Rathores, one of the traditionally listed thirty six Rajput clans, have two prominent accounts of their origin. The earliest account narrates that Rathores are the descendants of the regal Rastrakutas’ dynasty from southern India. Rashtrakutas, themselves, had a long ranging history and are said to be rulers of the greatest empire in contemporary India. In fact, scholars believe Rashtrakutas to be among the four largest empires across the globe.
However when it comes to their connection with the royal Rathore clan of Rajasthan, it becomes of matter of debate, most of the scholars siding with the account that affirms Rathores to be the descended from the rulers of Kannauj.
To solve the enigma, help can be taken from the genealogy chart of Rathores, which interestingly can be traced to the mighty Suryavamshi (Kshatriyas or warriors claiming descent from Surya, the sun god) clan of pre-historic India.
According to the chart, Rathores are the descendants of the great King Jayachand (or Jayachandra) of Gahadwala dynasty. Gahadwalas had ruled the once resplendent kingdom of northern India, Kannauj, for almost two centuries, beginning from late 1060s. Nearing the end of twelfth century, Prithviraj III became a prominent power in all of Northern India, and an obvious peril for the King Jayachand of Gahadwal dynasty.
In the end, however, the kingdom fell into the hands of Muhammad Ghori, and King Jayachanda died in the battle against him. Eighteen years later, the descendants of Jayachanda took refuge in Pali, having received an invitation from the ruler of the place, while travelling westward to Dwarka as pilgrims of their venerated Lord Krishna.
The journey of the progeny of King Jayachand, from indwellers to the political power (again), had begun when Rao Siha became the ruler of Pali in mid- thirteenth century, earning the title of Rao. From thereon, the Rathore (Rao) clan covered the greatest part of Rajasthan, that too within just four generations.
This record clearly affirms the narration of the second account of Rathores’ origin, but about the first one, that claims them to be the successors of Rashtrakutas, we have to follow the lineage of the latter. Rashtrakutas were the mighty rulers of the deccan plateau and all of the southern region of India.
It is known that the Rashtrakuta dynasty has grown towards northward and there they have taken varied names. Famous among these northern Rashtrakutas are the Rashtrakutas of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Kannauj. And indeed, the Rashtrakutas of Kannauj had taken the name Gahadwal! So yes, Rathores are, in fact, the descendants of the rulers of Kannauj, who in turn were the successors of the great Rashtrakuta dynasty. These records make up the bridge and confirm the authenticity of both the accounts of Rathores’ origin.