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The Kannauj Triangle: Rashtrakutas, Palas and Gurjara.

Kannauj Triangle is name given to tripartite struggle between three kingdoms i.e. Rashtrakutas of Deccan, Gurjar Pratiharas of Malwa and Palas of Bengal region. These dynasties fought for around 150 years for the control of Kannauj region.

Kannauj Triangle Map
Tripartite struggle for control of Kannauj.

Chalukyas ruled Deccan before Rashtrakutas. Therefore, before learning about Rashtrakutas let us understand about Deccan rulers.

Rulers in Deccan

Chalukyas of Badami. [543 – 755 AD]

These were bramhin rulers who ruled for about 200 years, only to be replaced by Rashtrakuta dynasty..

Pulakesin I was founder.
He established a small kingdom with Badami/Vatapi being capital. He performed Asvamedha sacrifice.

Kiritvarman I
He carried out imperialistic outlook by defeating Kadambas of Banavasi.

Pulakesin II
He is known for defeating king Harshwardhan from north. This is written in Ravikirti inscription in Aihole (Prakrit language). According to this inscription, Pulakesin II also defeated Pallava ruler Mahendravarman I in his first expedition. But in 2nd expedition, Pulakesin II was defeated by Narsimhavarman I.
Hieun Tsang also visited during the reign of Pulakesin II.
Ravikirti, who composed Aihole inscription, lived at his court and was Jain.
Kirtivarman II,
Kirtivarman II was the last Chalukyan ruler and was defeated by Rashtrakuta king Dantidurga.

Contribution of Chalukyas.

Chalukya administrative was highly centralized unlike that of Pallavas and Cholas. Village autonomy was absent and they exercised paternalistic outlook over village administration.
Chalukyas patronized education and learning to high level. Promoted both Sanskrit and Prakrit literature.
A famous feudal lord of Chalukyas Gangaraja Durvinita wrote a famous book on grammar called SHABDAVATARA
Udayadeva also wrote a grammar book called JAINENDRA VYAKARANA
Somadeva Suri wrote the book NITI-VAKYA-AMRIT. A Book on morality.

Though Chalukyas were Bramhinical Hindus, they promoted other religions also. Jainism progressed under them.  Ravikirti himself was Jain.

Art and Architecture under Chalukyas.

Vesara‘ school of temple architecture flourished under them. And there were three main temple cities under them.

1) Aihole (city of temple) – 70 temples found in Aihole.
Lad khan temple (Flat roof temple),
Durga temple (integration of Buddhist Chaitya and Bramhin temple),
Hachimaligudi temple (similar to Durga temple but smaller),
Meguti temple (devoted to Jainism).

2) Badami /Vatapi temples –
Melagitti temple – it has four rock cut halls, three of Hinduism and one of Jainism.

3) Pattadakal city
Papanath temple – built in northern style.
Virupaksa temple – southern style.
Sangameshwar temple – southern style.

They increased number of caves in Ajanta and Ellora caves are said to have started under them.

Rashtrakuta Dynasty [755 AD -975 AD]

Important Rashtrakuta rulers
Rashtrakutas were of  Kannada origin and their mother tongue was Kannada.

He was founder.
He defeated Chalukyan king Kirtivarman II and captured Chalukyan kingdom.

Krishna I
Kailasha temple in Ellora was built under him. Monolithic temple.
He defeated Ganges and Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi.

Govind III


Though not very successful politically, he is known for high cultural development. He was follower of Jainism.
He was the patron of scholar Jinasena, who had written ADIPURANA
He himself wrote famous KAVIRAJAMARGA in Kannada language.
He built the Rasthrakut capital Manyakheda/Manyakhet.

Krishna III
He was famous for his expeditions and be defeated Cholas.

Contribution of Rashtrakuta

Provincial and sub-provincial administration were quiet developed under Rashtrakutas. Provinces were known as Rashtra, to be headed by Rashtrapati. These were further divided into Vishyas, to be headed by Vishyapati. Collection of Villages was called Bhukti.
Role of women in administration was also prominent as evident from Chandrobalabbe, daughter of Amoghavarsha. She carried on administration in Raichur district.

Art and Architecture

Caves at Ellora and Elephanta developed under them.
Krishna I, built Kailasha temple in Ellora Cave no. 16 which is dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Art of sculpture also progressed under Rashtrakutas. Images of Shiva in Elephanta caves in different forms like Nataraj, Maheshmurti, Trimurti etc.

Literature during this period.

Kannada literature flourished during this period. King Amoghavarsha wrote KAVIRAJAMARGA & PRASHNOTTAR MALIKA in Kannada language. Mahavir Acharya, who was famous mathematician wrote GANITSARSANGRAHA. Three renowned scholars called Pampa Ponna Ranna (all were Jain followers) lived under them. Pampa wrote VIKRAMASENAVIJAYA and Paunna wrote SHANTIPURANA.


Shaivism and Vaishnavism flourished during Rashtrakuta rulers. And temples were the core of religious activities.
Dantidurga carried out Hiranyagarbha sacrifice. Which was attended by all rulers. ( When ruler is not born Kshatriya, to legitimize his rule Hiranyagarbha is performed, this marks his conversion into Kshatriya clan).
Jainism still followed by & Buddhism saw decline.

Hoyasala Dynasty [1050 AD – 1300 AD]

These rulers ruled in Deccan after Rashtrakutas. Earlier their capital was at Belur (Karnataka) and later transferred to Halebidu.

More about Hoyasalas, we will learn in another post.

Posted in Ancient Indian History

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Kindly give the references from where you came to conclusions that Rajputs were discriminatory


Very knowledgeable artilcles!