The break-up of the Gurjara-Pratihara empire led to a phase of political uncertainty in north India. As a result, little attention was paid to the emergence of the aggressive and expansionist Turks.
The three most important of the Rajput states in north India were the Gahrwals of Kanauj, the Paramaras of Malwa and the Chauhans of Ajmer. There were other smaller dynasties in different parts of the country, such as the Kalachuris in the area around Jabalpur, the Chandellas in Bundelkhand, the Chalukyas of Gujarat, the Tomars of Delhi, etc. Bengal remained under the control of the Palas and later, the Senas. There was a continuous struggle and warfare between the various Rajput states
It was these rivalries which made it impossible for the Rajput rulers to join hands to oust the Ghaznavids from the Punjab. In fact, the Ghaznavids felt strong enough to make raids even up to Ujjain.
Most of the Rajput rulers of the time were champions of Hinduism, though some of them also patronized Jainism. The Rajput rulers protected the privileges of the brahmanas and of the caste system. Between the tenth and the twelfth century, temple-building activity in north India reached it’s climax. The most representative temples of this type are the group of temples at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh. Most of these temples were built by the Chandellas, who ruled in the area from the beginning of the ninth to the end of the thirteenth century. In Orissa, magnificent examples of temple architecture are the Lingaraja temple (11th century) and the Sun temple of Konark (13th century). The famous Jagannath temple at Puri also belongs to this period.
Mahmud of Ghazni
Mahmud of Ghazni raided the country in 1000 AD, with his first great victory against the Hindushahi kings of Peshawar. The muslim rulers of Multan were the second targets. In a short period of 25 years, he is said to have made 17 raids into India. From the Punjab, Mahmud raided Nagarkot in the Punjab hills and Thanesar near Delhi. His most daring raids, however, were against Kanauj in 1018 and against the fabulously rich Somnath temple in Gujarat. No attempt was made to annex any of these areas. The rich spoils from the temples, which were repositories of wealth, helped him to consolidate his rule and embellish Ghazni with palaces and mosques. He died in Ghazni in 1030.
Muhammad of Ghori
The second Turkish attack was led by Mu’izzu’d-Din Muhammad (also known as Muhammad Ghori), who conquered Sindh and Lahore in 1182. Soon after, he commenced his attack on the Rajput kingdoms. Prithviraj Chauhan successfully led the Rajputs against Ghori at the first battle of Tarain in 1191 AD. However, at the second battle in 1192 AD, Prithviraj was defeated and the kingdom of Delhi fell to Muhammad Ghori. Before Ghori’s assassination in 1206, Turkish control had been established along the whole length of the Ganga. Bihar and Bengal were also overrun.
Ghori’s conquests started a new era in Indian history …