Pallava Dynasty: Origin And Rulers - NCERT Notes For UPSC IAS

The Pallavas appeared as a powerful force in the South in the fourth century AD and reached their peak in the seventh century AD. They were able to maintain their dominion for almost 500 years. They constructed huge cities, learning centers, temples, and sculptures, and impacted the culture of much of Southeast Asia.

Pallavas Important Facts :

1. Who established the Pallava Dynasty?

The identity of the Pallava dynasty's founder is unknown, although the Pallavas' ascent in the final quarter of the sixth century is attributed to Simha Vishnu.

2. Who was the most powerful ruler of the Pallava Dynasty?

Mahendravarman I is regarded as the Pallavas' greatest ruler. His reign was highlighted by several architectural and literary achievements that would establish the groundwork for future South Indian art and                      culture.

3. What is the name of Pallavas' capital?

 Kanchipuram was the Pallavas' capital. 

4. What were Pallavas' temples like?

Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram and Kanchi Kailasanathar Temple in Kanchipuram are two well-known temples built during the reign of the Pallavas.

Pallava Dynasty Political History: 

  1. The Pallavas' origins are shrouded in obscurity. Historians have proposed numerous explanations.
  2. Some historians believe they are a branch of the Parthian people (an Iranian tribe) who eventually moved to South India.
  3. Some claim they are an indigenous dynasty that formed in the Southern area and was made up of several tribes.
  4. Some researchers claim they are Nagas who settled in the Tondaimandalam district near Madras.
  5. Another theory is that they are descended from a Chola prince and a Naga princess of Manipallavam (an island off Jaffna, Sri Lanka).
  6. Others believe that the Pallavas were feudatories of the Satavahanas.
  7. The first Pallava rulers reigned around the start of the fourth century AD. By the seventh century AD, three kingdoms vied for supremacy in southern India: the Chalukyas of Badami, the Pandyas of Madurai, and the Pallavas of Kanchipuram.

The Pallava Dynasty's Scope:

  1. The Pallava Dynasty ruled over a large expanse, with Kanchipuram serving as the capital.
  2. Their provinces stretched from the northern side of Andhra Pradesh to the River Kaveri in the southern section of the state.
  3. The Pallava hegemony reduced the Cholas to a borderline state in the 7th century.
  4. Vatapi (Badami) was conquered by the Pallava ruler Narasimhavarman, who defeated the Chalukyas.
  5. The Pandyas, Chalukyas, and Pallavas together crushed the Kalabhra uprising. The Kalabhras were rising against the countless land concessions (Brahamadeya) made to Brahmanas by the three Brahmanic rulers.

Pallava Empire rulers:

Many great and amazing leaders governed the Pallava Dynasty. Let us take a look at these great kings and reflect on their accomplishments.

Sivaskanda Varman -  

  • The greatest of the early rulers. ruled at the start of the fourth century AD
  • Ashwamedha and other Vedic sacrifices were performed.

Simhavarman/Simhavishnu (reigned from 575 to 600 AD). - 

  • was a Buddhist.
  • Sri Lanka was included in his empire.
  • Defeated the incumbent Tamil ruler. Pallava's history takes on a distinct character after this reign.

 Mahendravarman (reigned 600–630 AD) -

  • Simhavishnu, his father, was succeeded.
  • He was a poet who wrote the poems Vichitrachita and Mahavilasa Prahasana.
  • He popularised rock-cut temple architecture.
  • Was once a Jain who converted to Saivism.
  • Had a running feud and conflicts with Pulakesin II of the Chalukya dynasty.
  • Mahendravarman was killed in combat against the Chalukyas. He was a capable and effective ruler.

Narasimhavarman  (630-668 A.D.) -

  • Mahendravarman's son and successor.
  • The most powerful of the Pallavas. Known as Narasimhavarman Mahamalla/Mamalla.
  • In 642 AD, he defeated and murdered Pulakesin II. He conquered Vatapi, the Chalukya capital, and acquired the title 'Vatapikonda.'
  • The Cholas, Cheras, and Pandyas were also defeated.
  • He dispatched a naval expedition to Sri Lanka and restored Sinhalese Prince Manivarma to power.
  • He established the city of Mamallapuram, also known as Mahabalipuram, which bears his name.
  • Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava kingdom during his rule in around 640 AD and portrays the inhabitants as cheerful.
  • He also claims that agricultural items were plentiful.
  • During his reign, great Nayannar saints like Appar, Tirugnanasambandar, and Siruthondar flourished.
  • His son Mahendravarman II, who reigned from 668 to 670 AD, succeeded him.

Later rulers -

  • After Mahendravarman II, his son Parameswaravarman ascended to the throne.
  • Kanchipuram was occupied by the Chalukyas during his reign.
  • Nripatunga was a powerful monarch who conquered a Pandya ruler.
  • There were a few of additional rulers. Aparajitavarman, the Pallava dynasty's final emperor, was slain in combat with the Cholas.