India and South Asia 979 CE

This period of its history sees the south emerging as a major center of Indian civilization.

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What is happening in India and South Asia in 979CE

Northern India

In northern India the powerful dynasties which had contended for mastery, Gurjara-Pratihara and the Palas, are in decline, their power devolving to subordinate princes. Many of these style themselves Rajputs, a designation which roughly means “warrior prince”.

In the Deccan, the Chalukyas were displaced by a new dynasty, the Rashtrakutas, who seized power in 753. The Rashtrakuta monarchs were militarists, seeking to extend their territory in all directions, making their empire the most powerful state in the subcontinent. They were only prevented from further conquests by repeated rebellions at home. In 973, they were ousted, and replaced by a line of kings calling themselves the Later Chalukyas (or Western Chalukyas since their territories were more or less confined to the western Deccan).

Southern India

In the south, the Chola kingdom has become the dominant power, first winning their independence from the Pallavas in 850 and then subduing both the Pallava and the Pandya kingdoms. Unfortunately for them, their ambitions brought them into conflict with the Rashtrakutas of the Deccan, who defeated them (949) and took much territory from them.

The rise of Hinduism

The rising importance of the south was felt, not only in the political field, but in culture as well. In fact, it dealt a fatal blow to Buddhism in the sub-continent of its birth. Buddhism had never thrived here, and the spread of popular southern Hindu cults in India robbed an already declining Buddhism of its distinctive appeal. Spiritually, the new Hinduism offered people a salvation experience similar to Buddhism, and socially, the new cults’ lukewarm approach to caste offered low-born Indians a similar degree of equality as Buddhism had done.

Next map: India and South Asia in 1215

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The Deccan Empires

The Medieval Era of India

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Medieval India in 850 CE

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