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Harsha – Division of the Empire

Division of the Empire

  • The empire was divided into several provinces.
  • The actual number of such provinces is not known.
  • Each province was divided into Bhuktis.
  • And each Bhukti was divided into several Vishayas.
  • They were like the districts.
  • Each vishaya was further divided into Pathakas.
  • Each such area was divided into several villages for the sake of administrative convenience.
  • Harsha Charita refers to a number of officials who took care of the local administration.
  • Only their titles are known.
  • What they did isn’t available in Harsha Charita.
  • We learn that bhogapathi, ayuktha, pratpalaka-purusha and the like looked after the local administration.

Cities and Towns

  • Hieun Tsang describes the structure, aesthetics and safety measures of the cities, towns and villages of India.
  • In his view, India was the land of innumerable villages, numerous towns and big cities like China.
  • He pointed out that Pataliputra lost its prominence and its place was taken by Kanauj.
  • The elegance of Kanauj with its lofty structures, beautiful gardens and the museum of rare collections is described.
  • The refined appearance of its residents, their costly dressings and love for learning and art are also pointed out in his account.
  • Most of the towns, according to Hieun Tsang, had outer walls and inner gates.
  • Though the walls were wide and high, the streets and lanes were narrow.
  • Residential houses had balconies made of wood and coated with lime mortar.
  • Floors were smeared with cow dung for the purpose of purity and hygiene.
  • Big mansions, public buildings and Buddhist monasteries and viharas were magnificent multi-storeyed structures.
  • They were built of kiln-fired bricks, red sandstone and marble.
  • Harsha constructed a large number of viharas, monasteries and stupas on the bank of the Ganges.
  • Harsha built charitable institutions for the stay of the travellers, and to care for the sick and the poor.
  • Free hospitals and rest houses (dharmasalas) in all the towns were constructed where the travellers or the outsiders could stay.
  • Hospitals were built to provide medical treatment free of charge.

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