(Last Updated on : 30/04/2014)
The Pratihara Kings ruled from 6th century till the end of 11th century AD. Among Pratihara Kings the basis of their kingdom was laid by Harichandra near modern Jodhpur in the mid sixth century AD. Harichandra was a Brahmin who had two wives, one was Brahamana and the other one was a Kshatriya
. His sons from his Brahamana wife were called Pratihara Brahmins while his sons from his Kshatriya wife established the ruling dynasty of the Pratiharas. His four sons established a separate kingdom for themselves. Their dominion was concentrated in Jodhpur
, Nandipura, Broach, Ujjayani and near by areas.
The foundation of Pratihara dynasty's magnitude was positioned by Nagabhatta I, the ruler of Ujjain who ruled between 730-756 AD. His rule was prominent because of his successful confrontation with the Arabs. He established an empire extending from Gujarat to Gwalior and defied the Arab invasions towards further east of Sindh. He fought against King Dantidurga the Rashtrakuta ruler as well and was defeated. Conversely the success of Dantidurga was short-term and Nagabhatta left for his successors a far-reaching empire which included Gujarat
, Malwa and parts of Rajputana.
Nagabhatta I was succeeded by his brother's sons, Kakkuka and Devaraja. Though nothing is known about them rule. Devaraja was succeeded by his son Vatsaraja who proved to be an influential ruler. He was in the verge of his imperial career in Western India. He in trying to be ruler of Northern India annexed the territories upto Kanauj and central Rajputra by defeating Bhandi, the ruling dynasty probably related to the Vardhanas. His ambition to capture Kannauj led him into conflicts with the Pala ruler Dharmapala
of Bengal and the Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva. He succeeded in defeating Dharmapala in the Doab region and vanquished Northern India including the Ganga Yamuna valley. Dhurva defeated him later on and captured Kannauj.
who succeeded Vatsaraja revived the lost prestige of the empire by conquering Sindh,Andhra, VidarbhaAfter the defeat of Vatsaraja by Dhruva the Pratihara empire was limited only to Rajputana. Nagabhatta II revived the policy of conquest and extension of the empire. He defeated the rulers of Andhra, Saindhava, Vidarbha and Kalinga. He subdued Matsayas in the North, Vatsas in the East and Turuskka (Muslims) in the West. Dharmapala
had defeated Indrayudh and made Chakrayudh, his brother, the ruler of Kannauj. Nagabhatta attacked Kannauj and after defeating Chakrayudha occupied it. He also succeeded in defeating Dharmapala and entered into his territories as far as Munger in Bihar
. But he could not enjoy his success for long.
The Rashtrakuta ruler Govind III defeated Nagabhatta II in Bundelkhand sometime 909 or 910 AD. The power of the Pratiharas was weakened and they lost grasp over Malwa and Gujarat. This gave an opportunity to Pala king, Dharmapala and his son Devapala
to regain and increase their power in the North. However, Nagabhatta having lost his western part of the empire to the Rashtrakutas tried to extend his empire towards the east and succeeded in conquering Gwalior, Kalinjar and up to Kannauj
Rambhadra, the son and successor of Nagabhatta II proved incapable and lost some of his territories, probably, to Pala ruler, Devapal. He was succeeded by his son Mihirbhoj who proved to be an ambitious ruler
made Kannauj his capital and succeeded in consolidating Pratihara power and influence in Malwa, Rajputana and Madhyadesh. He had to face continuously defeats in the hands of Devapal, King Dhruva and King Kokkalla. These consecutive trounce resulted in weakening his grasp over Rajputana and even the feudatory Pratihara ruler of Jodhpur became independent. The death of Devapal, ruler of Bengal and, thereafter, weakness of his successors gave Mihirbhoj an opportunity to restore his strength towards the east and south due to the policies undertaken by Rashtrakuta ruler. He conquered part of Western Kingdom by defeating the Pala king Narayanapala. Yet again he took offensive against the Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna II and defeated him on the banks of the Narmada. Subsequently he occupied Malwa and Kathiawar. He had an extensive empire which included Kathiawar, territories up to the Punjab in the North-West, Malwa and Madhyadesh. He had consolidated his power in Rajputana and the Kalachuris of Bihar and Chandelas of Bundelkhand had accepted his sovereignty. He made conquests in Punjab
, Oudh and other Northern territories.
Mahendrapala I succeeded to the throne of his father, Mihirbhoja. He succeeded in maintaining the empire of his father and also extended it further by annexing Magadha
and parts of Northern Bengal. He lost some parts to the Kings of Kashmir. It is believed that his empire extended from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas and from the Eastern to the Western ocean.
Mahendrapala was succeeded by his son Bhoja
II but his cousin, Mahipala, shortly dethroned him and became the ruler of Kannauj. During his period, the Rashtrakutas King, Indra III defeated Mahipala of Kannauj. After Indra III retiring to the south, Mahipala again consolidated his position. In the period in-between the Pala rulers captured some eastern parts of his empire and occupied the forts of Kalinjar and Chitrakuta. His period marked the beginning of the decline of the power of Pratiharas.
Mahipala was succeeded by his son Mahendrapala II. He ruled only for a year. Afterwards, we find no less than four successors during a period of fifteen years. Devapala, Vinayakapala II, Mahipala II and Vijayapala ruled in succession over the throne of Kannauj .but none of them proved to be a capable ruler. Rather, the quick succession of these rulers proves that family feuds had started among the Pratiharas. This resulted in the disintegration of the Pratihara Empire during the reign of Devapala.