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HARSHA (c. 590–647 CE), also known as HARSHAVARDHANA, was an Indian emperor who ruled North India
North India
from 606 to 647 CE. He was a member of the Pushyabhuti dynasty ; and was the son of Prabhakarvardhana who defeated the Alchon Huna invaders, and the younger brother of Rajyavardhana , a king of Thanesar
Thanesar
, present-day Haryana. At the height of Harsha's power, his Empire covered much of North and Northwestern India, extended East till Kamarupa
Kamarupa
, and South until Narmada River ; and eventually made Kannauj
Kannauj
(in present Uttar Pradesh state) his capital, and ruled till 647 CE. Harsha
Harsha
was defeated by the south Indian Emperor Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty
Chalukya dynasty
when Harsha tried to expand his Empire into the southern peninsula of India.

The peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a centre of cosmopolitanism, attracting scholars, artists and religious visitors from far and wide. During this time, Harsha
Harsha
converted to Buddhism from Surya
Surya
worship. Harsha
Harsha
studied in the University of Nalanda
Nalanda
. The Chinese traveller Xuanzang
Xuanzang
visited the court of Harsha
Harsha
and wrote a very favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity. His biography Harshacharita ("Deeds of Harsha") written by Sanskrit poet Banabhatta , describes his association with Thanesar, besides mentioning the defence wall, a moat and the palace with a two-storied Dhavalagriha (white mansion).

CONTENTS

* 1 Origins * 2 Ascension * 3 Reign * 4 Author * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading

ORIGINS

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

After the downfall of the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
in the middle of the 6th century, North India
North India
was split into several independent kingdoms. The northern and western regions of India
India
passed into the hands of a dozen or more feudatory states. Prabhakara Vardhana, the ruler of Sthanvisvara, who belonged to the Pushyabhuti family, extended his control over neighbouring states. Prabhakar Vardhan was the first king of the Vardhana dynasty with his capital at Thaneswar . After Prabhakar Vardhan's death in 605, his eldest son, Rajya Vardhana, ascended the throne. Harsha
Harsha
Vardhana was Rajya Vardhana's younger brother. This period of kings from the same line has been referred to as the Vardhana dynasty in many publications.

According to major evidences, Harsha, like the Guptas , was of the Vaishya
Vaishya
Varna . The Chinese traveler Xuanzang
Xuanzang
mentions an emperor named Shiladitya , who had been claimed to be Harsha. Xuanzang mentions that this king belonged to "Fei-she". This word is generally restored as " Vaishya
Vaishya
" (a varna or social class).

ASCENSION

Territorial reach of Harsha.

Rajya Vardhana’s and Harsha’s sister Rajyashri had been married to the Maukhari king, Grahavarman. This king, some years later, had been defeated and killed by king Devagupta of Malwa
Malwa
and after his death Rajyashri had been cast into prison by the victor. Harsha's brother, Rajya Vardhana, then the king at Thanesar
Thanesar
, could not stand this affront on his family, marched against Devagupta and defeated him. But it so happened at this moment that Shashanka
Shashanka
, king of Gauda in Eastern Bengal
Bengal
, entered Magadha
Magadha
as a friend of Rajyavardhana, but in secret alliance with the Malwa
Malwa
king. Accordingly, Sasanka treacherously murdered Rajyavardhana. On hearing about the murder of his brother, Harsha
Harsha
resolved at once to march against the treacherous king of Gauda and killed Shashanka
Shashanka
in a battle. Harsha
Harsha
ascended the throne at the age of 16.

REIGN

See also: Empire of Harsha

As North India
North India
reverted to small republics and small monarchical states ruled by Gupta rulers after the fall of the prior Gupta Empire , Harsha
Harsha
united the small republics from Punjab to central India
India
, and their representatives crowned him king at an assembly in April 606 giving him the title of Maharaja. Harsha
Harsha
adopted Buddhism
Buddhism
and established the Empire of Harsha which brought all of northern India under his control. The peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a center of cosmopolitanism , attracting scholars, artists and religious visitors from far and wide. The Chinese traveler Xuanzang visited the court of Harsha, and wrote a very favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity.

Pulakeshin II defeated Harsha
Harsha
on the banks of Narmada in the winter of 618-619 A.D.

AUTHOR

Harsha
Harsha
is widely believed to be the author of three Sanskrit plays Ratnavali , Nagananda and Priyadarsika . While some believe (e.g., Mammata in Kavyaprakasha ) that it was Bana, Harsha's court poet who wrote the plays as a paid commission, Wendy Doniger is "persuaded, however, that king Harsha
Harsha
really wrote the plays ... himself."

SEE ALSO

* Surasena Kingdom * History of India
India
* Bhaskar Varman

REFERENCES

* ^ CNG Coins * ^ India: History, Religion, Vision and Contribution to the World, by Alexander P. Varghese p.26 * ^ A B C D E International Dictionary of Historic Places: Asia and Oceania by Trudy Ring, Robert M. Salkin, Sharon La Boda p.507 * ^ Ancient India
India
by Ramesh Chandra Majumdar p.274 * ^ A B C "Harsha". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Retrieved 6 October 2014. * ^ "Sthanvishvara (historical region, India)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 9 August 2014. * ^ Harsha
Harsha
Charitra by Banabhatt * ^ Legislative Elite in India: A Study in Political Socialization by Prabhu Datta Sharma, Publ. Legislators 1984, p32 * ^ Revival of Buddhism
Buddhism
in Modern India
India
by Deodas Liluji Ramteke, Publ Deep & Deep, 1983, p19 * ^ Some Aspects of Ancient Indian History and Culture by Upendra Thakur, Publ. Abhinav Publications, 1974, * ^ Chandra Mauli Mani (2005). A Journey Through India\'s Past. Northern Book Centre. p. 91. ISBN 978-81-7211-194-6 . * ^ Wendy Doniger (2006). Ratnāvalī. New York University Press. p. 15. * ^ Shankar Goyal (2006). Harsha, a multidisciplinary political study. Kusumanjali. p. 122. * ^ " Harsha
Harsha
(Indian emperor)". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 6 October 2014. * ^ "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. * ^ A B Harsha
Harsha
(2006). "The Lady of the Jewel Necklace" and "The Lady who Shows Her Love". Translated by Wendy Doniger. New York University Press. p. 18.

FURTHER READING

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article HARSHA .

* Reddy, Krishna (2011), Indian History, Tata McGraw-Hill Education Private Limited, New Delhi * Price, Pamela (2007), Early Medieval India, HIS2172 - Periodic Evaluation, University of Oslo

AUTHORITY CONTROL

* WorldCat Identities * VIAF : 193711102 * LCCN : n50082104 * ISNI : 0000 0003 5697 689X * GND : 118983903 * BNF : cb11906956d (data)

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Harsha
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