HOME
The Info List - Empire Of Harsha



--- Advertisement ---


(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

The EMPIRE OF HARSHA was an ancient Indian empire founded and ruled by Emperor Harsha
Harsha
from the capital Kannauj
Kannauj
. It existed from 606 to 647 and at its height covered all of the North India
North India
. Although the empire was short-lived, the peace and prosperity that prevailed made the court of Harsha
Harsha
a center of cosmopolitanism , attracting scholars, artists and religious visitors from far and wide, such as the Chinese traveler Xuanzang
Xuanzang
.

CONTENTS

* 1 Background * 2 History

* 3 Economy

* 3.1 Feudalism
Feudalism

* 4 Contact with China * 5 Patron of Buddhism
Buddhism
and literature * 6 Disintegration * 7 See also * 8 Notes * 9 References

BACKGROUND

Palace ruins at "Harsh ka tila" mound area spread over 1 km.

Prabhakarvardhana , the ruler of Thanesar
Thanesar
, who belonged to the Pushyabhuti family, extended his control over neighbouring states.

Rajyashri, the sister of Rajyavardhana and Harsha, had married the Maukhari
Maukhari
king, Grahavarman , whose capital was at Kannauj
Kannauj
. Some time later, Grahavarman was killed by the ruler of the Malava kingdom
Malava kingdom
, who also kidnapped Rajyashri. Rajyavardhana, who had succeeded his father as king at Thanesar, marched against the Malava king and defeated him. Around 606 CE, Rajyavardhana died, perhaps murdered at a meeting by Shashanka
Shashanka
, ruler of the Gauda kingdom
Gauda kingdom
. It was after the death of Rajyavardhana that Harsha
Harsha
succeeded to the throne.

HISTORY

The Empire
Empire
of Harsha
Harsha
revived the past glory of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
in northern India. The economy of northern India prospered and his capital at Kanauj
Kanauj
became a great centre of trade. During his early career he possessed a force of 5,000 elephants, 20,000 cavalry and 50,000 infantry and with this he overran northern India. After the conquest of almost the entire of northern India, his military resources were so increased that he could field an army with 100,000 cavalry and 60,000 elephants. His long run of victories was only broken when he was defeated by Pulakesi II of the Chalukya dynasty
Chalukya dynasty
.

According to Dr. Shreenand L. Bapat, Registrar, Bhandarkar Oriental Research institute, Pune, Pulakeshin II defeated Harsha
Harsha
on the banks of Narmada in the winter of 618-619. His information is based on a copperplate inscription of Pulakeshin II discovered recently.

The administration of Harsha
Harsha
was similar to the Gupta Empire. He was just in his administration and punctilious in exercising his responsibilities. There was no forced labour and everyone was free to busy himself with his own affairs. Harsha
Harsha
built for the benefit of the poor throughout his Empire
Empire
in both the towns and rural parts Rest-Houses which provided food, drink and medicine. Harsha
Harsha
was continually travelling up and down his wide dominions to see with his own eyes how the people were ruled in his Empire. The merchants travelled freely in his Empire
Empire
and officials were paid regularly. The taxes were light and one-sixth of the land produce was charged as land revenue.

Today a mound 1 km long and 750 m wide known as "Harsh ka Tila" in Thanesar
Thanesar
has ruins of structures built during the reign of Harsha. Amongst the archaeological finds from the mound include 'Painted Grey Ware ' shreds in the pre- Kushana
Kushana
levels and 'Red Polished Ware ' from post Gupta period .

ECONOMY

Ruins of Harsha
Harsha
Ka Tila warehouse.

Economy under the Empire
Empire
of Harsha
Harsha
became increasingly more locally self-sufficient and feudal in nature as trade and commerce receded. This is reflected in the decline of trade centres, paucity of coins and near complete disappearance of trader and merchant guilds. Diminishing trade and commerce affected handicraft and other industries through want of demand; and affected agriculture although not directly. As a result of the lack of trade, the need to produce agricultural goods for sale externally vanished and people began producing amounts adequate enough to meet their own local needs. This marked the rise of self-sufficiency in the village economy and the growing dependence on agriculture.

FEUDALISM

Coin of Harshavardhana , circa 606-647 CE.

When scholars mention Indian feudalism , the Empire
Empire
of Harsha
Harsha
is usually taken as a typical state. Insight into Harsha's Empire
Empire
is given by the discovery of a set of plates of copper, dating back to 632 CE, recording the gift of land by a military officer under Harsha's service to two Brahmins. Donations before Harsha's reign had come from either a royal prince or one of the provincial governors. In the copper plates, the first dignitary mentioned was a Mahasamanta , who ruled a territory adjoining Kanauj. But, the donor of the land was a military servant of Kanauj, and the execution of the grant came under Harsha's accounts. This leads to the conclusion that the Mahasamantas were in fact independent rulers with kingdoms near the core area of an overlord - here, King Harsha
Harsha
- and they paid tribute and provided military assistance to him. Though they may have obtained their territories through inheritance or conquest, there were some who served kings and got grants in the form of land to support their official duties; a process similar to distribution of feudal grants in Europe.

CONTACT WITH CHINA

Harsha
Harsha
maintained friendly diplomatic relations with China, which was under the rule of Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty
Tang dynasty
. Envoys from each country visited the other, most notably the Chinese monk Xuanzang who spent eight years in the Empire
Empire
of Harsha.

PATRON OF BUDDHISM AND LITERATURE

King Harsha
Harsha
pays homage to Buddha

Harsha's father, Prabhakarvardhana, was from Thanesar, his brother followed Hinayana Buddhism
Buddhism
while, according to Bana, Harsha
Harsha
himself was a Mahayana Buddhist . Harsha
Harsha
was a tolerant ruler and supported all Indic faiths – Buddhism
Buddhism
, Vedism and Jainism
Jainism
. Early in his life, he seems to have been a follower of Sun Worship, becoming a patron of Shaivism
Shaivism
and Buddhism
Buddhism
later on.

His sister Rajyashri's conversion to Buddhism
Buddhism
presumably had a positive effect on his support to the religion. His approach to religion is evident in his celebrated play Nagananda. The play's theme is based on the Jataka
Jataka
tale of the Bodhisattva
Bodhisattva
Jimutavahana, but Harsha
Harsha
introduces the Goddess Gauri , Shiva
Shiva
's consort, as the saviour of Jimutavahana, a feature not found in the Jataka
Jataka
.

According to the Chinese Pilgrim Xuanzang
Xuanzang
, who visited his kingdom in 636, Harsha
Harsha
built numerous stupas in the name of Buddha. Xuanzang entered a grand competition organised by Harsha
Harsha
and won the theological debate. Harsha
Harsha
also became a patron of art and literature. He made numerous endowments to the University at Nalanda
Nalanda
. Two seals of Harsha
Harsha
have been found in Nalanda
Nalanda
in the course of the excavations. All these favours and donations of the great emperor were crowned by the construction of a lofty wall enclosing all the buildings of the university to defend the institution from any other possible attack. In 643 he held a Buddhist convocation at Kannauj
Kannauj
which was reputedly attended by 20 kings and thousands of pilgrims.

In 641, following Xuanzang's visit, Harsha
Harsha
sent a mission to China which established the first diplomatic relations between China and India. The Chinese responded by sending an embassy consisting of Li Yibiao and Wang Xuance , who probably travelled through Tibet
Tibet
and whose journey is commemorated in inscriptions at Rajagriha – modern Rajgir
Rajgir
, and Bodhgaya
Bodhgaya
.

Harsha
Harsha
was a noted author on his own merit. He wrote three Sanskrit plays – Nagananda , Ratnavali and Priyadarsika . His reign is comparatively well documented, thanks to his court poet Bana in Harschacharita and by Xuanzang
Xuanzang
in Si-Yu-Ki. Bana composed an account of Harsha's rise to power in Harsha
Harsha
Charitha , the first historical poetic work in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
language . Xuanzang
Xuanzang
wrote a full description of his travels in India.

DISINTEGRATION

Harsha
Harsha
Ka Tila ruins

Harsha
Harsha
died in 647, having ruled for 41 years. His empire died with him, disintegrating rapidly into small states. The succeeding period is very obscure and badly documented, but it marks the culmination of a process that had begun with the invasion of the Huns in the last years of the Gupta Empire.

In 648, Tang Taizong sent Wang Xuance to India in response to Harsha sending an ambassador to China. However once in India he discovered Harsha
Harsha
had died and the new king attacked Wang and his 30 mounted subordinates. This led to Wang Xuance escaping to Tibet
Tibet
and then mounting a joint of over 7,000 Nepalese mounted infantry and 1,200 Tibetan infantry and attack on the Indian state on June 16. The success of this attack Wang Xuance the prestigious title of the "Grand Master for the Closing Court." He also secured a reported Buddhist relic for China.

SEE ALSO

* History of India
History of India

NOTES

* ^ The claim of murder is dubious because the only sources for it are Banabhatta and Hiuen-Tsang
Hiuen-Tsang
, who differ in their accounts and who were both prejudiced in their writings.

REFERENCES

Citations

* ^ A B Sengupta, Nitish K. (2011). Land of Two Rivers: A History of Bengal from the Mahabharata
Mahabharata
to Mujib. Penguin Books India. pp. 34–35. ISBN 978-0-14341-678-4 . * ^ Roy, Kaushik (2013). "Bana". In Coetzee, Daniel; Eysturlid, Lee W. Philosophers of War: The Evolution of History\'s Greatest Military Thinkers. ABC-CLIO. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-313-07033-4 . * ^ A B Drekmeier, Charles (1962). Kingship and Community in Early India. Stanford University Press. p. 187. ISBN 0-8047-0114-8 . * ^ A B History of Ancient India: Earliest Times to 1000 A. D. by Radhey Shyam Chaurasia p.185 * ^ Smith, Vincent A. The Early History of India. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 339-340. * ^ "Pulakeshin\'s victory over Harsha
Harsha
was in 618 AD". The Hindu. 25 April 2016. p. 9. * ^ "Study unravels nuances of classical Indian history". The Times of India. Pune. 23 April 2016. p. 3. * ^ Daniélou, Alain (2003). A Brief History of India. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions. p. 162. ISBN 978-0-89281-923-2 . * ^ Daniélou, Alain (2003). A Brief History of India. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-89281-923-2 . * ^ Indian Civilization and Culture by Suhas Chatterjee p.339 * ^ A B The Cambridge Shorter History of India
History of India
p.108 * ^ "Harsh Ka Tila". Kurukshetra district website. Retrieved 8 August 2014. * ^ CNG Coins * ^ Watters, Thomas (1973) . On Yuan Chwang's Travels in India. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. pp. 343–344. OCLC
OCLC
968967201 . * ^ Beal, Samuel (1969) . Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World. Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. OCLC
OCLC
917827504 . * ^ Bennett, Matthew (1998). The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 336. ISBN 978-1-57958-116-9 . * ^ Sen, Tansen (2003). Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: The Realignment of Sino-Indian Relations. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. p. 23. ISBN 978-0-8248-2593-5 . * ^ Chen, Jinhua (2002). "Śarīra and Scepter. Empress Wu\'s Political Use of Buddhist Relics". The Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies. International Association of Buddhist Studies: 45.

* v * t * e

Middle kingdoms of India
Middle kingdoms of India

Timeline and

cultural period Northwestern India

( Punjab
Punjab
- Sapta Sindhu
Sapta Sindhu
) Indo-Gangetic Plain
Indo-Gangetic Plain
Central India Southern India

Western Gangetic Plain

(Kuru - Panchala
Panchala
) Northern India

(Central Gangetic Plain) Northeastern India

( Northeast India
Northeast India
)

IRON AGE

CULTURE LATE VEDIC PERIOD LATE VEDIC PERIOD

(Brahmin ideology)

Painted Grey Ware culture LATE VEDIC PERIOD

(Kshatriya/Shramanic culture)

Northern Black Polished Ware
Northern Black Polished Ware
PRE-HISTORY

6TH CENTURY BC Gandhara
Gandhara
Kuru - Panchala
Panchala
Magadha
Magadha

Adivasi (tribes)

CULTURE PERSIAN-GREEK INFLUENCES "SECOND URBANISATION "

Rise of Shramana movements Jainism
Jainism
- Buddhism
Buddhism
- Ājīvika
Ājīvika
- Yoga
Yoga
PRE-HISTORY

5TH CENTURY BC (Persian rule )

Shishunaga dynasty
Shishunaga dynasty

Adivasi (tribes)

4TH CENTURY BC (Greek conquests )

Nanda empire Kalinga

HISTORICAL AGE

CULTURE SPREAD OF BUDDHISM PRE-HISTORY SANGAM PERIOD (300 BC – 200 AD)

3RD CENTURY BC MAURYA EMPIRE Early Cholas
Early Cholas

Early Pandyan Kingdom
Early Pandyan Kingdom

Satavahana dynasty
Satavahana dynasty

Cheras

46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam

CULTURE PRECLASSICAL HINDUISM - "HINDU SYNTHESIS" (ca. 200 BC - 300 AD) Epics - Puranas
Puranas
- Ramayana
Ramayana
- Mahabharata
Mahabharata
- Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
- Brahma Sutras - Smarta Tradition Mahayana Buddhism
Buddhism
Sangam period
Sangam period

(continued) (300 BC – 200 AD)

2ND CENTURY BC Indo-Greek Kingdom
Indo-Greek Kingdom
Shunga Empire

Maha-Meghavahana Dynasty Early Cholas
Early Cholas

Early Pandyan Kingdom
Early Pandyan Kingdom

Satavahana dynasty
Satavahana dynasty

Cheras

46 other small kingdoms in Ancient Thamizhagam

1ST CENTURY BC

1ST CENTURY AD

Indo-Scythians
Indo-Scythians
Indo-Parthians Kuninda Kingdom

2ND CENTURY Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire

3RD CENTURY Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom
Kushano-Sasanian Kingdom
Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
Western Satraps Kamarupa
Kamarupa
kingdom Kalabhra dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

CULTURE "GOLDEN AGE OF HINDUISM"(ca. AD 320-650) Puranas
Puranas
Co-existence of Hinduism
Hinduism
and Buddhism
Buddhism

4TH CENTURY Kidarites
Kidarites
GUPTA EMPIRE

Varman dynasty
Varman dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Kadamba Dynasty
Kadamba Dynasty

Western Ganga Dynasty
Western Ganga Dynasty

5TH CENTURY Hephthalite Empire
Hephthalite Empire
Alchon Huns
Alchon Huns
Kalabhra dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Vishnukundina

6TH CENTURY Nezak Huns

Kabul Shahi
Kabul Shahi
Maitraka
Maitraka

Adivasi (tribes) Badami Chalukyas
Badami Chalukyas

Kalabhra dynasty
Kalabhra dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

CULTURE LATE-CLASSICAL HINDUISM (ca. AD 650-1100) Advaita Vedanta
Advaita Vedanta
- Tantra
Tantra
Decline of Buddhism
Buddhism
in India

7TH CENTURY Indo-Sassanids
Indo-Sassanids

Vakataka dynasty
Vakataka dynasty
Empire
Empire
of Harsha
Harsha
Mlechchha dynasty Adivasi (tribes) Pandyan Kingdom(Under Kalabhras)

Pandyan Kingdom(Revival)

Pallava

8TH CENTURY Kabul Shahi
Kabul Shahi

Pala Empire
Pala Empire
Pandyan Kingdom
Pandyan Kingdom

Kalachuri
Kalachuri

9TH CENTURY

Gurjara-Pratihara
Gurjara-Pratihara

Rashtrakuta dynasty
Rashtrakuta dynasty

Pandyan Kingdom
Pandyan Kingdom

Medieval Cholas
Medieval Cholas

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)

Chera Perumals of Makkotai

10TH CENTURY Ghaznavids
Ghaznavids

Pala dynasty

Kamboja-Pala dynasty Kalyani Chalukyas

Medieval Cholas
Medieval Cholas

Pandyan Kingdom(Under Cholas)

Chera Perumals of Makkotai

Rashtrakuta

References and sources for table

REFERENCES

* ^ Samuel * ^ Samuel * ^ Michaels (2004) p.39 * ^ Hiltebeitel (2002) * ^ Michaels (2004) p.39 * ^ Hiltebeitel (2002) * ^ Micheals (2004) p.40 * ^ Michaels (2004) p.41

SOURCES

* Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press * Hiltebeitel, Alf (2002), Hinduism. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture", Routledge * Michaels, Axel (2004), Hinduism. Past and present, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press * Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), The Origins of Yoga
Yoga
and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century, Cambridge University Press

* v * t * e

Empires

ANCIENT

* Akkadian * Egyptian * Assyrian * Babylonian * Carthaginian

* Chinese

* Qin * Han * Jin * Northern Wei
Northern Wei

* Hellenistic * Hittite

* Indian

* Nanda * Maurya * Satavahana * Shunga * Gupta * Harsha

* Persian

* Median * Achaemenid * Parthian * Sasanian

* Kushan

* Macedonian * Seleucid

* Mongol

* Xianbei * Xiongnu
Xiongnu

* Roman

* Western * Eastern

* Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan

POST-CLASSICAL

* Arab

* Rashidun * Umayyad * Abbasid * Fatimid * Córdoba

* Aragonese * Angevin * Aztec * Benin * Bornu * Bruneian

* Bulgarian

* First * Second

* Byzantine

* Nicaea * Trebizond

* Carolingian

* Chinese

* Sui * Tang * Song * Yuan

* Ethiopian

* Zagwe * Solomonic

* Georgian * Hunnic * Inca

* Indian

* Chola * Gurjara-Pratihara
Gurjara-Pratihara
* Pala * Eastern Ganga dynasty
Eastern Ganga dynasty
* Delhi * Vijayanagara

* Persian

* Tahirid * Samanid * Buyid * Sallarid * Ziyarid

* Kanem * Khmer * Latin * Majapahit
Majapahit
* Malaccan * Mali

* Mongol

* Yuan * Golden Horde
Golden Horde
* Chagatai Khanate
Chagatai Khanate
* Ilkhanate
Ilkhanate

* Moroccan

* Idrisid * Almoravid * Almohad * Marinid

* North Sea * Oyo * Roman * Serbian

* Somali

* Ajuran * Ifatite * Adalite * Mogadishan * Warsangali

* Songhai * Srivijaya
Srivijaya
* Tibetan * Tondo

* Turko-Persian

* Ghaznavid * Great Seljuk * Khwarezmian * Timurid

* Vietnamese

* Ly * Tran * Le

* Wagadou

MODERN

* Ashanti * Austrian * Austro-Hungarian * Brazilian * Central African

* Chinese

* Ming * Qing * China * Manchukuo
Manchukuo

* Ethiopian

* French

* First * Second

* German

* Second Reich * Third Reich

* Haitian

* First * Second

* Indian

* Maratha * Sikh * Mughal * British Raj
British Raj

* Persian

* Safavid * Afsharid * Zand * Qajar * Pahlavi

* Japanese * Johor * Korean

* Mexican

* First * Second

* Moroccan

* Saadi * Alaouite

* Russian

* Somali

* Gobroon * Majeerteen * Hobyo * Dervish

* Swedish * Tongan

* Turkish

* Ottoman * Karaman * Ramazan

* Vietnamese

* Tay Son * Nguyen * Vietnam

COLONIAL

* American * Belgian

* British

* English

* Danish * Dutch * French * German * Italian * Japanese * Norwegian * Portuguese * Spanish * Swedish

LISTS

* Empires

* largest

* ancient great powers * medieval great powers * modern great powers

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Empire_of_Harsha additional terms may apply. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy .® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. , a non-profit organization.

* Privacy policy * About * Disclaimers * Contact * Developers * Cookie statement * Mobile view

* *

Links: ------

.