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In the north, the great dynasties were the Gurjara-Pratīhāras, whose empire at its greatest equalled that of the Guptas; the Pālas, who ruled chiefly over northeastern India; and various other dynasties, such as the Kalacuris, the Candelas, and the Paramāras of north central India, the Cāhamānas of Rājasthān, the Cālukyas of Gujarāt.In the Deccan, also, several dynasties rose and fell, the most powerful of which were the Cālukyas of Bādāmi, the Rāṣṭrakūṭas, and the Cālukyas of Kalyāṇī.They were often at war not only with their powerful neighbours to the north but also with the great Pallava and Cōḻa kingdoms of southern India.

The existence of this style is evidence of the essential cultural unity of the subcontinent and to the uninterrupted contact between the various geographical units, at least from the historical period onward.The various faiths, however, existed in comparative harmony; and Buddhist and Jaina monuments continued to be built, though most of the surviving works are Hindu.Although the effects of constant struggle were not as devastating as one might expect, largely as a result of the institutionalization of war and its confinement to appropriate castes, the Hindu kingdoms fell easy prey to the Islāmic invasions, which began as early as the 8th century Vijayanagara dynasty, but with its collapse almost all of India fell under various degrees of Islāmic hegemony.The earliest urban culture of the subcontinent is represented by the ), which possessed several flourishing cities not only in the Indus Valley but also in Gujarāt and Rājasthān.The circumstances in which this culture came to an end are obscure.

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