Lalitaditya Muktapida

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Lalitāditya Muktapīḍa (r. 724 CE–760 CE) was an emperor of the Kashmiri Karkoṭa dynasty, which exercised influence in northwestern India from 625 CE until 1003. He is known primarily for his successful resistance to Muslim and Tibetan advances into Kashmiri-dominated regions. He defeated the forces of Yashovarman, the successor to the emperor Harsha. Prior to these foreign incursions, he had expanded his own empire; Kashmir at that time was the most powerful state of Northern India.


Lalitaditya Muktapida, son of Durlabhaka-Pratapaditya II,[1] who preceded him as Karkoṭa emperor, was known to be a skilled horse rider and warrior, according to historian R.C. Majumdar. He conducted campaigns of expansion in areas to the south of Kashmir and was able to concentrate his attention on regions to the north. His empire expanded to the borders of the Karakoram mountains. During this period, he was drawn into a war with Yashovarman of Kannauj, the successor to the Emperor Harsha. Lalitaditya is believed to have defeated Yashovarman's forces.[2]

In the beginning of the 8th century, the Arab invasion had started knocking at the door of the Kabul valley.[citation needed] Simultaneously after the end of Tang reign in China, many Central Asian states that had come under the Chinese rule had disintegrated because of civil wars.[citation needed] During this period, the Muslim power in Sindh was trying to march towards the north. While the empires of Kabul and Gandhar were occupied by these invasions, Lalitaditya used the opportunity to establish his foothold in the north, moving with his victorious army from Dardistan to Turkestan.[citation needed] The entire area was rich in Kashmiri traditions and education, due to the efforts of Buddhist monks and Kashmiri people in towns of Central Asia.[3]

General view of Temple and Enclosure of Martand or the Sun, near Bhawan. . Photograph of the Surya Temple at Martand in Jammu & Kashmir taken by John Burke in 1868.

He expressed interest in other areas besides his military campaign. Art and trade gained importance during his reign, religious festivals were held, and special facilities as well as encouragement were provided to support painters and sculptors. He was a successful writer and a Veena player. Prithivi Nath Kaul Bamzai wrote that Lalitaditya's war victories have received special place among different accounts of his reign.[citation needed]

Lalitaditya Muktapida moved his capital from Srinagar to Parihaspur(a small town near Srinagar in Kashmir Valley). Kalhana mentions the construction of the city in his Book 4 cantos 194-204. Lalitaditya according to Kalhana built his residence and four temples in this area. The temples included one for Vishnu (Muktakeshva) where according to Kalhana the emperor used 84,000 tolas of gold to make the image of Vishnu. In another temple he used as many Palas of silver for the image of Parihaskesana. He also had made a statue of Buddha in copper that according to Kalhana “reached up to the sky.” The main temple was larger than the famous temple that Lalitaditya built in Martand.[4][5]
Parihaspur lost its status as a capital after Lalitaditya’s death. His son moved the royal residence.

Military campaigns[edit]

Kalhana in his Rajatarangini credits king Lalitaditya with leading an aggressive military campaigns in Northern India and Central Asia. He broke into the Uttarapatha and defeated the rebellious tribes of the Kambojas, Tukharas (Turks in Turkmenistan and Tocharians in Badakhshan), Bhautas (Tibetans in Baltistan and Tibet) and Daradas (Dards). His campaign then led him to subjugate the kingdoms of Pragjyotisha, Strirajya and the Uttarakurus.[6][7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tarangini 4 of Rajatarangini by Kalhan
  2. ^ Profile of Lalitāditya Muktapīḍa at
  3. ^ Exploits of Lalitāditya Muktapīḍa
  4. ^ M.A. Stein. Kalhana's Rajtarangini A chronicle Of The Kings Of Kas`mir (Reprint 1979), Motilal Banarsidass 41-U.A, Bungalow Road, Delhi 110 007.
  5. ^ For online version of Kalhana's Rajatarangini
  6. ^ Kalhana (1147-1149); Rajatarangini.
  7. ^ Sheldon Pollock (2006). The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India, pp. 241-242.
  8. ^ Sunil Fotedar (June 1984). The Kashmir Series: Glimpses of Kashmiri Culture - Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari (p. 57).


  • R.C. Mazumdar, Ancient India, Page 383.