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Far East Kingdoms

South Asia

 

 

 

Kannauj
6th Century AD - 1036

Kannauj was one of the early kingdoms which existed in northern India. Even though the early Rajputs ruled in Kannauj, it is today a part of the state of Uttar Pradesh and not Rajasthan, which is the land that is predominated by Rajputs. The Rajputs were Hindu warrior clans, and the word 'rajput' itself literally means 'the son of the king', with the people being known for their valour. The Pratihara clan of Rajputs, also known as the Gurjara Pratiharas, established a kingdom in the sixth century in territory that was later conquered by Delhi, with a capital at Mandore, nine kilometres (six miles) from present-day Jodhpur (which was also ruled by the Gurjara Pratiharas). The kingdom lasted until the eleventh century.

Kannauj was one of a number of dominant Rajput kingdoms which developed around the sixth and seventh centuries, others including Malwa and Mewar, and all were eventually conquered by the Moghuls.

(Information by Abhijit Rajadhyaksha.)

6th century

Harishchandra

Founder of Gurjara Pratihara dynasty. Established kingdom.

mid-600s

During his reign, Harshavardhana of Thaneshwar shifts his capital to Kannauj, showing that it is his empire which dominates this region during his lifetime. His death in 647 changes everything. He is without an heir and his former minister seizes the throne, causing the empire to break up into a patchwork of fighting states and petty kingdoms that does not reform into one kingdom. An independent kingdom at Kannauj is resurgent under Dada I, a descendant of Harishchandra. Dada takes advantage of the power vacuum by extending the kingdom's borders to Bharuch in Gujarat, although perhaps not permanently, as this is conquered again in the mid-eighth century.

c.650 - ?

Dada I / Dadda I

Established himself at Nandipur (Nandol in Gujarat).

Dada II / Dadda II

Dada II takes Broach from the Maitrakas of Gujarat.

? - 730

Dada III / Dadda III

Became a Shaivite.

730 - 756

Nagabhatta I / Nag Bhatta I

Nagabhatta conquers territory as far as Malwa, Gwalior, and Bharuch (Gujarat). He establishes a capital at Avanti, in Malwa and checks Arab attacks which are spreading outwards from Sindh. Unfortunately he is followed by two weak successors.

Somnath Temple, Gujarat
Somnath Temple in Patan in Gujarat, which was rebuilt by Nagabhatta II of Kannauj and rebuilt again in the late twentieth century

Kakushtha

Nephew.

Devraj

Brother. Deposed by Vatsaraja.

Indraraja or Indrayudha

At Kannauj. Deposed.

During his reign, the Pala king, Dharmapala, defeats Indraraja. The king is deposed and Dharmapala places Chakrayudha on the throne of Kannauj in his stead.

Chakrayudha

At Kannauj. Vassal of the Palas. Deposed.

775 - 805

Vatsaraja / Vatsraj

Grand-nephew of Nagabhatta.

Vatsaraja takes the throne from Devraj. Then he goes on to defeat the Pala king, Dharmapala, even temporarily gaining the Pala capital, Gauda, and also taking Kannauj from Chakrayudha. In his turn, Vatsaraja is defeated by King Dhruva of the Rashtrakutas. These events leave the Pratiharas weakened and this indirectly helps the Palas. King Dharmapala soon ends their dynasty and establishes Pala hegemony over northern India.

The Chandellas and the Kalachuris are the new powers that arise out of the ruins of the Pratihara empire in northern India.

805 - 833

Nagabhatta II / Nag Bhatta II

Son.

Nagabhatta II is initially defeated by the Rashtrakuta king, Govinda III, but he also recovers Malwa from the Rashtrakutas. He goes on to reconquer Kannauj and Bihar from the Palas, and delivers a further check against the Arab attacks in the west. He rebuilds the great Shiva Temple at Somnath in Gujarat, after it has been demolished during an Arab raid from Sind.

833 - 836

Rambhadra

836 - 885

Mihira Bhoja I

Son.

Bhoja retakes Kannauj / Kalanjara for the Pratiharas, although in his early days he suffers defeats at the hands of Devapala of the Palas, then the Rashtrakutas, and then the Chedis of Tripuri. But Bhoja gains his revenge when, with the help of the Chedis of Gorakhpur and the Guhilot king, he defeats Devapala's successor.

He then defeats Krishna II of the Rashtrakutas on the banks of the River Narmada and occupies Malwa. This is followed by an advance towards Gujarat and the occupation of the territory around Khetaka (in Kaira district), but Krishna II manages to wrest this back.

Bhoja maintains his supremacy over the Kathiawar peninsula and Malwa, and soon establishes governance over Punjab, Oudh, and further afield. In fact all of northern India is captured by him baring Kashmir, Sindh, Bihar, the Pala kingdom in Bengal, and the Kalachuri kingdom in Jabalpur. He establishes his capital at Kannauj (now in the state of Uttar Pradesh).

885 - 910

Mahendrapala

Son.

Mahendrapala rules a kingdom which stretches from the Himalayas (on the River Ganges) to the Vindhyas (on the River Reva).

910 - 913

Bhoja II

Son. Deposed.

During his short reign, Bhoja II's vassals, the Parmaras of Malwa, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, and the Chandelas of Bundelkhand declare themselves to be independent, and Bhoja is subsequently overthrown by his relative.

913 - 944

Samrat Mahipal I

Step-brother.

Mahipal rules a large kingdom but he is temporarily defeated by the Rashtrakuta king, Indra III, before the latter returns south, allowing Mahipal to recover his position.

944 - 948

Mahendrapala II

Son.

948 - 954

Devpal / Devapala

Brother. Lost Chandelas capture

954 - 955

Vinaykpal I / Vinayapala II

Brother.

955 - 956

Mahipal II

956 - 960

Vijaypal II / Vinayapala II

960 - 1018

Rajapala

1017/1018

With Rajputana divided amongst small warring states, there is no central authority to prevent Islamic incursions from the west. Mahmud of the Afghan Ghaznavids (based in modern Kandahar) sacks Kannauj, and Rajapala flees, only to be killed by the Chandela king, Gauda. Gauda takes control of the kingdom, placing Trilochanpala on the throne.

1018 - 1027

Trilochanpala

Son. Placed on the throne by the Chandelas.

1027 - 1036

Jasapala / Yashpal

The last Pratihara king.

1036 - 1090

The once-dominant Rajput kingdom fractures into several smaller splinter states, all ruled by Rajput kings. It takes fifty-four years before a ruling dynasty re-emerges which descends from the Pratihara kings, this being the Gahadavalas.

Gahadavala
AD 1090 - c.1200

Chandradeva was a Gahadwala, and an ancestor of the later Rathore clan of Rajput warriors. After the fall of Kannauj, he established the Gahadavala dynasty to rule the fragmented territory in north-western India. It was during rule of his grandson, Govind Chandra Rathor, that this dynasty reached the pinnacle of its power. Govind Chandra occupied most of the Gangetic Valley, consisting of modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states. He had his capital at Banaras and it was a prosperous kingdom.

1090 - 1114

Chandradeva

Founder of the new kingdom.

1114 - 1154

Govindchandra / Govind Chandra

Son.

1154 - 1170

?

1170 - 1194

Jaichand / Jai Chandra

Son of Govindchandra. Probably committed suicide.

Jai Chandra quarrels with Prithviraj Chauhan, ruler of Amer, which he has established as a major power on the Gahadavala western border.

Govindchandra coins
Two sides of a coin issued during the reign of Govindchandra

1194 - ?

Harishchandra

Ruled in much reduced circumstances. Probably never crowned.

1194

The kingdom is sacked and destroyed by Muhammed II of the Ghurids, along with the Chauhan kingdom of Amer, as part of an aggressive expansion of his empire which results in the formation of the sultanate of Delhi in 1206. The kingdom's territory is subsumed within the sultanate. Sections of the Gahadwalas migrate and subsequently resurface when Jai Chandra's grandson founds the kingdom of Marwar.