Pratiharas

The Pratiharas are believed to be the clan of Rajputs. They set foot in India during the Huns invasion and settle around Panjab Rajputana region. Soon they advanced to Aravali and Ujjain. The branch of the Pratiharas who ruled in the Gurjarat were the Gurjaras. The inscription of the Pratiharas trace their origin to Lakshmana, the anuja of Rama, who acted as Rama's door-keeper or the Pratihara. But in fact, when Dantidurga, the Rashtrakuta king defeated the Gurjura king Nagabhata-I, the latter was made a Pratihara (door-keeper) while Dantidurga performed the Hiranyagarbha dana ceremony at Ujjain.

The Pratihara dynasty started well under the ruler Nagabhatta-I. Though initially he had hiccups with the Rashtrakutas, he was able to leave behind a strong State comprising Malwa, parts of Rajputana and Gujarat. He was succeeded by two weak successors namely Kakkuka and Devaraja. But it is only the next ruler Vatsraja, the son of Devaraja was the most ambitious ruler, who had a desire to conquer whole of north India. The same thought put him into conflict with the PALAs but the war with the Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva was expensive and ended up in defeat. Vatsaraja died in 805 AD, but it is true that he did lay the foundations of a might Pratihara empire.

His successor Nagabhatta-II (805 - 839 AD) showed his military capabilities by checking out Muslim advancement and the victory over Andhra, Vidharbha, Vatsa, Sindhu and Kalinga. However he suffered a crushing defeat in the hands of Rashtrakutas (Govinda-III) which gave an opportunity to Dharmapala and Devapala to re-establish the supremacy of the PALAs. Vatsaraja was succeeded by an incapable Rambhadra to reign for three years. Miirabhoja, the successor of Rambhadra ruled for nearly fifty years (till 890 AD). The glorious chapter began in the history of the Pratiharas with the accession of Mihirabhoja. Though initially suffered losses, the second half of his reign was remarkable. He regained all the territories which he had lost, and stood as a bulwark of the defence against Muslim aggression and left this task as a sacred legacy to his successors.

Mahendrapala-I and his son Mahipala (Bhoja-II) succeeded Mihirabhoja one after other and somehow managed to contain the troubles rendered by Rashtrakutas and the aggression of Muslims. During the succession of Rajyapala-II (son of Mahipala-I) Chandellas came into dominance. The steady decline in the power and authority of Pratiharas saw the division of Pratihara empire into the hands of Chalukyas of Anhilwada, the Chandellas of Jejakabhukti, Chedis of Dahala, Paramaras of Malwa, the Guhilas of southern Rajputana, the Chahamanas of Sakambhari and the Kacchwahasghatas of Gwalior. Towards the end of 10th century, the prestige of the Pratiharas came to and end with the humiliating submission of Rajyapala to Mahmood in 1018 AD. The successors of Pratiharas like Trilochanapala, Yasapala continued reigning for another century.