Introduction to Pallavas Chalukyas etc. The history of the region south of the Vindhyas between 300 and 750 A.D. constitutes a water-shed. After the collapse of the Satavahanas, Ikshvakus rose to power in the Krishna-Guntur region. They were supplanted by the pallavas. In northern Maharashtra and Vidharba the Satavahanas were succeeded by the Vakatakas. They in turn, were followed by the Chalukyas of Badami. After two centuries they were overthrown by their feudatories, the Rashtrakutas in 757 A.D.
During the period review, the region south of the Vindhyas witnessed the march of Brahmanism. In early stages, extensive Buddhist monuments came into existence. A little later Jainism came to prevail in Karnataka. And the peninsula, as a whole saw the emergence of a stone temple for Shiva and Vishnu in Tamilnadu under the Pallavas, and in Karnataka under the chalukyas of Badami. In a way, south India ceased to be the land of megaliths inearly 4th century A.D.
Along with religion, the language of the rulers and the literate class witnessed a transformation. From about 400 A.D. Sanskrit became the official language of the peninsula.
The history of the pallavas illustrate three characteristics the L.C.Ms. of Indian history till the 17th century: wars with neighbouring States, controversial neature of historical material, and royal patronage of literature and arts.
Very little reliable information on the origin of the Pallavas is available. They appear to have intruded into the south. Katyayana (fourth century B.C.) mentions the Pandyas and the Cholas, but not the Pallavas, Ashoka (third century B.C.) refers to the Cholas, the Pandyas and Keralas, but not the Pallavas.
The Pallavas were a branch of the Pahleves of Parthians is the opinion of some scholars, like father Heras; but there is no positive evidence for the Phalava migration into the south.
That Pallavas were an indigenous dynasty which rose to power after the dismemberment of the Andhra empire, is another thesis. Probably their leaders gathered around them selves the Kurumbas, the Moravars, the killers and other predatory tribes in order to form one great community. According to srinivas Aiyangar, the Pallavas belonged to the anciert Naga people who them selves were composed of a primitive Negri, an element of Australisian and the later mixed race. To start with they lived in the Tondaimandalam districts around Madras. Later, they conquered Tanjore and Trichinopoly districts. The Pallavas recruited their troops from the martial tribute of pallis of Kurumbas. The Pallavas were the hereditary enemies of Tamil Kings. Even now the term palava means a rogue in Tamil language; and a section of the Pallavas who settled in the Chola and pandya countries came to be known as kallar or thieves. All these people doubtless belong to a Naga race.
The third is that the Pallava dynasty emerged and owed its origin to a Chola prince and the Naga princess of Manipallavam an is land near Ceylon. According to this theory, the son born out of the wedlock was made the king of Tondaimandalam by his father, and the dynasty was so named after his mother’s home land. Dr. Krishnaswamy Aiyangar argues that the Pallavas are mentioned as Tondaiyar in the literature of the Sangam era and that they were descended from the Naga chieftains but owed allegiance to the Satavahana kings. But this theory, too, is doubtful because of their continual fight with the cholas and their striking northern character as compared to the Cholas.
Dr. K.P.Jayaswal argues that the pallavas were a branch of the Brahmin dynasty of the Vekatakas. Except for their early copperplate charters which are in Prakrit. All the other epigraphich records are in Sanskrit. Hiuen-Tsang says that their language and literature differed very slightly from that of northern India. The Talagunda inscription, however. States that the Pallavas were Kshatriyas.



The designation later Guptas is a peculiar one as there is no evidence to show that this family was in any way connected by blood with the imperial Guptas. It is also interesting to know that the family never called it self by the name Gupta and one name of its ruler is Aditya-Sena and not Gupta.
In all probability, just as the Maukharis, they too were feudatories of the imperial Guptas. To begin with, and later established an idependent kingdom which lasted till about the middle of 8th century A.D. the founder of this dynasty was Krishna-Gupta. He and his two successors, Harsha-Gupta and Jivita-Gupta I must have ruled Magadha around 550 A.D.
Most of the evidence relating to this dynastry if from a single inscription issued by the 8th king, Aditya-Sena who ruled in the second half of the 7th century. It is clearly suggested that no one assumed a royal title and each of them was simply called Sri. It was Aditya-sena who assumed fullimperial title.
From the limited evidence that is available is is held that Kumara-Gupta the 4th of this dynasty is said to have defeated Isana-varman of the Maukharis. In all probablty the two families were feidndly to begin with but later because of military ambitions they fought with each other. More details are known about the 4th King, Kumarda-Gupta. He defeated the Maukhari king Isana-varman. This great victory over the Maukhari chief made him to be ranked virtually an independent chief. Thus, we can say that he was Kurara-Gupta who had laid the foundation of the greatness of the family some where about 550 A.D.
Gradually, the later Guptas came to possess Malwa, Magadha and north Bengal. It is presumed that Kumara-Gupta advanced as far as Allahabad.
This struggle was continued in the reign of Damodar-Gupta, son of Kumara-Gupta.
Damodar-Gupta was succeeded by his son, Mahasena-Gupta probably in the last quarter of the 6th century. In all probability he defeated Susthita-varman, the father of king Bhaskara-varman of Kamrupa. He probably advanced as faras Brahmaputra river.
However, Mahasena-Gupta met with misfortune in the later part of his reign. Both Bhaskara-Varman and the Maukharis attacked Mahasena-Gupta. The situation was made critical by internal discord. Sasanka the Gauda ruler, not only founded an independent kindom, but also ruled over Magadha, the eastern territories of Mahasena-Gupta. Furthermore, in allikelihood Mahasena-Gupta was defeated by the Tibetan king enabling Maukhari Avanti-varman to occupy some territories of Mahasena-Gupta.
After Mahasena-Gupta, the power of later Guptas shifted to Malwa. Kumara-Gupta and his brother are described as the sons of the king of Malwa. It is also assumed by historians that it was prabhakaravardhana of Kanauj that stood by the side of the young princes of Malwa. It looks that Mahasena-Gupta appealed for help to Prabhakaravardhana. Although he could not save Malwa, he rescured both the sons of Mahasena-Gupta and made them stay with him. Probably both of them remained as attendants of rajyavardhana and Harshavardhan till the kingdoms of Magadha and Malwa were restored to them.



The Maukharis are a very ancient family. Possibly they were known to paint and also to Patanjali. We have definite evidence of their ruling as a power only from the 6th century A.D. probably Yagna-Varman founded this family. He was succeeded by Sardula-varman. He in turn was succeeded by Ananta-Varman. The existing records lavish praise on these rulers but they do not throw light on their history. A very interesting feature of this evidence is that mone of the records refer to any paramount sovereigns. Soholars, however, hold the view that the Maukharis were inallprobability feudatories of the imperial Guptas. The evidence as it is shows that Ananta-varman flourished at a time when the Gupta Empire had begun to decline.
Another branch of the Maukharis which ultimately became more powerful is known from several seals and inscriptions. The rule of Hari-Varman, Aditya-Varman probably had nothing great.
It was only during the reign of Isana-Varman that the family rose to power and prestige. The kingdom is located in the modern State of UP. It is only from Isana-varman on wards that they ceased to be feudatories. It was said about Isana-varman that he defeated andhras and forced the Gaudas to remain in their proper realm. It is a well-known fact that isana-varman issued coins in imitation of Toramana, Gupta coins but distinguished by a date.
It was not only Isana-varman who took advantage of the destruction of the Gupta empire, another family known as later Gupta rose into prominence and Challenged the Maukharis bid for imperial power. This led to a long war which continued for more than half a centuy and ultimately resulted in the disappearence of the Maukharis. It was Kumaragupta of the later Guptas who totally defeated Isana-verman. Once again Kumaraguptas son Domodargupta defeated the Maukharis. It is strange that Harsha’s inscriptions which recorded glorious military exploits of Isana-varman is altogether silent about this fight of the Guptas.
Althought Isana-varman in all probability had suffered defeat at the hands of the later Guptas, his army was instrumental for defeating the Huns. Isana-varman played a very important role in this victory. Possibly, as the deputy of the Gupta emperor, Isana-varman defeated the Huns but utilized this success to carve out an independent kingdom.
Isana-varman was succeeded by his son sarva-varman. We have definite historical proof that he possessed a part of Magadha.
Both sarva-varman and his son and successor Avanti-varman are styled as Maharajadhirajas. According to Banabhatta, Prabhakara-vardhana of Kanauj gave his daughter Rajyasri in marriage to the son of Avanti-varman. However nothing of importance is known about both Sarva-varman and Avanti-varman.
It was Avanti-varman’s eldest son, Graha-varman that figures prominently in Bana’s Harsha-Charita. Graha-varman was on the throne in early 7th century.
Al these four kings ruled for a little more than half a century. Based on the locations where the coins and inscriptions have been found, it is maintained that Uttar Pradesh or a major part of it constitutes the nucleus of the Maukhari Kingdom. It is generally thought that modern Kanauj on the Ganga was the capital city of the Maukharis…



Harsha who ruled between 600 and 647 A.D. was viewed till recently as the last great Hindu rulers, but this assessment is no longer tenable. His achievment were exaggerated both by Bana and Hiuen-Tsang.
The chief source for assessing Harsha’s achievement in the Harsha Charitra of Bana. His expression in the book is poetic, allusive, and full of punning references. At oneplace sunset stands for bloody wars, buzzing bees, for arrowsn and blooded moon, for the rising power of Gauda King. “Harsha Charitra is as much based on real events as Scott’s quantin Durward of Waverley.”
The points of dispute in Bana’s version and the following First, Bana claims that Harsha installed Bhaskar Varmen on the throne. Secondly many rulers owed their appointments to him. Thirdly, the ruler of Kashmir surrendered the tooth relic of the Buddha to Harsha. Fourthly, the rulef of Sind was stripped of his royal fortune. Fifthly, no mentions made about the defeat of Harsha by Pulakesin. Sixthly, that elephants and horses were not unharnessed for six years by Harsha. Seventhly, description of internal administration is full of panegyrics – no foged documents, no multilation of offenders, no quarrles about revocery of debts, and no occasion to resort to courts of justice. All these remarks of Bana should be taken with a pinch of Salt in view of the facdt that they differematerially with the available information.
In like manner the accounts of Hiuen-Tsand, too, era open to debate. First, his praise of Harsha is an eulogy. “He was indefatigable and the day was to sought for him. His qualification moved heaven and earth, and his sense of justice was admired by the gods and men. His renown spread out everywhere.” To describe all his conduct would be to tell again the deeds of Sudhama. He forgot sleep and food in his devotion to good work”. Secondly, his statement that Harsha had 60,000 elephants was an exaggeration. His other statements that after sixth years of struggle and fighting agains the “five Indies” Harsha enjoyed peace for 30 years with out resorting to arms, in sdefinitely false, Thridly, his remark that one-forth of the revenue from the crown lands was earmarked for rewarding scholars or literarymen is an exaggeration. Fourthly his praise of Harsha on account of his predilection for Buddhism is uncalled for because Harsh’s affinity to Buddhism is in no way contrary to the tradtion of ancient India. He states, At the ryoyal lodges every day viands wer provided for 1,000 Buddhist monks and also 500 brahmins. The King’s day was devided into three periods of which one was given to the affairs of government and the other two were devoted to religios work”. Dr. R.C. Majumdar states that his account of Prayag quinquennial conference is ins all likelihood about a perversion of truth. Of course, the information as given by him about the quanquennial assembly on the condition of Kanauj and no the declining nature of Buddhism in the different parts of India, are quite valuable.
Apart from this, the praise of these two contemporaries is not reliable because of the following reasons. The unity maintained by Harsha was superficial. In norther India the Maukhar is ruled independently over the astern protions of their hereditary dominions. Madhava -Gupta and Magadha was a powerful ruler. The Maitrekas of vallabhi and Bhaskar Varman were hardly vassals of the empire. The administrative system not that god as made out by the two contemporaries. Even the Gauda ruler, against whom Harsha took an oath of Vengeance, remained powerful till his death in 637 A.D. and this Gauda rulers was subdued by Bhaskar Varman of Kamarupa, not by Harsha. The Chiecene chroniclers record serious disturbances from 618to 627 A.D. Harsha was defeated by Pulakesinin 637 A.D. A record of the Gurjaras of Broach refues to the defeat of Harsha by prince of Vallabhi. After Harsha’s death one of his ministers usurped the throne, All these go wo show that the Picture was not as the rosy as presented by Bana and Hiuen-Tsand.
Indeed, Harsha was undoubtedly a great monarch. At one time the ruler of Kamarupa wasconstrained not to detain a Chinese pilgrim against the will of his mighty ally. The ruller of Kashmir, Sind, Sallabhi and Kamarupa feared and also respected him. Sasanka was forced a withdraw, leaving Kanauj alone. Even after the defeat in the south, Harsha was the only ruler entiled to use music-pace durms. Besides his sense of duty, literacy merits, patronage of scholars and unheard of philanthropy are really remarkable.
And the very fact that the capial of Harsha, Kanauj, became the eynosure of all the neighbours from 647 to 1200 A.D., speaks volumes. Thus, without dyenying to Harsha what undoubtedly is his, we have to be critical of the wo Boswells who exaggerate the greatness of their Johnson.
Events towards the end of Harsha’s reign are described in Chinses sources. An embassy was sent by the Tanj emperor of the dayin 643 and agina in 647. It was on the second occasion that the Chinese abassador found that Harsha had recently died and the throne was usurped by an undeserving the King. The Chinese ambassador rushed to Nepal and Assam and raised a force with which he defeated the usurper and he was taken to China as a prisoner. The kingdom of Harsha his death, disintegrated rapidly into small states.

Harsha vardhana:


Harsha Vardhana :
The northern and western regions of India passed into the hands of a dozen or more feudatories. Gradually, one of them, Prabhakar Vardhana, the ruler of Thanesar, who belonged to the Pushabhukti family, extended his control over all other feudatories. Prabhakar Vardhan was the first king of the Vardhan dynasty with his capital at Thanesar now a small town in the vicinity of Kurukshetra in the state of Haryana. After the death of Prabahakar Vardhan in 606 A.D., his eldest son, RajyaVardhan, became king of Kananuj. Harsha ascended the throne at the age of 16 after his brother Rajya Vardhana was killed in a battle against Malwa King Devigupta and Gauda King Sasanka..
 Harsha, quickly re-established an Indian empire. From 606-647 AD, he ruled over an empire in northern India. Harsha was perhaps one of the greatest conquerors of Indian history, and unlike all of his conquering predecessors, he was a brilliant administrator. He was also a great patron of culture. His capital city, Kanauj, extended for four or five miles along the Ganges River and was filled with magnificent buildings. Only one fourth of the taxes he collected went to administration of the government. The remainder went to charity, rewards, and especially to culture: art, literature, music, and religion.
The most significant achievements of this period, however, were in religion, education, mathematics, art, and Sanskrit literature and drama. The religion that later developed into modern Hinduism witnessed a crystallization of its components: major sectarian deities, image worship, bhakti (devotion), and the importance of the temple. Education included grammar, composition, logic, metaphysics, mathematics, medicine, and astronomy. These subjects became highly specialized and reached an advanced level.
Because of extensive trade, the culture of India became the dominant culture around the Bay of Bengal, profoundly and deeply influencing the cultures of Burma, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. In many ways, the period during and following the Gupta dynasty was the period of “Greater India,” a period of cultural activity in India and surrounding countries building off of the base of Indian culture.
The history of the Kingdom of Kanauj after the death of Harshavardhana can be said to have been uncertain till the year 730 AD, when Yashovarman is said to have ruled till 752 AD. This was followed by the Ayudha dynasty which comprised three kings. The first was Yajrayudha who is said to have ruled in about 770 AD. After Ayudhs, Prathihara King Nagabhatta II annexed Kannauj. North and north west part of India after Harsha Vardhana was mostly controlled by Pratihara Kings while Central India and part of South was mostly under Rashtrakutas dynasty (753-973 AD ). Pala Kings (750-1161 AD) ruled the Eastern part of India (present Bengal and Bihar).
The administration of Harsha is one inname only. Whatever information we have on it does not speak well of it. And the only relieving feature of this picture is the striking personality of Harsha.
Harsha’s interest indirect supervision of administration is one plus point. Hiuen-tsang writes that “If there was any irregularity in the manners of the people in the cities, he went amidst them.” Inscriptions reveal that Harsha had stayed in two places during his travels. Harsha traveled ingreat state and his camps looked very impressive because he was surrounded by a number of guests. Hieum-Tsand writes: “The king’s day was divided into three periods of which one was given to the affairs of government, and two were devoted to religious work. He was indefatigable, and the day was too short for him.” The way in which Harsha worked was recorded by Bana also.
The emperor appointed provincial governors known as Lokapalas who were posted at chosen centers in different quarters. The provinces were known as Bhuktia, districats as Vishayas, sub-divisions of districts as Patakas and Villages as gramas.
Next to the sovereign was the chief minister and the mantriparishad. According to Bhandi, a cousin of Rajayavardhana, Harsha’s accession to throne was approved by the parishad. This account is corroborated by the Chinese pilgrim. Avanti was the supreme minister of war and peace, according to Bana. For maintaining law and order, a great number of military and executive officers were employed. At times, some of the high officers were combined in one and the same persons. A few other names also are known: Simhanada was Harsha’s senapati. Harsha treated him with great respect as he was a scholarly man. Also, we hear of a handful of officials who themselves were chiefs indicating that in all probability Harsha’s sovereignty was of a confederate nature. According to Hiuen-Tsang, both ministers and officials received land grants instead of salaries. One-fourth of eth crown land was set apart for the endowment of great public servants and another one-fourth for the expenses of government and State worship.
The army of Harsha was organized into four traditional divisions. Probably 60,000 elephants and 100,000 horses. However, some of the regions were not free from brigands as is known from the experience of Hiuen-Tsand who was way laid.
Lawlessness was not the order of the day but there were plots against kings including one against Harsha. The offender was punished by imprisonment for life. for offance against social morality the punishment was either mutilation of limbs or deportation. Trial by or deal was common. Justice was harsh, but as the Chinese pilgrim maintains, the government was very generous and did not make any large demands either on the liberties or pockets of the people.
In general, the country was not entirely free from brigands who made traveling very risky. Hiuen-Tsand himself twice had narrow escapes from the clutches of bandits, Villagers haunted by the fear plunder often questioned the right of the King to rule according to Bana. However, as Hiuen-Tsand states that since the government was honestly administered, the people lived on good terms and the criminal class was very small.
Regarding administration of provinces and villages very meager information is available. The territory of the empire was called rajya or desa, which was divided into bhuktis, visayas and gramas. The governor of the provinces was, at times, a member of the royal family. The governor appointed his suordinate officials. Probably, the officials mentioned in the Gupta period continued to work in the time of Harsha. Besides the officials of states non-official element was also associated with the local administration. The Madhuban plate of Harsha (grant of an agrahara to some persons) states that the grant was made in the presence of all his chief officers and the resident people who were summoned as witnesses to this transaction. Such orders of the king were, at times, signed by Harsha himself. The Banskhera plate was signed by Harsha and described as one given under his own hand and seal. Often the king’s orders were delivered through messagers to local officers, who in turn, grew up necessary charters and handed over the grant to the grantees.
Finally, regarding fiscal administration we get some information from inscriptions. In all probability, land was surveyed measured and divided into holdings with well-defined boundaries. The holdings were of different sizes. At times these were served by common land which in certain cases, had irrigation wells. The names of owners of land were entered in the village records. It appears that record of village census was also kept. It is certain that land revenue was only a modest percentage of total yield. Taxation was light-revenue from crown lands amounted to only one -sixth of the crop, according to traditional standard. The other sources of revenue were trade, and duties at ferries and barrier stations.
The enlightened character of Harsha’s administration is shown by the creation of a department of records and archieves. Both good and bad were faithfully recorded in officials annals and state papers while instance of public calamities of good furtuns are set forth indetails. Taxation was light. The land tax was one-sixth of the crop. According to tradition, standard revenue was also derived from trade. Ligth, duties were levied on ferries and barriar stations.
In this manner, we have a very shetchy knowledge of Harsha’s administration. Ineed the administration was not well integaretd as Harsha domain itself was so shaky. However, the fat that the knig devoted himself to the welfare of the people by traveling in the country and the generosity with which he gave grants, shows that he was one of the illustrious rulers of Inda the manner of Ashoka and Shaivaji.


Chandragupta II was one of the most powerful emperors of the Gupta empire . He is more commonly referred as Vikramaditya or Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Many historians believe that Chandragupta II was nominated by his father Samudragupta as the next heir of Gupta Empire. But Ramagupta, the eldest son of Samudragupta succeeded his father and became the emperor. Chandragupta II killed him and ascended the throne in 380 AD and ruled the Gupta Empire till 413 AD.
Navaratnas in the court of Vikramaditya:
A circle of famous nine persons known as Nine Gems or Navaratnaswere present in the court of Vikramaditya. The nine gems of the group were
a. Kalidasa
b. Vetala Bhatta
c. Varahamihira
d. Vararuchi
e. Amarasimha
f. Dhanvantari
g. kshapanak
h. Shanku
i. Ghatakarpura

Kalidasa was a famous Sanskrit writer and poet in the court of Chandragupta II (Vikramaditya). He is commonly regarded as the greatest poet in the Sanskrit language. Kalidasa was the author of three famous plays. Those are:
a) Abhijnanasakuntalam : tells the story of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala
b) Malavikagnimitram tells the story love of King Agnimitra with Malavika
c) Vikramorvasiyam tells the love story of King Pururavas and celestial fairy Urvashi

Kalidasa was also the author of two famous Sanskrit epic poems: a)Raghuvamsa (“Raghu Dynasty “) andb) Kumarasambhava.

Vetala Bhatta:
Vetala Bhatta was a Brahmin in the court of Vikramaditya. He is known for his contribution of “Nitipradipa “.

Varahamihira was an Indian astronomer, astrologer and mathematician of Gupta era. He is famously known for his great workPancha Siddhantika, a book on mathematical astronomy. His other important contribution to the Indian Sanskrit literature is the Brihat-Samhita, an encyclopedia of astrology and other subjects of human interest.

Vararuci was one of the nine Gems in the court of Chandragupta II of Gupta era.

Amarasimha was one of the nine Gems in the court of Vikramaditya of Gupta era. He is notably known for his famous Sanskrit thesaurusAmarakosha. It is also known asNamalinganushasana.

Dhanvantari is regarded as one of the world’s first surgeons and medical practitioner from Gupta era. He is considered as the origin exponent of Ayurveda. He is also worshipped as the God of Medicine. Sushruta, the author of famous Sushruta Samhita was the student of Dhanvantari. He is also credited for the discovery of the antiseptic properties of turmeric and the preservative properties of salt. Dhanvantari is considered to be the pioneer of modern plastic
At the time of Vikramaditya’s reign, the glory of Gupta Empire reached its peak. The period of Gupta dynasty is very often referred to as the Golden Age of India.

Fa-hien’s visit to the court of Chandragupta II:
During the reign of Chandragupta II, the great Chinese pilgrim Fa-hien visited India in search of knowledge.

Issue of Gold and Silver Coins:
Chandragupta II continued the issue of gold coins introduced by his father Samudragupta. He was the first Gupta Emperor to issue silver coins. Chandragupta also issued lead and copper coins.

Chandragupta II was succeeded by his son Kumaragupta I.

Samudragupta (335-380 AD):

Samudragupta the Great :
Samudragupta, succeeded his father Chandragupta I and ruled the Gupta dynasty for about 45 years from 335 AD to 380 AD. He was a very powerful king. Chandragupta-Inominated Samudragupta as the next heir of Gupta Empire among all his sons. Some historians believe that there was a resistance by other princes at his succession but Samudragupta prevailed the challenge.

Expansion of his Territory
Samudragupta is also known as napolean of India as he fought many battles. He defeated the rulers of western Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and brought them under his control. He conquered the states ruled by Shakas and Kushanas. He conquered Bengal, Assam and some kingdoms in Nepal. He defeated the Pallava king Vishnugopa. Samudragupta allowed some states to retain their autonomy under his protection. He provided the freedom to the kings of southern India after they had surrendered to him. He adopted the title of Maharajadhiraja.

Issue of Gold Coins
Samudragupta issued eight types of pure gold coins. They are known as the Standard Type, the Archer Type, the Battle Axe Type, the Aashvamedha Type, the Tiger Slayer Type, the King and Queen Type and the Lyrist Type.

As a Person
He was a person of caring heart. He showed great dignity towards all those kings he defeated. He was a music lover and was probably a Lyrist.