Foundation of Pala Empire
When Harsha was on zenith of his power, he is known to have exercised certain amount of control over the whole of Bengal as parts of Kamrupa (Assam). After his death , his empire quickly disintegrated and the local rajas declared their independence.
Palas were Buddhists. In around 750 AD, a Chieften named Gopala became ruler of Bengal. He founded the Pala Dynasty and all the subsequent kings of this dynasty used the last morpheme Pala in their names.
- Gopala is regarded as “First Buddhist King” of Bengal.
He had probably succeeded the Gauda rulers of Kamarupa who lost their stronghold after death of Shashanka. His father was probably a military officer in the Gaud Kingdom. Nothing much is known about Gopala’s family, some scholars believe that his forefathers came from Kamboja or Gandhara.
Towards the close of his life, after a reign of around half a century, Gopala extended his power westwards over Magadha. So Bengal and most parts of Bihar were under Palas, when Gopala died.
- Gopala was a pious Buddhist. He constructed a monastery at the Odantapuri in Bihar.
He was succeeded by his son Dharmapala, who is assigned a period of 770-810 AD.