SSC GK History Notes : States in North India (Age of three empires).

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

In this article, we have explained Northern India of 8th – 10th century. Many questions are asked about Palas, Pratiharas, and Rashtrakutas in SSC Exams. In this article, We have explained all the three empires. Go through the article and let us know in the comment section if it was helpful for you.

In this article, we have explained Northern India of 8th – 10th century. Many questions are asked about Palas, Pratiharas, and Rashtrakutas in SSC Exams. In this article, We have explained all three empires. Go through the article and let us know in the comment section if it was helpful for you.

Northern India – Age of three empires (8th to 10th Century)

The struggle for domination – the Palas, the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas – tripartite struggle

There was a common struggle between these kingdoms over the control of Kannauj which enabled them to control the fertile upper Gangetic plains

The Palas

  • They dominated Eastern India.
  • Founded by Gopala in 750 AD and succeeded by Dharam Pala. The Pala rulers were defeated by the Prathiharas and Rashtrakutas in the North.
  • They were patrons of Buddhism. Dharmapala revived the Nalanda University by setting aside 200 villages for its expenses. He also founded Vikramashila University and built many Viharas for Buddhist monks
  • They had trade contacts and cultural links with South-East Asia. Sailendra Dynasty sent many ambassadors and asked permission to build a monastery near Nalanda

The Pratiharas

  • They dominated Western India and Upper Gangetic valley
  • The real founder and major ruler was Bhoja with title Adivaraha
  • Al-Masudi, a Baghdad traveller, visited India during the times of Pratiharas in 915-16 AD
  • Rajashekar, a great Sanskrit poet, and dramatist lived at the court of Mahipala
  • The attacks by Rashtrakuta rulers, Indra III and Krishna III led to faster dissolution of the empire

The Rashtrakutas

  • They dominated Deccan and certain territories in North and South India. Kingdom was founded by Dandi Durga with capital at Malkhed
  • Amogavarsha was a great king. He was credited with writing the first poetics book in Kannada. He also built the Capital city, Manyakhet.
  • They were in constant contest with the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Chalukyas in the South
  • Krishna I built the rock-cut temple of Shiva at Ellora
  • They had a tolerant religious policy which favoured their foreign trade

Political ideas and Organizations

  • The king was the center of administration and his position became hereditary
  • Royal household = Antahpur
  • Administration in Palas and Pratiharas
    1. Bhukti – Province under Uparika
    2. Mandala or Visaya – district under Visayapati
    3. Group of Villages – Samanthas or Bhogapatis.
    4. Pattala – smaller unit
  • Administration in the Rashtrakutas
    1. Rashtra – Province under Rashtrapati
    2. Visaya – district
    3. Bhukti – smaller unit
  • Grama-Mahajana – Village elder
  • Kotwal – responsibility to maintain law and order
  • Nad-Gavundas/Desa-gramakutas – hereditary revenue officers in Deccan

The Chola Empire

The Chola empire, which arose in the 9th century, brought a large part of the Peninsula under their control. With a strong Navy, they conquered Sri Lanka, Maldives and had a strong foreign trade.

  • The empire was founded by Vijaylala, a feudatory of Pallavas, in 850 AD.
  • Rajaraja (985-1014) and Rajendra I (1014-1044) were the greatest Chola kings. They followed a policy of annexation which included annexing Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pandyas and Cheras to control the prosperous trade with South-East Asian countries
  • Rajarajeshwara temple was built in 1010 at Tanjore.
  • Rajendra I assumed the title Gangaikondachola (the Chola conqueror of Ganga) and instituted a new capital at the banks of Kaveri called “Gangaikondacholapuram”
  • Rajendra I also undertook a naval expedition against revived Sri Vijaya Empire of Indo-China
  • The ruler of Sailendra dynasty had built a Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam.
  • The strong navy of Chola led to the conversion of Bay of Bengal into “Chola lake”
  • The Cholas encouraged Local Self-Government in the villages under their administration

Chola Government

  • The King administered his territories with advice from his Council of Ministers
  • Chola administration
    1. Mandalas – Provinces
    2. Valanadu – minor provinces
    3. Nadu – district
    4. Kurram – a group of villages
  • Infrastructure: Royal roads were built, irrigation projects were undertaken
  • Village assemblies: the Ur – general assembly of the village; the Mahasabha – gathering of adult men in Brahmana villages which were called Agraharas

Cultural life

  • They were great builders of Cities (Tanjore, Gangaikondacholapuram), large palaces, banquet halls, spacious gardens, and terraces etc.
  • Dravida style of temple architecture attained its climax. The temple had become so elaborate like a mini city and enjoyed revenue-free grants of lands for its expenses
  • Kailashnath temple in Kanchi, Brihadeswara temple in Tanjore are examples of Dravidian architecture
  • After the fall of Cholas, the Hoysalas continued the tradition with building temples in Halebid (Hoysaleshwara temple), an example of Chalukyan architecture.
  • Sculpture art attained its heights with Gomateshwar statue in Sharvana Belagola and Bronze Nataraja statue
  • Along with Sanskrit literature, the local language literature also grew in this region
  • Bhakti movement started with Alvars and Nayanars flourished in 6th to 9th Their writings “Tirumurai” is seen as Fifth Veda. Kamban’s Ramayan is also considered as a classic in Tamil literature.
  • Pampa, Ponna, and Ranna are regarded as the three gems of Kannada Poetry

Thus, this period had a flourishing trade and commerce, great temple building activities and promising literary works.

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