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Origin of Gurjar-Pratihars of India (6th-11th CE)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Origin of Gurjar-Pratihars of India (6th-11th CE)
    Posted: 15 Jan 2013 at 18:33
Hello All,

Gurjar Pratihars were a celebrated clan of Gurjars who ruled a large part of India during 6th to 12th Century AD. They were contemporary to the mighty Harshavardhana of Kannauj. 

After Harsha, his capital became the symbol of strongest kingdom and almost every ruler of Indian subcontinent attempted to take over Kannauj until Gurjar-Pratihars captured it in 8th Wcentury and retained it until their fall in 11th century. Their kingdom was said to be larger than that of Harshavardhana (claimed by famous traveler Al-Beruni in his book Al-Beruni's India) and was compared to that of Kushans (another Gurjar Clan, which ruled a large part of South Asia during 1st to 4th Century AD).

The origin of Gurjar-Pratihars has been uncertain until now. But during my research on the Gurjar-Pratihars, I almost found their certain origin ("almost" as the evidences are not enough to prove it).

To ascertain the origin of Gurjar-Pratihars, we have to go backwards and look into the period of 5th century, where we can ascertain the origin of other Gurjar clans such as Chauhan, Parmar and Chalukya. 

In 5th century AD Gupta's were ruling over a large part of India. The story starts when Hpthalites or White Huns invaded Indian subcontinent. 

1. White Hunas
Our earliest information about the Ephthalites comes from the Chinese chronicles, in which it is stated that they were originally a tribe of the great Yue-Chi, living to the north of the Great Wall, and in subjection to the Jwen-Jwen, as were also the Turks at one time. Their original name was Hoa or Hoa-tun; subsequently they styled themselves Ye-tha-i-li-to after the name of their royal family, or more briefly Ye-tha.

The first attack under Chu-Han* in 455 AD was repelled back by SkandaGupta and India was saved from Huns for a short period of 12 years. 

* The army men of Chu-han (or Chu-man) were merged into the Indian Army and were termed as Chauhane or Chumane, who remained the feudatories to Gurjar Kings and later rose to power (during 11th and 12th centuries). This clan was called Gurjar Chauhans. (Their origin being the same as other Gurjars i.e. Yuezhis)

In 467 AD fresh Hun armies attacked Guptas under Tomar-han or Tomaran-1**. This time the Guptas were totally vanished by Hunas and many flourishing cities under Gupta territories were completely demolished. 

** Another Gurjar clan which formed of Epthalite-Gurjars was named after their leader Tomaran and were called Tomars or Tuars. Tomaran assumed the title of Kushan Kings (which again proves that he belonged to the Yuezhis or Gurjars) in Eran and Kura inscriptions. The similarity is also found as all the Gurjars were son worshipers and so were the Epthalites.

The ruling seat of Epthalites was Sakala (modern Sialkot in paksitan). Tourman-2 was killed by Gupta ruler Bhanugupta in 510 AD. An inscription found at Mandsor records some construction and donation by one DUTTABHATTA***, son of Vayuraksh*ta (Served long as the Commander-in-Chief or SENAPATI**** of Gupta Rulers) was the commander-in-chief of Prabhakarvardhana (contemporary Gupta Ruler) in this campaign where many other Indian Princes (Gurjar Jayabhatta-4 and chalukya ruler Pulkeshin) made a joint attack over the Epthalites. In this decisive fight all the ‘White Huna’ chiefs were slaughtered and the army left was assimilated into Gurjars.

*** DuttaBhatta who served in the army of Prabhakkar Vardhana (The last known Gupta ruler of the Gupta Royal House and ancestor of Harshavardhana of Kannauj), was also called Datta or Dadda-1, who is known to have been the first of Gurjar-Pratihars at Bhinmal.

**** Senapati was the title of all Maitrika Rulers of Vallabhi (475-767 AD). The First Maitrika Ruler was known to be Bhattaraka. Seeing the similar period he may be the brother or son of Duttabhatta. He assumed the title of Senapati (his father's title) and founded the Matrikas Dynasty by establishing them at Vallabhi. The Rulers of Vallabhi and Rulers of Bhinmal continued to be allies until Dadda-3, due to some reason, wrestled baroch from Vallabhi kingdom in 7th century AD.

After Toraman-2 his son Mihirgul (means Sunflower) took over the throne, he was even crueler than his father. He was also defeated by Yasodharman (The Aulikari clan's Ruler of Malwa region) in 528 AD with the help of Magadh Ruler Narsimhagupta Baladitya. 

The remaining Huns were assimilated into Kshatriya population. The Huns ruled as petty rulers in Kashmir until 567 AD under Vasukula, son of MihirGula. Their assimilation into Indian Gurjars has confused many hsitorian and they often wrote that Gurjars entered India along with White Huns.

After defeating the Hunas, Yasodharman extended his sway over a large part of India and was called Gurjar Narpati in mandsor's pillar Inscription. 

By this time the Gurjars had settled at Bhinmal, Vallabhi and Malwa.

Continues in part-2

Edited by ashokharsana - 23 Apr 2013 at 19:48
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Jan 2013 at 20:58

Part-2 (Continues from part-1)


In the last part we discussed the Indian scenario upto 6th century.


Now, let’s understand the various Gurjar Kingdoms during 7th century AD: 


The strongest of them all was the one at Bhinmal under king Vyaghramukh. The Gurjar clan which ruled at Bhinmal was known as Chapas (this name is a short version of Chapotkrisht, sanskit word which means excelled in archery or strong bowmen). As per the records of Heun Tsang, the famous astronomer and mathematician Bramhagupta was in the court of Vyaghramukha. 


The coin which was mentioned in the book "White Huns" by Vincent A. Smith, proves that Chap Gurjar dynasty ruled Bhinmal during 595 to 650 AD and this kingdom was separate (but contemporary) to that of Harshavardhana.


The Chapas can be connected to pratihars as the first ruler of Pratihar clan namely Dadda mentioned his father “harishchandra” hailed from bhinmal area.


Another Gurjar kingdom was at Malwa under Vishnuvardhan . As per the Bijayagadh Stone Pillar Inscription of Vishnuvardhana, he was the son of mighty Yashovardhan, grandson of Yashorata. After defeating Mihirkul the Epthalite, Yashodharman became very strong and at one time, he ruled a large part of north India. He was also known with the name Yasovarman and Isanavarman. He assumed the title of Maharajadhiraja. In mandsor pillar inscription he was named Gurjar-Narpati*.


There is no evidence of any pratihar rule until 7th century but there initial rule was said to be at Broch and in the earliest epigraphical records of the Gurjars of Broach, Dadda is described as belonging to the Gurjara-narpati-vamsa. Thus, Pratihars were the descendents of Yasodharman. This connection is supported by one more fact that Yashodharman and Pratihar Rulers were ruling the same area i.e. malwa, ujjain and Avanti.





The third Gurjar Kingdom at Vallabhi was ruled by Dhruvasena-1, who was son-in-law of Harshvardhana of Kannauj (as described by Huen Tsang).


The Rulers of early pratihar lineage were Dadda-1, Jayabhatta-1, Dadda-2, Jayabhatta-2 Dadda-3, Jayabhatta-3, Ahirole, Jayabhatta-4.

The first ruler of this clan Dadda or Duttabhata was the commander-in-chief (Senapati) of Guptas, at Dasapura (or Mandor). He defeated huna leader Toramana-2, later his descendent Yasodharman. The ancestors of Yashodharman assumed the title senapati (same as Maitrikas of Vallabhi), it shows that Maitrikas of Vallabhi and Yashodharman of Malwa and Chaps of Bhainmal were related to each other and hence were allies.


The Vallabhis were allies to Pratihars and were given shelter by Dadda-2 when vallabhis were attacked by Harshvardhana. But, during the times of Dadda-3, some controversy arised and he captured Baroch from Maitrikas. After this Jayabhatta-4 helped Siladitya-VI (last Maitrika ruler) to fight against the Arabs. Though they repelled the Arab invasion for quite sometime but Arabas, came back under Mohd-Bin-Qasim and destroyed all of the Gurjar Kingdoms from Bhinmal to Vallabhi. Jayabhatta-4 was the last king of this early Gurjar-Pratihar lineage.

To be Continued... 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2017 at 04:23
Hello brother,

Please connect the Vyaghramukh with Iberian King Vakhtang Gorgosali.
This is the link among Gujjars and Georgians.
Gujjars came to india with white hun. And Skandagupt never defeated Tomaran.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote babar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Mar 2019 at 20:15
A very fascinating post. Enlightening!
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