Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh

Kannauj District is an administrative district of Uttar Pradesh state in northern India, along the river Ganges. The historic town of Kannauj, northwest of Kanpur, is the administrative center.

Kannauj is a historic town that is situated on the banks of Ganges. The town has remained in prominence for most of the ancient and medieval period. The city rose to prominence during the reign of Harshavardhana who is counted among the most illustrious rulers in India. It was in the mid 7th century that Kannauj was named the capital city of Harshavardhana. The then kingdom of Harshavardhana included the entire region between the rivers Sutlej and Narmada and eastern Bengal.

It again raised to prominence during 9th century when the city became an apple of discord for three kingdoms of the Peninsular India namely Pratihara, Palas and Rashtrakutas. A century long “Tripartite Struggle” followed that resulted in the complete dominion of Palas over the region east of Kannauj. In the 12th century, Kannauj again came in prominence after it was declared the capital of Jaichand. Jaichand was the king who helped Mohammed Ghori in finally vanquishing Pirthviraj Chauhan and Rajput rule from Delhi. The decisive battle was fought in the year 1192 in the wheat-fields of Tarain, in modern Haryana.

While all traces of this past have vanished, Kannauj is famous for its manufacture of essence (attar) used in perfumes. Though not much of the glorious past remains, the temple of Ajai Pal still exists.

Kannauj has a rich archeological and cultural heritage. Many Bronze age weapons and tools and large numbers of stone statues have been found here. The ancient names of this place, Kanyakubja, are found in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the Puranas.

Amavasu founded a kingdom, the capital of which became Kanyakubja. Jahnu was such a powerful king that the river Ganges is said to have been named after him as Jahnaui. This region rose into great prominence during the Mahabharata period. Kampilya was the capital of South Panchala and the scene of the famous Svayamvara of Draupadi.

Panchala, the tenth in the list of the sixteen premier states (Mahajanpada) in the time of Mahavira and Buddha, was the region covered by the present districts of Bareilly, Badaun and Farrukhabad. This territory was annexed to the Nanda empire of Magadha about C.400 BC. Many coins found at Mathura, Kannauj, and in the Panchala region have been associated with the Mitra rulers. The area flourished between C.100 BC and C.200 AD Kannauj was known as Kangora or Kanogiza by the geographer, Ptolemy (C.140 AD).

Fa-hien, the Chinese pilgrim, visited Kannauj between 399 and 414 AD, during the reign of Chandragupta II, at a retreat at the Dragon-Shrine. Fa-hien observed, “This country is very productive and the people are flourishing and happy beyond compare. When men of other nations come, care is taken of all of them and they are provided with what they require”. He noted the monolithic elephant pillar erected by Asoka at Sankisa.

Harivarman appears to have been the founder of the Maukhari dynasty of Kannauj. Harsha also advanced towards Kannauj. The Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, visiting Kannauj in 643 AD, found 100 Buddhist monasteries with more than 10,000 priests. He mentions Kah-Pi-Ta (Kapitha, identified with Sankisa) as the other important place of the district.

Between the eight and the tenth centuries, a tripartite struggle for the resources of the rich Gangetic plains, with three empires—the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta, the Pala Dynasty of Bengal and the Prathihara dynasty of Gujarat—annexing the seat of power at Kannauj for short periods of time.

Rajyapala was the ruler of Kannauj when Mahmud of Ghazni attacked India. After sacking Mathura, Mahmud proceeded towards Kannauj. In 1018 AD he encountered “a city which raised its head to the skies and which in strength and beauty might boast of being unrivalled.”

An inscription of the Chalukya dynasty of Lata, dated 1050 AD, associates the Rashtrakuta Empire with Kannauj. Kannauj recovered a large measure of its old importance during 1114 to 1154. During the reign of the Chauhans (1170-1194 AD) Kannauj became powerful and was annexed to Delhi. Kannauj, as (Jaichand of Kannauj’s capital) was the scene of Svayamvara of his daughter Samyogita, who was carried off by Prithviraj III. Mohammad Ghauri invaded India and killed Jaichand in 1193 AD.

Ghiyas ud din Balban, who then possessed the Delhi throne, (1268–87) marched towards this region and divided the whole area into a number of military commands. Although order was restored, the region was continually up in arms against imperial authority. Reinforced by the neighboring Chauhans and Solankis, the Rajputs of this area broke out in open rebellion. In 1394, with another regional rebellion afoot, the sultan conferred on Khwaja Jahan the title of Malik-ul-Sharq “and appointed him governor of Hindustan from Kannauj to Bihar devolving upon him full power.” Malik-ul-Sharq died in 1399 and his adopted son, Mubarak Shah became the virtual ruler at Delhi and reached Kannauj.

In 1414, under the Sayyid dynasty in 1423, Mubarak Shah Sayyid marched to Kampil to suppress the Rajputs. Kannauj became a fief under the sovereignty of the Mughals. In 1527 Babar mobilised his forces to capture Chanderi but lost Kannauj and Shamsabad to the Afghans. Kannauj became a dependency of the rebels who found themselves at the head of Muslims and Rajputs. Humayan’s continued occupation in the north gave the ambitious Sher Shah Suri a free hand to prosecute his designs in the east. It appears that immediately after the capture of Kannauj Sher Shah destroyed the old city and built a fort of burnt brick there “and on the spot of gaining victory he built a city Sher Sur.” The Afghans were overthrown in 1855 and the power of the Mughals was once again established by Humayun, who had returned to India after 12 years; he died soon after, in January 1556, and was succeeded by his son Akbar the Great.
courtesy;lalit kumar sharma.



About lalbaba111

i am a professional spiritual guide,i am in spirituality for last 23 years,along doing other works,a civil engineer my self,iwas a business man also,till 8 years back now i teach meditation with mantra sadhna based in Delhi.Iam a SRI VIDYA sadhak,taken SODDAKSHRI VDYA MANTRA ALSO.
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