Easy notes of Pala Dynasty 8th century-11th century

A brief explanation about Pala Dynasty which is the most important article for all your government exams like SSC UPSC RRB, RBI, etc.

Pala Dynasty in ancient history

Gopala Ruler of Pala Dynasty

  • The death of the Sasanka was followed by Anarchy and confusion resulting in political disintegration which marked the course of the history of Bengal from A.D. 650- to 750.
  • The anarchy and confusion led to the natural reaction.
  • The leading men of Bengal supposedly elected Gopala as the ruler of the whole Kingdom.
  • Gopala founded a dynasty in Bengal which ruled for nearly four centuries.
  • He was probably born in Pundravardhana (Bogra district).
  • The original limits of Gopala’s kingdom are difficult to determine, but it seems that the consolidated his authority over almost the whole of Bengal.
  • Gopala was an ardent Buddhist and is supposed to have built the monastery of Odantapuri (modern Bihar Sharif).

Dharmapala -Ruler of Pala Dynasty

  • Gopala was succeeded by his son Dharmapala who raised the Pala dynasty to greatness.
  • Soon after his accession, Dharmapala was involved in a struggle with the two main powers -the Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas.
  • The Pratihara ruler Vatsaraja defeated Dharmpal in a battle that probably took place somewhere in the Gangetic doab.
  • But before Vatsaraja could reap the fruits of victory he was defeated by the Rashtrakuta king Dhruva.
  • Thereafter, Dhruva defeated Dharmapala and a little later left for the Deccan.
  • Despite these rivers, Dharmapala gained more than what he had anticipated with the defeat of the Pratihara power and the Retreat of the Rashtrakuta, Dharmapala could dream of building up a mighty Empire.
  • Dharmapala installed chakrayudha on the Throne of Kannauj.
  • The Pala dynasty under Dharmapala was fairly extensive.
  • It comprised Bengal and Bihar, directly ruled by him.
  • Besides the kingdom of Kannauj was a dependency, ruled by Dharmapala’s own nominee.
  • Beyond Kanauj there were a large number of vassal states in the Punjab, Rajputana, Malwa, and Berar whose rulers acknowledged Dharmapala as their overlord.
  • Dharmapala’s triumphant carrier was soon challenged by his Pratihara adversary Nagabhatta-II, who conquered Kanauj and drove away Dharmapala’s protege Chakrayuddh.
  • A struggle for Supremacy between the two rivers became inevitable.
  • The Pratihara ruler advanced up to Monghyr and defeated Dharmapala in a pitched battle.
  • But Dharmapala was again rescued by the timely intervention of Rashtrakuta king Govinda-III, to whom he might have appealed for aid.
  • After a reign of 32 years, Dharmapala died, leaving his extensive dominions unimpaired to his son Devapala.
  • As a Buddhist, he founded the famous maha vihara of Vikramshila near Bhagalpur.
  • He is also credited with the construction of a Vihara at Somapura (Paharpur).
  • Taranath Dharmapala founded 50 religious institutes and was a patron of the great Buddhist author Hari Bhadra.

Devapala – Ruler of Pala Dynasty

  • Dharmapala was succeeded by his son Devapala who is regarded as the most powerful pala ruler.
  • Epigraphic records credit with him extensive conquest from the Himalayas to the Vindhya and from the eastern to The Western Ocean.
  • He is said to have defeated the Gurjaras and the Hunas and conquered Utkala and Kamarupa.
  • The Huna and Kamboja princes who submitted to the Devapala cannot be identified properly.
  • The Gurjar adversary may be identified with Mihira Bhoja who tried to expand his Kingdom eastwards.
  • But he was defeated by devpala.
  • Like his father, Devapal was a great patron of Buddhism and his Fame spread to many Buddhist countries outside India.
  • The Balaputradeva Kingdom of the Buddhist Shailendra, ruling Java sent an Ambassador to devpala asking for a grant of 5 villages in order to endure a monastery at Nalanda.
  • Devapala granted the request.
  • He was appointed as Head of Nalanda monastery.
  • Devapala’s court was adorned with the Buddhist poet Vajradatta, the author of Lokeshvarasataka.
  • Sulaiman, an Arab merchant who visited India and wrote his account in A.D. 85 refers to the Pala Kingdom as Ruhami.
  • According to him the Pala emperor was at war with the Gurjar and the Rashtrakutas and had more troops than his adversaries.

Later Palas-

  • The glory of the Pala dynasty suffered irretrievably with the death of devpala.
  • The rule of his successor was marked by a steady process of disintegration.
  • Devapala was succeeded by Vigrahapala. After a short reign of three or four years, Vigrahapala abdicated The Throne.
  • Vigrahapala’s son and successor Narayanpala had a long reign Rashtrakuta king Amoghavarsha defeated the Pala ruler.
  • The Pratiharas gradually extended their power in the east.
  • Narayanapala not only lost Magadh but also North Bengal the heartland of the Pala dynasty.
  • However, towards the close of his reign, NarayanaPala recovered North Bengal And South Bihar from the Pratihara the latter being weakened by the invasion of the Rashtrakuta.
  • Narayanapala was succeeded by his son Rajyapala who was succeeded in turn by his son Gopal-II.
  • The rule of these two rulers proved disastrous for Pala’s power.
  • A series of inversions led by the Chandellas and the Kalachuris dismember the Pala Empire.
  • The fortune of the Pala dynasty which reached its lowest ebb was recovered to some extent by Mahipala-I, who ascended The Throne in A.D. 98.
  • The most important event of Mahipala’s reign was the invasion of Bengal by Rajendra Chola.
  • Rajendra Thirumalai’s inscription records the detail of his conquest in the north.
  • The Chola invention however did not lead to the establishment of Chola suzerainty over Bengal.
  • Apart from north and East Bengal Mahipala was able to recover the northern part of the Burdwan division.
  • Mahipala’s success was more pronounced in North and South Bihar.
  • He succeeded in reestablishing his authority over a great part of Bengal.
  • This success was due in large measure to the repeated invasions of Sultan Mahmud which must have exhausted the strength and resources of the Rajput powers in Northern India.
  • Madanapala was the last king of the Pala dynasty.

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