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Mihira Bhoja Gurjar Pratihar

Mihira Bhoja (c. 836–885 CE) or Bhoja I was a king belonging to the Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty. He succeeded his father Ramabhadra. Bhoja was a devotee of Vishnu and adopted the title of Ādivarāha which is inscribed on some of his coins.[1] One of the outstanding political figures of India in ninth century, he ranks with Dhruva Dharavarsha and Dharmapala as a great general and empire builder.[2]

Statue of Gurjar Samrat Mihir Bhoj at Akshardham Temple, Delhi

At its height, Bhoja’s empire extended to Narmada River in the South, Sutlej River in the northwest, and up to Bengal in the east. It extended over a large area from the foot of the Himalayas up to the river Narmada and included the present district of Etawah in Uttar Pradesh.[3][4]



During his reign, the capital was in Kannauj (present-day Uttar Pradesh), during his period Kannauj was referred as Panchala. He was a bitter enemy of the Arab invaders[2] who, according to an Arab chronicler, Sulaiman, maintained a large army and had a fine cavalry.[2]

He was succeeded by his son Mahendrapala I (c.836 – 910 CE).

Sculptures near Teli ka MandirGwalior Fort.
Gate of Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior Fort.
Teli ka Mandir is a Hindu Temple built by Mihira Bhoja.

Military career

Mihira Bhoja first consolidated his territories by crushing the rebellious feudatories in Rajasthan, before turning his attention against the old enemies :Palas and Rastrakutas.[6] 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 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, MalwaDeccan 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.[6]

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.[7]: 20–21 

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 RajputanaGujarat and Madhya Pradesh[2] Besides being a conqueror, Bhoja was a great diplomat.[2] The Kingdoms which were conquered and acknowledged his Suzerainty includes Travani, Valla, Mada, Arya, Gujaratra,Lata Parvarta and Chandelas of Bundelkhand. Bhoja’s DaulatpuraDausa 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 .[6][8]

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.[6]

His son Mahenderpal I (890–910), expanded further eastwards in Magadha, Bengal, and Assam.[citation needed]

Coins of Mihira Bhoja

The Adivaraha drammas, coinage of the Gurjar-Pratihara ruler Bhoja I who is known by the same title, 850-900 CE. Obv: Boar, incarnation of Vishnu, and solar symbol. Rev: “Traces of Sasanian type”. Legend: Srímad Ādi Varāha “The fortunate primaeval boar”, a title also known to have been used for king Bhoja I.[9][10]Adivaraha Dramma coin, circa 836 – 885 CE

Mihira Bhoja’s epithet was Srimad-Adivaraha (the fortunate primeval boar incarnation of Vishnu) and therefore there is a broad agreement amongst the scholars on the attribution of adivaraha dramma billon coins to him. These coins have a depiction of Adivaraha on the obverse.[11]

The Adivaraha drammas, coinage of the Gurjar-Pratihara ruler Bhoja I who is known by the same title, 850-900 CE. Obv: Boar, incarnation of Vishnu, and solar symbol. Rev: “Traces of Sasanian type”. Legend: Srímad Ādi Varāha “The fortunate primaeval boar”, a title also known to have been used for king Bhoja I.[9][10]
Adivaraha Dramma coin, circa 836 – 885 CE

Adivarah coins were noted by Thakkar pheru in 13th century text Dravya-Pariksha who was mint master under Alauddin khilji[6]


  1. ^ Satish Chandra, National Council of Educational Research and Training (India) (1978). Medieval India: a textbook for classes XI-XII, Part 1. National Council of Educational Research and Training. p. 9.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d e Radhey Shyam Chaurasia (2002). History of Ancient India: Earliest Times to 1000 A. D. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 207. ISBN 978-81-269-0027-5He was undoubtedly one of the outstanding political figures of India in ninth century and ranks with Dhruva and Dharmapala as a great general and empire builder.
  3. ^ E-gazeteer-History of Etawah district
  4. ^ Digital South Asia Library
  5. ^ K. D. Bajpai (2006). History of Gopāchala. Bharatiya Jnanpith. p. 31. ISBN 978-81-263-1155-2.
  6. Jump up to:a b c d e f Hooja, Rima (2006). A History of Rajasthan. Rajasthan: Rupa & Company. pp. 277–280. ISBN 8129108909.
  7. ^ Sen, S.N., 2013, A Textbook of Medieval Indian History, Delhi: Primus Books, ISBN 9789380607344
  8. ^ Dasharatha Sharma, Rajasthan Through the Ages “a comprehensive and authentic history of Rajasthan” Bikaner , Rajasthan State Archives 1966, pp.144-54
  9. ^ Smith, Vincent Arthur; Edwardes, S. M. (Stephen Meredyth) (1924). The early history of India : from 600 B.C. to the Muhammadan conquest, including the invasion of Alexander the Great. Oxford : Clarendon Press. p. Plate 2.
  10. ^ Ray, Himanshu Prabha (2019). Negotiating Cultural Identity: Landscapes in Early Medieval South Asian History. Taylor & Francis. p. 164. ISBN 9781000227932.
  11. ^ Deyell 1999, pp. 28–29


  • Deyell, John S. (1999), Living without Silver, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, ISBN 0-19-564983-4
Preceded byRamabhadra (833–836)Gurjara-Pratihara Emperor
836–885 CE
Succeeded byMahendrapala I
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