Harshavardhana- Civil Services Preparation Online! UPSC & IAS Study Material


by Devender

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After the fall of Gupta's empire, a new ruler from Thanesar, Haryana emerged. He was Harshavardhana and he extended his authority over all fiduciaries.


He ruled from 606 to 647 AD and he made Kannauj his capital and seat of power. He was the last great Hindu ruler of North India and a devotee to Lord Shiva but later he became an ardent Mahayana Buddhist under the influence of Chinese pilgrim Huan Tsang.

  • Kannauj Assembly:
  • Harshavardhana organized a Kannauj assembly to honor Chinese pilgrim Huan Tsang where he explained doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism & claimed his superiority over others.

  • Prayag Assembly:
  • Harshavardhana organized the second Mahayana Buddhism assembly at Prayag where he did great charity. He even gave up his clothes as charity.

    Revenue collection in his period was divided into 4 parts:

  • For Kings
  • For Scholars
  • For Officials
  • For Religion Purposes
  • Note:

    Banskhera inscriptions contain signs & conquest of Harshavardhana.

  • Huan Tsang Account:
  • Huan Tsang's book is named Si – Yu – Ki and his biography as Hui – Li. He reveals in his book about the Prevalent dowry & Sati system with no system of widow remarriage. The Shudras were called agriculturists. Trade declined and less issuance of coins. Grant of lands became very popular and thieves were met with extreme punishments.

  • Literary Sources:

Banbhatta was a poet in Harshavardhana court and he wrote two books: Kadambari and Harshacharita (Biography of Harshavardhana). Harshavardhana was himself a writer and he wrote some books: Ratnavali, Nagananda, Priyadarsika.

He patronized Nalanda University (Mahayana type mostly), which attained an international reputation as a center of learning during his reign. Nalanda (Giver of knowledge) name was founded by Kumargupta – 1 in the Gupta period. At Valabhi lied Hinayana form of Buddhism Institution.

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