In the history of India, you must have heard the story of many warriors, we had many such rulers who immortalized their glory in the pages of history. Whether it is a great warrior like Emperor Ashoka, Chandragupta Maurya, or Prithviraj Chauhan. We have been hearing the story of all these since childhood, but some warriors of history are rarely heard about, today we are going to talk about one of such great rulers, “King Lalitaditya Muktapida“.
Lalitaditya Muktapida was a very powerful king of Kashmir who managed to create an Empire that included major parts of India as well as present-day Central Asia. He was a warrior who made the dream of an unbroken India come true and stopped the Arab and Turkish attacks on India. During his reign, the border of the state was from Uzbekistan to Sunderbans. In this article, we will try to know about the history of this brave warrior.
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History of Lalitaditya Muktapida
The main source of information about Lalitaditya Muktapida is founded in Rajatarangini by Kalhana, and Fateh Nama Sindh (Chach Nama) by Ali bin Hamid. Lalitaditya Muktapida was a powerful ruler of the Karkota Dynasty of the Kashmir region in the Indian subcontinent.
Karkota Dynasty was established by Durlabh Vardhan in 625 CE. Further, Durlabh Vardhan was a military commander of Raja Baladitya of the Gonanda Dynasty. King Baladitya was pleased with him and got his daughter Ananglekha married to him.
After the death of Baladitya, the reins of the kingdom came into the hands of Durlabh Vardan, and then he established the Karkota dynasty, after Durlabh Vardhan, his son Durlabhka (Pratap Aditya) became the king. He ruled from 662-712 CE. Further, Lalitaditya was the son of king Durlabhaka (Pratapaditya) and queen Narendraprabha. Lalitaditya had two brothers named Brajaditya (712-720 CE) & Udayaditya (720-724 CE).
Lalitaditya Muktapida became King of Kashmir in 724 CE and ruled till 760 CE. The reign of Lalitaditya Muktapida is called the Golden Age of Kashmir. Further, when Lalitaditya ascended the throne, The Tibetans in the north became very powerful and were growing their influence on Kashmir.
|Dynasty Timeline||625 − 855 CE|
|Timeline of Lalitaditya Muktapida||724 – 760 CE|
In addition to this, the Arabs invaded from the western side and captured Sindh by defeating Dahir. Further, In the east, a power vacuum was created in Kannauj after the death of King Harshavardhana. So, he had to protect his Kingdom from external attacks. Although Emperor Lalitaditya was not among those who were afraid of such situations, from the beginning he had to fight outside attacks.
Conquest of Lalitaditya Muktapida
Following are the Conquests of Lalitaditya Muktapida:
- Bengal, etc.
Victory over Tibetans
At the time when Lalitaditya ascended the throne, China was under the rule of the Tang dynasty and as we mentioned earlier, Tibet had established itself as a powerful state. Lalitaditya Muktapida was aware that Arabs will attack Kashmir after winning Punjab and Sindh. At this time, Kashmir was a small Kingdom so, he sided with China against Tibet.
Further, Kashmir and China signed a military agreement with each other. Lalitaditya took diplomatic help from China against both the Tibetans and Arabs. In this way, Lalitaditya defeated Tibet and extended his kingdom to Ahom Kingdom (Bangladesh). This thing happened to Tibet but still, Arabs were yet to be conquered, let’s talk about how Lalitaditya did a victory over the Arabs.
Victory over Arabs
Arabs captured Sindh after the defeat of Raja Dahir by Muhammad Bin Qasim in 725 CE. The next target of Arabs was Kashmir. When the governor of Sindh “Junaid” invaded Kashmir, Emperor Lalit Aditya was fully prepared for the invasion, he badly defeated the Arab army with the help of Mewar(King Bappa Rawal) & China. Further, Junaid’s army suffered heavy losses in this attack and he fled the field. The source of information about the battle between Arabs and the Karkota Dynasty is “Fatehnama Sindh”.
After defeating the Arabs, Lalitaditya attacked Turkmenistan through Kabul. Al Beruni confirms the success of this campaign. In this way, Lalitaditya expanded his kingdom up to the Caspian sea of Central Asia.
Conquests of Lalitaditya Muktapida in India
- The first important Indian conquest of King Lalitaditya was of the Pushyabhuti dynasty. RC Majumdar in his book that Lalitaditya’s first significant Indian conquest was with his immediate neighbor Yashovarman of the Pushyabhuti Dynasty who ruled in Kannauj. Lalit Aditya made a fierce attack on Kannauj in 740 CE, and Yashovarman surrendered after a long war. Further, a treaty was made between the two kings. According to Kalhana, Lalitaditya Muktapida defeated Yashodharman and then marched to the eastern and southern parts of India.
- After this, he attacked Kalinga from where he got a lot of elephants, then he attacked Bengal and got his victory there too. In this way, the boundaries of Lalitaditya’s kingdom spread from Kashmir to Assam. Further, he married Chalukyan princess Rati and then defeated Rashtrakutas and won the region around the Kaveri.
- In this way, the flag of Lalitaditya’s victory was waved from north to south. Lalitaditya had taken the power of Kashmir to its peak. Perhaps for this reason he came to be known as Alexander of Kashmir.
We have come to know the military success of Lalitaditya, but he was not only an able military commander but also a state builder.
Public Work of Lalitaditya Muktapida of Karkota Dynasty
- Lalitaditya Muktapida was not only a great warrior but also a benevolent ruler, he was also very interested in science and architecture.
- He built various villages, cities, accounts, and some famous temples as well.
- One of these temples was the Martand temple dedicated to the Sun God, it is said to be the oldest Sun temple in India, this temple is today in ruins in the Anantnag district of Kashmir.
- Despite being a Hindu king, he also built some Buddhist monasteries. During his reign, art and culture were heavily promoted.
- Moreover, he was a skilled administrator and a people ever. He also solved the problem of flood and got many canals constructed, so that water could be made available in dry areas, due to this he was very famous among the general public.
- Further, his reign was very prosperous and peaceful for Kashmir.
The downfall of the Karkota Dynasty
Just as every state comes to an end, similarly the Lalitaditya and Karkota Dynasty also came to an end. The decline of the Karkota Dynasty:
Lalitaditya Muktapida is such a great ruler whose might and courage made us proud of our glorious history. King Lalitaditya died in 760 CE and with his death, Kashmir’s Golden period was over. There is still a difference of opinion among historians regarding his death. As per one account, he died due to heavy snowfall during a military campaign while as per others he killed himself. His successors were not skilled enough to lead the Karkota dynasty and soon it declined.
This was the story of that undefeated king who not only saved India from foreign invasion during the 8th century but also created fear in the minds of Arabs and Turks which prevented them from invading India for the next 300 years.