HARSHAVARDHAN & THE SOUTHERN DYNASTIES

HARSHAVARDHAN & THE SOUTHERN DYNASTIES

  • After the decline of Gupta empire, a number of Kingdoms appeared in the North India:
    • Maukhari Dynasty in the core Ganga Valley Region.
    • Harshavardhan’s ancestors (Pushyabhutis) in western U.P., eastern Punjab with their capitals at Kannauj and Thaneswar (Panipat-Topara).
    • Further east, Shashank (7th century, CE) ruled over Bengal (Gauda).
  • In South, after Vakatakas who were contemporaries of Guptas, Chalukyas of Badami ruled over Deccan and further South was the Kingdom of Pallavas of Kanchi.
 

 

 

 

PUSHYABHUTI

DYNASTY

  •          SOURCES:
  •   Hieun Tsang’s travel account Si-Yu-Ki, Banbhatta’s Harshacharita and Aihole stone inscription of Pulkeshin II.
  •   Madhuban & Sonpat inscriptions records chronology of Harsha. Banshekhra inscriptions has a signature of Harsha.
  •         Pushyabhutis were feudatories of Gupta. They became independent after Huna invasion.
  •         Important rulers of this dynasty were Prabhakarvardhana, Adityavardhan and Harshavardhana.
  •          Harshvardhan was son of Prabhakarvardhana.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HARSHAVARDHAN

(606 CE – 647 CE)

  •      During Harshavardhana’s rule, Kannauj was conquered and united with Thaneswar.
  •        Harshavardhana attacked Shashank of Gauda Kingdom and established his control over regions of Bengal, Bihar and Odisha and befriended Bhashkarvarman of Kamrup (Assam).
  •         Vallabhi King Dhruvbhata in Gujrat too was defeated and a truce was negotiated with him by marriage of Harsha’s daughter to Dhruvbhata.
  •          He assumed titles of Uttarapathanatha or Uttarapathapati (Lord of the North).
  •          While marching southwards, Harshavardhan conquered regions of Malawa and after crossing Narmada he was defeated by Pulkeshin II in the Battle of Narmada.
  •        Harshavardhana was greatly influenced by the personality of Hieun Tsang and organized a Buddhist assembly at Kannauj under his chairmanship.
  •        Hieun Tsang, in his book, has appreciated Harshvardhan’s justice and munificence (generosity).
  •          Harshavardhan, the able military commander and good administrator, died in 647 CE without heir and is regarded as the last Hindu King to have ruled large part of North India.
  •          Hence, his death also marks the end of Pushyabhuti dynasty and beginning of Muslim rule over North India.

 

SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONDITION DURING HARSHAVARDHAN & THE SOUTHERN DYNASTIES

 

 

ADMINISTRATION

 

  •         Harsha governed his empire on the same lines of Gupta.
  •         The basic unit of administration was a village.
  •         Offices under the king became hereditary as Harisena who was a ‘mahadandanayaka’, or Chief Judicial Officer inherited the office from his father.
  •          One person could bear more than one office as Harisena also held offices of ‘Kumaramatya’ and ‘Sangrahvigrahika’
  •         The ‘sreshti’ (Chief Banker or Merchant), the ‘sarthavaha’ (Leader of Merchant Caravans), ‘prathamakulika’ (Chief Craftsman), and the ‘kayashthas’ (head of the scribes) were other important officers of Harsha’s administration.
  •         Maintainance of Public Records is important feature of Harsha rule.
 

ECONOMY

  •         One-sixth of the produce was collected as tax and was main source of revenue.
  •         Taxes imposed on ports, income from mines and tributes from vassals were other important revenue sources.
  •        Overall, the trade and commerce are said to have declined during this phase.
 

 

SOCIETY

  •         According to Hiuen-Tsang, there were castes, a mix of sub-castes, untouchables and also outcastes, yet, forced labour was absent.
  •          The position of women declined during this period as the institution of Swyamvara (the ceremony of choosing husband) had become dysfunctional.
  •        Widow remarriage was not allowed and Sati & dowry system were prevalent.
 

RELIGION

  •        As Harshavardhan was a secular king, all sects of religion peacefully coexisted but Brahmanism grew more than others.
  •         Harshvardhan was Shiva devotee. Later he converted to Mahayana Buddhism.
  •         According to Hieun Tsang, Harsha held Allahabad conference once in 5 yrs.
 

 

 

ART AND CULTURE

  •        A patron of art and literature, Harshavardhan patronized the Banabhatta, Mayura, Matanga Divakara etc.
  •          Banabhatta wrote – Harshacharita, Kadambari & Parvatiparinay.
  •          Harsha was a poet and composed three Sanskrit plays: Nagananda, Ratnavali, and Priyadarsika.
  •   Harshavardhan held 5 yearly donation (Daan) ceremony at Prayag and donated munificently in favour of: Administration, Royal Household, Scholars and Religion.
  •          Brick temple of Laxamana at Sirpur was built during Harsha rule.

 

PALLAVAS OF KANCHI
  • Pallava are identical with the pulindas mentioned in Ashoka’s Inscriptions.
  • Pallavas ruled from Kanchi and Mahabalipuram/Mamallapuram as their capital.
  • Important rulers of the dynasty were –

 

 

 

 

MAHENDRAVARMAN I

(600 CE – 630 CE)

 

  •          He was defeated by Chalukya King Pulkeshin II.
  •         Gunabhara, Satyasandha, Chettakari (temple-maker) Chitrakarapuli (painter), Vichitrachitta and Mattavilasa were titles used for Mahendravarman I.
  •       Mandagapathu inscriptions mentions beginning of rock cut temples constructions.
  •        He was a versatile genius having expertise over painting, music and literature; composed a satirical drama Mattavilasa Prahasanam in Sanskrit.
  •         Music inscriptions at Kudumiamalai were ascribed to him.
 

 

 

NARSHIMHAVARMAN I

(630 CE -668 CE)

 

  •         Narshimhavarman I defeated the Chalukya King Pulkeshin II at the battle of Manimangalam as per the Kuram copper plate inscriptions.
  •         Assuming the title of Mamalla (great wrestler), he founded the great city of Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram.
  •          On conquering Badami (Vatapi), he assumed the title of ‘Vatapikonda’.
  •         He sent naval expedition to Sri Lanka and restored the throne of Sri Lankan prince- Manavarma.
  •          Chinese traveller and Buddhist monk Hieun Tsang visited Kanchi during his reign.
 

 

NARSIMHAVARMAN II

 

  •         Also known as Rajsimha. he assumed titles of Shankarbhakta, Agmapriya etc.
  •          He Sent embassies to China.
  •        Shore temple & Kailasanatha temple were built during his reign.
  •          Dandin- Sanskrit scholar lived in his court.
  •         Patronized Perundevannar who translated Mahabharata in Tamil and named Bharathavenba.

 

  • Other notable rulers were Nandivarman, Parmeshwarvarman I and Parmeshwarvarmn II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATION

  •          Pallavas promoted agriculture and sea-trade and collected huge wealth which is reflected in grand temple-architecture of this time.
  •          Pallava kingdom was divided into Kottams.
  •          In pallava administration land grants were given to Brahmans (Brahmadeya) and to temples Devadhana and were exempted from taxation.
  •          Group of villages were called as ‘Nadu’
  •          Group of Nadus were called as ‘Nagaram’ (Organisation of merchants)
  •         Group of Nagarams were called as ‘Manadalam’
  •         Sabhas (assemblies) consisting of brahmin land owners functioned through smaller assemblies/committees that looked after irrigation, agriculture, roads, and temples.
  •          Non- brahmin land owners’ assemblies were called ‘Ur’.
  •          The Pallava inscriptions throw much light on the village assemblies called sabhas and their committees.
 

 

 

SOCIETY & RELIGION

  •         Fourfold caste system became rigid & Brahmana occupied dominant position as Pallava were orthodox Brahmanical Hindus.
  •          Bhakti Movement received promotion under Pallavas.
  •         Shaiva and Vaishnav sages promoted Shiva and Visnu bhakti (devotion).
  •          Shaiva sage-poets were called as Nayanars (Important Nayanars: Thirunavukkarasar or Appar, Sundarar or Sundarmurti, Sambandar, Manikkavsagar)
  •          Vaishnav sage-poets were called Alvars (Important Alvars: Perialvar, Andal-poetess, Nammalvar, Kulashekhar).
  •          Pallava period witnessed rise of Saivism & Vaishnavism and decline of Jainism & Buddhism.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITERATURE, ART AND ARCHITECTURE

  •        Kanchi developed as a great centre of education, culture and trade.  The Ghatika (centres of learning) at Kanchi was very popular.
  •         Tamil language and literature along with Sanskrit flourished under Pallavas.
  •         Patronage to the saints yielded in the form of development of religious literature.
  •         Periyapuranas:  Collection of songs in love and devotion of Shiva.
  •         Nalayir-Divya-Prabandham: Collection of songs in love and devotion of Vishnu.
  •          Under Pallavas, the basic features of the Dravidian architecture i.e., Vimana, Mandapam and Gopuram became vividly developed.
  •          During Pallavas rule temple architecture developed in 4 styles under various kings:

1.       Under Mahendravarman I, small rock-cut temples were made and were called as ‘manadapas’; examples are Bhairavakonda temple and Ananteswara temple at Undavalli.

2.       Under Narsimhavarman I, ‘mandapas’ became bigger, Mahabalipuram/ Mamallpuram city was founded and a number of monolithic Ratha (Chariot) temples were constructed like the Panchapanadava rathas. Important Mandapams are of Varaha, Mahishasuramardhini and Tirumurthi.

3.       Under Rajasimha, free-standing or structural temples started to be built. Shore, Olakkaneshwara and Mukundanayanar Temples in Mahabalipuram and Kailashnath Temple and Vaikunthaperumal temple at Kanchipuram were constructed with this feature.

4.       Under Nandivarman and later Pallavas, temples continue to be constructed in Rajsimha style. Matagenswara and Muktheeswara temples are examples of this.

  •         The Sittannavasal paintings belonged to this period.
  •        Dakshinchitra (Commentary) was compiled during the reign of Mahendravarman I.
  •         The Mamandur inscription contains a note on the notation of vocal music.

 

CHALUKYAS (535 CE – 1190 CE)

  • Founded by Pulakesin I, Chalukyas ruled the extensive Deccan region between 6th and 12th century CE with capital at Badami (Vatapi).
  • Pulakesin I performed the Ashvamedha sacrifice.
  • The same family also ruled from Vengi (as the Eastern Chalukyas) and Kalyani during some later time.
  • Chalukyas were involved in continued struggle against Pallavas.

 

PULAKESIN II (608 CE – 642 CE)
  • The Aihole inscription issued by Pulakesin II substantiates that he was most important ruler of the dynasty.
  • Ravikirti, the court poet of Pulakesin II and composer of Aihole inscription was a Jain.
  • Pulakesin II defeated Harshavardhan and limited his southward expansion till Narmada.
  • He also defeated Kadambas of Banavasi and the Gangas of Mysore and established his suzerainty.
  • Pulakesin II emerged victorious against first struggle with Pallavas but he was defeated by Narasimhavarman I (Vatapikonda) of Pallavas (Kanchi) who captured the capital Vatapi (Badami).
  • Pulakesin II sent an ambassador to the court of Persian King Khusrau.
  • Huien Tsang, the Buddhist pilgrim from China, visited Chalukyas’ Kingdom during his reign.
  • VIKRAMADITYA I: Pulakesin II was succeeded by Vikramaditya I, who pushed Pallavas out of Badami and re-consolidated the kingdom.
  • VIKRAMADITYA II: After peaceful and prosperous reigns of Vinayaditya (681-93) and Vijayaditya (693-733), Vikramaditya II again invaded Pallava kingdom three times, and the repelled the Arab invasion of south Gujarat.
  • KIRTIVARMAN II: He was the last ruler of the Chalukyas. Dantidurga defeated him to establish rule of the Rashtrakuta dynasty.
  • After the death of Pulakesin II, in Eastern Deccan, a branch of Chalukyas appeared with capital at Vengi. They ruled till the 11th
  • During the late 10th century, the descendants of the Chalukyas of Badami, re-appeared and ruled with Kalyani as their capital (Basavakanlyan, western deccan).

 

 

 

ADMINISTRATION

  •          Chalukyas was highly centralised unlike Chola and pallava. Units (villages) were in direct control of central authorities.
  •          Chalukyas maintained great naval force and small but well organised standing army that too was contributed by feudal chiefs.
  •         Army officers were put to civil duties whenever an emergency arose.
 

ECONOMY

  •         Rocky and infertile land limited the income from land for Chalukyas.
  •         Overall decline of trade and commerce in India during this period, therefore the Chalukyas conducted invasions and plunder of the neighbouring regions.
  •         Arab traders were given patronage at the west coast under Chalukyas.
 

 

RELIGION

  •          Chalukyas of Badami practiced Brahmanism but respected other sects of religion too.
  •          Expansion of Brahmanism is reflected by building of temples in honour of Vishnu, Shiva and other gods. While Jainism witnessed expansion, Buddhism declined in Chalukya’s reign and region.
  •          Religious sphere of life became more ritualistic.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITERATURE, ART AND ARCHITECTURE

  •         Chalukyas contributed to the growth of Prakrit language and literature.
  •         Ajanta art continued to grow under the patronage of Chalukyas.
  •          The fusion of Nagara and Dravidian style i.e., Vesara Style of temples started to appear during Chalukya’s time but they distinctively developed under Rashtrakutas and Hoysalas.
  •          Aihole, Badami and Pattadakal are important centres of structural temples of the Chalukyas
  •         Ajanta (Cave paintings too), Ellora and Nasik have some of the Cave temples of Chalukya’s times.
  •         A number of rock-cut halls (Chaityas) were constructed and granted to Jain monks.
  •         Aihole-Badami and Pattadikal groups are two groups of temples of Chalukyas; of these:
  •   Ladh Khan temple, Durga temple (a Buddha Chaitya), Huchimalligudi temple and the Jain temple of Meguti are in Aihole group;
  •   The Muktheeswara temple and the Melagutti Sivalaya are at Badami.
  •  At Pattadakkal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, there are 10 temples;

1.       The Papanatha temple is in Nagara style:

2.       The Sangamesvara temple and the Virupaksha temple are in Dravidian style.