King Lalitaditya of the Karkot dynasty extended Kashmiri rule from Central Asia to the Gangetic plain during his 37-year reign. He is also known as Sikandar of Kashmiri history. During his reign he conquered the Turks, Tibet and Baltistan. A reference to Lalitaditya’s reign can be found in the Sanskrit treatise ‘Rajatarangini’ written on Kashmiri history. This book provides detailed information about this great king of Kashmir.
The Karkot dynasty was founded in 625 by King Durlabhavardana. Lalitaditya was his grandson. In the 8th century, India was divided into many small states. All the states were fighting each other. In such a situation Lalitaditya had a golden opportunity to expand his kingdom. He completed it and established the rule of Kashmir from the Turks to the Ganges plain.
King Lalitaditya is said to have recruited Chinese mercenaries and strategists into his army. Lalitaditya’s army is also said to have included many Turks. Based on his talent and powerful army, he established a great kingdom in the world. His first attack and victory was against King Yasovarman. Yasovarman surrendered before Lalitaditya and made a peace treaty with him. After this victory the land between Yamuna and Kalika came under Kashmir. Similarly Lalithaditya won many big states. Also said to have conquered parts of the Silk Route. He is believed to have occupied the cities of Turfan and Kuchan in present-day China. Lalitaditya conquered Tibet.
He did a lot of work for the people
Emperor Lalitaditya built many cities during his reign. He also constructed many canals to carry water to different parts of the state. Not only this, Lalithaditya was very religious. He built temples in almost every city. He installed idols of Vishnu, Shiva, Surya and Buddha.
Lalitaditya also built the Marthanda Sun Temple. However, none of the temples or idols built during Lalitaditya’s time survive. But the remains of the Marthanda temple are still there. When you see the ruins of this temple, you know how much of an art lover Lalitaditya must have been.
Lalitaditya spent most of his time in military activities. For better governance in his country, he declared his eldest son Kuvalayapida as his successor. There are different stories about Lalitaditya’s death. Some reports say that Lalitaditya died due to frostbite, another report claims that he wanted to die as a great emperor and threw himself into the fire.
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