Pratihara Dynasty

The Pratiharas are also called as Gurjara-Pratihars, because of their origin from Gujaratra or south-western Rajasthan. They were at first local officials but were able to make out a series of principalities in central and eastern Rajasthan. They gained prominence on account of their resistance to Arab incursions from Sindh into Rajasthan.

The founder of the Pratihara Empire was the greatest ruler of the dynasty, Bhoja. He rebuilt the empire and by about 836, he recovered Kanauj which remained the capital of Pratihara Empire for almost a century. His continuous conquests helped him to retain his control over the parts of Malwa and some parts of Gujarat. His territories extended to the eastern side of the river Sutlej. They are supposed to have possessed the best cavalry in India.

Following the death of the Pala King, Devapala, Bhoja extended his empire to the east also. Also known as Mihir Bhoja, he was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. After Bhoja's death, he was succeeded by his son, Mahendrapala I. He ruled till 909 and extended the empire over Magadha and north Bengal.

The Pratiharas thus dominated north India for over a hundred years, from the middle of the ninth to the middle of the tenth century. They were patrons of learning and literature, and constructed many buildings and temples. The efforts of Pratihara rulers to expand their kingdom to the Upper Ganga valley and Malwa were checked by the Rashtrakutas. In the wars that followed, the Rashtrakutas defeated the Pratiharas, who then withdrew to the Deccan.Between 915 and 918, the Rashtrakuta king Indra III, attacked Kanauj and destroyed the city. This weakened the Pratihara Empire and Gujarat passed into the hands of Rashtrakutas. The loss of Gujarat deeply affected the Pratiharas as it was the hub of the overseas trade and main outlet for north Indian goods to the West Asian countries. Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III invaded north India in about 963 and defeated the Pratihara ruler, followed by the rapid dissolution of the Pratihara Empire.

Updated on 24th September, 2015


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