The Gahadvala or sometime spelled as Gadhwal is a Suryavanshi Kshatriya dynasty that ruled the kingdom of Kannauj for approximately a hundred years, beginning in the late eleventh century. Rajput Rathore claim being descendants of Gaharwars
Rebuilding the Kannuj Kingdom
The Kannauj kingdom was established in the tenth century by Som Chand, who came from Kannuaj near Allahabad; Chand ousted the Katyuri Kings originally from Katyur valley near Joshimath, who had ruled the area since the seventh century AD. Chand retained the name of Kurmanchal for the state, and Kurm for the people, leaving the capital in Champawat. Kurmanchal named this region Kumaon.
Foundation of the Gahadwar Dynasty at Kannuj
Chandradeva founded the Kannauj Gaharwar dynasty in 1090 A.D.. Chandradeva expanded the kingdom to include Delhi, Ayodhya, and Varanasi (modern Benares). During the rule of his successor, Govindachandra, from 1114–1154, the state of Gaharwar reached the pinnacle of its power, occupying much of present-day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Govindachandra moved his capital from Kannauj to Varanasi. His queen Kumaradevi was a devout Buddhist, and Govindachandra was a patron of both Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries.
Expansion to Include Delhi
During the Rajput Raaj in India, the Gaharwar king, Chandradev, successfully commanded Delhi and annexed it to his State of Kannauj. Delhi was under Pratihara sovereignty at that time, who was being attacked by Rashtrakuta. Chandradev attacked both Rashtrakuta and Pratihara amid their battle with each other, defeated the two enemies now united against him, and took over the state of Delhi. After the dissolution of the Pratihara empire, Chandradev fought off repeated incursions, which laid down the foundation of the renaissance era in Delhi.
Gaharwar dynasty rule of the district is proved by the discovery at Kudarkot of a copper plate grant dated in the reign of Chandradeva. Chandradeva founded the Gaharwar dynasty at Kanyakubja after defeating a chief named Gopala of Tuar clan. His jurisdiction extended over nearly all of what is modern Uttar Pradesh including this district.
Chandradeva was succeeded by Madanpala, who ruled for a very short period. Madanpala was succeeded by his son Govindachandra. Two copper plate grants of Govindachandra, dated respectively Samvat 1161, or A. D. 1104, and Samvat 1174 or 1117 A. D. have been found in Bisahi, two miles north-east of Tehsil Bidhuna. Another copper plate grant of this king dated Samvat 1166 or A. D. 1109 was found at Rahan. Govindachandra seems to have wielded substantial power in the State while he was only a Yuvaraja, or Crown Prince. He defeated the invading Muslims prior to 1109 A.D., for the Rahan plate records that he “again and again by the play of his matchless fighting” compelled the Hammira (i.e. Amir) to “lay aside his enmity”. The Rahan plate further described Govindachandra as “terrific” in cleaving the frontal gloves of arrays of irresistible mighty large elephants from Gauda”, which shows that Govindachandra must have made some encroachments on Magadha. In short, Govindachandra made himself a power and revised the glories of this region.
Govindachandra was succeeded by his son Vijayachandra in 1155 A. D. Like his father, Vijayachandra also successfully faced Muslim aggressions. As Vijayachandra’ reign began, an unmistakable symptom of decline of the Gaharwar power manifested itself in the loss of Delhi, the Tuar rulers there stopped recognizing Vijaychandra as their sovereign and probably aligned with Chauhans of Ajmer.
The full significance of this loss was realised when, about a generation later, the Muslims attacked Delhi and occupied it, rendering the Gaharwar frontier defenceless. Vijayachandra was succeeded by his son, Jaichandra, in 1170 A. D. Jaichandra may be described as the last great king of the Gahadavala dynasty, whose power and extensive jurisdiction struck even Muslim historians. During the reign of Jaichandra, the Chauhans, from Ajmer, had annexed Delhi and were at this time bidding for supremacy in the North under Prathviraja ChauhanIII. The Chandellas were to the south there; at this time, their power was at its height. Additionally, there were repeated Muslim invasions of North-western India, which had already threatened the unity of India.
Prithviraj carried off Samyukta, daughter of Jaichandra. Samyukta’s elopement with Prithviraj III, heir to the rival Chauhan Rajput kingdom to the west, is the subject of many romantic tales, although this may have been the seed of the dissension between the kingdoms. Jaichand was destined to be the last Gaharwar king of Kannauj. He sought help from Muslims of North to invade Chauhans of Ajmer-Delhi. After fall of Delhi, the city of Kannauj was also attacked by Muhammad of Ghor in 1194; Jaichandra drowned in the Ganges fighting the battle; his kingdom was conquered and sacked by Muhammad’s armies. Some survivors, led by Jaichand’s son or grandson Siyaji (Shiv ji), fled west to the Marwar desert region of Rajasthan, where they established themselves as rulers in the early thirteenth century, founding the Rathore clan which ruled the princely state of Marwar or Jodhpur.
Collateral Branches of Gahadvala Dynasty
Chand Kings of Kumaon
Another branch escaped to the Kumaon hills, where 300 years later they usurped power in Kumaon by defeating the ruling Katyuri dynasty. The Chand kings mention Rathore as their kul The present king of Kumaon is Raja Mahendra Chand of Lamakhet (Pithoragarh), married to Rani Gita Chand of Rina and has three children (Rajkumari Aakanksha Chand, Rajkumari Mallika Chand, Rajkumar Aryan Chand)
Another grandson, Bijai Chand, fled to Kantit in the Mīrzāpur District and, overcoming the Bhar Rāja of that place, founded the family of the Gaharwār Rājas of Bijaipur-Kantit. All the other Gaharwārs trace their lineage to Benāres or Bijaipur. Dahia kingdom is an extension of this line also.
Kings of Manda trace their line from a younger brother of Jaichandra of Kannauj. The last king was Raja Vishvanath Pratap Singh of Manda, prime – minister of India from 1989-91. Gaharwar, Rathore and Bundela share the Kashyap Gautra, and Gaharwar is considered the original bloodline for both Bundela and Rathore. The Gaharwar era in India was brief, but its impact has lasted through the era of renaissance in India.
All the other Gaharwārs trace their lineage to Benāres or Bijaipur. Another group of warriors that migrated southward from Kannauj came to occupy territory immediately west of Daiya, Manda, and Vijaypur. This line came to be known as Bundela and gave its name to the Bundelkhand that comprises parts of both current Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.