“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers……….
An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

The Knowledge Library

HARHAVARDHAN EMPIRE

Introduction

The decline of the Gupta Empire in the north created political disunity which was resolved after Harshavardhan established his Empire. The details of Harshavardhan’s Empire can be seen in Huen Tsang’s, a Chinese traveler account, and the works of Bana, a court poet.

Foundation of the Empire:

The founders were initially feudatories of the Guptas. They declared independence after the Huns invaded and the Gupta Empire weakened. When Harsha acceded to the throne he had to face a crisis initially. His brother and brother-in-law were murdered and his sister was about to immolate herself. Harsha rescued her and took revenge on the rulers of Malwa and Bengal.

Harsha Empire extended over to entire north India. This was done by extensive military conquests. The suzerainty was also accepted by Kashmir, Sind, and Valabhi. However, his ambition to entire the southern states was crushed by Chalukya ruler Pulekasin II who defeated him.

Buddhism:

Harsha was initially a Shaiva later he became a Hinayana Buddhist. Huen Tsang converted him to Mahayana Buddhism with the assistance of his sister. He constructed many Stupas and monasteries. Once every five years, he convened a gathering of Buddhist monks to discuss Buddha’s doctrine.

He patronized Nalanda University.

He was tolerant of all religions.

Administration:

The administration was on the lines of the Guptas. Taxation was light and civil liberties were given. The administration was organized and inspections by the king were common. However cruel punishments of the Mauryan age continued. Forced labor was rare.

Maintenance of records about events was done meticulously.

Society:

  1. Society was divided into Varna’s or castes. Brahmins and Kshatriyas enjoyed privileges and the lower castes were oppressed.
  2. The condition of women was unsatisfactory.
  3. Remarriage wasn’t permitted to widows.
  4. Sati, dowry became prevalent.

Economy:  

  1. Trade and industry declined. This led to a decrease in trading centers, a limited number of coins issued.
  2. Declining demand for handicrafts and agricultural produce led farmers to cultivate less. The self-sufficient village economy started.
  3. On the whole, prosperity was less than in the Gupta age.

Culture:

  1. Harsha period followed the art and architecture style of the Gupta’s.
  2. Harsha himself was a learned scholar and patron of learning. He wrote the plays Ratnavali, Nagananda, and Priyadarshika.
  3. Nalanda University became an international center of reputation during Harsha’s reign.

Huen Tsang: 

  1. Wrote Book – Journey to the West.
  2. He wrote about the way of life, agriculture, food, dress, jewelry, and taxes.
  3. He was attacked by robbers along the way.

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KAUSIK CHAKRABORTY

KAUSIK CHAKRABORTY

Founder Director

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