Middle Kingdoms of India, Part 80


Kailash Temple in Ellora Caves

Aug 30, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of India's great history, religious movements and temple architecture.

The Rashtrakutas

Over the 8th to 10th Centuries, the Rashtrakuta empire at its peak spread from Cape Comorin in the south to Kannauj in the north and from Banaras in the east to Broach (Bharuch) in the west.[102] While the Rashtrakutas built many fine monuments in the Deccan, the most extensive and sumptuous of their work is the monolithic Kailasanatha temple at Ellora, the temple being a splendid achievement.[103] In Karnataka their most famous temples are the Kashivishvanatha temple and the Jain Narayana temple at Pattadakal.

Having overthrown the Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutas made Manyakheta their capital. Manyakheta is known today as Malkhed, in the Gulbarga district. Although the origins of the early Rashtrakuta ruling families in Central India and the Deccan in the 6th and 7th Centuries is controversial, during the 8th through 10th Centuries they emphasized the importance of the Kannada language in conjunction with Sanskrit in their administration. Rashtrakuta inscriptions are in Kannada and Sanskrit only. They encouraged literature in both languages and thus literature flowered under their rule. [104-8]

The Rashtrakutas quickly became the most powerful Deccan empire, making their initial successful forays into the Doab region of the Ganges River and the Jamuna River, under the rule of Dhruva Dharavarsha.[109] The rule of his son Govinda III signaled a new era, with Rashtrakuta victories against the Pala Dynasty of Bengal and the Gurjara Pratihara of northwestern India, resulting in the capture of Kannauj.

The Rashtrakutas held Kannauj intermittently during a period of a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains. Because of Govinda III's victories, historians have compared him to Alexander the Great and Pandava Arjuna. The Sanjan inscription states the horses of Govinda III drank the icy water of the Himalayan stream and his war elephants tasted the sacred waters of the Ganges River.

Amoghavarsha I, eulogised by contemporary Arab traveller Sulaiman as one among the four great emperors of the world, succeeded Govinda III to the throne and ruled during an important cultural period that produced landmark writings in Kannada and Sanskrit. The benevolent development of Jain religion was a hallmark of his rule. Because of his religious temperament, his interest in the arts and literature and his peace loving naturem he has been compared to emperor Ashoka.

The rule of Indra III in the 10th century enhanced the Rashtrakuta position as an imperial power as they conquered and held Kannauj again. Krishna III followed Indra III to the throne in 939. A patron of Kannada literature and a powerful warrior, his reign marked the submission of the Paramara of Ujjain in the north and Cholas in the south.

An Arabic writing, Silsilatuttavarikh (851 A.D.) referred to the Rashtrakutas as one among the four principle empires of the world. Kitab-ul-Masalik-ul-Mumalik (912 A.D.) called them the "greatest kings of India", and there were many other contemporaneous books written in their praise.


[100] From the Rashtrakuta inscriptions (Kamath 2001, p57, p64)
[101] The Samangadh copper plate grant (753) confirms that feudatory Dantidurga defeated the Chalukyas and humbled their great Karnatik army (referring to the army of the Badami Chalukyas) (Reu 1933, p54)
[102] From the Sanjan inscriptions, Dr. Jyotsna Kamat. "The Rashrakutas". 1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri. Retrieved 2006-12-20.
[103] Keay (2000), p200
[104] Altekar (1934), pp411–413
[105] Chopra (2003), p87, part1; Literature in Kannada and Sanskrit flowered during the Rashtrakuta rule (Kamath 2001, p73, pp 88–89)
[106] Even royalty of the empire took part in poetic and literary activities (Thapar 2003, p334)
[107] a b c Narasimhacharya (1988), p68, p17–21
[108] Reu (1933), pp37–38
[109] Chopra (2003), p89, part1; His victories were a "digvijaya" gaining only fame and booty in that region (Altekar in Kamath 2001, p75)


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