The Medieval history of Madhya Pradesh


Madhya Pradesh underwent a lot of rulers and emperors, became a part of large empires and also was broken into small states. Madhya pradesh presents with a rich old, classical and medieval history. Madhya Pradesh is also known as the Heart of India and has many major cities like the Indore, Ujjain, Jhansi, Bhopal and is known for many popular events, significant and small.

The abbreviation MP is derived from the name of the state – Madhya Pradesh – Madhya stands for Middle or Center and Pradesh stands from State. Thus Madhya Pradesh means Central state. Accordingly, Madhya Pradesh is also called as the Heart of India. The capital of Madhya Pradesh is Bhopal and Indore is the second largest city of Madhya Pradesh.

Physical talk of Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh ranks to be the second state of India in area with a large population base of above 75 million inhabitants making it the 6th largest state in India in terms of population.

The neighbors of Madhya Pradesh:

Northwest – Rajasthan

Northeast – Uttar Pradesh

West – Gujarat

South – Maharashtra

Southeast - Chattisgarh

History of Madhya Pradesh

Around 320 B.C., Chandragupta Maurya had established the Maurya Empire which united the northern part of India with the rest of what is today's Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Maurya empire progressed through 320 B.C. to 185 B.C. till the ruling of King Ashoka. It is said that the wife of King Ashoka – Vidisha – came from a town northof what is today's Bhopal.

The flourishing days of Madhya Pradesh began in the 6th Century B.C. when the city of Ujjain also known as Avanti became a major center for trade, commerce and business during the dynasti of the Malwa. The arising of Ujjain was a part of the Second wave of urbanization of Indian cities. Eastward of Ujjain, was the kingdom of Chedi which was present at Bundelkhand.

The Maurya empire declined of its glory after the death of King Ashoka and the then empire which can be collectively termed as Central India was contested in battles to win land in between the Sakas, the Kushanas and other local dynasties in between the 3rd B.C. to 1st B.C.

After the wars, from 1st B.C., the city of Ujjain rose to be the important center for business and commerce in Western parts of India. Important trade routes arose and laid out from the city of Ujjain, through the Ganges plains and the Arabian sea ports. Ujjain also became one of the important centers for Hinduism and Buddhism.

Battles continued through the 1st A.D. to 5th A.D. The Satavahana dynasties of the Northern Deccan and the Saka dynasty of the Western Satraps battled for nearly 200 years for control over the Madhya Pradesh in between 1 A.D. to 3 A.D. Northern India which was a glory of the Gupta empire was known as the Indian classical age.

The Vakataka dynasty in Madhya Pradesh was southwards of the Gupta Empire and ruled the Northern Deccan Plateaufrom the Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal. It collapsed at the end of the 5th century A.D.

The Medieval age in Madhya Pradesh

The Gupta Empire collapsed after the attack by the Hephthalites, also known as the White Huns which broke nearly the whole of Indian into smaller states. These Huns were defeated in a major battle by the King Yasodharman of Malwa in 528 A.D. which stopped the expansion of the Huns. The small states were again reunited by King Harsha of Thanesar but which stayed united only till his death in 647 A.D. The rise of the Rajput clans, the Paramaras of Malwa, the Chandelas of Bundelkhand saw another chapter in the history of Madhya Pradesh. The Chandelas created the temple city of Khajuraho in between 950 A.D. to 1050 A.D. Newer Kingdoms arose like the Gond Kingdoms of Gondwana and of the Mahakoshal. Further conquers, battles, wins and losses, rising of kingdoms and losing of them continued. The next major conquer was by the Muslim dynasty – Delhi Sultanate in the 13th century. The Muslim dynasty collapsed by the end of 14th century. Again, local dynasties and smaller kingdoms emerged and fell, like the Tomara Rajput kingdome of Gwalior, the Muslim Sultanate of Malwa which had its capital city as Mandu.

Hemu was famously known as Vikramaditya as he had won 22 battles in a short span of 3 years in between 1553 to 1556. He had also won a battle against Delhi and was declared king at his Rajyabhishek (Coronation ceremony) at Purana Quila (Old Fort) in Delhi. He lost his life in the Second battle of Panipat to Akbar in 1556. Most of the Mughal empire came under the Mughal Rule while the Gond Kings who acknowledge that the Mughal emperors and the Mughal empire was the supreme, got Virtual autonomy and continued to rule Gondwana and Mahakoshal.

Dost Mohammed Khan ruled Bhopal.

After the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Marathas invaded the weakening Mughal control and tool over most of Madhya Pradesh under their control. The Maratha control existed from 1720 to 1760. They established semi autonomous states. The Holkars from Indore ruled most of Malwa, Bhonsles of Nagpur ruled Mahakoshal and Gondwana along with Vidarbha in Maharashtra.

Another development in Madhya Pradesh took over in Jhansi.

Maratha empire fell off after they lost the third battle of Panipat in 1761.


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