Thursday, 30 May 2019

Book Review: The Gunslinger

Title: The Gunslinger

Author: Suchita Agarwal

Genre: Fiction

Book Review:

The Gunslinger by Suchita Agarwal comes across as a tale of revenge and redemption on the face of it, but the author has so skillfully weaved threads of emotion, betrayal and survival in the folds of its story that it totally makes for an enjoyable reading experience.

From the very beginning you feel hooked onto the enigma of the protagonist and drawn into the scene of action directly.As the chapters flow, the feeling of intrigue only grows, and you cannot help but marvel at the sheer excellence of Suchita's story telling ability. She keeps us riveted with her fast paced narrative, which is unapologetic and packs a punch; very apt to the high-strung action story of this kind.

The action and twists at every turn never offers a drag or a moment of boredom and the reader is transported into the thick of a Texas styled man-hunt tale. We can almost visualize the characters and feel their emotions. Rage, fear, compassion sweeps over us as does the rush of adrenaline as the narrative swiftly takes us to the climactic end.

Suchita has taken efforts to build her characters and has presented them skillfully; I must applaud her notion of naming some of the characters based on their idiosyncrasies, a trait which hits a high mark with the reader. Even the lingo used by some of the characters add a dimension and only helps the story to appear more real in the imagination of the reader.

A very different read from usual novels in the fiction genre, The Gunslinger lives up to the promise of its title: a dark (and sometimes) sinful plot, with vivid descriptions, will flare up your imagination and keep you upright as you read. Kudos to Suchita for penning such a brilliant thriller packed with such a powerful narrative.

Opinion: If you are not reading The Gunslinger, then you are surely missing an experience!

Rating: 4.5/5

You can download a free copy of the eBook here:

# This Book Review is a part of the Blogchatter Book Review Program 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Blogchatter A2Z 2019 - Theme Reveal : My Land Across the Border

Blogchatter A2Z 2019 – Theme Reveal : 

‘My Land Across the Border’

After a heart-warming debut season of Blogchatter A2Z last year with ‘Ancient Cities of India’ (soon to be published as a paperback) my love for history has been further entrenched, so much that I am trying my hand for the first time at writing historical fiction and will be presenting to you ‘My Land Across the Border’, in the Blogchatter A2Z 2019!

‘My Land Across the Border’, though spread across 26 posts, is a single story based on true incidents and characters and can be aptly described as a historical thriller against the backdrop of the 1947 and 1971 events of mass migration of people from Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan and earlier undivided Bengal) to India. Through its primary protagonists, the story tries to bring forth the consequent mental turmoil between their new lives in the new country and the unforgettable past they have had to leave behind, and the indelible impact that the history of the land had inflicted on them and their subsequent generations till date.

I would therefore request my readers to read ‘My Land Across the Border’, not as isolated chapters, but as a continuous story. Hope you enjoy my new attempt at historical fiction. Thank you.

About ‘My Land Across the Border’

Siraj, a middle-aged professor of South Asian history at a Canadian university, struggles to get over his tormented childhood memories as he continuously searches for his own identity. Like a ghost from the past there are hints of a dark secret in his family ancestry which haunt him continuously. Siraj takes refuge in the history of Bangladesh, his motherland, and frantically researches the details in the hope of getting answers to the questions that torment him; but the secret strongly draws him to the land of his birth which he has no memory of, in search of his answers and to meet his final redemption.

Mrinal, on the other hand, had always lived with the hope of returning to his village in Bangladesh from where he had had to migrate overnight in his teens. But his wait had ensued for long sixty years to make that one journey back. As destiny hands him a chance, he sets off with the apprehensions of a homecoming that he had always dreamt of but never had had the opportunity of.

All clues and answers seem to lie hidden in the folds of the history of the land and Siraj and Mrinal must hunt for themselves if they are to get their answers. Will their worlds collide as they retrace their respective versions of history in present-day Bangladesh...? Or will history play truant with them and their quest for their motherland will remain inconclusive…?

Read ‘My Land Across the Border’ and be a part of their search into the past.


My Land Across the Border is now available as an eBook (in pdf format) in the Blogchatter eBook Carnival 2019 and has hence been taken off from my blog.

Free download of the eBook is available for a limited time from the Blogchatter website at the following link:

Please download your copy and enjoy reading this historical crime thriller. Do not forget to share your feedback with me...your reviews matter.

Thank you...

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

eBook Review: Spicy Trail

Shipra Trivedi starts her eBook ‘Spicy Trail’ with a quote saying “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all…” Having read her eBook, I must say, she truly has a love for spices, and the detail and research she has exhibited for each spice article is commendable.

The eBook not only acquaints us with many popular and rare spices but also shares historical and ancient text references to these spices often going back to their origins and early uses. It is a splendid combination of knowledge and information about the spices with dashes of history to add to its flavor.

The fact that Shipra has been able to find a spice for every letter of the alphabet shows us how well she has researched on the topic. On one hand we have the very common Cinnamon, Cardamom Fennel, Turmeric and their likes, while on the other we have rare spices like Kalapasi, Xacuti, Alkanet and Star Anise. Shipra has indeed given us a full repertoire of the spice world in her eBook.

The sprinkle of delight in each spice article is her ‘Dadi Ma ka nushka’ which surely makes us laugh in wonder as it also educates us on how easily these spices have always been used in a common Indian household. Along with references to the epics and puranas on the usage of spices in cooking in ancient India, the domestic usage of spices almost tempts us to try our hand again in our kitchen with some of the common spices at least!

Overall, Shipra’s eBook is indeed an aromatic and spicy trail of knowledge and information about the spice heritage of our land, and kudos to her for such an excellent compilation.

This eBook is a part of the Blogchatter eBook Carnival and can be downloaded from:

eBook Review: Finding Your Writing Flow

What interested me most about the eBook “Finding Your Writing Flow” by Sona Grover was an author writing about the writing process and being candid about the highs and lows of being a writer. I was keen to read about the author’s own experiences and experiments with the writing process and see if I could find some answers to the questions that lurked in my mind as a writer. I must say, Sona has not disappointed her readers at all on that count and on many occasions in the eBook has even exceeded them with her honest and practical approaches that she has explained.

The eBook makes for an easy read and right at the beginning the author shares her purpose and the flow of the journey of writing that she intends to take her readers on. While it surely is something that writers will enjoy reading and relating to, even newcomers to the world of writing with find it interesting and useful.

I especially liked the sections ‘Are you meant to be a writer?’, ‘Being Productive’ and ‘Renewal’ as they put the writer in you face to face with your inner fears and doubts and help you find answers and inspire at the same time. Sections like the one where Sona talks about the writer’s ‘Muse’ or being in ‘Gratitude’ are softer aspects of the writer’s mind and I am happy to see that she has handled that with due care. The eBook overall has a deft balance between the key yet routine and mundane part of the writing process and the moments of inspiration that comes while you write.

My heartfelt thanks go out to Sona for having written on such an important subject and having been so candid in her explanations, examples and descriptions of what goes on inside the writer’s mind and heart. I would recommend Sona’s eBook as a must read to everyone who wishes to write well and dreams of oneself as a writer.

The eBook is a part of the Blogchatter eBook Carnival and can be downloaded from:

Monday, 25 June 2018

Blochatter eBook Carnival - Here comes the eBook Relay chain !

............ I take on the Baton of Blogchatter EBook Carnival from Ruchi whose ebook 'That Year I Found Me' is also part of the mix. 

About Ruchi's ebook: "Neha runs away from her family to the big city with only her diary as her friend. Will she be able to give love a second chance and reunite with her family? Dive into this tale of entangled emotions and accompany Neha in her journey of healing and Self Discovery".

Now presenting my eBook Ancient Cities of India which presents an easy re-telling of the history of select ancient cities of India. Packed with mythological tales and historical anecdotes the stories bring alive the imperial kingdoms of the past, for you to re-discover India’s heritage in a new light.

I am delighted to participate in the Blogchatter eBook Carnival which has turned the limelight onto my first and exclusive eBook which spun out of my debut run in the Blogchatter A2Z challenge 2018: a milestone which became an inspiration for me to write more and write better!

I pass on the Baton of Blogchatter EBook Carnival to Maheshwaran whose ebook 'Puglia: Hidden Treasures of Italy' is also part of the mix. 

About Maheshwaran's ebook: "Travel guides give people detailed lists of places in a region. But one finds it difficult to plan and worry about the lack of time to see so much. This book is a new type of travel guide with clear details on what to do every day and the sequence to see them".

May the chain of good writing carry on non-stop..............

Sunday, 24 June 2018

eBook Review: Love in the Battleground

Writing historical fiction is no mean feat, as it calls for bold handling of characters which are already entrenched in their casts in time, of depicting situations which are already known to everyone as having unfolded in a particular manner. However, the success of writing historical fiction lies in finding and highlighting the lesser known stories and the alter-facets of the powerful characters and presenting well known events in a new light.

Author Kathakali Mukherjee, in her work "Love in the Battleground" makes a bold attempt to present to us enthralling but lesser known stories of a well known period of Indian history, the Maratha Renaissance. I find her intention very brave in the first place as she chooses the very star of the Maratha Renaissance, Shivaji as her protagonist, but very skillfully places an anti-hero too in the narrative in Raghupati, who gradually creates his own space in the readers' mind. While it is easy eulogize an already epic character, the author does not fall for the temptation instead uses her characters deftly to compliment each other. 

The title of the book 'Love in the Battleground' may sound like a giveaway to the readers in the beginning as to what they can expect in its pages, but then it is historical fiction and without the key elements of love and war, any tumultuous period of history is incomplete. The author again shows control and maturity in handling the narrative as she well balances the saga of Shivaji's battle and political upheavals against the lyrical love story of Raghupati and Sarayu. Both aspects are written and dealt with the right amounts of emotions they deserve. 

The narrative at times is fast paced and hooks the reader on the journey excitedly, while also allowing for suitable respites at certain points where the love saga takes its episode. The author also provides enough foreground and background knowledge and context for the reader in preparation of the core story, which is an important element for any historical fiction. It was nice to see that the author has not neglected setting the correct context. Also, she has done a great job in her detailed description of the characters, situations and settings for each scene and episode, thus enabling the readers to almost visualize the action and feel the emotion. The result has been a very well written and succinctly bound plot that keeps its readers going with the story from start to finish.

In her note, the author has mentioned that this was her retelling of the historical tale of the Maratha Renaissance which has been earlier written - Maharashtra Jiban Prabhat. Whilst I have not had the opportunity of reading the referenced text, I was quite overwhelmed by reading 'Love in the Battleground' as an independent historical fiction. In my opinion, Ms Mukherjee has spun out a powerful and engaging historical novel which readers will both enjoy reading as well as benefit from refreshing their knowledge of the Maratha Renaissance. Therein lies the success of 'Love in the Battleground'.

The ebook is a part of the Blogchatter eBook Carnival and can be downloaded from: 

Saturday, 9 June 2018

History Bytes and an eBook

When I decided to try my hand at the Blogchatter A2Z challenge, I didn’t really have a clue of what a Blogging marathon was and what it took to come out successful at the end. Towards that, my journey through this has been totally one of learning and full of positives, as it has been of crazy fun and of an exhilarating writing adventure.

When I announced that I would be writing on Ancient Cities of India with their historical and mythological references, many around me opined that I was selecting a difficult theme for myself. But then, I had just completed reading a couple of history-based books and had also written a six part series, in my own blog, tracing my very own family lineage to the ancient lost city of Kanyakubja; an exercise which had deeply immersed me in India’s ancient history and mythology. Thus at that time I could think nothing beyond India’s ancient history. To me, it was also a means to re-live and wallow in the rich heritage of our country, explore the cities and eras of the past and what better than to be able to narrate some of these stories to my readers and better acquaint them with the ancient cities that we would have read about in our history books in school.

Thus was born the concept of ‘Ancient Cities of India’ as a compilation of light-reading historical tales, and across a gruelling April, as I toiled in my research and continued to write about the ancient cities, it expanded to include stories of 25 Ancient Indian cities and some traveller and historian accounts. The endeavor was to export the reader back in time to many of our famous ancient cities and re-tell the history and fate of imperial kingdoms and mighty kings who ruled our land. Vivid descriptions of battles which changed the political, economic, geographical and social fabric of the country across the eras. Also at one point, the attempt was to explicitly identify and recount the era when time crosses over from what is classified as mythology, to the better recorded ancient history of India.

I am glad that throughout the duration of the Blogging challenge when these stories continued to appear daily on my blog, and the weeks even beyond, they have received good readership, encouraging comments and appreciative reviews from readers and veteran bloggers alike, and have been shared widely on social media. Finally, at the end of the marathon, the compilation “Ancient Cities of India” saw itself published as a successful eBook. I truly owe my thanks to the Blogchatter team and my readers across different virtual mediums for generously encouraging this exclusive eBook.

Stories of imperial kingdoms and tales of valour of kings have always been recorded in history, first orally by the bards in the royal courts, then in scripts by chroniclers and historians, until in the last few centuries via printed books authored by scholars. Mighty kings like Ashoka, Harsha, Akbar and Shahjahan find themselves entrenched in such pages forever across the centuries, but would they have fancied finding mentions in an eBook of the digital era?!


Ancient Cities of India has been published by in both Paperback and eBook  (Amazon Kindle) editions, in April 2019. Hence the posts have been removed from my blog.

You may get your copy of the book from the following sellers:

Amazon India

Amazon global - The book is available on the respective Amazon portals of USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan as part of its international distribution. Please search with the Title of the Book, or the Author name.

Flipkart India

Become Shakespeare Dot Com

Thank you for your interest in my Book, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Reflections on Blogchatter A2Z 2018

At the end of a month of hurricane blogging and reading, I am still wallowing in the delight and amazement of the entire exercise. I cannot but thank the Blogchatter Team enough for this stupendous initiative and introducing me into a whole new level of blogging. Truly, at the successful completion of the A2Z, I was able to take my blog to the ‘next level’.

The A2Z started out as a first-of-its-kind experience for me, as I had never tried my hand at serious blogging before. But once it started, it was a roller coaster all the way. Choosing the theme was the first important step and that done, the journey only got better. Blogchatter made A2Z easy for us with a well-structured plan, clear rules, timely linkies and prompt replies to our queries. The DM groups run by Blogchatter introduced us to our fellow bloggers who very quickly became our friends as we shared thoughts, opinions, likes and support with each other.

My blog had hitherto not seen such an influx of readers and visitors and thus the experience was one of a delightful learning for me. Almost every post that I wrote in the A2Z was read, commented on and appreciated by my fellow bloggers and other readers. This in itself was a rocket of inspiration and urged me to write better in each subsequent blog-post.

The Blogchatter team left no stone unturned to ensure that we had the time of our blogging life during the A2Z by continuously ‘liking’, ‘retweeting’ and sharing our posts and links on Twitter and other social media. The ‘secret activities’ and ‘badges’ kept us thrilled and our morale high. The veterans of earlier A2Zs soon turned mentors for newbies like us, where they answered our questions, offered advice and constantly encouraged us with their comments and appreciations.

The other aspect of the A2Z which became as integral to the journey as the blogging itself, was the group of new-found friends among the fellow bloggers. We discovered many talented writers amongst ourselves who wrote on varied subjects, different genres, adopting a range of impressive styles of writing thereby giving us a myriad of blog-posts to read every day. Discovering and subsequently following others’ blogs was yet another wonderful find of the A2Z.

 A marathon as the A2Z has its own share of challenges as well. Time and time sharing was the primary challenge that I felt hit us hard. While composing our own blog posts every day, amidst the daily chores of work and life, took up the major share of our time, reading so many good blogs by others also necessitated that we devote due time. Gradually, it all fell into a daily routine, but then the learning was to come better prepared the next time around.

As I reflect on the recently concluded A2Z, I must say a BIG Thank You to Team Blogchatter and my fellow Bloggers of the A2Z, especially the ones with whom we formed a close knit group of daily camaraderie, for a very enriched, delightful and rewarding experience. While my blog had seen its next level, A2Z has also opened doors for me into newer and exciting territories of writing. Armed with more confidence and the boost of appreciation and encouragement gained from A2Z 2018, my mind is already planning for my theme for A2Z next year!


Thursday, 29 March 2018

Blogchatter A2Z Challenge 2018: Theme reveal – Ancient Cities of India

Theme: Ancient Cities of India

That India has a rich historical and mythological heritage is not unknown, but hidden in the folds of such mythology and history are cities which once sparkled with glory. We know about a lot of such ancient cities of our country from the Vedas, Puranas and mythological legends. In later Vedic periods, accounts of historians and chroniclers from India, Greece, China and the Arabian region have given us legendary tales and information about many cities which were imperial seats of power, home to many dynasties, steeped in religion, learning and culture, thus etching their names in history forever.

My attempt during the A2Z Blogchatter Challenge in April will be to alphabetically showcase some of such ancient cities which have had an impactful life in ancient India, but have either faded into insignificance later, or changed their character and names as they fell into the hands of other rulers, or with time and change have been erased from the face of the world. In my blog-posts on these ancient cities I hope to share with my readers many lesser known ancient cities and the role they played in their times; also tracing the history of those cities down to the modern times wherever possible.

I hope my readers will enjoy this re-telling of history and the stories that come with it.

To leave you with a taste of history, let me share with you the story of Pushkalavati, an ancient city first excavated in 1902 by archaeologists John Marshall. Legend has it that Pushkalavati was founded by Bharat’s son Pushakala, as mentioned in the ‘Uttarakhanda’ of the Indian Epic Ramayana. 

This legendary city was built on the banks of the Swat River near its confluence with the Kabul River. Pushkalavati once served as the capital of the verdant Gandhara kingdom and was an imperial city which impressed the visiting Greeks, who called it ‘Peucelaitis’

King Ashoka built a stupa in Pushkalavati when he was propagating Buddhism in the region, and the city was later visited by the famous Chinese traveller Hieuen Tsang in 630 AD and finds mention in his records.

The ruins of Pushkalavati are found near the outskirts of modern-day Charsadda in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

So, if you enjoy mythology and history, stay tuned for my posts in the A2Z Blogchatter Challenge 2018!

Thank you…
Sayan Bhattacharya


Ancient Cities of India has been published by in both Paperback and eBook  (Amazon Kindle) editions, in April 2019. Hence the posts have been removed from my blog.

You may get your copy of the book from the following sellers:

Amazon global - The book is available on the respective Amazon portals of USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Japan as part of its international distribution. Please search with the Title of the Book, or the Author name.

Thank you for your interest in my Book, and I hope you will enjoy reading it.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The Kanyakubja Chronicles V

The Revival of Kannauj under the Gahadavala dynasty (1080 – 1200 AD)

The fall of the Pratiharas and the invasions of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni destroyed the glory of Kannauj. In the ensuing political vacuum of the state, the Chedis, the Paramaras and the Cholas also attacked, destroyed and looted the city of Kannauj, until Chandradeva, a valiant Gahadavala prince of Rajput lineage, defeated them and established sovereignty over Kannauj and the neighbouring areas. From the historical chronicles of the times, it is quoted as follows, that Chandradeva…“by the valour of his arm acquired the matchless sovereignty over the glorious Kanyakubja”.

Chandradeva was the first in the Gahadavala dynasty who ruled over Kannauj and made the city the capital of his empire. In yet another verse, Chandradeva of the Gahadavalas is said to be the “Maharajadhiraja and the protector of the holy places of Kasi, Kanyakubja, Uttarkosala and Indrasthana…” (Kasi being Benaras and Kanyakubja being Kannauj, we may understand that Uttarkosala referred to the vicinity of Ayodhya; and Indrasthana was perhaps Indraprastha – which we know today as Delhi).

Inscriptions from his time shows that Chandradeva was a staunch follower of the Brahminical Hindu religious traditions and that the state of the Kanyakubja Brahmins began to regain their former glory and position under his patronage. One such inscription and record describes Chandradeva as “an ardent and philanthropic Brahamanist, giving land-grants and Tuladhanas to Brahmins for upkeep and propagating the Hindu religion. He restored many of the Hindu temples in Kannauj and other cities, broken during the invasion by Mahmud.” (Tuladhana was a practice of the king weighing himself against gold and silver and then donating the same for charitable work).

Chandradeva was succeeded by his son Madanapala who more or less ruled peacefully over the large kingdom left to him by his father. There were still some occasional raids and attacks by Ghaznavid invading Muslims, and it was during one of those that Madanpala led a successful campaign as the leader of a joint army and restricted the invaders from entering his kingdom near Indraprastha (Delhi). He was ably assisted by his son, Govindachandra, the ‘yuvaraj’ of Kannauj, who seemed to be calling most of the shots on behalf of his father already. Inscriptions found in the Rahan plates cite the tale of his valour like this:

“The Yuvaraja of Kannauj, again and again by the play of his matchless fighting drove back the mlechchas and compelled the Hammira (the Amir) to lay aside his enmity.”

[As translated from the original Sanskrit, in the works of Vincent Smith’s ‘Early History of India’.]

It was after Govindachandra ascending the throne of Kannauj in 1114 AD, that the Gahadavala Empire saw real success once again. Inscriptions found in Sarnath, refer to Govindachandra’s military exploits in detail and shower eloquent praise on the young king:

“Maharajadhiraja Govindachandra, it seems is an incarnation of Hari (Lord Vishnu), who has been commissioned by Hara (Lord Shiva) to protect Baranasi (Benaras) from the wicked Turuska (Turkish) warriors, as the only one who is able to protect the earth.”

These invasions by the later Ghaznavid Sultans (Mahmud’s descendants), and the one where the invasion of Benaras and Kannauj were repulsed by Govindachandra, is well corroborated in the chronicles of the ‘Diwan of Salman’ as an expedition sent by the Ghaznavid Sultan Massud III in 1115 AD (509 Hijri calendar year)  reported as: “against Kannauj, the capital of Hind,… the Kaaba of the Shamans and the Kibla of the kafirs,… where treasures of Hind were collected just as all rivers flow into the sea.”

The ‘Tabaqat-i-Nasiri’ further testifies that during the reign of Massud III, “the Hajib Tughatigin crossed the river Gang (Ganges?), in order to carry on jihad (holy war) in Hindustan and penetrated to a place where none except Sultan Mahmud had reached so far with an army before.”

[The Tabaqat-i-Nasiri was composed in 1260 AD by Minhaj-i-Siraj for Sultan Nasir-ud-din Mahmud of the Ghurid dynasty in Ghazna, and is an elaborate history of the Islamic world written in Persian. Though the major part of the book is devoted to the Ghurid dynasty, it also contains details of exploits by the earlier Ghaznavid dynasty Sultans.]

We are aware in history that Mahmud did not advance in the plains beyond Kannauj, hence the reference in the Tabaqat-i-Nasiri is to the war that Massud III’s army waged against Benares and Kannauj, which was successfully repulsed by Govindachandra. The success of the King of Kannauj is written in bold as “in consequence of his valiant prowess and the mlechchas vanquished, that there was never any talk of the Hammira coming back to the banks of the river of the Gods.”

Govindachandra’s military exploits did not stop with only defending Kannauj and his kingdom from the invading Muslims, but he made successful campaigns against Magadh (Bihar), Gauda (Bengal), and the Rashtrakutas (central-south India) and made them vassals of the Kannauj empire. The inscription plates further state that Govindachandra was a devout Shaivite and held the Brahmins in his kingdom in very high esteem. Thus his patronage of the Kanyakubja Brahmins was expansive and large-hearted. There were found texts of huge land grants, in many instances clusters of villages, to Brahmins, for building ashramas, temples and propagation of Shaivite Hinduism across the land. Thus it is evident that the Kanyakubja Brahmins once again had days of glory and importance under Govindachandra and the Gahadavala dynasty.

Govindachandra’s reign was also marked by the rise of literary efforts in Sanskrit, by the Brahmins in his court. His minister for law-and-war, Lakshmidhara and another Brahmin minister Raghunandana are credited for authoring the very famous Sanskrit work “Kalpadruma”, a collection of works on law and societal procedures. The chief volumes (khandas) of the Kalpadruma are:

  • Kritya Kalpataru (related to different types of work)
  • Vyavahara Kalpataru (related to different types of behaviours)
  • Vivada Kalpataru (related to types of argument and logic)
  • Dana Kalpataru (related to charity)
  • Rajdharma Kalpataru (related to governance of the state)

The Kalpadruma and many other such literary gems are said to have been authored by the eminent Kanyakubja Brahmins of that time, under the direct patronage of King Govindachandra. The king himself, holding a great literary taste and reverence for Sanskrit education, has been referred to in some inscriptions as “vividha-vidya-vichaara-vachaspati” (an exponent well versed in variety of studies and discourses).

Govindachandra ruled for forty years and re-established the glory and magnificence of Kannauj as the capital of the empire, and was succeeded by his son Vijayachandra in 1154. Vijayachandra too like his father stood like a bulwark against the Muslim invaders, and ensured that they were not successful in their designs of capture, plunder and loot. From the chronicles of history it may be observed that during the period of Vijayachandra’s reign there was no major Muslim invasion or conquest into the Doab region. There is a reference to a conflict between the Vijayachandra of Kannauj and the army of Amir Khusrau and later Khusrau Malik, who having been driven out of the Ghaznaid Empire by Ala-ud-din Ghori had come to occupy Lahore and were trying to make inroads into the other Indian states at that time. However, the Indian states being well equipped and militarily stronger than before were able to successfully repulse the efforts of Khusrau and Malik. However, it was soon that the Ghori Sultans themselves overran the entire North-west provinces and conquered Lahore, Multan and the region of the Indus.

While Vijayachandra may have withstood the occasional onslaughts of the Muslim invaders successfully, he did not have much success with his neighbour kings, for he soon lost the Delhi region to the King Kumarapala and even the south-central regions of his kingdom. Thus when his reign ended in 1170 AD, the Kannauj Empire covered the entire of modern-day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regions. Towards the end of Vijayachandra’s reign, we find the elaborate mention of the “Yuvarajyabhishekham” of his son Jayachandra, on the banks of the Ganges at Benaras on 16th June 1168 AD, in an ornate ceremony conducted by Mahapurohita Prahlada Sarman, who was later gifted an entire village as land-grant in appreciation of his services.

Jayachandra finds important mention in the history of Kannauj and that of India for two incidents that marked the period of his reign. First, the make-believe romantic legend of Prithviraj Chauhan storming into Jayachandra’s celebratory event at Kannauj and carrying off his not-unwilling daughter Samyukta for marriage. Second, Jayachandra’s valiant resistance of Muhammad Ghori’s invasions and his final defeat which led to the destruction of Kannauj by the invading Muslims.

 Jayachandra led a huge army and as per the bards of his court, it was on the strength of his army that he subjugated kingdoms far and wide and expanded his territories. Jayachandra is also credited with victories against Muhammad Ghori’s invasions a few times before his final engagement with him. The Purusapariksa of poet Vidyapati describes Jayachandra:

“Yavanesvara Sahavadin (referring to Sihabuddin Ghori) fled several times after sustaining defeat at the hands of King Jayachandra, the ‘nikhila-yavana-ksayakarah’ (destroyer of all Yavanas – infidels).”

Referring to Jayachandra, the Muslim historian Ibn Asir says in his Kamil-ut-Tawarikh: “the King of Kannauj was the greatest in Hind and possessed the largest territory, extending lengthwise from the borders of China to the province of Malwa, and breadthwise from the sea to within ten days journey from Lahore.”

Despite his exploits and military valour, Jayachandra had a bitter rivalry with the King of the Chamanas (Chauhans), Prithviraja III, against whom he was in constant skirmish on territorial annexations of each other’s’ kingdoms. The Sanskrit poetic work ‘Prithviraja Raso’ states that Prithviraja III ruled from his capital in Ajmer and had by this time annexed Delhi with the intention to encroach more into Jayachandra’s kingdom. The much recited romantic legend of Prithviraj and Samyukta is almost a popular folklore in India, however, it is important to note that the venue for Jayachandra’s celebratory ‘rajasuya yagna’ (ceremony of universal supremacy of an emperor) which was to culminate in the ‘swayamvara’ (self-selection of the groom by the bride) of his daughter Samyukta, was the magnificent capital city of Kannauj.

[On a side note, it may not be irrelevant to point out to the readers that Kanyakubja or Kannauj had been the venue for two of the most talked about ‘swayanvaras’ in Indian mythology and history:

First, the swayamvara of Draupadi in the Mahabharata, where Arjun won her hand by his archery skills. Draupadi’s father King Drupad was the ruler of Panchal Pradesh and had his capital at Kampilya, which is the city of Kanyakubja temporarily known by another name.

Second, the swayamvara of Samyukta, daughter of Jayachandra, King of Kannauj, where bride was carried off by her father’s arch rival Prithviraj Chauhan, the uninvited King of the Chauhans of Ajmer.]

The second Muslim conquest of Kannauj (1194 AD)

Kannauj was swept away and eventually destroyed during the Muslim conquest of Hindustan by the repeated invasions of Sultan Sihabuddin Muhammad Ghori (a.k.a Mu’izz-ud-din Muhammad) and his Turkic generals. However, the seeds of these conquests were sown as early as 1175 AD, when Sihabuddin had moved from Ghor and conquered and taken Ghazni to avenge the death of his ancestor Ibn Suri at the hands of Mahmud of Ghazni.

[On an unrelated but interesting side note, the famous Muslim historian, Baihaqi, of the time of Mahmud of Ghazni have placed on record that the small kingdom of Ghor (in present-day Afghanistan) was a Buddhist kingdom with a Buddhist king named Amir Suri. The Ghorids were a collection of many Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan who had mixed tribal lineages with Turkic races; they had been scattered from their native settlements in the mountains by the Mongols and later by the Ghaznavids. Whilst their tribes bore Islamic names, viz., Suri, Lodhi, Niazi, etc., many of the tribes came under the Hindu and Buddhist influences during the Hindu Shahi kingdom rule in and around Kabul region, and adopted those religions. The Suri’s for instance, were followers of the Mahayana Buddhist traditions and so were the entire population of their tribe in Ghor.

Historian Bahaqi also writes that Mahmud of Ghazni and the neighbouring Islamic kingdoms considered the native Ghorids as ‘pagans’ and were determined to wage ‘jihad’ against them to bring them forcibly under the Islamic religious influence in the region. Thus Mahmud of Ghazni had attacked Ghor in 1011 AD and taken the Suri king (Ibn Suri – son of Amir Suri) as prisoner and brought him to Ghazni along with his son. While the Suri king killed himself by consuming poison to prevent being converted to Islam by Mahmud, his son (later renamed as Abu Ali Ibn Muhammad) was forcibly converted and placed back on the throne of Ghor as a subjugated feudatory to the throne of Ghazni. Thus the Ghurids and the population of their tribe was forcibly converted to Islam by Mahmud and thence they became an Islamic dynasty. Their tribe name of Suri was replaced by the name of their feudal kingdom Ghor and the dynasty came to be called ‘Ghori’.]

Sihabbudin Muhammad Ghori, having established himself in Ghazni, then looked towards the alluring North-west provinces of Hindustan, which by then were in control of the later Ghaznavid dynasty rulers and vassals. In 1175 he marched against the Qarmatian Ismaili kings of Multan and wrested the city from their control. This was followed by the annexation of Uch and Peshawar in 1179 and finally Lahore in 1186. Khusrau Malik, the last vassal of the Ghaznavids ruling Lahore was captured and executed by Muhammad Ghori, thus completely overthrowing the reign of the Ghaznavid dynasty. If Mahmud of Ghazni was a religious knight-errant of Islam and took pride in forcibly converting the populace of conquered lands and desecrating the shrines of other religions, Muhammad Ghori was a practical conqueror. Apart from plundering and enjoying the spoils of war, he ensured that he left behind his slaves or generals to control and continue the administration in the lands conquered by him, thus effectively making them vassal and feudal states in his sultanate.

By 1191, Muhammad Ghori devoted his attention and strategies to continued invasions of Hindustan, and amassing a huge army, stormed the fortress of Bhatinda in Punjab. The fortress of Bhatinda was within the territories of Prithviraj Chauhan, who assisted by other Rajput princes, marched with a mighty army to defend his territory. The two armies met on the plains of Tarain (near Thanesar) and after a bloody engagement, Ghori’s forces were completely overwhelmed by the Hindu army. The Sultan himself would have been killed in the battle, if not for a Khilji retainer who courageously saved him from the charge of the Chauhans. Muhammad Ghori, being one not to leave a score unsettled, returned the following year (1192) with a mightier army and better stratagem against the Rajput Hindu confederacy and once again met Prithviraj Chauhan on the same historic battle-field of Tarain.

As soon as Prithviraj Chauhan had the intelligence of the advance of Ghori’s army, he had sent out messages to his fellow Rajput chieftains and also the neighbouring kings, so that an enormous army of Hindustan could be amassed to repulse the invaders. As described in historian Firishta Muhammad Qasim Shah’s expansive work ‘Tarikh-i-Firishta’, many chiefs and kings answered to Prithviraj’s appeal, as the Rajputs ‘having sworn by the water of the Ganges that they would conquer their enemies or die martyrs to their faith’. Some historians point out that while kings of many neighbouring kingdoms joined Prithviraj’s army against the ‘yavana Sahavadin’ (infidel invader Sihabuddin Ghori), the King of Kannauj, Jayachandra remained withdrawn. They surmise that probably Jayachandra would have thought that Ghori would put an end to Prithviraj and leave Hindustan, after which it would be easy for Jayachandra to take control of the entire northern India regions. However, fate had a different design as we shall soon see. With the turn of events that followed, Prithviraj Chauhan’s mighty army was defeated and scattered by Muhammad Ghori and Prithviraj himself was killed in the battle.

The victorious invading army soon captured the forts and cities of Sarsuti, Samana, Kahram, Hansi and Ajmer and Sihabuddin Ghori became the master of almost entire north India up to the precincts of Delhi. Ghori returned to his capital in Ghazni, but the command of furthering the Muslim conquest into the Ganga-Yamuna Doab was entrusted to his slave general Qutubuddin-Aibak, who continued the unfinished task left to him by his Sultan. In 1193, Delhi fell, followed by similar successes by Aibak over Meerut and Aligarh. These victories paved the way for the Muslims to now advance against Kannauj, one of the most prominent and magnificent cities of Hindustan.

Muhammad Ghori returned in 1194 and with the aid of his slave-general Qutubuddin Aibak, marched towards Kannauj with a very large army. King Jayachandra met Ghori on the plains of Chandwar (a place between Kannauj and Etawah) where a pitched battle took place. The tidings of the battle were gradually favouring Jayachandra’s army when a freak arrow hit Jayachandra in the eye and pierced his skull, killing him instantly. Seeing their leader dead, the Hindu army scattered directionless and within no time the battle was won by Muhammad Ghori.

As the victorious Sultan reached the outskirts of Kannauj, in the words of a historian of that time, “the Sultan there saw an imperial city which raised its head to the skies, and which in strength and structure might justly boast to have no equal. The city was surrounded by strong walls and deep ditches and was washed by the Ganges on its eastern face.”

Ghori quickly plundered and pillaged Kannauj, killing the Hindu populace and breaking the gorgeous temples and shrines while amassing enormous amount of booty. However, having finished with the capital, Ghori soon turned his target to the holy city of Benaras, which was also an important treasury centre for the Gahadavala kingdom. There he plundered all the temples and enslaved the people, taking immense war-spoils including elephants.

After Ghori’s exit, Qutubuddin Aibak continued to consolidate the conquered cities by vanquishing the remnants of the Hindu armies in those places. The Rajput resistance however continued in sporadic efforts in different areas in an attempt to throw off the Turkic yoke. In Kannauj, especially, Jayachandra’s nineteen year old son, Harishchandra, succeeded in pushing back Aibak’s armies and liberated Kannauj once again in 1197 AD, a respite which was destined to be only too short-lived.

The Final Decimation (1211 – 1215 AD)

Post the sudden assassination of Sihabuddin Ghori by the Khokhar Hindu tribes at Dhamiak near the banks of the Jhelum River in 1206 (present-day Sohawa in Pakistan), and the death of Qutubuddin Aibak in 1210, the entire expanse of North India was in political chaos and rebellion. Though Iltutmish, the son-in-law of Qutubuddin Aibak ascended the throne of Delhi and proclaimed himself the next ruler of Hindustan, it took a lot of effort on his part to squash the rebellions and impose his suzerainty over the kingdoms of Hindustan. The Chauhans had liberated Ajmer and the other Hindu chieftains who were discontented with their loss of independence had also liberated their kingdoms of Gwalior, Benaras, Kalinjar and Ranthambore. Even the Muslim governors who had been appointed by Qutubuddin Aibak had revolted and declared themselves as Sultans of their own regions, viz., Nasir-ad-in Qabacha in Uch and Multan and Ali Mardan Khilji in Bengal and Lakhnauti.

In his attempt to put to rest all rebellions and bring not only these feudal kingdoms but also the still independent and recently liberated Hindu kingdoms under his Islamic rule, Iltutmish started his campaign with the kingdoms situated in the vicinity of Delhi and the Ganga-Yamuna Doab region. Ranthambore was taken after a bloody war and so was Ajmer, once again defeating the Rajput army convincingly. He personally led the military campaign against Awadh, Badaun and Siwalik and having captured these cities, established his own men as generals to rule these kingdoms as feudatories.

Iltutmish’s son, Nasir-ud-din Mahmud, a ferocious warrior in his own right, waged a terrible battle against Kannauj, Benaras and Rohilkhand. The battle of Kannauj saw the complete end of the Gahadavala dynasty with the ruling King Harishchandra and his son being driven out of the city, and the establishment of Nasir-ud-din’s Turkic generals as administrators of Kannauj. It is said that in Kannauj and Benaras alone, over one thousand temples and shrines, including a famous six-hundred year old Shiva temple of King Harsha’s times, were demolished and mosques were built in their places. In the pillage, plunder and massacre that ensued in the days of the war, Kannauj was completely destroyed and razed to the ground. The Hindu populace scattered to neighbouring areas and once again a mass exodus of the Kanyakubja Brahmins were seen in the aftermath of the battle. As Nasir-ud-din and his troop of Turkic generals decimated the city and its remaining people, Kannauj with its heritage and soul of Hindu imperialist tradition, culture and learning were lost forever.

Kannauj thereafter was governed under Nasir-ud-din Mahmud who was appointed as the Governor of Awadh region. The city could never throw off the yoke of Islamic rule and its prolonged influence gradually robbed Kannauj of the remnants of its glorious Vedic and Hindu imperial past. The magnificent city which over the centuries had held pre-eminence in North India and was regarded as the seat for many a proud dynasty, ceased to exist as an independent state and slowly sank into insignificance.

The following stanza from Bhartrihari’s composition ‘Vairag yasataka’ (volume 36), is a fitting adieu and lament for Kanyakubja; the epitaph of its glories:

“Alas brother… the mighty kings, the train of barons and witty court at his side, the damsels with faces like the moon’s orb, the haughty troop of princes, the minstrels and the tales… by whose will all this hath passed into mere memories… as homage to Time.” [Sanskrit: sarvam yasya vasadagat smritipadam Kalaya tasmai namah…”]


Coming soon …. The Escape to Nowhere

While Series I - Kanyakubja Chronicles, depicting the history of the ancient city of Kanyakubja, comes to a close with the decimation of the city, we will return in the next part of our series with the story of the Kanyakubja Brahmins who managed to escape the decimation at the hands of the invaders and conquerors and fled to different parts.

Stay tuned for new episodes in our Series II – The Migration.


Saturday, 24 March 2018

The Kanyakubja Chronicles IV

Kannauj: the capital of Aryavarta (836 – 1019 AD)

For Kannauj, the period spanning almost two hundred years after the death of King Harsha was one of continuous wars and short-lived monarchies by the rival dynasties of the region, who were perpetually at battle with each other in the attempt to consolidate their empire and probably once again fulfil the ideals of a Chakravartin Samrat of Aryavarta. Kannauj was already well established as the capital of North India from the time of Harsha and with Magadh, Pataliputra, Mathura and other cities fading in their prominence, Kannauj continued to be regarded as the heart of Aryavarta and the jewel in the crown most sought after by the kings at war. After Harsha and his immediate successor Yasovarma, the Ayudha dynasty captured Kannauj and ruled for about fifty years. During this time, the Chalukyas and even the King of Kashmir, Lalitaditya, is said to have attacked Kannauj with the desire to rule over this magnificent city.

However, by the end of the 8th century, the power and politics of Aryavarta remained in the hands of three dynasties, who were forever at war with each other: the Gurjara-Pratiharas from Rajasthan, the Rashtrakutas from Maharashtra and parts of south-central; and the Palas of Bengal. All of them sought to keep Kannauj under their clamp, as the city strongly signified power and control over Aryavarta. The chequered history of war-torn Kannauj during these periods and tales of the battles and coups forged by the Pratihara, Rashtrakuta and Pala kings over a hundred years is, on one hand fascinating yet on the other, dark and of betrayals and bloodshed.

It was also during this turbulent period that Kannauj once again rose to a commendable height of glory under the Pratihara King, Mihir Bhoja in 836 AD. Though not immediately comparable to the Kannauj under Harsha, Mihir Bhoja ensured that he rebuilt the city’s war affected zones and added further magnificence. Learning and culture surged in Kannauj and once again the traditions of Brahmanical Hinduism were glorified under the Kanyakubja Brahmins, who now had acquired the cult tag of ‘Kannaujia Brahmin’, one that was set to stay for many more centuries to come. A devout follower of Lord Vishnu, Mihir Bhoja built many temples across his kingdom and patronised the Brahmins extensively, as bearers and keepers of traditional Brahminical Hindu faith who propagated the Vedic rituals, culture and literature.

Mihir Bhoja’s kingdom ranged from the Sutlej River in the North-west to the foothills of Himalayas in the North and from Bengal in the East to Gujarat in the West, while the Narmada River made up for the border in the South. Kannauj was the illustrious capital of his expansive empire and a very prosperous one at that, as we read from the works of Sulaiman, the Arab traveller who visited India during this time. Mihir Bhoja also successfully repulsed several Arab invasions on the North-west borders of his kingdom (present day Sindh in Pakistan) and ensured that he united Aryavarta under Kannuj once again, till 885 AD.

Mihir Bhoja’s successors, though defended their kingdom for a few more generations, were steadily losing parts of their territories to other kings. They lost some parts of the Punjab to the King of Kashmir, while the Rashtrakutas in the south were posing a fierce threat yet again against the weakened Pratiharas. It was during the initial years of the reign of Mahipala, 913 AD to be exact, that the Rashtrakuta King, Indra III, attacked Kannauj and ransacked the city mercilessly. Mahipala had to flee and Kannauj passed on to the hands of the Rashtrakutas for the next three years. Kannauj had hitherto not seen such a bloody war and pillage of its wealth and magnificence as it saw at the hands of the Rashtrakuta king Indra III; however then, little did the city know that it would have to face an even more merciless ransacking, killing and looting within the turn of the same century at the hands of the first Muslim invaders.

Mahipala was however able to return to his capital and overthrow the Rashtrakuta vassals in Kannauj and take the city back for the Pratiharas by 916 AD. Barring the singular blot of the ‘ransacking of Kannauj’ by Indra III, Mahipala is credited with the attributes of a valiant ruler and warrior who maintained his kingdom and subjects well. The Arab chronicler, ‘Al-Masudi’ writes about him:

"The ruler has four armies according to the four quarters of the wind. Each of these number 700,000 or 900,000 men. He has large armies in the garrisons in the north and in the south; in the east and in the west, for he is surrounded on all sides by warlike rulers."

Thus in the fight for the control of Aryavarta and pursuit of keeping suzerainty over Kannauj as the capital of Aryavarta, the Pratiharas had overall emerged victorious against their rivals the Rashtrakutas and the Palas. However, constant wars and break down of kingdoms over this period actually worked against the interests of Aryavarta, for after Mihir Bhoja there was no king who could unite Aryavarta again and build a formidable force. The powers of the Palas in Bengal were limited, while that of the later Pratiharas and the Rashtrakutas got weakened. Their vassals rebelled against them and broke away from the kingdoms to form smaller kingdoms of their own. Thus by 1000 AD, Aryavarta had disintegrated into a disjoined and fragmented structure of many states and kingdoms with independent rulers, mostly still fighting against themselves. This paved the way easily for the successful raids into India by Mahmud of Ghazni, which began in 1001 AD.

The first Muslim conquest of Kannauj (1018 AD)

It was in 1018 AD that the tremors of the pounding hoofs of the troops of horsemen of Mahmud of Ghazni’s ferocious army were felt on the soil of Kannauj, heralding the most ominous and dreaded of the battles that the magnificent city had ever witnessed. Stories of Mahmud’s fearsome invasions and battles on the plains of the Indus and Sutlej had by then spread all across Aryavarta (northern India), as the burly Sultan had already invaded the country at least ten times and indiscriminately killed and looted in the towns and cities that fell in his way.

What started as a battle for territorial supremacy between the Ghaznavids and the Hindu Shahi kings of Kabul in 1000 AD, in no time broke down the barriers of the rugged North-western frontier and opened the doors to India for Mahmud. The Hindu Shahi King Jayapaladeva of Kabul was defeated by Mahmud in the first battle in 1000 AD, but Mahmud returned within a year with a larger force to capture Kabul and then furthered his intention to loot and fill his Ghaznavid capital with the riches of Hindustan, as he chased the Hindu Shahi forces further down. By 1006 AD, he had defeated Jayapaladeva and his son and successor King Anandapala repeatedly and ransacked the cities of Purushapura (modern Peshawar in Pakistan), Udabhandapura (modern Und in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan – which was the later capital of the Hindu Shahi kings once Kabul was taken), Bhera (modern Bhira in Pakistan-Punjab) and Mulasthanam (modern Multan in Pakistan). Making it a sport and easy exploit, Mahmud continued his series of infamous raids to India and emboldened by each lavish victory, he soon swooped down onto the heartland of north India.

Having deposed the Hindu Shahi Kings from Kabul and North-west of India, over the next decade Mahmud continued to plague the country with his raids, ransacking and looting. While Peshawar and Multan were repeatedly sacked, Mahmud’s fury did not spare the Nandana, the last capital city of the Hindu Shahi Kings - after Mahmud destroyed and annexed Udabhandapura (Und). Nandana was a picturesque town nestled in the verdant valleys of the Salt Range of the Indus valley, and King Anandapala had chosen to name it Nandana, after the celestial garden of Lord Indra. (In modern day, the only remains of Nandana city are the ruins of the Shiva temple built by Anandapala, which still stands atop a hill in the Salt Range of Pakistan; the city has been completely decimated, destroyed and has over time slipped into oblivion).

In his invasions of 1011 Mahmud had come as far as Delhi and sacked Thaneswar, and in 1015 he had successfully pillaged the formidable city of Lohkot (modern Lahore in Pakistan). He completely overthrew the Hindu Shahi kingdom and forced its last ruler Trilochanapala to flee. Trilochanapala was given refuge by the king of Kalinjar. Having conquered and subjugated the kingdoms in the North-west provinces, it was but expected that in his next adventure the ferocious Sultan would come charging down on the cities that lay further deep in the Ganga-Yamuna Doab, the opulence of which were not unknown to him by then.

When Mahmud attacked Mathura and Mahaban in 1018, he was met by armies of some of the regional kings but they were hardly a match to the ferocity of the invading Ghaznavid army under Mahmud. Mathura and Mahaban fell after a fierce battle in 1018 and were completely ransacked post which the Sultan turned his attention to Kannauj, as he intruded further down the plains. The ruling Pratihara king of Kannauj at that time was Rajyapala who was terrified at the prospect of facing Mahmud’s army with the almost certainty of defeat and bloodshed in the capital. Rajyapala had been part of the Hindu confederacy (the joint armies of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kannauj, Delhi and Ajmer) which had earlier fought in support of the Hindu Shahi kingdom and had opposed Mahmud between Und and Peshawar and had been completely routed by the invading forces. Faced with the daunting task of fighting Mahmud’s army alone, Rajyapala chose not to engage in battle with the Sultan and Kannauj was surrendered without a fight. This however did not stop the greedy Sultan from ransacking the city and he proceeded to destroy many important Hindu temples and Buddhist stupas in Kannauj. The holy shrines were desecrated and the temple wealth was looted indiscriminately.

As the pillage and plundering in Kannauj went on at the hands of Mahmud’s army, among the subjects the worst fate probably befell the Kanyakubja (Kannaujia) Brahmins. On the pretext of jihad, the Muslim invaders fanatically crushed the Hindu centres of worship and learning, burning Vedic and Sanskrit texts and scriptures wherever they could find them. They were aware that the Brahmins were the keepers of the religious culture and traditions as well as the temple wealth, and hence the wrath fell on them. The Brahmin houses were invaded, destroyed and looted and the priests and scholars were mercilessly tortured, their books and belongings being burnt in front of their eyes. The king had already surrendered and remained a mute spectator as the once glorious city of Kannauj was brought to its knees and its wealth forcibly taken away.

Mahumd of Ghazni left a burning and destroyed Kannauj, and if that wasn’t enough, within a year Kannauj was attacked by the neighbouring Chandelas. The rage of the Chandela King was directed against Rajyapala for having meekly surrendered to Mahmud without a fight and for allowing the destruction, arson and looting of his city, but the Chandel soldiers ensured that they also had their share of looting as they ravaged through the already broken city. Rajyapala was killed by the Chandelas and that marked the end of the Pratihara dynasty, leaving Kannauj in a total state of anarchy and political chaos, by the end of 1019 AD.

Coming Soon …. Kanyakubja Chronicles V

In the next article, we shall read about the revival of Kannauj and the restoration of its glory under the lineage of the Gahadavala Kings, until the final decimation of the city and its Hindu Brahminical culture, in the second Muslim conquest at the hands of Muhammad Ghori. Kannauj thereafter came under Islamic rulers, an influence which relegated all Hindu culture and learning to minimal relevance, thus forcing large sections of the remaining Kanyakubja Brahmins to desert the city to escape forced conversion and attempt safekeeping of the remnants of Vedic scriptures and traditions that were miraculously saved.

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