an ethnic group of India. They are the native speakers of the Telugu language, the most commonly spoken language in India after Hindi and Bengali...

 kingdoms that lasted for centuries.

The Kalachuris


Kalachuri Empire is this the name used by two kingdoms who had a succession of dynasties from the 10th-12th centuries, one ruling over areas in Central India (west Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

, Rajasthan
Rajasthan
Rājasthān the land of Rajasthanis, , is the largest state of the Republic of India by area. It is located in the northwest of India. It encompasses most of the area of the large, inhospitable Great Indian Desert , which has an edge paralleling the Sutlej-Indus river valley along its border with...

) and were called Chedi
Chedi Kingdom
Chedi kingdom was one among the many kingdoms ruled during early periods by Paurava kings and later by Yaduvanshi Rajput kings in the central and western India. It falls roughly in the Bundelkhand division of Madhya Pradesh regions to the south of river Yamuna and along river Betwa or Vetravati...

 or Haihaya (Heyheya) (northern branch) and the other southern Kalachuri who ruled over parts of Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

. They are disparately placed in time and space. Apart from the dynastic name and perhaps a belief in common ancestry, there is little in known sources to connect them.

The earliest known Kalachuri family (550–620 AD) ruled over northern Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, Malwa and western Deccan. Their capital was Mahismati situated in the Narmada river valley. There were three prominent members; Krishnaraja, Shankaragana and Buddharaja. They distributed coins and epigraphs around this area.

Southern Kalachuris (1130–1184) at their peak ruled parts of the Deccan extending over regions of present day North Karnataka
North Karnataka
North Karnataka is an arid plateau from elevation in the Karnataka state of southwest India. It is drained by the Krishna River and its tributaries the Bhima, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, and Tungabhadra...

 and parts of Maharashtra
Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

. This dynasty rose to power in the Deccan between 1156 and 1181 AD. They traced their origins to Krishna who was the conqueror of Kalinjar and Dahala in Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh , often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal and Indore is the largest city....

. It is said that Bijjala a viceroy of this dynasty established the authority over Karnataka
Karnataka
Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

. He wrested power from the Chalukya king Taila III. Bijjala was succeeded by his sons Someshwara and Sangama but after 1181 AD, the Chalukyas gradually retrieved the territory. Their rule was a short and turbulent and yet very important from a the socio - religious movement point of view; a new sect called the Lingayat or Virashaiva sect was founded during these times.
A unique and purely native form of Kannada literature-poetry called the Vachanas was also born during this time. The writers of Vachanas were called Vachanakaras (poets). Many other important works like Virupaksha Pandita's Chennabasavapurana, Dharani Pandita's Bijjalarayacharite and Chandrasagara Varni's Bijjalarayapurana were also written.

Northern Kalachuris ruled in central India with its base at the ancient city of Tripuri (Tewar); it originated in the 8th century, expanded significantly in the 11th century, and declined in the 12th–13th centuries.

The Hoysalas



The Hoysalas had become a powerful force even during their rule from Belur
Belur
Belur may refer to any of the following:* Belur, Karnataka, town in Karnataka, India* Belur, West Bengal, India, a locality on the west bank of the Hooghly River* Belur Math, the religious abbey located in Belur, West Bengal, India...

 in the 11th century as a feudatory of the Chalukyas (in the south Karnataka region). In the early 12th century they successfully fought the Cholas in the south, convincingly defeating them in the battle of Talakad
Talakad
Talakad is a desert-like town on the left bank of the Kaveri river at a spot where the river makes a sharp bend. It is 45 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India. A historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand. Now it is a scenic...

 and moved their capital to nearby Halebidu
Halebidu
Halebidu is located in Hassan District, Karnataka, India. Halebidu was the regal capital of the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century. It is home to one of the best examples of Hoysala architecture in the ornate Hoysaleswara and Kedareswara temples. Halebidu literally means ruined city...

. Historians refer to the founders of the dynasty as natives of Malnad
Malnad
Malenadu is a region of Karnataka state in South India. Malenadu covers the western and eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, roughly 100 kilometers in width. Malenadu covers portions of the Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Kodagu and Hassan districts....

 Karnataka, based on the numerous inscriptions calling them Maleparolganda or "Lord of the Male (hills) chiefs" (Malepas). With the waning of the Western Chalukya power, the Hoysalas declared their independence in the late 12th century.

During this period of Hoysala control, distinctive Kannada literary metres such as Ragale (blank verse), Sangatya (meant to be sung to the accompaniment of a musical instrument), Shatpadi (seven line) etc. became widely accepted. The Hoysalas expanded the Vesara
Vesara
Vesara is a type of Indian architecture primarily used in temples. The two other prominent styles are Dravida and Nagara. Vesara is a combination of these two temple styles.-Description:...

 architecture stemming from the Chalukyas, culminating in the Hoysala architectural articulation and style as exemplified in the construction of the Chennakesava Temple
Chennakesava Temple
The Chennakesava Temple originally called Vijayanarayana Temple was built on the banks of the Yagachi River in Belur, an early capital of the Hoysala Empire. Belur is 40 km from Hassan city and 220 km from Bangalore, in Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. Chennakesava literally...

 at Belur and the Hoysaleswara temple
Hoysaleswara temple
Hoysaleswara temple is a temple dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. It was built in Halebidu during the Hoysala Empire rule in the 12th century by King Vishnuvardhana. The construction was completed in 1121 CE. During the early 14th century, Halebidu was sacked and looted by Muslim invaders from...

 at Halebidu. Both these temples were built in commemoration of the victories of the Hoysala Vishnuvardhana
Vishnuvardhana
Vishnuvardhana was an emperor of the Hoysala Empire in present day Indian state of Karnataka. Vishnuvardhana took the first step in consolidating the Hoysala Empire in South India through a series of battles against his overlords, the Western Chalukya empire...

 against the Cholas in 1116. Veera Ballala II
Veera Ballala II
Veera Ballala II was the greatest monarch of the Hoysala Empire. This is proven by his successes against the Seuna, Southern Kalachuri, and the waning Kalyani Chalukya dynasties. He caused the demise of the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty. His period also saw prolific literary activity in Kannada. He...

, the most effective of the Hoysala rulers, defeated the aggressive Pandya when they invaded the Chola kingdom and assumed the titles "Establisher of the Chola Kingdom"
(Cholarajyapratishtacharya), "Emperor of the south" (Dakshina Chakravarthi) and "Hoysala emperor" (Hoysala Chakravarthi). The Hoysalas extended their foothold in areas known today as Tamil Nadu around 1225, making the city of Kannanur Kuppam near Srirangam
Srirangam
Srirangam , Old name is Vellithirumutha gramam and Tamil name is Thiruvarangam , is an island and a part of the city of Tiruchirapalli , in South India....

 a provincial capital. This gave them control over South Indian politics that began a period of Hoysala hegemony in the southern Deccan.

In the early 13th century, with the Hoysala power remaining unchallenged, the first of the Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 incursions into South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 began. After over two decades of waging war against a foreign power, the Hoysala ruler at the time, Veera Ballala III
Veera Ballala III
Veera Ballala III was the last great king of the Hoysala Empire that ruled over what is now the South Indian state of Karnataka. Veera Ballala's commanders, Harihara and Bukkaraya are perhaps better known in Kannada folklore as the founders of the Vijayanagar Empire...

, died in the battle of Madurai
Madurai
Madurai is the third largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It served as the capital city of the Pandyan Kingdom. It is the administrative headquarters of Madurai District and is famous for its temples built by Pandyan and...

 in 1343. This resulted in the merger of the sovereign territories of the Hoysala empire with the areas administered by Harihara I
Harihara I
Harihara I , also called Hakka ಹಕ್ಕ and Vira Harihara I, was the founder of the Vijayanagara empire. He was Bhavana Sangama’s eldest son, belonged to the Kuruba clan and was founder of the Sangama dynasty, the first among the four dynasties that ruled Vijayanagara...

, founder of the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

, located in the Tungabhadra region in present day Karnataka. The new kingdom thrived for another two centuries with Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara
Vijayanagara is in Bellary District, northern Karnataka. It is the name of the now-ruined capital city "which was regarded as the second Rome" that surrounds modern-day Hampi, of the historic Vijayanagara empire which extended over the southern part of India....

 as its capital.

The Cholas



By the 9th century, under Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola, the Cholas rose as a notable power in south Asia. The Chola Empire stretched as far as Bengal
Bengal
Bengal is a historical and geographical region in the northeast region of the Indian Subcontinent at the apex of the Bay of Bengal. Today, it is mainly divided between the sovereign land of People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal, although some regions of the previous...

. At its peak, the empire spanned almost 3,600,000 km² (1,389,968 sq mi). Rajaraja Chola conquered all of peninsular South India
South India
South India is the area encompassing India's states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry, occupying 19.31% of India's area...

 and parts of the Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

. Rajendra Chola's navies went even further, occupying coasts from Burma (now Myanmar
Myanmar
Burma , officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar , is a country in Southeast Asia. Burma is bordered by China on the northeast, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, India on the northwest, the Bay of Bengal to the southwest, and the Andaman Sea on the south....

) to Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep , formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Amindivi Islands, is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea, 200 to 440 km off the coast of the South West Indian state of Kerala...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, Java
Java
Java is an island of Indonesia. With a population of 135 million , it is the world's most populous island, and one of the most densely populated regions in the world. It is home to 60% of Indonesia's population. The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is in west Java...

, Malaya
Malay Peninsula
The Malay Peninsula or Thai-Malay Peninsula is a peninsula in Southeast Asia. The land mass runs approximately north-south and, at its terminus, is the southern-most point of the Asian mainland...

 in South East Asia and Pegu islands. He defeated Mahipala
Mahipala
Mahipala I is considered the second founder of the Pala dynasty. Gopala I established the dynastic rule of the Palas in the middle of the 8th century CE. The Pala Dynasty ruled Bengal and Bihar for about four centuries from the middle of the 8th century CE...

, the king of the Bengal, and to commemorate his victory he built a new capital and named it Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram
Gangaikonda Cholapuram was erected as the capital of the Cholas by Rajendra Chola I, the son and successor of Rajaraja Chola, the great Chola who conquered a large area in South India at the beginning of the 11th century C.E. It occupies an important place in the history of India. As the capital...

.

The Cholas excelled in building magnificent temples. Brihadeshwara Temple
Brihadeeswarar temple
The Peruvudaiyar Koyil , also known as Rajarajeswaram, at Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's first complete granite temple and a brilliant example of the major heights achieved by Cholas kingdom Vishwakarmas in Tamil architecture. It is a tribute and a reflection of the...

 in Thanjavur is a classical example of the magnificent architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 of the Chola kingdom. Brihadshwara temple is an UNESCO Heritage Site under "Great Living Chola Temples
Great Living Chola Temples
The Great Living Chola Temples are temples built during the Chola rule in the south of India. These temples are the Brihadisvara Temple at Thanjavur, the Temple of Gangaikondacholisvaram and the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram...

." Another example is the Chidambaram Temple
Chidambaram Temple
Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the town of Chidambaram, East-Central Tamil Nadu, South India. The temple is known as the foremost of all temples to Saivites and has influenced worship, architecture, sculpture and performance art for over two...

 in the heart of the temple town of Chidambaram
Chidambaram
Chidambaram is a fast growing industrial city in Eastern part of Tamil Nadu and the taluk headquarters of the Cuddalore district. It is located in 58 km from Pondicherry, 60 km from Karaikal, and 240 km south of Chennai by rail...

.

See also

  • History of India
    History of India
    The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from...

  • History of Bengal
    History of Bengal
    The history of Bengal includes modern day Bangladesh and West Bengal, dates back four millennia. To some extent, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers separated it from the mainland of India, though at times, Bengal has played an important role in the history of India.- Etymology :The exact origin...

  • History of Bihar
    History of Bihar
    The history of Bihar is one of the most varied in India. Ancient Bihar, known as Magadha, was the center of power, learning, and culture in India for 1000 years. India's first empire, the Maurya empire as well as one of the world's greatest pacifist religion, Buddhism arose from the region that now...

  • Political history of medieval Karnataka
    Political history of medieval Karnataka
    The political history of medieval Karnataka spans the 4th to the 16th centuries, when the empires that evolved in the Karnataka region of India made a lasting impact on the subcontinent. Before this, alien empires held sway over the region, and the nucleus of power was outside modern Karnataka...