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This post was published to IAS Help at 20:33:58 20/01/2010

Indian History #10 | Study Material::General

Studies | IAS Help

This post focuses on the early Chalukyas (6
centuries CE) of Badami.
The later Chalukyas (Western and Eastern) will be dealt with in later posts
The Chalukyas ruled large parts of central and southern India between the 6
and 12

The Chalukyas consisted of three related dynasties
o Badami Chalukyas earliest dynasty, 6
centuries CE
o Eastern Chalukyas 6
o Western Chalukyas 10
Chalukya rule was concentrated around present day Karnataka
The Chalukyas were the earliest known proponents of Kannada and were an important
contributor to the growth of Kannada language
Inscriptions from Chalukya period are mainly in Kannada and

About the Chalukyas of Badami
The Chalukya kingdom was established by Pulakesi I in 543 CE
The capital of the Chalukya kingdom was Vatapi (modern Badami)
This family of early Chalukyas is known as Chalukyas of Badami
The Chalukyas of Badami ruled over all of Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh

About Pulakesi II
Pulakesi II, the son of Pulakesi I, was the most famous Chalukya emperor
Pulakesi II defeated Harshavardhana on the banks of the Narmada and halted the
southern expansion of Harshas kingdom
Pulakesi II also extended the Chalukya kingdom up to the northern portions of the Pallava
kingdom in the south
Pulakesi II is famous for the Aihole inscription, which gives details regarding his defeat of

Chalukyas and Pallavas
The Chalukyas of Badami and the Pallavas (of
Kanchipuram) were in constant and continuous conflict
for more than 200 years
Pulakesi II defeated the Pallava king Mahendravarman I
and occupied large parts of northern Pallava kingdom
The Chalukya kingdom
under Pulakesi II (c. 630 CE)
However, Mahendravarmans son Narasimhavarman I defeated Pulakesi II, annexed large
parts of the Chalukya kingdom and occupied Badami temporarily
This was again reversed by Chalukya Vikramaditya II who defeated Pallava Nandivarman II
and carved a Kannada inscription on the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram

Architecture under the Chalukyas of Badami
The architecture of Badami Chalukyas marked an
important phase in development of South Indian architecture
Their style of architecture is also called Karnata Dravida architecture
Most of their architectural work is concentrated in small area of the Chalukyan heartland in
northern Karnataka
The earliest phase of architecture consists of cave temples at Aihole and Badami (6

century). These temples had plan exteriors but exceptionally well finished interiors including
pillared verandah, columned hall etc
The second phase was in Aihole and Badami (7
century). Important temples include: Lad
Khan Temple (Aihole), and Meguti Jain Temple, Durga Temple, Huccimalli Gudi Temple at
The final and mature phase was in Pattadakal and Badami (8
century). Famous temples
include: Bhutanatha Temples at Badami, Sangameswara, Virupaksha and Mallikarjuna
Temples at Pattadakal
Chalukya architecture is known for its
fusion of nagara and dravida architectural
Pattadakal is now a UNESCO World Heritage

The Pallavas ruled northern Tamil Nadu and all of Andhra Pradesh between the 3
and 9

centuries CE
The capital of the Pallavas was Kanchipuram
The most famous kings of the Pallavas were Mahendravarman I (600-630 CE) and
Narasimhavarman I (630-668 CE)
Throughout their reign, the Pallavas were in constant and continuous conflict with the
Chalukyas of Badami as well the Cholas and Pandiyas to the south
The Pallavas are most famous for their patronage of architecture (eg at Mahabalipuram)
Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsand visited Kanchipuram during Pallava rule and extolled their
benign rule
Pallava Simhavishnu, along with Pandya
Kadungon, are credited with ending the
much disliked Kalabhra rule in Tamil Nadu c.
600 CE
The official language of the Pallavas was Tamil, but they patronised Sanskrit and Telugu as
About Mahendravarman I (600-630 CE)
Mahendravarman I was a great patron of literature, art and architecture
Pallava territories under Narasimhavarman I (c. 650
The Virupaksha Temple at Pattadakal,
He is the author of the Sanskrit play Mattivilasa Prahasana
He was initially a Jain, but reconverted to Hinduism under the Saiva saint Appar
Mahendravarman I is considered to be the pioneer of rock cut architecture among the
He also contributed greatly to the Sanskrit dramatised dance worship Kuttiyattam
He is also credited with inventing the seven string veena called Parivadhini
About Narasimhavarman I (630-668 CE)
Narasimhavarman I was the most famous of Pallava rulers
He avenged his fathers defeat at the hands of the Chalukyas by defeating Pulakesi II in 642
CE and occupying Badami (Vatapi) temporarily. He then assumed the title Vatapikondan
Narasimhavarman I was also known by the name Mammallan (great wrestler)
The Chinese Buddhist traveller Hiuen Tsang visited Kanchipuram during his reign
The majority of the monuments at Mahabalipuram were constructed during the reign of
Narasimhavarman I
About the monuments at Mahabalipuram
The known structures at Mahabalipuram were built by Narasimhavarman I
The structures are mostly rock-cut and monolithic
The monuments are Mahabalipuram have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site
There are four main categories of
monuments at Mahabalipuram
o Ratha Temples: temples in the
form of chariots. There are five
such structures making the
Pancha Rathas
o Mandapas: cave sanctuaries
covered with bas-reliefs. There
are 11 such structures
o Rock relief: sculpted bas-relief
on rocks
o Temples: temples cut out of rock
List of important structures at Mahabalipuram
Structure Category Notes
Decent of the
Bas-relief Giant open-air relief carved out of monolithic rock
Largest open-air rock relief in the world
Interpreted to describe the descent of the river Ganges to
earth (or)
to describe the penance of Arjuna to receive a boon from
Also known as Bhagirathas Penance
Varaha Cave
Rock-cut cave
Small monolithic temple
Other cave temples include Krishna Cave Temple, Pancha
Pandava Cave Temple
Five Rathas Rock-cut temple The Pancha Rathas consist of five temples, each in the
shape of a chariot
The temples were all carved out of a single large piece of
The Descent of the Ganges at Mahabalipuram
Shore Temple Structural temple Built with blocks of granite
Sits on the shoreline of the Bay of Bengal
Unlike other temples at Mahabalipuram, this is structural
not rock-cut
It is the earliest important structural temple in southern

Recent archaeological findings at Mahabalipuram
There has been a long standing legend about the Seven Pagodas at Mahabalipuram, i.e.
seven rock temples supposedly built on the shore. Until recently, no evidence to support the
legend was found
However, the Indian Ocean Tsunami 2004 disrupted the shoreline and has exposed
previously sunken monuments at Mahabalipuram
The most significant development was the uncovering of a large lion statue on the shore,
dated to the 7
Also uncovered was a small brick structure dated to the Sangam period, before the time of
the Pallavas
Following this, the ASI and the Indian Navy explored the waters off Mahabalipuram in 2005
and found remains of two temples, one cave temple and a stone wall
Further research is awaited

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