Chalukya Dynasty

Chalukya Dynasty

Pulakesin I (543 AD – 566 AD)

  • Empire Builder: Regarded as the founder of the Chalukya empire, Pulakesin I established Vatapi (Badami) as the capital and expanded the kingdom's territories through military campaigns.

  • Royal Endeavors: Notably, Pulakesin I performed the prestigious Ashwamedha ritual, symbolizing his authority and divine mandate as a ruler.

Kirtivarman I (566 AD – 597 AD)

  • Continuation of Expansion: Son of Pulakesin I, Kirtivarman I continued his father's legacy of conquest, extending Chalukyan control into regions like KoIn the news

"Recent discoveries of Chalukyan temples in Telangana unveil the expansive reach of the dynasty's reign, shedding new light on their cultural and architectural legacy."


The Chalukya dynasty, spanning from the sixth to the twelfth centuries, stands as a paramount chapter in Indian history, witnessing the emergence of formidable empires in southern and central India. Renowned for their political prowess, the Chalukyas brought about a transformative era marked by cultural enlightenment and architectural splendor. Under their patronage, literature thrived, Vesara architecture flourished, and a vibrant intellectual milieu emerged, leaving an indelible imprint on the region's landscape. Through their enduring legacy of innovation and cultural patronage, the Chalukyas continue to fascinate and inspire generations, embodying the epitome of South Indian grandeur and achievement.

Three Chalukyan Dynasties

Badami Chalukyas

  • Earliest Dynasty: The Badami Chalukyas, originating in the mid-6th century, established their capital in Badami (Vatapi), Karnataka.
  • Pinnacle of Power: Under the reign of Pulakesin II, they reached the zenith of their power, extending their influence across southern and central India.
  • Decline and Legacy: The dynasty faced a decline following the demise of Pulakesin II in 642 AD, marking the end of an era characterized by remarkable cultural and architectural achievements.

Eastern Chalukyas

  • Formation and Capital: Emerging after the demise of Pulakesin II, the Eastern Chalukyas established their capital in Vengi.
  • Territorial Dominance: They wielded control over significant portions of the eastern Deccan until the 11th century, fostering cultural and literary advancements in the region.

Western Chalukyas

  • Descendants of Badami Chalukyas: The Western Chalukyas, tracing their lineage to the Badami Chalukyas, rose to prominence in the late 10th century.
  • Seat of Power: They ruled from Kalyani, known today as Basavakanlyan, orchestrating a cultural renaissance and architectural marvels, particularly in the realm of Vesara architecture.

Significance and Legacy

  • Cultural Flourishing: Each Chalukyan lineage contributed significantly to the cultural and architectural landscape of India, leaving behind a rich legacy of art, literature, and monumental architecture.
  • Territorial Expansion: The reign of the Chalukyas witnessed the consolidation and expansion of territories, shaping the political contours of southern and central India.
  • Historical Evolution: The succession of the three Chalukyan dynasties reflects the dynamism and evolution of power structures during medieval India, highlighting periods of conquest, consolidation, and cultural renaissance.

 Extent of the Chalukya Dynasty

Peak of Power under Pulakesin II

  • Expansionist Policies: Pulakesin II, the grandson of Pulakesin I, led the Chalukya dynasty to its zenith, asserting dominance over neighboring kingdoms such as the Kadambas, Gangas of Mysore, and Mauravas of Konkan.
  • Subjugation of Southern Kingdoms: His reign witnessed notable victories over the Chola, Chera, and Pandya kings, consolidating Chalukyan control over vast swathes of southern India.
  • Triumph over Northern Rivals: Pulakesin II's military prowess was further demonstrated by his defeat of King Harsha of Kannauj and the Pallava king Mahendravarman, solidifying Chalukyan hegemony across the subcontinent.

Founder and Early Rulers


  • Inaugural Leadership: Jayasimha stands as the progenitor of the Chalukya dynasty, laying the foundation for subsequent Chalukyan rule.

  • nkan and northern Kerala.

 Mangalesha (597 AD – 609 AD)

  • Consolidation through Conquest: As the brother of Kirtivarman I, Mangalesha further expanded Chalukyan territories by subjugating the Kadambas and the Gangas.
  • Internal Conflict: His reign was marked by familial strife, as he met his demise at the hands of his nephew, Pulakesin II, highlighting the complexities of succession within the Chalukyan dynasty.

Pulakesin II (609 AD – 642 AD)

  • Greatest Chalukya King: Pulakesin II, originally named Eraya, ascended to greatness as he expanded Chalukya rule across most of the Deccan.
  • Tolerance and Diplomacy: Praised by foreign traveler Xuanzang for his tolerance of Buddhism and Jainism, Pulakesin II thwarted the advances of Northern king Harsha and defeated Pallava king Mahendravarman I.
  • Fall from Power: Despite his military prowess, Pulakesin II met his demise at the hands of Mahendravarman's son, Narasimhavarman I, leading to a temporary lapse in Chalukya dominance as Badami fell under Pallava control.
  • International Relations: Notably, Pulakesin II maintained diplomatic ties with the Persian King Khusru II, as evidenced by a Persian assignment and depicted in Ajanta cave paintings.

Vikramaditya I (655 AD – 680 AD)

  • Conqueror of Kanchi: Son of Pulakesin II, Vikramaditya I left a mark on history by looting Kanchi, the capital of the Pallavas, continuing his father's legacy of territorial expansion.

Kirtivarman II (746 AD – 753 AD)

  • Final Chalukya Ruler: Kirtivarman II, the great-great-grandson of Vikramaditya I, marked the end of the Chalukya dynasty.
  • Defeat and Decline: His reign saw the ultimate defeat of the Chalukyas by the Rashtrakuta king, Dantidurga, signaling the conclusion of their rule and the dawn of a new era in Deccan politics.

Administration and Society

  • The Chalukyas boasted significant maritime prowess alongside a well-organized army, enabling them to exert influence over vast territories.
  • Despite being Hindu rulers, the Chalukyas exhibited tolerance towards Buddhism and Jainism, fostering an environment conducive to cultural and literary advancements.
  • Under Chalukyan rule, Kannada and Telugu literature flourished, attaining new heights of creativity and expression. Sanskrit, alongside local languages, thrived, with inscriptions highlighting Sanskrit as the language of the elite and Kannada as the language of the masses.

Art & Architecture

  • Cave Temples and Murals
    • The Chalukyan era witnessed the construction of cave temples adorned with both religious and secular motifs, showcasing the dynasty's patronage of the arts.
    • These temples featured intricate mural paintings, reflecting the rich cultural tapestry of the time.
  • Vesara Style Architecture
    • Chalukyan temples epitomized the Vesara style of architecture, also known as the Deccan style, Karnataka Dravida, or Chalukyan style, blending elements of Dravida and Nagara architectural styles.
    • Notable examples include the 70 temples of Aihole, attributed to Ravikirti, such as the Surya Temple, Ladh Khan Temple, and Jain Temple at Meguti.
  • Iconic Temples
    • The Badami Temples stand as iconic symbols of Chalukyan architectural grandeur, showcasing intricate carvings and sculptural details.
    • Pattadakkal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hosts temples in both Nagar and Dravida styles, including the Virupaksha and Sangameshwara temples in Dravida style and the Papanatha temple in Nagara style.


      The Chalukya dynasty stands as a monumental chapter in Indian history, characterized by remarkable achievements in politics, culture, and architecture. From the emergence of the Badami Chalukyas in the sixth century to the pinnacle of power under Pulakesin II and the subsequent rise and fall of the Eastern and Western Chalukyas, their reign witnessed significant territorial expansion, cultural flourishing, and architectural marvels. Through their tolerance towards diverse religious beliefs, patronage of literature, and development of innovative architectural styles like Vesara, the Chalukyas left an indelible legacy that continues to fascinate and inspire. Their enduring influence extends beyond the boundaries of time, embodying the spirit of South Indian grandeur and accomplishment.

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