Pushyabhuti Dynasty – GK Notes

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By: Stupid
Indian History

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According to Banabhatta, Pushyabhuti served as the first king of this dynasty at Thaneshwar, and his family was referred to as the Pushyabhuti vamsha.

The Pushyabhuti dynasty was an early medieval Indian royal dynasty that ruled over regions of Northern India from the 6th to the 7th centuries. It is also known as the Vardhana dynasty. Naravardhana, a prince of the Gupta Empire, established the Pushyabhuti dynasty. Harshavardhana, who ruled from 606 to 647, was the most significant ruler of the dynasty.

List of the rulers of the Pushyabhuti dynasty:

RulersReign (CE)
Rājyavardhana I525–555
Rajyavardhana II605–606
Harshavardhana 606-647
CapitalSthanvishvara (modern Thanesar)
Kanyakubja (modern Kannauj)
Established500 CE
End647 CE
Map of the Pushyabhutis
Pushyabhuti dynasty Map

Points of Early Rulers

  • According to Banavatta, the founder of this dynasty was Pushyabhuti, a ruler of the Thanesar region in present-day Haryana, India.
  • Inscriptions show that there were other unidentified kings between Pushyabhuti and Prabhakaravardhana, as well as those who were known, such as Naravardhana, Rajyavardhana, and Adityavardhana, who preceded Prabhakaravardhana.
  • In addition to inscriptions, there are two important primary sources for the Pushyabhutis. One is the Si-yu-ki written by the Chinese Buddhist monk-scholar Hiuen Tsang or Xuanzang. Hiuen Tsang visited India in the 7th century CE and came across Harsha.
  • The other, and more important, is Harshacharita written by poet Banabhatta. King Prabhakaravardhana and his sons Rajyavardhana, Harshavardana, and daughter Rajyashri are mentioned in the text Harshacharita.


  1. Adityavardhana was the ruler of Thanesar in northern India during the Gupta Empire’s collapse.
  2. Adithyavardhana married Princess Mahasena Gupta, daughter of Magadha’s King Damodara Gupta.
  3. He was the Pushyabhuti dynasty’s third emperor and the father of Prabhakaravardhana.
  4. In the late 5th century, Adityavardhana succeeded to the throne.
  5. He was only in power for a brief time, but he was a successful king.
  6. He enlarged the Pushyabhuti empire and supported the arts and literature.
  7. Adityavardhana passed away in the early sixth century.
  8. Prabhakaravardhana, his son, succeeded him.


  1. Prabhakaravardhana’s reign was from 580 CE to 605 CE.
  2. He was the son of Adityavardhana and the father of Rajyavardhana and Harshavardhana.
  3. He defeated many enemies and enlarged his kingdom.
  4. He was the first in the dynasty to be assigned the title Maharajadhiraja means “Lord of Great Kings“.
  5. He is well known for defeating the Huns, who had long created an imminent threat to northern India.
  6. He was also a patron of the arts and literature.
  7. The Huns assassinated Prabhakaravardhana in 590. Rajyavardhana, his son, succeeded him.
  8. He was married to Yasomati.
  9. Prabhakaravardhana was an appreciated and well-respected ruler. He is known as one of the Vardhana dynasty’s most successful emperors.
  10. Rajyasri, Prabhakaravardhana’s daughter, married Grahavarman, the king of Kannauj’s Maukhari dynasty.


  1. Rajyavardhana was the elder brother of Harshavardhana, a renowned king of the Pushyabhuti dynasty.
  2. In 590, he was born to Prabhakaravardhana and Yashomati. Following his father’s death in 590, he was crowned king.
  3. Rajyavardhana, as a prince, was sent out on a war against the Hunas but had to return to the palace due to his father’s illness.
  4. He enlarged the Vardhana dynasty by conquering the Huns and other northern Indian kingdoms.
  5. The Later Guptas and Gauda allied together. They were the old enemy of the Maukhari dynasty. In 606 CE, they marched against Kannauj and battled and killed Grahavarman. After that, Devagupta captured Kannauj and imprisoned Rajyashri. Rajyavardhana led his army to assassinate Devagupta and rescue his sister Rajyashri.
  6. He supported the arts and literature, and he set up numerous temples and monasteries.
  7. According to Harshacharita, he was perhaps murdered by Shashanka of the Gauda Kingdom.


612 AD He proclaimed himself the emperor of Kanauj and assumed the title of ‘Shiladitya‘. He sent an expedition against the Chalukya king Pulakesi II to conquer the Deccan (634 AD) but was defeated. However, as Harshavardhana expanded his empire in the greatness of Aryavarta, Harshavardhana is called ‘Saklottarpathanath‘ or the Lord of all Northern Paths in Ravi Kirti’sAihol Prasthi‘, the poet of Pulakesi II.

Early Life of Harshavardhana

Harshavardhana was born in Thanesar, present-day Haryana, India, in 590 CE. After his father, Prabhakaravardhana, died, he ascended the throne at the age of 16. He was the grandson of Prabhakaravardhana and the son of Rajyavardhana and Yasomati. Durgavati was his wife. He had two sons and a daughter. Her daughter married Vallabhi’s king, and her son was assassinated by her own pastor.

Harshavardhan’s Religion

Harshavardhan was a follower of Shaivism and a sun worshipper. But as an emperor, he was tolerant of all religions and patronized Buddhism in his later life for the purpose of discussing Mahayana Buddhism. In 642 AD he convened a religious assembly at Kanauj. Besides, many Buddhist monasteries, temples, and stupas were built during his reign. During his reign, a fair was held every five years at Prayag, a place on the banks of the Ganges and Yamuna. In this fair, regardless of caste or religion, he would donate the desired items to everyone. Hence this place was named ‘Daankshetra‘ or ‘Santoshekshetra‘.

Literature during Harshavardhan’s Religion

Three dramas written by Harshavardhana – Nagananda, Ratnavali, and Priyadarshika are valuable resources of Sanskrit literature. Two poems written by his poet Banavatta are ‘Kadambari‘ and ‘Harshacharit‘. During the reign of Harshavardhana, the Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang came to India to practice Buddhism and philosophy. A detailed account of Harshavardhana’s reign can be found in his narrative book ‘Si-yu-ki‘ about his travels in India.


During this time, infantry, cavalry, and elephants made up the army. Due to the enormous numbers that feudatories contributed, it is estimated that Harsha owned 100,000 horses and 9,000 elephants. Cavalry and elephants were of the utmost importance. Weapons included curved swords, bows and arrows, javelins, lances, axes, pikes, clubs, and maces.

Kingdom: Harsha’s kingdom encompassed much of Northern India, including present-day Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, and parts of Nepal, and Bengal.

Capital: Harsha initially made Thanesar his capital but later shifted it to Kannauj.

The Pushyabhuti administration, which had originally followed the imperial Gupta pattern, had evolved into something more feudal and extremely decentralized by the reign of Harsha.

The Decline of the Empire:

Following Harsha’s death in 647 CE, the empire began to rapidly fall due to internal strife and external invasions. The empire gradually fell apart, and the region devolved into political chaos.

Who was the most prominent ruler of the Pushyabhuti dynasty?

  1. Pushyabhuti
  2. Prabhakaravardhana
  3. Rajyavardhana
  4. Harshavardhana


What was the capital city of the Pushyabhuti dynasty during Harshavardhana’s rule?

  1. Delhi
  2. Thanesar
  3. Varanasi
  4. Kannauj


Who was the elder brother of Harshavardhana and the crown prince of the Pushyabhuti dynasty?

  1. Pushyabhuti
  2. Prabhakaravardhana
  3. Rajyavardhana
  4. Kanishka


Jainism16 Mahajanapadas
Haryanka Dynasty (544 – 412 BC)Nanda dynasty (344 – 323 BC)


  1. worldhistory.org/
  2. en.wikipedia.org
  3.  Essays in Indian History and Culture
  4.  A Historical atlas of South Asia