Tomara dynasty

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Tomara dynasty

8th century–12th century
Lal Kot walls (3701543820).jpg
Fortified walls of one of the first fortresses in Delhi, Lal Kot, was built by Raja Anangpal Tomar II of Tomar dynasty. Located in modern day Delhi, Haryana. [1]
Government Monarchy
8th century
12th century
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty
Chahamanas of Shakambhari Blank.png
Ghurid dynasty Blank.png
Today part of India

The Tomara (also called Tomar in modern vernaculars because of schwa deletion) dynasty ruled parts of present-day Delhi and Haryana in India during 8th-12th century. Their rule over this region is attested to by multiple inscriptions and coins. In addition, much of the information about them comes from medieval bardic legends, which are not historically reliable. They were displaced by the Chahamanas of Shakambhari in the 12th century. [2]



Location of Haryana in present-day India Haryana in India (claims hatched).svg
Location of Haryana in present-day India

The Tomara territory included parts of the present-day Delhi and Haryana. [3] A 13th century inscription states that the Tomaras ruled the Hariyanaka (Haryana) country before the Chahamanas and the Shakas (Muslims in this context). A 14th century inscription states that they built Dhillika (modern day Delhi) a city in the Haryana region. Around that city is a fortified wall called Lal Kot built by Anangpal Tomar. It is also known that the Tomara kingdom stretched to Asigarh Fort and areas at Thanesar. [4] The Tomara's rule was followed by that of the Chahamanas and the mlechchha Sahavadina (Shihab ad-Din). [5]


The Tomaras are known from some inscriptions and coins. However, much of the information about the dynasty comes from medieval bardic legends, which are not historically reliable. Because of this, the reconstruction of the Tomara history is difficult. [5]

As feudatories

The earliest extant historical reference to the Tomaras occurs in the Pehowa inscription issued during the reign of the Gurjara-Pratihara king Mahendrapala I (r. c. 885-910 CE). [6] This undated inscription states that Jaula of the Tomara family became prosperous by serving an unnamed king. His descendants included Vajrata, Jajjuka, and Gogga. The inscription suggests that Gogga was a vassal of Mahendrapala I. It records the construction of three Vishnu temples by Gogga and his step-brothers Purna-raja and Deva-raja. The temples were located at Prithudaka (IAST: Pṛthūdaka; Pehowa), on the banks of the river Sarasvati. [7]

No information is available about the immediate successors of Gogga. [8] The Pehowa inscription suggests that this particular Tomara family was settled around the Karnal area. However, F. Kielhorn suggested that this Tomara family actually resided in Delhi: they may have visited Pehowa on pilgrimage, and built a temple there. [9]

As sovereigns

As the Pratihara power declined, the Tomaras established a sovereign principality around Delhi by the 10th century. [10] Later medieval bardic literature named the dynasty as "Tuar", and anachronistically classified them as one of the 36 Rajput clans, despite the fact that Rajput identity did not exist during their time. [5] [11] [12] The Rajputs actually originated in the 16th century. [13] [14]

According to the bardic tradition, the dynasty's founder Anangapal Tuar (that is Anangapala I Tomara) founded Delhi in 736 CE. [6] However, the authenticity of this claim is doubtful. [5] A 1526 CE source names the successors of Anangapala as Tejapala, Madanapala, Kritapala, Lakhanapala and Prithvipala. The Dravya-Pariksha (1318 CE) of Thakkura Pheru mentions the coins of Madanapala, Prithvipala and another ruler, Chahadapala. [15]

Soon after gaining independence, the Tomaras became involved in conflicts with their neighbours, the Chahamanas of Shakambhari and later on the Gahadavala dynasty. [16] [17] According to a 973 CE inscription of the Chahamana king Vigraharaja II, his ancestor Chandana (c. 900 CE) killed the Tomara chief Rudrena (or Rudra) in a battle. [10] The Harsha stone inscription states that Chandana's descendant Simharaja (c. 944-971 CE) defeated a Tomara leader called Lavana or Salavana. Historian R. B. Singh identifies the defeated ruler as Tejapala. [18] Another fragmentary Chahamana prashasti (eulogistic inscription), now at the Ajmer museum, mentions that the Chahamana king Arnoraja (c. 1135-1150 CE) invaded the Haritanaka country. This country is identified with the Tomara territory. According to the inscription, Arnoraja's army rendered the waters of the Kalindi river (Yamuna) muddy and the women of Hartinaka tearful, but Arnoraja's victory over the Tomaras was not decisive and as his son Vigraharaja IV had to fight the Tomaras. This may have been because Anoraja was unsuccessful of getting through the fort Lal Kot which had been built by the Tomara rulers. [19] [20]

The writings of the medieval Muslim historians suggest that a king named Mahipala was ruling Delhi in the 11th century. Although these medieval historians do not mention the dynasty of this king, he is identified as a Tomara ruler by some modern historians. Some coins featuring crude depictions of a horseman and a bull, and bearing the name "Mahipala", have been attributed to this king. These coins are similar to those of Mawdud of Ghazni (r. 1041-50 CE), confirming that Mahipala must have ruled in the 11th century. The horseman-and-bull were a characteristic of the Kabul Shahi coinage; Mawdud probably adopted this style after capturing the Shahi territories. Mahipala probably imitated the same style after capturing Asigarh Fort in Hansi and Thaneshvara regions from Mawdud. Some fragmentary Tomara inscriptions have been discovered from Mahipalpur near Delhi. Historian Y. D. Sharma theorizes that Mahipala established a new capital at Mahipalapura (now Mahipialpur). [21]

The construction of the Suraj Kund is attributed to a Tomara king Suraj Kund.jpg
The construction of the Suraj Kund is attributed to a Tomara king

The Suraj Kund reservoir is said to have been commissioned by a Tomara king named Surajpala. [22]

Multiple (three) Tomara kings seem to have shared the name "Anangapala" (IAST: Anaṅgapāla). One of these is said to have established the Lal Kot citadel in the Mehrauli area. The construction of the Anang Tal tank and the Anangpur Dam is also attributed to him. [22] His coins also feature the horseman-and-bull figure, and bear the title "Shri Samanta-deva". These coins are very similar to those of the Shakambhari Chahamana kings Someshvara and Prithviraja III, indicating that Anangapala was a contemporary of these 12th century kings. [23] One of the several inscriptions on the Iron Pillar of Delhi mentions Anangapala. A medieval legend mentioned in a copy of Prithviraj Raso mentions a legend about the pillar: a Brahmin once told Anangapala (alias Bilan Deo) that the base of the pillar rested on the head of the Vasuki serpent, and that his rule would last as long as the pillar stood upright. Out of curiosity, Anangapala dug out the pillar, only to find it smeared with the blood of Vasuki. Realizing his mistake, the king ordered it to be re-instated, but it remained loose ("dhili"). Because of this, the area came to be known as "Dhilli" (modern Delhi). This legend is obviously a myth. [22]


The bardic legends state that the last Tomara king, Anangpal Tomar (also known as Anangapala), handed over the throne of Delhi to his son-in-law Prithviraj Chauhan (Prithviraja III of the Chahamana dynasty of Shakambhari; r. c. 1179-1192 CE). However, this claim is not correct: the historical evidence shows that Prithviraj inherited Delhi from his father Someshvara. [5] According to the Bijolia inscription of Someshvara, his brother Vigraharaja IV had captured Dhillika (Delhi) and Ashika (Hansi). He probably defeated the Tomara ruler Anangapala III. [9]

List of rulers

Various historical texts provide different lists of the Tomara kings: [24]

As stated earlier, the historians doubt the claim that the Tomaras established Delhi in 736 CE. [5]

List of Tomara rulers according to various sources [25] [26]
# Abul Fazl's Ain-i-Akbari / Bikaner manuscriptGwalior manuscript of Khadag RaiKumaon-Garhwal manuscriptAscension year in CE (according to Gwalior manuscript)Length of reign
1Ananga PālaBilan Dev7361800
2Vasu Deva75419118
4Prithivi Pāla (or Prithivi Malla)PrathamaMahi Pāla79419619
5Jaya DevaSaha DevaJadu Pāla81420728
6Nīra Pāla or Hira PālaIndrajita (I)Nai Pāla8341449
7Udiraj (or Adereh)Nara PālaJaya Deva Pāla84926711
8Vijaya (or Vacha)Indrajita (II)Chamra Pāla87521213
9Biksha (or Anek)Vacha RajaBibasa Pāla89722316
10Rīksha PālaVira PālaSukla Pāla9192165
11Sukh Pāla (or Nek Pāla)Go-PālaTeja Pāla9402044
12Go-PālaTillan DevMahi Pāla96118315
13Sallakshana PālaSuvariSursen979251010
14Jaya PālaOsa PālaJaik Pāla10051643
15Kunwar PālaKumara Pāla102129918
16 Ananga Pāla (or Anek Pāla)Ananga PālaAnek Pāla105129618
17Vijaya Pāla (or Vijaya Sah)Teja PālaTeja Pāla10812416
18Mahi Pāla (or Mahatsal)Mahi PālaJyūn Pāla110525223
19Akr Pāla (or Akhsal)Mukund PālaAne Pāla113021215
Prithivi Raja (Chahamana) Prithvi Pala1151

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  2. "Tomara dynasty | Indian dynasty". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  3. Upinder Singh 2008, p. 571.
  4. P. C. Roy 1980, pp. 93-94.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 D. C. Ganguly 1981, p. 704.
  6. 1 2 Sailendra Nath Sen 1999, p. 339.
  7. Dilip Kumar Ganguly 1984, pp. 116-117.
  8. D. C. Ganguly 1981, p. 705.
  9. 1 2 Dilip Kumar Ganguly 1984, p. 117.
  10. 1 2 Swati Datta 1989, p. 102.
  11. Peter Jackson (2003). The Delhi Sultanate: A Political and Military History. Cambridge University Press. p. 9. ISBN   978-0-521-54329-3.
  12. Cynthia Talbot (2015). The Last Hindu Emperor: Prithviraj Cauhan and the Indian Past, 1200–2000. Cambridge University Press. p. 33-35. ISBN   9781107118560.
  13. Irfan Habib (2002). Essays in Indian History. Anthem Press. p. 90. ISBN   978-1-84331-061-7.
  14. David Ludden (1999). An Agrarian History of South Asia. Cambridge University Press. p. 4. ISBN   978-0-521-36424-9.
  15. Buddha Prakash 1965, p. 182.
  16. R. K. Dikshit 1976, p. 72.
  17. Roma Niyogi 1965, p. 51-52.
  18. R. B. Singh 1964, pp. 100-102.
  19. H. A. Phadke 1990, p. 87.
  20. Dasharatha Sharma 1959, p. 45.
  21. P. C. Roy 1980, pp. 93-94.
  22. 1 2 3 Upinder Singh 2008, p. 570.
  23. P. C. Roy 1980, p. 95.
  24. Alexander Cunningham 1871, p. 141-145.
  25. Alexander Cunningham 1871, p. 149.
  26. Jagbir Singh 2002, p. 28.