Discuss the extent of Harsha’s Empire and his Administrative System.
After the downfall of the Gupta Empire in the middle of the sixth century, North India was split into several independent kingdoms. The Huns had established their supremacy over the Punjab and parts of central India. The northern and western regions of India passed into the hands of a dozen or more feudatory states. Prabhakar Vardhan, the ruler of Sthanvisvara, who belonged to the Pushyabhuti family, extended his control over neighboring states. Prabhakar Vardhan was the first king of the Vardhana dynasty with his capital at Thaneswar. After Prabhakar Vardhan’s death in 606 CE, his eldest son, Rajya Vardhan, ascended the throne.
Harsha Vardhana was Rajya Vardhan’s younger brother. Though quite a young man when he came to power, Harsha proved himself a great conqueror and an able administrator. After his accession, Harsha united the two kingdoms of Thanesar and Kannauj and transferred his capital from Thanesar to Kannauj Harsha defeated Shashanka, the ruler of Bengal. He also brought Bengal, Bihar and Orissa under his control. He conquered Dhruvasena of Gujarat and gave his own daughter in marriage to him. He also conquered Ganjam, a part of the modern Orissa State. Harsha’s ambition of extending his power to the Deccan and Southern India were stopped by Pulakeshi II, the Chalukya king of Vatapi in Northern Karnataka. Pulakeshi defeated Harsha’s army on the banks of the river Narmada in 620 AD. A truce was agreed upon and the river Narmada was marked as the southern boundary of Harsha’s kingdom.