Maharashtra State BoardHSC Arts 11th
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Karkotaka Empire

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Karkotaka Empire:

Among the dynasties that ruled in Kashmir, the Karkotaka dynasty (7-9th century C.E.) is mentioned by Yuan Chwang. He had been to Kashmir when he had visited India. Detailed information regarding this dynasty is found in Kalhan's Rajatarangini. Durlabhavardhan was the founder of the Karkotaka dynasty. His empire extended from Narmada to Tibet. The reign of Lalitaditya (Muktapeed, 724-760 C.E.), the grandson of Durlabhavardhan, is noteworthy. He is credited with two victorious expeditions (Digvijaya). He drove away many foreign tribes on the northern borders of Kashmir, especially the region in the Amudarya basin. It included the Tukhar (Turks) as well. He conquered the regions from Avanti in the north up to Pragiyotishpur (Assam). He conquered Tibet with the help of Yashovarma, the king of Avanti (Kanauj). After conquering the regions up to the Kaveri river in the south, he crossed the seas and reached the land beyond (Shri Lanks). This is mentioned by Kalhan, which suggests that Lalitaditya had extended his empire from Tibet in the north to the river Kaveri in the south. Lalitaditya's empire is comparable to the Gupta empire. Lalitaditya was a devotee of Vishnu. He built the Martand temple. He set up the city of Lalitpur. Latpur, situated on the banks of river Jhelum, might be the ancient Lalitpur. He built Buddhist Viharas at Hushkapur (Ushkur).

The strongest ruler of the dynasty was Lalitaditya. Some of the main conquests he made were up to Bengal that made Kashmir the most powerful kingdom after the time of The Guptas. The Martand temple in the Anantnag district of today’s Kashmir preserves the memory of King Lalitaditya. These details are described in the Rajtanagini of Kalhana. During his reign, he encouraged the developments in the fields of art and architecture. His capital Parihaspur had four temples at the time, tons of gold, silver, copper, and brass were used to decorate the temples. There are many sculptors of Buddha’s were excavated, also the rule experienced the widespread of Hinduism and Buddhism. Karkota rule was at its peak during the reign of Lalitaditya, but unfortunately, the dynasty was proceeded by weak rulers which were not capable to unite the scattering kingdom after the death of Lalitaditya. They lost the glory of the kingdom and the dynasty was replaced by Utpala Dynasty.

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