It is during this period that the now well-known Rajputs enter the scene of Indian history. Where and how the Rajputs originated remains in doubt. Rajput's themselves say that they are the descendants of the solar or the lunar race, thereby conferring upon them the utmost royal respectability in keeping with the tradition of the Puranas. The Rajputs rose to political importance in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D. when they were divided into a number of clans of which four claimed a special status.
These four were the Pariharas, Chahamanas, more commonly called Chauhans, Chaulukyas (distinct from the Deccan Chalukyas) or Solankis, and Paramaras or Pawars who claimed descent from a mythical figure who arose out of a vast sacrificial fire pit near Mt Abu in Rajasthan. Consequently, these four clans were described as the Agnikula or Fire Family.
However, most authorities accept the view that the Rajput clans have either descended from the Huns settled in northern and western India or from those tribes and peoples who had entered India together with the Hun invaders.
The four clans which claimed Agnikula origin dominated early Rajput activities. The kingdoms which they founded arose from the ruins of the older Pratihara kingdom. The Pariharas based themselves in southern Rajasthan. The Chauhans ruled an area in eastern Rajasthan, south-east of Delhi. They began as feudatories of the main Pratihara kings and assisted them in holding back the Arab advance. Later they declared their independence.
Solanki power was concentrated in the region of Kathiawar with branches of the family scattered in Malwa, Chedi, Patan, and Broach. By the second half of the tenth century, the Solankis were at war with practically all of their neighbours. The Pawars established their control in Malwa with their capital at Dhar near Indore. They began as feudatories of the Rashtrakutas but revolted against their overlords at the end of the tenth century.
Other Rajput clans claiming descent from the solar and lunar races established themselves as local kings in various parts of western and central India. Among them were the Chandellas, prominent in the tenth century in the region of Khajuraho. The Guhilas of Mewar to the south of the Chauhans also participated in the campaigns against the Arabs. The north-eastern neighbours of the Chauhans were the Tomaras, who were also the feudatories of the Pratiharas, and ruled in the Harayana region surrounding Delhi, including Thanesar, the home of Harsha. The city of Dhillika (Delhi) was founded by the Tomaras in 736 A.D. The Tomaras were overthrown by the Chauhans in the twelfth century. There was yet another family which began as feudatories of the Pratiharas but soon acquired independence. These were the Kalachuris of Tripuri (near Jabalpur).
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