Harshavardhana was an Indian Emperor, who ruled over the northern parts of India for a period of more than forty years. His empire was spread over the states of Punjab, Bengal, Orissa and the entire Indo-Gangetic plain, lying to the north of the Narmada River. Get more information of the life history of King Harsha Vardhan with this biography:
King Harshavardhana was born in 590 BC to Prabhakar Vardhan. His elder
brother was Rajyavardhan, the king of Thanesar. He was instrumental in
consolidating the small republics and small monarchical states that had
sprung up in North India after the downfall of the Gupta dynasty. Harsha
Vardhan united the small republics from Punjab to Central India and they
accepted him as their king in 606 AD. Though Harsha was only sixteen
years old when he ascended the throne, he proved himself to be a great
vanquisher as well as a competent administrator.
After his accession, King Harshavardhan united the two kingdoms of
Thanesar (now Kurukshetra) and Kannauj. He also shifted his capital from
Thanesar to Kannauj. The next aggression faced by the king was from
Sasanka, the ruler of Bengal. He defeated Sasanka and also took over
Eastern Punjab (present day Haryana), Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
Thereafter, he occupied Dhruvasena and Ganjam, a part of the modern
Orissa State. In 630 BC, Harshavardhana faced defeat at the hands of
Pulakesi II, the Chalukya King of Vatapi, in Northern Karnataka. The
defeat resulted in a truce between the two kings, with Harsha accepting
River Narmada as the southern boundary for his kingdom.
Patronizing Buddhism and Literature
King Harshavardhan was a Shaivite. However, he was tolerant towards all
other religions and supported them fully. Some time later in his life,
he became a patron of Buddhism also. King Harshavardhana propagated the
religion by constructing numerous stupas in the name of Buddha. He
believed in supporting art and literature and even made several
donations to the Nalanda University. Harsha Vardhana also wrote three
Sanskrit plays, namely Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarsika. In 641 BC,
he sent a mission to China, which helped in establishing the first
diplomatic relations between China and India.
Death of Harsha
King Harshavardhana left for the holy abode in the year 647 AD, after
ruling over the Indian subcontinent for more than 41 years. However,
since he did not have any heirs, his empire rapidly disintegrated and
collapsed into small states again.