Maitraka Empire
CE 475–CE 767
Maitrakas and their contemporaries in India
Capital Vallabhi
Languages Sanskrit
Religion Hinduism
Government Monarchy
   475-500s Bhatarka
  766-767 Siladitya VII
   Established CE 475
   Disestablished CE 767
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Gupta Empire

The Maitraka dynasty ruled Gujarat in western India from c. 475 to 767. The founder of the dynasty, Senapati (general) Bhatarka, was a military governor of Saurashtra peninsula under Gupta Empire, who had established himself as the independent ruler of Gujarat approximately in the last quarter of 5th century. The first two Maitraka rulers Bhatarka and Dharasena I used only the title of Senapati (general). The third ruler Dronasimha declared himself as the Maharaja.[1] King Guhasena stopped using the term Paramabhattaraka Padanudhyata along his name like his predecessors, which denotes the cessation of displaying of the nominal allegiance to the Gupta overlords. He was succeeded by his son Dharasena II, who used the title of Mahadhiraja. His son, the next ruler Siladitya I, Dharmaditya was described by Hiuen Tsang as a "monarch of great administrative ability and of rare kindness and compassion". Siladitya I was succeeded by his younger brother Kharagraha I.[2] Virdi copperplate grant (616 CE) of Kharagraha I proves that his territories included Ujjain.

During the reign of the next ruler, Dharasena III, north Gujarat was included in this kingdom. Dharasena II was succeeded by another son of Kharagraha I, Dhruvasena II, Baladitya. He married the daughter of Harshavardhana. His son Dharasena IV assumed the imperial titles of Paramabhattaraka Mahrajadhiraja Parameshvara Chakravartin. Sanskrit poet Bhatti was his court poet. The next powerful ruler of this dynasty was Siladitya III. During the reign of Siladitya V, Arabs probably invaded this kingdom. The last known ruler of this dynasty was Siladitya VII.[1][2]

The Maitrakas ruled from their capital at Vallabhi. They came under the rule of Harsha in the mid-7th century, but retained local autonomy, and regained their independence after Harsha's death. Maitraka rule ended with the sacking of Vallabhi by the barbarians in 524, according to James Tod[3] and in second or third quarter of the 8th century by various other scholars.[4] There is no agreement among the scholars as to who these barbarians were.


Gop Temple of Maitraka period

The name Maitraka is said to derive from Mithra, the Sun or Sun deity, also a synonym of Mihira. The Maitrakas, the worshippers of Mitra/Mithra i.e. Sun-worshippers[5][6][7] identified with the Mihiras.[8][9][10][11] There is evidence that the Maitraka rulers had switched to Shaivism, but when Chinese traveller Hieun-Tsang visited Vallabhi during second quarter of 7th century, he found its ruler to be a Buddhist follower. When I-Tsing, another Chinese traveller, visited Vallabhi in the last quarter of 7th century, he found Vallabhi as a great center of learning including Buddhism. Gunamati and Sthiramati were two famous Buddhist scholars of Vallabhi at the middle of 7th century. Vallabhi was famous for its catholicity and the students from all over the country, including the Brahmana boys, visited it to have higher education in secular and religious subjects. We are told that the graduates of Valabhi were given higher executive posts.

The Maitrakas of Vallabhi

See also


  1. 1 2 Roychaudhuri, H.C. (1972). Political History of Ancient India, University of Calcutta, Calcutta, pp.553-4
  2. 1 2 3 Mahajan V.D. (1960, reprint 2007). Ancient India, S.Chand & Company, New Delhi, ISBN 81-219-0887-6, pp.594-6
  3. Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, Vol I, 2002, pp 177, 187.
  4. History and Culture of Indian People, Classical age, p 150, (Ed) Dr A. D. Pusalkar, Dr R. C. Majumdar.
  5. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay, p 245, Bhau Daji (by Asiatic Society of Bombay, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Bombay Branch).
  6. Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, 1904, p 142, 476, by Bombay (India : State); A Concise History of the Indian People, 1950, p 106, H. G. (Hugh George) Rawlinson.
  7. Advanced History of India, 1971, p 198, G. Srinivasachari; History of India, 1952, p 140.
  8. Views of Dr Fleet, Dr V. A. Smith, H. A. Rose, Peter N. Stearns and other scholars
  9. See: The Oxford History of India: From the Earliest Times to the End of 1911, p 164, Dr Vincent Arthur Smith
  10. History of India, 1907, 284 A. V. Williams Jackson, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Vincent Arthur Smith, Stanley Lane-Poole, H. M. (Henry Miers) Elliot, William Wilson Hunter, Alfred Comyn Lyall.
  11. Also: Journal of the United Service Institution of India, United Service Institution of India, p331.
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