- The predecessors of Harsha were all rulers of the land of Srikantha (Jhanesvar).
- Harsha Charitra, Kadambini and Parvathy Parinay of Bana.
- From the accounts of Hiuen-Tsang, the Chinese pilgrim.
- We get some information about the political condition in the dramas of Harsha such as Ratnavali, Nagananda and Priyadarsika.
- Nausasi copper plate gives us information about Harsha’s successful expedition against Valabhi. He defeated Dhruvasena II.
Introduction of the Personalities
(i) Prabhakaravardhan—the first important king of this dynasty and the father of Harsha.
(ii) Rajyavardhan—Elder brother of Harsha.
(iii) Rajyashri—Sister of Harsha
(iv) Grahavarman—The Mankhari ruler of
Kanauj and husband of Rajyashri.
(v) Sasanka—Ruler of Gauda or Bengal.
Rule of Harsha
- Rajyavardhan was killed by Sasanka.
- Harsha succeeded his brother. He rescued his sister and drove out Sasranka from Kanauj.
- He assumed the title of ‘Siladitya’.
- Chalukyan records of Pulakesin’s successors mention the defeat of Harsha by Pulakesin.
- Ravi Kirti (the court poet of Pulakesin II and the author of the Aihole inscription) also hints vaguely at Pulakesin’s victory.
- Rajasthan, Punjab, UP, Bihar and Orissa were under his direct control.
- Kashmir, Sind, Valabhi and Kamrupa acknowledged his sovereignty.
- Harsha governed his empire on the same line as the Guptas did, except that his administration had become more feudal and decentralised.
- Rajasthaniya (viceroys), or Lokapala or Uparika Maharaja (governors) or Samantas (feudatories). Mahabaladhikarita (officer in Supreme command of the army); Mahasandhivigra hadhikrita (supreme minister of peace and war); senapati (general), Brihadasavavara (head cavalry officer); katuka (commandant of the elephant forces); bhugika or bhogapati (collector of the state share of the produce); aksapatalika (keeper of records) etc.
- Harsha is credited with the grants of land to the officers by charters.
- The territory of the empire was called rajya or desa which was divided into bhuktis, vishyas and gramas.
- Harsha, in the early years of his reign, was a devout Shaiva, but then was liberal in his religious views.
- Brahmanism, which reasserted itself under the Guptas, got further strengthened during this period.
- Brahmanism was frankly given to idolatry.
- The most popular Brahmanical deities were Adhiya, Siva and Vishnu
- Buddhism appeared to be in a quite flourishing condition, but it had suffered decline in several localities like Kosambi, Vaishali and Sravasti.
- Jainism marked neither progress nor decay.
- Shaivism became the main theistic system of this period.
- Vedic ceremonies and rituals once again came to be regarded as integral constituents of Brahmanism.
- The assembly at Kannauj was held in honour of the Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen-Tsang, who became a great friend of Harsha.
- When the assembly at Kannauj was abruptly brought to an end, Harsha invited Chinese pilgrim Hiuen-Tsang to attend the quinquennial festival at Prayaga at the sacred confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna.
- We are told that Harsha assigned the revenue of eighty large towns of Orissa to a noted Buddhist scholar, named Jayasena, who however, thankfully declined even this tempting offer.
- Hiuen-Tsang says that Harsha earmarked one-fourth of the revenue of the state for rewarding men of intellectual eminence.
- Harsha died in or about 647 A.D. after a reign of forty years.
- Left no successor to his throne.
- His empire was divided amongst his nobles and provincial governors which meant destruction of the Vardhana empire.
- After his death Bhaskaravarman of Assam appears to have annexed Karnasuvarna and the adjacent territories.
- In Magadha Adilyasena, who was a feudatory of Harsha, declared his independence.
- In the west and north-west the Gurjaras of Rajputana and the Karakotakas of Kashmir asserted themselves with great vigour.