Mihirakula, also Mahiragula, was one of the most important rulers of the Alchon Huns, who led a conquest and gained temporary control of Gandhara, Kashmir, northern and central India. Mihirakula was a son of Toramana, both of Huna heritage, and ruled the Indian part of the Hephthalite Empire. Mihirakula ruled his empire from 502 to 530, from his capital of Sagala (modern-day Sialkot, Pakistan).
According to Buddhist texts, the Huna king Mihirakula was extremely cruel and barbaric. He destroyed Buddhist sites, ruined monasteries, killed monks. Yashodharman and Gupta Empire rulers, in and after about 532 CE, reversed Mihirakula's campaign and ended the Mihirakula era.
The name "Mihirakula" is most likely of Iranian origin and may have the meaning "Mithra's Begotten", as translated by Janos Harmatta. In Sanskrit Mihira is Sun and Kula is Clan. He was thus of Suryavanshi lineage. 
According to Sagar, the Huna king Toramana was cruel and barbaric, his son Mihirakula even more so, during their rule. Mihirakula had conquered Sindh by 520 CE, had a large elephant and cavalry-driven army. Mihirakula destroyed Buddhist sites, ruined monasteries, according to Sagar. Yashodharman, about 532 CE, reversed Mihirakula's campaign and started the end of Mihirkula era. Mihirakula issued coins, like the Kushana era kings, showing Oesho or Shiva, which suggests that he may also have patronized Shaivism. Other scholars state that there are many legends surrounding this era and historical facts are difficult to ascertain. The Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (Hsuan Tsang) mentions Mihirakula as conquering Kashmir first, then Gandhara. He is also mentioned as attempting to conquer central and eastern India, but getting vanquished by Yashodharman and the Gupta king Narasimhagupta Baladitya. Mihirakula was captured during the war, but his life spared because Baladitya's mother intervened and argued against capital punishment. He returned to Kashmir, states the Chinese pilgrim, with treachery seized power, attacked Gandhara, then died within a few months.
The 6th-century Alexandrian traveler Cosmas Indicopleustes states that the Hephthalites in India reached the zenith of its power under "Gollas", which states Ahmad Dani is same as Mihirakula from the last part of his name.
"Higher up in India, that is, farther to the north, are the White Huns. The one called Gollas when going to war takes with him, it is said, no fewer than two thousand elephants, and a great force of cavalry. He is the lord of India, and oppressing the people forces them to pay tribute.
"The Record of the Western Regions" by the 7th-century Chinese traveler Hsüan-tsang states that Mihirakula destroyed Buddhism and killed monks in Gandhara. Xuanzang wrote in 630 CE that Mihirakula had conquered all India. The Narasimhagupta Baladitya defeated Mihirakula was finally captured by the Indian king, who later spared his life. Xuanzang states that while Mihirkula lost his conquest, his brother seized power in Kashmir and Gandhara. Mihirakula returned to Kashmir, with treachery seized the throne, attacked Gandhara but died within a year.
Mihirakula suffered a defeat by the Aulikara king Yasodharman of Malwa in 528, and the Gupta emperor Narasimhagupta who previously paid Mihirakula tribute. The defeat at the battle of Sondani, resulted in the loss of Alchon possessions in the Punjab and north India by 542.
|Tegin of the Alchon Huns