The chief events of Harsha's reign can be briefly stated. Harsha on coming to the throne set himself to bring the whole of Aryavarta under his sway, which he did in some cases by conquest, in some cases by alliance as with Madhava-Gupta of Magadha and Kumara of Kamarupa. Nepal and Kashmir were also within his empire,
While his authority north of the Vindhyas was complete Harsha's arms met with a definite set back when he advanced towards the south. The emperor of Aryavarta was opposed and defeated on the banks of the Tapti by pulakesin II, the monarch of Chalukyas, who himself assumed the title of emperor on the basis of his victory over Harsha. After the defeat at the hands of Pulakesin, he seems to have turned more to the arts of peace. Himself a dramatist and a poet of great distinction, Harsha's court attracted the greatest writers of the day, like Bana, Mayura, Hardatta and Jayasena. The Chinese pilgrim lived at his court and we have there fore a trustworthy description of the life of the times.
In his personal religion Harsha was a follower of the Buddha; but as in the case of other Buddhist kings he remained a Hindu. In his own books it is to Shiva that he prays. Daily he fed five hundred brahmins along with a thousand Buddhist monks. At allceremonial festivals of the king, Shiva and Vishnu received full honours along with the Buddha.
However, artificial glow illumines the reign of Harsha. It is important to note that Harsha's empire was one which was composed of powerful independent monarchs, who accepted the suzerainty of Harsha more as a personal homage than as subordiation to an empire. The great dynasty of the Maukharis, though allied to that of Harsha, ruled over the eastern portion fo their hereditary dominions. Madhava-Gupta of Magadha was a powerful monarch. The Maitrekas of Vallabhi and Kumara Bhaskara of Kamarupa were hardly vassals of the empire. The only thing is that all of them recognized the personal greatness of Harsha and accepted him as a suzerain. Thus, his dazzling personality alone gave a semblance of unity to the empire which extended from the Indus to the Brahmaputra.