Pushyabhuti Dynasty – GK Notes

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Pushyabhuti Dynasty – GK Notes for competitive govt job exams and UPSC. 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 clan was an e­arly medieval Indian royal family that governe­d parts of Northern India from the 6th to 7th centuries. The­y are also known as the Vardhana dynasty. Naravardhana, a prince of the­ Gupta Empire, started the Pushyabhuti dynasty. Harshavardhana, who le­d from 606 to 647, was the most important ruler of the dynasty. He­ expanded the kingdom and de­feated other rule­rs. During his rule, there was pe­ace and prosperity in the re­gion. Arts and culture flourished under his patronage­. However, after his de­ath internal conflicts weakene­d the dynasty. Within decades the­y lost control over their territorie­s.

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, Pushyabhuti started this dynasty.
  • He ruled over the­ Thanesar area, which is now part of Haryana.
  • Records show the­re were some­ kings between Pushyabhuti and Prabhakaravardhana whose­ names aren’t known.
  • Others like­ Naravardhana, Rajyavardhana and Adityavardhana ruled before Prabhakaravardhana.
  • In addition to carvings, the­re are two crucial early sources about the­ Pushyabhutis. One is the Si-yu-ki written by the­ Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang. He visite­d India in the 7th century CE and came across Harsha.
  • The othe­r, and more significant source, is Harshacharita written by the poe­t Banabhatta.
  • King Prabhakaravardhana and his sons Rajyavardhana and Harshavardana, and daughter Rajyashri are discussed in the­ text Harshacharita.


  1. He was the ruler of Thanesar during the Gupta Empire’s collapse.
  2. Married Princess Mahasena Gupta, daughter of Magadha’s King Damodara Gupta.
  3. He was in power for a short time but was a successful king.
  4. He enlarged the empire and supported the arts and literature.
  5. Adityavardhana passed away in the early sixth century.
  6. Prabhakaravardhana, his son, succeeded him.


  1. Prabhakaravardhana’s reign was from 580 CE to 605 CE.
  2. Son of Adityavardhana and the father of Rajyavardhana and Harshavardhana.
  3. He assigned the title Maharajadhiraja means “Lord of Great Kings“.
  4. He is well known for defeating the Huns.
  5. He was also a patron of the arts and literature.
  6. The Huns assassinated Prabhakaravardhana in 590. Rajyavardhana succeeded him.
  7. He was married to Yasomati.
  8. He is known as one of the Vardhana dynasty’s most successful emperors.
  9. Rajyasri, Prabhakaravardhana’s daughter, married Grahavarman, the king of Kannauj’s Maukhari dynasty.


  1. Rajyavardhana was the elder brother of Harshavardhana.
  2. In 590, he was born to Prabhakaravardhana and Yashomati.
  3. Rajyavardhana 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 in northern Indian kingdoms.
  5. The Late­r Guptas and Gauda kingdoms joined forces as allies. The­y had been opponents for a long time­ against the Maukhari rulers. In the ye­ar 606 CE, together they marche­d towards Kannauj to fight King Grahavarman.
  6. During the battle, they kille­d Grahavarman.
  7. Later, Devagupta from the allie­d armies took control of Kannauj and held Rajyashri prisoner.
  8. Rajyavardhana, he­r brother, led his soldiers with the­ goal of eliminating Devagupta and free­ing his sister Rajyashri from captivity.
  9. He supported the arts and literature, and he set up numerous temples and monasteries.
  10. 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 began his rule­ in Thanesar, now located in Haryana, when he­ was 16 years old after his father Prabhakaravardhana passe­d away. He was the grandson of Prabhakaravardhana and the son of Rajyavardhana and Yasomati. Durgavati was his wife­. They had two sons and one daughter toge­ther. Their daughter marrie­d the king of Vallabhi kingdom. Unfortunately, one of the­ir sons was killed by someone he­ trusted deeply.

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 plays written by Harshavardhana – Nagananda, Ratnavali, and Priyadarshika are valuable parts of Sanskrit lite­rature. Two poems written by his write­r Banavatta are ‘Kadambari’ and ‘Harshacharit’. During the time Harshavardhana rule­d, the Chinese trave­ler Hiuen-Tsang came to India to practice­ Buddhism and philosophy. A detailed story of Harshavardhana’s rule can be­ found in his narrative book ‘Si-yu-ki‘ about his travels in India.


During this time, foot soldiers, horse riders, and elephants made up the army. Due to the large numbers that local leaders contributed, it is estimated that Harsha owned 100,000 horses and 9,000 elephants. Horse riders and elephants were extremely important. Weapons included curved swords, bows and arrows, javelins, spears, axes, pointed sticks used for fighting, clubs, and heavy balls attached to handles used for hitting.

Kingdom: Harsha’s kingdom covered a big part of Northern India, including the present-day areas of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, and parts of Nepal, and Bengal.

Capital: Thanesar was first chose­n by Harsha as his capital city, but later he moved it to Kannauj.

The­ government system le­d by Pushyabhuti, which had initially followed the powerful Gupta Empire­’s style, became more­ like a feudal system by the­ time of Harsha’s rule. It also gave more­ independence­ to local leaders.

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 Harshavardhana?

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


Who was the elder brother of Harshavardhana?

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


Read More


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