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Medieval History of India

The history of Indian medieval period was started after the end of ancient age in 550 AD and it continued till 17th century when the Mughal Empire had broken. During this long time period different dynasties rose in power and took a commanding role in the Indian medieval history. The land of India was separated as various small kingdoms from north to south and east to west and those kingdoms were ruled by different independent kings.

Throughout the medieval history a number of dominant dynasties, namely, the Cholas (3rd century to 13th century) of southern India, the Mughals (1526 AD to 1707 AD) of northern India, the Rajput of western India (the state of Rajasthan), the Pala dynasty of eastern India, the Chalukyas, the Pallavas, the Delhi Sultan had control their own area. Sometimes they made a number of bloody battles for different reasons.

The Chola Dynasty

Chola dynasty was one of the longest ruling powers in south India. Initially they rose in power of the state of Tamil at the 2nd century BC in time of Indian ancient history and they were able to maintain their control until the 13th century. The early Cholas kept their real evidence in the Sangam literature. It reports the names of the kings and the princes of Chola dynasty till 300 BC. There had two type of Cholas existed in the Dynasty; Karikala Cholas and Kocengannan Cholas. They control their kingdom from two capital city; Urayur (now in Thiruchirapalli) and Kaveripattinam. A Chola king was known as Elara. After the Sangam age (after 300 BC) Cholas was beaten by the Pandyas and Pallavas and they captured the Tamil country. An unknown dynasty, Kalabhras, attacked the country and displaced the existing empires and ruled for around three centuries.

After 6th century the Pallavas and the Pandyas regained the century. But there was a little known of Cholas during the succeeding three centuries until the attainment of Vijayalaya in 850 AD. Around 850 AD, Vijayalaya rose in power and he rescued the Chola Dynasty from Pandyas and Pallavas and captured yhe capital city Thanjavur and established the line of the medieval Cholas. After 9th century, Cholas became strongest dynasty of the southern India and they control a wide range of region in total southern India and the surroundings state. Under Rajaraja Chola I and Rajendra Chola I, the empire became powerful in the field of army, finance and culture in South Asia and South-east Asia. The Pandyas in south India rose to the position of a large power who expelled the Hoysala Dynasty who were partners of the Cholas from Tamil country and subsequently causing the end of the Cholas themselves in 1279 AD.

The Chalukya Dynasties

The Chalukya Dynasties were in power of Indian medieval history from the reign of 600 to 1200 AD in the state of Deccan. They ruled the kingdom from a number of capital city. Western Chalukyas ruled from Badami. The Chalukyas who ruled from Kalyani capital city were referred as Later Western Chalukyas and the Chalukyas ruled their kingdom from the Vengi capital city were known as the Eastern Chalukyas. The founder of the Western or Early Chalukya Dynasty was Pulakesin I who established the dynasty at the capital of Badami (now in Bijapur) after that his son Pulakesin II succeeded.

Pulakesin II was in power in the reigned of 609 AD to 642 AD. The capital of Badami was destroyed by the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th century. The Eastern Chalukya dynasties were in power from the capital city of Vengi (now in East Andhra Pradesh), where this dynasty was established on 624 AD and lasted till 11th century. Western Chalukyas was lasted till 7th century from the capital city of Badami, after a long time period in 973 AD they had rescued their capital Badami and reestablished the dynasty in the Deccan and created a new capital at Kalyani. The Dynasty stayed in power till 1189 AD.

Pallava Dynasties

Pallavas were a powerful Dynasties of Andhra Pradesh in Indian medieval history in the end of 500 AD. They ruled from its capital placed at Pallavapuri, for disturbance of natural power they moved it to Kanchipuram and established a more strong empire by the founder of Pallavas Dynasty Simha Vishnu. Simha Vishnu expanded the kingdom in Northern Orissa, Tanjore and Trichirapalli. After that his son Mahendravarman succeeded. He had a good sense of cultural activities. He established a cave temple at Mahabalipuram. In 620 AD, he was attacked by the Chalukya king Pulekisin II in a battle at Pullalur and lost very badly. He had died on 630 AD.

Mahendravarman was succeeded by his son Narasimhavarman in 630 AD. Mahendravarman was determined to pay back the insult was done to his father by the Pulekisin II. With huge armies he had beaten Pulikesi II in the battle of Manimangalam and Pariyalam in the year of 632 AD. He entirely burnt the capital city of Pulakesi. He finished the cave temples of Mahabalipuram and built a number of temples. The dynasty was not at peak position under this king ever, but the successors controlled to safeguard the kingdom until Cholas took their charge in the 9th century.

The Pala Dynasty

After death of the great king Shashanka, north India became a land of end. In the mean time at 750 AD king Gopala established the Pala Dynasty and rescued the state of north India, Bihar and West Bengal. The reign of Pala Dynasty was from 800 AD to 1200 AD. King Gopala died in 770 AD; he was succeeded by his son Dharmapala in reign of 770 AD to 781 AD. He established a powerful capital at Kanauj. But they were attacked by the Pratiharas of middle India and a foreign power, Rashtrakutas of the Deccan.

In the reign of 810 AD to 850 AD the king Devapala were able to recover their renown against both the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas. After the king of Devapala's, a lots of successors rise in power but they were not so remarkable in Indian history. In reign of Pala Dynasty, the Mahayana Buddhism had established the famous Buddhism temples and universities of Nalanda and Vikramashila. The great Buddhism monk Atisha (981 AD to 1054 AD) improved Buddhism in Tibetan. He was the president of the Vikramashila monastery. After the middle of the 12th century the Pala Empire was destroyed.

Rajputs of North India

The Rajput period was an era of chivalry and feudalism. The Rajputs weakened each other by constant fighting. This allowed the foreigners (Turks) to embark on victorious campaigns using duplicity and deceit wherever military strength failed against Rajputs. Rajput or Rajputra is a regional word of Rajasthan; its mean Son of king. They were the descendants of the Kshatriyas or warriors of Vedic India. There were three major types of Rajputs descend in the medieval Indian history; the Suryavanshi who descended from lord Rama, the Chandravanshi who descended from Hindu god Krishna and the Agnikula or 'fire sprung' tribes descended from the gods in the "anali kund" or 'fountain of fire' on Mount Abu.

There were 21 small kingdoms in Rajasthan. Different Rajputs clans ruled their own kingdom, among them the Sisodia Rajput had ruled in the state of Mewar (now in Udaipur), the Kachwahas Rajput had ruled in the state of Amber (now in Jaipur), the Rathore Rajput had ruled in the state of Marwar (now in Jodhpur and Bikaner), the Hadas Rajput had ruled in the state of Jhalawar, the Bhatti Rajput had ruled in the state of Jaisalmer, the Shekhawat Rajput had ruled in the state of Shekhawati and the Chauhan Rajput had ruled in the state of Ajmer.

Vijaynagar Empire

Vijaynagar city have a great historical value in India. Vijaynagar Empire was established by two brothers Harihara and Bukka in the middle of 13th century. It continued for three centuries and successfully prevented the influence of Muslim sultanates in the southern India. History of Vijayanagar Empire was an unbroken period of bloody battles with Bahamani and other Muslim sultanates. Krishanadev Raya was the best ruler of Vijaynagar Empire; he was always unbeaten in the wars throughout his reign. He always treated with the beaten enemy as a friend. He finished the Muslim power of southern India and organized a great administration system. He preserved open relationship with Portuguese and granted some concessions to Governor Albuquerque. The ruins of Vijaynagar city can be seen today near Hampi in Karnataka. The battle of Talikota was one of the crucial battles in the history of India. It ruined the Hindu dominance in southern India till rise of Marathas in 17th century.

Delhi Sultanate

A number of Delhi Sultanates were in power from 1210 AD to 1526 AD. It was founded after Muhammad Ghori established the Delhi Sultanate by defeating Prithviraj (Rajput king) in the battles of 2nd Tarain in 1192 AD. After death of Ghori, in 1206, Qutb ud-Din became himself sultan of Delhi and created the Slave dynasty; it came to an end in 1290 AD. The sultanate of Delhi was in regular change as five dynasties rose and fell: Slave dynasty (1206 AD to 1290 AD), Khalji dynasty (1290 AD to 1320 AD), Tughluq dynasty (1320 AD to 1413 AD), Sayyid dynasty (1414 AD to 1451 AD) and Lodi dynasty (1451 AD to 1526 AD). Under the Khalji dynasty, the reign of Ala Ud-din Khalji brought Muslim power to its supreme position until the Mughul Empire. Muhammad Bin Tughluq, founder of the Tughluq dynasty was also a great ruler of Indian medieval history. After that Tughluq's successors began to disintegrate the Delhi kingdom into numerous small states.

The Mughal Empire

Babur(reign - 1526 to1530 AD), the founder of the Mughal Empire in India, was the descendant of as Changez Khan. Ousted by his cousins, he came to India and defeated Ibrahim, the last Lodi Sultan in 1526 at the First Battle of Panipat. There was a brief interruption to Mughal rule when Babur's son Humayun (reign - 1530 to1540 AD) was ousted from Delhi, by Sher Shah, an Afghan chieftain.

It was Babur's grandson Akbar (reign - 1556 to1605), who consolidated political power and extended his empire over practically the whole of north India and parts of the south. Jahangir (reign - 1605 to 1627 AD) who succeeded Akbar was a pleasure-loving man of refined taste. Shah Jahan (reign - 1628 to 1658 AD) his son, ascended the throne next. Shah Jahan's fame rests on the majestic buildings he has left behind - the Taj Mahal, the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid. Aurangzeb (reign - 1658 to 1707 AD) was the last Mughal ruler.

The Maratha Empire

The Marathas rose in power by demise of Muslim power in India. They were initially in the service of Bijapur sultans in the western Deccan which was under siege by the Mughals Empire. The founder of Maratha dominance, Shivaji Bhonsle (1627 AD to 1680 AD) is known as the "father of the Maratha nation". He had captured two forts and completed the charge of Pune at 1647 AD. He gradually captured forts in the region of Purandar, Rajgad and Torna. In 1659 he killed the general of Adilshahi, Afzal Khan. He used guerilla strategy to lead a series of successful attacks in 1660 AD against Mughals including the major port of Surat. After that in 1666 he was arrested by Aurangzeb's General Jai Singh. But he escaped and recovered his lost region and glory. By 1673, he expanded his domain throughout of western Maharashtra and established capital city at Raigad. He made an efficient government and a strong army. The people of his nation called him as Chhatrapati (means who provide shelter). He died in 1680 AD.

Chhatrapati Shivaji was succeeded by His son Sambhaji. Sambhaji was arrested and killed by Aurangzeb, in 1689 AD. Then Rajaram, the second son of Shivaji took the throne and he died in 1700 AD, the widow wife of Rajaram placed her little ten years son Shahu on the Maratha throne. Shahu continued the fight against Aurangzeb and captured Rajgad city, the earlier capital of the Maratha's. The struggle against the Mughals Empire was ended with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 AD.