Kings in Indian History

The top 10 greatest kings in Indian history shaped the path we walk on now.

Maharana Pratap:

He was a Hindu Rajput ruler of Mewar, a region in north-western India in the present day state of Rajasthan. Known for his gallantry and magnanimity, Maharana Pratap opposed the Mughals, particularly Emperor Akbar. Chittor was conquered by the Mughals; Maharana Pratap won back most of his territory except his cherished Chittor. He had pledged to sleep on the floor and live in a hut until he won Chittor back from the Mughals which unfortunately he never accomplished in his life time.

Read Also: Cultural Achievements of Akbar

Chandragupta I:

He was a major king in Indian history and also the founder of the Gupta Dynasty. He is believed to have formed several alliances with powerful houses through marriages into those families. He was the Gupta Emperor from 320–335 CE and called himself Maharajadhiraj which means king of kings to show his superiority over others. He ruled over territories like Prayag (Allahabad), Saket (Oudh) and Magadh (south Bihar).

Samudragupta:

He was the successor of Chandragupta I belonging to the Gupta Dynasty and was the greatest king of that dynasty. Samudragupta is the ruler who is known to have ushered in the Golden Age of India. A great warrior, a connoisseur of art and a generous ruler, Samudragupta was chosen for succession by his father in spite of him not being the eldest of his sons. Another quality that he is remembered for is his tolerance and patronage for other religions.

Ranjit Singh:

Ranjit Singh was the founder of the Sikh Empire based in Punjab in the early half of the 19th century. During his rule he brought the whole of the central Punjab from the Sutlej to the Jhelum under his sway. His empire was based on the foundations of the Khalsa with opportunities for accession to commanding positions not restricted only to the Sikhs. He was a tolerant king and was also known as the “Maharaja of Punjab”.

Must Read: The Sangam Age : Early History of South India

Prithviraj Chauhan:

Prithvi Raj III was a king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty. He ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi after succeeding to the throne at the young age of 20 and ruled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana. His elopement with the daughter of Jai Chandra Rathod of Kannauj, Samyukta , is a popular romantic tale of Indian history. But he is more importantly, remembered for having defeated Muhammad Ghori in the First Battle of Tarain in 1191 and later killing him during an archery show when blinded and imprisoned by the latter in 1192.

Kanishka:

Kanishka, also known as Kanishka the Great, was an emperor of the Kushan Dynasty. His empire extended from Turfan in the Tarim Basin to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. With Pataliputra as his main capital, his reign was famous for its military, political, and spiritual achievements. He also had regional capitals as far as present-day Bagram in Afghanistan. Kanishka was a great patron of Buddhism and is still today considered as one of the greatest Buddhist Kings of India.

Shivaji:

Shivaji Bhosale was the founder and the greatest king of the Maratha Empire. Hailing from the Bhosle Maratha clan, he created an independent Maratha kingdom with Raigad as its capital. He was crowned as Chhatrapati for leading the struggle against the Adilshahi sultanate of Bijapur and the Mughal Empire. He is remembered as a great warrior and a hero who united most of the India against the Mughals. Shivaji is also known for pioneering the guerilla warfare methods using geography, speed, and surprise for attacks against more powerful and larger enemies.

Ashoka:

Ashoka is also known as Samraat Chakravartin. He belonged to the Maurya Dynasty and ruled from ca. 269 BCE to 232 BCE. He reigned over most of the Indian subcontinent from the modern Iranian provinces of Khorasan, Sistan and Balochistan (unpartitioned), through the Hindukush Mountains in Afghanistan, to the Indian state of Assam in the east, and as far south as northern Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. He is attributed to the global spread of Buddhism and the emblem of modern India is derived from the Lion Capital of Ashoka.

Akbar:

Akbar was the Mughal Emperor from 1556 until his death. The third ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, he succeeded Humayun at a very young age. He went on to become one of the greatest rulers in Indian history and the greatest Mughal Emperor, too. His empire included nearly all of the Indian Subcontinent north of the Godavari river and he consolidated the same using marriage alliances and diplomacy. Akbar is known to have been a liberal ruler who believed in cultural integration.

Chandragupta Maurya:

Chandragupta Maurya was the founder of the Mauryan Empire and believed to be the first Emperor to have united India into one state. The Mauryan Empire under Chandragupta Maurya was the largest empire in Indian history up until that time. With his chief advisor Chanakya, he built a strong central administration and economy. He is undoubtedly one of the greatest rulers in Indian history known to have conquered Alexander the Great’s easternmost satrapies. He has been considered as the greatest among all kings in Indian History.

There were many other great kings and their greatness is not comparable, so we can not compare it. Considered parameters included higher weightage to defence and expansionist policy and establishment of empire while also took population, kingdoms, contemporary popularity and area under rule.

The List will definitely remain incomplete if we don’t include great names such as Pulakeshin II, Krishnadevaraya, Rajaraja Chola. 

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27 COMMENTS

  1. The top kings were ruled northern part of India, There were southern kings who are ferocious warriors and administrators. Southern kings of Chola dynasty Rajaraja Chola and Rajendra Chola were very powerful kings. They conquered Maldives, Srilanka and southeastern Asia with their strongest navy.

    • Yes by a knave plan the Well-known Southern CHERA,CHOZHA,PANDIAS Kingdoms are neglected. I condumed this BARBARIANS ACT

  2. Pulakesi II and Harshvardhana were also one of the best kings of India according to me and I believe they should be included in this list.

  3. I don’t get it. How can the rulers/dynasties of south be ignored so blatantly? Cholas ruled south, east, expanded to Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia,Java and Sumatra. Krishna deva raya, Harshavardhana, were all absolute greats no less than the listed ones. They shaped arts, architecture and warfare. Have these half baked historians not heard of this place called south of India? Shame.

  4. Whether u read history or not…
    Where are the cholas, pulikesis, pallavas… without these south indian kings.. how could you list indian kings… the only kingdom in india to use navy is cholas.. they conquered vast regions in the south-east…

    • Please improve your knowledge, of course the Cholas were the first to introduce navy, but Shivaji Maharaj turned the navel history of India so good and advanced that today he is considered as the father of Indian Navy. One of his commadore Khanhoji Angre was so talented that he reported never lost a battle in sea against the foreign powers.

      • Ketan during Cholas period the Bay of Bengal was called Chola’s lake that much is the strength and power of Cholas navy. after invasion of British at that time their navy eas much stronger than any others at that time. If Sivaji’s navy was stronger the British invasion and their trading monopoly would be stopped but what happened. Even Arab or Persian or Muslim hadn’t able to invade Tamil heartland or Occupy Bay of Bengal during cholas period such was the power of Chola navy and Army. So please read South indian History properly.

        • dude.. ur history must be good or u must have mastered in history i respect that.. but what u were saying is not true. coz shivaji maharaj introduced navy to india and was the strongest of that tym.. and when the tym changes development takes place so the cholas must have developed it later… so.plz respect while speaking…

  5. akbar is not great ..please refer our true history or refer rajeev dixit …please remove Akbar.

    sri krishna deva raya is one great emperor .

  6. Information is good but failed to frame all great kings. And it is remarkable that all the patrons of kings never pen a single word against them and never praise others but some modern writers from 13th century did little.

  7. Guys, there are no kings from the south. As already mentioned the cholas and pandyas were one of the most successful empires India has seen. Please name the title accordingly if yu are going to ignore the southern kings.

  8. Include Raja Raja -I n Krishnadev Ray …. Best known kings from south India famous for their prosprus rule n architecture

  9. Mohammad gori was not killed in this manner as you mentioned above. He was killed by the khikkhads , a tribe located in Pakistan.He was killed while he was going back to his resident Gor .

  10. in southern part of India have a great kings like pulakeshi 2,krishnadevaraya,rajaraja chola etc but u only told about the northern rulers

  11. Prithvi Raj III was a king of the Hindu Chauhan dynasty. He ruled the kingdom of Ajmer and Delhi after succeeding to the throne at the young age of 20 and ruled much of present-day Rajasthan and Haryana

  12. Good post and thanks for the information shared and this make me to visit your portal again. They’re very convincing and cann definitely work.

  13. When Pulakeshin II pushed forth up to the Narmada, he came face to face with Harshavardhana of Kanauj who already had the title Uttarapatheshvara (Lord of the North). In a decisive battle fought on the banks of the river Narmada, Harsha lost a major part of his elephant force and had to retreat. The Aihole inscription describes how the mighty Harsha lost his harsha (joy) when he suffered the ignominy of defeat. Pulakeshin entered into a treaty with Harsha, with the Narmada River designated as the border between the Chalukya Empire and that of Harshavardhana.

    Xuanzang describes the event thus:

    “Shiladityaraja (i.e., Harsha), filled with confidence, himself marched at the head of his troops to contend with this prince (i.e., Pulakeshin); but he was unable to prevail upon or subjugate him”.
    It was indeed a great victory for the Chalukya monarch, who assumed the proud titles of Parameswara (Paramount Overlord), Satyashraya, Prithvivallabha. With this conquest, Pulakeshin’s control extended over most of Southern India, including Maharashtra and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. He received the title Dakshinapatheshvara (Lord of the South) at around the same time. These victories happened before 634 A.D.

    According to Dr. Shreenand L. Bapat, Registrar, Bhandarkar Oriental Research institute, Pune, Pulakeshin II defeated Harsha on the banks of Narmada in the winter of 618-619 A.D. His information is based on a recently discovered copperplate inscription of Pulakeshin II.[5][6]

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