Southern Kingdom: Pallavas and Chalukyas

We have read about the age of Satvahanas and the age of Chola, Chera and Pandya. Now we will read about the another important South Indian kingdom ie kingdom of Pallavas and Chalukyas. As we have seen that the Satvahanas were the ruler of Deccan Region. And Cheras, Cholas and Pandya ruled over the deep south region.

Now in about the 7th Century AD, Pallavas of Kanchipuram, Chalukyas of Vatapi or Badami and Pandyas of Madurai was the southern powers. During their period the Dravidian Temple architecture flourished in the Southern India. The age of Pallavas, Chalukyas and Pandyas is famous for the magnificent temples they built during their rule.

Pallavas Kingdom

Map of Pallavas
Map of Pallavas

The Pallava Kingdom was situated in the Tamilnadu region of present India. The actually captured the Chola Empire and ruled for some time until the Great Rajaraja Chola recaptured his throne. The Pallava is a Sanskrit word meaning Clambering Plant. The Tamil word for the same is Tondai. Pallava Rulers ruled over the region of Southern Andhra and Northern Tamilnadu.

Temple of Pallavas at Mahabalipuram
Temple of Pallavas at Mahabalipuram

The Kanchipuram was the Capital of Pallavas. They built many magnificent temples in their capital city. During the period of Pallavas, the temples were the Education Centres. The Kadambas and Gangas were the contemporary of the Pallavas. Both had the conflict with the Pallava Empire.

Kadamba Kingdom

The Kadambas were the ruler of the Northern Karnataka and Konkan region in the 4th Century. As the all southern rulers were of the Brahmanical religion. So, as the Kadamba Rulers were also Brahmanas. The founder of Kadamba Kingdom was Mayursharman. It is said that he was the greatest king of Kadamba Dynasty.

Kadambas once defeated Pallavas but Pallava Rulers soon recognised the authority of Kadambas. The capital of Kadambas was Vaijanyanti or Banavasi in the Karnataka. However, both the Pallava and Kadamba rulers did many Vedic sacrifices to improve their influence over the Brahmanas.

Southern Indian States of Ancient India
Southern Indian States of Ancient India

Gangas Kingdom

The Gangas were the other contemporary of the Pallava and Kadamba Rulers. They ruled over southern Karnataka region. The Empire of the Gangas was in between the Empire of Kadambas and Pallavas. The capital city of the Gangas was Kolar. They also made land grants to the Jaina Monks.


Although we see that the most of the ruler of the south India were following the Brahmanism. But they were also tolerant to other religion. Sometimes, when I read news like that India is not a tolerant country. I really feel sad, because we were the only country in the who had respected all the religions before there was any understanding of religions.

We are the only country, who follows the principle of Live and Let Live. Anyways, it will take a time to understand and accept all these things as we are certainly living in the world of dangerous politics. In which politicians manipulate our thoughts according to their will. Though politicians are not only responsible for this, we are also responsible for this.

Chalukya Kingdom

Chalukyan Empire
Chalukyan Empire

They were the most influential rulers of south India for about 2 Centuries. Chalukyas claimed their descent either from Brahma or Manu. They too claimed to belong from Brahmin family. Chalukyan rulers did many royal sacrifices to prove their legitimacy.

The Vatapi or Badami (Karnataka) was the capital of the Chalukyan kingdom. Chalukyan King Pulkeshin-II was mentioned for his deeds in Aihole Inscription by his court poet Ravikirti. Pulkeshin-II was the most important Chalukyan ruler, who stopped the southern campaign of Harsha.

Chalukyan Rulers always had a conflict with the Pallava rulers over the fertile land between the river Krishna and Tungabhadra.

Chalukya v/s Pallavas

Conflict over the Region between Krishna and Tungabhadra

Conflict between Chalukyas and Pallavas over the Raichur Doab
Conflict between Chalukyas and Pallavas over the Raichur Doab

Though the Chalukyas and Pallavas both were of the Brahmanical origin. But they did many royal sacrifices and gave land grants to Brahmins to have influence. They fought for the resources and supremacy over the region of Krishna-Tungabhadra Doab (region between two rivers).

This Doab was a bone of contention between Vijayanagar Empire and the Bahamani Kingdom. (We are going to read about these two kingdoms in Medieval Indian History). Geographically it is the region of fertile soil and many resources. Though Chalukyas were the rulers of Raichur Doab. But Pallavas always tried to cross their borders to have access to the region of Chalukyas.

The great Chalukyan Ruler Pulkeshin-II defeated Pallavas more than once. So, finally, Pallava Rulers did a boundary agreement with the Chalukyan Rulers. According to which they promised not to cross northern border of Pallava Empire.

Chalukyan Invasion in Pallava Territory

In the 610 CE, Pulkeshin-II conquered the entire are between Krishna and Godavari. This area became the Vengi province of Chalukyas. So, this was the attack on the sovereignty of Pallavas as it was their territory. So, now the Pallava ruler Narasimhavarma (630-668 CE) fought with valour and conquered the region up to the Chalukan capital Vapati or Badami.

After this victory over the Chalukyan capital, Narsimhavarman adopted the title of Vatapikonda (meaning Conquerer of Vatapi). The conflict between the Chalukyas and Pallavas re-emerged in the 8th Century. This time Chalukyan King Vikramaditya-II (733-745 CE) not only reoccupied their capital but also completely eliminated Pallavas.

However, this victory of Vikramaditya-II did not last for many years. Soon, the feudatory of Chalukyas ie Rashtrakutas overthrew the Chalukyan Empire. In the 757 CE, the new Southern Kingdom came into the scene and it was Rashtrakuta kingdom.

From here we move into the Medieval India. From the next post, we will read about the Medieval Indian History.

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