Medieval India:

Indian History include three parts Ancient History, Medieval India and the Modern India History.

The questions from this very period are very less in number In UPSC but plays a very vital role in PSC examination. Question from this section are little hard to attempt and generally candidates attempt them wrong.

The solution for this section is our articles which are specially designed after seeing past question papers and other most important points to study.

Traveler during Medieval India

Traveler/Historian In times of Remarks
Al-Masudi Pratiharas
Sulaiman Palas Mid 9th century. Writes about the Pala empire
Marco Polo Chola
Ralph Fitch 16th century

 Read more about Medieval India in 18 century here

Dynasties during Eight to 10th Century 

  • AD 750 onwards

Eighth to 10th Century (Age of three empires in North India)

  • Pala –East
  • Pratihara – West and Upper Gangetic Valley
  • Rashtrakuta – Deccan
  • Rashtrakutas lasted the longest

For a long time, Kanauj was considered the symbol of political unity of India (like Delhi was later)


  • Founder: Gopala
  • Gopala – Dharmapala – Devpala
  • Dhramapala
    • defeated by Rashtrakuta ruler Dhruva
    • Revived Nalanda University
    • Founded Vikramsila University
    • Buddhism developed
  • relations with Tibet and SE Asia


  • Founder: Bhoja
  • Bhoja – Mahendrapala I – Mahipala
  • Bhoja (aka Adivaraha)
    • Capital at Kanauj
  • Mahipala
    • Sankrit poet and dramatist Rajashekhar lived at his court
  • Hostility with Arab and Sindh


  • Founder: Dantidurga
  • Dantidurga – – Govinda III – Amoghvarsha (Jain) – – Indra III – Vallabhraja – Krishna III
  • Capital: Malkhed near Sholapur
  • Amoghvarsha
    • Wrote the first Kannada book on Poetics
    • Capital: Manyakhet
  • Indra III – most powerful ruler of his time
  • Krishna I built Shiva temple at Ellora
  • Apbhransha poet: Svayambhu
  • Princess Chandrobalabbe (daughter of Amoghavarsha) administered Raichur

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Chola Empire (9th-12th Century)

  • Founder: Vijayalaya (feudatory of Pallavas)
  • Greatest rulers: Rajaraja – Rajendra I
  • Capital: Tanjaur
  • Built temples: Brihadeshwara temple (Shiva): 1010 AD – Rajaraja
  • Rajendra I
    • Gangaikondachola
    • Capital: Gangaikondacholapuram (near Kaveri mouth)
    • Naval expedition against Sri Vijaya empire (Malay peninsula)
  • Fought constantly with Chalukyas of Kalyani
  • Dravida style of architecture developed (garbhagriha – vimana – mandap)
  • Chalukyan style: Hoysalesvara temple (shiva)
  • Sculpture: Gomteshwara at Sravana Belgola
  • Tirumurai – aka fifth Veda are the collection of writings of Alvar and Nayanar saints
  • Age of Kamban – (late 11th– early 12th century) – golden period of Tamil Nadu
  • Kamban lived at court of Chola king. Wrote Ramayana.
  • Kannada: Pampa, Ponna, Ranna – three gems of Kannada poetry
  • Naniah – began telugu version of Mahabharata. Completed by Tikkanna.

Trade with west declined but with South-East Asia and China increased.

Feudalism grew


  • Declined
  • Became indistinguishable from Hinduism
  • Because of rise of Mahayana Buddhism
  • Palas were patrons but after them it declined


  • Chalukyas of Gujarat & Paramaras of Malwa patronised.
  • Dilwara temples built by Chalukyas
    • Use of marbles. Has 5 temples.
  • Ganga rulers of Karnataka
    • Gomteshwar statue built during this time

Bhakti Movement

  • Led by Nayanars and Alvar saints in the South
  • Originated in Tamil Nadu
  • Major saints: Ravidas, Surdas etc

Lingayat Movement

  • Aka Vir Shaiva movement
  • Founder: Basava and Channabasava
    • Lived at the court of Kalachuri kings of Karnatak
  • Worshippers of Shiva
  • Established after bitter disputes with Jains

 See here- Sikhs and Marathas during Medieval period

Foreign Invasions During Medieval India


Mahmud of Ghazni

  • Hindushahi ruler Jayapala invaded Ghazni with help the son of a former Ghazni governor. He was however defeated.
  • In retaliation, Mahmud Ghazni (998-1030 AD) made 17 raids on India
  • 1001 AD: Mahmud defeated Jayapala and took him prisoner but released. He committed suicide.
  • 1008-09: Battle between Mahmud and Anandpala (Jayapala’s son). Anandapala defeated.
  • Reason for subsequent raids: to get funds to continue his struggle in Central Asia
  • Important raids
    • 1018: Kanauj
    • 1025: Somnath
  • Seljuk empire came into being after Mahmud.


  • Major states
    • Gahadavalas – Kanauj
    • Paramara – Malwa [Ujjain. Dhara]
    • Chauhans – Ajmer
    • Kalachuris – Jabalpur
    • Chandella – Bundelkhand
    • Chalukya – Gujarat
    • Tomars – Delhi
  • Nagara architecture of temples
  • Vastupala : Chalukyan minister built Jain Temples at Mt Abu
  • Ujjain and Dhara: Sanskrit learning
  • Hemachandra: Jain scholar wrote in Sanskrit and Apabhramsha
  • Revival of Sanskrit: used by higher classes again

Mohammad of Ghori

  • Shahabuddin Muhammad (aka Muizzuddin Muhammad)
  • 1191: First battle of Tarain – Ghazni defeated
  • 1192: Second battle of Tarain – Prithviraj defeated.
  • Mohammad left: appointed Qutub-i-din Aibek
  • 1194: Battle of Chandawar: Muhammad Ghori vs Jaichandra of Kanauj. Jaichander lost.
  • Battles of Tarain and Chandawar laid the foundations of the Turkish rule in India.
  • Bakhtiyar Khilji: Muhammad’s Governor of Bengal

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Note:- Next article will be continuation of this, About Delhi Sultanate.

Thank you and All the Best

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