New Empires and Kingdoms
Harshavardhana ruled over a major part of north India from 606 to 647 AD. His capital was at Kannauj. His court poet Banabhatta wrote his biography Harshacharita. This biography has given rich information about Harshavardhana. Xuan Zang also lived in the court of Harshavardhana. We also get important information from the accounts of Xuan Zang.
Harshavardhana was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana. Prabhakara Vardhana was the king of Thanesar (modern day Haryana). Harsha was not the eldest son. But after the death of his father and elder brother, he became the king of Thanesar. Harsha’s brother-in-law was the king of Kannauj. He was killed by the ruler of Bengal. Subsequently, Harshavardhana took over the kingdom of Kannauj. Then he led an army and attacked the king of Bengal. He succeeded in conquering Bengal and Magadha. But when he tried to enter into the Deccan, he was stopped by Pulakeshin II. Pulakeshin II was a Chalukya ruler.
The Pallavas: The Pallava Dynasty ruled over a large part of south India between 2nd and 9th century AD. The capital of the Pallavas was at Kanchipuram. The Pallava territory extended up to the Kavery delta.
The Chalukyas: The Chalukya Dynasty ruled over a large part of central and south India between 6th and 12th century AD. The Chalukya territory was around the Raichur Doab; between Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers. Aihole was the capital of the Chalukyas.
The Pallavas and the Chalukyas frequently fought with each other. They wanted to assert their supremacy in the region. Capital cities were especially attacked because they were the prosperous towns.
Pulakeshin II was the best known Chalukya ruler. Pulakeshin also checked the advances made by Harshavardhana. His prashashti had been written by his court poet Ravikriti. This prashasti shows details of the defeat of Harshavardhana.
In due course of time, both the Pallavas and Chalukyas had to give way to later rulers; like the Rashtrakutas and the Cholas.