• Ellora and samugarh inscription.
  • S Altekar has written book “Rashtrakuta and their times”

Political history:

  • The Rashtrakutas were originally known to be the feudatories of the Western Chalukyas of Vatapi.
  • Thry ruled from Manyakheta in Karnataka.
  • Dhantidurga was the founder of Rashtrakuta dynasty, he defeated Chalukyas of Badami.
  • Dhantidurga was succeeded by Krishna 1. He constructed Kailasa temple in Ellora.

He defeated  Gangas of Mysore.

  • Krishna was succedded by Govinda 2 followed by DHRUVA
  • Dhruva was greatest in Rashtrakuta dynasty, during his reign Rashtrakuta power reached its Zenith.
    1. He defeated Pallavas, Eastern Chalukyas, Palas and Prathiharas.
    2. By defeating Vatsaraja of Prathihara and Dharmapala of pala dynasty he conquered Kannauj
    3. He was the first Deccan king to control Kannauj.
  • Govinda III succeeded Dhuva. Following his father’s legacy, GovindaIII also waged war against all the adjacent kingdoms(Pallava, Gangas, Pala,Prathihara) and was victorious.
    1. During his reign Rashtrakuta empire extended from Himalayas in north to kanyakumari in south and Saurashtra in the west to west Bengal in the east. Almost whole of India came under the influence of Rashtrakutas.
    2. His titles: Jaggattunga, srivallabha, Tribhuvanadhavala.
  • Amoghavarsha:Govinda III was succeeded by his son Amoghavarsha (814–880 CE)
    1. Amoghavarsha was a patron of literature and he patronised the famous Digambara acharya Jinasena, Sanskrit grammarian Sakatayana and the mathematician Mahaviracharya.
    2. His cultural achievements are greater than his military achievements.
    3. He constructed Manyakheta city and made it as his capital.
    4. Amoghavarsha was himself a great poet and his Kavirajamarga is the earliest Kannada work on poetics.
    5. Abu sulaiman , the Arab traveler visited his capital in 851CE. He says Rashtrakuta empire is one of the four great empires of the world.
    6. His titles: Nrupatunga, veeranarayan etc.
  • Krishna III was the last greatest in Rashtrakuta dynasty.
    1. He defeated Parantaka Chola in battle of Takkolam.
  • Successors of Krishna III  were too weak to save kingdom from its decline.
  • Kakra II was defeated by Tailapadeva.
  • Tailapadeva started rule of kalyani chalukyas.


  • Rashtrakuta rulers had great quality of religious tolerance.
  • The worship of Shiva and Vishnu was popular during the Rashtrakuta reign. The famous rock-cut Shiva temple at Ellora was built by Krishna I.
  • Jainism was patronized by laters rulers like Amoghavarsha. He was also staunch devotee of Kolhapur Mahalaxmi .
  • Buddhism had declined and its only important centre was at Kanheri.


  • The Rashtrakuta rulers were great patrons of learning. Kannada and Sanskrit literature made great progress during their reign.
  • The three gems of ancient Kannada literature –Pampa, Ranna, Ponna were patronised by Rashtrkuta kings. They wrote following books in kannada
    1. Pampa- Adipurana, vikramarjuna vijaya
    2. Ranna- Gadhayudha
    3. Ponna- Shantipurana
  • Amoghvarsha wrote Kavirajamarga, first book on poetics in kannada( few claim that this was originally written by court port Srivijaya).
  • Mahaveeracharya , a mathematician , wrote Ganithasarasangraha in sanskrit.
  • Halayudha wrote Kavirahasya in Sanskrit.
  • Overall ,Kannada language received great patronage and golden age in this era.

Art and Architecture:

  • The Rashtrakutas made splendid contributions to Indian art.
  • They built structural temple , cave temple and Basadis.
  • Ellora, Ajantha and Elephanta are centres of their art.

Kailasa Temple:

  • As per the historical records, it was built by the 8th century Rashtrakuta King Krishna I between the year 756 and 773 AD. Cave 16, known as the Kailasha temple, is a particularly notable cave temple in India as a result of its size, architecture and having been entirely carved out of a single rock.
  • It is modelled along similar lines to other Hindu temples with
  • a gateway,
  • an assembly hall,
  • a multi-storey main temple surrounded by numerous shrines laid out according to the square principle,
  • an integrated space for circumambulation,
  • a garbha-grihya (sanctum sanctorum) wherein resides the linga-yoni, and a spire-shaped like Mount Kailash – all carved from one rock.
  • Other shrines carved from the same rock are dedicated to Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, the ten avatars of Vishnu, Vedic gods and goddesses including Indra, Agni, Vayu, Surya and Usha, as well as non-Vedic deities like Ganesha, Ardhanarishvara (half Shiva, half Parvati), Harihara (half Shiva, half Vishnu), Annapurna, Durga and others.
  • It has a three-tiered sikhara or tower resembling the sikhara of the Mamallapuram rathas.
  • In the interior of the temple there is a pillared hall which has sixteen square pillars.
  • The Kailasa temple is an architectural marvel with it beautiful sculptures.
  • The sculpture of the Goddess Durga is shown as slaying the Buffalo demon.
  • In another sculpture Ravana was making attempts to lift Mount Kailasa, the abode of Siva.
  • The scenes of Ramayana were also depicted on the walls.
  • The general characteristics of the Kailasa temple are more Dravidian.

Dasavathara cave:

Cave 15, Dashavatara Cave is one of the finest at Ellora. The two storeyed temple contains mesmerising Shiva Nataraja and a Shiva emerging from Lingam while Vishnu and Brahma pay homage.

Features of Dashavatara Caves:

  • It has cells and a layout plan that are similar to Buddhist Caves.
  • It also indicates presence of non-Buddhist features, such as a Nrtya Mandapa at its entrance.
  • Hindu temple housed in Cave 15 has an open court with a free-standing monolithic mandapa at the middle and a two-storeyed excavated temple at the rear.
  • Large sculptural panels between the wall columns on the upper floor illustrate a wide range of themes, including the ten avatars of Vishnu.
  • finest relief of this cave is the one depicting the death of Hiranyakashipu, where Vishnu in man-lion (Narasimha) form, emerges from a pillar to lay a fatal hand upon his shoulder.
  • Other reliefs in Cave 15 include the Gangadhara, marriage of Shiva and Parvati, Tripurantika of Shakti tradition, Markendeya, Garuda, aspects of life, Nandi in mandapa, dancing Shiva, Andhakasura, Govardhanadhari, Gajendravarada and others.
  • panels are arranged in dyads, which displays “cooperative but also antagonistic energy” with a mutuality of power transference.

Elephanta cave:

  • Elephanta, which is an island 6 miles from Mumbai has 7 caves.The Portuguese after seeing the large elephant named it elephant.
  • The sculptural art of Rashtrakutas reached its zenith in this place.
  • The sculptures such as Nataraja and Sadashiva excel even that of the Ellora sculptures in
    beauty and crafsmanship.
  • Ardhanarishvara and Maheshamurti are the other famous sculptures.
  • The most imposing figure of this temple is Trimurthi It is said to represent the three aspects of Shiva as creator, preserver and destroyer.

It is a UNESCO world heritage site.