- The Gurjara-Pratiharas, or simply, the Pratiharas (8th century CE – 11th century CE) held their sway over western and northern India.
- The Pratiharas rose to fame in the late 8th century CE after successfully resisting Arab invaders.
- Bhoja or Mihira Bhoja (c. 836-885 CE, title: Adivaraha) was the most well-known king of this dynasty.
- The expansion of the Gurjara-Pratihara kingdom involved constant conflicts with other contemporary powers such as the Palas (eastern India) and the Rashtrakutas (southern India) known as the tripartite struggle.
- Primary literary sources for their history include the accounts of Arab merchants who visited India in this period like Suleiman (c. 9th century CE) and al-Masudi (visited Gujarat in 915-16 CE).
- All these writers refer to the Pratihara Kingdom as al-Juzr (derived from the Sanskrit Gurjara) and attest “to the great power and prestige of the Pratihara rulers and the vastness of their empire”.
Art and Architecture
- The Pratiharas were known chiefly for their patronage of art, literature, sculpture and temple-building.
- The poet Rajashekhara was associated with Mahendrapala and Mahipala and left behind many works of note.
- The sculptural styles developed during the period were unique and remained an influence on later styles.
- The Nagara style of Hindu temple architecture received a big boost under their rule.
- According to this style, the temple was built on a stone platform with steps leading up to it, with many regional variations.
- This style became very popular in northern India in the following centuries.
Why in News?
- Natesa idol which was stolen from India in 1998 is set to be returned to India.
- The Natesa icon was originally from the Ghateswara Temple, Baroli, Rajasthan and it belonged to the 9th century Prathihara style of Rajasthan.
About the idol
- The sandstone Natesa figure stands tall at almost 4 ft. in a rare and brilliant depiction of Shiva in the late 9th century Prathihara style of Rajasthan.
- A beautiful depiction of Nandi is shown behind the right leg of the Natesa icon.