King Harshavardhan was one of the most efficient rulers who unified the north of India into one single segment after the decline of the Gupta Empire. He ruled India for a time period of forty years. He was also known as simply Harsha. His father was Prabhakar Vardhan and his brother was the king of Thanesar, Rajyavardhan. Harshavardhan unified the whole of northern India that includes central, western and parts of Deccan plateau. Read the life history of Harsha Vardhana in this short biography.
Prabhakar Vardhan was the initial ruler of the Vardhan dynasty and
established his capital at Thanesar located in Kurukshetra. His elder
son, Rajyavardhan succeeded him after his death. However, he too was
killed in a battle against Devagupta, a ruler who had killed his
sister's husband. The throne could not remain empty, so everyone decided
to appoint young Harshavardhan as the king. Thus, Harsha became the
ruler at the tender age of 16! Even at this young age, he proved himself
to be an able ruler and gained fame and fortune at a very young age.
He first stopped his sister from committing the Sati, a ritual where
the wife is supposed to die along with her deceased husband in the pyre.
He then merged the kingdoms of Kannauj and Thanesar and made Kannauj his
capital city. He was an efficient warrior and won many battles against
different rulers. He spread his territory rapidly across the Gangetic
plain conquering the states of Haryana, Kannauj, Bengal, Gujarat and
Bihar. He also conquered some parts of Orissa.
There are many written evidences of the reign of Harsha. These were
compiled by the poets Hieun Tsang and Bana. When Harsha came to power,
Bana composed it by the name of Harshacharita. The Buddhist pilgrim
Hieun Tsang also wrote a full description about the empire of
Harshavardhan. He was a very learned man and also wrote three famous
plays named Nagananda, Ratnavali and Priyadarshika. Harshavardhan was
probably the last empire builder of ancient India. The mighty emperor
breathed his last in 647 A.D. and his empire died with him.