Medieval India

Medieval India (Materials)

Transformation of the Ancient Phase


  • The transformation from early historial to Medieval historical phase in India starts from the middle of the first millennium of the Christian era .
  • The Medieval historical transformation is first visible in Inscriptions .
  • The major evidence for understanding early medieval geographical changes of social lives are Inscriptions .
  • The social environments in medieval domains were based relatively stable economic areas .
  • Major dynasties had an average lifespan of more than 300 years .
  • The dynasties became cultural symbols of tradition in cultural territories .
  • Most medieval dynasties had combined elements of imperialism , regionalism and localism .
  • A king (raja) became a great king (maharaja) or “ king of kings “ (Maha rajadhi raja) by adding the names of more subordinate rulers or Samanthas to his list are called “ Multiple Sovereignties ”.
  • Major Tamil dynasties overlapped with Soveriegnties on 6th century are Pallava , Chola , Pandya ,Chera , Vijayanagara and Nayaka dynasties .
  • The largest dynasty in Tamil territory was Vijayanagar in Karnataka .
  • The Vijayanagara rulers spoke Telugu and Kannada .
  • The Medieval early territory was called a ‘ nadu’ ,that is a small circle of villages .
  • The Pandya country alone had thirty nadus in South of Maduri .
  • The single dominant warrier group evolved in medieval Rajastan was called Rajput ,derived from Rajaputra .
  • In 9th century separate clans of Rajput Chahamanas or Chauhans , Paramaras or Pawars Guhilas or Sisodias and Chalukyas or Solankis were branching off from the Gurjara Prathihara Clans .
  • They formed an Imperial medieval dynasty spread across Rajastan , Malwa and the Ganga basin .
  • Another group of warriors that propelled the medieval transition in India consisted of Clans in the high lands of Afganistan , Persia and Central Asia .
  • The Persian warrior to acquire tribute in Punjab by defeating Hindu sahis was Sabuktigin the Father of Muhmud of Ghazni .
  • Muhmud succeeded his father in 997 and extended his patrimonial ambition in all directions .
  • After conquering Afganistan and Persia the title obtained Muhmud from the Caliph was Yamin -ul – Daula means Right Hand of the state .
  • The famous Arab geographer , support Mahmud’s expansion in India was Al – Biruni .
  • The parts act as trading world of Central Asia in Muhmud ‘s time were Indus and Ganga basins
  • The eleventh and twelfth centuries in Indian History are usually witnessed the invasions of Muslim powers .
  • At this times more inscriptions are found in India than ever before .
  • In Medieval India the Ithihasa – Purana traditions were largely dominated for making genealogies of various dynasties based on sun moon etc .
  • The new political elites were greatly dependent on the priestly classes.
  • This period saw the extension of land under cultivation and settlement through land grants especially to Brahmins and temples .
  • A type of medieval land grants practice to Brahmins especially in South India was termed ‘ brahmadeyas ‘ .
  • The other category of grants to the brahmanical temples to South India was ‘ Devadana ‘.
  • The gift of land to officials picked up momentum in Post – Gupta period .
  • Very large territories were granted to vassals and high officers under the chalukyas of Gujarath , and it created another class of land lords .
  • The hereditary ownerships of a family to the rights of possession and Supervision in medieval period was ‘ Kani rights ‘ .
  • The names of various irrigation sources in different medieval Indian Provinces are as ,
    • Keres – tanks in South Karnataka
    • Nadi (river) ,Pushkarini (tank)
    • Srota (water channel) – Bengal
    • Agrahatta – wells in western Rajastan
    • Vapis – Stepwell in Rajastan and Gujrat
  • The landgrants paved the way for feaudal development in india .
  • The forced labour imposed to the peasants by the land loards are called ‘ Vishti ‘
  • The text that deals with medieval Indian agricultural economy was
    • “ The Kashy –Piya Krishisukti “
  • The text that mention the steps to cure disease of trees was
    • Vriksh ayurveda
  • Advanced knowledge about weather conditions and their use in agricultural operations was noticeable in texts as
    • The Gurusamhita and Krishiparasara
  • According to ‘ Shunya – Purana ‘ more than’ 50 ‘kinds of paddy were cultivated in Bengal .
  • The major facts in medieval Indian society makes social rauking was .
    • Land posession
  • The titles were conferred to the upper section in Medieval societies were
    • Thakur , Raut , Ranaka , Nayaka etc
  • The main Shudra scribes were
    • The Kayasthas , Karanas , likhakars and lipikars .
  • “ Gavundas “ are the Shudra scribes in
    • Decan
  • One of the most distinctive feature of the social change in Post – Gupta period was the increase in the rise of new casts in each Varna particularly in the Brahmanas .
  • ‘ Mitakshra ‘ the famous commentery of theSmriti of ‘ Yangya Valkya ‘ Speaks of the ten fold gradation of brahmanas .
  • The possition of women in the society gradually declined .
  • The Orthodox Brahmanical order was challenged by the Siva Sects as the pasupatas the Kamaka palikas and the Kala – Mukhas .
  • The famous devotional work on Muruga in Medieval South India was
    • ‘ The Tiru muruga Arruppadai ‘
  • The famous Sivaite Saints and Vaishnasvite Saints in the 6th and 7th Centuery were
    • The Nayanars and the Alvars respectively
  • The collections of hymn dedicated to Shiva and Vishnu , written in Tamil were ‘ the ‘Tirumurari ‘ and the Nalayirapara – bandhan ‘ respectively .
  • A famous women saint in this period was
    • Andal
  • Singing of the hymns accompanied by music and dance became regular feature of temple rituals like ‘ Bharatanatyam ‘ set by
    • Sage Bharata in his text ‘ the Natya Shastra ‘
  • ‘ Karakkal Ammai ’ was the only female Shiva Saints in TamilNadu .
  • The three powerful North Indian Kingdoms arose between 750 – 1000 AD were;
    • I. The Rashtrakutas in the Northern Decan
    • II. The Pratiharas in Avanti and parts of Southern Rajastan .
    • III. The palas in Bengal
  • The main reason behind the tripartiate struggle among the three powers was
    • Kanauj
  • Finally the Rashtrakutas were replaced by the later Chalukyas .
  • The Palas were replaced by the Senas .
  • The Pratihara kingdom broken up in to number of small kingdoms and some of them were ruled by the Rajput princes .
  • The first invader of India from the North West was (Persia).-
    • The Mahmud of Ghazni

Major Dynasties of North India



  • Prathiharas were a branch of the Gurjaras
  • Arab writers Abuzaid and at Masudi allude their fights with the Gurjaras of the North.
  • The Kanarese poet ‘ pampa’ calls Mahipala ‘ Gurjaraja ‘ .
  • Prathiharas came in to prominance in the middle of the 8th century AD
  • The first famous king of Prathihara was
    • Nagabhatta 1
  • Their Principality comprising Malwa , parts of Rajpatena and Gujarath.
  • Nagabhatta 1 was succeeded by Vatsaraja
  • Vatsaraja defeated the famous Bandiclan an the king of Bengal Dharmapala .
  • Vatsa raja was defeated by the Rashtraking Dhruva .
  • Vatsaraj was succeeded by Nagabhatta II
  • The Rashtra kuta king defeated Nagabhatta II was Govinda II
  • Nagabhatta I I was Overran Kanauj , deposed Chakrayudha , Dharmapalas’s Protégé and made it the capital of Prathihara kingdom.
  • The Gwalior inscription tells Nagabhatta II ‘s Victories .
  • As per this inscription Nagabhatta II worn the following victories .
  • Anartta in north Kathiawar , Malwa or Central India , Matsyas or eastern Raj putana the kiratas of the Himalayas ,Thrustikas the Arab settlers of Western India and the Vatsas in the territory of Kausambi or Kosam .
  • Nagabhatta II was succeeded by Ramabhadra.
  • Ramabhadra’s reign lasted only three years .
  • Ramabhadra was succeeded by his son Bhoja , Known as “ Mihira Bhoja “
  • The Prathihara power reached glory at Bhoja ‘s period
  • Bhoja ‘s victory was inscripted on his “ Daulatpura copper plate – inscriptions “
  • Bhoja was defeated by the pala king Devapala
  • Bhoja’s contemporary Rashtra kuta king was Dhruva II
  • After Devapala ‘s death Bhoja defeated the weak pala successor Narayana pala .
  • Bhoja occupied Malwa after defeating the Rashtra kuta king Krishna II on the bank of the Narmada .
  • Bhoja ‘s regin lasted on long 46 years .
  • Bhoja’s regin and evenful carrer draw the attention of the Arab traveler sulaiman .
  • Bhoja was succeeded by his son Mahendra pala 1
  • Mahendra pala ‘s main achievement was the conquest of Magadha and Northern Bangal .
  • Rajashekara , the most brilliant writer was lived in Mahendra pala ‘ s court .
  • Rajashekara ‘s important literary works are Karpura manjari , BalaRamayana , Bala and Bharata , Kavyamimamsa .
  • After Mahendrapala’s death his son Bhoja II seized the throne , But his half brother Mahipala soon usurped the throne .
  • At this time the Rashtra kuta king Indra III completely devastated Kanauj .
  • After the withdrawl of Indra III to the deccan Mahipala’s to recover .
  • The Arab traveler at masudi went to India at Mahipala’s time .al – masudi reached in India on 915 – 16 AD
  • The Arab chronicle testify the struggle between the Rashtrakutas and the Prathiharas , the disposes of the latter .
  • Mahipala was succeeded by Devapala .
  • During Devapala’s time the chandellas became virtually independent .
  • The process of decline of the Prathihara empire had begun with Devapala .
  • The decline accelerated with the reign of his successors Vijaya pala and Rajyapala .
  • As per the inscription of the year 1036, the last ruler of the prathihara line was Yashpala .


Genealogical Tables of Prathiharas


Unnamed Ancestor


Nagabhatta 1




Nagabhatta II




Mihira Bhoja 1


Mahendrapala 1


Bhoja II


Mahipala (Kshitipala)












  • Pala dynasty was formed by Gopala in Bengal which ruled for nearly ‘ 4 ‘ centuries.
  • Gopala was born in Pundravarhana of bogra District in Bengal .
  • Gopala was an ardent Buddhist .
  • Gopala built the Monastry of Odantapuri , that is modern Bihar sherif .
  • Gopala was succeeded by his son Dharmapala .
  • Dharmapala was involved in a struggle with two main powers the Rashtrakutas and the Prathiharas .
  • The prathihara ruler vatsaraja defeated Dharmapala in a battle at the Gangetic Doab .
  • The Rashtrakuta king Dhruva defeated both Dharmapala and Vatsaraja .
  • However after Vatsaraj’s defeat by Dhruva , and the latters left for the Deccan Dharmapala raised the Palakingdom to greatness .
  • Dharmapala installed Chakrayudha on the throne of Kanauj .
  • Dharmapala ‘s empire was extended as Bengal and Bihar at his direct rule Kanauj by his nomine , besides with large number of vassal states like the Punjab , Rajputane ,Malwa and Bengal .
  • The Prathihara king Nagabhatta II conquered Kanauj and drove away Dharmapala’ s portege Chakrayudha .
  • The Prathihara ruler Nagabhatta II defeated Dharmapala in a battle .
  • Dharmapala was rescued with the aid of the Rashtrakuta king Govinda III .
  • Dharmapala ‘s reign was lasted for 32 years .
  • Dharmapala founded the famous Buddhist Mahavihera of Vikrama sila near Bhagalpur .
  • He is also construct a Vihara at Paharpur in Somapura .
  • According to Taranath Dharmapala founded ‘ 15 ‘ religious instructions .
  • Dharmapala was patron of the great Buddhist author ‘ Harihara’
  • Dharmapala was succeeded by his son Devapala .
  • Devapala was regarded as the most powerful pala ruler .
  • Devapala defeated the Gurjaras and the Hunas and conquered Utkala and Kamarupa .
  • Devapala’s Gurjara adversely was identified as MihiraBhoja .
  • The Arab merchant Sulaiman ,Visited India in 85 AD and refers to the Pala Kingdom as ‘ Ruhmi ‘.
  • Devapala was a great patron of Buddhism .
  • Balaputra deva ,the Buddhist king of Java sent an ambassador to Devapala,s court for a grant of five villages to endow monastery at Nalanda .
  • Devapala appointed ‘ Viradeva’ as head of Nalanda monastery .
  • Devapala’s court was adorned by the Buddhist poet Vajaradatta .
  • Vajradatta’s famous book was ‘ Lokesvara sataka’ .
  • The glory of Pala empire was began to decline with the death of Devapala .
  • Devapala was succeeded by Vigrahapala.
  • Who have only a short reign of three to for years .
  • Vigrahapala’s successor was his son Narayana pala .
  • The Rashtra kuta king defeated Devapala was Amoghavarsha.
  • Narayana pala was succeeded by his son Rajyapala
  • Rajyapala was succeeded by his son Gopala II
  • During these weak pala rulers period the invasions lead by Chandellas and Kalachuris disembered the pala empire .
  • Mahipala 1 was ascended the throne in AD 98
  • The Chola ruler Rajendra chola invaded Bengal at the time of Mahipala 1.
  • Rajendra’s Tirumalai Inscription records the details of his conquest in the north .
  • The last king of pala dynasty was Madana pala .

Genealogical Tables of Palas








Vigrahapala 1(surapala 1)






Gopala II


Vigrahapala 11


Mahipala 1




Vigrahapala III


Surapala II






  • Founder of senas samanta sena
  • According to “Brahma kshatriya” Samanta sena was a Brahmin, his successors called themselves kshatriyas.
  • Samanta senas successor was his son ‘Hemanta sena’
  • The Sena ruler ,who ruled the empire more than sixty years was Vijaya sena , the son and successor of Hemanta Sena.
  • Vijaya sena lead the foundation of the greatness of senas by conquering nearly the whole of Bengal
  • The imperial title assumed by vijaya sena are paramesvara, parama bhattaraka,and Maha Rajadhi raja
  • The vijayasenas empire had two capitals one at vijayapuri in west Bengal and another at Vikramapura in Bengladesh.
  • The famous book “vijaya prasasti” deals vijayasenas memory it was composed by the poet ”Sri harsha”
  • Vijaya sena was succeeded by his son Ballala sena
  • Ballala sena was a great scholar and wrote four works
  • The two currently extending works of Bellalasena was the Danasagra and The Adbhuta sagara
  • The book of Bellala Sena deals about astromy was the Adbhutasagara.
  • Bellala sena was succeeded by his son Lekshmana sena in 1179
  • Lakshmana sena was a devout of Vishnava
  • The famous Vishnava poet of Bengal lived in Lekshmana sena’s court was Jayadeva
  • Jayadevas famous work was the “Gita Govinda”
  • Other celebrated poets lived in his court was Dhoyi, the author of the “Pavanaduta “and Govardhana , the author of the “Arya – Saptasati”
  • At this time the senas power was weakened by internal rebellions and the invasion of “Bhakhtiyar-khalji”
  • The detailed account of the invasion of Bhakhtiyar –khalj was given from” Tabakat-i-Nasiri”.
  • The “Adhbhuta sagra begun by Bellala sena was completed by Lakshmana sena
  • According to “Tabakat – i – Nasiri” Lakshmana sena descendants ruled parts of Bengal for some more times


Genealogical Tables of Sena


Vira sena (Ancestor)


Samanta sena


Hemanta sena


Vijaya sena


Ballala sena


Lakshmana sena




Purushottama sena




  • The term ‘ Rashtrakuta ‘ denoes officers in charge of Rashtras .
  • Rashtrakutas originally belonged to Lattalura , that is modern Latur of Maharashtra .
  • They were of Kannada orgin
  • Their mothertongue was Kannada
  • Danti durga , a feudatory of the chalukyas , was known for the founder of this lasting empire
  • The Samanged plates and the Dasavatara cave inscriptions of Ellora describe the victorious carrier of Dantidurgas reign.
  • Dantidura signified his victory over malwa by performing hiranyagarbha dana cermoney at Ujjain
  • Dantidurga defeated the chalukya emperor Kirthi varman II and proclaimed himself as a paramount ruled of Deccan .
  • Dantidurga died childless , so after his death succeeded by his uncle Krishna 1 .
  • The Ganga ruler in Gandawadi or modern Mysore defeated by Krishna 1 was
    • Sripurasha
  • Krishna 1 constructed the rock cut Monolithic temple at Ellora called Kailasa temple .
  • Krishna 1 was succeeded by his eldest son Govinda II .
  • Govinda II was overthrown by his brother Dhruva .
  • The prathihara ruler defeated by Dhruva was Vatsaraja Prathihara in Kanauj .
  • Dhruva was succeeded by his son Govinda III
  • The major north Indian kings defeated by Govinda III was Nagabhatta II and his puppet Charayudha of Kanauj and the pala emperor Dharmapala.
  • Govinda III was succeeded by his son Srava, known as Amoghavarsha 1 .
  • Amoghavarsha’s reign was lasted long 64 years .
  • He was an admirof peace ,religion and literature .
  • Hene his reign lacked brilliance , Ganga wadi and malwa were lost to the empire .
  • His later life developed learning towards Jainism and jinasena ,the author of ‘ Adipurana ‘ was his chief preceptor .
  • The ‘ kavirajamarga ‘ the earliest work on poetics in the Kannada language was written by Amoghavarsha 1.
  • ‘ The city of manyakhela’ was built by Amoghavarsha 1.
  • Amoghavarsha 1 was succeeded by his son Krishna II .
  • Like Amoghavarsha 1 , Krishna II was a Jaina .
  • He was not a Warrior .
  • Krishna II ‘s only achievement was the termination of Gujarath Branch .
  • Krishna II was succeeded by his grandson indra III .
  • Indra III defeated the Prathihara emperor Mahipala and occupied Kanauj .
  • Indra III was Succeeded by his son Amoghavarsha II .
  • After a year of accession he was died and succeeded by his brother Govinda IV .
  • He was a tyrant , and it provoked universl resentment .
  • Due to a revolution , ended the inglorious reign of Govinda IV and the Crown transferred to Amoghavarsha III .
  • Amoghavarsha III was Succeeded by Krishna III.
  • Krishna III lead a lightening expedition to the Chola kingdom and captured Kanchi
  • and Tanjore .
  • AD 949 , a battle at Takkolam in the North Arcot District with Cholas .
  • Krishna defeated both the kerala and Pandya kings , occupying Rames varam for a time .
  • The famous temples built in Ramesvaram by Krishna III were the temples of Krishnnesvara , and Ganda martandatiya .
  • Krishna also effectively possessed Tondai mandala consisting of the Arcot ,Chingle put and Vellore District .
  • Krishna III defeated the Paramara in Malwa , Harsha Siyaka and occupied Ujjain .
  • His reign marked the dis inlegration of the Rashtrakuta empire .
  • After a few years of Krishna ‘s death his feaudatory Tailapa overthrown Rashtrakutas and to lay the foundation of the western chalukya empire of Kalyani .
  • Krishna III was succeeded by his half brother Kottiga .
  • Harsha siyaka , the Paramara king defeated by Krishna ,defeated Kottiga and sacked malkhed , the Rashtre kuta capital .
  • Kottiga was followed by his Nephew Karha II .
  • After eighteen month of his accession , Tailapa (Taila II ) of chalukya family deprived his Soverignty over Deccan .

Rashtra kuta Administration

Various units of Rashtrskuta empire as follows ,


Rashtras or provinces


Vishayas or districts


Bhuktis composed of 50-70 villages




  • The head of the Rashtras was Rashtrapati .
  • The head of the vishayas was Vishayapathi.
  • The head of the bhuktis was Bhogapatis or tuhsil officers .
  • They were appointed directly by central government .
  • The hereditary revenue officers helped Bhogapathis in bhuktis are called Nalgavundas or desagramarkutas .
  • The elders of the districts are called Vishaya Maharattas.
  • The elders of the provinces are called the Rashtra Maharattas .


Arts and Culture


  • The kavi rahasya of Halayudha was composed in the reign of Krishna III.
  • Trivikram the author were of the Nala champu lived in Rashtrakuta court .
  • Rashtra kutas were mainly patrons of the Jainism .
  • Sanskrit literature were widely patronisd .
  • The main Jain works in this period were ,

Ashta sati and Ashta sahasri , these are two commentaries of the Aptamimamsa .

Wrote by Akalanka and Vidyanandha .


  • Manikya nandin wrote logic books Pariksha mukha sastra , and Naya kaumudic chandrodaya .
  • Amoghavarsha 1’s period saw the Rashtrakuta’s high point of Jaina literature .
  • ‘Harivamsa’ was composed by his spiritual preceptor Harisena .
  • ‘ Adi purana ‘ life stories of various Jaina saints began by Harisena was completed by his disciple ,’Gunabhadra‘
  • ‘Parsvabhyu daya’ was composed by Jainsena
  • Amogha vritti a work on grammar by Saktayana and ‘Ganitasarasamgrahaka’ of Viracharya a treatise on Mathematics .
  • Were two other important works of Amoghavarsha ‘s period .
  • The beginning of the Canarese literature was in Rashtrakutas’s period.
  • ‘Kaviraja marga’ written by Amogha varsha 1 was the first work of canarese on poetics .
  • Vikramarjuna vijaya written by Pampa 1 at this period .
  • Ponna author of santi purana lived in Rashtrs kuta’s court .

Genealogical tables of Rashtrakutas


Danti durga ( AD 752 – 56)


Krishna 1 (AD 756 – 75)


Govinda II (AD 775- 80)


Dhruva (AD 780-92)


Govinda III (AD 792-814)


Amoghavarsha 1/ Srava (AD 814 – 80)


Krishna II (AD 880 – 915)


Indra III (AD 915 – 27)


Amoghavarsha II (AD 927 – 30)


Govinda IV (AD 930 – 34)


Amoghavarsha III (AD 934 39)


Krishna III (AD 939 – 68)


Khottiga (AD 968 – 72)


Karka (AD 972 – 983)







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