Early Medieval age: Kannauj after Harshavardhana
Posted on : 15-01-2018 Posted by : Admin


The period after Harshavardhana can be divided under the following two parts,

  • During 750-1000 AD, three political powers namely Gurjara-Pratiharas in Northern India, Palas in Eastern India and Rashtrakutas in Southern India emerged. They constantly fought among themselves to establish supremacy over Gangetic area. This was called as tripartite struggle.
  • During 1000-1200 AD, these three political powers broke up and this resulted in the rise of huge number of small kingdoms across India.

Not much is known about Kannauj after Harshavardhana. But as per few literary sources, immediately after the death of Harsha the kingdom started to disintegrate and the process of emergence of numerous small states began in various parts of North India. Thus leading to the formation of a multi-state system.

According to Chahchnama, a work belonging to rather later period mentions four kings ruling Kannauj for seventy years after Harsha. These four kings were Rasil Raj, Sahiras, Sayar and Harachander Rai. After these four kings, a famous monarch Yashovarman ruled Kannauj.


King Yashovarman

  1. At around 730 AD Yashovarman ruled Kannauj and he defeated many rulers.
  2. His empire was vast and extended from North Bengal to N-W frontier province including Haryana, Punjab.
  3. He found a city named Yashovarmapura (current Biharsharif in Bihar).
  4. The following literary sources reveal the conquests of Yashovarman.
  • Vakpatiraja was the court-poet of Yashovarman. He composed a poem Madra-mahi-vijaya. This work is based on the conquest of Madra by Yashovarman.
  • Gaudavaho, was the prakrit poem written by Vakpatiraja. The invasion of Bengal (Gauda) by Yashovarman was the theme of this work.
  • Even Chinese chronicles refer to Yashovarman as i-cha-fon-mo (King of Central India)
  • Kalhana mentions that Kannauj for conquered by king Lalitaditya. He uprooted Yashovarman and placed Harachandra as the ruler of Kannauj.
  • Yashovarman himself wrote a play named, Ramabhuyudaya.
  • Scholars like Bhavabhuti also adorned the court of Yashovarman. Bhavabhuti wrote three well known Sanskrit plays namely Malatimadhava, Mahaviracharitra and Uttararamacharitra.


Ayudha rulers of Kannauj

  1. During the later half of 8th century, Yashovarman dynasty ended and Ayudha rulers took over Kannauj. They ruled till second decade of 9th century.
  2. Vajrayudha was the first among the Ayudha rulers. He defeated Jayapida Vinayaditya of Kashmir.
  3. Indrayudha was the next ruler. During his reign Dhruva Rashtrakuta invaded Kannauj. Later Dharmapala of Bengal also defeated Indrayudha. Dharmapala placed Chakrayudha as the king of Kannauj.
  4. Later Rastrakuta ruler Govinda III defeated Dharmapala and Chankrayudha. Finally Nagabata II Pratihara defeated Chakrayudha and annexed the throne of Kannauj.

- Share with your friends! -