Harsha Vardhana

Harsha Vardhana was an Indian emperor. He was a ruler of the northern India. He was a great diplomat and had profound interest in literature. He had written the plays Ratnavali, Priyadarshika and Nagananda.

Life of Harsha Vardhan


Harsha Vardhana was born in 590 BC. He was the son of Prabhakara Vardhana, the first king of the Vardhan dynasty. Harsha Vardhana belonged to the Jat clan of Haryana. 

Harsha Vardhana was married to Durgavati and had two sons who were but murdered. Harsha Vardhana died in 647 AD. As he had no heirs his empire also collapsed with him.

Harsha Vardhana as an emperor

Harsha Vardhana was an energetic ruler. He ascended the throne at the age of 16 years. His kingdom included the Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bengal, Orissa and the entire Indo Gangetic plain north of Narmada River. He united the small republics from Punjab to central India. 

Harsha Vardhana was a great conqueror. After his succession he united the two kingdoms of Thanesar and Kannauj. He transferred his capital from Thanesar to Kannauj. Harsha Vardhana had an old rivalry with Shashanka. To punish Shashanka he made an alliance with Bhaskaravarman and defeated him.

Harsha Vardhana was also a great diplomat. He sent a mission to China during his tenure which established the first diplomatic relations between Indian and China. Harsha Vardhana was an able administrator. He took much interest in his subjects. During the later part of his life he travelled from place to place to reach his subjects.

Harsha Vardhana was a Mahayana Buddhist. He was, however, a tolerant ruler and supported all religions, including Vedism and Jainism. He also built several stupas in the name of Buddha.

Harsha Vardhana and Literature

Harsha Vardhana had profound interest in literature. He was a patron of art and literature. He had written plays as well. Ratnavali, Priyadarshika and Nagananda etc were written by him. Ratnavali, Priyadarshika is considered comedies in the classical style and Nagananda has a serious tone. 

The court of Harsha Vardhana included philosophers, poets, dramatists, and painters. Bana, the author of Harsha Charitra and Kadambari was Harsha Vardhana’s court poet. Maurya, the author of Mayurashataka and Bhartrihari, the author of Vakyapadiya belonged to the court of Harsha Vardhana.

Great Indian Mathematician Brahmagupta also lived in the empire of Harsha Vardhana. Harsha Vardhana was the chief patron of the Nalanda University.

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