The Tripartite Struggle, also known as the Kannauj Triangle Wars, took place in the 8th and 9th centuries in northern India between three great Indian dynasties, the Palas, the Pratiharas, and the Rashtrakutas, for control of the Kannauj area. The Palas ruled India’s eastern regions (Bengal region), the Pratiharas ruled India’s western regions (Avanti-Jalaor region), and the Rastrakutas ruled the Deccan region.
After a two-century war, Rajput Pratihara emperor Nagabhata II established the city as the capital of the Pratihara state, which ruled for nearly three centuries. This article will explain the Tripartite War, which will be useful for UPSC Syllabus History preparation.
Read about: Indian National Army
Tripartite Struggle History
The Pratihara Empire, the Pala Empire, and the Rashtrakuta Empire were all involved in the Tripartite Struggle. In the ninth century, the Tripartite struggle was for control of Northern India. Ultimately, the Pratiharas triumphed.
Kannauj was regarded as a symbol of status and authority during the early mediaeval period. Kannauj was Harshvardhana’s empire’s former capital, and control of it represented political dominance over northern India. Control of Kannauj meant control of the Central Gangetic valley, which was resource-rich and thus strategically and commercially significant.
This location was ideal for trade and commerce because it was connected to the Silk Road. Kannauj was ruled by three kings between the end of the eighth century and the first quarter of the ninth century: Indrayudha, Vijrayudha, and Chakrayudha. These kings were extremely weak and easily defeated. The Rashtrakutas were drawn to Kannauj by the desire to plunder through warfare.
Read about: Communist Movement in India
Tripartite Struggle Main Reason
The Tripartite Struggle, also known as the Triangle Wars, lasted two centuries and was finally won by Rajput Pratihara emperor Nagabhata II. He reigned for nearly three centuries. As previously stated, the Tripartite Struggle occurred between the three great dynasties of the Palas, Pratiharas, and Rashtrakutas over the possession of Kannuaj. During the early mediaeval period, Kannauj was regarded as a symbol of high status and authority.
Controlling Kannuaj also meant controlling the central Gangetic Valley, which was rich in resources and thus useful from a commercial standpoint. Between the eighth and ninth centuries, Kannauj was ruled by three weak kings: Indrayudha, Vijrayudha, and Chakrayudha. Because of their weakness, Rashtrakutas were drawn to Kannauj.
After Emperor Harsha’s death in 647 AD, which caused great confusion due to the absence of his heirs, little is known about the Kannauj kingdom. Kannauj briefly fell into the hands of Arunasva, who attacked Wang Hstian-tse, a Chinese emperor Tai-ambassador Tsung’s who had come to King Harsha’s court. Wang Hstian-tse, on the other hand, was successful in capturing Arunasva, who was returned to China to spend his days with the Tang Emperor.
Read about: Eka Movement
Tripartite Struggle Phase I
For control of Kanauj, the Pala, Prathihara, and Rashtrakuta dynasties engaged in a three-way battle. The tripartite conflict began around 790 AD with a clash between Dharmapala and Vatsaraja. Dharmapala was defeated in the battle at Prayag between him and the Pratihara king Vatsaraja. Vatsaraja was eventually defeated by Rashtrakuta king Dhruva. Dharmapala took control of Kannauj after Vatsaraja was defeated, but he was defeated again by Dhruva.
Dhruva, on the other hand, was unable to consolidate his victory because he needed to return to his southern kingdom to save it. After Dhruva’s death in 793 CE, the Rashtrakutas were devastated by a succession struggle. By quickly withdrawing from Northern India, the Rashtrakutas not only decimated the Palas’ opponents, the Pratiharas, but also provided the Palas with an opportunity to strengthen their position.
Dharmapala took advantage of the situation and reclaimed Kannauj, establishing Chakrayudha as king. Dharmapala established himself as the lord of nearly all of Northern India through a series of successful expeditions.
Read about: Vande Mataram Movement
Tripartite Struggle Phase II
Pratihara ruler Nagabhatta II, Vatsaraja’s successor, invaded Kanauj, expelled its ruler Chakrayudha, and took control. A battle between Nagabhatta II and Dharmapala was unavoidable because Chakrayudha was Dharmapala’s protege. In a battle near Munger, Nagabhatta II defeated Dharmapala.
The battle for Kannauj intensified after Nagabhata II took possession of the city. His victory was short-lived, as he was quickly deposed by Govinda III (Rashtrakuta king), Dhruva’s successor. Soon after this victory, Govinda III left for the Deccan. By the end of the 9th century, the Rastrakutas’ power had begun to wane, paralleling that of the Palas. By the end of the three-way conflict, the Pratiharas had triumphed and established themselves as the rulers of central India.
Read about: Kisan Sabha Movement
Tripartite Struggle UPSC
The conflict between the three great Indian dynasties, the Palas, the Pratiharas, and the Rashtrakutas, for control of the Kannauj area lasted two centuries. Finally, the Pratiharas triumphed and established themselves as the rulers of central India. However, the tripartite conflict rendered all three dynasties ineffective. This resulted in the country’s political breakdown, which aided the Middle Eastern Islamic invaders. Read the entire article related to Tripartite Struggle in this article. To learn more about Tripartite Struggle go the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.
Read about: Ahmedabad Mill Strike