Pala Empire was an imperial power during the Late Classical period
on the Indian subcontinent, which originated in the region of
Bengal. It is named after its ruling dynasty, whose rulers bore names
ending with the suffix of Pala ("protector" in Sanskrit). They were
followers of the
Mahayana and Tantric schools of Buddhism. The empire
was founded with the election of
Gopala as the emperor of Gauda in 750
CE. The Pala stronghold was located in
Bengal and Bihar, which
included the major cities of Vikrampura, Pataliputra, Gauda, Monghyr,
Somapura, Ramvati (Varendra),
Tamralipta and Jaggadala.
The Palas were astute diplomats and military conquerors. Their army
was noted for its vast war elephant corps. Their navy performed both
mercantile and defensive roles in the Bay of Bengal. The Palas were
important promoters of classical Indian philosophy, literature,
painting and sculpture. They built grand temples and monasteries,
Somapura Mahavihara, and patronised the great
Nalanda and Vikramashila. The Proto-Bengali language
developed under Pala rule. The empire enjoyed relations with the
Srivijaya Empire, the
Tibetan Empire and the
Arab Abbasid Caliphate.
Islam first appeared in
Bengal during Pala rule, as a result of
increased trade between
Bengal and the Middle East. Abbasid coinage
found in Pala archaeological sites, as well as records of Arab
historians, point to flourishing mercantile and intellectual contacts.
House of Wisdom
House of Wisdom in Baghdad absorbed the mathematical and
astronomical achievements of Indian civilisation during this
At its height in the early 9th century, the
Pala Empire was the
dominant power in the northern subcontinent, with its territory
stretching across parts of modern-day eastern Pakistan, northern and
Nepal and Bangladesh. The empire reached its
peak under Emperors Dharmapala and Devapala. The Palas also exerted a
strong cultural influence under
Atisa in Tibet, as well as in
Southeast Asia. Pala control of North
India was ultimately ephemeral,
as they struggled with the Gurjara-Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas for
the control of
Kannauj and were defeated. After a short lived decline,
Mahipala I defended imperial bastions in
Bengal and Bihar
against South Indian Chola invasions. Emperor
Ramapala was the last
strong Pala ruler, who gained control of
Kamarupa and Kalinga. The
empire was considerably weakened by the 11th century, with many areas
engulfed in rebellion.
Sena dynasty dethroned the
Pala Empire in the 12th
century, ending the reign of the last major Buddhist imperial power in
the subcontinent. The Pala period is considered one of the golden eras
of Bengali history. The Palas brought stability and prosperity
Bengal after centuries of civil war between warring divisions. They
advanced the achievements of previous Bengali civilisations and
created outstanding works of art and architecture. They laid the basis
for the Bengali language, including its first literary work, the
Charyapada. The Pala legacy is still reflected in Tibetan Buddhism.
1.3 Expansion under Dharmapala and Devapala
1.4 First period of decline
1.5 Revival under
1.6 Second period of decline
1.7 Revival under Ramapala
1.8 Final decline
4.3 Art and architecture
5 List of Pala rulers
7 See also
According to the Khalimpur copper plate inscription, the first Pala
Gopala was the son of a warrior named Vapyata. The Ramacharitam
Varendra (North Bengal) was the fatherland (Janakabhu) of
the Palas. The ethnic origins of the dynasty are unknown, although the
later records claim that
Gopala was a
Kshatriya belonging to the
legendary Solar dynasty. The Ballala-Carita states that the Palas were
Kshatriyas, a claim reiterated by
Taranatha in his History of Buddhism
India as well as Ghanaram Chakrabarty in his Dharmamangala (both
written in the 16th century CE). The
Ramacharitam also attests the
fifteenth Pala emperor, Ramapala, as a Kshatriya. Claims of belonging
to the legendary
Solar dynasty are unreliable and clearly appear to be
an attempt to cover up the humble origins of the dynasty. The Pala
dynasty has also been branded as
Śudra in some sources such as
Manjushri-Mulakalpa; this might be because of their Buddhist
leanings. According to Abu'l-Fazl ibn
Mubarak (in Ain-i-Akbari), the Palas were Kayasthas. There are even
accounts that claim
Gopala may have been from a Brahmin
After the fall of Shashanka's kingdom, the
Bengal region was in a
state of anarchy. There was no central authority, and there was
constant struggle between petty chieftains. The contemporary writings
describe this situation as matsya nyaya ("fish justice" i.e. a
situation where the big fish eat the small fish).
Gopala ascended the
throne as the first Pala king during these times. The Khalimpur copper
plate suggests that the prakriti (people) of the region made him the
king. Taranatha, writing nearly 800 years later, also writes that
he was democratically elected by the people of Bengal. However, his
account is in form of a legend, and is considered historically
unreliable. The legend mentions that after a period of anarchy, the
people elected several kings in succession, all of whom were consumed
by the Naga queen of an earlier king on the night following their
election. Gopal, however managed to kill the queen and remained on the
throne. The historical evidence indicates that
Gopala was not
elected directly by his citizens, but by a group of feudal chieftains.
Such elections were quite common in contemporary societies of the
Gopala's ascension was a significant political event as the several
independent chiefs recognised his political authority without any
Expansion under Dharmapala and Devapala
An illustration of the
Gopala's empire was greatly expanded by his son Dharmapala and his
grandson Devapala. Dharmapala was initially defeated by the Pratihara
ruler Vatsaraja. Later, the
Rashtrakuta king Dhruva defeated both
Dharmapala and Vatsaraja. After Dhruva left for the Deccan region,
Dharmapala built a mighty empire in the northern India. He defeated
Indrayudha of Kannauj, and installed his own nominee Chakrayudha on
the throne of Kannauj. Several other smaller states in North India
also acknowledged his suzerainty. Soon, his expansion was checked by
Vatsaraja's son Nagabhata II, who conquered
Kannauj and drove away
Nagabhata II then advanced up to
Munger and defeated
Dharmapala in a pitched battle. Dharmapala was forced to surrender and
to seek alliance with the
Rashtrakuta emperor Govinda III, who then
intervened by invading northern
India and defeating Nagabhata
Rashtrakuta records show that both Chakrayudha and
Dharmapala recognised the
Rashtrakuta suzerainty. In practice,
Dharmapala gained control over North
Govinda III left for
the Deccan. He adopted the title Paramesvara Paramabhattaraka
Dharmapala was succeeded by his son Devapala, who is regarded as the
most powerful Pala ruler. His expeditions resulted in the invasion
Pragjyotisha (present-day Assam) where the king submitted without
giving a fight and the Utkala (present-day Orissa) whose king fled
from his capital city. The inscriptions of his successors also
claim several other territorial conquests by him, but these are highly
exaggerated (see the Geography section below).
First period of decline
Following the death of Devapala, the Pala empire gradually started
disintegrating. Vigrahapala, who was Devapala's nephew, abdicated the
throne after a brief rule, and became an ascetic. Vigrahapala's son
Narayanapala proved to be a weak ruler. During his
Amoghavarsha defeated the Palas.
Encouraged by the Pala decline, the King Harjara of
imperial titles and the Sailodbhavas established their power in
Rajyapala ruled for at least 12 years, and
constructed several public utilities and lofty temples. His son Gopala
Bengal after a few years of rule, and then ruled only Bihar.
The next king, Vigrahapala II, had to bear the invasions from the
Chandelas and the Kalachuris. During his reign, the Pala empire
disintegrated into smaller kingdoms like Gauda, Radha, Anga and Vanga.
Harikela (eastern and southern Bengal) also assumed the
title Maharajadhiraja, and established a separate kingdom, later ruled
by the Chandra dynasty. The Gauda state (West and North Bengal) was
ruled by the Kamboja Pala dynasty. The rulers of this dynasty also
bore names ending in the suffix -pala (e.g. Rajyapala, Narayanapala
and Nayapala). However, their origin is uncertain, and the most
plausible view is that they originated from a Pala official who
usurped a major part of the Pala kingdom along with its capital.
Mahipala I recovered northern and eastern
Bengal within three years of
ascending the throne in 988 CE. He also recovered the northern part of
the present-day Burdwan division. During his reign, Rajendra Chola I
Chola Empire frequently invaded
Bengal from 1021 to 1023 CE to
get Ganges water and in the process, succeeded to humble the rulers,
acquiring considerable booty. The rulers of
Bengal who were defeated
by Rajendra Chola were Dharmapal, Ranasur and Govindachandra, who
might have been feudatories under
Mahipala I of the Pala Dynasty.
Rajendra Chola I
Rajendra Chola I also defeated Mahipala, and obtained from the Pala
king "elephants of rare strength, women and treasure". Mahipala
also gained control of north and south Bihar, probably aided by the
invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni, which exhausted the strength of other
rulers of North India. He may have also conquered
surrounding area, as his brothers Sthirapala and Vasantapala undertook
construction and repairs of several sacred structures at Varanasi.
Later, the Kalachuri king
Varanasi after defeating
the ruler of Anga, which could have been
Second period of decline
Nayapala, the son of
Mahipala I, defeated the Kalachuri king Karna
(son of Ganggeyadeva) after a long struggle. The two later signed a
peace treaty at the mediation of the Buddhist scholar Atiśa. During
the reign of Nayapala's son Vigrahapala III, Karna once again invaded
Bengal but was defeated. The conflict ended with a peace treaty, and
Vigrahapala III married Karna's daughter Yauvanasri. Vigrahapala III
was later defeated by the invading Chalukya king Vikramaditya VI. The
Vikramaditya VI saw several soldiers from South
Bengal, which explains the southern origin of the Sena Dynasty.
Vigrahapala III also faced another invasion led by the Somavamsi king
Mahasivagupta Yayati of Orissa. Subsequently, a series of invasions
considerably reduced the power of the Palas. The Varmans occupied
Bengal during his reign.
Mahipala II, the successor of Vigrahapala III, brought a short-lived
reign of military glory. His reign is well-documented by Sandhyakar
Nandi in Ramacharitam.
Mahipala II imprisoned his brothers Ramapala
and Surapala II, on the suspicion that they were conspiring against
him. Soon afterwards, he faced a rebellion of vassal chiefs from the
Kaibarta (fishermen). A chief named Divya (or Divvoka) killed him and
Varendra region. The region remained under the control of
his successors Rudak and Bhima. Surapala II escaped to Magadha and
died after a short reign. He was succeeded by his brother Ramapala,
who launched a major offensive against Divya's grandson Bhima. He was
supported by his maternal uncle Mathana of the
Rashtrakuta dynasty, as
well as several feudatory chiefs of south
Bihar and south-west Bengal.
Ramapala conclusively defeated Bhima, and killing him and his family
in a cruel manner.
Revival under Ramapala
After gaining control of Varendra,
Ramapala tried to revive the Pala
empire with limited success. He ruled from a new capital at Ramavati,
which remained the Pala capital until the dynasty's end. He reduced
taxation, promoted cultivation and constructed public utilities. He
Kamarupa and Rar under his control, and forced the Varman king
Bengal to accept his suzerainty. He also struggled with the
Ganga king for control of present-day Orissa; the Gangas managed to
annexe the region only after his death.
Ramapala maintained friendly
relations with the Chola king Kulottunga to secure support against the
common enemies: the Ganas and the Chalukyas. He kept the Senas in
check, but lost Mithila to a Karnataka chief named Nanyuadeva. He also
held back the aggressive design of the Gahadavala ruler
Govindacharndra through a matrimonial alliance.
Ramapala was the last strong Pala ruler. After his death, a rebellion
broke out in
Kamarupa during his son Kumarapala's reign. The rebellion
was crushed by Vaidyadeva, but after Kumarapala's death, Vaidyadeva
practically created a separate kingdom. According to Ramacharitam,
Gopala III was murdered by his uncle Mandapala.
During Madanapala's rule, the Varmans in east
independence, and the Eastern Gangas renewed the conflict in Orissa.
Munger from the Gahadavalas, but was defeated by
Vijayasena, who gained control of southern and eastern Bengal. A ruler
Govindapala ruled over the Gaya district around 1162 CE, but
there is no concrete evidence about his relationship to the imperial
Palas. The Pala dynasty was replaced by the Sena dynasty.
The borders of the
Pala Empire kept fluctuating throughout its
existence. Though the Palas conquered a vast region in North
one time, they could not retain it for long due to constant hostility
from the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the Rashtrakutas and other less powerful
No records are available about the exact boundaries of original
kingdom established by Gopala, but it might have included almost all
Bengal region. The Pala empire extended substantially under
Dharmapala's rule. Apart from Bengal, he directly ruled the
present-day Bihar. The kingdom of
Kannauj (present-day Uttar Pradesh)
was a Pala dependency at times, ruled by his nominee Chakrayudha.
While installing his nominee on the
Kannauj throne, Dharmapala
organised an imperial court. According to the Khalimpur copper plate
issued by Dharmapala, this court was attended by the rulers of Bhoja
(possibly Vidarbha), Matsya (Jaipur region),
Madra (East Punjab), Kuru
Yadu (possibly Mathura, Dwarka or Simhapura in the
Punjab), Yavana, Avanti,
Gandhara and Kira (Kangra Valley).
These kings accepted the installation of Chakrayudha on the Kannauj
throne, while "bowing down respectfully with their diadems
trembling". This indicates that his position as a sovereign was
accepted by most rulers, although this was a loose arrangement unlike
the empire of the Mauryas or the Guptas. The other rulers acknowledged
the military and political supremacy of Dharmapala, but maintained
their own territories. The poet Soddhala of Gujarat calls
Dharmapala an Uttarapathasvamin ("Lord of the North") for his
suzerainty over North India.
The epigraphic records credit Devapala with extensive conquests in
hyperbolic language. The Badal pillar inscription of his successor
Narayana Pala states that by the wise counsel and policy of his
Brahmin minister Darbhapani, Devapala became the suzerain monarch or
Chakravarti of the whole tract of Northern
India bounded by the
Vindhyas and the Himalayas. It also states that his empire extended up
to the two oceans (presumably the
Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal).
It also claims that Devpala defeated Utkala (present-day Orissa), the
Hunas, the Kambojas, the Dravidas, the
Kamarupa (present-day Assam),
and the Gurjaras:
The Gurjara adversary may have been Mihira Bhoja, whose eastward
expansion was checked by Devapala
The identity of the Huna king is uncertain.
The identity of the Kamboja prince is also uncertain. While an ancient
country with the name Kamboja was located in what is now Afghanistan,
there is no evidence that Devapala's empire extended that far.
Kamboja, in this inscription, could refer to the Kamboja tribe that
had entered North
India (see Kamboja Pala dynasty).
The Dravida king is usually identified with the
Amoghavarsha. Some scholars believe that the Dravida king could have
been the Pandya ruler Shri Mara Shri Vallabha, since "Dravida" usually
refers to the territory south of the Krishna river. According to this
theory, Devapala could have been helped in his southern expedition by
Chandela king Vijaya. In any case, Devapala's gains in the south,
if any, were temporary.
The claims about Devapala's victories are exaggerated, but cannot be
dismissed entirely: there is no reason to doubt his conquest of Utkala
and Kamarupa. Besides, the neighbouring kingdoms of Rashtrakutas and
the Gurjara-Pratiharas were weak at the time, which might have helped
him extend his empire. Devapala is also believed to have led an
army up to the Indus river in Punjab.
The empire started disintegrated after the death of Devapala, and his
Narayanapala lost control of
Assam and Orissa. He also
briefly lost control over Magadha and north Bengal.
Gopala II lost
control of Bengal, and ruled only from a part of Bihar. The Pala
empire disintegrated into smaller kingdoms during the reign of
Mahipala recovered parts of
Bengal and Bihar. His
Bengal again. The last strong Pala ruler, Ramapala,
gained control of Bengal, Bihar,
Assam and parts of Orissa. By the
time of Madanapala's death, the Pala kingdom was confined to parts of
central and east
Bihar along with northern Bengal.
The Pala rule was monarchial. The king was the centre of all power.
Pala kings would adopt imperial titles like Parameshwara,
Paramvattaraka, Maharajadhiraja. Pala kings appointed Prime Ministers.
The Line of Garga served as the Prime Ministers of the Palas for 100
Darvapani (or Darbhapani)
Pala Empire was divided into separate Bhuktis (Provinces). Bhuktis
were divided into Vishayas (Divisions) and Mandalas (Districts).
Smaller units were Khandala, Bhaga, Avritti, Chaturaka, and Pattaka.
Administration covered widespread area from the grass root level to
the imperial court.
The Pala copperplates mention following administrative posts:
Ranaka (possibly subordinate chiefs)
Samanta and Mahasamanta (Vassal kings)
Mahasandhi-vigrahika (Foreign minister)
Duta (Head Ambassador)
Aggaraksa (Chief guard)
Sasthadhikrta (Tax collector)
Chauroddharanika (Police tax)
Shaulkaka (Trade tax)
Dashaparadhika (Collector of penalties)
Tarika (Toll collector for river crossings)
Jyesthakayastha (Dealing documents)
Ksetrapa (Head of land use division) and Pramatr (Head of land
Mahadandanayaka or Dharmadhikara (Chief justice)
Dandashakti (Police forces)
Khola (Secret service). Agricultural posts like Gavadhakshya (Head of
Chhagadhyakshya (Head of goat farms)
Meshadyakshya (Head of sheep farms)
Mahishadyakshya (Head of Buffalo farms) and many other like Vogpati
Nalanda is considered one of the first great universities in recorded
history. It reached its height under the Palas.
Atisha was a Buddhist teacher, who helped establish the Sarma lineages
of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Palas were patrons of
Mahayana Buddhism. A few sources written
much after Gopala's death mention him as a Buddhist, but it is not
known if this is true. The subsequent Pala kings were definitely
Taranatha states that
Gopala was a staunch Buddhist, who
had built the famous monastery at Odantapuri.[not in citation
given] Dharmapala made the Buddhist philosopher Haribhadra his
spiritual preceptor. He established the
Vikramashila monastery and the
Taranatha also credits him with establishing 50
religious institutions and patronising the Buddhist author
Hariibhadra. Devapala restored and enlarged the structures at Somapura
Mahavihara, which also features several themes from the epics Ramayana
Mahipala I also ordered construction and repairs of
several sacred structures at Saranath,
Nalanda and Bodh Gaya. The
Mahipala geet ("songs of Mahipala"), a set of folk songs about him,
are still popular in the rural areas of Bengal.
The Palas developed the Buddhist centres of learnings, such as the
Vikramashila and the
Nalanda universities. Nalanda, considered one of
the first great universities in recorded history, reached its height
under the patronage of the Palas. Noted Buddhist scholars from the
Pala period include Atisha, Santaraksita, Saraha, Tilopa, Bimalamitra,
Dansheel, Dansree, Jinamitra, Jnanasrimitra, Manjughosh, Muktimitra,
Padmanava, Sambhogabajra, Shantarakshit, Silabhadra, Sugatasree and
As the rulers of Gautama Buddha's land, the Palas acquired great
reputation in the Buddhist world. Balaputradeva, the Sailendra king of
Java, sent an ambassador to him, asking for a grant of five villages
for the construction of a monastery at Nalanda. The request was
granted by Devapala. He appointed the
Brahmin Viradeva (of Nagarahara,
present-day Jalalabad) as the head of the
Nalanda monastery. The
Budhdist poet Vajradatta (the author of Lokesvarashataka), was in his
court. The Buddhist scholars from the Pala empire travelled from
Bengal to other regions to propagate Buddhism. Atisha, for example,
Tibet and Sumatra, and is seen as one of the major figures
in the spread of 11th-century
The Palas also supported the
Saiva ascetics, typically the ones
associated with the Golagi-Math. Narayana Pala himself established
a temple of Shiva, and was present at the place of sacrifice by his
Brahmin minister. Queen of King Madanapaladeva, namely
Chitramatika, made a gift of land to a
Brahmin named Bateswara Swami
as his remuneration for chanting the
Mahabharata at her request,
according to the principle of the Bhumichhidranyaya.
Besides the images of the Buddhist deities, the images of Vishnu, Siva
Sarasvati were also constructed during the Pala dynasty rule.
The Palas patronised several
Sanskrit scholars, some of whom were
their officials. The Gauda riti style of composition was developed
during the Pala rule. Many Buddhist Tantric works were authored and
translated during the Pala rule. Besides the Buddhist scholars
mentioned in the Religion section above, Jimutavahana, Sandhyakar
Suresvara and Chakrapani Datta are some of the
other notable scholars from the Pala period.
The notable Pala texts on philosophy include Agama Shastra by
Gaudapada, Nyaya Kundali by Sridhar Bhatta and Karmanushthan Paddhati
by Bhatta Bhavadeva. The texts on medicine include
Chikitsa Samgraha, Ayurveda Dipika, Bhanumati, Shabda Chandrika and
Dravya Gunasangraha by Chakrapani Datta
Shabda-Pradipa, Vrikkhayurveda and Lohpaddhati by Sureshwara
Chikitsa Sarsamgraha by Vangasena
Sushrata by Gadadhara Vaidya
Dayabhaga, Vyavohara Matrika and Kalaviveka by Jimutavahana
Sandhyakar Nandi's semi-fictional epic
Ramacharitam (12th century) is
an important source of Pala history.
A form of the proto-
Bengali language can be seen in the Charyapadas
composed during the Pala rule.
Art and architecture
The Pala school of sculptural art is recognised as a distinct phase of
the Indian art, and is noted for the artistic genius of the Bengal
sculptors. It is influenced by the Gupta art.
A basalt statue of Lalita flanked by
Gaṇeśa and Kārttikeya
Sculpture of Khasarpana Lokesvara from Nalanda
Varaha avatar of Lord Vishnu
As noted earlier, the Palas built a number of monasteries and other
sacred structures. The
Somapura Mahavihara in present-day Bangladesh
is a World Heritage Site. It is a monastery with 21 acre (85,000 m²)
complex has 177 cells, numerous stupas, temples and a number of other
ancillary buildings. The gigantic structures of other Viharas,
including Vikramashila, Odantapuri, and Jagaddala are the other
masterpieces of the Palas. These mammoth structures were mistaken by
the forces of
Bakhtiyar Khalji as fortified castles and were
demolished. The art of
Bengal during the
Pala and Sena dynasties influenced the art of Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka
Somapura Mahavihara, a World Heritage Site, was built by Dharmapala
Central shrine decor at Somapura
A model of the
Somapura Mahavihara by Ali Naqi
Ruins of Vikramashila
List of Pala rulers
Most of the Pala inscriptions mention only the regnal year as the date
of issue, without any well-known calendar era. Because of this, the
chronology of the Pala kings is hard to determine. Based on their
different interpretations of the various epigraphs and historical
records, different historians estimate the Pala chronology as
RC Majumdar (1971)
AM Chowdhury (1967)
BP Sinha (1977)
DC Sircar (1975–76)
D. K. Ganguly (1994)
NA (Mahendrapala's existence was conclusively established through a
copper-plate charter discovered later.)
1162–1176 or 1158–1162
Earlier historians believed that
Vigrahapala I and
Shurapala I were
the two names of the same person. Now, it is known that these two were
cousins; they either ruled simultaneously (perhaps over different
territories) or in rapid succession.
AM Chowdhury rejects
Govindapala and his successor Palapala as the
members of the imperial Pala dynasty.
According to BP Sinha, the Gaya inscription can be read as either the
"14th year of Govindapala's reign" or "14th year after Govindapala's
reign". Thus, two sets of dates are possible.
Outline of South Asian history
Palaeolithic (2,500,000–250,000 BC)
Neolithic (10,800–3300 BC)
Chalcolithic (3500–1500 BC)
Bronze Age (3300–1300 BC)
Indus Valley Civilisation
– Early Harappan Culture
– Mature Harappan Culture
– Late Harappan Culture
– Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
– Swat culture
Iron Age (1500–200 BC)
– Black and Red ware culture
– Painted Grey Ware culture
– Northern Black Polished Ware
Three Crowned Kingdoms
(c. 600 BC–AD 1600)
(c. 600–300 BC)
(450 BC–AD 489)
(c. 300 BC–AD 1345)
(c. 300 BC-AD 1102)
(c. 300 BC–AD 1279)
(c. 250 BC–AD 800)
(c. 250 BC–c. AD 500)
(247 BC– AD 224)
Middle Kingdoms (230 BC– AD 1206)
(230 BC–AD 220)
(200 BC–AD 300)
(c. 150 –c. 50 BC)
(180 BC–AD 10)
(50 BC–AD 400)
(AD 21–c. 130)
Western Satrap Empire
(AD 35–405 )
Nagas of Padmavati
(c. 250–c. 500)
(c. 250–c. 600)
Western Ganga Kingdom
Kabul Shahi Empire
(c. 550–c. 700)
Eastern Chalukya Kingdom
Western Chalukya Empire
Eastern Ganga Empire
Kalachuris of Tripuri
Kalachuris of Kalyani
(c. 1200–c. 1300)
Late medieval period (1206–1526)
– Mamluk Sultanate
– Khalji Sultanate
– Tughlaq Sultanate
– Sayyid Sultanate
– Lodi Sultanate
– Ahmadnagar Sultanate
– Berar Sultanate
– Bidar Sultanate
– Bijapur Sultanate
– Golkonda Sultanate
Early modern period
Early modern period (1526–1858)
Colonial states (1510–1961)
Periods of Sri Lanka
(Until 543 BC)
Early kingdoms period
(543 BC–377 BC)
(377 BC–AD 1017)
Crisis of the Sixteenth Century
Contemporary Sri Lanka
Influence on Southeast Asia
Partition of India
Science & Technology
The highest military officer in the Pala empire was the Mahasenapati
(commander-in-chief). The Palas recruited mercenary soldiers from a
number of kingdoms, including Malava, Khasa, Huna, Kulika, Kanrata,
Lata, Odra and Manahali. According to the contemporary accounts, the
Rashtrakutas had the best infantry, the Gurjara-Pratiharas had the
finest cavalry and the Palas had the largest elephant force. The Arab
merchant Sulaiman states that the Palas had an army bigger than those
of the Balhara (possibly the Rashtrakutas) and the king of Jurz
(possibly the Gurjara-Pratiharas). He also states that the Pala army
employed 10,000–15,000 men for fuelling and washing clothes. He
further claims that during the battles, the Pala king would lead
50,000 war elephants. Sulaiman's accounts seem to be based on
Ibn Khaldun mentions the number of elephants as
Bengal did not have a good native breed of horses, the Palas
imported their cavalry horses from the foreigners, including the
Kambojas. They also had a navy, used for both mercantile and defence
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pala Empire.
Middle kingdoms of India
The main sources of information about the Pala empire include:
Various epigraphs, coins, sculptures and architecture
Sanskrit work by Abhinanda (9th century)
Sanskrit epic by
Sandhyakar Nandi (12th century)
Subhasita Ratnakosa, a
Sanskrit compilation by
Vidyakara (towards the
end of the Pala rule)
Silsiltut-Tauarikh by the
Arab merchant Suleiman (951 CE), who
referred to the Pala kingdom as Ruhmi or Rahma
Dpal dus khyi 'khor lo'i chos bskor gyi byung khungs nyer mkh (History
Buddhism in India) by
Taranatha (1608), contains a few traditional
legends and hearsays about the Pala rule
Ain-i-Akbari by Abu'l-Fazl (16th-century)
^ Michael C. Howard (2012). Transnationalism in Ancient and Medieval
Societies: The Role of Cross-Border Trade and Travel. McFarland.
p. 72. ISBN 978-0-7864-9033-2.
^ Huntington 1984, p. 56.
^ Sailendra Nath Sen (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization.
New Age International. pp. 280–.
^ a b
R. C. Majumdar (1977). Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass Publ.
pp. 268–. ISBN 978-81-208-0436-4.
^ Raj Kumar (2003). Essays on Ancient India. Discovery Publishing
House. p. 199. ISBN 978-81-7141-682-0.
^ Sailendra Nath Sen (1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization.
New Age International. pp. 280–.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Sailendra Nath Sen
(1999). Ancient Indian History and Civilization. New Age
International. pp. 277–287. ISBN 978-81-224-1198-0.
^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Sengupta 2011, pp. 39–49.
^ Bagchi 1993, p. 37.
Vasily Vasilyev (December 1875). Translated by E. Lyall.
"Taranatea's Account of the Magadha Kings". The Indian Antiquary. IV:
^ Ramaranjan Mukherji; Sachindra Kumar Maity (1967). Corpus of Bengal
Inscriptions Bearing on History and Civilization of Bengal. Calcutta:
Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay. p. 11.
^ J. C. Ghosh (1939). "Caste and Chronology of the Pala Kings of
Bengal". The Indian Historical Quarterly. IX (2): 487–90.
^ The Caste of the Palas, The Indian Culture, Vol IV, 1939, pp
113–14, B Chatterji
M. N. Srinivas (1995). Social Change in Modern India. Orient
Blackswan. p. 9. ISBN 978-81-250-0422-6.
^ Metcalf, Thomas R. (1971). Modern India: An Interpretive Anthology.
Macmillan. p. 115.
^ André Wink (1990). Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World.
BRILL. p. 265. ISBN 90-04-09249-8.
^ Ishwari Prasad (1940). History of Mediaeval India. p. 20
^ a b
Biplab Dasgupta (2005). European Trade and Colonial Conquest.
Anthem Press. pp. 341–. ISBN 978-1-84331-029-7.
^ John Andrew Allan; Sir T. Wolseley Haig (1934). The Cambridge
Shorter History of India. Macmillan Company. p. 143.
Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha.
Abhinav Publications. p. 179. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4.
^ Bhagalpur Charter of Narayanapala, year 17, verse 6, The Indian
Antiquary, XV p 304.
^ a b
Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha.
Abhinav Publications. p. 185. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4.
^ Sengupta 2011, p. 45.
John Keay (2000). India: A History. Grove Press. p. 220.
^ John Andrew Allan; Sir T. Wolseley Haig (1934). The Cambridge
Shorter History of India. Macmillan Company. p. 10.
^ Bagchi 1993, p. 4.
Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha.
Abhinav Publications. pp. 177–.
^ Paul 1939, p. 38.
^ Bagchi 1993, p. 39–40.
^ Paul 1939, p. 122–124.
^ Paul 1939, p. 111–122.
^ Huntington 1984, p. 39.
Taranatha (1869). Târanâtha's Geschichte des Buddhismus in Indien
Buddhism in India] (in German). Translated by Anton
Schiefner. St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences. p. 206.
Zur Zeit des Königs Gopâla oder Devapâla wurde auch das
^ P. N. Chopra; B. N. Puri; M. N. Das; A. C. Pradhan, eds. (2003). A
Comprehensive History of Ancient
India (3 Vol. Set). Sterling.
pp. 200–202. ISBN 978-81-207-2503-4.
^ Bagchi 1993, p. 19.
^ Bagchi 1993, p. 100.
^ Krishna Chaitanya (1987). Arts of India. Abhinav Publications.
p. 38. ISBN 978-81-7017-209-3.
^ Chowdhury, AM (2012). "Pala Dynasty". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal,
Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of
ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
^ Rustam Jehangir Mehta (1981). Masterpieces of Indian bronzes and
metal sculpture. Taraporevala. p. 21.
Stella Kramrisch (1994). Exploring India's Sacred Art Selected
Writings of Stella Kramrisch. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe.
p. 208. ISBN 978-81-208-1208-6.
^ a b Dilip Kumar Ganguly (1994). Ancient India, History and
Archaeology. Abhinav. pp. 33–41.
^ a b Susan L. Huntington (1984). The "Påala-Sena" Schools of
Sculpture. Brill Archive. pp. 32–39.
R. C. Majumdar (1971). History of Ancient Bengal. G. Bharadwaj.
^ Abdul Momin Chowdhury (1967). Dynastic history of Bengal, c.
750-1200 CE. Asiatic Society of Pakistan. pp. 272–273.
Bindeshwari Prasad Sinha (1977). Dynastic History of Magadha, Cir.
450–1200 A.D. Abhinav Publications. pp. 253–.
Dineshchandra Sircar (1975–76). "Indological Notes - R.C.
Majumdar's Chronology of the Pala Kings". Journal of Indian History.
^ Paul 1939, p. 139–143.
^ Paul 1939, p. 143–144.
^ Bagchi 1993, pp. 2–3.
Bagchi, Jhunu (1993). The History and Culture of the Pālas of Bengal
and Bihar, Cir. 750 A.D.-cir. 1200 A.D. Abhinav Publications.
Huntington, Susan L. (1984). The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture.
Brill Archive. ISBN 90-04-06856-2.
Paul, Pramode Lal (1939). The Early History of Bengal. Indian History.
1. Indian Research Institute. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
Sengupta, Nitish K. (2011). Land of Two Rivers: A History of Bengal
Mahabharata to Mujib. Penguin Books India. pp. 39–49.