Pallava dynasty History, Rulers and important Facts

History of Pallava Dynasty and List of Important Facts:

Pallava Dynasty:
The Pallava dynasty was a dynasty of ancient South India. In the 4th century, he established a kingdom at Kanchipuram and ruled the Tamil and Telugu region for about 600 years. Bodhidharma belonged to this dynasty which spread meditation yoga in China. This king considered himself a Kshatriya. The outline of the early history of the Pallavas is unclear. It is believed that the Pallavas were followed by the Satavahanas. The Pallavas ruled southern Andhra and northern Tamil Nadu, with Kanchi as their capital.

The authentic history of the Pallavas is found only around the 6th century AD, since then their kingdom developed rapidly. The historical ruler of this region can be considered as Simhavishnu. It was a very powerful ruler who assumed the title of Avni Singh. He took control over the entire Cholamandal and extended his kingdom up to Kaveri. He was of Vaishnava religion.

List of Rulers of Pallava Dynasty:


Ruler's name Reign period
Sivaskanda Varman -
Vishnugopa -
Singh Vishnu (575-600 AD)
Mahendra Varman I (600-630 AD)
Narasimha Varman I (630-668 AD)
Mahendra Varman II (668-670 AD)
Parameshwara Varman I (670-695 AD)
Narasimha Varman II (695-720 AD)
Parameshwara Varman II (720-731 AD)
Nandi Varman II (731-795 AD)
Danti Varman (796-847 AD)
Nandi Varman III (847-869 AD)
Nripattunga Varman (870-879 AD)
Undefeated (879-897 AD)

Sivaskanda Varman:
Sivaskanda Varman made Kanchi his capital. The copper inscriptions of Prakrit language reveal that the first Pallava ruler was Singh Varma. We get information about the early Pallava dynasty ruler Sivaskanda Varman from Mayidvolu and Hari Haddagali copper grant letters. He is considered to be the performer of sacrifices like Agnishtom, Vajapeya and Ashwamedha etc.

Vishnugopa:
About eight rulers ruled between Vishnugopa (middle period of 4th century AD) to Singha Varma (late 6th century AD). It is clear from the description of Prayag Prashasti that, at the time when Samudragupta conquered Dakshinapatha, Kanchi was ruled by Vishnugopa. After Vishnugopa, the history of the Pallava dynasty was dark in the fifth and sixth centuries AD.

After the defeat of Vishnugupta by Samudragupta, the Pallava kingdom reached the verge of disintegration. Different rulers declared their independence in different regions and established independent branches. Among these rulers – Kumar Vishnu I, Buddha Varma, Kumar Vishnu II, Skanda Varma II, Singh Verma, Skanda Varma III, Nandivarma I and Shantivarma Chandand etc. were prominent.

Leo Vishnu:
A new chapter of Pallava history began in the time of Singh Vishnu. The great Sanskrit poet Bharavi lived in the court of Singh Vishnu. Singh Vishnu was also called Singh Vishnuyottar Yuga and Avani Singh. According to the Kashakkudi inscription, he fought with the rulers of Kalabhas, Malavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Keralas and Sinhalese. He defeated the Cholas and extended his kingdom to the mouth of the river Kaveri and only after the conquest of the Cholamandal he assumed the titles of Avani Singh and Shingvishnu Perumar. Bharavi was a follower of Vaishnavism. The Adivaraha Guha temple at Mamallapuram was built during his time. The idol of Singh Vishnu and his two queens have also been installed in this temple.


Mahendravarman:
After Simhavishnu, his son Mahendravarman became the ruler. He was very qualified. One who assumed many titles - Chetthkari, Matavilas, Vichitrachit etc. These various titles are a sign of his versatility. The Chalukya king Pulakeshin II was a contemporary of Mahendravarman. Mahendravarman fought with the Chalukya ruler Pulakeshin II. The Chalukyas had control over many parts of the north. Kanchi also went from the hands of the Pallavas. The Godavari doab which was famous as Vengi also passed to the Chalukyas. It later became the main political center of the second branch of the Chalukyas.

The power of the Pallavas remained frozen in the Dravidian region. The credit of getting the temple built by cutting rocks in architecture can be given to Mahendravarman only. He was the patron of literature, art, music etc. He himself was also the author who composed the Mattavilasa farce. This book throws light on the evils of the then religious sects Kapalika, Pashupati, Buddhist etc.


Narasimhavarman I:
After Mahendravarman, his son Narasimhavarman became the ruler. He was also very capable and majestic. As soon as he took over the rule, he had to fight with Pulakeshin II. Pulakeshin II died in this battle. Narasimhavarman captured Vatapi. As a result he received the title of Mahamalla. This gives an indication of its construction. He founded the city of Mahamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), which also became a famous port. Narasimhavaman also built seven chariot temples there which are excellent specimens of architecture. He also conducted sea campaigns against Lanka.

The purpose of this campaign was to help Marvarman and make him the ruler of Lanka. Narasimhavarman also defeated the Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas. The Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang came to India only at the time of Narasimhavarman. He has mentioned the Pallava-kingdom in his travelogue. According to Hiuen Tsang, the land of the Pallava kingdom was fertile and the people there were happy and prosperous, people were lovers of learning. According to Hiuen Tsang, there were more than 100 Buddhist viharas in Kanchi in which more than ten thousand Buddhist monks lived.

Mahendravarman II:
After the death of Narasimha Varman, his son Mahendravarman II ascended the throne but he died in 670 AD. Thus his reign lasted only for two years.


Parameshwaraman first:
After Mahendravarman II, his son Parameshwaravarman ascended the throne. During the time of Parameshwaravarman I, the Chalukya king Vikramaditya invaded the Pallava kingdom and occupied Kanchi and established his power up to the Kaveri river. But later Parameshwaravarman expelled the Chalukyas from his territory. Parameshwaravarman was the first Shaivist. He built many temples of Lord Shiva. The Ganesh temple at Mamallapuram was probably built by Parameshwaravarman himself. Parameshwaravarman I had acquired Chittamay, Gunabhajan, Shrimar and Ranjaya Visda.


Narasimhavarman II:
Narasimhavarman was the son and successor of Parameshwara Varman I. The reign of Narasimhavarman was of relatively peace and order. Narasimhavarman made good use of his peaceful rule in the development of society and culture. He built many grand temples in his kingdom. Among these temples, the Kailashnath temple of Kanchi, the so-called Shore temple of Mahabalipuram, the Airavata temple of Kanchi and the temple of Panamalai are the main ones. The inscriptions of Narasimhavarman are inscribed in all these temples. Like his father and grandfather, he had a special attachment to the visdas. More than 250 titles of him are engraved on the walls of Kailash temple alone. Sri Shankar Muld, Srivadya Vidyadhar, Sri Agampriya, Shivchudamani and Rajsingh are some of his main scholars. Along with art, he also patronized litterateurs.


Parameshwaravarman II:
Narasimhavarman was succeeded by Parameshwaravarman II. Mahakavi Dandi, the author of Dashkumaracharita, was his court poet. He established relations with China and sent his envoy there. During the reign of Chalukya ruler Vikramaditya II attacked Kanchi. Parameshwaravarman II was defeated in the battle. He died while fighting with Ganga Naresh Shri Purush. Parameshwaravarman II had no son. The ministers made prince Nandivarman Pallavamalla of another branch of the Pallavas the ruler.

Nandivarman II Pallavamal (730-795 AD) is believed to have been around the reign. Nandinavarman was a courageous and enthusiastic ruler who reorganized the Pallava power. Pallava-Chalukya conflicts also took place during his reign. The Chalukya king Vikramaditya II had captured Kanchi but Nandivarman again took control over it. Vikramaditya II attacked Kanchi thrice and ended the Pallavas rule in the far south.


Dantivarman:
From 796 AD to 846 AD is the period of Dantivarman. During this period the Pallavas fought with the Pandyas. Some parts of the Pallava kingdom went into the hands of the Pandyas. The movement also flourished during the time of Dantivarman. Famous saints Sundaramurthy and Charubhan Perumal were his contemporaries. This was also the period of the famous philosopher Shankaracharya. After Dantivarman, his son Nandivarman became the third ruler, whose period is from 545 AD to 856 AD. He fought the battle of Telllar in which the Pandyas, Gangas and Cholas were defeated together. Nandivarman III's son avenged this defeat by defeating the Pandya king Shrimal. Aparajit Varman was the last king of this dynasty.

He defeated the Pandyas but fought his last battle with Cholaraj Aditya I and received the commendation. The power of the Pallavas kingdom (Kondamandalam) gradually waned. From Nandivarman II, the Pallavas fought with the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Pandyas and Cholas. The Pallava rulers came to the status of feudatories, their kingdom was merged with the Chola Empire.

Important facts related to Pallava dynasty:

  • The initial information about the Pallava rulers of Kanchi comes from the travel details of Prayag Prashasti and Huvensan.
  • Shiva Skanda Varman was probably an early Pallava ruler. He made Kanchi his capital.
  • The history of the rise of the Pallava dynasty of Kanchi actually starts from the time of Simhavarman (550-575 AD). While the tradition of the great Pallavas begins with his son Simhavishnu (575-600 AD).
  • Simhavishnu, the son and successor of Simhavarman, is considered the real founder of the Pallava dynasty.
  • Simhavishnu assumed the title Avanisimha (Lion of the Earth).
  • Simhavishnu was a worshiper of Vishnu.
  • The Varaham temple was built at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) during the reign of Simhavishnu.
  • The great poet Bharavi, the author of the epic named Kiratarjuniyam, lives in the court of Simhavishnu.
  • After Simhavishnu, Mahendra Varman first ascended the throne.
  • Mahendra Varman I assumed many titles like Matavilas, Vichitrachit, Gunabhar and Shutramalla.
  • Mahendra Varman I had first adopted Jainism, but leaving it under the influence of Appar, he quickly adopted Shaivism.
  • Mahendra Varman I got many cave temples built.
  • Mahendra Varman was the first to propagate the art of building a temple by cutting stone stands.
  • Mahendra Varman I built monolithic temples of Brahma, Ishvara and Vishnu.
  • Temples built during the reign of Mahendra Varman I are at Trichanapally, Mahendravadi, Dalbanur and Vallam.
  • Mahendra Varman I took education from the famous musician Rudraacharya.
  • Mahendravarman I is credited with the creation of a book called Mattavilasprahasan.
  • He is also credited for the construction of the lake named Mohindra Tadag.
  • It was during this time that Bharavi composed Kiratarjuniyam.
  • After Mahendra Varman I, his son Narasimhavarman became the first ruler.
  • Narasimha Varman I killed Pulakeshin II and captured Badami and assumed the title of Vatapi code.
  • Mahabalipuram was the main port of Narasimhavarman I's kingdom.
  • Narasimha Varman I established a city named Mahamallapuram.
  • During the reign of Narasimha Varman I, the Chinese Chatri Hensang went to Kanchi.
  • After the death of Narasimhavarman I, his son Mahendravarman II became the ruler.
  • Parameshwaravarman became the first ruler after Mahendravarman II.
  • A precious jewel of the crown of Parameshwara Varman I, the necklace in which the gem named Ugradaya had to be handed over to the enemy.
  • Parameshwara Varman first believed in Shaivism.
  • Parameshwara Varman first assumed the titles of Ekamalla, Ranjay, Anantakam, Ugradanda, Gunabhajan etc.
  • Parameshwara Varman I built several Shiva temples and the Ganesha temple at Mamallapuram.
  • Parameshwara Varman I also assumed the title of Vidhavinita.
  • After the death of Parameshwara Varman I, his son Narasimha Varman II succeeded him.
  • Narasimha Varman II built the Kailashnath temple at Kanchi and the Shore temple at Mahabalipuram.
  • Dandi, a great scholar of ornamentation, probably lived in the court of Narasimhavarman for many years.
  • Narasimha Varman II sent his ambassador to China.
  • Narasimha Varman II built a Bihar for Chinese Buddhist travelers at Nagapatam.
  • Parameshwara Varman II became the ruler after Narasimha Varman II.
  • At a place called Villada, the Ganga king killed Parameshwara Varman II and took over the Pallava kingdom along with the title of Parmanadi.
  • The officials of the capital elected Nandivarman II, the son of Hiranyavarman, as their king from the Dhtika (Pundit, Brahmin class) and another branch of the
  • Pallava dynasty with the consent of the public.
  • Nandivarman II had a war with the Rashtrakuta ruler Dantidurga, but over time both of them got into a treaty and matrimonial relations were also established, he was married to Rekha, the daughter of Rashtrakuta ruler.
  • Nandivarman was a second Vaishnava believer.
  • Nandivarman II built the Mukteshwara temple at Cauchy and the Baikuth Perumal temple.
  • The famous Vaishnava saint Tirumangai Alvar was his contemporary.
  • Nandivarman II was succeeded by his son Dantivarman on the throne.
  • Dantivarman rebuilt the Partha Sarathi temple at Triplicane near Madras.
  • Dantivarman also believed in Vaishnavism. In one of the inscriptions he is called an incarnation of Vishnu.
  • After Dantivarman, his son Nadivarman became the third ruler. He tried to recover the lost prestige of his dynasty.
  • Nandivarman III defeated the army of Pandyas in many battles and became the lord of the territory irrigated by Kaveri. The Ganga rulers also accepted his suzerainty.
  • He was married to Shankha, the daughter of Rashtrakuta king Amodhavarsha.
    Nandivarman was the third Shaivite believer. In his court resided the famous poet of Tamil language, Perundevanar, who composed a book called Bharatavenava.
  • After Nandivarman III, his son Nripatugavarman became the king.
  • Nripatugavarman's mother was a Rashtrakuta princess.
  • Perhaps Nripatugavarman defeated the Pandyas on the banks of the Arachit river.
  • Nripatugavarman was a liberal and method-loving ruler, he made proper arrangements for the study of Vedas, Vedag, Mimasa, Nyaya, Purana and Dharmashastras.
  • The most important ruler of the Pallava dynasty was undefeated. He defeated the Pandya dynasty ruler Sridurambimam in the battle with the help of the Chola king Aditya I. He was later murdered by his friend, the Chola king Aditya I.
  • The devotional movements of the Nayanars and Alvars took place during the time of the Pallava.
  • The propagation of Shaivism was done by the Nayanar saints, whose number is said to be 63.
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