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History of India

Medieval Indian History (Part - 1)

Early Medieval India

Dynasties emerged from the mobilization of warriors inside and around farming communities; but they also came from pastoral, hunting, and mountain societies. It is accepted that there is a period of overlap during which one phase blends into the other. This interim period is now called “early medieval India”, with the medieval period, properly speaking, regarded as beginning with the establishment of Turkish rule in Delhi in A.D. 1206. Multiple sovereignties formed ranked layers as a king (raja) became a great king (maharaja) or “king of kings” (maharajadhiraja) by adding the names of more subordinate rulers (samantas) to the list of those who bowed to him.


  • The interregnum between the death of Harsha in the mid-seventh century A.D. and the rise of the Delhi Sultanate nearly six hundred years later is often viewed as a tedious epoch in Indian history, with few redeeming features.

  • The opening of the eighth century witnessed the ascendancy of Yashovarman in Kanauj. A reputed warrior, he is even said to have allied with China against the growing power of the Arabs.

  • He is also remembered as the patron of the great Sanskrit litterateur, Bhababhutti, as well as Vakpati, composer of the Prakrit poem, Gaudavaho (“Slaying of the king of Gauda”).

  • In the eighth century, Lalitaditya of Kashmir made the Karkota dynasty the most powerful in India since that of the Guptas. He routed the Arabs of Sind and established his mastery over Kanauj, and was also the builder of the magnificent Martand Temple.

  • The great monarchs of the line included Indra, Dantidurga, and Krishna who built the famous rock-cut Kailash temple at Ellora. The dynasty entered a new phase with the accession of Dhruv, who launched its northern expansionist drive.

  • Several tribal groups made the transition from pastoral economies to settled agriculture, as a consequence of which agrarian society was considerably expanded.

  • Local and tribal forces also began to contribute to state formation. In Orissa, for instance, the Shailodbhavas, who came down from the Mahendragiri mountains and settled near the Rishikulya river, established a kingdom in the central regions.

  • The great Sankaracharya renewed Vedanta philosophy and incorporated several doctrinal and organisational features of Buddhism and Jainism into Hinduism.

  • He organised the sanayasis into ten Orders and established four spiritual centres at Badrinath. Puri. Dwarka and Sringeri.

  • The great Bhakti saints included Appar, Sambandar and Manikkavasagare whose writings were collected in the Tirumurai, known as the Tamil Veda.

  • The twelfth book, Periva Puranani. was composed by the poet Shekkilar at the behest of the Chola King, Kulottunga I.

  • Among the creative geniuses of the time was the poet Kamban, Composer of the Tamil Ramayana.

  • Kannada received a boost from the compositions of Pampa, Ponna and Ranna on the lives of the Jain Tirthankaras. as well as the Mahabharata.

  • A new era in Telugu literature was inaugurated with Nanniah’s translation of the Adi and Sabha Parvas of the Mahabharata. This was continued by Tikkana, from the Virata Parva to the end.

  • Arab authors of the ninth and tenth centuries also portrayed India as a land of great wealth. They described the Rashtrakuta ruler of the western Deccan as the third or fourth greatest sovereign of the world.

  • Literary works like the Prithviraja-Vijaya-Kavya and the Hammira-Mahakavya provide stirring narratives of important events of the early medieval period. There are also historical accounts like the Rajmala, the official chronicle of the ruling family of Tipperah, and the Rajatarangini of Kalhana.

  • The documentation of history continued under the Mughals. The leading historians of the age include Abul FazI (AkbarNama). Nizamuddin Ahmad (Tubagat-i-Akbari). Badauni (Muntakhab al-tawarikh), Abdul Hamid Lahori ( Badshahnama) and Khafi Khan (Muntakhab-ul-Lubab).

  • Sufi literature constitutes another valuable source of information. Several biographies (tazkirahs) of Sufi saints and compilation of their sayings (malfuzat) are available. among the most important in the latter category being the Fawadul Fawaid.

  • Both Abul Fazl (court chronicler of Emperor Akbar) and AliMuhammad Khan, diwan of Gujarat and author of the Mirat-i-Ahmadi (1748), enjoyed unprecedented access to state papers, on which they based their works.

  • Sayyid Ahmed and Khuda Baksh extended their canvas beyond political matters and emphasised Islamic achievements in the fields of art, literature, science and religion.

  • Mohammad Habib published a small but influential book. Mahmud of Ghaznin (1927), which stressed the economic motives underlying the Sultan’s invasions of India.

  • K.M. Ashraf in Life and Conditions of the People of Hindustan averred that there had been no cultural strife in India in the medieval period, while I.H. Qureshi in The Administration of the Sultanate of Delhi (1942), claimed that the Sultanate administration had been more efficient than that of contemporary native states.

  • Sir Jadunath Sarkar has been described as the father of modern historical research on account of his fidelity to the original documents, study of the language of the sources, meticulous checking of details and testing of evidence. His contributions include the five-volume History of Aurangzeb and the four volume The Fall of the Mughal Empire.

  • In 1952 Mohammad Habib wrote a long introduction to the revised edition of Elliot and Dowson’s History of India Vol. II, wherein he applied Marxist methodology to the study of medieval Indian History.

Rajput Dynasties of Rajasthan and Central India

By contrast, in Rajasthan, a single dominant warrior group evolved, called Rajput (derived from Rajaputra), who rarely engaged in farming which was left exclusively for their peasant subjects. In the ninth century, separate clans of Rajput Chahamanas (Chauhans), Paramaras (Pawars), Guhilas (Sisodias), and Chaulukyas (Solankis) were branching off from sprawling Gurjara Pratihara clans. Rajput supremacy also stimulated the rise of warrior Jat peasant clans in Northen India in Rajasthan, the western Ganga basin, and Punjab where they built fortified villages and hilltop forts.

Regional Kingdoms

  • The Turks were altogether unsuccessful in taking Orissa. while Assam could never be subdued by the invaders. Rajputana was an unfaltering arena of resistance throughout the Sultanate period.

  • South India remained free from South till almost the beginning of the fourteenth century. When north India was being devastated by the’ raids of Mahmud Ghazni, Rajaraja Chola was establishing a mighty empire that at his death embraced the whole of the south upto the Tungabhadra the Maldives, a part of Sri Lanka, with Andhradesa as a feudatory ally.

  • The last king of that dynasty to preside over Kanauj was Rajyapala. He was killed by the Chandella king Vidyadhara for failing to resist Mahmud Ghazni’s invasion of the city and thus deviating from the path of his ancestors.


  • In the latter half of the eleventh century, the Gahadavalas came to power in Kanauj.

  • Some scholars are of the view that the Gahadavalas were a branch of the Rashtrakutas or Rathors. The founder of the dynasty, Chandradeva, is described in his inscriptions as the protector of the holy sites of Kusika (Kanauj), Kashi. Uttara Koshala (Ayodhya) and Indrasthana (Delhi). Kahsi was the second capital of the Gahadavalas.

  • Govindachandra was the next important ruler of this line. He expanded the kingdom at the expense of the declining Palas of Bengal.

  • One of the most important books on law, the Kritya-Kalpataru was written in Govindachandra’s reign. He appears to have been on intimate terms with the Cholas, as an incomplete inscription engraved in stone has been discovered in the Chola capital recording the genealogy of the Gahadavala Kings.

  • The last king of this house, Jaichandra, lost his life combating Muhammad Ghori.

  • But the Turks do not appear to have kept the conquered territory for long, as Jaichandra’s son. Harishchandra, is known to have been in possession of the Kanauj. Jaunpur and Mirzapur districts in 1197. The accounts of Muslim historians support the view that Kanauj was not won till the reign of Iltutmish (1210-1236), who also had to re conquer Varanasi.


  • The Chandellas were included among the thirty-six Rajput clans and claimed descent from the sage Chandratreya.

  • Starting out as feudatories of the Gurjara Pratiharas, they became an - independent power under Yasovarman.

  • His son, Dhanga, further extended the kingdom at the cost of the Pratiharas and also attacked Pala territories in the east. Dhanga aided the Shahi ruler, Jaipal, against Subuktrgin. He lived for more than a hundred years and ended his life in Allahabad while meditating upon Shiva.

  • His son, Ganda, helped Jaipal’s son. Anandpal, against Mahmud Ghazni.

  • Ganda’s son, Vidyadhara, was the greatest of the Chandella Kings. He killed the last Pratihara ruler of Kanauj for surrendering to Mahmud Ghazni without fight. Muslim chronicles describe Vidyadhara as the most powerful ruler of India.

  • In the reign of Paramardi (1165-1203), the Chandella kingdom suffered a defeat at the hands of the Chauhan ruler, Prithviraj III, who raided the capital city of Mahoba.

  • More serious was the attack of Qutbuddin Aibak on Kalinjar. After some resistance, Paramardi agreed to pay tribute. His minister. Ajayadeva, diapproved of the agreement, killed Paramardi, and renewed the fight against Aibak. But he himself was forced to surrender after a valiant’ struggle, due to shortage of water in the fort.

  • The Turks, however, do not appear to have succeeded in keeping Kalinjar for long. Sometime before 1205, Paramardi’s son inflicted a severe defeat on the Muslim forces and recovered Kalinjar.

  • The Chandellas were great builders. They are best remembered for the magnificent temples they raised at their capital, Kharjuravahaka (Khajuraho), in Madhya Pradesh.


  • According to available evidence, the Paramaras were originally vassals of the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas and emerged as an independent power in the second half of the tenth century. Starting from Ujjain, they later shifted their capital to Dhar.

  • The first notable Paramara ruler was Vakpati Munja, who ruled towards the end of the tenth century and is hailed as one of the greatest generals of his age

  • He was a generous patron of art and literature, and a number of poets like Dhananjaya, Halayudha, Dhanika and Padmagupta graced his court. He also excavated a number of tanks and built several splendid temples.

  • Bhoja, who ascended the throne around the beginning of the eleventh century, was the most eminent ruler of the dynasty. He was a rare combination of a military and literary genius. Paramara power reached its zenith during his long reign of more than fifty years.

  • In 1008, he sent an army to assist Anandpal against Mahmud Ghazni. Subsequently, around 1019, he provided shelter to Anandpal’s son, Trilochanpal, when the latter was under pressure from Mahmud.

  • Bhoja was a reputed scholar who authored almost two dozen works on subjects as varied as medicine. astronomy, religion and architecture.

  • He established a Sanskrit college within the precincts of the Saraswati temple and invited men of letters like Dhanapala and Uvrata to his court.

  • He founded the city of Bhojapur near Bhopal and built a number of temples in honour of Shiva.


  • The Chauhans were an old and distinguished ruling house who made their political debut as vassals of the Gurjara Pratiharas and ruled over parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan in the seventh and eighth centuries.
  • There were several branches of the Chauhan family, the most well-known being the Chauhans of Sakambhari, after their capital (modern Sambhar) in the Ajmer district of Rajasthan.
  • Prominent kings of this dynasty include Ajayaraja, who recaptured Nagor from the Yaminis and prevented a further Ghaznavid advance.
  • In the early twelfth century, he founded the city of Ajayameru (Ajmer), better situated for defence purposes than Sambhar, the old capital.
  • Some of his coins carry the name of his queen, Somaladevi.
  • His son, Arnoraja, also scored a decisive victory over the Yaminis, who had advanced upto Ajmer.
  • He was married to the daughter of the Chalukya ruler, Jayasimha Siddharaja of Gujarat, and the great Prithviraj III was his grandson.
  • It was Arnoraja’s son, Vigraharaja IV Visaladeva, whose known dates range from 1153-1163, who transformed the Chauhan kingdom into an empire.
  • Besides being an able warrior, Vigraharaja IV Visaladeva was a man of letters and a patron of literature. Fragments of his drama, the Harakeli, have been found engraved on a stone in Ajmer.
  • The historical drama, Lalita-Vigraharaja, written by his court poet. Somadeva, has been similarly discovered.
  • Vigraharaja IV Visaladeva was a great builder and founded many townships. The mosque, Adhai din Ka jhompra at Ajmer, was originally a college constructed by him.
  • Prithviraj III was the last ruler of this house. He has been immortalised by the poet Chandbardai in the epic Prirhviraja Raso, though another biographical work. Prithviraja-vijaya, is regarded as a more authentic account of his reign.
  • Branches of the Chauhans also ruled at Ranthambhor, Nadol and Jalor. Ajmer and Jalor were captured by Alauddin Khilji in the early fourteenth century.


  • The Kalachuris (also known as Katasuris, Haihayas and Chedis) whose legendary earl) history is mentioned in the Epics and the Puranas were an ancient ruling house.
  • In historical times, there are references to Kalachuri kings from the mid­sixth century A.D. Their earliest seat of power was Mahismati on the Narmada.
  • An early Kalachuri king, Kokalla, is credited with having defeated the Turushkas who seem to have been Turkish troops of the ruler of Sind. He was married to a Chandella princess.
  • The famous poet Rajasekhara lived in the Kalachuri court.
  • The Kalachuris again acquired power and prestige under Gangeyadeva, who ascended the throne in 1015 in the region around Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. Besides incursions against Orissa. Anga and Banaras, there are also references to his attack on Kira (Kangra valley) which was then part of the Ghaznavid province of Punjab.
  • He was succeeded by his son, Karna, the greatest ruler of this dynasty and one of the most renowned generals of his age.
  • His inscriptions attest to the fact that Banaras and Allahabad constituted parts of his kingdom and-that he was also in occupation of West Bengal for a while. In addition, he led successful expeditions against Kalinga and Conjeevaram.
  • A branch of the Kalachuris established a kingdom in Bilaspur district of Madhya Pradesh in the early eleventh century.


  • The Chalukyas or Solankis ruled over Gujarat for almost three and a half centuries (950-1300).
  • During the reign of Bhima I (1022-1064), Mahmud Ghazni invaded Gujarat and ravaged the temple of Somnath.
  • Bhima was succeeded by his son, Karna, whose principal achievement was the annexation of Lata (South Gujarat).
  • Jayasimha Siddharaja, who ascended the throne in 1092-93, consolidated and considerably expanded the kingdom of Gujarat. He subdued the Chauhans of Sakambhari but gave his daughter to its defeated ruler.


  • Thereafter, Siddharaja turned against the Paramaras of Malwa. By 1137, he had conquered enough of that kingdom to assume the title of Avantinath (Lord of Malwa).
  • Jayasimha Siddharaja was a devotee of Shiva and built the Rudra­Mahakala temple at Siddhapura.
  • He was a patron of the famous Jain scholar. Hemachandra. He also set up institutions for the study of Jyotisha Nyava, and the Puranas.
  • Siddharaja had no son, and was succeeded by Kumarapala, renowned as the last great royal proponent of Jainism. The invasion of Muhammad Ghori took place in the reign of his minor grandson. The regent queen herself led the defending army and inflicted a defeat on the Turkish forces near Mount Abu.


  • The Vaghela chiefs established an independent principality between the Sabarmati and Narmada in the mid-thirteenth century.
  • Karna II, who faced Alauddin Khilji’s armies, was the last Hindu king of Gujarat.
  • In Kashmir, the Karkota dynasty, which boasted of rulers like Lalitaditya Muktapida and Jayapida Vinyaditya, was supplanted by the Utpalas in the mid-ninth century.
  • The founder of the dynasty. Avantivarman, was a man of sagacity who restored peace and order in the region and commissioned an engineering operation for the drainage and irrigation of the valley. The project was executed by Surya, after whom the town of Suryapura is named.
  • Avantivarman also founded the town of Avantipur and built a number of imposing temples.
  • In the mid-tenth century the famous queen Didda (grand-daughter of the Shahi king Bhim) emerged as a powerful figure.
  • Her tumultuous reign, wrecked by incessant rebellions and revolts against her prime-minister Tunga, eventually made way for the Loar dynasty.
  • The dynasty finally came to an end in 1172. It was followed by almost two centuries of anarchy, and finally, in 1339. Shah Mir deposed Queen Kota, widow of the last Hindu ruler, Udayana Deva.


  • After the death of Bhaskara­varman. Kamarupa was occupied by Salastambha. In the early ninth century a new dynasty came to power under Pralambha. The region appears to have been conquered by the Pala King Devapala around this time, but soon regained its autonomy.
  • The Pralambha dynasty remained in power till about A.D. 1000.
  • The king of Pragjotish (Kamarupa) in the first part of the eleventh century was Brahmapal, who is said to have ruled from his capital Durjaya, which has been identified with Gauhati by scholars.
  • In the mid-thirteenth century, the Ahoms, a branch of the Shah tribe settled in eastern Assam, established a kingdom and gave the name Assam to the region.


  • In east Bengal, the Varmans, professing links with the Yadavas of antiquity, came to power in the second quarter of the eleventh century. They were replaced by the Senas.
  • The Senas described themselves as Karnata-Kshatriya. Brahma-Kshatriyas and Kshatriyas and claimed descent from the king, of Dakshinapatha.
  • Vijayasena, who came to power in 1095 and ruled for almost sixty years, was among the eminent kings of the Sena dynasty.
  • The Deopara Prasasti inscription provides us with details of his reign, built the Pradyumnesvara Shiva Temple in Rajshahi district.
  • He was succeeded by the famous Ballalasena (1158-1179). Ballalasena was a man of learning, had studied the Puranas and Smritis and was an author of repute. He composed a work on Smriti and another on astronomy, which was completed by his son.
  • The introduction of the social system known as Kulinism is traditionally attributed to him, though this is not corroborated by contemporary evidence.
  • His son, Lakshmanasena, was the last Hindu ruler of Bengal. He attained notable victories against the Gahadavalas and also controlled a large part of Bihar where an era known after him as Lakshmana Samvat was current.

  • He was forced to leave his capital, Nadia (renamed Lakhnauti) after its takeover by Bakhtiyar Khilji.
  • Lakshmanasena was a gifted writer and poet, and his reign was a period of cultural magnificence. Literary celebrities like Jayadeva, composer of the Gita Govinda, Halayudha and Sridharadasa adorned his court.

Political History of South India (750-1200 AD)

Cholas Empire

  • The Cholas were rulers of great antiquity, and are mentioned in the rock edicts of Emperor Ashoka. Their power revived in the mid-ninth century under Vijayalaya whose links with the earlier Cholas remain unknown. He probably began his career as a vassal of the Pallavas.

  • Vijayalaya (846-71 AD) capture of Tanjore from an ally of the Pandyas around 850 AD was the first step in the rise of the Cholas.

  • A ditya (871-907 AD) was Responsible for overthrowing the Pallavas and occupying their territory completely.

  • Parantaka I (907-55 AD) reign ended in disaster and gloom brought about the hostility of the Rashtrakutas. After Paranta-ka I there was confusion and disorder for about 30 years. His successors were Ganaradiya (955-56). Arinjaya (956-57), Parantaka-II (957-73) and Uttamachola (973-85).

Raja Raja I (985-1014 AD)

  • His original name was Arumolivarman. The real greatness of the Cholas begins with him.
  • Defeat of the confederation of the three kingdoms of Pandya, Kerala and Ceylon and their occupation, and establishment of a Chola province in north Ceylon.
  • Annexation of a few parts of modern Mysore (Gangas).
  • Invasion of the Chalukya kingdom inorder to force the Chalukyas to retreat from Vengi.
  • Annexation of Maldives.
  • He subjugated the Cheras, took Madura and captured the Pandyan king, annexed the northern part of Sri Lanka, overran the Eastern Chalukya kingdom of Vengi, Kalinga, and also the Laccadives and the Maldives, the last being a testimony to the strength of the Chola navy.

Rajendra I (1014-44 AD)

  • Rajaraja was succeeded by his son Rajendra I (1014-44), under whom Chola power reached its pinnacle. The Tiruvalangadu copper plate inscription and the Tirumalai rock inscription provide details of his conquests and his skills as a commander.
  • Soon after ascending the throne, he annexed the whole of Sri Lanka and reasserted Chola sovereignty over the Kerala and Pandyan country.
  • Rajendra I also utilised his powerful fleet to notch up victories across the Bay of Bengal. The king of Cambodia, threatened by the Shailendra kings of Malaya and Sumatra, had sought the help of Rajendra Chola.
  • One of his daughters was married to the Eastern Chalukya king, and her son, Kulottunga, became the first Chola-Chalukyan monarch.
  • Invasion and completion of the conquest of Ceylon. Defeated the Western Chalukya who were trying to meddle in the succession dispute of Vengi.
  • Naval expedition to Sri Vijaya which was successful and the kingdom was restored to its ruler.
  • Two embassies to China for political as well as commercial purposes.
  • Rajendra I was succeeded by his eldest son, Rajadhiraja (1044-54) and he, by his brother, Rajendra II. Both were capable generals.
  • The last important Chola ruler was Kulottunga I (1070-1 122). He united the kingdoms of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi and the Cholas.
  • His accession practically synchronised with the loss of Sri Lanka. He lost Vengi and faced a Hoysala invasion. which resulted in the loss of the Gangavadi province.
  • Kulottunga is credited with introducing a number of administrative reforms in the kingdom, the most important being the land surveys in the sixteenth and forty-eighth years of his reign.

Chola Administration

  • The most striking feature of the administrative system of the Cholas was their autonomous village and town administration, there being no significant difference between the central and provincial administration of the Cholas and that of any other dynasty of early medieval India

  • Central Administration: Emperor at the apex of administration, worship of the deceased rulers, and construction of temples as tributes to dead kings (a special feature of the Chola period).

  • Provincial Administration: Division of the empire into principalities (under vassal chiefs) and Mandalams (provinces under viceroys who were mostly royal princes); Further division of the provinces into Valanadus (divisions), Nadus (districts) and Kurmas (villages).

  • Town and Village Administration: Autonomous administration for towns and townships, known as Tankurmas; Town autonomy was quite similar to village autonomy and both were alike administered by assemblies.

Three Types of Villages

  • Villages with an inter-caste population, paying taxes to the king.
  • Brahmadeya or agrahara villages granted to brahmins and inhabited entirely by them.
  • Devadana villages granted to God; they functioned more or less in the same manner as the first type except that the revenues from these villages were donated to temple.

Three Types of General Assemblies

  • Ur consisted of the tax-paying residents of an ordinary village.
  • Sabha’s membership was restricted to the brahmins of the village, or it was found exclusively in villages gifted to brahmins.
  • Nagaram was found more commonly in trade centres such as cities and towns.

Constitution of Assemblies

  • The Ur was open to all the tax-paying male adults of the village, but in effect the older members played a more prominent role. The Sabha had the same system.
  • Both usually constituted smaller committees of different sizes from among their members for specialised work.
  • Election to the executive body and other committees of the Ur or Sabha appears to have been by lot from among those who are eligible.
  • Two inscriptions belonging to the early tenth century (A.D. 919 and 921). the Uttaramerur inscriptions, are regarded as a watershed in the history of Chola village assemblies. They lay down the procedure for appointing committees (variyam) of six to twelve members to oversee local administration. The assembly generally met in the precincts of the temple.

Fuctions of Assemblies

  • Collection of the assessed land revenue for the government or temple.
  • Additional tax for a particular purpose such as the construction of a water tank.
  • Settlement of agrarian disputes.
  • Maintenance of records.
  • The larger assemblies kept a small staff of paid officials, but most of the work was done on a voluntary basis in the smaller assemblies.


  • Marxists envisaged feudal formation in India in two stages: feudalism from above and feudalism from below. The first stage was the primary phase with direct relationship between an overlord and his tributary/autonomous vassals without the prevalence of an intermediary land-owning class. The second stage was a more complex later phase witnessing the rise of rural land-owners as powerful intermediaries between the ruler and the peasantry. The second phase from the 4th to the 17th century, according to them, saw the rise of the samantas as the feudatories leading to administrative decentralization and the conversion of communal property into feudal property.

Chalukyas of Kalyani

  • The Rashtrakutas of the Deccan made way for the Chalukyas. Also known as the Western Chalukyas, the new ruling house set up its capital at Kalyani (Karnataka).
  • The founder of the dynasty, Taila II (A.D. 973-997) made extensive conquests and defeated a number of neighbouring powers.
  • Somesvara I’s accession ushered in a brilliant period in their history. He transferred the capital from Manyakheta to Kalyani.
  • Though Somesvara III was a weak ruler, he was the author of an encyclopaedic work called the Abhilashitartha­chintamani or the Manasollasa.
  • But the most momentous development of his reign was the beginning of a prolonged contest with the Cholas, who, under Rajaraja the Great, had also embarked upon a similar expansionist drive.
  • The most distinguished Chalukya ruler was Vikramaditya VI (A.D. 1076-1126), who introduced the Chalukya-Vikram era in place of the Saka era.
  • Vikramaditya VI’s court was graced by scholars like Bilhana, composer of the Vikramanankadevacharita and Vijnaneshvara, author of the Mitakshara, a commentary on the Yajnavalkya Smriti.
  • By the mid-twelfth century the Chalukya kingdom had almost ceased to exist, and its place was taken by the Kakatiyas of Warangal, the Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra, and the Yadavas of Devagiri.
  • The Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi served as protectorates of the Cholas for long periods till finally with the accession of Koluttunga. Vengi was united with the Chola Empire.

Eastern Chalukyas

  • Vishnuvardhana was the founder of a dynasty known as the Chalukyas of Vengi.
  • Vijayaditya Gunaga defeated the Rashtrakutas and proclaimed himself the lord of the entire Dakshinapatha.
  • Chola king, Rajaraja I, helped the Chalukya prince Saktivarman I to capture the throne from Jata Choda, an usurper.
  • Saktivarman’s son, Vimaladitya, married Kundavai, the daughter of Rajaraja Chola I.
  • The process of Chola-Chalukya matrimonial alliance ultimately ended in the merger of the two dynasties under Kulottunga I.

Kakatiyas of Warangal

  • The Kakatiyas were an old family of Telengana who had served as feudatories of the Western Chalukyas in the early eleventh century.
  • Their earliest known chief, Beta I, availed of the confusion caused by the invasion of Rajendra Chola and carved out a small kingdom in the Nalgonda district (Hyderabad).
  • Among the prominent rulers of this dynasty was Ganapati, who ruled for more than sixty years and brought the entire Telugu-speaking area under his sway.
  • He erected an efficient administrative machinery and took steps to improve trade and agriculture. .
  • He completed the construction of the city of Warangal and shifted his capital there.
  • He was succeeded by his daughter Rudramadevi, who assumed the name of Rudradeva Maharaja, and ruled for almost thirty-five years (1261­1295).
  • Like her father, she was a patron of the Pasupata Saiva monasteries established by her father’s preceptor, Viveshvara Sambhu.
  • She was succeeded by her grandson, Pratap Rudra (1295-1323), who was to be the last king of this dynasty.

Yadavas of Devagiri

  • Seunachandra secured feudatory status for his family from the Rashtrakutas. Hence the territory ruled by the Yadavas came to be known as Seuna-desa.
  • They became prominent in the twelfth century under Bhillama V. who established the Yadava kingdom and assumed imperial titles.
  • He established his capital at Devagiri (“later renamed Daultabad), hence his dynasty is known as the Yadavas of Devagiri.
  • Simhana (Singhana) was the most powerful ruler of the family. Sangitaratnakara of Sarangadeva, an important work on music, was written in his court.
  • Sankaradeva was killed by Malik Kafur, who annexed the kingdom.

Hoysalas of Dvarasamudra

  • The history of the Hoysalas properly begins with Nrpakama (1022-1047) who together with his son occupied the Hasan and Kadur districts and parts of Nagamangala taluk in Mysore. Among the outstanding rulers of this dynasty were Vishnuvardhan, Ballala II and Ballala III.
  • Ballala III had to face the armies of the Delhi Sultanate. Though defeated in 1310, he sustained a fierce resistance against the Khilji and Tughlaq armies for over three decades. He also battled the Sultan of Madurai.
  • The Hoysalas made Dwarasamudra their capital. Located near it was Belur, which also served as a royal residence and is famous for the magnificent Hoysala monuments.
  • The Hoyasalesvara temple at Halebid has been described as the “highest achievement” of the Chalukya-Hoysala style of architecture. characterised by its low pyramidal shikhar and profusely decorated carved plinth.


  • Despite being defeated by a number of Chola kings, the Pandyas managed to begin a process of recovery under Jatavarman Kulasekhara. The second Pandya empire appears to have been inaugurated by his brother Maravarman Sundara Pandya.

  • Among the greatest rulers of this dynasty was Jatavarman Sundara Pandya I (1251-1268). He vanquished the Cheras, Hoysalas and Cholas. besides conquering northern Sri Lanka.

  • Other important rulers include Jatavarman Vira Pandya (1253-1275) and Maravarman Kulasekhara. During the latter’s reign, the Pandyas also subjugated Sri Lanka.

  • Marco Polo, who visited the Pandyan kingdom around A.D. 1293, has left a vivid account of the splendour of the kingdom. He wrote, “The great, province of Ma’bar.... is best of all the Indies...”

  • A succession dispute between two Pandyan princes. Sundara and Vira Pandya, provided the Khilji forces an opportunity to invade the kingdom in 1310.

Advent of Islam Muhammad (570-632 A.D.)

  • Muhammad was born in Mecca in A.D- 570, in the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh. An orphan, he was raised by his relatives.

  • At the age of twenty-five, on the recommendation of his uncle he entered the service of Khadija, a rich widow whom he later married. Entrusted with the supervision of her merchandise, he travelled to Syria. There he encountered communities of Jews and Christians and acquired some knowledge of their faith.

  • Around the age of forty. Muhammad grew increasingly contemplative. He was also disturbed by the idolatrous practices of the Meccans. He began to seclude himself in a cave at Hire, where he spent much time in reflection.

  • During one of these retreats, he believed that an Angel appeared to him in a dream and gave him what later became known as the First Revelation. After some time, the Angel again addressed Muhemmed, who was now convinced that he was the chosen Messenger of God.

  • The Revelations received by Muhemmed were subsequently compiled in a book called the Quran, which along with the Hedith (Sayings of the Prophet) is venerated as the supreme source of authority in Islam.

  • Muhammad’s first followers included Khadija, his cousin Ali, and Abu Bekr. But as Muhammad became more vocal against the prevailing religious practices in Mecca, resistance to him grew among the Quraysh.

  • Informed about Quraysh plans to slay him, Muhammad left for Mount Saur near Mecca, from where he reached Medina in A.D. 622. Muhammad’s migration is known as the hijra and the Muslim calendar commences from this year.

  • The Battle of Badr is regarded as the most momentous in Islamic history. The victory at Badr was followed by attacks on the Jews and later the Christians, who were charged with falsifying their scriptures to conceal prophesies about Muhammad’s advent.

  • Tensions with the Quraysh continued and in A.D. 627, the Meccans prepared to lay siege on Medina. Muhammad won by the simple expedient of having a ditch dug around the city.

  • In A.D. 630. Muhammed made a triumphal entry into Mecca. He circumambulated Ka’aba seven times and ordered the removal of 360 idols installed there. The people of Mecca submitted to Muhammad.

  • The polity that Muhammad created was based on the twin concepts of ummah (the Muslim community of believers) and Jihad. It had a religious foundation and all its members had to be Muslims.

  • The Prophet’s subsequent treaties with the Jews and Christians became the basis of the dhimmi system, and reflected the eternal frontier between believers and non-believers.

  • Islam incorporated the most revered symbols of the Arabs. Friday was ,substituted for Sabbath, azaan (call to prayer) for trumpets and gongs. Ramzan designated the holy month, and the qibla (direction to be faced during prayer) changed from Jerusalem to Mecca. The ancient practice of pilgrimage to Ka’aba was incorporated in the Islamic ritual.

  • The famous five pillars of Islam reinforced the new sense of community. They included acknowledgement of Muhammad as the final Messenger of Allah and acceptance of the Quran as the ultimate and unalterable word of God; namaz five times a day with the face turned towards Ka’aba: zakat or charity for the benefit of the Muslim community; fasting during the month of Ramzan, and Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca.


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