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- Feb 2022
But in 618, to punish Pulakeshin for his audacious move on southern Gujarat, Harsha had to cross the Narmada river into the Deccan — which tilted the odds in Pulakeshin’s favour. With his control over the northern Deccan solidified by his of economic and political integration, Pulakeshin could now scout out Harsha’s route of attack and contest the northern emperor’s attempts to cross the great river. Even if Harsha’s larger were to cross the Narmada, this unwieldy force of infantry, cavalry and elephants had to enter the thickly forested Vindhya foothills in order to capture or defeat Pulakeshin — negating their advantage in numbers.
harsha battle at Narmada Vidhyas foothills
Having expanded his influence as far as Bengal, commanding the ports of India’s east coast, Harsha now wanted to control its west coast as well, linking his territories to flourishing coastal trade routes in both directions. This threat may have been the trigger for the Latas to send tribute to Pulakeshin in place. If so, it was a dangerous gambit: as one scholar puts it, ‘the sovereign of the Deccan must have considered to be his natural birthright… unlimited access to ports of the Gulf of Cambay [Khambat]’.
Gulf of Khambat
- importance of port trade in harsha and chalukya period