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India’s Ancient Past$
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R. S. Sharma

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687859.001.0001

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Harsha and His Times

Harsha and His Times

(p.259) 27 Harsha and His Times
India’s Ancient Past

R.S. Sharma

Oxford University Press

The ruler who extended his authority over all the other feudatories was Harshavardhana. He made Kanauj his seat of power, and from there he extended his authority in all directions. The early history of his reign is reconstructed from a study by Banabhatta. He is also called the last great Hindu emperor of India. His administration had become feudal and decentralized. Law and order was not well maintained in his empire. The reign of Harsha is historically important because of the visit of the Chinese pilgrim Hsuan Tsang. Nalanda was the most famous centre of Buddhism, which maintained a great Buddhist university meant for Buddhist monks. Nalanda had a huge monastic establishment during the reign of Harshavardhana. Harsha followed a tolerant religious policy. He is remembered not only for his patronage and learning but also for the authorship of three plays: Priyadarshika, Ratnavali, and Nagananda.

Keywords:   Harsha, Banabhatta, Nalanda, Hsuan Tsang, Buddhism, Priyadarshika, Ratnavali, Nagananda

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