Northern Kingdoms in Medieval India: Paramaras, Chandelas, Kalachuris & Sisodiyas


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Medieval History

1 min read

Prelims: History of India and Indian National Movement

Mains: Indian Culture - Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times



Paramar Dynasty

The Parmar Dynasty was a medieval Indian ruling dynasty that held power in the Malwa region of present-day central India from the 9th to the 14th centuries. They are regarded as belonging to the Agnikula or Agnivansha

Paramar Dynasty

Period: 972 - 1305 AD

Capital: Dhar and Mandu

  • Founder: It was founded by Upendra (Krishanaraja) at the beginning of the 9th century.
    •  Siyaka II made it an independent kingdom. Siyaka II succeeded the Rashtrakutas of Manykheta after defeating Rashtrakuta King Khotigga.
  • The extent of rule: They ruled Malwa and surrounding areas in west-central India. They included territories from Chittor in the north to Konkan in the south and from the Sabarmati River in the west to Vidisha in the east.
  • Famous rulers: Siyaka II, Prithvi Vallabha, Sindhuraja, Bhoja, Naravarman,  Mahalakadeva. 
  • Sources: 
    • The Harsola copper plates of Siyaka II mention a king called Akalavarsha.
    • Nava-sahasanka-charita mentions the story title ‘Paramar’.

Prithvi Vallabha / Munja (972 - 990 AD)

  • Military conquests: He defeated the Kalachuris, the Huns, the Guhilas, the Nadulas, and the Tailapa.
    • He was defeated and killed by western Chalukya king Tailapa II.
  • Titles:  Amoghavarsha, Prithvi Vallabha, and Sri Vallabha.

Sindhuraja (990 - 1010 AD)

  • Military conquests: He defeated Satyashraya of the Western Chalukyas.
    • He defeated the Somavanshis of south Kosala, the Shilaharas of Konkana, and the ruler of Lata.
  • Source: His biography “Nava-Sahasanka- Charita” is written by his court poet Padma Gupta. 
  • Contribution: 
    • He made a great contribution to the field of literature.
    • Court poets and their work during his period:
      • Dhanajaya: Author of 'Dasharupaka'
      • Dhanika: Author of 'Yashorupa valika' 
      • Dhanapala: Author of 'Tilak-manjari'.

Bhoja (1010 - 1055 CE)

  • Military conquests: He defeated the Chalukyas of Lata (present-day Gujarat), Shilahara of Konkan, Chahamanas of Shakambhari, 
  • Titles: Parameshvara-Parama Bhattaraka.
  • Source: 
    • He has been described as “Kaviraj” in Udaypur Prashasti
    • Modasa copper plates are the earliest historical record of Bhoja's reign.
  • Contribution: 
    • Architecture: 
      • He founded the city of Bhojpur.
      • He constructed Bhojeshwar Temple and three dams in the area.
      • He founded the Bhoj Shala, a centre for Sanskrit studies in Dhar. 
    • Literature: 
      • He was a great patron of art and literature and adorned many court poets. 
      • He authored the Sarasvati-Kanthabharana, a Sanskrit Grammar treatise. His other works include Bhujabala-Bhima, Charucharya, Shalihotra, and Shringara-Prakasha.
      • Dasabala, the court poet of Bhoja composed Chintamani-Sarnika.

Naravarman (1094-1133 AD)

Source: Dewas grant inscription suggests that Naravarman succeeded Udayaditya on the throne.

Contribution: He had written the Nagpur Prashasti and restored the Mahakala temple in Ujjain.


  • Weak rulers: Rulers after Bhoja were weak and could not manage the empire. 
  • Invasions: Parmara Dynasty faced invasions from neighbours such as Western Chalukyas, the Yadavas, the Delhi Sultanate, and the Vaghelas.
    • The last Paramara king Mahalakadeva was defeated and killed by the army of Ayn al-Mulk Multani (Governor of Alauddin Khilji) in 1305 CE.



Chandela Dynasty

The Chandela Dynasty, also known as the Chandelas, was a medieval Indian ruling dynasty that held power in the region of Bundelkhand, in present-day Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, from the 9th to the 14th centuries. They were originally vassals of the Gurjara-Pratiharas.

Chandela Dynasty

Period:  831 - 1315 AD

Capital: Khajuraho, Kalanjara and Mahoba

  • Founder: The Chandela dynasty was founded by Nannuka in 831 AD.
  • Rule of extent: They ruled the Bundelkhand or Jejak Bhukti region.
  • Sources: Khajuraho inscription states that the Nannuka was a descendant of sage Chandratreya.
  • Rulers: Yashovrman, Dhanga, Vidhyadhara, Kirtivarman, Paramardi Deva, Vira Varman II.
  • Expansion: 
    • Yashovarman, the first independent king, conquered Kalinjar Hill.
    • Dhanga occupied the Gwalior fort.
    • Vidyadhara protected his kingdom against the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazni and killed the Pratihara king of Kannauj.

Contribution to the Architecture


The Chandela rulers developed a distinct style of temple making – Khajuraho School or Chandela School in Central India.


  • Decoration: The interior and exterior walls in these temples were lavishly decorated with carvings.
  • Themes: The sculptures were generally erotic in their themes and drew inspiration from Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra.
    • The temples were built on a relatively high platform and belonged to the Hindu and Jain religions.
  • Material: The temples were made of sandstone.
  • Components: The temples had three chambers – Garbhagriha, Mandapa and Ardhamandapa. Some temples had a vestibular entrance to the garbhagriha known as antarala.
  • Direction: The temples were generally north or east facing. 
  • Method used: Panchayatan style of temple making was followed. The subsidiary shrines had Rekha-prasad shikhara creating an impression of a mountain range. 

Lakshmana Temple (Khajuraho)

  • Patron: It was built by Chandela ruler Yashovarman in the 10th century AD.
  • Location: It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vaikuntha Vishnu (an aspect of Vishnu) located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Features: 
    • The temple is a Sandhara temple of the Panchayatana variety.
    • The temple has only one entrance on the east side.

Vishvanatha Temple (Khajuraho)

  • Patron: It was built by Chandela ruler Dhanga in the 10th -11th century AD.
  • Location: It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishvanatha (a form of Shiva) located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. 

Kandariya Mahadeva Temple (Khajuarho)

  • Patron: It was built by Chandela ruler Vidyadhara in the 11th century AD.
  • Location: It is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Features: 
    • It is the largest and tallest of the surviving temples at the temple site of Khajuraho.
    • Shiva is represented by the linga in the main shrine known as the womb chamber.

Parshvanatha temple (Khajuraho)

  • Patron: It was built by Chandela ruler Dhanga in the 10th century AD.
  • Location: It is a Jain temple dedicated to Parshvanatha located in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Features: 
    • It is the largest among the Jain temples of Khajuraho.
    • Its exterior walls feature Vaishnavaite themes.
    • It doesn't feature explicit erotic sculptures compared to Kandariya and Laxman temples. 
    • It has an inscription with a magic square called the "Jaina square".

Decline: The decline of the Chandela Dynasty began in the 13th century due to a combination of internal conflicts and external invasions.

  • Ghaznavid invasions had weakened the Chandela kingdom.
  • The Delhi Sultanate, under the leadership of Qutb-ud-din Aibak, invaded the Chandela kingdom.
  • The Chandela power continued to decline due to the rise of other local dynasties, such as the Bundelas, the Baghelas and the Khangars.



Kalachuri Dynasty of Tripuri

The Kalachuri Dynasty of Tripuri was a medieval Indian dynasty that ruled over the Tripuri region in present-day Madhya Pradesh. The dynasty was a branch of the larger Kalachuri dynasty, which held power in various regions of India from the 6th to the 13th century.

Kalachuris of Tripuri

Period: 850 - 1212 AD

Capital: Tripuri (Tewar)

  • Founder: It was founded by Kokalla I (850-885 AD).
  • Rule of extent: They ruled over the parts of central India and included Gorakhpur, Ratnapur, and Rajpur (eastern Gujarat).
  • Sources:
    • The Karitalai inscription of the Lakshmanaraja I describes them as feudatories of the Rashtrakutas. 
    • The Gyaraspur inscription traces the dynasty's ancestry to Kartavirya Arjuna.
  • Expansion: They started consolidating and expanding after the decline of the Rashtrakuta and Pratihara empires declined. The important kings and their military achievements are briefly discussed below: 
    • Kokalla won the Konkan area.
    • Shankaragana III adopted an aggressive expansion policy and defeated Gurjara-Pratihara King Vijayapala.
    • Gangeya-Deva (1015 - 1041 AD) defeated the Chandelas of Jejak-Bhukti. 
    • Laxmikarna (1041 - 1073 AD):
      • He led military campaigns against Anga and Vanga kingdoms. 
      • He defeated Solanki ruler Bhima I and Parmara king Bhoja.
      • He conquered a large part of Chandela's territory. 
  • Religion:  They adhered to Shaivism but also supported Jainism
  • Decline: Rulers after Laxmikarna were weak and could not manage the empire, and faced frequent invasions, leading to a gradual loss of territory and influence.

Contribution to Architecture:

The Karna Temple (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Built by King Lakshmikarna of the Kalachuri Dynasty of Tripuri. 
  • Location: It is in Amarkantak, Anuppur district of Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Features: It consists of three temples built over a raised platform. 

Chausath Yogini Temple, Bhedaghat (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Patron: It was built early in the 11th Century AD by King Yuvaraja II of the Kalachuris of Tripuri.
  • Location: It is located on the bank of the river Narmada in Bhedaghat, Jabalpur district of Madhya Pradesh.
  • Feature: It has images of 81 Yoginis. The temple is the abode of Goddess Durga.



Sisodiya Dynasty

The Sisodiya dynasty of Mewar was a Rajput dynasty that ruled over the kingdom of Mewar, which is now part of the present-day Indian state of Rajasthan. They trace their ancestry to Rahapa, a son of the 12th-century Guhila King Ranasimha.

Sisodiyas of Mewar

Period: 1326 AD - 1947

Capital: Chittor and Udaipur

  • Rana Hammir I: He was the founder of the Sisodiya dynasty of Mewar.
    • He was a contemporary of Muhammad-bin-Tughluq and defeated him.
    • Source: Rasik Priya and Kirti Stambh inscriptions refer to him as "Visham Ghati Panchanan".
  • Rana Lakha (1382- 1421): He ordered the construction of Pichola Lake in Udaipur in Rajasthan.
  • Maharana Kumbha (1433-1468): 
    • He defeated the Sultan of Mandu and Mahmud Khilji in the Battle of Mandavgad.
    • He built Kumbhalgarh Fort in Mewar region in Rajasthan.
    • He wrote Samgita-raja, the Rasika-priya, the Sudaprabandha, the Kamaraja-ratisara, Sangita-ratnakara and Sangita-krama-dipaka. 
  • Rana Sanga (1508-1528):
    • He defeated the Sultan of Malwa in the Battle of Gagron (1519).
    • He defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the Battle of Khatoli (1517) & Dholpur (1519)
    • He was defeated by Babur in the Battle of Khanwa (1527).
  • Udai Singh II (1540–1572): He founded the city of Udaipur
  • Maharana Pratap (1540- 1597): He fought against Akbar in the Battle of Haldighati in 1576 to resist the expansionist policy of the Mughal empire.
  • Amar Singh I (1597-1620): 
    • He defeated the Mughal commander in charge, Sultan Khan, in the Battle of Dewair (1606).
    • Treaty of Chittor (1615): He concluded a treaty with Mughal Emperor Jahangir putting an end to the Mughal-mewar conflict. 
  • Jai Singh (1680–1698): 
    • He fought a war against Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
    • He ordered the construction of the Dhebar Lake, also known as Jaisamand, in 1685.




Previous Year Questions



Q) Consider the following pairs: 

King                         Dynasty

  1. Nannuka                    Chandela
  2. Jayashakti                 Paramara
  3. Nagabhata II          Gurjara-Pratihara
  4. Bhoja                        Rashtrakuta

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q) Who rediscovered the Khajuraho Temples? 

British army Captain T.S. Burt re-discovered and introduced the temples of Khajuraho to the world in 1838.


Q) Which temple was the inspiration behind the Indian Parliament building?

Chausath Yogini Temple, situated near Morena (Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple), was the inspiration behind Indian Parliament building. It is dedicated to lord Shiva