The Age of Small Kingdoms [500 AD - 606 AD]
From the decline of the Guptas until the rise of Harshavardhana in the early seventh century, the political scene is confused and there are few records to illuminate it. Tribes of Hunas gradually moved over the mountains into North-western India. The name is etymologically related to the classical 'Huns', but they were probably only remotely connected, if at all, with the hordes of Attila. By early sixth century, Huna ruler Toramana and Mihirakula claimed Punjab and Kashmir as part of their kingdom.
Once again, India experienced migrations of
people from Central Asia and Iran. Some of them remained in northern India and
others moved further to the south and the west. This disturbance led to changes
in the caste structure, with the emergence of new sub-castes.
The rise of many small kingdoms was also due to the general confusion prevalent during this period. The northern half of the sub-continent splintered into warring kingdoms, each seeking to establish itself as a sovereign power.
The ability to create large kingdoms and empires moved south. Following the Gupta period, it was in the kingdoms of the Chalukyas, Rastrakutas, Pallavas and Cholas that Indian civilization showed its greatest vitality.