Rashtrakutas

Rashtrakutas built an empire which in the days of greatness extended from Malwa (central India) and Gujrath to Tanjore in south, effectively covering whole of south India. Rashtrakutas, who inherited Chalukyan empire, extended it further by penetrating in deep north and occupying Gangatic doab region. Some historians believe that Rashtrakutas gave their name to the country they ruled (the name Maha-rashtra was derived from Rashtra-kutas). Rashtrakutas claimed their descent from Satyaki, the associate of lord Krishana. Rashtrakutas had their first capital at LattalUru, (modern Latur in Maharashrta) which later they shifted to Manyaketa (modern Malkhed in Karnataka). Rashtrakuta emperor Vallabhraja has been described by Arab writers to be one of the four great sovereigns of the world. The other three being, Emperor of China, Khalipha of Baghadad and emperor of Constantinople (Istambul).

Rashtrakutas were great patrons of art and architecture. They were great builders. Krishana I, uncle of Dantiduraga was the one who built the world famous Kailasha Temple at Ellora (modern Verul in Maharashtra located about 29 kms from Aurangabad). This masive structure is carved out of the single rock ( monolithic) hewn out of a mountain which is truly a remarkable engineering feat of the 8th century. The Kailasa temple dedicated to Hindu God, Shiva, is exquisitely chiselled and carved. The temple and its entire courtyaed was then plastered and painted. Unfortunately, most of the plastering and thus paintings are gone but the residual surviving fragments can provide the glimses of the grandeure of this magnificent structure. The caves at Gharapuri (Elephanta), located on a island near Bombay were executed under Rashtrakuta patronage in 6th century AD. A 20 feet high sculpture of bust of three-headed Shiva is a symphony in stone, created by India's most talented stone carvers, in priase of this mighty god.

This dynasty produced many illustrious kings. Amoghavarsha (815-877 AD) was an author of repute. Indra III, great-grandson of Amoghvarsha inflicted crushing defeat on Mahipala, the Pratihara King of Kannauj. His nephew Krishana III was the last great king of Rashtrakuta dynasty. Soon after him in 973 AD, Rashtrakuta dynasty was overthrown by Taila II (a feudatory of Krishana), who claimed descent from Early Chalukyas. Unfortunately, the coinage of Rashtrakutas can not be distinguished from other contemporary dynasties and thus difficult to attribute to this dynasty specifically.