Medieval Period | Know about middle ages history. This Article provides information regarding medieval age, here you will get complete knowledge of early medieval period. Complete pdf notes of history medieval which is very important for upcoming state psc such as CGPSC, MPSC,UPPSC etc well as medieval history time period also important in term’s of UPSC upcoming exam.

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Medieval Period 


Middle ages history

Medieval period or middle ages history can be classified broadly into three parts:

  1. Early Medieval 8-12th Century A.D.
  2. Delhi Sultanate 12th-16th Century
  3. Mughals 16-18th century
  4. Early Medieval 8-12th Century A.D.  :

After Harshavardhana, the Rajputas emerged as a powerful force in Northern India and dominated the Indian political scene for nearly 500 years from the 7th century.


The tripartite struggle

The Tripartite struggle describes the period between the 8th century and the 10th century which witnessed a struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic Doab and the town of Kannauj.

The three kingdoms involved in this struggle were – The Pala dynasty of Bengal, the Gurjaara Pratihara dynasty of Malwa and The Rashtrakutas in the South. The main cause for this struggle was the desire to possess the city of Kannauj which was then a symbol of Sovereignty.


Palas empire

Gopala founded the Palas Empire in 750 AD. He was elected by people. His capital was at Gauda (N. Bengal)  Two great rulers: Dharmapala and Devpala. Dharmapala was Gopala, son. Dharmapala built Vikramshila Buddhist Monastery in Bhagalpur (Bihar). Dharmapala revived Nalanda University.

In Devpala’s period, the empire expanded from Bengal to Punjab (Kannauj and Ganga Doab). Palas were a patron of Buddhism. Palas also patronized various arts, sculpture and paintings (Popular in folk traditions of Bihar)


Gurjara pratiharas

Gurjara Pratiharas (Literal meaning Protector). They were called Gurjara because of their origin from Gujarat. Pratiharas (Agni Kuleen) claimed to be descendants of Lakshman. Important Kings of the dynasty; Nagabhatta I, Nagabhatta II, Mihir Bhoj.Mihir Bhoj was a devotee of Vishnu and adopted the title of  ‘Adivarah’.

Last two were two great kings with capital at Jodhpur, they also controlled Kannauj and Ganga Doab. Rajshekhar famous courtier of Dharmapala was Sanskrit poet.

Rashtrakuta dynasty

Rashtrakutas were rulers of Maharashtra with capital at Malkhand . Important Kings of rashtrakuta dynasty were Dhruva, Govinda III Dhruva was first south India king to come to north and defeat a North Indian King .

Govinda III defeated Nagabhatta II of Pratiharas and established control of Kannauj and Ganga Doab . He built Ellora caves (37 caves) .

Ellora caves are associated with all three religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, while Ajanta mainly with Buddhism . He also built Kailashnath temple caves.

Parsis came to India during this period and were given shelter by Rashtrakutas. Parsis were persecuted by Muslims in their native land of Iran.


Origin of rajputs 

RAJPUTS 8TH- 12TH CENTURY – Origin of Rajputs (Rajput word means horse traders)

Hindu society was hierarchial, so they were given status of Kshatriya caste. Kshatriyas now had had two branches (Original from Vedic Ages and Rajputs).

Originals didn’t treat them equally and they were called as Patit Kshatriyas  To claim that they were not ordinary, Rajputs developed various theories for social acceptance like. Agnikulin vanshi, Suryavanshi vanshi, Chandravanshi, Stories of their origin are written in “Rajataringinis”

This legend is also described in Bhavishya Purana, Agnikulin Rajputs originated from Yagya performed by Vashishta.  Four clans of Agnikulin origins were:

  1. Pratihars –Oldest of Rajputs e.g. Nagabhtta II, Mihir Bhoj,
  2. Parmars: e.g. Raja Bhoj
  3. Solankis/Chaulikyas Maharashtra e.g. Mulraj I, Mulraj II
  4. Chauhans Rajasthan Delhi and Punjab e.g. Prithviraj Chauhan .

Clan of Chandravanshi linked themselves to Lord Moon. Chandellas Madhya Pradesh built Khajuraho temples . Clans of Suryavanshi origin claimed to be descendents of Sun . Cholas and Chalukyas (Southern Part) .Rajputs were further divided into 36 clans


Political system

  •  This period is considered to be the period of feudalism in India .
  •  Military officers were powerful and controlled administration, right to collect taxes, maintain law and order, and punish people.


Cause of frequent wars:

  • Lack of  unity
  •  Wars were frequently undertaken for making and remaking of kingdom.
  •  Veergatha written by poets described the bravery of the soldiers.
  • Rajputs were told that they had only two options; either win in a war or achieve martyrdom.  Those who tried to escape were condemned. Top posts in administration were given to upper caste Rajputs.
  •  The social composition of Rajput Army was one important reason for their defeat from Turks


Society of the Rajput:

Caste System: 
  • Existence of 4 major castes
  •  Temples and education centres were controlled by priests.  Brahmins even had the power to punish people in their lands (agrahar land).
  •  Kshatriyas and Rajputs had top posts in the army. The ruling class, Rajputs, enjoyed great financial privileges.
  • Vaisya: Maximum tax burden on this class, trade and commerce were not flourishing, a decline in urban centres, very less no. of coins were in circulation, signifying a decline in trade.
  • Shudra: They do the cleanliness work.
Position of women in Rajput society: 
  • Conditions of women had deteriorated both socially and politically because of decline in societal values.
  • Women’s condition had to suffer from issues like: Polygyny, Sati, Child marriage, Female infanticide, Purdah system  Jauhar (Mass suicide).
  • Women were denied basic education, social and political rights


  • Pallav stands for creepers (lata in Sanskrit). They were rulers in South India (modern Tamil Nadu)  The founder of dynasty was Singh Vishnu, who had his capital at Kanchi (Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu) There were two great kings in Pallava dynasty: Mahedravarman & Narsimhavarman (7th century) Pallavas had contributed in the field of Temple architecture. Temple located in Mahabalipuram (Mamallapuram) Near Chennai, TN.
  • Famous eight ‘Rath Temples’ built by Narshimhavarmana. Ganesha temple, Padiri-rath temple, Velayankutti rath temple, Draupadi rath temple, Bhim-rath temple, Arjun rath temple, Nakul-Sehdev temple The Pallavas started declining in 8th century A.D.

THE CHOLAS (9th to 12th century) :

  • They were feudatories of Pallavas and are known for contribution in the field of administration and architecture. Their capital was in Tanjore (Tanjavur). Two important kings of Chola dynasty were: Raj Raja I 985-1014, Rajendra Chola 1014-953 . King Raj Raja, I attacked and annexed the northern part of Sri Lanka and Maldives.
  • He built a temple in Tanjore – Brihadeswara temple, which is first granite temple in India and is dedicated to Shiva. He also installed own statue along with wife’s statue, which was a unique tradition started by Cholas and carried on by later empires.
  • His son Rajendra Chola I 1014-1044 was the greatest king of the Cholas.
  • Annexed entire Sri Lanka and Lakshwadweep Islands.
  • He is said to have controlled three seas surrounding India .
  • He also attacked (Not annexed) Java and Sumatra, with a purpose to protect the interest of Indian traders .
  • Raj Raja, I was the first king of deep south India to attack North India (up to Bengal/Ganga).
  • He adopted the title of Gangaikonda Chola. Built a new city “Gangaikonda Cholapuram” (Tamil Nadu).
  • Built a famous temple Brihadeshwara temple in Gangaikonda Cholapuram.
  • Built a lake Ganga Chola Lake in the new city.
  • Sculpture in Temples were of two types which are: temples sculptures and sculpture which stood alone.
  • Bronze Nataraja in dancing form of Lord Shiva with four hands is a very famous sculpture

Administration Of Cholas :

  • They had a unique village administration.
  • It was very autonomous in nature with little interference from the Kings.
  • In matters of local administration, representatives were elected by people.
  • Assemblies were of three kinds:
    • The assembly of villages  Sabha
    • The assembly of Brahmins. Nagaram
    • The assembly of traders
  •  According to the inscription, there was an executive council of 30 members, further divided into committees.
  • Garden: Taking care of the plantation.
  • Golden: fixing the price of gold.
  • Tank Committee: water management in villages.

A representative for each of 30 wards was elected through Kudavolai system. Names of the contestants from whom one could be chosen were written on palm leaf tickets. These palm-leaves were put into a pot and shuffled. A Child would pick up a slip and the member was thus chosen. Sabha members had to satisfy certain qualification conditions like an age limit (35-70), education in Vedas, he should be landowner  (one veli of land, at least 1.5 acres), Not involved in any sin or crime (thieves, drunkards, or those who had killed Brahmin, women or cow). After demitting his office term of 1 yr he could not contest for the next 3 years. Members of centre administration were present but did not interfere in the elections.    

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