Harshavardhana: bringer of joy

What’s in a name?

It is 605 AD. Rajyavardhana (conqueror of lands) is the elder son who is destined to expand the kingdom while Harshavardhana (bringer of joy) is meant to bring happiness to its king and its people. Yet Rajyavardhana dies within the year, murdered in an ambush by a treacherous ally and Harsha begins to rule at sixteen.

By the time he is ready to pass the throne on, the kingdom is much greater than the first king of their line Naravardhana could ever have imagined. Harsha is truly worthy of the Maharajadhiraja title that his father Prabhakarvardhana had taken.

But then Harsha’s father laid the foundations of his son’s empire by defeating the Huns under warlords such as Toramana. The Huns were bloodthirsty of course, but most of their other flaws such as pin holes for eyes and a grunting that passed for speech were inventions of the sophisticated Greeks and Romans who fell before their attacks. At the height of Harsha’s rule the Guptas are long gone, Buddhism is no longer the force it was during Ashok’s rule in Northern India, but learning and the arts are restored once again and the Huns have turned their eyes towards Europe. This is a realm at peace where even the emperor has time to write plays in Sanskrit and preside over Buddhist assemblies.

 

empire-of-harsha-map

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