District). The original limits of Gopala’s kingdom are difficult to determine,
but it seems that he consolidated his authority over almost the whole of
Bengal. Gopala was an ardent Buddhist and is supposed to have built the
monastery of Odantapuri (modern Bihar Sharif).
Dharmapala Gopala was succeeded by his son Dharmapala who raised the
Pala kingdom to greatness. Soon after his accession Dharmapala was
involved in a struggle with the two main powers—the Pratiharas and the
Rashtrakutas. The Pratihara ruler, Vatsaraja defeated Dharmapala in a battle
which probably took place somewhere in the Gangetic Doab. But before
Vatsaraja could reap the fruits of victory, he was defeated by the Rashtrakuta
king Dhruva. Thereafter Dhruva defeated Dharmapala and a little later left for
the Deccan.
    Despite these reverses, Dharmapala gained more than what he had
anticipated. With the defeat of the Pratihara power and the retreat of the
Rashtrakutas, Dharmapala could dream of building up a mighty empire.
Dharmapala installed Chakrayudha on the throne of Kanauj.
    The Pala empire under Dharmapala was fairly extensive. It comprised
Bengal and Bihar, directly ruled by him. Besides, the kingdom of Kanauj was
a dependency, ruled by Dharmapala’s own nominee. Beyond Kanauj there
were a large number of vassal states in the Punjab, Rajputana, Malwa and
Berar whose rulers acknowledged Dharmapala as their overlord.
    Dharmapala’s triumphant career was soon challenged by his Pratihara
adversary, Nagabhatta II, who conquered Kanauj and drove away
Dharmapala’s protege Chakrayudha. A struggle for supremacy between the
two rivals became inevitable. The Pratihara ruler advanced up to Monghyr
and defeated Dharmapala in a pitched battle. But Dharmapala was again
rescued by the timely intervention of the Rashtrakuta king Govinda III to
whom he might have appealed for aid. After a reign of 32 years Dharmapala
died, leaving his extensive dominions unimpaired to his son Devapala.
                    PATRONAGE OF BUDDHISM
  As a Buddhist, Dharmapala founded the famous mahavihara of
  Vikramasila near Bhagalpur. He is also credited with the construction of a
  vihara at Somapura (Paharpur).       According to Taranatha, Dharmapala