Ancient India was ruled by some of the greatest emperors known to India. When we speak of ancient times, the first name that possibly flashes in front of us is Emperor Ashoka of Maurya Empire. However, there were others too who equally contributed to the glory of India and under whose rule, science, technology, art, literature and philosophy – everything made significant advancements. One such emperor was Harshavardhana who ruled over a large empire in Northern India. Let us learn 30 interesting King Harshavardhana facts and understand how he rose to power and what was contributed to Indian culture under his rule.
Interesting King Harshavardhana Facts: 1-10
1. Harshavardhana (or Harsha or Harṣa) was born c. 590 CE. He was the second son of king of Sthanvishvara (modern day Thaneswar) – Prabhakaravardhana.
2. Prabhakarvardhana’s elder son Rajyavardhana became king after the death of Prabhakarvardhana.
3. When Rajyavardhana was king, his and Harsha’s sister Rajyashri was married to Grahavarmana, the ruler of Maukhari Kingdom. The capital city of Maukhari was Kannauj.
4. The ruler of Malava Kingdom however murdered Grahavarmana and captured Rajyashri. To avenge the death of Grahavarmana and rescue his sister Rajyashri, Rajyavardhana marched on Malava with his army, defeated the ruler of Malava and rescued Rajyashri.
5. Cicra 606 CE, Rajyavardhana went for a meeting with King Shashanka of Gauda Kingdom. During this meeting, Shashanka murdered Rajyavardhana.
6. The death of Rajyavardhana placed Harshavardhana on the throne. At that time, Harsha was only 16 years old.
7. After he came to throne, Harsha made an alliance with Bhaskaravarmana, the king of Kamarupa and waged war against Gauda Kingdom’s King Shashanka who murdered Harsha’s brother. He however failed to defeat Shashanka.
8. Defeat at the hands of Shashanka did not deter Harsha from his ambitions. He declared himself the sovereign ruler of Kannauj because the death of Grahavarmana left the Maukhari Kingdom with no rulers.
9. Once Harsha declared himself the sovereign ruler of Kannauj, he transferred his capital to Kannauj and then started a number of military campaigns. He used his large army of 5,000 war elephants, 50,000 infantry and 20,000 cavalry to take over the nearby kingdoms.
10. He continued his military conquests for 6 years straight and fought numerous battles. By the end of 6 years, he conquered most of the kingdoms in Northern India and his military might increased so much that at any given point, he was able to field an army of 60,000 war elephants and 100,000 cavalry.