Northern India (Post Gupta to Muslim conquest)


The origin of the Rajputs is a controversy.  They claimed to be the descendants of the Kshatriyas of the Vedic times. Rajput also means 'scion of the royal blood' as used in certain parts of Rajasthan.  Some theory tells us that they were the descendants of the Sakas, Hunas and the Kushanas !  Eventually they intermixed with the Hindus and made India their home.  What one can conclude is "The Rajputs are not a race but a group of clans of distinct origin".  The Pratihara clan of Kanauj has been proved to be of Gurjara origin.  The most important of Hun group of tribes had established a powerful dynasty in Kanauj.  The House of Mewar played an important role in political and military history of India for centuries to come, and gave Rajput heroes like Bapa Raval, Rana Sanga, and Rana Pratap.

The theory of Agnikula origin of the Rajput, states that Parasuram destroyed all the Kshatriyas.  However, Brahmanas felt the need to defend them and performed an Yaga which gave them four heroes and each one of them created a separate clan. There came into existence Chauhans, Chalukyas, Paramaras and the Pratiharas.  The palaces, temples, forts that were built by Rajputs are the finest examples of Indian architecture.

The Rajputs ruling central Hindustan, circulated coins mostly of gold, copper,  billon and rarely silver.  The gold, the drammas in weight were first struck by Gangeyadeva Vikramaditya of Dahala of the Kalachuri dynasty.  These coins had the familiar goddess of wealth, Lakshmi on the obverse. In these coins, the Goddess is shown with four arms than the usual two arms of the Gupta coins; the reverse carried the nagari legend. The similar type of gold coins were also struck by Chandela kings of Mahoba in Bundelkand (1055-1280), Tomara dynasty of Ajmer & Delhi (978-1128), and the Rathor kings of Kanauj.  Muhammad of Ghor too actually struck few pieces in this style.

The invariable device Lakshmi became the motif on the coinage of Rajputs like that of later Kushanas, Kidarites and Guptas.  On the obverse, the frontally faced seated female figure is placed within the dotted border.  She has a nimbus behind her head, which is also bordered with dots.  Her left and right legs are either laced in front with symmetry or one on the other, her two upper hand holds lotus stalks, and the two lower ones rest on her lap or thighs. She wears a necklace, ear rings, bangles, girdles, and possibly anklets. The reverse carried the legend in three lines -  "Srimad", followed by the kings name and then on the third line "Deva".

Of billons and the silver coins issued by Rajputs, the seated bull and horseman was the invariable device.  They were first struck by the Brahman Kings of Ohind (Gandhara) on silver, the commonest were the issues of Spalapati Deva and Samanta Deva.  The name of the king surrounded the bull in a circular style, wherein the undeciphered script (Turanian ??) appeared on the obverse above bull.  These type of coins were continued by the Tomaras, Chauhans of Delhi, Rathors of Kanauj, Rajputs of Narwar and the Amritapala rajas of Badayun. They were all mostly struck on billon. The invariable device Bull and Horseman lasted the next three centuries in the hands of Kangra kings.

LAST UPDATED 1st Nov 2001
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