The Info List - Pala Empire

--- Advertisement ---

The 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_, which meant "protector" in the ancient language of Prakrit . 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 cavalry. 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, including the Somapura Mahavihara , and patronised the great universities of 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. The House of Wisdom in Baghdad absorbed the mathematical and astronomical achievements of Indian civilisation during this period.

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 northeastern India , 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, Emperor 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.

The resurgent Hindu 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 to 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 History

* 1.1 Origins * 1.2 Establishment * 1.3 Expansion under Dharmapala and Devapala * 1.4 First period of decline * 1.5 Revival under Mahipala I * 1.6 Second period of decline * 1.7 Revival under Ramapala * 1.8 Final decline

* 2 Geography * 3 Administration

* 4 Culture

* 4.1 Religion * 4.2 Literature * 4.3 Art and architecture

* 5 List of Pala rulers * 6 Military * 7 See also * 8 Sources

* 9 References

* 9.1 Bibliography



According to the Khalimpur copper plate inscription, the first Pala king Gopala was the son of a warrior named Vapyata. The _Ramacharitam_ attests that 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 in 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 mythical 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 lineage.


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 region.

Gopala's ascension was a significant political event as the several independent chiefs recognised his political authority without any struggle.


An illustration of the Kannauj triangle

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 Chakrayudha. 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 II . The Rashtrakuta records show that both Chakrayudha and Dharmapala recognised the Rashtrakuta suzerainty. In practice, Dharmapala gained control over North India after Govinda III left for the Deccan. He adopted the title _Paramesvara Paramabhattaraka Maharajadhiraja_.

Dharmapala was succeeded by his son Devapala, who is regarded as the most powerful Pala ruler. His expeditions resulted in the invasion of 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).


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 and successor Narayanapala proved to be a weak ruler. During his reign, the Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha defeated the Palas. Encouraged by the Pala decline, the King Harjara of Assam assumed imperial titles and the Sailodbhavas established their power in Orissa .

Naryanapala's son Rajyapala ruled for at least 12 years, and constructed several public utilities and lofty temples. His son Gopala II lost 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. Kantideva of 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 of the 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 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 Varanasi and surrounding area, as his brothers Sthirapala and Vasantapala undertook construction and repairs of several sacred structures at Varanasi. Later, the Kalachuri king Gangeyadeva annexed Varanasi after defeating the ruler of Anga, which could have been Mahipala I.


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 invasion of Vikramaditya VI saw several soldiers from South India into 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 eastern 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 occupied the 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.


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 brought Kamarupa and Rar under his control, and forced the Varman king of east 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 Assam 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_, Kumarapala's son Gopala III was murdered by his uncle Mandapala. During Madanapala's rule, the Varmans in east Bengal declared independence, and the Eastern Gangas renewed the conflict in Orissa. Madanapala captured Munger from the Gahadavalas, but was defeated by Vijayasena, who gained control of southern and eastern Bengal. A ruler named 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 India at one time, they could not retain it for long due to constant hostility from the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the Rashtrakutas and other less powerful kings.

No records are available about the exact boundaries of original kingdom established by Gopala, but it might have included almost all of the 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 (Delhi region), 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 Rashtrakuta king 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 the 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 successor 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 Vigrahapala II. Mahipala recovered parts of Bengal and Bihar. His successors lost 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 years.

* Garga * Darvapani (or Darbhapani) * Someshwar * Kedarmisra * Bhatta Guravmisra

Pala Empire was divided into separate _Bhukti_s (Provinces). Bhuktis were divided into _Vishaya_s (Divisions) and _Mandala_s (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:

* _Raja_ * _Rajanyaka_ * _Ranaka_ (possibly subordinate chiefs) * _Samanta_ and _Mahasamanta_ (Vassal kings) * _Mahasandhi-vigrahika_ (Foreign minister) * _Duta_ (Head Ambassador) * _Rajasthaniya_ (Deputy) * _Aggaraksa_ (Chief guard) * _Sasthadhikrta_ (Tax collector) * _Chauroddharanika_ (Police tax) * _Shaulkaka_ (Trade tax) * _Dashaparadhika_ (Collector of penalties) * _Tarika_ (Toll collector for river crossings) * _Mahaksapatalika_ (Accountant) * _Jyesthakayastha_ (Dealing documents) * _Ksetrapa_ (Head of land use division) and _Pramatr_ (Head of land measurements) * _Mahadandanayaka_ or _Dharmadhikara_ (Chief justice) * _Mahapratihara_ * _Dandika_ * _Dandapashika_ * _Dandashakti_ (Police forces) * _Khola_ (Secret service). Agricultural posts like _Gavadhakshya_ (Head of dairy farms) * _Chhagadhyakshya_ (Head of goat farms) * _Meshadyakshya_ (Head of sheep farms) * _Mahishadyakshya_ (Head of Buffalo farms) and many other like _Vogpati_ * _Vishayapati_ * _Shashtadhikruta_ * _Dauhshashadhanika_ * _Nakadhyakshya_



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 Buddhists. Taranatha states that Gopala was a staunch Buddhist, who had built the famous monastery at Odantapuri . Dharmapala made the Buddhist philosopher Haribhadra his spiritual preceptor. He established the Vikramashila monastery and the Somapura Mahavihara . 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 _ and _ Mahabharata _. 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 Virachan.

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, preached in Tibet and Sumatra , and is seen as one of the major figures in the spread of 11th-century Mahayana Buddhism.

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 and 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 Nandi , Madhava-kara , 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 _Charyapada _s composed during the Pala rule.


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 *

Carved shankhas *

Sculpture of Khasarpana Lokesvara from Nalanda *

Sculpture of 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 Bakhtiar Khilji as fortified castles and were demolished. The art of Bihar and Bengal during the Pala and Sena dynasties influenced the art of Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka and Java.


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


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 follows:

RC MAJUMDAR (1971) AM CHOWDHURY (1967) BP SINHA (1977) DC SIRCAR (1975–76) D. K. GANGULY (1994)

Gopala I 750–770 756–781 755–783 750–775 750–774

Dharmapala 770–810 781–821 783–820 775–812 774–806

Devapala 810–c. 850 821–861 820–860 812–850 806–845

Mahendrapala NA (Mahendrapala's existence was conclusively established through a copper-plate charter discovered later.) 845–860

Shurapala I 850–853 861–866 860–865 850–858 860–872

Vigrahapala I 858–60 872–873

Narayanapala 854–908 866–920 865–920 860–917 873–927

Rajyapala 908–940 920–952 920–952 917–952 927–959

Gopala II 940–957 952–969 952–967 952–972 959–976

Vigrahapala II 960–c. 986 969–995 967–980 972–977 976–977

Mahipala I 988–c. 1036 995–1043 980–1035 977–1027 977–1027

Nayapala 1038–1053 1043–1058 1035–1050 1027–1043 1027–1043

Vigrahapala III 1054–1072 1058–1075 1050–1076 1043–1070 1043–1070

Mahipala II 1072–1075 1075–1080 1076–1078/9 1070–1071 1070–1071

Shurapala 1075–1077 1080–1082 1071–1072 1071–1072

Ramapala 1077–1130 1082–1124 1078/9–1132 1072–1126 1072–1126

Kumarapala 1130–1125 1124–1129 1132–1136 1126–1128 1126–1128

Gopala III 1140–1144 1129–1143 1136–1144 1128–1143 1128–1143

Madanapala 1144–1162 1143–1162 1144–1161/62 1143–1161 1143–1161

Govindapala 1155–1159 NA 1162–1176 or 1158–1162 1161–1165 1161–1165

Palapala NA NA NA 1165–1199 1165–1200


* 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.


Palaeolithic (2,500,000–250,000 BCE)

Madrasian Culture (2,500,000 BCE)

Riwatian Culture (1,900,000 BCE)

Soanian Culture (500,000–250,000 BCE)

Neolithic (10,800–3300 BCE)

Bhirrana Culture (7570–6200 BCE)

Mehrgarh Culture (7000–3300 BCE)

Chalcolithic (3500–1500 BCE)

Jorwe Culture (3500–2000 BCE)

Ahar-Banas Culture (3000–1500 BCE)

Pandu Culture (1600–1500 BCE)

Bronze Age (3000–1300 BCE)

Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1300 BCE)

– Early Harappan Culture (3300–2600 BCE)

– Mature Harappan Culture (2600–1900 BCE)

– Late Harappan Culture (1900–1300 BCE)

Vedic Civilisation (2000–500 BCE)

Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (2000–1600 BCE)

– Swat culture (1600–500 BCE)

Iron Age (1300–230 BCE)

Vedic Civilisation (2000–500 BCE)

– Janapadas (1500–600 BCE)

– Black and Red ware culture (1300–1000 BCE)

Painted Grey Ware culture (1200–600 BCE)

Northern Black Polished Ware (700–200 BCE)

Pradyota Dynasty (799–684 BCE)

Haryanka Dynasty (684–424 BCE)

Three Crowned Kingdoms (c. 600 BCE–1600 CE)

Maha Janapadas (c. 600–300 BCE)

Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE)

Ror Dynasty (450 BCE–489 CE)

Shishunaga Dynasty (424–345 BCE)

Nanda Empire (380–321 BCE)

Macedonian Empire (330–323 BCE)

Maurya Empire (321–184 BCE)

Seleucid Empire (312–63 BCE)

Pandya Empire (c. 300 BCE–1345 CE)

Chera Kingdom (c. 300 BCE–1102 CE)

Chola Empire (c. 300 BCE–1279 CE)

Pallava Empire (c. 250 BCE–800 CE)

Maha-Megha-Vahana Empire (c. 250 BCE–c. 500 CE)

Parthian Empire (247 BCE–224 CE)

Classical Period (230 BCE–1206 CE)

Satavahana Empire (230 BCE–220 CE)

Kuninda Kingdom (200 BCE–300 CE)

Indo-Scythian Kingdom (200 BCE–400 CE)

Mitra Dynasty (c. 150 BCE–c. 50 BCE)

Shunga Empire (185–73 BCE)

Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE–10 CE)

Kanva Empire (75–26 BCE)

Indo-Parthian Kingdom (21–c. 130 CE)

Western Satrap Empire (35–405 CE)

Kushan Empire (60–240 CE)

Bharshiva Dynasty (170–350 CE)

Nagas of Padmavati (210–340 CE)

Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE)

Indo-Sassanid Kingdom (230–360 CE)

Vakataka Empire (c. 250–c. 500 CE)

Kalabhras Empire (c. 250–c. 600 CE)

Gupta Empire (280–550 CE)

Kadamba Empire (345–525 CE)

Western Ganga Kingdom (350–1000 CE)

Kamarupa Kingdom (350–1100 CE)

Vishnukundina Empire (420–624 CE)

Maitraka Empire (475–767 CE)

Huna Kingdom (475–576 CE)

Rai Kingdom (489–632 CE)

Kabul Shahi Empire (c. 500–1026 CE)

Chalukya Empire (543–753 CE)

Maukhari Empire (c. 550–c. 700 CE)

Harsha Empire (606–647 CE)

Tibetan Empire (618–841 CE)

Eastern Chalukya Kingdom (624–1075 CE)

Rashidun Caliphate (632–661 CE)

Gurjara-Pratihara Empire (650–1036 CE)

Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE)

Pala Empire (750–1174 CE)

Rashtrakuta Empire (753–982 CE)

Paramara Kingdom (800–1327 CE)

Yadava Empire (850–1334 CE)

Chaulukya Kingdom (942–1244 CE)

Western Chalukya Empire (973–1189 CE)

Lohara Kingdom (1003–1320 CE)

Hoysala Empire (1040–1346 CE)

Sena Empire (1070–1230 CE)

Eastern Ganga Empire (1078–1434 CE)

Kakatiya Kingdom (1083–1323 CE)

Karnatas of Mithila (1097-1325 CE)

Zamorin Kingdom (1102–1766 CE)

Kalachuris of Tripuri (675-1210 CE)

Kalachuris of Kalyani (1156–1184 CE)

Sutiya Kingdom (1187-1673 CE)

Deva Kingdom (c. 1200–c. 1300 CE)

Medieval and Early Modern Periods (1206–1858 CE)

Delhi Sultanate (1206–1526 CE)

– Mamluk Sultanate (1206–1290 CE)

– Khilji Sultanate (1290–1320 CE)

– Tughlaq Sultanate (1320–1414 CE)

– Sayyid Sultanate (1414–1451 CE)

– Lodi Sultanate (1451–1526 CE)

Ahom Kingdom (1228–1826 CE)

Chitradurga Kingdom (1300–1779 CE)

Oinwar dynasty (1323-1526 CE)

Reddy Kingdom (1325–1448 CE)

Vijayanagara Empire (1336–1646 CE)

Garhwal Kingdom (1358–1803 CE)

Mysore Kingdom (1399–1947 CE)

Gajapati Kingdom (1434–1541 CE)

Deccan Sultanates (1490–1596 CE)

Ahmadnagar Sultanate (1490–1636 CE)

Berar Sultanate (1490–1574 CE)

Bidar Sultanate (1492–1619 CE)

Bijapur Sultanate (1492–1686 CE)

Golkonda Sultanate (1518–1687 CE)

Keladi Kingdom (1499–1763 CE)

Koch Kingdom (1515–1947 CE)

Mughal Empire (1526–1858 CE)

Sur Empire (1540–1556 CE)

Madurai Kingdom (1559–1736 CE)

Thanjavur Kingdom (1572–1918 CE)

Marava Kingdom (1600–1750 CE)

Thondaiman Kingdom (1650–1948 CE)

Maratha Empire (1674–1818 CE)

Sikh Confederacy (1707–1799 CE)

Travancore Kingdom (1729–1947 CE)

Sikh Empire (1799–1849 CE)

Colonial Period (1510–1961 CE)

Portuguese India (1510–1961 CE)

Dutch India (1605–1825 CE)

Danish India (1620–1869 CE)

French India (1759–1954 CE)

Company Raj (1757–1858 CE)

British Raj (1858–1947 CE)

Kingdoms and Colonies of Sri Lanka (544 BCE–1948 CE)

Kingdom of Tambapanni (543–505 BCE)

Kingdom of Upatissa Nuwara (505–377 BCE)

Anuradhapura Kingdom (377 BCE–1017 CE)

Kingdom of Ruhuna (200 CE)

Kingdom of Polonnaruwa (300–1310 CE)

Jaffna Kingdom (1215–1624 CE)

Kingdom of Dambadeniya (1220–1272 CE)

Kingdom of Yapahuwa (1272–1293 CE)

Kingdom of Kurunegala (1293–1341 CE)

Kingdom of Gampola (1341–1347 CE)

Kingdom of Raigama (1347–1415 CE)

Kingdom of Kotte (1412–1597 CE)

Kingdom of Sitawaka (1521–1594 CE)

Kingdom of Kandy (1469–1815 CE)

Portuguese Ceylon (1505–1658 CE)

Dutch Ceylon (1656–1796 CE)

British Ceylon (1815–1948 CE)

National histories

* Afghanistan * Bangladesh * Bhutan * India * Maldives * Nepal * Pakistan * Sri Lanka

Regional histories

* Assam * Balochistan * Bengal * Bihar * Gujarat * Himachal Pradesh * Kabul * Kashmir * Khyber Pakhtunkhwa * Rajasthan * Maharashtra * Uttar Pradesh * Punjab * Odisha * Sindh * South India * Tamil Nadu * Tibet

Specialised histories

* Coinage * Dynasties * Economy * Indology * Language * Literature * Maritime * Military * Partition of India * Pakistan studies * Science font-size:115%;padding-top: 0.6em;">

* v * t * e


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 exaggerated reports; Ibn Khaldun mentions the number of elephants as 5,000.

Since 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 purposes.


_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to PALA EMPIRE _.

* Middle kingdoms of India


The main sources of information about the Pala empire include: Pala accounts

* Various epigraphs, coins, sculptures and architecture * _Ramacharita_, a Sanskrit work by Abhinanda (9th century) * _ Ramacharitam _, a Sanskrit epic by Sandhyakar Nandi (12th century) * _Subhasita Ratnakosa_, a Sanskrit compilation by Vidyakara (towards the end of the Pala rule)

Other accounts

* _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 of 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. * ^ _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–. ISBN 978-81-224-1198-0 . * ^ _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" (PDF). _The Indian Antiquary _. IV: 365–66. * ^ 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 fn. * ^ _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. ISBN 978-0-8021-3797-5 . * ^ 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–. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4 . * ^ 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_ (in German). Translated by Anton Schiefner. St. Petersburg: Imperial Academy of Sciences. p. 206. Zur Zeit des Königs Gopâla oder Devapâla wurde auch das Otautapuri-Vihâra errichtet. * ^ 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 Bangladesh_ (Second 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. ISBN 978-81-7017-304-5 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Susan L. Huntington (1984). _The "Påala-Sena" Schools of Sculpture_. Brill Archive. pp. 32–39. ISBN 90-04-06856-2 . * ^ R. C. Majumdar (1971). _History of Ancient Bengal_. G. Bharadwaj. p. 161–162. * ^ 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–. ISBN 978-81-7017-059-4 . * ^ Dineshchandra Sircar (1975–76). "Indological Notes - R.C. Majumdar's Chronology of the Pala Kings". _Journal of Indian History_. IX: 209–10. * ^ 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. ISBN 978-81-7017-301-4 . * Huntington, Susan L. (1984). _