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Pratihara dynasty in ancient history

Origin of the Pratihara Dynasty

The Pratiharas in ancient history was a branch of the famous Gurjars one of those Nomadic Central Asian tribes that poured into India along with Hunas following the disintegration of the Gupta Empire. The Rashtrakuta records confirm the Gurjara stock of the Pratiharas and Arab writers like Abu Zaid and Al Masudi allude to their fights with the Gurjaras of the north. The most important testimony is that of the Kanarese poet Pampa who calls Mahipala ‘Gurjararaja’ the name was derived from one of the kings of the line holding the office of (a high dignity) in the Rashtrakuta court.


  • Nagabhatta-I was the first Pratihara Dynasty ruler in ancient history.
  • The Pratiharas came into prominence in the middle of the earth century A.D. when their rulers and Nagbhatta-I defended on western India from the invasion of the Arabs and carried his arms up to Broach.
  • He was able to leave his successors a powerful principality comprising Malwa and parts of Rajputana and Gujarat.
  • Nagbhatta-I was succeeded by his brother’s son Kakustha and Devraja, both of whom were nonentities.


  • Vatsaraja resourceful and powerful Pratihara dynasty ruler.
  • The grand-nephew of Nagbhatta-I Vatsaraja was a resourceful ruler and established an Empire in North India.
  • He defeated the famous Bhandi clan, who wielded Imperial power probably with its seat of authority at Kannoj.
  • He also defeated Dharmapala, are the king of Bengal and laid the foundation of the mighty Empire.
  • He, however, suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Rashtrakuta King, Dhruv.


  • Son of Vatsaraja of Pratihara dynasty ruler in ancient history.
  • Vatsaraja was succeeded by his son Nagbhatta-II tried to retrieve the fallen fortunes of his family.
  • But he was as unfortunate as his predecessor in suffering defeat at the hands of Rashtrakuta king Govinda-III.
  • Nagabhatta-II tried his luck in other directions.
  • He overran Kannauj, deposed Chakravyuh, Dharmapala’s protege, and made it the capital of the Pratihara kingdom.
  • The vassals deposition was too galling for Dharmapala and The latter made preparations for the invertible struggle.
  • the Pratihara monark advanced as far as Monghyr and won the resounding victory over Dharmapala.
  • The Gwalior inscription of his grandson tells us of Nagbhatta-II victories over Anortta (northern Kathiawar), Malwa or Central India, the Matsyas as on eastern Rajputana, the Kiratas (of the Himalaya reasons) to, Turusakas (Arab settler of Western India) and the Vatsa in the territory of Kaushambi (Kosam).
  • The limits of the Pratihara empire under Nagabhatta-II may be roughly defined as comprising parts of Rajputana, a large portion of modern Uttar Pradesh, Central India, Northern Kathiyavar, and adjacent territories.
  • Nagabhatta-II was succeeded by his son Ramabhadra during whose reign of three years the Pratihara power eclipsed owning to the aggressive policy of the Pala emperor Devapala.

Mihir Bhoja

  • Mihirbhoja is a very powerful Pratihara dynasty ruler.
  • With the accession of Rambhadra’s son Bhoja and Pratihara Power reached glory.
  • He re-established the supremacy of his family in Bundelkhand and subjugated the Jodhpur Pratiharas.
  • The Daulatpura copper plate of Bhala shows that the Pratihara king had succeeded in reasserting his authority over Central and Eastern Rajputana.
  • In the north, his suzerainty was acknowledged up to the foot of the Himalayas, as proved by the grant of a piece of land in the Gorakhpur district to a Kalachuri king.
  • Bhoja’s Imperial ambition was however not, uniformly successful.
  • He was defeated by the Pala, King Devapala.
  • But instead of being dispirited by these rivers in the east, he turned southward and overran Southern Rajputana and the tracts around Ujjain up to the Narmada river.
  • This brought him face to face with the Rashtrakutas whose ruler Dhruva -II was able to arrest his triumphant progress.
  • The political spectrum underwent a change with the death of the powerful Pala ruler Devapala, followed by the Rashtrakuta invasion of Bengal.
  • Bhoja defeated the weak Pala King Narayanpala and secured a considerable part of his Western Dominions.
  • Flushed with this success he clashed with Krishna-II the Rashtrakuta.
  • He was defeated when he was on the bank of the Narmada and occupied Malwa.
  • Thus the extensive Dominions of Bhuja extended up to Sutluj in the Northwest the foot of the Himalayas in the north Bengal in the east, Bundelkhand and vatsa territories in the south and southeast, and the Narmada and Saurashtra in the southeast including the major portion of Rajputana on the west.
  • Bhoja had a long reign of 46 years and his eventful career drew the attention of the Arab Traveller Sulaiman.


  • Son of Mihirbhoja in Pratihara dynasty ruler.
  • Bhoja was succeeded by his son Mahendrapala-I.
  • His most notable achievement was the conquest of Magadha and northern Bengal.
  • Mahendrapala-I was the liberal portion of men of latters.
  • The most brilliant in his Court was Rajasekhara who has to his credit a number of literary works- Karpuramanjari, Bala Ramayana, Bala and Bharta, Kavyamimansa.
  • Mahipala Mahendrapala’s Death was followed by a scramble for possession of The throne.
  • At first his son, Bhoja seized the throne.
  • But his half-brother Mahipala soon usurped the thrown.
  • Once more, the Rashtrakuta Sapped the strength of the Pratihara Empire when its ruler Indra-III, completely devastated the city of kanauj.
  • But the withdrawal of Indira-III to the Deccan enabled Mahipal to recover from the fatal blow.
  • The Arab Traveller Al Masudi, who visited India in the year A.D.915-16 refers to the power and resources of the king of Kannauj whose Kingdom extended up to sind in the west and touched the Rashtrakuta Kingdom in the south.
  • Arab chroniclers testify to the struggle between the Rashtrakuta and the Pratihara as well as the formidable force at the disposal of the latter.
  • Latter ruler Mahendrapala-II son and successor of Mahipala was able to maintain the strength of his empire intact.
  • But it received its shattering blow during the reign of Devapala when the Chandelas became Virtually independent.
  • The process of decline of the Pratihara Empire which had begun with Devapala accelerated with the reign of Vijaypala.
  • The Pratiharas empire was already spent force then Rajyapala, the successor of Vijaypala came to the throne of Kanauj in the last decade of the 10th-century A.D.
  • Ascertain Yashpala referred to in an inscription of the year 1036, was perhaps the last ruler of the line.

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