Points to Remember: Northern India from 8th Century AD to 1200 AD

Tripartite Struggle

Prithviraj Raso

The tripartite struggle between the Palas, Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas for the control of Kanauj was the most important feature between 750 AD and 1000 AD.

Causes of Tripartite Struggle

  1. To acquire supremacy over Kanauj, a symbol pf prestige
  2. To get control over Gujarat and Malwa whose nearness to the coast was very important for foreign trade.
  3. Lust for booty, an important source for maintaining a huge army
  4. desire to impress the smaller kingdoms with the sense of their power and demand respect.


Two branches- one founded by Harichandra near modern Jodhpur and other founded by Nagabhatta I in Malwa ( Ujjain)- of the Pratiharas ruled in this period.

Nagabhatta is remembered in history for his successful resistance to the Arabs.

Bhoja, who assumed the titles of Mihira and Adivaraha was the greatest Pratihara king.

Palas and Senas

The Pala dynasty in Bengal was founded by Gopala. Dharmapala, who founded the University of Vikramasila was the greatest Pala ruler.

In Bengal, the Sena dynasty replaced the Palas. The greatest Sena ruler was Vijayasena who is called the real founder of Sena dynasty. Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khilji captured the Sena capital Nadia and ended the Sena rule.


The Agnikula theory of Rajput origin was first forwarded by Chand Bardai in his book Prithviraj Raso.

Chandradeva was the first ruler of the Gahadvalas who ruled in Kanauj. Jayachandra was the last ruler of this dynasty.

Chauhanas or Chahamanas of Sakambari (near Ajmer) established an independent state in Ajmer. Prithviraj Chauhan, who defeated Mahammad Ghori in the First battle of Tarain in 1191 was the greatest Chauhan ruler.

Prithviraj Chauhan is also called Rai Pithaura by Muslim historian.

The Chalukyas or Solankis (Anhilwara) ruled in Gujarat and Kathiawar from 950AD to 1300AD. Muhammad Ghazni overran Gujarat and plundered the temple of Somanath during the reign of Bhima-I.

Jayasimha Siddharaja, who defeated the Paramaras and adopted the title of Avantinatha, was the greatest Chalukya or Solanki king. The noted Jain scholar Hemachandra adorned his court.

Dhanga, who supported the Hindu king, Jaipala of Punjab against Subuktigin, was the most powerful king of the Chandella or Jejabhukti dynasty which ruled from Kharjuravahaka or modern Khajuraho.

The Chandellas kingdom was annexed by Ala-ud-din Khiliji.

Rajput Dynasties – Centre of Power – Most Famous rulers

  1. Chauhanas – Ajmer – Prithviraj Chauhans
  2. Gahadavalas – Kanauj – Jayachandra
  3. Chandellas – Mahoba – Dhanga
  4. Paramaras – Malva – Bhoja
  5. Tomars – Delhi – Mahipala

Arab invasions to Sindh

Immediate cause of Arab invasion of Sindh was king Dahir’s refusal to pay compensation for the ships which were plundered by pirates near Debal, a port in Sindh. The ships had been sent by king of Ceylon to Khalifa Walid.

In 712AD, Muhammad-bin-Qasim, the nephew and son-in-law of Al-Hajjaj, the governor of Basra (Iraq), conquered Debal (a port in Sindh) by slaying Dahir, the brahmin ruler in Sindh. Dahir’s father captured the Sindh kingdom by overthrowing a Buddhist rule.

Of the 17 expeditions made by Mahmud Ghazni into India, the one against Somanath in 1025 was the most important one as it gave Mahmud a vast treasure. Mahmud Ghazni’s conquests opened India to conquest from the north-west.

Mahammud of Ghur

The Yamini dynasty to which Ghazni rulers belonged was overthrown by Mahammad of Ghur.

Unlike earlier invaders, Muhammad Ghur entered the Indus plains through the Gomal pass and not through the more common Khyber pass.

Shihab-ud-din or Muhammad of Ghur was defeated by Mularaj, the king of Anhilwara (Chalukyas) in 1178AD.

Muhammad of Ghur defeated Prithviraj Chauhan in the second battle of Tarain and Raja Jaichandra of Gaharwal (Kanauj) in the battle of Chandwar.

Muhammad Ghur was killed in 1206 AD by the rebels of the Khokar tribe of Punjab.

Literary development

Prithviraj Raso marks the beginning of Hindi literature.

Firdusi, the author of Shahanama, was patronised by Mahammad of Ghazni.

Somadeva’s Kathasaritasagar, Kalhana’s Rajatarangini, Jayadeva’s Geeta Govinda and Bilhana’s Vikramankadevacharita are some famous literary works of this period.

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