The history of Kashmir begins with the Karkota Dynasty. Before that the valley of Kashmir was ruled by Ashoka the Great, the Mauryan Empire. It remained under Kushana and Huvishakha also.
Rulers of Karkota Dynasty
- Durlabhvardhana was the founder of the Karkota dynasty.
- He had married the daughter of the last Gonanada king and became king in 527 AD.
- According to Hiuen -Tsang who visited Kashmir, the king ruled over parts of western and north western Punjab as well.
- Durlabahaka , son of Durlabhvardhana had maintain the same reign.
- His son Lalitaditya Muktapida created the empire of Karkota dynasty. Its main place was Kashmir, Northern India and Central Asia covering most of the Pakistan area.
- Lalitaditya won in a battle against Yashovarman, king of Kanauj in 740 AD.
- Lalitaditya was able to defeat the Turks, Tibetans, Bhutias, Kambojas and others also.
- The Martand temples of Anantnag city of today’s Kashmir shows the memories of Lalitaditya. He died in 760 AD.
- Avanativarmana and Shankarvarman were the two successors of the Laitaditya. They were able to suppress the revolts that rose after the death of Lalitaditya.
- But both the successors were not effective to maintain the independence of Kashmir and to bring permanent peace to the kingdom.
- Many of the territories declared themselves to be independent and fall off the Karkota Empire.
- When Jayapida, the grandson of Lalitaditya, lost the throne of Kashmir, he came to North Bengal.
The strongest ruler of the dynasty was Lalitaditya. Some of the main conquests he made were up to Bengal that made Kashmir the most powerful kingdom after the time of The Guptas. The Martand temple in the Anantnag district of today’s Kashmir preserves the memory of King Lalitaditya. These details are described in the Rajtanagini of Kalhana. During his reign, he encouraged the developments in the fields of art and architecture. His capital Parihaspur had four temples at the time, tons of gold, silver, copper and brass were used to decorate the temples. There are many sculptors of Buddha’s were excavated, also the rule experienced the widespread of Hinduism and Buddhism. Karkota rule was at its peak during the reign of Lalitaditya, but unfortunately the dynasty was proceeded by weak rulers which were not capable to unite the scattering kingdom after the death of Lalitaditya. They lost the glory of the kingdom and the dynasty was replaced by Utpala Dynasty.