productive capacities at an unprecedented rate. In this context, dynastic elites
enriched themselves with tribute and taxes. They used their wealth on
projects of interest to local elites, such as building temples and monasteries,
conducting rituals, extending irrigation, supporting learned monks and
Brahmins, protecting farms and towns against robbers, defending territory
against incursions and sending armies to bring tribute from other areas. Local
elites paid taxes and tribute to sustain their own local powers over land and
labour, and they invested jointly with rulers to increase the productivity of
land. Local elite involvement in dynastic order deepened a dynasty’s local
support in its core region and sustained its longevity. All the major medieval
dynasties significantly shaped local elite identities, most of which continued
into the modern period.
General Pattern of Regional Polities
The organisation of political systems varied from region to region and
changed over time, but contemporary records suggest certain general
  Dynasties grew as rising kings subordinated existing local elites and
  officially recognised their stature in public ceremonies. Replacing old
  local rulers in the lower ranks of sovereignty was fraught with risk
  because it threatened alliances around them. Local alliances gave local
  strength to rising dynasties and aspiring kings thus strove to strengthen
  them by bestowing titles and honors on their leadership. Dynastic lineages
  competed with one another for supremacy over locals, who were often
  pressed and courted by more than one ruler and often recognised more
  than one sovereign. Multiple sovereignties formed ranked layers as a king
  (raja) became a great king (maharaja) or “king of kings”
  (maharajadhiraja), by adding the names of more subordinate rulers
  (samantas) to the list of those who bowed to him. As a result, local people
  often bowed to a raja who bowed to a bigger raja, and so on, up the ranks.
  The bigger any raja became, the more he received obeisance from people
  who also recognised other rajas.