Post Gupta Dynasties in Indian Peninsula

During the end of 5th century A.D. the Gupta Empire began to disintegrate. Along with this breakdown Imperial Guptas, Magadha and its capital Patliputra also lost their importance. Therefore, Post Gupta Period was very turbulent in nature. Five major powers immersed in north India after the fall of the Guptas. These powers were: The Hunas, The Maukharis, The Maitrakas, The Pushyabhutis, The Gaudas.

Jagran Josh
Jul 23, 2015, 10:09 IST

The Post Gupta Era (up to 750 A D):

During the end of 5th century A.D. the Gupta Empire began to disintegrate. Along with this breakdown Imperial Guptas, Magadha and its capital Patliputra also lost their importance. Therefore, Post Gupta Period was very turbulent in nature. Five major powers immersed in north India after the fall of the Guptas. These powers were as following:- 

The Hunas: The Hunas were a rare race of Central Asia who came to India. During the reign of Kumargupta, Hunas invaded India for the first time. They could not succeed in India under the dynasty of Kumargupta and Skandagupta, though they could penetrate into India. Huns occupied India for a very short period of thirty years. Hunas’ supremacy was established in North India.

Toramana was there a best ruler and Mihirakula the most powerful and cultured one.

The Maukharis: The region of Western Uttar Pradesh around Kanauj was held by the Maukharis. They also conquered some part of Magadha. Gradually they overthrew the later Guptas and made them move to Malwa.

The Maitrakas: Most probably the Maitrakas were Iranian in origin and ruled in Saurashtra region of Gujarat with Valabhi as capital. Valabhi became centre of learning, culture and trade and commerce under the guidance of Bhatarka. It survived the longest Arab attacks.

The Pushyabhutis: Thaneswar (north of Delhi) was the capital of Pushyabhutis. Prabhakarvardhan was the most important ruler of the dynasty who assumed the title of Parambhattaraka Maharajadhiraja. They had a marriage alliance with the Maukharis. The marriage alliance strengthened the two empires. Harshavardhana belonged to this clan.

The Gaudas: They ruled over a territory in Bengal and were quite lesser-known of the four kingdoms. It’s most powerful and ambitious ruler was Sasanka. He invaded Makhauris, killed Grahavarman and detained Rajyasri.

Harshavardhan’s dynasty

Harshavardhan (606-647 A.D.): Harshavardhana, who ruled nearly 1400 years ago.

Several historical sources which deal with Harshavardhan’s reign:-

Hieun Tsang: composed Si-Yu-Ki.

Bana Bhatt: Harshacharita (an account of Harsha’s rise to power/ biography of Harshavardhan in Sanskrit), Kadambri and Parvatiparinaya.

Harsha’s own drama: Ratnavali, Nagananda and Priyadarsika about political conditions. Harsha also patronised Haridatta and Jayasena.

Harsha's Rise to Power: After the death of his elder brother Rajyavarman Harsha immersed to the throne in 606 A.D. and led an army against the ruler of Bengal to avenge his brother’s death and also to release his sister. He was failed in his first mission against Gaudas, but soon extended his empire.

Harsha was generally regarded as the last great Hindu emperor of India. But he was not staunch Hindu ruler.  He has limited his power up to north of India except Kashmir, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Orrisa were under his direct control. 

Administration of Harshavardhan:-

Official                                         Area of administration

Mahasandhi Vigzahak               Officer to decide about war and peace

Mahabaladhikrit                       Highest official of the Army

Baladhikrit                              Commander

Ayuktak                                 Ordinary officer

Vrihadeshwawar                       Head of Cavalry

Doot Rajastharuya                    Foreign Minister

Katuk                                     Head of elephant brigade

Uparik Maharaj                         Provincial head

The Vakataka Empire

The Vakataka Empire was based in the Deccan in the mid-third century AD. The state 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 some parts of Chhattisgarh in the east. Vakatakas were successors of the Satavahanas in the Deccan and contemporary of the Guptas in northern India.

The founder of the dynasty was Vindhyaaakti (250AD-270AD), whose name is derived from the name of the goddess Vindhya after whom the mountains were named.

The Chalukyas

Chalukyas ruled from Raichur Doab which was situated between the rivers of Krishna and Tungabhadra. Aihole (city of temples) was the first capital of Chalukyas and it was centre of trade which was later developed into religious centre having number of temples around. The capital of Chlukyas was later moved to Badami during Pulakesin I. Badami is also known as Vatapi.

The Pallavas

Capital of this kingdom was Kanchipuram and which was spread around Kaveri delta. The Pallavas established a powerful kingdom in South India after the fall of Satvahans and ruled from sixth century to late eighth century. They moved into Andhra and then to Kanchi where they established the mighty Pallava Empire.

Origin of Pallavas

There are controversies with regard to the origin of the Pallavas. Important among them are as follows

• Possibly they were the descendents of the Greek Parthians who came to India after Alexander's invasion.  
• Might be they belonged to a local tribal clan who established their authority in Tondainnadu or the land of creepers.
• They originated from Chola –Naga’s marriage
• They were orthodox Brahmans of the North and their capital was Kanchi.

Important Rulers of Pallava Dynasty

Simhavishnu: was the first important ruler of this dynasty. Simhavishnu captured the territory of the Cholas and later humiliated other southern regions including Ceylone.

Mahendravarman I: Pulakeshin II defeated him. Saint Appar and scholar Bharavi was patronised by him. Mahendravarman I composed ‘Mattavilasaprahasan’ a satirical play.

Narasimhavarman I: He was famous for his victory over Pulakeshin II and also killing and capturing Pulakeshin II’s Empire. he assumed the title of Vatapikonda (the conquerer of Vatapi). Later Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas were defated by Narasimhavarman I. Hiuen Tsang visited Kanchipuram during his rule. Narasimhavarman I established the city of Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) and famous monolithic (tomb made up of single stone) rock-cut temples.  Two naval expeditions were sent to Ceylon.

Mahendravarman II: He was killed by Vikramaditya I.

Other Pallava kings included Paramesvaravarman I, Narasimhavarman II, Paramesvaravarman II and Nandivarman II.

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