Harshavardhana (606-647 A.D.)
Hundred years after the fall of the Gupta dynasty, there emerged from the ensuing chaos a new dynasty of the Vardhanas, which had its capital at Thanesvar. Prabhakar Vardhana was its founder. His son Harsha Vardhana was the most illustrious ruler of this dynasty. Like Samudragupta, he was a great conqueror.
He waged continuous wars and became the master of north India. His empire extended from the Brahmaputra in the east to the eastern Punjab in west, and from the Himalayas in the north to the Narmada in the south.
He was not only a great administrator who organised the government on highly systematic lines, but also an empire-builder who brought order out of the prevailing chaos and unified the country under a strong central government. Harsh was also a scholar and patron of learning. Among the works written by him are three Sanskrit plays- Ratnavali, Priyadarsika and Nagananda.
In his later years, he too became a follower of Buddhism and did a great deal for its promotion, including the organisation of the five yearly assemblies of Buddhist monks at Prayag. But like Ashoka and Kanishka, he too was a very tolerant religionist and never persecuted people of other faiths.