Who is Lalitaditya Muktapida
Lalitaditya Muktapida was the ever-undefeated King of Kashmir of the Karkota dynasty. Chinese, Turkish and Tibetan legends referred to him as a great conqueror. Lalitaditya was the first Indian king who gave a befitting reply to the Arabs and one of the few Indian kings who was able to conquer Central Asia. As a Kashmiri king, he was able to spread his influence to South India. He was Lalitaditya, a king who blasted the myth that Indians were never able to capture any foreign lands. It is believed he is the youngest of his three brothers and came to the throne in 724 AD. Ruling over present-day Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana. Lalitaditya was able to stop the Arabs from entering India, conquer parts of Iran and extended his kingdom to Tibet and China.
Facing two enemies
Very early in his youth, the great warrior king had understood that Kashmir was facing two enemies at the same time. One was the Arab caliphate which had captured Sindh after defeating Raja Dahir and the other was the Tibetan empire. It was getting difficult to ward off both invasions at the same time. So, he allied with Yashovarman of Kannuj, to defend India from invasions. Legend has it that the Arab Caliphate had allied with Tibetans. At the time the Tibetans were in a never-ending conflict with Chinese rulers who were represented by the Tang dynasty. The alliance was also intruding on the lands of the Tang Empire. Lalitaditya having found a natural ally in China made a smart move by aligning with them. He preyed on the advanced Chinese military technologies, which he used to upgrade his army. Al Beruni (famous Iranian scholar and historian) says the victory of this new alliance over the Arabs was fought somewhere near Punjab. He even mentions that a festival was held on the second day of Chaitra (March) every year for centuries to celebrate the victory.
Lalitaditya V/s Yashovarman of Kannuj
Later, Yashovarman defeated the Tibetan king. He then fought kingdoms of the Northeast and Bengal under the Tibetan rulers. Lalitaditya did not allow the Arabs to regroup. He further expanded his kingdom into Central Asia by taking parts of Afghanistan and Transoxiana. Which comprised modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgyzstan, and southwest Kazakhstan. Lalitaditya soon showed concern about the increasing power of Yashovarman, who seemed to be getting arrogant. This led to the breaking up of the alliance. So in a later battle, Yashovarman was defeated and accepted the vassal status under Lalitaditya. He was then forced to help Lalitaditya in defeating arch-rivals like the Guptas who controlled the Bengal region.
Beginning of the Rastruka dynasty
It is believed that the queen regent of the Deccan had approached Lalitaditya for help when her brother-in-law was trying to usurp the throne. Lalitaditya helped her in restoring her kingdom and placed her son Dantidurga on the throne. Dantidurga is said to have gone on to establish one of the biggest empires of South India known as Rashtrakutas.
What do the books say about Lalitaditya?
The battles Lalitaditya fought are described by a Kashmiri historian Kalhana in his book the Rajataringi ni (River of Kings). “The king, who carried his prowess, abandoned his (war-like) fury (only) when the (opposing) kings discretely folded their palm sat his victorious onset. At the sound of his drums (beaten) in attack, the dwellings of his enemies were diverted by the (frightened) inhabitants and thus resembled women dropping in fright the burden of their wombs”. On the development front, Laliditya was a great builder. He reportedly cleared the silting of the Vitasta (the present-day Jhelum) river to prevent flooding and directed the water through canals to far-flung regions. its said that he has found many present-day cities in Kashmir
Throughout his empires, he built temples of many gods, including Buddha which shows his respect for other faiths. Nothing remains of these grand temples today owing to the barbarity unfolded by the Muslim invaders.