Gahadavala dynasty

(с 1050–с 1250) One of the many ruling families of North India on the eve of the 12th–13th century Muslim conquests.

Its history illustrates all the features of the early medieval North Indian polity
dynastic hostilities and alliances, feudal-state structure, absolute dependence on Brahmanical social ideology, and vulnerability in the face of external aggression. Muslim expansion eclipsed the Gahadavala dynasty in the early 13th century.

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India
      one of the many ruling families of North India on the eve of the Muslim conquests in the 12th–13th century. Its history, ranging between the second half of the 11th century and the mid-13th century, illustrates all the features of early medieval North Indian polity—dynastic hostilities and alliances, feudal-state structure, absolute dependence on Brahminical social ideology, and vulnerability in the face of external aggressions.

      The family, perhaps originating in the Vārānasi-Ayodhyā area in Uttar Pradesh, later came to be associated with Kanauj, which had become one of the most crucial political centres in India. The majority of the Gāhaḍavāla epigraphic records were discovered in Uttar Pradesh and issued from Vārānasi. The dynastic power became gradually consolidated in the period of the first three rulers: Yaśovi-Graha, Mahīcandra, and Candradeva (c. 1089–1103). By the period of Candradeva, the Gāhaḍavālas had taken control of Vārānasi, Ayodhyā, Kanauj, and Indrasthānīyaka (modern Delhi) and expanded all over Uttar Pradesh—sometimes at the expense of such powers as the Kalacuri. The Gāhaḍavālas sought to ward off the growing menace of Muslim incursions by expedient alliances and the payment of tributes, at least until the period of Candradeva's son Madanapala (reigned c. 1104–13), who was, in all probability, the Kanauj king imprisoned and later released during the period of Ghaznavid Sultan Masʿūd III. Despite the regularity of Muslim attacks, which were at least temporarily repulsed by Govindacandra (reigned c. 1113–15), the Gāhaḍavālas endeavoured to spread eastward; Govindacandra expanded to the Patna and Monghyr districts in Bihār, and in 1168–69 southwestern Bihār was being ruled by a feudatory of his son Vijayacandra (reigned c. 1155–69). Conventional accounts seem to suggest that Govindacandra had varied relations with an impressive number of Indian and non-Indian countries. Despite obvious exaggeration, hostilities with such powers as the Pālas, Senas, and the Kalacuris appear to be substantially factual.

      The weakness of the internal structure of the Gāhaḍavāla kingdom was finally exposed late in the 12th century during the invasions of Muʿizz-ud-Dīn Muḥammad of Ghūr. Jayacandra (reigned c. 1170–94), who held Uttar Pradesh and parts of Bihār, had, according to bardic accounts, bitter enmity with the Cāhamānas of Rājasthān. He lost the battle and his life at Chandāwar (Etāwah district, Uttar Pradesh) in an encounter with Muḥammad of Ghūr. Although the Gāhaḍavālas lingered in Hariścandra's reign (c. 1194–?) in Kanauj, Jaunpur, and Mirzāpur districts until 1197, the buildup of Muslim expansion in the areas was steady through the early 13th century. Gāhaḍavāla royalty had an obscure death, sometime before the middle of the 13th century, at Nāgod in central India, to which Āḍakkamalla, the last known Gāhaḍavāla, had escaped.

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Universalium. 2010.

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