Karkoṭa Empire

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Karkota Empire
625 CE–885 CE
Karkota territory at its maximum extent, according to Joseph E. Schwartzberg's A Historical Atlas of South Asia
Capital Srinagar (625-724)
Parihaspore (724-760)
Srinagar (760-885)[citation needed]
Religion Hinduism
Government Monarchy
Samraat (Emperor) Durlabhvardhana
 •  724 CE–760 CE Lalitaditya Muktapida
Historical era Classical India
 •  Established 625 CE
 •  Disestablished 885 CE
Succeeded by
Utpala dynasty
Today part of  Afghanistan
Part of a series on the
History of India
Satavahana gateway at Sanchi, 1st century CE

Karkota Empire (c. 625 - 885 CE) was a major power from the Indian subcontinent; which originated in the region of Kashmir.[1] It was founded by Durlabhvardhana during the lifetime of Harshavardhan, the dynasty marked the rise of Kashmir as a power in Northern India.[2] Avanti Varman ascended the throne of Kashmir on 855 A.D., establishing the Utpala dynasty and ending the rule of Karkota dynasty.[3]

Lalitaditya Muktapida, the dynasty's strongest ruler captured parts of Central Asia, Afghanistan and Punjab with Chinese help.[4] According to Kalhana's Rajatarangini, Lalitaditya was able to extend the power of Kashmir beyond the normal mountain limits and in about 740 AD inflicted a defeat upon Yashovarman, the King of Kannauj. Lalitaditya was able to vanquish the Turks, Tibetans, Bhutias, Kambojas and others. According to some historians, Kalhana highly exaggerated the conquests of Lalitaditya.[5][6]

The Karkota emperors were primarily Hindu,[7] they built spectacular Hindu temples in their capital Parihaspur.[8][9] They however also allowed Buddhism to flourish under them. Stupa, Chaitya and Vihara can be found in the ruins of their capital. Martand Sun Temple in the Anantnag district were built by Lalitaditya. It is the oldest known Sun temple in India and was also one of the biggest temple complexes at the time.[10]