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Gurjar Pratihar Dynasty

The Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty was an imperial power during the Late Classical period on the Indian subcontinent, that ruled much of Northern India from the mid-8th to the 11th century. They ruled first at Ujjain and later at Kannauj.

“The Gurjara Pratihara Empire which continued in full glory for nearly a century, was the last great empire in Northern India before the Muslim conquest. This honour is accorded to the empire of Harsha by many historians of repute, but without any real justification, for the Pratihara Empire was probably larger, certainly not less in extent, rivalled the Gupta Empire and brought political unity and its attendant blessings upon a large part of Northern India. But its chief credit lies in its successful resistance to the foreign invasions from the west, from the days of Junaid. This was frankly recognised by the Arab writers themselves.” The primary contribution of the Gurjara-Pratiharas was to hold the Islamic attackers at bay for more than three hundred years. They saved the Hindus from staggering misery, saved countless number of temples and built thousands of others. Without the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the entire history of India might have been wholly different. This played a great role in ensuring that India remained Hindu.

The Gurjara-Pratiharas were instrumental in containing Arab armies moving east of the Indus River. Nagabhata I defeated the Arab army under Junaid and Tamin in the Caliphate campaigns in India. Under Nagabhata II, the Gurjara-Pratiharas became the most powerful dynasty in northern India. He was succeeded by his son Ramabhadra, who ruled briefly before being succeeded by his son, Mihira Bhoja. Under Bhoja and his successor Mahendrapala I, the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty reached its peak of prosperity and power. By the time of Mahendrapala, the extent of its territory rivalled that of the Gupta Empire stretching from the border of Sindh in the west to Bengal in the east and from the Himalayas in the north to areas past the Narmada in the south. The expansion triggered a tripartite power struggle with the Rashtrakuta and Pala empires for control of the Indian Subcontinent. During this period, Imperial Pratihara took the title of Maharajadhiraja of Āryāvarta (Great King of Kings of India).

Gurjara-Pratihara are known for their sculptures, carved panels and open pavilion style temples. The greatest development of their style of temple building was at Khajuraho, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The power of the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty was weakened by dynastic strife. It was further diminished as a result of a great raid led by the Rashtrakuta ruler Indra III who, in about 916, sacked Kannauj. Under a succession of rather obscure rulers, the dynasty never regained its former influence. Their feudatories became more and more powerful, one by one throwing off their allegiance until, by the end of the 10th century, the dynasty controlled little more than the Gangetic Doab. Their last important king, Rajyapala, was driven from Kannauj by Mahmud of Ghazni in 1018

Early History

The original centre of Pratihara power is a matter of controversy. R. C. Majumdar, on the basis of a verse in the Harivamsha-Purana, AD 783, the interpretation of which he conceded was not free from difficulty, held that Vatsaraja ruled at Ujjain.[18] Dasharatha Sharma, interpreting it differently located the original capital in the Bhinmala Jalor area.[19] M. W. Meister[20] and Shanta Rani Sharma concur with his conclusion in view of the fact that the writer of the Jaina narrative Kuvalayamala states that it was composed at Jalor in the time of Vatsaraja in AD 778, which is five years before the composition of Harivamsha-Purana.
Nagabhata I (739-760), was originally perhaps a feudatory of the Chavdas of Bhillamala. He gained prominence after the downfall of the Chavda kingdom in the course of resisting the invading forces led by the Arabs who controlled Sindh. Nagabhata Pratihara I (730–756) later extended his control east and south from Mandor, conquering Malwa as far as Gwalior and the port of Bharuch in Gujarat. He established his capital at Avanti in Malwa, and checked the expansion of the Arabs, who had established themselves in Sind. In this battle (738 CE), Nagabhata led a confederacy of Pratiharas to defeat the Muslim Arabs who had till then been pressing on victorious through West Asia and Iran. An inscription by Mihira Bhoja ascribes Nagabhatta with having appeared like Vishnu “in response to the prayers of the oppressed people to crush the large armies of the powerful Mleccha ruler,the destroyer of virtue”. Nagabhata I was followed by two weak successors, his nephews Devraj and Kakkuka, who were in turn succeeded by Vatsraja (775–805).

Origin of Gurjar Partihara Dynasty

Multiple inscriptions of their neighbouring dynasties describe the Pratiharas as “Gurjara”. The term “Gurjara-Pratihara” occurs only in the Rajor inscription of a feudatory ruler named Mathanadeva, who describes himself as a “Gurjara-Pratihara”. Gurjara was the name of the tribe to which the dynasty belonged, and Pratihara was a clan of this tribe.

The word Gurjar represents a caste and a tribe and a group in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, locally referred to as jati, zaat, qaum or biradari The history of the word Gurjar can be confidently traced back to an ancient ethnic and tribal identity called Gurjara, which became prominent after the collapse of Gupta Empire. A literal or definitive meaning of the word Gurjara is not available in any of the historical references. The oldest reference to the word Gurjara is found in the book called Harshacharita (Harsha’s Deeds), a biography of king Harshavardhana written around 630 CE.[19] Banabhatta, the author of Harshacharita, mentions that Harsha’s father Prabhakravardhana (560-580 CE) was “a constant threat to the sleep of Gurjara”—apparently a reference to the Gurjara king or kingdom. Inscriptions from a collateral branch of Gurjaras, known as Gurjaras of Lata, claim that their family was ruling Bharakucha (Bharuch) as early as 450 CE from their capital at Nandipuri. Based on these early dates, it has been proposed by some authors that Gurjara identity might have been present in India as early as the 3rd century CE, but it became prominent only after the fall of Guptas.

It has been suggested by several historians that Gurjara was initially the name of a tribe or clan which later evolved into a geographical and ethnic identity following the establishment of a janapada (tribal kingdom) called ‘Gurjara’.[20] This understanding has introduced an element of ambiguity regarding ancient royal designations containing the word ‘gurjara’ such as gurjaraeshvara or gurjararaja, as now its debatable whether the kings bearing these epithets were tribal or ethnic Gurjaras.

Historians and anthropologists differ on the issue of Gurjar origin. According to this view, between 1 BCE and 1 CE, the ancient ancestors of Gurjars came in multiple waves of migration and they were initially accorded status as high-caste warriors in the Hindu fold in the North-Western regions (modern Rajasthan and Gujarat).

According to scholars such as Baij Nath Puri, the Mount Abu (ancient Arbuda Mountain) region of present-day Rajasthan had been an abode of the Gurjars during the medieval period.[25] The association of the Gurjars with the mountain is noticed in many inscriptions and epigraphs including Tilakamanjari of Dhanpala.[26][better source needed] These Gurjars migrated from the Arbuda mountain region and as early as in the 6th century A.D., they set up one or more principalities in Rajasthan and Gujarat. The whole or a larger part of Rajasthan and Gujarat had been long known as Gurjaratra (country ruled or protected by the Gurjars) or Gurjarabhumi (land of the Gurjars) for centuries prior to the Mughal period.

In Sanskrit texts, the ethnonym has sometimes been interpreted as “destroyer of the enemy”: gur meaning “enemy” and ujjar meaning “destroyer”).

In its survey of The People of India, the Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI) – a government-sponsored organisation – noted that
The Gurjars/Gujjars were no doubt a remarkable people spread from Kashmir to Gujarat and Maharashtra, who gave an identity to Gujarat, established kingdoms, entered the Kshatriya groups as the dominant lineage of Badgujar, and survive today as a pastoral and a tribal group with both Hindu and Muslim segments.

Conquest of Kannauj and further expansion

After bringing much of Rajasthan under his control, Vatsaraja embarked to become “master of all the land lying between the two seas.” Contemporary Jijasena’s Harivamsha purana describes him as “master of western quarter”
According to the Radhanpur Plate and Prithviraja Vijaya, Vatsaraja led an expedition against palas under Dharampala of Bengal As such, the Palas came into conflict from time to time with the Imperial Pratiharas. According to the above inscription Dharampala, was deprived of his two white Royal Umbrellas, and fled, followed by the Pratihara forces under general Durlabhraj I Chauhan of Shakambhari. The Prithviraj Vijaya mentions Durlabhraj I as having “washed his sword at the confluence of the river Ganga and the ocean, and savouring the land of the Gaudas”, The Baroda Inscription (AD 812) states Nagabhata defeated the Dharampala. Through vigorous campaigning, Vatsraj had extended his dominions to include a large part of northern India, from the Thar Desert in the west up to the frontiers of Bengal in the east.
The metropolis of Kannauj had suffered a power vacuum following the death of Harsha without an heir, which resulted in the disintegration of the Empire of Harsha. This space was eventually filled by Yashovarman around a century later but his position was dependent upon an alliance with Lalitaditya Muktapida. When Muktapida undermined Yashovarman, a tri-partite struggle for control of the city developed, involving the Pratiharas, whose territory was at that time to the west and north, the Palas of Bengal in the east and the Rashtrakutas, whose base lay at the south in the Deccan. Vatsraja successfully challenged and defeated the Pala ruler Dharmapala and Dantidurga, the Rashtrakuta king, for control of Kannauj.
Around 786, the Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva (c. 780–793) crossed the Narmada River into Malwa, and from there tried to capture Kannauj. Vatsraja was defeated by the Dhruva Dharavarsha of the Rashtrakuta dynasty around 800. Vatsraja was succeeded by Nagabhata II (805–833), who was initially defeated by the Rashtrakuta ruler Govinda III (793–814), but later recovered Malwa from the Rashtrakutas, conquered Kannauj and the Indo-Gangetic Plain as far as Bihar from the Palas, and again checked the Muslims in the west. He rebuilt the great Shiva temple at Somnath in Gujarat, which had been demolished in an Arab raid from Sindh. Kannauj became the center of the Gurjara-Pratihara state, which covered much of northern India during the peak of their power, c. 836–910.

Great Emperor Mihirbhoja Gurjar Pratihar

Mihira Bhoja first consolidated his territories by crushing the rebellious feudatories in Rajasthan, before turning his attention against the old enemies :Palas and Rastrakutas. The Palas of Bengal,ruled by King Devapala (c. 810-850), were reputed to have Eradicated the race of the Utkalas, humbled the pride of the Hunas and scattered the conceit of the Dravidas and Pratiharas.”-Badal Inscription.

When Mihira Bhoja started his career reverses and defeats suffered by his father Ramabhadra had considerably lowered the prestige of the Royal Pratihara family. He invaded the Pala Empire of Bengal, but was defeated by Devapala

He then launched a campaign to conquer the territories to the south of his empire and was successful, Malwa, Deccan and Gujarat were conquered. In Gujarat he Stepped into a war of succession for the throne of Gujarat between Dhruva II of the Gujarat Rashtrakuta dynasty and his younger brother, Bhoja led a cavalry raid into Gujarat against the Dhruva while supporting his Dhruva’s younger brother. Although the raid was repulsed by Dhruva II.Bhoja I was able to retain dominion over parts of Gujarat and Malwa.

The Pratiharas were defeated in large battle in Ujjain by Rastrakutas of Gujarat however, retribution followed on the part of the Pratiharas,by the end of his reign, Bhoja had successfully destroyed the Gujarat Rashtrakuta dynasty. 

Bhoja’s feudatory, the‌ Guhilas chief named Harsha of Chatsu, is described as :

“defeating the northern rulers with the help of the mighty elephant force”, and “loyally presenting to Bhoja the special ‘Shrivamsha’ breed of horses, which could easily cross seas of sand.”

He gradually rebuilt the empire by conquest of territories in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Besides being a conqueror, Bhoja was a great diplomat. The Kingdoms which were conquered and acknowledged his Suzerainty includes Travani, Valla, Mada, Arya, Gujaratra,Lata Parvarta and Chandelas of Bundelkhand. Bhoja’s Daulatpura-Dausa Inscription(AD 843), confirms his rule in Dausa region. Another inscription states that,”Bhoja’s territories extended to the east of the Sutlej river.”

Kalhana’s Rajatarangini states that the territories of Bhoja extended to Kashmir in the north, and bhoja had conquered Punjab by defeating ruling ‘Thakkiyaka’ dynasty .

After Devapala’s death, Bhoja defeated the Pala King Narayanapala and expanded his boundaries eastward into Pala-held territories near Gorakhpur.

Hudud-ul-Alam a tenth century Persian geographic text states that most of the kings of India acknowledged the supremacy of the powerful ‘Rai of Qinnauj’, (kannauj was the capital of Imperial Pratiharas) whose mighty army had 150,000 strong cavalry and 800 war elephants.

His son Mahenderpal I (890–910), expanded further eastwards in Magadha, Bengal, and Assam

Resistance to the Caliphate

Battle of Rajasthan – 738 AD – Defeat of Arabs

The Battle of Rajasthan is a battle (or series of battles) where the Gurjar Hindu alliance defeated the Arab invaders in 738 CE  The final battle took place somewhere on the borders of modern Sindh-Rajasthan. Following their defeat the remnants of the Arab army fled to the other bank of the River Indus.The main Indian kings who contributed to the victory over the Arabs were the north Indian Gurjar Emperor Nagabhata I of the Pratihara Dynasty and the south Indian Gurjar Emperor Vikramaditya II of the Chalukya dynasty in the 8th century.

Gauging at the seriousness of the situation as well as the power of the arab forces, pratihara king, Nagabhata made pact with Jaysimha Varman of the Rashtrakuta Empire. Jaysimha in turn sent his son Avanijanashraya Pulakesi to support Nagabhata. The two Dynasties of India supplemented the already fighting Hindu Gurjar Mewar Kingdom, under Bappa Rawal, at the border of Rajasthan.

The battle was fought between 5,000-6,000 Gurjar Infantry and cavalry facing more than 30,000 Arabs. The Gurjar fought bravely and managed to kill the Arab leader Emir Junaid during the war. This enhanced the morale of the Gurjar hindu forces while the Arabs disorganized and demoralized due to their leaders death retreated and were frequently attacked by local forces until they reached the indus river taking great casualties.

Junayd’s successor Tamim ibn Zaid al-Utbi organized a fresh campaigns against Rajasthan but failed to hold any territories there. He would be further pushed across River Indus by the combined forces of the King of Kannauj, Nagabhata thus limiting the Arabs to the territory of Sindh across River Indus.
 The Arabs crossed over to the other side of the River Indus, abandoning all their lands to the victorious Indian kings. The local chieftains took advantage of these conditions to re-establish their independence. Subsequently the Arabs constructed the city of Mansurah on the other side of the wide and deep Indus, which was safe from attack. This became their new capital in Sindh.

Equipment and resources

In the Gwalior inscription it is recorded that Nagabhata I “crushed the large army of the powerful Mlechcha king.” This large army consisted of cavalryinfantry, siege artillery, and probably a force of camels. Since Tamin was a new governor he had a force of Syrian cavalry from Damascus, local Arab contingents, converted Hindus of Sindh, and foreign mercenaries like the Turks. All together the invading army have had anywhere between 50,000-60,000 men. In comparison the Indians had around 30,000-40,000 men.

The Arab chronicler Suleiman describes the army of the Imperial Gurjara Pratiharas as it stood in 851 CE; The king of Gurjara Pratihara maintains numerous forces and no other Indian prince has so fine a cavalry. He is unfriendly to the Arabs, still he acknowledges that the king of the Arabs is the greatest of kings. Among the princes of India there is no greater foe of the Islamic faith than he. He has got riches, and his camels and horses are numerous.

But at the time of the Battle of Rajasthan the Gurjar Pratihar had only just risen to power. In fact Nagabhatta was their first prominent ruler. But the composition of his army, which was predominantly cavalry, is clear from the description. There are other anecdotal references to the Indian kings and commanders riding elephants to have a clear view of the battlefield. The infantry stood behind the elephants and the cavalry formed the wings and advanced guard.

Later events

The Arabs in Sindh took a long time to recover from their defeat. In the early 9th Century the governor Bashar attempted an invasion of India but was defeated. Even a naval expedition sent by the Caliphs was defeated by the Saindhava clan of Kathiawar. After this the Arab chroniclers admit that the Caliph Mahdi, “gave up the project of conquering any part of India’.”

The Arabs in Sindh lost all power and broke up into two warring Shia states of Mansurah and Multan, both of which paid tribute to the Gurjara Pratiharas. The local resistance in Sindh, which had not yet died out and was inspired by the victories of their Indian neighbors manifested itself when the foreign rulers were overthrown and Sindh came under its own dynasties like the Soomras and Sammas.

In the long term Sindh, becoming a Muslim state led to the spread of Islam in India

Wars with the Palas and the Rashtrakutas

“The expansion of the Gurjara-Pratihara kingdom involved constant conflicts with other contemporary powers such as the Palas and the Rashtrakutas” known as the tripartite struggle (Singh, 658). Much of it had to do with the control over Kanyakubja as “since the days of Harsha, Kanauj was considered the symbol of sovereignty of north India…control of Kanauj also implied control of the upper Gangetic valley and its rich resources in trade and agriculture” (Chandra, 8).

The Ayudhas ruling Kanyakubja were deemed to be weaklings, and the Palas intervened in their politics, supporting one candidate to the throne, and treating the ‘king’ there as a feudatory. The Pratiharas, enemies of the Palas, thus had the excuse to attack Kanyakubja (also known as Mahodaya at the time) and support their own candidate to kingship, and fight the Palas on their behalf as Vatsaraja did.  

The Pratiharas met more than their match in the Rashtrakutas, who frustrated their attempts to control the upper Gangetic valley and Malwa. The enmity had begun over the control of Malwa and Gujarat “as early as the middle of the eighth century AD when the Rashtrakuta and Gurjara-Pratihara empires were both just founded” (Sircar, 53). The Rashtrakuta emperors Dhruva Dharavarsha (780-793 CE) and Govinda III (793-814 CE) defeated them. Al-Masudi “refers to the Rashtrakuta-Pratihara enmity that was the characteristic feature of the epoch” (Tripathi, 325).

The Rashtrakutas would however never stay to control the north; they would come and go, creating much nuisance for the Pratiharas and all that they had achieved. Historian KM Munshi refers to the Rashtrakutas coming “like a whirlwind from the south” and destroying the Partihara gains. He observes: “With indomitable energy the Pratiharas would then restore the imperial fabric, but equally often the Rashtrakutas, having subdued the south, would march northward to destroy what had been built” (Munshi, 84). 

Dhruva’s victory over Vatsaraja enabled the Palas to assert their prominence once more and to install their own nominee on the Kanyakubja throne. However, despite defeats by the Rastrakutas, Nagabhata II and later Bhoja rebuilt their empire with Kanyakubja becoming and remaining the Pratihara capital. The Rashtrakutas continued to engage with and defeat successive Pratihara kings well into the 10th century CE.

Geographical considerations also dictated the hostilities between these far-flung kingdoms. The control over the areas connected by the Ganges river, “the highway of traffic linking up all the country from Bengal to mid-India” (Tripathi, 301) was crucial for any kingdom in order to achieve greater prosperity in terms of commerce and economy. Similarly, the need to control south-western trade routes and seaborne commerce led the Pratiharas to retain control of Gujarat. Geographically far off from their base areas in the south, the Rashtrakutas could not afford to stay for long in the north. Much of their campaigns were of the nature of raids, and carried out for the sake of prestige, for obtaining booty, the desire to garner imperial glory and establish their own pre-eminence over the predominant dynasties in India.  


In terms of administration, much of the Gupta Empire’s (3rd century CE – 6th century CE) and Harshavardhana’s ideas and practices were retained. The king was supreme and was aided by a variety of ministers and officials. Many minor kings and dynasties ruled as vassals of the king and were expected to be loyal, pay a fixed tribute to the king, conclude matrimonial alliances with the royal family and supply troops when needed. Some areas were administered directly by the centre and were divided into provinces (bhukti) and districts (mandala or vishaya). They were, respectively, governed by a governor (uparika) and a district head (vishayapati), who were tasked with collecting land revenue and maintaining law and order with the help of the army units stationed in their areas. The village, as in earlier times, remained the basic unit of administration which was carried out by the headman and other officials, all paid through land grants. However, many vassals always looked forward to becoming independent and often fought against the king like the Paramaras and the Chandellas of modern-day Bundelkhand region (lying in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh)


“The incessant warfare during the period indicates the importance of coercive power and military might in the politics of the time” (Singh, 551). The Pratiharas, like all other kingdoms in the period, maintained a core army supplemented by mercenaries, allied and feudatory troops.

The Pratiharas were well-known for their cavalry. Horses were imported from Central Asia and Arabia and constituted an important item of Indian trade in this time period. According to al-Masudi, the army had four divisions of 7 million to 9 million each. The northern army was deployed against the Muslims, the southern army against the Rashtrakutas and the eastern against the Palas. The elephants were only 2000 in number, thus showing that the Pratiharas focused more on their horsemen.

List of Gurjar Pratihar rulers

Gurjara-Pratihara art

Gurjara Pratihara artThe Gurjara-Pratihara rulers great patrons of arts, architecture and literature. Mihir Bhoj, was the most outstanding ruler of the dynasty. Notable sculptures of this period, include Viswaroopa form of Vishnu and Marriage of Siva and Parvati from Kannauj. Beautifully carved panels are also seen on the walls of temples standing at Osian, Abhaneri and Kotah. The female figure named as Sursundari exhibited in Gwalior Museum is one of the most charming sculptures of the Gurjara-Pratihara art. The image of standing Laksmi Narayana (Plate 42) from Agroha, now preserved in the Chandigarh museum, is also a fine piece of art of the Gurjara-Pratihara period. They are known for their open pavilion temples. The gretatest development of Gurjar Pratihara style of temple building took place at Khajuraho. Gurjar Pratihar rulers also built many Jain temples.

Māru-Gurjara architecture

There are notable examples of architecture from the Gurjara-Pratihara era, including sculptures and carved panels. Their temples, constructed in an open pavilion style. One of the most notable Gurjara-Pratihara style of architecture was Khajuraho, built by their vassals, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand.

Māru-Gurjara architecture

Māru-Gurjara architecture was developed during Gurjara Pratihara Empire.

Temple Complexes

Mahavira Jain temple, Osian
The Mahavira Temple is an important tirtha for Jains. According to an inscription found at Sachiya Mata Temple dating back to 956 A.D., it was built during the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty by King Vatsaraja in 783 AD, making it the oldest surviving Jain temple in Western India.
Inscription found in the temple states that Osian was rich with decorated temples of every caste. 
Bateshwar temples com
This group of 200 temples were built during the reign of Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty between the 8th and the 10th-century. The site is likely named after the Bhuteshvar Temple, the largest Shiva temple at the site. It is also referred to as Batesvar temples site or Batesara temples site. The temples as they now appear are in many cases reconstructed from the fallen stones in a project begun by the Archaeological Survey of India in 2005. Dacoit Nirbhay Singh Gurjar and his gang helped Archaeological Survey of India restore the temple complex.
Baroli temples complex
Baroli temples complex are eight temples, built by the Gurjara-Pratiharas, is situated within a walled enclosure. They are reported to have been built during the Gurjara-Pratihara Empire in the 10th–11th centuries. They are one of the earliest temple complexes in Rajasthan. A carved stone image of the god Nataraja was stolen from the Baroli temple complex in 1998.

Gurjara Currency

Coins of Pratihara Empire or Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty display several stages of evolution and reveal that they were issued over a long period, possibly 50 to 100 years. Inscriptional evidences support the existence of a well-regulated currency during the Pratihara rule. The coins of Pratihara Empire enjoyed extraordinary longevity in circulation. This longevity made them an important currency of the succeeding Rajput period.
The Gurjara government had a stable currency system dependent on the agricultural revenue system and the military department, matched by the concurrent needs of both local and export traders for a medium of exchange. The monetary system was rational and there was a standard coinage metrology during the life of the kingdom. However, there is no practical way of estimating the absolute volume of money in the Gurjara dominions. Still, by comparing the rates of recapture in modern Uttar Pradesh versus those of earlier and later periods, a sense of scale for the relative volume of money can be achieved. The survival rate for coins belonging to AD 600-1000 period is appropriate for the lapsed time. Hence, it is concluded that the volume of exchange transactions during this era was comparable to that of other periods in north Indian history, and probably higher than that of the Gupta era.

Further, historians also opine that the number of coins lost is directly proportional to the volume of coinage in circulation. The ratio of surviving coins to period of issue is a second measure of the degree of monetization, that is, the amount of money used over time. Other archaeological facts establish that coinage in circulation in north India during AD 600-1000 was comparable to that of the Kushana Empire and Mughal Dynasty. Further, the coinage circulation during Pratihara Empire was clearly superior to that of the preceding Gupta and succeeding Rajput periods. It can also be stated that there was no shortage of currency in the Gurjara-Pratihara Empire of the late eighth to the late tenth century AD.

Gurjara-Pratihara coinage of Mihira Bhoja, King of Kanauj. Obv: Boar, incarnation of Vishnu, and solar symbol. Rev: Traces of Sasanian type. Legend: Srímad Ādi Varāha “The fortunate primaeval boar”.
Varaha (Boar God) to Right. Various Vaishnavite symbols including trident to left and wheel under the foot

Decline in Gurjara Currency
The Gurjara currency underwent a long-term decline in intrinsic value because of a steady increase in the base metal alloyed with its constituent precious metal. It has also been established by historians that the coins passed as a denomination by convention during Pratihara rule, as in a fiduciary coinage, under a government with sufficient power and prestige to regulate the value of money by fiat.

Distribution of Coins of Pratihara Empire
The distribution of the successive Gurjara drammas shows that these coins did not circulate in the regions of Kathiawad-Malwa of southern Rajasthan. Much of this region was administered by feudatory dynasties acknowledging Gurjara-Pratihara supremacy. The variety of Indo-Sassanian style drammas, which were found in the regions were different from the major currency of the Ganga basin. In Marwar, the coins were broad, thin and generally closer in fabric to the Hun prototypes. The coins on average contained 0.65 g of silver, an amount somewhat lower than the Vinayakapala Dramma. Although the Gurjaras controlled the seaports of Gujarat, their dramma coinage from the Gangetic plains did not circulate in this area where a high-value feudatory coinage was well established, and where foreign currencies were encountered. Further, Gurjara coinage was not a unified fiduciary coinage.

In Gujarat, the feudatory silver coinage was also based on the Indo-Sassanian prototype, although the coins were not as wide and thin as the Marwar coins. In this period, their minimum precious metal content was 3.27 g, which was considerably in excess of the value of coins of Marwar or the Ganga basin. Their stable silver content encouraged their use far beyond coastal Gujarat. This coinage survived the passing of the issuing dynasty, as indeed the passing of the imperial money-forms of the Pratiharas.

Decline of Gurjar Pratihar Kingdom

Bhoja II (910–912) was overthrown by Mahipala I (912–944). Several feudatories of the empire took advantage of the temporary weakness of the Gurjara-Pratiharas to declare their independence, notably the Paramaras of Malwa, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand, the Kalachuris of Mahakoshal, the Tomaras of Haryana, and the Chahamanas of Shakambhari. The south Indian Emperor Indra III (c. 914–928) of the Rashtrakuta dynasty briefly captured Kannauj in 916, and although the Pratiharas regained the city, their position continued to weaken in the 10th century, partly as a result of the drain of simultaneously fighting off Turkic attacks from the west, the attacks from the Rashtrakuta dynasty from the south and the Pala advances in the east. The Gurjara-Pratiharas lost control of Rajasthan to their feudatories, and the Chandelas captured the strategic fortress of Gwalior in central India around 950. By the end of the 10th century the Gurjara-Pratihara domains had dwindled to a small state centered on Kannauj.[]
Mahmud of Ghazni captured Kannauj in 1018, and the Pratihara ruler Rajapala fled. He was subsequently captured and killed by the Chandela ruler Vidyadhara.[33][34] The Chandela ruler then placed Rajapala’s son Trilochanpala on the throne as a proxy. Jasapala, the last Gurjara-Pratihara ruler of Kannauj, died in 1036.


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