Gurjara Pratihara Dynasty & Rashtrakuta Dynasty


Kannauj Tripartite Struggle

  • Kannauj became a point of conflict between three powerful dynasties
    • Gurjara Pratihara
    • Rashtrakuta dynasty
    • Palas
  • Kannauj Triangle conflict continued from 8th to 10th centuries.
  • The conflict also referred as the Tripartite struggle by many historians.
  • The Tripartite struggle began with the defeat of Indrayudh at the hands of Gurjara Pratihara dynasty ruler Vatsaraja.
  • Ultimately the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty succeeded in retaining the city.


Kannauj Tripartite Struggle  Gurjara Pratihara dynasty Rashtrakuta dynasty


Gurjara Pratihara Dynasty (725-1036)

  • The geographical name of Gujarat is supposed to be derived from Gurjara.
  • The Gurjara Pratihara dynasty kings were followers of Hinduism.
  • The literary meaning of Pratihara is ‘door keeper.
  • It is believed that their ancestor Lakshmana served as a door keeper to his brother Rama. 
  • They ruled between mid 8th and 11th century A.D. over northern and western India.
  • The Pratiharas stood as a fortification of India’s defense against the hostility of the Muslims from the days of Junaid of Sind (725.A.D.) to Mahmud of Ghazni.
  • Capital of Gurjara Pratihara dynasty was first at Ujjain and later at Kannauj.



  • The Gwalior inscription mentioned the early history of the family founded by King Bhoja in the 7th century.



Nagabhatta I (725-740)

  • Nagabhatta is the real founder of the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty
  • He established capital at Avanti in Malwa.
  • Junaid, another Arab commander defeated by him in Battle of Rajasthan.


Vatsaraja (780–800)

  • Vatsaraja captured Kannauj and came in direct conflict with the Palas of Bengal.
  • He defeated Dharmapala.
  • In 786 AD the Rastrakuta King Dhruva defeated him.


Gurjara Pratihara dynasty
Somnath Temple, Gujarat


Nagabhatta II (805-33)

  • Nagabhatta was initially defeated by Rastrakuta King Govinda III but later recovered and captured Kannauj.
  • He is best known for rebuilding the Somnath Temple in 815
  • Somnath Temple was destroyed by Arab armies of Junayad in 725 AD.
  • This was a large structure of Red Sandstone which was again destroyed in 1024 by Mahamud of Ghazni.


Mihirabhoja (836-85)

  • Mihirabhoja defeated Rashtrakuta king Krishna-II and captured the region of Malwa and Gujarat.
  • Mihirabhoja was a devotee of Vishnu, and adopted the title of ‘Adivaraha.’


Mahendrapala (885-908)

  • Son of Mihirabhoja, was also known as ‘Mahendrayudha’, and ‘Nirbhayanarendra.’
  • Rajashehara, Sanskrit poet was in his court.



  • Arab scholar, Al-Masudi, visited his court in 915-916.



Decline of the Pratihara Dynasty

  • The Rashtrakuta king, Indra-II again attacked Kanauj between A.D. 915 and A.D. 918 and destroyed it.
  • Krishna III was other Rashtrakuta ruler invaded north India in about A.D. 963.
  • He defeated the Pratihara rulers.
  • This led to decline of Gurjara Pratihara Empire.
  • Rajyapala was the last Gurjara Pratihara king
  • In his time empire was reduced to Kanauj and nearby area.
  • The Pratihara power came to an end after Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the kingdom in 1018 A.D.


Rashtrakuta dynasty Dantidurga amoghavarsha
Kailashnath Temple of Ellora Cave


Rashtrakuta Dynasty (755–975 AD)

  • Rashtrakuta dynasty called themselves descendants of Satyaki.
  • They were a feudatory of the Badami Chalukyas
  • Dantidurga overthrew Chalukya king Kirtivarman II
  • He built an empire with the Gulbarga region in modern Karnataka as its base.
  • This clan came to be known as the Rashtrakuta of Manyakheta, rising to power in South India.
  • Rashtrakuta dynasty was Kannada origin and their mother tongue was Kannada or Kanarese.
  • Vaishnavism and Saivism flourished during their period.
  • Active commerce witnessed between the Deccan and the Arabs.

Dantidurga (735 – 756)

  • Dantidurga was the founder of the Rashtrakutas dynasty.
  • He occupied all territories between the Godavari river and Vima river.
  • Dantidurga occupied Maharashtra by defeating Chalukya King Kirtivarman II.
  • From Samangad Plates and Dasavatara Cave of Ellora we can know about his victory


Krishna I (756-774)

  • Krishna I succeeded Dantidurga.
  • He occupied Konkan coast region.
  • Krishna I also defeated Vishnuvardhana of Vengi (Eastern Chalukyas) and the Ganga king of Mysore.
  • The Monolithic Kailash Temple at Ellora was built by the Krishna I.


Dhruva (780-793)

  • Dhruva defeated Gurjara Pratihara King Vatsyaraja, the Pallavas of Kanchi and the Pala King Dharmapala of Bengal.
  • He is the most notable rulers of the Rashtrakut dynasty.
  • The Dhulia grant of 779 and Garugadahalli inscription of 782 proclaim Dhruva the emperor.


Govinda III (793-814)

  • Govinda III son of Dhruva succeeded the throne.
  • The Most successful emperor of the Rashtrakut dynasty
  • Govinda III conquered from Cape Comorin in the south to Kannauj in the north, from Banaras in the east to Broach.
  • He defeated the great Gurjara King Nagabhatta II.
  • Pala King Dharmapala and his protege Charayudh sought the help of Govinda III.
  • His kingdom spread up to the Vindhyas and Malava in the north and the river Tungabhadra to the south.


Rashtrakuta dynasty Dantidurga amoghavarsha
Jain Narayana Temple, Pattadakal



Amoghavarsha I (814- 878)

  • Amoghavarsha I set up a new capital at Manyakheta (now Malkhed in Karnataka State).
  • Broach became the best port of the kingdom during his reign
  • Amoghavarsha wrote Kavirajamarga, a landmark literary work in the Kannada language
  • He was converted into Jainism by Jinasena, a Jaina monk, author of Adipurana.
  • Suleman, an Arab merchant, in his account called Amoghavarsha I as one of the four greatest kings of the world.
  • Amoghavarsha ruled for 63 years.


Krishna II (878-914)

  • Son of Amoghavarsha, succeeded the throne.
  • His daughter had married the Chola king Aditya I


Indra III (914 -929)

  • Indra III was a powerful king.
  • He defeated and deposed Pratihara king Mahipala
  • Indra III was married to princess Vijamba of the Kalachuri dynasty of central India (Chedi)
  • His Jain general Sri Vijaya (who was also a poet) won may wars for his king


Govinda IV

  • He patronised Kannada poet Ravinagabhatta.


Krishna III (939–967)

  • The last powerful and efficient king of the Rashtrakuta dynasty.
  • He also succeeded in conquering Tanjore and Kanchi.
  • Krishna III defeated the Cholas decisively in a battle of Takkolam in the North Arcot district.
  • He patronise the famous Kannada poets Sri Ponna, who wrote Shanti purana, Gajankusha, also known as Narayana, who wrote on erotics, and the Apabhramsha poet, Pushpadanta who wrote Mahapurana
  • We can know about Krishna III from Atakur inscription


Decline Rashtrakuta Dynasty

  • In 972 during the rule of Khottiga Amoghavarsha, the Paramara King Siyaka Harsha attacked and plundered the capital Manyakheta
  • The Rashtrakuta King Karka II was defeated and deposed by Taila or Tailapa II, the Chalukya king of Kalyani.
  • Indra IV, the last king, committed Sallekhana.
  • With the fall of the Rashtrakuta dynasty, their feudatories declared independence.


Rasjtrakuta Dynasty Administration

  • Rashtrakuta kingdom was divided into Rashtras (provinces) – controlled by rashtrapatis.
  • Rashtras divided into Vishayas or districts, governed by Vishayapatis.
  • Subdivision was Bukti, consisting of 50 to 70 villages under the control of  Bhogapatis.
  • Village headmen carried on village administration.
  • Village assemblies played a significant role in the village administration.



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