The Vedic Culture, Gupta Dynasty, Vardhanas Dynasty, Chalukya Dynasty

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The Vedic Culture

Gupta Dynasty

  • Chandra Gupta I founded the powerful kingdom and started the Gupta Era. The Gupta rule was the Golden period of the Hindus. Samudra Gupta, son of Chandra Gupta - I was the most powerful and ablest of the Hindu Kings, a great military genius, scholar, poet and musician; known as the “Indian Napoleon” on account of his great conquests. He had very cordial relations with Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), also performed Asvamedha Yajna (horse sacrifice). His achievements are inscribed in Allahabad Prasasti.

  • Chandra Gupta II or Vikramaditya was the second great king of Gupta dynasty. Fahien, the first Chinese pilgrim visited his kingdom. Art and literature flourished. Kalidasa - poet and dramatist; known as the “Shakespeare of India”. And “Prince of Indian Poets” lived during his period.

  • Aryabhatta, Varahimihira and Brahma Gupta- the greatest mathematicians and astronomers of their time; Kumarila Bhatta and Shankaracharya - the great preachers of Hinduism and Dhanwantri, Nagarjuna - great physicians. The nine scholars who adorned the court of Gupta were called the Nirvanas.

  • The Ajanta cave paintings mostly belong to the period of Gupta. The paintings of Ajanta depict stories of the Jatakas. Kumara Gupta founded the Nalanda University. The Delhi Iron Pillar belonging to the Gupta period still remains rustles.

Vardhanas Dynasty

  • Harsh Vardhanas was the king of Thaneshwar and established a strong empire. He was the last great Hindu king of Northern India. Hieun-Tsnag, a Chinese pilgrim visited. Harshacharita - a biography of Harsh was written by Banabhatta.

  • Kanauj became the important city of Northern India under Harsh. Bana was the court poet of Harsh.

Chalukya Dynasty

  • Pulakesin II was the most powerful ruler of Chalukya dynasty in the Deccan. He came into conflict with both Harsh in the North and the Pallavas in the South.

  • In the Battle of Narmada, Harsh was defeated by Pulakesin II. Finally, Pulakesin II was defeated and killed in battle with the Pallavas.

Pallavas Dynasty

  • Pallavas dynasty was great from cultural as well as political point of view. Sivaskanda Varman was the first great ruler of Pallavas dynasty. Narasimha Varman I was regarded as the greatest king of the Pallavas dynasty. He defeated Pulakesin II, the Chalukya ruler at Vatapi and so he was called “Vatapi Kondan”.

  • He was also a poet and Kudumianmalai inscriptions reveal his mastery in music. During this period Hieun-Tsang visited Kanchi. Narasimha Varman II got erected a beautiful temple of Kailasnath near Kanchi and one at Mahabalipuram.

  • He sent an ambassador to China. Dandin lived in his period. Nandi Varman II got erected the Mukteswar temple at Kanchi. He also performed the famous horse ceremony called “Asvamedha”.

Chola Dynasty

  • The Chola dynasty was an ancient Tamil Kingdom on the lower coast of India along the banks of the river Cauvery. The real founder of the Chola dynasty of Thanjavur was Vijayawada. Woriur was the capital of the Cholas of Sangam age. The ascendancy of Rajarajas gave Chola the paramount power in India. With a powerful naval fleet at his disposal he was able to bring under his control the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. Rajarajas was an expert architect. His Siva Temple Brihadeeswara in Thanjavur is a masterpiece of art of his rule.

  • Rajarajas was succeeded by his son, Rajendra. He also established authority over the islands of Andaman, Nicobar and Malaya. The Cholas had a democratic system of administration. The village assemblies collected the land revenue and dispensed justice. Village was the smallest unit of administration. Land revenue was their main source of income. The village community got a lot of power during the reign of the Cholas. The Chola age was the most famous for village assemblies and Kudavolai system. The Uttiramerur inscription of Parantak I is the main source of village government under the Cholas.

Pandya Dynasty

Pandya dynasty is the oldest. Pandyas had commercial contacts with Rome in 20 B.C. Jatlivarman was the greatest imperialist of his dynasty. The invasion of Malik Kafur shattered the Pandya Empire.

Delhi Sultanates

  • The Arabs were the first Muslims to come to India. Sultan Mohammed of Ghazni led a series of plundering raids, about 17 in number. He attacked and plundered Somnath Temple in Kathiawar.

  • The scholar who accompanied Mohammed of Ghazni in India was Albaruni. In 1191, Mohd. Ghori was defeated by Prithvi Raj Chohan at the Battle of Tarain near Thaneshwar.

  • The dynasty which ruled from Delhi till the coming of the Mughal in the 16th century were the Slaves, the Khiljis, the Tughlaqs, the Sayids and the Lodhis. This phase of Indian History is known as the “Sultanate Period”.

  • Under Altmash and Balban, they extended their sway over practically the whole of North India.

Slave Dynasty

  • Qutub-ud-Din Aibak was first a slave of Qazi Fakha-ud-Din and later on purchased by Mohammed Ghori.

  • Aibak was a great general and was very generous and called “Lakh Bakhsha”. He started the construction of the “Qutub Minar” in Delhi and the same was completed by Iltutmish; Iltutmish was also a slave and so he was called “slave of a slave”.

  • Razia Begum was the daughter of Iltutmish. She was the first and the only Muslim lady who ever sat on the throne of Delhi.

  • Balban is considered to be one of the greatest monarchs of Delhi Sultanate. He was the patron of the learned people and scholars. Amir Khusro, called “The Parrot of India” was the well-known Poet flourished in his court. Amir Hassan was another poet of his time.

Khiljis Dynasty

  • Alad-ud-Din Khiljis was the first Muslim Sultan. He was not only a great warrior and conqueror but also an excellent administrative genius and economist.

  • He was the first to bring control of prices of essential commodities.

  • Amir Khusro also flourished in the time of Ala-ud Din Khiljis. He wrote mainly in Persian.

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