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Medieval History of Jammu and Kashmir

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Medieval History of Jammu and Kashmir marks the period of many rulers and dynasties. It was a period of Hindu rulers, Muslim rulers as well as Mughal rulers. Thus, the medieval period of the state saw many unpredictable changes.

After the end of the Karkota dynasty (around 855-856 AD) in early period, many new dynasties emerged in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. These are discussedbelow:

Utpala Dynasty (855-939 AD)

This dynasty was founded by Avantivarman (855-883 AD) in 855 AD. He was the most important ruler of this dynasty who restored peace back in Kashmir from Utter political and economic disorder. 

According to Kalhana, Avantivarman built many towns and temples along with providing a strong administration in Kashmir. Among these was his capital city Avantipura in which he also established two temples, one dedicated to Shiva and other to Vishnu.

During his reign, ‘Suya’ was counted among the best engineers of Kashmir, who founded Suyyapur (present Sopore town in Baramulla district). After the death of Avantivarman (883 AD), his son Shankarvarman succeeded the throne. It was the period when the decline ofUtpala dynasty set in and civil war started in the dynasty.

Brahminic Rule (939-948 AD)

After the downfall of Utpala Dynasty, the Brahmins (a religious community of Hindus) became powerful. Council ofBrahmins placed Yashaskara on the throne of Kashmir in 939 AD. He restored peace in Kashmir and ended the long term Civil War in the Utpala dynasty. After him, Sangramadeva (948 AD) became the king but he was murdered by the minister Parvagupta, which abruptly ended the Brahminic rule.

Gupta Rule (948-1003 AD) 

Parvagupta became the ruler of Kashmir in 948 AD but ruled only for 2 years. After his death, his son Kshenagupta (950-958 AD) ascended the throne. He married the daughter of Lohara King, Princess Didda. She was the real ruler of Gupta Dynasty. She built many temples, monasteries in the state and provided an able administration. She ascended the throne in 980 AD after the death ofher husband. She was an able ruler who firmly ruled the Kashmir valley. 

Before her death she handed over the throne ofKashmir to the Lohara ruler (Poonch), SangramRaj, son ofher brother Udairaj, in 1003 AD.Mahmud Ghaznavi twice tried to capture the valley during the period of Didda but could not succeed.

Lohara Dynasty (1003-117 AD) 

This dynasty was centred at Lohran and was founded by SangramRaj (1003-28 AD). Another ruler of this dynasty was Harsha (1089-1101 AD) who was a patron of art and literature. He and his son, Bhoja were strong rulers but were treacherously killed by their Generals Uchchala and Sussala and the throne was passed into their hands.

Jaisimha (1128-55 AD) was the last great ruler of this dynasty and during his period Kalhana completed his historical text Rajatarangini (1148-50AD). Jaisinha firmly ruled for 27 years and established peace in Kashmir. The last ruler of this dynasty was Vanitadeva, who died in 1171 AD. After his death there was political unrest and chaos.

Deva Dynasty (1171-1339 AD) 

This dynasty ruled over Kashmir from 1171 to 1371 AD. Sangramdev and Sahdev were notable kings of this dynasty. During the reign of Sahdev (1301-1320 AD), Kashmir was invaded by a Tratar Chief (Mongol), Dulucha, from Central Asia. He committed many types of atrocities in Kashmir. Due to this, Sahdev fled from the country. Rinchan (1320-23 AD), a Ladakhi prince, seized the throne who embraced Islam and became the first Muslim ruler ofKashmir and changed his name as ‘Sultan Sadruddin’. He died in 1323 AD. 

After his death, his Queen Kota Rani married the Deva ruler Udayanadeva, (brother ofSahdev). Udayanadeva was the last Hindu ruler ofKashmir. His queen Kota Rani ruled the dynasty bravely but due to an uprising against her by ShahMir (Minister ofRinchan) the dynasty came to an end in 1339 AD and paved the way for the establishment of Shah Mir dynasty in Kashmir.

Shah Mir Dynasty (1339-1555 AD)

This dynasty was founded by Shah Mir who became ruler of Kashmir (1339-1342 AD) under the title ‘Sultan Shams-ud-din.’ In this period, Islam was established in Kashmir.

Most important rulers of this period were Sultan Shihab-ud-din (1354-1373 AD) and Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1420-1470 AD).

Sultan Shihab-ud-din

He was a great ruler who led many campaigns and conquered many regions like Sindh, Kabul, Ghazni, Kandhar, Pakhali, Swat,Multan, Badakhshan, Dardistan, Gilgit, Balochistan and Ladakh. He faced an invasion of the ruler ofKashgar (Central Asia) who later claimed Ladakh and Baltistan. Sultan of Kashmir led an army towards Delhi, he conquered Kangra during the expedition. He was ultimately opposed by Ferozshah Tughlaq on the banks of Sutlej

Later, it was decided that all the territory from Sirhind to Kashmir was part ofKashmir. Sultan Shihab-ud-din founded a new town and named it as Shihab-ud-din Pora (now Shadipur). Due to his good administration, he is known as Lalitaditya of Medieval Kashmir.

Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin

He became ruler of Kashmir from 1420-1470 AD. He was a great muslim ruler, who with the help ofhis huge army re-conquered Punjab,Western Tibet, Ladakh, Balti region, Kulu and Ohind (Hazara) regions. He had cordial relations with his neighbouring rulers ofMacca, Jilan, Egypt, Gwalior, Sindh, Bengal, Tibet, Gujarat, Malwa and Delhi. Jonaraja (Kashmiri historian poet) and his disciple Srivara Pandita wrote Dvitiya Rajatarangini and Jaina or Tritiya Rajatarangini respectively during his period.

He opened a royal Kitchen for Hindu pilgrims at Rainawari which is now known as Jogi Lanker (Srinagar). He built a new city called Nowshaderi. He also founded the towns of Zainapur, Zainakut and Zainagir. He built the first wooden bridge at Srinagar, ‘Zainakadal’.

With the death of Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin (1470 AD), the Shah Mir dynasty also started to decline due to weak rulers. The last ruler of this dynasty was Habib-Shah (1555 AD). He was dethroned by his commander Ghazi Chak who was a Military General.

Chak Dynasty (1555-1586 AD) 

This dynasty was founded by Mohammad Ghazi Shah Chak in 1555 AD. He was the son of Lankar Chak (from Dard territory) who came to Kashmir during the reign ofSahdev. 

Chaks originally belonged to Dard territory of Gilgit Huza area. Chak rulers prevented the attempts of Mughal rulers like Babur and Humayun to annex Kashmir.

Yusuf Shah Chak became ruler after his father Ali Shah Chak from 1579 to 1586 AD. He was brought to Delhi for talks with Akbar but imprisoned by him in Bihar where he died. After his death, his son Yaqub Shah Chak became the ruler of Kashmir. He tried to resist the Mughal army but was defeated by the army, under Qasim Khan, at Haripura. Thus, the Mughal rule was established in Kashmir in 1587 AD.

Mughal Rule in Jammu and Kashmir 

The Mughal Emperor Akbar conquered Kashmir in 1586 AD. The Mughals remained in power in Kashmir from 1587 to 1752 AD. ImportantMughal rulers who ruledKashmir were as follows:


After acquiring the reign of Kashmir in 1587, Akbar assigned the task to make a revenue settlement of the valley to Raja Todermal, the great Finance and Revenue Minister.

Even the parbat revenue settlement system of the valley is based on this early revenue settlement. In 1590 AD, Akbar built the Hari Parbat Fort in Srinagar and built a new town near it called Nagar-Magar. Kashmir was very famous among Mughals due to its beauty and craftsmanship.


Kashmir came under the rule of Jahangir in 1605 AD. He visited Kashmir 13 times. As he was an art lover, he built many famous gardens in Kashmir, e.g. Nishat Bagh, Shalimar Bagh on the banks ofDal lake. He also built gardens at Achabal and Verinag.


Kashmir came under the rule of Shahjahan in 1628 AD. He was also an art lover who built Chashme Shahi garden through his Governor Ali Mardan Khan in 1632 AD. A portion ofShalimar Bagh was also built by Shahjahan. He also added some features in the Verinag garden like fountains and cascades, etc.


Kashmir came under the rule of Aurangzeb, in 1658 AD. His reign was a period of revolts, anarchy and disorder in the country. The same happened in Kashmir where Mughal Governors began to loot people and many people started a policy of religious intolerance and fanaticism. According to Francis Bernier, a French traveller, who accompanied the Emperor during his journey, Aurangzeb visited Kashmir only once in 1665 AD. The Mughal rulers after Aurangzeb were incapable and thus, lost their huge empire and Kashmir as well.


1 After the end of Karkota dynasty which dynasty established its rule in Jammu and Kashmir?
(a) Utpala Dynasty 
(b) Lohara Dynasty 
(c) Deva Dynasty 
(d) All of the above

2 Who founded the Utpala dynasty in Kashmir?
(a) Avantivarman 
(b) Yashaskardeva 
(c) Sangramdeva 
(d) Didda

3 Which of the following are the two important temples built by Avantivarman in Avantipura? 
(a) Shiva and Ram 
(b) Vishnu and Ram 
(c) Shiva and Vishnu 
(d) Krishna and Ram

4 The town of Sopore in Baramulla was found during which dynasty in Kashmir? 
(a) Deva Dynasty 
(b) Shah Mir Dynasty 
(c) Utpala Dynasty 
(d) Lohara Dynasty

5 King Yashakara ruled between which period in Kashmir? 
(a) AD 939-948 
(b) AD 938-947 
(c) AD 939-947 
(d) AD 938-948

6 Queen Didda who ruled Kashmir from 980-1003 AD belonged to which dynasty? 
(a) Lohara Dynasty 
(b) Deva Dynasty 
(c) Shah Mir Dynasty 
(d) Gupta Dynasty

7 Sangram Raj was the son of 
(a) Queen Didda 
(b) Udairaj 
(c) Yashovati
(d) Sugandha

8 Who was the founder ofLohara dynasty?
(a) Queen Didda 
(b) Sangram Raj 
(c) Udairaj 
(d) Jaisimba

9 During the reign of which ofthe following Hindu king in Kashmir, Kalhana completed ‘Rajatarangini’? 
(a) Harsha 
(c) Jaisimha
(b) Bhoja 
(d) Udairaj

10 When did Kalhana completed his writing
(a) AD 1089-01 
(b) AD 1148-50 
(c) AD 1129-30 
(d) AD 1128-29

11 Who amongst the following was a notable king of the Deva dynasty in Kashmir? 
(a) Sangramdev 
(b) Sahdev 
(c) Both (a) and (b) 
(d) None of the above

12 The first Muslim ruler ofKashmir was 
(a) Sultan Sadruddin 
(b) Ferozshah Tughlaq 
(c) Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin 
(d) Akbar

13 Who was the last Hindu ruler ofKashmir? 
(a) Sahdev 
(c) Harsha
(b) Udayanadeva 
(d) Bhoja

14 Who was the first ruler of Shah Mir dynasty? 
(a) Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin 
(b) Shah Mir 
(c) Akbar 
(d) None of the above

15 Which ruler assume the title of Sultan Shams-ud-din? 
(a) Shah Mir 
(b) Zain-ul-Abidin 
(c) Akbar 
(d) Aurangzeb

16 Shahib-ud-din Pora, founded by Shihab-ud-din is now known as 
(a) Shadipur 
(c) Ladakh
(b) Srivara 
(b) Srinagar 
(d) None of these

17 Who wrote Dvitiya Rajatarangini? 
(a) Kalhana 
(b) Srivara
(c) Jonaraja
(d) None of these

18 Jogi Lanker built by Zain-ul-Abidin was a 
(a) Royal Kitchen 
(b) Royal Palace 
(c) Royal Museum 
(d) Royal Garden

19 Which of the following rulers founded the city ofNowshaderi? 
(a) Shihab-ud-din 
(b) Zain-ul-Abidin 
(c) Shah Mir
(d) None of these

20 First wooden bridge, known as Zainakadal was built at 
(a) Kashmir 
(B) Jammu
(C) Srinagar 
(d) Ladakh

21 Who succeeded SultanHabib Shah, the last Shah Mir ruler? 
(a) Gazi Chak 
(c) Qasim
(b) Habha Khatun 
(d) None of these

22 Who founded the Chak dynasty in Kashmir?
(a) Ali Shah Chak 
(b) Ghazi Shah Chak 
(c) Qasim Khan 
(d) Yusuf Shah Chak

23 Which Chak ruler was brought to Delhi for talks with Akbar but imprisoned by him in Bihar where he died?
(a) Ghazi Shah Chak 
(b) Yusuf Shah Chak 
(c) Ali Shah Chak 
(d) Yaqub Shah Chak

24 Mughal army under Qasim, defeated Shah’s army at which place? 
(a) Gilgit
(c) Sonmarg
(b) Hari Parbat 
(d) Haripura

25 Choose the correct chronological order of dynasties in Kashmir from the following 
(a) Utpala-Lohara-Deva-Shah Mir 
(b) Lohara-Utpala-Deva-Shah Mir 
(c) Lohara-Deva-Utpala-Shah Mir
(d) Utpala-Deva-Shah Mir-Lohara

26 Who amongst the following was a great finance and revenue minister during Akbar’s period in Kashmir? 
(a) Jahangir 
(b) Sultan Habib Shah 
(c) Raja Todermal 
(d) None of the above

27 Who amongst the following built the Hari Parbat Fort in Jammu and Kashmir? (
a) Shahjahan 
(b) Akbar 
(c) Jahangir 
(d) Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin 

28 Who built Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir? 
(a) Akbar
(b) Jahangir 
(c) Aurangzeb 
(d) Shahjahan

29 Chashme Shahi gardenwas built in the year 
(a) 1407 AD 
(c) 1632 AD
(b) 1560 AD 
(d) 1700 AD

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