Rajput Kingdoms (Rajput Empire)
Principal Rajput Kingdoms
At the time of Muslim invasions the whole of Northern India was divided into a large number of Rajput Kingdoms. The major Rajput Kingdoms were Delhi, Mewar, Kanauj, Ajmer, Bihar, Bengal, Bundelkhand, Malwa and Chedi. These Kingdoms have been discussed below in brief:
1. Rajput Kingdom of Delhi
At the time of Muslim invasion of India, Delhi was under the domination of the Chauhan Dynasty of the Rajputs.
Formerly this state was under the rule of the Tomaras dynasty, but in about 1163 A.D. the Chauhan ruler Vigraharaja conquered it from the Tomer chief. Under Vigraharaja’s successor, i.e., Prithviraj Chauhan, this state of Delhi made a rapid progress. However, in 1192 A.D. this state was conquered by Muhammad Ghori when he defeated Prithviraj Chauhan, in the Second Battle of Tarain.
2. Mewar Kingdom
Mewar was under the domination of the Sisodia dynasty, which continued to rule over this territory up to 1647 A.D. Its capital was Chittor. The founder of this dynasty was Bappa Rawal. However, under Rana Kumbha and his grandson Rana Sanga, Mewar made a great progress. The former defeated the Muslim rulers of Malwa and to commemorate this conquest he built a splendid tower, known as “Vijaya Stambha” at Chittor. He was also a great scholar, musician and mighty builder. He is said to have built a large number of forts in Mewar. His grandson Rana Sanga, and Maharana Pratap (Rana Sanga’s grandson) gave a tough fight to the Mughals and taught them wisdom.
3. Kanauj Kingdom
In the beginning of the 9th century A.D. Kanauj came under the domination of the Pratiharas. The most important ruler of this dynasty was Mihir Bhoja (840-90 A.D.) under whose able administration Kanauj became the premier city of India. This dynasty of the Pratiharas received a great setback when Mahmud Ghaznavi attacked their empire and conquered Kanauj in 1018-19, A.D. After the retreat of the invader the Pratiharas no doubt, reoccupied Kanauj, but much of their name and fame vanished away. In about 1090 the Rathor Rajputs conquered Kanauj and thus disappeared the great Rajput dynasty of the Pratiharas.
For about a century (1090-1194) the Rathors ruled over this great city of Kanauj. The last great ruler of this dynasty was Jai Chand Rathore who had a great enmity with his neighbour Prithviraj Chauhan of Ajmer. Their enmity gave a long sought opportunity to Muhammad Ghori to invade India. In 1191 Muhammad Ghori was defeated, but the very next year he defeated and killed Prithvi Raj Chauhan. In none of these two battles Jai Chand extended a helping hand to Prithviraj Chauhan. But he was not spared. Two years later (in 1194 A.D.) Muhammad Ghori attacked him and killed him in a battle. Thus was Jai Chand paid for his treachery.
4. Kingdom of Ajmer
Ajmer was under the domination of the famous Chauhan dynasty of the Rajputs. The most famous ruler of this dynasty was Prithvi Raj Chauhan, who greatly extended the boundaries of his small kingdom by his conquests. From the powerful Chandellas he conquered the territory of Bundelkhand and annexed it to his empire. His military exploits are graphically described by his court-poet, Chand Bardai in his famous book “Prithvi Raj Rasa.” Prithvi Raj Chauhan was a very powerful and brave ruler. It is because of his chivalry and great merit that Sanyukta, the daughter of his rival Jaichand, the ruler of Kanauj, began to love him. In 1911 A.D. when Muhammad Ghori invaded India Prithvi Raj gave him a crushing defeat at the battle of Tarain and forced him to take to his heels. Next year another battle was fought on the same battle field but this time the Rajput army was completely routed and its leader Prithviraj was captured and murdered.
5. Kingdoms of Bihar and Bengal
At the time of Muhammedan invasion of India, Bihar was ruled by the Pala dynasty, while Bengal was under the rule of the Senas. Earlier, both Bihar and Bengal were under the domination of the Pala dynasty but in the beginning of the 12th century (in about 1119 A.D.) the Senas under their ruler Vijayasena declared themselves independent in Bengal. The Pala rulers were Buddhist in their faith while the, Sena kings were orthodox Hindus. Towards the end of the 12th century A.D. (1199 A.D.) one of the generals of Muhammad Ghori, Muhammad Bin Baktiyar Khilji invaded Bengal and Bihar and annexed them to the Muslim empire.
6. Bundelkhand Kingdom
The Chendella dynasty of the Rajputs ruled over Bundelkhand, which was situated between the Jamuna and the Narbada. Its capital was Mahoba, while Kalinjar was its important fort. Kirtivarman was one of the greatest rulers of this dynasty. The last ruler of the Chandellas submitted to Prithviraj Chauhan and then (1203 A.D.) to Muhammad Ghori.
7. Malwa Kingdom
Malwa was under the rule of the Parmara dynasty of the Rajputs. Its capital was Dhara and important ruler of this dynasty was Munja (974-95 A.D.) who was a great patron of learning and was himself a poet of the highest order. But the most famous ruler of this dynasty was Bhoja (1018-60), who is up to this time remembered as the famous Raja Bhoja of Dhara. He was a great scholar and writer of many books on poetry, architecture and astronomy. He is said to have constructed a beautiful lake near Bhopal and founded a famous Sanskrit-college in his capital, Dhara. He is a great-figure both in history arid in fables. With his death the greatness of the Paramaras was also gone.
7. Chedi (Chedi Dynasty)
The state of Chedi was situated between the Narbada and Godavari rivers, and was ruled by the Kalachuri dynasty. The capital of this state was Tripuri, near modern Jubbulpore. Like the Chandellas, the Kalachuris were formerly subordinate to the Pratiharas but about the middle of the 10th century A.D. they asserted their independence. Towards the beginning of the 12th century A.D. the Chedi possessions were lost to the rising dynasties of the Ganpatis of Warangal, the Yadavas of Devagiri and the Vaghela Rajputs.