Notes on the History of Medieval India

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notes on history of medieval india

The history of India is divided into 3 periods, the ancient, medieval and modern. Medieval period is one of the longest periods which also connects the other two and brings the entire history together. As this topic is an important part of the competitive exams,it is essential to know everything about it. Here is a complete blog on history of Medieval India!

Important Topics in History of Medieval India

Here is a list of some of the most important topics in the history of Medieval India –

  1. Delhi Sultanate
  2. Islamic Kingdoms of India
  3. Kingdoms of Deccan
  4. North Indian Kingdoms
  5. Vijayanagara Empire
  6. Bhakti and Other cultural and religious movements
  7. Mughal and Sur rule and arrival of Europeans

Kingdoms of Deccan

In the medieval history of India, the Deccan Kingdoms are of great significance. Southern India is part of the Deccan or Dakshinapatha areas. The Deccan is isolated from Northern India by the Vindhya and Satpura ranges, the Narmada and Tapti rivers, and the thick woods. The Deccan portion witnessed the rise during the medieval period of the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas. Like the Khiljis and the Tughlaqs, this time also witnessed the expansion of the Delhi Sultanate into South India.

Chalukyas (6th – 12th century AD)

This period in the history of medieval India can be further divided into three sub-parts –

  • Early Western Chalukyas
  • Later Western Chalukyas
  • Eastern Chalukyas

Early Western Chalukyas

  1. They came into power during the 6th century AD in the state of Karnataka.
  2. Bijapur district’s Vatapi was declared as their capital.
  3. Rulers of the early western Chalukyas were – Jayasimha and Ramaraya, Pulakesin I.

Later Western Chalukyas

Rulers of this period in the history of medieval India brought the Rashtrakuta to an end, some of the famous and renowned rulers were –

  1. Someshwara II
  2. Vikramaditya VI
  3. Someswara IV

Eastern Chalukya

The Eastern Chalukya was founded by Vishnu Vardhana who was the brother of Pulakesin II. One of their descendants was the Kulothunga Chola who was later crowned as a Chola ruler.

Contributions made by the Chalukyas –

  • They were preachers and followers of Hinduism.
  • The Aihole inscription was composed by Ravikirti a Jain who was a poet in the court of Pulakesin II.
  • Chalukya rulers were some of the greatest patrons of architecture.
  • This period saw the development of Telugu literature.

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North Indian Kingdoms

This era in the history of medieval India lies between the 8th and 18th centuries A.D. With the rule of Harsha and Pulakesin II, ancient Indian history came to an end. One of the greatest North Indian Kingdoms were The Rajputs.

The Rajputs

  • Rajputs are known to be the descendants of Lord Rama or Lord Krishna.
  • The Rajput period starts from 647 AD to 1200 AD, they are a part of the early medieval period.
  • After the death of Harsha in the 12th century, India’s destiny lied in the hands of The Rajputs.
  • Rajputs are a part of the ancient Kshatriya families and are divided into 36 clans, some of the major ones are –
    • Palas of Bengal
    • Rathors of Kanauj
    • Paramaras of Malwa
    • Senas of Bengal
    • Chauhans of Delhi and Ajmer
    • Solankis of Gujarat

Delhi Sultanate

The Delhi Sultanate period started from 1206 AD and continued till 1526 AD and it witnessed a number of dynasties and rulers, some of the major dynasties in this period of the history of medieval India are listed below –

  • Khilji Dynasty
  • Tughluq Dynasty
  • Sayyid Dynasty

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Khilji Dynasty

Under the Ilbari dynasty of Delhi, the Khiljis served. The founder of the Khilji Dynasty was Malik Firuz, who was originally named by Kaiqubad during the days of the fall of the Ilbari Dynasty as the Ariz-I-Mumalik. Two of the main rulers of this dynasty were –

  • Jalal-ud-din Firoz Khilji
  • Ala-ud-din Khilji

Tughlaq Dynasty

During the time of Medieval India, the Tughluq dynasty emerged and was of Turk-Indian descent. The dynasty was ruled over the Delhi Sultanate starting from 1312 till 1413. During the reign of the Tughluq dynasty, India experienced significant changes in domestic and foreign policy. Major rulers of this dynasty were –

  • Ghiyas-ud-din Tughluq
  • Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq
  • Firoz Tughlaq

Sayyid Dynasty

Khizr Khan founded the Sayyid Dynasty in 1414 A.D, and when Ala-ud-din Shah was the ruler, the reign of this dynasty ended. Major rulers of this dynasty were –

  • Khizr Khan
  • Mubarak Shah
  • Muhammad Shah
  • Ala-ud-din Shah

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Bhakti Movement

In the early mediaeval era, the Alwars and Nayanar saints of South India gave new focus and expression to Vaishnava and Shaiva devotionalism. There were twelve Alwars and 63 Nayanars, as per tradition. A central component of the Bhakti movement that began as a religious reformation in mediaeval India was the use of devotion to attain salvation. The 8th to 18th century era is dedicated to the Bhakti movement, where a number of saints (Hindu, Muslim, Sikh) emerged as the Bhakti Messiah (devotion), teaching people the transformation of life through redemption from normalcy to enlightenment.

Some of the important Bhakti Movement Saints and their contributions are –

Saints Contributions
Adi Shankaracharya He gave a new placement to Hinduism and followed the doctrine of Monoism
Ramanuja He was a preacher of Vishishtadvaita and encouraged Prabattimarga.
Madhavacharya He was a preacher of the doctrine of dvaita.
Surdas He is responsible for popularizing Krishna cult in Northern India
Guru Nanak He was the founder of Sikh religion.

We hope that we have covered the important topics on the History of Medieval India, for more information, you can refer to Indian history books. For any assistance in the preparation of competitive exams, get in touch with our Leverage Edu experts.

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