Sites & cities that bear the name of Kannauj


Today in : India
First trace of activity : ca. 7th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Kanyakubja, Mahodaya, Kanagora?, Kanogiza?, Cannodge, kannouj, Kanoj, Kanauj

Description : Kannauj, is a city, administrative headquarters and a municipal board or Nagar Palika Parishad in Kannauj district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city's name is a modern form of the classical name Kanyakubja. It was also known as Mahodaya during the time of Gurjara-Pratihara Emperor Mihira Bhoja, around the 9th century. Kannauj is an ancient city. It is said that the Kanyakubja Brahmins who included Shandilya (teacher of Rishi Bharadwaja) were held one of the three prominent families originally from Kannauj. In Classical India, it served as the center of imperial Indian dynasties. The earliest of these was the Maukhari dynasty, and later, Emperor Harsha of the Vardhana dynasty. Between the 7th and 11th century, Kannauj became the center of the Tripartite struggle that lasted for more than two centuries between the Pala Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, and Gurjara-Pratihara Empire. The city later came under the Gahadavala dynasty, andunder the rule of Govindachandra, the city reached "unprecedented glory". However, the "glory of Imperial Kannauj" ended with conquests of the Delhi Sultanate. Kannauj famous for distilling of scents is known as India’s perfume capital and is famous for its traditional Kannauj Perfume, a government protected entity, Archaeological discoveries show that Kannauj was inhabited by the Painted Grey Ware and Northern Black Polished Ware cultures, ca. 1200-600 BCE and ca. 700-200 BCE, respectively. Under the name of Kanyakubja, it is mentioned as a well-known town in the Hindu Epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and by the grammarian Patanjali (ca. 150 BCE). The early Buddhist literature mentions Kannauj as Kannakujja, and refers to its location on the trade route from Mathura to Varanasi and Rajgir. Kannauj may have been known to the Greco-Roman civilization under the name of Kanagora or Kanogiza, which appears in Geography by Ptolemy (ca. 140 CE), but this identification is not confirmed. It was also visited by the Chinese Buddhist travellers Faxian and Xuanzang in the fifth and seventh centuries CE, respectively. Kannauj formed part of the Gupta Empire. During the decline of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century, the Maukhari dynasty of Kannauj - who had served as vassal rulers under the Guptas - took advantage of the weakening of central authority, broke away and established control over large areas of northern India. Under the Maukharis, Kannauj continued to grow in importance and prosperity. It became the greatest city of Northern India under Emperor Harsha (r. 606 to 647 CE) of the Vardhana dynasty, who conquered it and made it his capital. Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang visited India during the reign of Harsha, and described Kannauj as a large, prosperous city with many Buddhist monasteries. Harsha died with no heir, resulting in a power vacuum until Maharaja Yashovarman seized power as the ruler of Kannauj.

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