Medieval Indian History is an important part of the UPSC IAS Exam. In this article, find NCERT notes on The Rajputs and North Kingdoms for the Civil Service Exam 2023 preparation.
Rajputs UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here
The North Indian Kingdoms – The Rajputs
The Medieval Indian History period lies between the 8th and the 18th century A.D. Ancient Indian history came to an end with the rule of Harsha and Pulakesin II.
The medieval period can be divided into two stages:
- Early medieval period: 8th – 12th century A.D.
- Later Medieval period: 12th-18th century.
About the Rajputs
- The Origin of Rajputs is a subject of debate. There are many theories that support their origins such as the Agni Kula theory, Tribal Origin theory, Foreign Origin theory, Kshatriya Origin theory, and mixed origin theory.
- Rajputs belonged to the early medieval period.
- The Rajput Period (647A.D- 1200 A.D.)
- From the death of Harsha to the 12th century, the destiny of India was mostly in the hands of various Rajput dynasties.
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There were nearly 36 Rajput’ clans. The major clans were:
- The Palas of Bengal
- The Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer
- The Rathors of Kanauj
- The Guhilas or Sisodiyas of Mewar
- The Chandellas of Bundelkhand
- The Paramaras of Malwa
- The Senas of Bengal
- The Solankis of Gujarat
Gopala (765-769 A.D.)
- Founder of Pala Dynasty and he also restored order.
- Ruled over Northern and Eastern India.
- He expanded the Pala dynasty and extended his power over Magadha.
Dharmapala (769-815 A.D.)
- He is the son of Gopala and succeeded his father.
- He brought Bengal, Bihar, and Kanauj under his control.
- He defeated the Pratiharas and became the master of Northern India.
- He was a steadfast Buddhist and founded the famous Vikramasila University and several monasteries.
- He also restored the Nalanda University.
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Devapala (815-855 A.D.)
- Devapala is the son of Dharmapala who succeeded his father.
- He kept the Pala territories intact.
- He captured Assam and Orissa.
Mahipala (998-1038 A.D.)
- The Palas became powerful during his reign.
- The Pala dynasty declined after the death of Mahipala.
- His lineage is questionable as the ruler Madanapala was said to be the 18th and final ruler of the Pala lineage but he was succeeded by Govindapala.
- As per the historians, the successor after Mahipala was said to be weak, and not much information is available about them.
Tripartite Struggle for Kanauj
- The Tripartite Struggle for Kanauj was between the Pratiharas of Central India, the Palas of Bengal and the Rashtrakutas of Deccan as all these three dynasties wanted to establish their supremacy over Kanauj and the fertile Gangetic Valley.
- The Tripartite Struggle lasted for 200 years and weakened all of them which enabled the Turks to overthrow them.
The Tomars of Delhi
- The Tomars were the feudatories of the Pratiharas.
- Tomar Dynasty ruled between the 8th and 12th century AD in parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana.
- AnangaPala I founded Tomar Dynasty in 8the Century AD.
- Anangpal II was the founder of Dhillikapuri, which eventually became Delhi.
- Anangpal II is credited to have established and populated Delhi during his reign in the 11th century.
- Anangpal Tomar II was succeeded by his grandson Prithviraj Chauhan.
- Chauhans captured Delhi in the middle of the 12th century and the Tomars became their feudatories.
The Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer
- The Chauhans declared their independence in the 1101 century at Ajmer and they were the feudatories of the Pratiharas.
- They captured Ujjain from the Paramaras of Malwa and Delhi in the early part of the 12th century.
- They shifted their capital to Delhi.
- Prithviraj Chauhan was the most important ruler of this dynasty.
Rathors of Kanauj
- The Rathors established themselves on the throne of Kanauj from 1090 to 1194 A.D. (as per various sources).
- Jaichand was the last great ruler of this dynasty. He was killed in the battle of Chandwar in 1194A.D. by Muhammad of Ghori.
The Chandellas of Bundelkhand
- Established them in the 9th century.
- Nannuk, a ruler of small kingdom was the founder of Chandela Dynasty.
- Chandellas ruled much of the Bundelkhand region of Central India for approximately 500 years between the 9th and the 13th centuries AD. In those days, the Bundelkhand region was popularly known by the name of Jejakabhukti.
- The capital city of Chandels was Khajuraho which was later changed to Mahoba.
- Kalinjar was their important fort.
- The Chandellas built the most famous Kandariya Mahadeva Temple in 1050 A.D. and a number of beautiful temples at Khajuraho.
- The Chandel Dynasty is famous in Indian history for Maharaja Rao Vidyadhara, who repulsed the attacks of Mahmud of Ghazni.
- Paramardi the last independent Chandella ruler was defeated by Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1203 A.D. After him, the Chandela continues to become week and other new dynasties emerged in to picture like Bundela in Orchha, Baghels in the Bandhavgarh region.
Aspirants can read, Qutub-ud-din-Aibak Was Crowned on July 24, 1206 on the provided link.
The Guhllas or Sisodiyas of Mewar
- Guhil was the founder of the Guhila Dynasty.
- This Clan originated in Kashmir, migrated to Gujarat in the 6th century, and then again migrated to Mewar around the area of Magadh in the 7th Century.
- The Rajput ruler Bappa Rawal laid the foundation of the Guhilot Dynasty or the Sisodiya dynasty in Mewar and Chittor was its capital.
- During the period of Rawal Ratan Singh of Mewar.
- Rana Sangha and Maharana Pratap the Sisodiya rulers gave a tough fight to the Mughal rulers of India.
- Maharana Pratap was the 54th ruler of Mewar in the line of Sisodhiya Rajputs.
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The Paramaras of Malwa
- The Paramaras were also the feudatories of Pratiharas. They declared their independence in the 10th century and Dhara was their capital.
- The Paramaras ruled until 1305, when Malwa was conquered by Ala ud din Khilji.
- The later Parmara rulers moved their capital to Mandap-Durg (now Mandu).
Raja Bhoja (1010-1055)
- He was the most famous ruler of this period.
- He constructed a beautiful lake more than 250 sq. miles near Bhopal.
- He set up a college at Dhara for the study of Sanskrit Literature.
The reign of the Paramaras came to an end with the invasion of Ala-ud-din Khilji.
Society Under Rajputs
Nature of the Rajputs
- The Rajputs were great warriors and chivalrous by nature.
- They believed in protecting the women and the weak.
- The Rajputs were staunch followers of Hinduism.
- They also patronized Buddhism and Jainism.
- During their period the Bhakti Cult started.
- The Rajput Society was Feudal in its organizational setup.
- Each kingdom was divided into a large number of Jagirs held by the Jagirdars.
Major literary works of this period
- Kalhana’s Rajatarangin – ‘River of Kings’
- Jayadeva’s Gita Govindam – Song of the cowherd
- Somadeva’s Kathasaritasagar
- Chand Bardai, the court poet of Prithviraj Chauhan, wrote Prithviraj Raso in which he refers to the military exploits of Prithviraj Chauhan.
- Bhaskara Charya wrote Siddhanta Shiromani, a book on astronomy.
- Rajasekhara – The court poet of Mahendrapala and Mahipala. His best known works were Karpuramanjari, Kavyamimamsa, and Balaramayana.
Art and Architecture
- Mural paintings and Miniatures paintings were popular.
- Temples at Khajuraho
- Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneshwar
- The Sun Temple at Konark
- The Dilwara Temple at Mount Abu
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