About the Palas – An excerpt from the medieval india
Pala dynasty is also considered as the Solar Descendant or “Surya Kula”. Scholars postulated that, Pala were originally descendants of the Bhadra Dynasty. Pala dynasty was considered to be the glorious age as Bengal witnessed several achievements. And social life of Pala period was quite prosperous. The centre of all power was the King or Monarch. The kings were accompanied by Prime Ministers and the empire was divided into separate Vuktis or Provinces. Further these vuktis were divided into Vishaya (Division) and then Mandala was divided into Disrticts. The language used by Palas was Proto-Bengal Language.
Palas and Pratihars clashed with each other for the control of area extending from Bananras to Southern Bihar which had rich resources and a well developed tradition. The Pala Empire was founded by Gopala, probably in 750. He was succeeded by his son Dharmpala who ruled till 810. Dharmpala was defeated by Rastrakutas ruler, Druva, who had earlier defeated Pratihara rulers. The Pratihara power was revived under Nagabatta II. Failure in the north compelled the Pala Rulers to turn their energies in other directions. Devpala the son of Dharmapala, who succeeded the throne in 810 and ruled for 40years, extended his control over Pragjyotishpur (Assam) and parts of Orissa. Part of modern Nepal was also brought under Pala dominion.
Thus for about 100 years, from the middle of the 8th to the middle of the 9th century, the Pala rulers dominated eastern India. Sulaiman who visited india wrote that Pala Kingdom Ruhma (or Dharma, short for Dharmpala) had wars with their neighbours Pratihars and Rashtrakutas, he also describes that the Pala ruler had 50,000 elephants and more than 10 to 15 thousand men in his army employed for washing clothes. According to Tibetan chronicles The Pala rulers were great Patrons of Buddhist learning and religion. Dharmapala is said to have revived Nalanda University. He also founded the Vikramshila University. It was located on the top of a hill, on the bank of the Ganga in Magadha. Pala rulers also had close relation with Tibet. The noted Buddhist scholars, Santarakshita and Dipankara (called Atisa), were invited to Tibet and they introduced a new form of Bhuddism there. The
Pala ruler had trade relations with South-East Asia. The powerful Sailendra dynasty, which was Buddhist in faith and which ruled over Malaya, Java, Sumatra and the neighbouring island, sent many embassies to Pala court and sought permissions to build a monastery at Nalanda.
Pala dynasty recovers some of its lost glory during the rule of Mahipala I, who ruled from 995AD to 1043AD. He is rightly called the second founder of the Pala Dynasty. After the death of Ramapala, the chief Pala king, in 1130 the Pala dynasty was nearing its end. Kumarapala became the next Pala ruler, He was succeeded by Gopala III and Madanapala. Gradually the Pala kingdom went into abeyance, in absence of any strong ruler.