Trigonal spiritual struggle for Kanauj after the death of Harshavardhana

       After the death of Harshavardhana, the forces of political decentralization and division became active once again in North India. In Kamrup (present-day Assam), Bhaskarvarma established his independent kingdom by conquering Karnasuvarna and its surrounding areas, and Adityasen, son of Harsha’s feudal lord Madhavgupta, established his independent kingdom in Magadha. Many independent states were established in the western and north-western parts of India. The power of the Karkot dynasty was established in Kashmir. Generally, this period was a period of mutual conflict and rivalry. After this, Kannauj became the focal point of the political activities of North India, on which the struggle between various powers started for the right.

Invasion from China – As already written, Harsha did not have any son, so after that Kanauj was occupied by a local ruler named Arjuna. The Chinese writer Ma-Twan-Lin tells us that in 646 AD, the King of China sent a third delegation to India under the leadership of Bang Huantse. When he reached Kannauj, Harsha had died and Arjuna was the king there. He stopped the envoy with his soldiers and looted them. Bang somehow saved his life by running away. In the spirit of vengeance, he attacked Arjuna with military help from Tibetan Gumpu and Nepalese king Anshuvarma. Arjuna was defeated, many of his soldiers were killed and he was captured and taken to China, where he died in prison. But there is doubt about the veracity of this statement. There is no mention of this attack anywhere in Indian sources. The only conclusion that can be drawn from this statement is that after the death of Harsha, chaos and disorder prevailed in North India and small states in different parts became independent.

     If in the written lines we will present the details of the major state states after Harsh.

 Yashovarman, the ruler of Kannauj

     After the death of Harsha, the history of Kannauj for about 75 years is bleak. After the end of this dark age, we find an ambitious and powerful ruler named Yashovarman sitting on the throne of Kanauj.

       We do not know anything about Yashovarman’s lineage and early life. Seeing the word Varman attached to the end of his name, some scholars consider him to be the Maukhari ruler, but we cannot say anything with certainty in this regard. We get information about the events of Yashovarman’s reign from his court poet Vakyapati’s poem written in Prakrit language called ‘Godavaho’, which is the most important source of his history. Godavaho presents the details of the military campaign of Yashovarman as follows:

        ‘ At the end of a rainy season, he set out for victory with his army. Through Son valley, he reached Vindhya mountain and pleased Vindhyavasini Devi with worship. From here he attacked the ruler of Magadha and defeated them in battle. The king of Magadha was killed in the battle. Thereafter he invaded Bang Desh. The Banga people subjugated him.


             After the Banga victory, Yashovarman defeated the king of the south and crossed Malayagiri. He attacked the Parsis and defeated them in battle. He received tax in the inaccessible areas of the Western Ghats. He came on the banks of river Narmada and reached Marudesh (Rajasthan desert) passing through the beach. From here he came to Neelkanth and then reached Ayodhya via Kurukshetra. The inhabitants of Mandarachal mountain accepted his sovereignty. He also conquered the Himalayan region.

        Thus conquering the world, he returned to his capital Kannauj.

       To what extent the above description of ‘Godvaho’ is true cannot be said. In this, the name of the king of Banga (Gaur) country is not found. Gaur Vijay is also mentioned at the end of the poem. The description of this poem seems to be very exaggerated and it is hard to believe that he would have conquered all the states of North and South mentioned in it. But his eastern victories are confirmed by an inscription received from Nalanda, in which he has been called a sovereign ruler. This proves his authority over Magadha and Gaur.

      During his time a Chinese traveler named Hui-Chao came to Kanauj. Although he does not write the name of the ruler, it states that he was the owner of a vast territory and the winner of many wars. Scholars are of the opinion that the Magadha king who was defeated and killed by Yashovarman was Jeevitagupta II of the Uttargupta dynasty. It seems that he also had authority over Gaur (Bengal). According to Hui-Chao, Yashovarman had conquered some parts of Punjab and annexed it to his empire.


             Kavirvakyapatirajashreebhavabhutyadi sevitah.

             Jitau yayo yashoverma tadgunstutivanditam sa..

             Kimanyatkanyakubjorvi yamunapartosya.

             Abhudakalikatir home courtyard.

 The above lines mean that Yashvarma, adorned by poets like Vakyapati, Bhavabhuti etc., started praising him (Lalitaditya) and the part of Kannauj kingdom from Yamuna to Kalika (Kali river) became the courtyard of Lalitaditya’s palace. Thus it can be said that there was a war between Lalitaditya and Yashovarman.

   Yashovarman probably ruled from 700 -740 AD. He was also the patron of scholars. Apart from Vaktpati, the great Sanskrit playwright Bhavabhuti used to reside in his court. Bhavabhuti composed three famous drama texts – Maltimadhav, Uttarramcharit and Mahavircharita. Maltimadhav is a 10-digit drama in which the love story of Madhav and Malti is described. There is a story from the marriage of Rama to the consecration of the kingdom in 7 issues of Mahavircharit. Uttaramcharit also has 7 points, in which there is a story of Uttarkand of Ramayana. Bhavabhuti is considered the teacher of Karun Rasa.

       Yashovarman was a Shaivist. Its rise and fall was like a meteor. The name of his son is found in Jain texts, Aamraj, who then ruled Kannauj and Gwalior. But the historicity of these descriptions is questionable. In the present situation we cannot say anything with certainty about Yashovarman’s successors. After that we find the rule of kings named Ayudha in Kannauj, in which the names of Vajrayudh, Indrayudha and Chakrayudha are found. They were all very clean.

 Tripartite struggle for Kannauj

        After Harsha, Kannauj became the center of attraction of various powers. It got the same place as Magadha till the Gupta era. In fact, Harsha and Yashovarman made it a symbol of imperial power. To become the Chakravarti ruler of North India, it was considered necessary to take control of Kanauj. Along with having political importance, the economic importance of Kannauj city increased greatly and this must have been an important reason of attraction towards it. By taking possession of it, control could be established over the Ganges valley and the rich commercial and agricultural resources available in it. Being situated between the Ganges and the Yamuna, the region of Kannauj was the most fertile region of the country. It was very important from the point of view of trade and commerce because from there trade routes went. ,

    One route – from Kannauj to Prayag and then to the east coast, went south to Kanchi.
    The second route – Varanasi and went to the mouth of the Ganges.
    The third route – from the east to Kamrup and from the north to Nepal and Tibet.
    Fourth route – going south from Kannauj used to meet at the Vanvasi town situated on the south bank and
    Fifth route – from Kannauj to Bajan and after that reached the capital of Gujarat.

        Just as Magadha used to control the trade route of Uttarapath in earlier times, similar situation was achieved by Kannauj also. Thus it was advantageous to establish its hegemony both politically and economically. So to take over it, the three great powers of the eighth century –

  •     Pal
  •     Gurjar-Pratihar and
  •     Rashtrakuta

      The triangle conflict started between these three powers, which is the most important event in the history of North India of the eighth – ninth century.

 The first struggle for right over Kannauj – Palas, and Rashtrakutas

      At the end of the eighth century, the Gurjara Pratihara king Vatsaraja (780–805 AD) ruled over vast areas of Rajputana and Central India. At this time a powerful kingdom of Palas was established in Bengal. The Pala rival of Vatsaraj, Dharmapala (770-810 AD), and the Rashtrakutas established their kingdom in the south. The contemporary of Vatsaraja and Dharmapala was the Rashtrakuta king Dhruva (780-793 AD). He also wanted to capture the capital Kannauj after consolidating his kingdom in South India. Therefore, the first struggle for the control of Kannauj took place between Vatsaraj Dharmapala and Dhruva.

The early struggle for rights over Kannauj

         First of all, Vatsaraja (Gurjara Pratihara) and Dharmapala (Pala dynasty) tried to take control of Kannauj. As a result, there was a war between the two in the Ganga-Yamuna doab. Dharmapala was defeated in this war. It is mentioned in the Radhanpur article of Rashtrakuta ruler Govind III in 808 AD. According to which ‘Madandh Vatsaraj easily captured the Rajalakshmi of Gaudraj and snatched his two royal umbrellas. There is also a reference in this regard in ‘Prithvirajvijay’, according to which the Chahamana King Rarebarraj, having conquered the country of Gaur, bathed his sword in the waters of the Ganges Sagar. Probably he was a feudatory of Vatsaraja and on his behalf, he participated in the war against the Gaur king.

          Thus Vatsaraja took control of Kannauj and the ruler Indrayudha there accepted his subordination. At the same time, the Rashtrakuta king Dhruva crossed the Vindhya mountain and attacked Vatsaraja. Vatsaraja was badly defeated and he fled to the desert of Rajputana. It is said in the Radhanagar inscription that along with the fame of Vatsaraja, he also snatched the two royal chhatras that he had taken from the Gaur king. Dhruva marched east and defeated Dharmapala. These successes of Dhruv are mentioned in the writings of Sanjan and Surat. According to the Sanjan article, he snatched the Leelarvindo and the Shvetchatras of Goddess Lakshmi while running between Ganga and Yamuna. But after these victories, Dhruva returned to South India where he died in 793 AD.

The conflict between the Palas and the Gurjara Pratihars

       After Dhruva disappeared from the political point of view of North India, the struggle started again in Palo and Gurjar Pratihar. This time the sails were heavy. Bhagalpur inscription shows that Dharmapala had attacked Kannauj, then defeated Indrayudha there and made Chakrayuddha the ruler on his behalf. It is said that Dharmapala defeated Indraraj and other kings and occupied Kannauj, but gave it back to Chakrayudha in the same way as Bali had given the three worlds to Vishnu in the form of Vamana after defeating Indra, etc.

                  Jitvendraraj Prabhutinratinuparjita Yen Sir:

                  Datta again sa balinarthayitre chakrayudhyayanti.

          It is clear that here Indra is equated with Indraraj and Vishnu is equated with Chakrayudha. The Khalimpur inscription mentions that Dharmapala acquired the right to anoint himself as the king of Kanyakubja but anointed the king of Kanyakubja from the consecration urn carried by the happy elders of Panchala. It was accepted by the kings of Bhoja, Matsya, Madra, Kuru, Yadu, Yavana, Avanti, Gandhara, and Kir by bowing their heads and thanking them.

         It is clear from this description that all the rulers present in the court of Kannauj accepted the submission of Dharmapala. Dharmapala was the ruler of large land. But his victory was not permanent. The power of the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty fell in the hands of the mighty son of Vatsaraj, Nagabhatta II (805-833). He conquered Sindh, Andhra, Vidarbha, and Kalinga and attacked Kannauj, and drove out Chakrayudha.

       It is said in the Gwalior Prashasti that the inferiority of Chakrayudha was proved by the fact that he was dependent on others. Their others mean Dharmapala. Nagabhatta was not satisfied with just conquering Kannauj, but he also set out against Dharmapala. In Munger, there was a war between the armies of Nagabhatta and Dharmapala in which the Pala king was defeated. The Gwalior inscription presents its poetic description as follows – The King of Banga with his yards, with horses and chariots, appeared ahead like the darkness of thick clouds, but the serpent who pleased these people moved forward and appeared like the rising sun. . But Nagabhatta, who pleases the tri-trilogies, cut through that darkness like the rising sun.

 It is clear from this description that Dharmapala was defeated in the war. The frightened Pala king sought help from the Rashtrakuta ruler Govind III (793–814). As a result, Govind III attacked Nagabhatta. It is known from the Sanjan copper plate that he defeated Nagabhatta II and took control of Malwa. Dharmapala and Chakrayudha automatically accepted his submission. Govind went further and reached the Himalayas but could not stay in the north for long. Taking advantage of his absence, the kings of the south formed a union against him, as a result of which he had to return to his home state soon.

      After the return of Govind III, the struggle again broke out between the Palas and the Gurjara-Pratiharas. At this time the rule of the Pala dynasty was in the hands of Devapala (810-850 AD), the son of Dharmapala. He was a powerful ruler. He ruled for 40 years and his empire was vast. His contemporary was Rambhadra and Nirval ruler of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. He was unable to face Devapala. Devpal’s Munger inscription shows that he crushed the pride of the Utkal, Huna, Dravida, and Gurjara-Pratihara kings. Here the Gurjara king refers to Rambhadra, who was the successor of Nagabhatta.

Gurjara-Pratihara ruler Mahirabhoja I (836-885)

      Devapala was followed by Vigrahapala (850-850) and then Narayanpal (854-908). During these times, the power of Palo weakened. At the same time, the reins of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty came into the hands of the very mighty ruler Mahirabhoja I (836-885). He is more famous in history by the name Bhoj. He tried to restore the prestige of his dynasty. First Bhoj conquered Kannauj and Kalinjar and merged them into his kingdom. But he was defeated by the Pala ruler Devapala and the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III (878–914). Bhoja seems to have defeated him towards the end of Devapala’s rule. Because it is said in the Gwalior article that Lakshmi chose the banquet, leaving the son of Dharma Dharmapala—-(Dharmapatya: Yashah Prabhutirapralakshmi: Punarbhunnarya).

      Here the meaning of the son of Dharma is from Devapala, the son of Dharmapala. It is said in the writings of Devali and Karhad of Krishna II that he had terrified Bhoja. But these were Bhoja’s initial failures. It didn’t do him much harm. At the same time, Devapala died and the power of the Pala dynasty came into the hands of the Nirala people. The Palas were also attacked by the Rashtrakutas. This gave Bhoja an opportunity to organize his power. He strengthened his position by establishing friendly relations with the Chedi and Gehlot dynasties. After that, he badly defeated the successor ruler of Devapala. At this time mutual conflict was going on between the Rashtrakutas and the Chalukyas.

       The Chalukya kings Vijayaditya and Bhima defeated the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna Dvitya. Taking advantage of Krishna’s confusion, Bhoja defeated him on the banks of the river Narmada and snatched Malwa from him. After that Bhoj conquered the territories of Kathiawar, Punjab, Awadh, etc. He established a vast empire and made Kannauj his capital. Bhoja died in 885 AD.

      Bhoj I was followed by his son Mahendra Pal I, who ruled till 910 AD. His inscriptions are found from many places in Bihar and North Bengal, in which he has been called ‘ParambhattarakaParameshwaraMaharajadhirajmahendrapal’. It is clear from this that the territories of Magadha and North Bengal were also conquered by the Gurjara-Pratiharas from the Palas. With the annexation of these territories, the Pratihara Empire reached the culmination of its heyday.

        Thus ended the triangular struggle that had begun for the empire in the three major powers of the ninth century – Gurjara-Pratihara, Pala, and Rashtrakuta. It is clear that ultimately the Pratiharas got success in the struggle. And his architecture was established over Kannauj. After the death of Devpal disappeared from the politics of northern India. And he was not counted as a powerful force. It is known that during the time of Pratihara ruler Mahipala I (912-943), Rashtrakuta kings Indra III and Krishna III invaded the city of Kannauj and ousted the rights of Pratiharas for a short time, but the success of the Rashtrakutas was momentary and their After the withdrawal, the authority of the Pratiharas got strengthened again.

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