Harsha (c. 590–647 CE), also known as Harshavardhana, was an Indian emperor who ruled North India from 606 to 647 CE. He was a member of the Pushyabhuti dynasty; and was the son of Prabhakarvardhana who defeated the Alchon Huna invaders, and the younger brother of Rajyavardhana, a king of Thanesar, present-day Haryana. At the height of Harshas power, his Empire covered much of North and Northwestern India, extended East till Kamarupa, and South until Narmada River; and eventually made Kannauj (in present Uttar Pradesh state) his capital, and ruled till 647 CE. Harsha was defeated by the south Indian Emperor Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya dynasty when Harsha tried to expand his Empire into the southern peninsula of India.The peace and prosperity that prevailed made his court a centre of cosmopolitanism, attracting scholars, artists and religious visitors from far and wide. During this time, Harsha converted to Buddhism from Surya worship. Harsha studied in the University of Nalanda. The Chinese traveller Xuanzang visited the court of Harsha and wrote a very favourable account of him, praising his justice and generosity. His biography Harshacharita (Deeds of Harsha) written by Sanskrit poet Banabhatta, describes his association with Thanesar, besides mentioning the defence wall, a moat and the palace with a two-storied Dhavalagriha (white mansion).
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