King of Kannauj Yasovarman

Yasovarman of Kannauj: The Hindu Hero Whose Glory Is Lost In The Pages Of History

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Background

Yasovarman of Kannauj is the name that is not mentioned in our history textbooks. He is believed to be an efficient and audacious monarch under whom the prestigious city of Kannauj again reached its glory.

Yasovarman
Possible coinage of Yasovarman

The famous court poet of his reign provides ample evidence about the history and legacy of this great Hindu king.

Vakpati the court poet of this Hindu king had mentioned the victorious campaigns of this king poetically. Gauda-vaho written in Prakrit mentions the battles and campaigns of this Hindu king. Furthermore, it also highlights the leadership and personality of this king.

However, the campaigns and conquest mentioned in Gauda-vaho are believed to be exaggerated but still, it gives us the valuable information of a hero whose name had been lost in the pages of History. 

Rise of Yasovarman

As there are not enough sources that can provide information about the early life of King Yasovarman historians had made the poetical work of Vakpati i.e. Gauda-vaho as an important source about the life of this Hindu king. 

Yasovarman launched his military expedition towards the south part of his kingdom. He crossed the Vindhya Range and conquer the Magadha territory. A titanic battle took place in which Yasovarman defeated his enemies. Furthermore from his great victory, the king of Kannauj reached towards the seacoast of Vangas kingdom.

According to Gauda-vaho, the kingdom of Vangas was powerful and equally prosperous. They had a well-developed army with war elephants. But ultimately the king of Vangas submitted to Yasovarman and accepted the latter’s suzerainty.

After this, he marched his hordes towards the south, and the Deccan king submitted to him. Then he defeated the Parasikas (Probably Arabs) in a hard-fought battle. From here he levied tributes and return towards the north.

In north king according to Gauda-vaho reached Thaneswar and from here he reached Ayodhya. Thus the valiant king of Kannauj conquered the world and the defeated kings were sent back to their kingdoms.

However, these unending conquests of Yasovarman are heavily doubted according to many historians.     

But the eastern expeditions of Yasovarman are believed to be authentic. The inscription at Nalanda mentioned that the territories of Kannauj king subjugated the Magadha. According to some historians, the empire of this king reached as far as Bengal.

The Arabs after the downfall of Sindh sent an expedition towards the city of Kannauj. However, this expedition of the Arabs didn’t attain any success which gave us the idea that the king of Kannauj had defeated them.

The two great Hindu kings of the 8th century i.e. Lalitaditya Muktapida and Yasovarman formed an alliance against the powerful Arabs and Tibetans. But later this great alliance broke out possibly due to the expansionist policies of both kings.

Clash of Titans

Rajatarangini of Kalhana (Kashmiri Brahman) also mentions the conflicts between the two kings.

The king of Kashmir i.e.Lalitaditya Muktapida also known as Alexander of Kashmir initially allied with the king of Kannauj to counter the onslaughts of powerful Arabs and Tibetans.

Later a dispute arose during a treaty signing where Yasovarman’s name was put before Lalitaditiya’s name. Lalitaditya ministers saw this as disrespectful. None of them back down to avoid war over this issue.

A titanic battle took place between the two undefeated Hindu rulers in which the King of Kashmir defeated the King of Kannauj. According to Rajatarangini Lalitaditya uprooted the king of Kannauj which surely confirms the defeat of Yasovarman.

Lalitaditiya captured the territories of Yasovarman’s kingdom. After this, there is no mention of this king of Kannauj. There is a debate among historians about the death of Yasovarman. Some believe that he died in the battle against the Kashmir king but there is a doubt about it. 

Historians had placed the reign of this king from 700-740 CE. The lord of the North is the title that might belong to this Hindu king of Kannauj.

But the legacy of this audacious and his empire still continues. The king defeated several powerful kingdoms and carved out a prosperous empire on his own.

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