Prabhakaravardhana, first important king of the Vardhana dynasty, was a king of Thanesar around the time of the decline of the Gupta Empire. 

Prabhakaravardhana – King of Vardhana Dynasty

Prabhakaravardhana (also known as Prabhakara Vardhana) was a king of Thanesar in northern India around the time of the decline of the Gupta Empire. 

Family of Prabhakarvardhan

According to the historian R. C. Majumdar, he was the first important king of the Vardhana dynasty but the fourth ruler from the family, who are also referred to as the Pushpabhutis.

He had been preceded by his father, Adityavardhana, grandfather Rajyavardhana I, and great-grandfather, Naravardhana, but inscriptions suggest that Banabhatta, the seventh-century bard and chronicler of the Vardhanas, may have been wrong to call these earlier rulers kings and that they may instead have been mere feudatory rulers of minor significance.

Title of Maharajadhiraja

Prabhakaravardhana’s father, Adityavardhana, had formed an alliance with Mahasenagupta of Magadha against the Maukhari dynasty. He was married to Mahasenagupta, who was probably the sister of this Gupta king who bore the same name. 

Through these arrangements, he had much enlarged the family’s estates. It is because of this territorial expansion that, while Adityavardhana bore the title of maharaja, his son was able to use the higher rank of maharajadhiraja.

Extension of Rule of Prabhakarvardhan

In turn, Prabhakaravardhana further extended Vardhana’s control, using aggressive tactics that resulted in him probably ruling over the Punjab and part of Malwa. Aside from defeating rulers in Gujarat, Gandhara, and Sind, he also resisted the invasion of the Hunas, as reported by the 7th-century writer Bāṇabhaṭṭa.

Death of Prabhakaravardhan

The date of death of Prabhakaravardhana is variously stated: according to Majumdar, it was in 604 CE but some sources, such as the military historian Kaushik Roy, say 606 CE, and others state 605. He was married to Yasomati, who became sati.

Prabhakaravardhana and Yasomati had three children. Their eldest son, Rajyavardhana, succeeded to the throne and was in turn succeeded by the younger son, Harsha; their daughter, Rajyashri, married Grahavarman of the Maukhari dynasty that ruled Kannauj.

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