- After the decline of the Sangam Age in the Tamil country, the Kalabhra rule lasted for about 250 years. Thereafter, the Pallavas established their kingdom in Tondaimandalam with its capital at Kanchipuram.
- The Pallavas were the natives of Tondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars.
- When Tondaimandalam was conquered by the Satavahanas, the Pallavas became their feudatories.
- After the fall of the Satavahanas in the third century A.D., they became independent.
- The Pallavas issued their earlier inscriptions in Prakrit and Sanskrit because of their Satavahana connections, and also patronised Brahmanism.
- They are also identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions of Asoka.
The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued their charters in Prakrit.
Note: Important ruler of this period were Sivaskandavarman and Vijayaskandavarman.
The second line of Pallava rulers who ruled between 350 A.D. and 550 A.D. issued their charters in Sanskrit.
Note: The most important ruler of this line was Vishnugopa.
The rulers of the third line who ruled from 575 A.D. to their ultimate fall in the ninth century issued their charters both in Sanskrit and Tamil.
Note: Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this line. Other great Pallava rulers of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and Narasimhavarman II.
Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.):
- Mahendravarman I was a follower of Jainism in the early part of his career.
- He was converted to Saivism by the influence of the Saiva saint, Thirunavukkarasar alias Appar.
- He assumed a number of titles like Gunabhara, Satyasandha, Chettakari (builder of temples) Chitrakarapuli, Vichitrachitta and Mattavilasa.
- He was a great builder of cave temples.
- He built a Siva temple at Tiruvadi.
- His rock-cut temples are found in a number of places like Vallam, Mahendravadi, Dalavanur, Pallavaram, Mandagappattu and Tiruchirappalli.
- He had also authored the Sanskrit work Mattavilasa Prahasanam.
- His title Chitrakarapuli reveals his talents in painting.
- The music inscription at Kudumianmalai is ascribed to him.
The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began during
Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and captured the northern part of their kingdom.
Narasimhavarman I (630-668 A.D.):
- Narasimhavarman I was also known as Mamalla, which means ‘great wrestler’.
- His victory over Pulakesin II in the Battle of Manimangalam near Kanchi is mentioned in Kuram copper plates.
- Narasimhavarman I assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’.
- Another notable achievement of Narasimhavarman I was his naval expedition to Sri Lanka.
- Narasimhavarman I was the founder of Mamallapuram and the monolithic rathas were erected during his reign.
During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital Kanchipuram.
According to his account the people of Kanchi esteemed great learning and the Ghatika at Kanchi served as a great centre of learning.
Narasimhavarman I was succeeded by Mahendravarman II and Parameswarvarman I.
- He was the son of Narasimhavarma I.
- Mahendravarman II ruled South India from 668–672 CE.
- He was the son of Mahendravarman II.
- He ruled in South India in the latter half of the 7th century, 670-695 AD.
- Parameswaravarman was an efficient and capable ruler, known for his military exploits, his love for poetry and his devotion to Siva, to whom he erected many temples.
- Inscriptions record Parameswaravaran’s generosity to temples at Vennainallur, Vriddhachalam and Chidambaram.
- An inscription in suchindram trimurti temple dated 667 CE, refers to great munificence in terms of land, gold and jewellery made by this Pallava emperor, who has referred to himself therewith as slave of Sthanu or Lord Siva.
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (695 -722 A.D.):
- Narasimhavarman II became the ruler of the Pallava kingdom after Parameswarvarman I. He was also known as Rajasimha.
- His regime was peaceful and he evinced more interest in developing the art and architecture.
- The Shore temple at Mamallapuram and the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram were built in this period.
- The famous Sanskrit scholar Dandin is said to have adorned his court.
- Rajasimha assumed titles like Sankarabhakta, Vadhyavidyadhara and Agamapriya.
- Paramesvaravarman succeeded his father Narasimha varma II in 728 and ruled till 731.
- During his reign, Kanchi was invaded by the Chalukyas and Paramesvaravarman had to surrender and accept humiliating conditions.
- Paramesvaravarman got killed by the Chalukyas.
- Paramesvaravarman is remembered for the construction of the Vaikunta Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram.
- Nandivarman II succeeded Paramesvaravarman II.
- He belonged to the collateral line of Pallavas called the Kadavas.
- Nandivarman reigned from 730–795.
- The Chalukyan ruler Vikramaditya II invaded Kanchi and defeated Nandivarman.
The Pallava rule lasted till the end of the ninth century A.D. The Chola king Aditya I defeated the last Pallava ruler Aparajita and seized the Kanchi region.
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