The Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty, also known as the Pratihara Empire, was an imperial power during the Late Classical period on the Indian subcontinent, that ruled much of Northern India from the mid-8th to the 11th century. They ruled first at Ujjain and later at Kannauj.
The Gurjara-Pratiharas were instrumental in containing Arab armies moving east of the Indus River. Nagabhata I defeated the Arab army under Junaid and Tamin during the Caliphate campaigns in India. Under Nagabhata II, the Gurjara-Pratiharas became the most powerful dynasty in northern India. He was succeeded by his son Ramabhadra, who ruled briefly before being succeeded by his son, Mihira Bhoja. Under Bhoja and his successor Mahendrapala I, the Pratihara Empire reached its peak of prosperity and power. By the time of Mahendrapala, the extent of its territory rivalled that of the Gupta Empire stretching from the border of Sindh in the west to Bengal in the east and from the Himalayas in the north to areas past the Narmada in the south. The expansion triggered a tripartite power struggle with the Rashtrakuta and Pala empires for control of the Indian Subcontinent. During this period, Imperial Pratihara took the title of Maharajadhiraja of Āryāvarta (Great King of Kings of India).
Gurjara-Pratihara are known for their sculptures, carved panels and open pavilion style temples. The greatest development of their style of temple building was at Khajuraho, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The power of the Pratiharas was weakened by dynastic strife. It was further diminished as a result of a great raid led by the Rashtrakuta ruler Indra III who, in about 916, sacked Kannauj. Under a succession of rather obscure rulers, the Pratiharas never regained their former influence. Their feudatories became more and more powerful, one by one throwing off their allegiance until, by the end of the 10th century, the Pratiharas controlled little more than the Gangetic Doab. Their last important king, Rajyapala, was driven from Kannauj by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018.
|mid-8th century CE–1036 CE|
Extent of the Pratihara Empire shown in green
|Common languages||Sanskrit, Prakrit|
|Historical era||Late Classical India|
|mid-8th century CE|
|Today part of||India|
The origin of the dynasty and the meaning of the term "Gurjara" in its name is a topic of debate among historians. The rulers of this dynasty used the self-designation "Pratihara" for their clan, and never referred to themselves as Gurjaras. The Imperial Pratiharas could have emphasized their Kshatriya, instead of Gurjara, identity for political reasons. However, at local levels Pratiharas were not wary of projecting their tribal (Gurjara) identity. They claimed descent from the legendary hero Lakshmana, who is said to have acted as a pratihara ("door-keeper") for his brother Rama. K. A. Nilakanta Sastri theorized that the ancestors of the Pratiharas served the Rashtrakutas, and the term "Pratihara" derives from the title of their office in the Rashtrakuta court.
Multiple inscriptions of their neighbouring dynasties describe the Pratiharas as "Gurjara". The term "Gurjara-Pratihara" occurs only in the Rajor inscription of a feudatory ruler named Mathanadeva, who describes himself as a "Gurjara-Pratihara". Another Pratihara king named Hariraja is also mentioned as a "ferocious Gurjara" (garjjad gurjjara meghacanda) in the Kadwaha inscription.  According to one school of thought, Gurjara was the name of the territory (see Gurjara-desha) originally ruled by the Pratiharas; gradually, the term came to denote the people of this territory. An opposing theory is that Gurjara was the name of the tribe to which the dynasty belonged, and Pratihara was a clan of this tribe. Several historians consider Gurjaras to be the ancestors of the modern Gurjar or Gujjar tribe.  The proponents of the tribal designation theory argue that the Rajor inscription mentions the phrase: "all the fields cultivated by the Gurjaras". Here, the term "Gurjara" obviously refers to a group of people rather than a region. The Pampa Bharata refers the Gurjara-Pratihara king Mahipala as a Gurjara king. Rama Shankar Tripathi argues that here Gurjara can only refer to the king's ethnicity, and not territory, since the Pratiharas ruled a much larger area of which Gurjara-desha was only a small part. Critics of this theory, such as D. C. Ganguly, argue that the term "Gurjara" is used as a demonym in the phrase "cultivated by the Gurjaras". Several ancient sources including inscriptions clearly mention "Gurjara" as the name of a country. Shanta Rani Sharma notes that an inscription of Gallaka in 795 CE states that Nagabhata I, the founder of the Imperial Pratihara dynasty, conquered the "invincible Gurjaras," which makes it unlikely that the Pratiharas were themselves Gurjaras. However, she does concede that Imperial Pratiharas were indeed known as Gurjaras, on account of their nationality. She mentions two groups of people who were known as Gurjaras, and draws a line between them; i.e. Gurjaras who were an ethnic people and Gurjaras who were nationals of Gurjaradesa (Gurjara Country).  According to her, Gujjars are the descendants of ethnic Gurjaras, and have nothing to do with imperial Pratiharas and Chalukyas who were also known as Gurjaras (due to their Gurjara nationality). 
Among those who believe that the term Gurjara was originally a tribal designation, there are disagreements over whether they were native Indians or foreigners. The proponents of the foreign origin theory point out that the Gurjara-Pratiharas suddenly emerged as a political power in north India around 6th century CE, shortly after the Huna invasion of that region. Critics of the foreign origin theory argue that there is no conclusive evidence of their foreign origin: they were well-assimilated in the Indian culture. Moreover, if they invaded Indian through the north-west, it is inexplicable why would they choose to settle in the semi-arid area of present-day Rajasthan, rather than the fertile Indo-Gangetic Plain.
According to the Agnivansha legend given in the later manuscripts of Prithviraj Raso, the Pratiharas and three other Rajput dynasties originated from a sacrificial fire-pit (agnikunda) at Mount Abu. Some colonial-era historians interpreted this myth to suggest a foreign origin for these dynasties. According to this theory, the foreigners were admitted in the Hindu caste system after performing a fire ritual. However, this legend is not found in the earliest available copies of Prithviraj Raso. It is based on a Paramara legend; the 16th century Rajput bards probably extended the original legend to include other dynasties including the Pratiharas, in order to foster Rajput unity against the Mughals.
The original centre of Pratihara power is a matter of controversy. R. C. Majumdar, on the basis of a verse in the Harivamsha-Purana, AD 783, the interpretation of which he conceded was not free from difficulty, held that Vatsaraja ruled at Ujjain . Dasharatha Sharma, interpreting it differently located the original capital in the Bhinmala Jalor area. M. W. Meister and Shanta Rani Sharma concur with his conclusion in view of the fact that the writer of the Jaina narrative Kuvalayamala states that it was composed at Jalor in the time of Vatsaraja in AD 778, which is five years before the composition of Harivamsha-Purana.
Nagabhata I (730–756) extended his control east and south from Mandor, conquering Malwa as far as Gwalior and the port of Bharuch in Gujarat. He established his capital at Avanti in Malwa, and checked the expansion of the Arabs, who had established themselves in Sind. In this battle (738 CE) Nagabhata led a confederacy of Gurjara-Pratiharas to defeat the Muslim Arabs who had till then been pressing on victorious through West Asia and Iran. Nagabhata I was followed by two weak successors, who were in turn succeeded by Vatsraja (775–805).
The metropolis of Kannauj had suffered a power vacuum following the death of Harsha without an heir, which resulted in the disintegration of the Empire of Harsha. This space was eventually filled by Yashovarman around a century later but his position was dependent upon an alliance with Lalitaditya Muktapida. When Muktapida undermined Yashovarman, a tri-partite struggle for control of the city developed, involving the Pratiharas, whose territory was at that time to the west and north, the Palas of Bengal in the east and the Rashtrakutas, whose base lay at the south in the Deccan. Vatsraja successfully challenged and defeated the Pala ruler Dharmapala and Dantidurga, the Rashtrakuta king, for control of Kannauj.
Around 786, the Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva (c. 780–793) crossed the Narmada River into Malwa, and from there tried to capture Kannauj. Vatsraja was defeated by the Dhruva Dharavarsha of the Rashtrakuta dynasty around 800. Vatsraja was succeeded by Nagabhata II (805–833), who was initially defeated by the Rashtrakuta ruler Govinda III (793–814), but later recovered Malwa from the Rashtrakutas, conquered Kannauj and the Indo-Gangetic Plain as far as Bihar from the Palas, and again checked the Muslims in the west. He rebuilt the great Shiva temple at Somnath in Gujarat, which had been demolished in an Arab raid from Sindh. Kannauj became the center of the Gurjara-Pratihara state, which covered much of northern India during the peak of their power, c. 836–910.
Rambhadra (833-c. 836) briefly succeeded Nagabhata II. Mihira Bhoja (c. 836–886) expanded the Pratihara dominions west to the border of Sind, east to Bengal, and south to the Narmada. His son, Mahenderpal I (890–910), expanded further eastwards in Magadha, Bengal, and Assam.
Bhoja II (910–912) was overthrown by Mahipala I (912–944). Several feudatories of the empire took advantage of the temporary weakness of the Gurjara-Pratiharas to declare their independence, notably the Paramaras of Malwa, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, the Tomaras of Haryana, and the Chahamanas of Shakambhari. The south Indian Emperor Indra III (c. 914–928) of the Rashtrakuta dynasty briefly captured Kannauj in 916, and although the Pratiharas regained the city, their position continued to weaken in the 10th century, partly as a result of the drain of simultaneously fighting off Turkic attacks from the west, the attacks from the Rashtrakuta dynasty from the south and the Pala advances in the east. The Gurjara-Pratiharas lost control of Rajasthan to their feudatories, and the Chandelas captured the strategic fortress of Gwalior in central India around 950. By the end of the 10th century the Gurjara-Pratihara domains had dwindled to a small state centered on Kannauj.
Mahmud of Ghazni captured Kannauj in 1018, and the Pratihara ruler Rajapala fled. He was subsequently captured and killed by the Chandela ruler Vidyadhara. The Chandela ruler then placed Rajapala's son Trilochanpala on the throne as a proxy. Jasapala, the last Gurjara-Pratihara ruler of Kannauj, died in 1036.
There are notable examples of architecture from the Gurjara-Pratihara era, including sculptures and carved panels. Their temples, constructed in an open pavilion style. One of the most notable Gurjara-Pratihara style of architecture was Khajuraho, built by their vassals, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand.
Māru-Gurjara architecture was developed during Gurjara Pratihara Empire.
Baroli temples complex are eight temples, built by the Gurjara-Pratiharas, is situated within a walled enclosure.
Junaid, the successor of Qasim, finally subdued the Hindu resistance within Sindh. Taking advantage of the conditions in Western India, which at that time was covered with several small states, Junaid led a large army into the region in early 738 CE. Dividing this force into two he plundered several cities in southern Rajasthan, western Malwa, and Gujarat.
Indian inscriptions confirm this invasion but record the Arab success only against the smaller states in Gujarat. They also record the defeat of the Arabs at two places. The southern army moving south into Gujarat was repulsed at Navsari by the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty and Rashtrakutas. The army that went east, after sacking several places, reached Avanti whose ruler Nagabhata (Gurjara-Pratihara) trounced the invaders and forced them to flee. After his victory Nagabhata took advantage of the disturbed conditions to acquire control over the numerous small states up to the border of Sindh.
Junaid probably died from the wounds inflicted in the battle with the Gurjara-Pratihara. His successor Tamin organized a fresh army and attempted to avenge Junaid’s defeat towards the close of the year 738 CE. But this time Nagabhata, with his Chauhan and Guhilot feudatories, met the Muslim army before it could leave the borders of Sindh. The battle resulted in the complete rout of the Arabs who fled broken into Sindh with the Gurjara-Pratihara close behind them.
The Arabs crossed over to the other side of the Indus River, abandoning all their lands to the victorious Hindus. The local chieftains took advantage of these conditions to re-establish their independence. Subsequently, the Arabs constructed the city of Mansurah on the other side of the wide and deep Indus, which was safe from attack. This became their new capital in Sindh. Thus began the reign of the imperial Gurjara-Pratiharas.
In the Gwalior inscription, it is recorded that Gurjara-Pratihara emperor Nagabhata "crushed the large army of the powerful Mlechcha king." This large army consisted of cavalry, infantry, siege artillery, and probably a force of camels. Since Tamin was a new governor he had a force of Syrian cavalry from Damascus, local Arab contingents, converted Hindus of Sindh, and foreign mercenaries like the Turkics. All together the invading army may have had anywhere between 10–15,000 cavalry, 5000 infantry, and 2000 camels.
The Arab chronicler Sulaiman describes the army of the Pratiharas as it stood in 851 CE, "The ruler of Gurjars maintains numerous forces and no other Indian prince has so fine a cavalry. He is unfriendly to the Arabs, still he acknowledges that the king of the Arabs is the greatest of rulers. Among the princes of India there is no greater foe of the Islamic faith than he. He has got riches, and his camels and horses are numerous."
Historians of India, since the days of Elphinstone, have wondered at the slow progress of Muslim invaders in India, as compared with their rapid advance in other parts of the world. The Arabs possibly only stationed small invasions independent of the Caliph. Arguments of doubtful validity have often been put forward to explain this unique phenomenon. Currently it is believed that it was the power of the Gurjara-Pratihara army that effectively barred the progress of the Muslims beyond the confines of Sindh, their first conquest for nearly three hundred years. In the light of later events this might be regarded as the "Chief contribution of the Gurjara Pratiharas to the history of India".
Bhoja II (910–913), according to the Asiatic Society's Plate of Vinakapala, acceded to the throne of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty after his father Mahendrapala I. His mother was queen Dehanaga-Devi. He reigned for a short time and was overthrown by his step-brother Mahipala I.Devaraja (Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty)
Devarāja (8th century CE) was an Indian king from the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty. In the Barah inscription of his descendant Mihira Bhoja, Devaraja's name appears as Devashakti (IAST: Devaśakti).According to the Gwalior prashasti inscription of Mihira Bhoja, Devaraja was the younger son of an unnamed brother of the dynasty's founder Nagabhata I. He succeeded his elder brother Kakustha on the throne. Nagabhata probably died around 760 CE, and the earliest known date of Devaraja's successor Vatsaraja is 783 CE. Thus, Kakustha and Devaraja ruled between c. 760 CE and 780 CE.The Gwalior inscription states that Devaraja subdued several kings, and destroyed their powerful allies. This praise is an exaggeration, but it appears that made some attempts to extend his kingdom in the south-west. It also suggests that he was able to maintain the territories he inherited.Devaraja was a devotee of Vishnu. He was married to Bhuyika-devi, and was succeeded by his son Vatsaraja.Kakustha (Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty)
Kakustha (8th century CE) was an Indian king from the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty.
According to the Gwalior prashasti inscription of Mihira Bhoja, Kakustha was the elder son of an unnamed brother of the dynasty's founder Nagabhata. Devaraja was the younger brother and successor of Kakustha. Nagabhata probably died around 760 CE, and the earliest known date of Devaraja's successor Vatsaraja is 783 CE. Thus, Kakustha and his successor Devaraja ruled between c. 760 CE and 780 CE.The Gwalior inscription states that Kakustha added to the family's fame. It further mentions that he was known as Kakkuka ("one who always laughs"), because he would say things "in an inverted manner".Kakustha seems to have died childless, as he was succeeded by his younger brother Devaraja.Khas Empire
Khasa-Malla kingdom (Nepali: खस मल्ल राज्य), popularly known as Khasa Kingdom (Nepali: खस राज्य), was a kingdom from the Indian subcontinent, established in present-day Nepal around 11th century. It was ruled by kings who bore the family name "Malla" (not to be confused with the later Malla dynasty of Kathmandu). The Khasa Malla kings ruled western parts of Nepal during 11th-14th century. The 954 AD Khajuraho Inscription of Dhaṇga states Khasa Kingdom equivalent to Gauda of Bengal and Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty.Kumharsain
Kumharsain also known as Kumarsain or Kumarsan was a princely state of the British Raj, located in modern day Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It was one of the several states of Punjab States Agency. Kumarsain was a Tehsil until 2017 when it was made a sub-division of Shimla District.
Kumarsain was founded in the 11th century. It was occupied by Nepal from 1803 to 1816, and by British India from 1839 to 1840. The ruling family were members of the Parihar or Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty clan of the Agnivansha line of Rajputs. The rulers used the title 'Rana'.
Kumarsain lies 1 km beside National Highway 5 (India) from Bharara village which is 18 km from Narkanda towards Rampur Bushahr. Kumarsain has many educational institutes like Govt. ITI (Industrial Training Institute) and Govt. Degree college. Many other departments and schools are rapildy increasing the population and developing growth of Kumarsain.
As many other places people of Kumarsain also celebrate their own fairs. Every year Bharara Mela is celebrated on 14 May in Bharara village near Kumarsain and after every 3 years Mela Char Saala also known as Jaatra is celebrated in Kumarsain which is the most crowded and awaited fair in the area.
Kumarsain has an history of around 1000 years. It is one of the oldest settlements that are still being inhabitat. It is also one of the most literate town in Himachal Pradesh.Mahendrapala I
Mahendrapala I (885–910) was a ruler of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty, the son of Mihir Bhoja I and queen Candra-Bhatta-Rika-Devi. He was also mentioned on various inscriptions in Kathiawar, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh by names Mahindrapala, Mahendrayudha, Mahisapaladeva, and also Nirbhayaraja and Nirbhayanarendra in the plays of Rajasekhara.Mahendrapala II
Mahendrapala II (944–948) ascended the throne of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty after his father Mahipala I. His mother was queen Prasadhana Devi. He reigned for short duration but the inscription found at Mandasor indicates that Gurjara Pratihara Empire was extended up to Mandasor during his reign.Mahipala I
Mahipala I (913–944) ascended the throne of Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty after his step brother Bhoja II. He was a son of Queen Mahidevi. Mahipala I was also known by the names: Ksitipala, Vinayakapala, Herambapala and Uttarapatha Swami.Mandsaur
Mandsaur or Mandsour is a city in the Malwa region and district of Madhya Pradesh state of central India. It is the administrative headquarters of Mandsaur District. The ancient Pashupatinath Temple is located in Mandsaur. Also Banjari Balaji Temple ,Nalchhamata are located in mandsaur. Bhavneshvar Mahadev mandir is newly developed, a hindu temple at labdadi near Udpura.Mihira
Mihira is an ancient Indian word meaning "Sun". It may refer to:
Mithra, the Indo-Iranian sun god
Varahamihira, ancient Indian astronomer
Mihirakula, a Huna king
Mihira Bhoja, a 9th-century ruler of the Gurjara Pratihara dynastyMihira Bhoja
Mihira Bhoja (836–885 CE) or Bhoja I was a ruler of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty of India. He succeeded his father Ramabhadra. Bhoja was a devotee of Vishnu and adopted the title of Adivaraha which is inscribed on some of his coins. One of the outstanding political figures of India in ninth century, he ranks with Dhruva Dharavarsha and Dharmapala as a great general and empire builder.At its height, Bhoja's empire extended to Narmada River in the South, Sutlej River in the northwest, and up to Bengal in the east. It extended over a large area from the foot of the Himalayas up to the river Narmada and included the present district of Etawah in Uttar Pradesh.Nagabhata I
Nagabhata I (r. c. 730-760 CE) was an Indian king who founded the imperial Gurjara Pratihara dynasty. He ruled the Avanti (or Malava) region in present-day Madhya Pradesh, from his capital at Ujjain. He possibly extended his control over the Gurjara country, which includes parts of present-day Gujarat and Rajasthan. He repulsed an Arab invasion from Sindh led by Arab generals probably by Junayd ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Murri or by Al Hakam ibn Awana . But Nagabhata seems to be defeated by the Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga.Nagabhata II
Nagabhata II (805–833) ascended the throne of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty after his father Vatsraja. His mother was queen Sundari-Devi. He was designated with imperial titles - Paramabhattaraka, Maharajadhiraja, and Paramesvara after conquest of Kannauj.Osian, Jodhpur
Osian (also spelt Osiyan) is an ancient town located in the Jodhpur District of Rajasthan state in western India. It is an oasis in the Thar Desert. The town is a panchayat village and the headquarters for Osian tehsil. It lies 69 km (43 mi) by road north of the district headquarters at Jodhpur, on a diversion off the main Jodhpur – Bikaner Highway.
Osian is famous as home to the cluster of ruined Brahmanical and Jain temples dating from the 8th to 11th centuries. The city was a major religious centre of the kingdom of Marwar during the Gurjara Pratihara dynasty. Of the 18 shrines in the group, the Surya or Sun Temple and the later Kali temple, Sachiya Mata Temple and the main Jain temple dedicated to Mahavira stands out in their grace and architecture.
The town was a major trading center at least as early as the Gupta period. It maintained this status, while also being a major center of Brahmanism and Jainism for hundreds of year. This came to an abrupt end when the town was attacked by the armies of Muhammed of Ghor in 1195.Ramabhadra
Ramabhadra (833–836) was a ruler of Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. According to Jain Prabhavakacarita, Nagabhata II was succeeded by Ramabhadra, sometimes also called Rama or Ramadeva. His mother's name was Istadevi. Ramabhadra had a brief reign of three years. He encountered many difficulties during his reign. From an inscription found at Gwalior, it is known that his empire extended to Gwalior.Tripartite Struggle
The Tripartite Struggle for control of northern India took place in the ninth century. The struggle was between the Pratihara Empire, the Pala Empire and the Rashtrakuta Empire.
Towards the end of the successor of Nagabhata II of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty, successfully attacked Kanauj and established control there. This was short-lived as he was soon after defeated by the Rastrakuta ruler, Govinda III. However, the Rastrakutas also formed a matrimonial relationship with the Gangas and defeated the kingdom of Vengi. By the end of the 9th Century, the power of the Rastrakutas started to decline along with the Palas. This was seen as an ideal opportunity by the feudal king Taila II who defeated the Rastrakuta ruler and declared his kingdom there. This came to be known the Later Chalukya dynasty. Their kingdom included the states of Karnataka, Konkan, and the northern Godavari. By the end of the tripartite struggle, the Pratiharas emerged victorious and established themselves as the rulers of central India.Umayyad campaigns in India
In the first half of the 8th century CE, a series of battles took place between the Umayyad Caliphate and the Indian kingdoms to the east of the Indus river.Subsequent to the Arab conquest of Sindh in present-day Pakistan in 712 CE, Arab armies engaged kingdoms further east of the Indus. Between 724 and 810 CE, a series of battles took place between the Arabs and the north Indian Emperor Nagabhata I of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty, the south Indian Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty, and other small Indian kingdoms. In the north, Nagabhata of the Gurjara Pratihara Dynasty defeated a major Arab expedition in Malwa. From the South, Vikramaditya II sent his general Pulakesi, who defeated the Arabs in Gujarat. Later in 776 CE, a naval expedition by the Arabs was defeated by the Saindhava naval fleet under Agguka I.The Arab defeats led to an end of their eastward expansion, and later manifested in the overthrow of Arab rulers in Sindh itself and the establishment of indigenous Muslim Rajput dynasties (Soomras and Sammas) there.Vatsaraja
Vatsaraja (780–800) or Vatsraja was one of the rulers of Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty. He was grand-nephew of Nagabhata I and his mother was queen Bhuyikadevi.He was the first ruler of Rajasthan to win victories over the distant regions of Kanauj and Bengal.His extensive conquests mark the rise of the Imperial Pratiharas.