Medieval India, Palas, Pratiharas, Rashtrakutas and Chola Empire

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Medieval India
Traveller/HistorianIn times ofRemarks
Al-MasudiPratiharas
SulaimanPalasMid-9th century. Writes about the Pala empire
Marco PoloChola
Ralph Fitch16th century

Medieval India

AD 750 onwards

Eighth to 10th Century (Age of Three Empires in North India)

  • Pala – East
  • Pratihara – West and Upper Gangetic Valley
  • Rashtrakuta – Deccan
  • Rashtrakutas lasted the longest

For a long time, Kanauj was considered the symbol of political unity of India (like Delhi was later)

Palas

  • Founder: Gopala
  • Gopala – Dharmapala - Devpala
  • Dhramapala
    • defeated by Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva
    • revived Nalanda Univ
    • founded Vikramsila Univ
    • Buddhism developed
  • relations with Tibet and SE Asia

Pratiharas

  • Founder: Bhoja
  • Bhoja – Mahendrapala I - Mahipala
  • Bhoja (aka Adivaraha)
    • Capital at Kanauj
  • Mahipala
    • Sankrit poet and dramatist Rajashekhar lived at his court
  • Hostility with Arab and Sindh

Rashtrakutas

  • Founder: Dantidurga
  • Dantidurga – - Govinda III – Amoghvarsha (Jain) -- Indra III – Vallabhraja – Krishna III
  • Capital: Malkhed near Sholapur
  • Amoghvarsha
    • Wrote the first Kannada book on Poetics
    • Capital: Manyakhet
  • Indra III – most powerful ruler of his time
  • Krishna, I built Shiva temple at Ellora
  • Apbhransha poet: Svayambhu
  • Princess Chandrobalabbe (daughter of Amoghavarsha) administered Raichur

Chola Empire (9th-12th Century)

  • Founder: Vijayalaya (feudatory of Pallavas)
  • Greatest rulers: Rajaraja – Rajendra I
  • Capital: Tanjaur
  • Built temples: Brihadeshwara temple (Shiva) : 1010 AD – Rajaraja
  • Rajendra I
    • Gangaikondachola
    • Capital: Gangaikondacholapuram (near Kaveri mouth)
    • Naval expedition against Sri Vijaya empire (Malay peninsula)
  • Fought constantly with Chalukyas of Kalyani
  • Dravida style of architecture developed (garbhagriha – vimana – mandap)
  • Chalukyan style: Hoysalesvara temple (shiva)
  • Sculpture: Gomteshwara at Sravana Belgola
  • Tirumurai – aka fifth Veda are the collection of writings of Alvar and Nayanar saints
  • Age of Kamban – (late 11th- early 12th century) – golden period of Tamil Nadu
  • Kamban lived at court of Chola king. Wrote Ramayana.
  • Kannada: Pampa, Ponna, Ranna – three gems of Kannada poetry
  • Naniah – began telugu version of Mahabharata. Completed by Tikkanna.
  • Trade with west declined but with South-East Asia and China increased.

Feudalism Grew

Buddhism

  • Declined
  • Became indistinguishable from Hinduism
  • Because of rise of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Palas were patrons but after them it declined

Jainism

  • Chalukyas of Gujarat & Paramaras of Malwa patronised.
  • Dilwara temples built by Chalukyas
    • Use of marbles. Has 5 temples.
  • Ganga rulers of Karnataka
    • Gomteshwar statue built during this time

Bhakti Movement

  • Led by Nayanars and Alvar saints in the South
  • Originated in Tamil Nadu
  • Major saints: Ravidas, Surdas etc

Lingayat Movement

  • Aka Vir Shaiva movement
  • Founder: Basava and Channabasava
    • Lived at the court of Kalachuri kings of Karnatak
  • Worshippers of Shiva
  • Established after bitter disputes with Jains.

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