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Bāṇabhaṭṭa was a 7th century Sanskrit prose writer and poet of India. He was the Asthana Kavi in the court of King Harsha Vardhana, who reigned c. 606–647 CE in north India first from Sthanvishvara (Thanesar), and later Kannauj. Bāna's principal works include a biography of Harsha, the Harshacharita (Deeds of Harsha), and one of the world's earliest novels, Kadambari. Bāṇa died before finishing the novel and it was completed by his son Bhūṣaṇabhaţţa. Both these works are noted texts of Sanskrit literature. The other works attributed to him are the Caṇḍikāśataka and a drama, the Pārvatīpariṇaya.
A detailed account regarding his ancestry and early life can be reconstructed from the introductory verses attached to the Kādambari and the first two ucchāvasas of the Harṣacarita, while the circumstances behind the composition of the Harṣacarita are described in the third ucchāvasa of the text.
Bāna was born to Chitrabhānu and Rājadevi in the village of Pritikuta on the banks of the Hiraṇyavāhu in a Bhojaka family of Vātsyāyana gotra in the current district of Chhapra. After the death of his father, Bāṇa led a wandering life for a period but later came back to his native village. Here, on a summer day, on receiving a letter from Krishna, a cousin of King Harsha, he met the king while he was camping near the town of Manitara. After receiving Bāna with mock signs of anger, the king showed him much favour.
It is said to the present day that Piroo village of Haspura block in Aurangabad, Bihar is the real birthplace of Banabhatta. The public library of the village has manuscripts of the old literature written by Banabhatta. Interestingly, the present day villagers are Muslims who claim to be the descendants of Banbhatta and call themselves Bhumihar Pathans..
- Bana (1898). The Parvati Parinaya of Banabhatta, with Sanskrit Commentary, English Notes and Tr., by T.R. Ratnam Aiyar. Madras.
- "Sthanvishvara (historical region, India)". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2014-08-09.
- Amaresh Datta (1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: devraj to jyoti. Sahitya Akademi. pp. 1339–. ISBN 978-81-260-1194-0.
- The Harsa-Carita of Bana. Translated by E. B. Cowell and F. W. Thomas. London: Royal Asiatic Society, 1897, 4-34.
- Sakharam Vasudeo Dixit (1963). Bāṇabhaṭṭa: His Life & Literature. A.S. Dixit.
- Neeta Sharma (1968). Banabhatta: a literary study. Munshiram Manoharlal.
- K. Krishnamoorthy (1982). Banabhatta. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-7201-674-6.