Indian history: The Northern Kingdoms
(648 AD - 1000 AD)
The Pala Empire was probably founded in 750 AD. For about a hundred years, from the middle of the 8th to the middle of the 9th century, the Pala rulers dominated eastern India. The Nalanda University, which had been famous all over the eastern world, was revived. The Palas had close trade contacts and cultural links with South-East Asia. Early in the twelfth century, they were replaced by the Sena dynasty, which reversed the Palas' traditional support of Buddhism and encouraged Hindu orthodoxy.
Of the three empires, the Rashtrakuta's lasted the longest. Not only was it the most powerful of the time, but it also acted as a bridge between north and south India. Amoghavarsha (814 AD - 880 AD) is probably the best remembered of the Rashtrakuta kings. His long reign was distinguished for its royal patronage of Jainism and the flourishing of regional literature. By the end of the tenth century, the second line of the Chalukyas brought the Rashtrakuta kingdom within their control.
They are also called Gurjara-Pratiharas, probably because they originated from Gurjarata or southwestern Rajasthan. The real founder of the Pratihara empire and the greatest ruler of the dynasty was Mihir Bhoja. He recovered Kanauj by about 836, and it remained the capital of the Pratiharas for almost a century. Between 915 AD and 918 AD, a Rashtrakuta king, who devastated the city leading to the weakening of the Pratihara Empire, attacked Kanauj. The empire broke up into a number of smaller kingdoms, some of which were ruled by Rajput princes. Five of the larger ones were the Chauhans of Rajasthan, Gahrwals of Kanauj, Solankis of Gujarat, Paramaras of Malwa and the Chandels of Bundelkhand.
Language, Culture and Architecture
Regional languages emerged fast. Early forms of Marathi and
Gujarati were being spoken in western India and Bengali, Assamese and
Oriya came up in eastern India. During this time, there arose such
splendid temples as those at Khajuraho, Kanchipuram and Thanjavur. Of
special note are the temples of Bhubaneshwar, Puri and Konark in Orissa.
Miniature painting, which flourished in Mughals, began in this period.
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