The Gahadavals of Kannauj
The Gahadavals of Kannauj ruled North India in the mid of 11th century till the mid of 13th century AD. The origin of this family is Banaras (Varanasi) and Oudh (Ayodhaya) in Utter Pradesh. Later they settled in Kannauj which became the Political centre of India. The Gahadaval kingdom expanded till Delhi and moved eastward to Patna and Munjar areas of Bihar.
Rulers of Gahadavals dynasty
- Yashovigraha: He was the founder of Gahadavals dynasty. A strong & a far-sighted ruler with well-planned policies. He was titled as ‘Maharaja Dhiraj’ and ‘Parambhattark’. He also established alliances with Muslims and paid tributes so as to secure the empire. His rule was mainly concentrated in establishing and securing the empire for future generations.
- Mahichandra: He was son of Yasho Vigraha, who proved to be a weak ruler. Mahichandra could not rule independently as he didn’t possessed qualities of a strong king as his father. He was also famous by the name ‘Mahipala’ or ‘Mahitala’.
- Chandradeva: He was the first independent king and was titled as ‘Parmeshwar’. By the period of Chandradeva, the Gahadavals had added Ayodhaya, Varanasi and Kannauj to their empire. Chandradeva won a fierce battle against Samanta Gopala and Panchala which increased his popularity. He protected the holy places of Kusika (Kannauj), Kashi and Dttara Kosala (Ayodhaya) from the invasions of Muslims. During his time the kingdom succeeded in spreading its wings and expanded till Khusi, North Kisala and Indraprastha.
- Madanpala: Madanpala governed with the help of a committee of 5 people. He was successful to suppress the Muslim invasion that took place during his rule. He also won the battle against Rampala of Pala Dynasty. Usually being unhealthy he retired in 1109 AD and later on died in 1114 AD.
- Govinchandra: He took over his father Madanpala in his lifetime only as an administrator but proved to be the most powerful ruler of this Dynasty. He faced invasion against Muslims but with his capabilities and intelligence he was able to win over all hardships. He was known as the ‘policy maker’ and a ‘brave’ ruler who saved Varanasi from the attack of Masud during his reign. He was known as ‘Hari Bhakt’ and worshiped in the temples of Varanasi. In the description of Sarnath, he is also inscribed as ‘Hari Bhagwan’. Rich religious developments took place in his time. Even the Muslims were allowed to follow their religion. He himself married a Buddhist girl ‘Kumardevi’. He expanded his state to the outh of the Yamuna River.
- Vijaychandra: He joined as an administrator but during his time Muslims had become stronger. As a result dynasty had started to decline.
- Jaichandra: He was a famous ruler but couldn’t get united with the other Hindu Rajput’s and lost parts of his kingdom in the hands of Muhammad Ghazni.
- Harish Chandra: He was the last ruler of Ganvala Dynasty and son of Jaichandra.Much information is not available about his powers whether he was an independent ruler or not. But after his short tenure the Ganvala Dynasty came to end and Muslims took over the charge.
Being a political centre Kannauj experienced many rules, thus, it is today known for the distilling of scents and is a market centre for tobacco, perfume, and rose water. One of dynasty who ruled over Kannauj was the Gahadaval dynasty. Its history ranges between the second half of the 11th century and the mid-13th. During the time of Govinchandra, this dynasty reached the summit of its power. The weakness of the internal structure of the Gahadaval kingdom was exposed late in the 12th century during the invasions of Muhammad of Ghur. Thus it declined in mid of 13th century at Nagod in central India, to which Adakkamalla, the last known Gahadaval, had escaped.