TN History Textbook: South Kingdoms - I (Pallavas) Notes | Study Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read) - UPSC

UPSC: TN History Textbook: South Kingdoms - I (Pallavas) Notes | Study Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read) - UPSC

The document TN History Textbook: South Kingdoms - I (Pallavas) Notes | Study Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read) - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Old & New NCERTs for IAS Preparation (Must Read).
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 Page 1


123 122
Therefore, the view that the Pallavas were the natives of
Tondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars. They are
also identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions of
Asoka. 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.
Political History
The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued
their charters in Prakrit. Important among them 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. The most important ruler of this line was
Vishnugopa who was defeated by Samudragupta during his South
Indian expedition. 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. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this
line. He destroyed the Kalabhras and firmly established the Pallava
rule in Tondaimandalam. He also defeated the Cholas and extended
the Pallava territory up to the river Kaveri. Other great Pallava rulers
of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and
Narasimhavarman II.
Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)
The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began during
his period. Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and captured
the northern part of their kingdom. Although a Pallava inscription
refers to the victory of Mahendravarman I at Pullalur, he was not
able to recover the lost territory.
LESSON 11
SOUTH INDIAN KINGDOMS – I
PALLA V AS
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. Their rule continued till Tondaimandalam was captured
and annexed by the Imperial Cholas in the beginning of the tenth
century A.D.
Origin of the Pallavas
There are different views on the origin of the Pallavas. They
were equated with the Parthians, the foreigners who ruled western
India. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of the
Brahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. The third
view relates the Pallavas with the descendents of the Chola prince
and a Naga princess whose native was the island of Manipallavam.
But these theories on the origin of the Pallavas were not supported
by adequate evidences.
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Origin of the Pallavas.
2. Achievements of  Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I
and Rajasimha.
3. Administration of the Pallavas.
4. Education and Literature under the Pallavas.
5. Art and architecture of the Pallavas.
Page 2


123 122
Therefore, the view that the Pallavas were the natives of
Tondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars. They are
also identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions of
Asoka. 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.
Political History
The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued
their charters in Prakrit. Important among them 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. The most important ruler of this line was
Vishnugopa who was defeated by Samudragupta during his South
Indian expedition. 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. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this
line. He destroyed the Kalabhras and firmly established the Pallava
rule in Tondaimandalam. He also defeated the Cholas and extended
the Pallava territory up to the river Kaveri. Other great Pallava rulers
of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and
Narasimhavarman II.
Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)
The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began during
his period. Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and captured
the northern part of their kingdom. Although a Pallava inscription
refers to the victory of Mahendravarman I at Pullalur, he was not
able to recover the lost territory.
LESSON 11
SOUTH INDIAN KINGDOMS – I
PALLA V AS
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. Their rule continued till Tondaimandalam was captured
and annexed by the Imperial Cholas in the beginning of the tenth
century A.D.
Origin of the Pallavas
There are different views on the origin of the Pallavas. They
were equated with the Parthians, the foreigners who ruled western
India. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of the
Brahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. The third
view relates the Pallavas with the descendents of the Chola prince
and a Naga princess whose native was the island of Manipallavam.
But these theories on the origin of the Pallavas were not supported
by adequate evidences.
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Origin of the Pallavas.
2. Achievements of  Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I
and Rajasimha.
3. Administration of the Pallavas.
4. Education and Literature under the Pallavas.
5. Art and architecture of the Pallavas.
125 124
monasteries in which about 10,000 Buddhist monks lived. 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 the founder of Mamallapuram and the
monolithic rathas were erected during his reign.
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (695 -722 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was succeeded by Mahendravarman II
and Parameswarvarman I and the Pallava – Chalukya conflict
continued during their reign. Thereafter, Narasimhavarman II
became the ruler of the Pallava kingdom. 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. He was also a great patron of art and letters.
The famous Sanskrit scholar Dandin is said to have adorned his
court. He sent embassies to China and the maritime trade flourished
during his reign. Rajasimha assumed titles like Sankarabhakta,
Vadhyavidyadhara and Agamapriya.
He was succeeded by Parameswaravarman II and
Nandivarman II. 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. With this, the rule of
Pallava dynasty came to an end.
Administration of the Pallavas
The Pallavas had a well organized administrative system. The
Pallava state was divided into Kottams. The Kottam was
administered by officers appointed by the king. The king was at the
centre of administration in which he was assisted by able ministers.
He was the fountain of justice. He maintained a well-trained army.
He provided land-grants to the temples known as Devadhana and
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 built a Siva temple
at Tiruvadi. 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. The Mandagappattu
inscription hails him as Vichitrachitta who constructed a temple for
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva without the use of bricks, timber, metal
and mortar. His rock-cut temples are found in a number of places
like V allam, Mahendravadi, Dalavanur, Pallavaram, Mandagappattu
and Tiruchirappalli. He had also authored the Sanskrit work
Mattavilasa Prahasanam. His title Chitrakarapuli reveals his talents
in painting. He is also regarded as an expert in music. The music
inscription at Kudumianmalai is ascribed to him.
Narasimhavarman I (630-668 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was also known as Mamalla, which means
‘great wrestler’. He wanted to take avenge the defeat of his father
at the hands of Chalukyan ruler Pulakesin II. His victory over
Pulakesin II in the Battle of Manimangalam near Kanchi is mentioned
in Kuram copper plates. The Pallava army under General Paranjothi
pursued the retreating Chalukya army, entered Chalukya territory,
captured and destroyed the capital city of V atapi. Narasimhavarman
I assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’. He regained the lost territory.
Another notable achievement of Narasimhavarman I was his naval
expedition to Sri Lanka. He restored the throne to his friend and
Sri Lankan prince Manavarma.
During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital
Kanchipuram. His description of Kanchi is vivid. He calls it a big
and beautiful city, six miles in circumference. It had 100 Buddhist
Page 3


123 122
Therefore, the view that the Pallavas were the natives of
Tondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars. They are
also identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions of
Asoka. 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.
Political History
The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued
their charters in Prakrit. Important among them 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. The most important ruler of this line was
Vishnugopa who was defeated by Samudragupta during his South
Indian expedition. 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. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this
line. He destroyed the Kalabhras and firmly established the Pallava
rule in Tondaimandalam. He also defeated the Cholas and extended
the Pallava territory up to the river Kaveri. Other great Pallava rulers
of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and
Narasimhavarman II.
Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)
The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began during
his period. Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and captured
the northern part of their kingdom. Although a Pallava inscription
refers to the victory of Mahendravarman I at Pullalur, he was not
able to recover the lost territory.
LESSON 11
SOUTH INDIAN KINGDOMS – I
PALLA V AS
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. Their rule continued till Tondaimandalam was captured
and annexed by the Imperial Cholas in the beginning of the tenth
century A.D.
Origin of the Pallavas
There are different views on the origin of the Pallavas. They
were equated with the Parthians, the foreigners who ruled western
India. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of the
Brahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. The third
view relates the Pallavas with the descendents of the Chola prince
and a Naga princess whose native was the island of Manipallavam.
But these theories on the origin of the Pallavas were not supported
by adequate evidences.
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Origin of the Pallavas.
2. Achievements of  Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I
and Rajasimha.
3. Administration of the Pallavas.
4. Education and Literature under the Pallavas.
5. Art and architecture of the Pallavas.
125 124
monasteries in which about 10,000 Buddhist monks lived. 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 the founder of Mamallapuram and the
monolithic rathas were erected during his reign.
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (695 -722 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was succeeded by Mahendravarman II
and Parameswarvarman I and the Pallava – Chalukya conflict
continued during their reign. Thereafter, Narasimhavarman II
became the ruler of the Pallava kingdom. 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. He was also a great patron of art and letters.
The famous Sanskrit scholar Dandin is said to have adorned his
court. He sent embassies to China and the maritime trade flourished
during his reign. Rajasimha assumed titles like Sankarabhakta,
Vadhyavidyadhara and Agamapriya.
He was succeeded by Parameswaravarman II and
Nandivarman II. 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. With this, the rule of
Pallava dynasty came to an end.
Administration of the Pallavas
The Pallavas had a well organized administrative system. The
Pallava state was divided into Kottams. The Kottam was
administered by officers appointed by the king. The king was at the
centre of administration in which he was assisted by able ministers.
He was the fountain of justice. He maintained a well-trained army.
He provided land-grants to the temples known as Devadhana and
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 built a Siva temple
at Tiruvadi. 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. The Mandagappattu
inscription hails him as Vichitrachitta who constructed a temple for
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva without the use of bricks, timber, metal
and mortar. His rock-cut temples are found in a number of places
like V allam, Mahendravadi, Dalavanur, Pallavaram, Mandagappattu
and Tiruchirappalli. He had also authored the Sanskrit work
Mattavilasa Prahasanam. His title Chitrakarapuli reveals his talents
in painting. He is also regarded as an expert in music. The music
inscription at Kudumianmalai is ascribed to him.
Narasimhavarman I (630-668 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was also known as Mamalla, which means
‘great wrestler’. He wanted to take avenge the defeat of his father
at the hands of Chalukyan ruler Pulakesin II. His victory over
Pulakesin II in the Battle of Manimangalam near Kanchi is mentioned
in Kuram copper plates. The Pallava army under General Paranjothi
pursued the retreating Chalukya army, entered Chalukya territory,
captured and destroyed the capital city of V atapi. Narasimhavarman
I assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’. He regained the lost territory.
Another notable achievement of Narasimhavarman I was his naval
expedition to Sri Lanka. He restored the throne to his friend and
Sri Lankan prince Manavarma.
During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital
Kanchipuram. His description of Kanchi is vivid. He calls it a big
and beautiful city, six miles in circumference. It had 100 Buddhist
127 126
abroad. The founder of the Kadamba dynasty, Mayurasarman
studied Vedas at Kanchi. Dinganaga, a Buddhist writer came to
study at Kanchi. Dharmapala, who later became the Head of the
Nalanada University, belonged to Kanchi. Bharavi, the great Sanskrit
scholar lived in the time of Simhavishnu. Dandin, another Sanskrit
writer adorned the court of Narasimhavarman II. Mahendravaraman
I composed the Sanskrit play Mattavilasaprahasanam. Tamil
literature had also developed. The Nayanmars and Alwars composed
religious hymns in Tamil. The Devaram composed by Nayanmars
and the Nalayradivyaprabandam composed by Alwars represent
the religious literature of the Pallava period. Perundevanar was
patronized by Nandivarman II and he translated the Mahabharata
as Bharathavenba in Tamil. Nandikkalambagam was another
important work but the name of the author of this work is not known.
Music and dance also developed during this period.
Pallava Art and Architecture
It was a great age of temple building. The Pallavas introduced
the art of excavating temples from the rock. In fact, the Dravidian
style of temple architecture began with
the Pallava rule. It was a gradual
evolution starting from the cave
temples to monolithic rathas and
culminated in structural temples. The
development of temple architecture
under the Pallavas can be seen in four
stages.
Mahendravarman I introduced the rock-cut temples. This style
of Pallava temples are seen at places like Mandagappattu,
Mahendravadi, Mamandur, Dalavanur, Tiruchirappalli, Vallam,
Siyamangalam and Tirukalukkunram.
also to the Brahmans known as Brahmadeya. It was also the
responsibility of the central government to provide irrigation facilities
to the lands. A number of irrigation tanks were dug by the Pallava
kings. The irrigation tanks at Mahendravadi and Mamandoor were
dug during the reign of Mahendravarman I. Detailed information on
the tax system could also be traced from the Pallava inscriptions.
Land tax was the primary source of the government revenue. The
Brahmadeya and Devadhana lands were exempted from tax.
Traders and artisans such as carpenters, goldsmiths, washer-men,
oil-pressers and weavers paid taxes to the government. The Pallava
inscriptions throw much light on the village assemblies called sabhas
and their committees. They maintained records of all village lands,
looked after local affairs and managed temples.
Society under the Pallavas
The Tamil society witnessed a great change during the Pallava
period. The caste system became rigid. The Brahmins occupied a
high place in the society. They were given land-grants by the kings
and nobles. They were also given the responsibility of looking after
the temples. The Pallava period also witnessed the rise of Saivism
and V aishnavism and also the decline of Buddhism and Jainism. The
Saiva Nayanmars and the Vaishnava Alwars contributed to the
growth of Saivism and Vaishnavism. This is known as the Bakthi
Movement. They composed their hymns in the Tamil language. These
hymns revealed the importance of devotion or Bakthi. The
construction of temples by the Pallava kings paved the way for the
spread of these two religions.
Education and Literature
The Pallavas were great patrons of learning. Their capital
Kanchi was an ancient centre of learning. The Ghatika at Kanchi
was popular and it attracted students from all parts of India and
Rathas at Mamallapuram
Page 4


123 122
Therefore, the view that the Pallavas were the natives of
Tondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars. They are
also identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions of
Asoka. 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.
Political History
The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued
their charters in Prakrit. Important among them 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. The most important ruler of this line was
Vishnugopa who was defeated by Samudragupta during his South
Indian expedition. 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. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this
line. He destroyed the Kalabhras and firmly established the Pallava
rule in Tondaimandalam. He also defeated the Cholas and extended
the Pallava territory up to the river Kaveri. Other great Pallava rulers
of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and
Narasimhavarman II.
Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)
The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began during
his period. Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and captured
the northern part of their kingdom. Although a Pallava inscription
refers to the victory of Mahendravarman I at Pullalur, he was not
able to recover the lost territory.
LESSON 11
SOUTH INDIAN KINGDOMS – I
PALLA V AS
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. Their rule continued till Tondaimandalam was captured
and annexed by the Imperial Cholas in the beginning of the tenth
century A.D.
Origin of the Pallavas
There are different views on the origin of the Pallavas. They
were equated with the Parthians, the foreigners who ruled western
India. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of the
Brahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. The third
view relates the Pallavas with the descendents of the Chola prince
and a Naga princess whose native was the island of Manipallavam.
But these theories on the origin of the Pallavas were not supported
by adequate evidences.
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Origin of the Pallavas.
2. Achievements of  Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I
and Rajasimha.
3. Administration of the Pallavas.
4. Education and Literature under the Pallavas.
5. Art and architecture of the Pallavas.
125 124
monasteries in which about 10,000 Buddhist monks lived. 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 the founder of Mamallapuram and the
monolithic rathas were erected during his reign.
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (695 -722 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was succeeded by Mahendravarman II
and Parameswarvarman I and the Pallava – Chalukya conflict
continued during their reign. Thereafter, Narasimhavarman II
became the ruler of the Pallava kingdom. 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. He was also a great patron of art and letters.
The famous Sanskrit scholar Dandin is said to have adorned his
court. He sent embassies to China and the maritime trade flourished
during his reign. Rajasimha assumed titles like Sankarabhakta,
Vadhyavidyadhara and Agamapriya.
He was succeeded by Parameswaravarman II and
Nandivarman II. 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. With this, the rule of
Pallava dynasty came to an end.
Administration of the Pallavas
The Pallavas had a well organized administrative system. The
Pallava state was divided into Kottams. The Kottam was
administered by officers appointed by the king. The king was at the
centre of administration in which he was assisted by able ministers.
He was the fountain of justice. He maintained a well-trained army.
He provided land-grants to the temples known as Devadhana and
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 built a Siva temple
at Tiruvadi. 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. The Mandagappattu
inscription hails him as Vichitrachitta who constructed a temple for
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva without the use of bricks, timber, metal
and mortar. His rock-cut temples are found in a number of places
like V allam, Mahendravadi, Dalavanur, Pallavaram, Mandagappattu
and Tiruchirappalli. He had also authored the Sanskrit work
Mattavilasa Prahasanam. His title Chitrakarapuli reveals his talents
in painting. He is also regarded as an expert in music. The music
inscription at Kudumianmalai is ascribed to him.
Narasimhavarman I (630-668 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was also known as Mamalla, which means
‘great wrestler’. He wanted to take avenge the defeat of his father
at the hands of Chalukyan ruler Pulakesin II. His victory over
Pulakesin II in the Battle of Manimangalam near Kanchi is mentioned
in Kuram copper plates. The Pallava army under General Paranjothi
pursued the retreating Chalukya army, entered Chalukya territory,
captured and destroyed the capital city of V atapi. Narasimhavarman
I assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’. He regained the lost territory.
Another notable achievement of Narasimhavarman I was his naval
expedition to Sri Lanka. He restored the throne to his friend and
Sri Lankan prince Manavarma.
During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital
Kanchipuram. His description of Kanchi is vivid. He calls it a big
and beautiful city, six miles in circumference. It had 100 Buddhist
127 126
abroad. The founder of the Kadamba dynasty, Mayurasarman
studied Vedas at Kanchi. Dinganaga, a Buddhist writer came to
study at Kanchi. Dharmapala, who later became the Head of the
Nalanada University, belonged to Kanchi. Bharavi, the great Sanskrit
scholar lived in the time of Simhavishnu. Dandin, another Sanskrit
writer adorned the court of Narasimhavarman II. Mahendravaraman
I composed the Sanskrit play Mattavilasaprahasanam. Tamil
literature had also developed. The Nayanmars and Alwars composed
religious hymns in Tamil. The Devaram composed by Nayanmars
and the Nalayradivyaprabandam composed by Alwars represent
the religious literature of the Pallava period. Perundevanar was
patronized by Nandivarman II and he translated the Mahabharata
as Bharathavenba in Tamil. Nandikkalambagam was another
important work but the name of the author of this work is not known.
Music and dance also developed during this period.
Pallava Art and Architecture
It was a great age of temple building. The Pallavas introduced
the art of excavating temples from the rock. In fact, the Dravidian
style of temple architecture began with
the Pallava rule. It was a gradual
evolution starting from the cave
temples to monolithic rathas and
culminated in structural temples. The
development of temple architecture
under the Pallavas can be seen in four
stages.
Mahendravarman I introduced the rock-cut temples. This style
of Pallava temples are seen at places like Mandagappattu,
Mahendravadi, Mamandur, Dalavanur, Tiruchirappalli, Vallam,
Siyamangalam and Tirukalukkunram.
also to the Brahmans known as Brahmadeya. It was also the
responsibility of the central government to provide irrigation facilities
to the lands. A number of irrigation tanks were dug by the Pallava
kings. The irrigation tanks at Mahendravadi and Mamandoor were
dug during the reign of Mahendravarman I. Detailed information on
the tax system could also be traced from the Pallava inscriptions.
Land tax was the primary source of the government revenue. The
Brahmadeya and Devadhana lands were exempted from tax.
Traders and artisans such as carpenters, goldsmiths, washer-men,
oil-pressers and weavers paid taxes to the government. The Pallava
inscriptions throw much light on the village assemblies called sabhas
and their committees. They maintained records of all village lands,
looked after local affairs and managed temples.
Society under the Pallavas
The Tamil society witnessed a great change during the Pallava
period. The caste system became rigid. The Brahmins occupied a
high place in the society. They were given land-grants by the kings
and nobles. They were also given the responsibility of looking after
the temples. The Pallava period also witnessed the rise of Saivism
and V aishnavism and also the decline of Buddhism and Jainism. The
Saiva Nayanmars and the Vaishnava Alwars contributed to the
growth of Saivism and Vaishnavism. This is known as the Bakthi
Movement. They composed their hymns in the Tamil language. These
hymns revealed the importance of devotion or Bakthi. The
construction of temples by the Pallava kings paved the way for the
spread of these two religions.
Education and Literature
The Pallavas were great patrons of learning. Their capital
Kanchi was an ancient centre of learning. The Ghatika at Kanchi
was popular and it attracted students from all parts of India and
Rathas at Mamallapuram
129 128
as the theme of these sculptures such
as the figures of lice-picking monkey,
elephants of huge size and the figure
of the ‘ascetic cat’ standing erect
remain the proof for the talent of the
sculptor.
Fine Arts
Music, dance and painting had also developed under the
patronage of the Pallavas. The Mamandur inscription contains a
note on the notation of vocal music. The Kudumianmalai inscription
referred to musical notes and instruments. The Alwars and
Nayanmars composed their hymns in various musical notes. Dance
and drama also developed during this period. The sculptures of this
period depict many dancing postures. The Sittannavasal paintings
belonged to this period. The commentary called Dakshinchitra was
compiled during the reign of Mahendravarman I, who had the title
Chittirakkarapuli.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. The different theories about the origin of the Pallavas.
2. The political history of the Pallavas and their military
accomplishments
3. Administrative system under the Pallavas.
4. Their cultural contributions.
5. Architectural achievements of the Pallavas.
The Fall of Ganges
The second stage of Pallava architecture is represented by
the monolithic rathas and Mandapas found at Mamallapuram.
Narasimhavarman I took the credit for these wonderful architectural
monuments. The five rathas, popularly called as the
Panchapanadava rathas, signifies five different styles of temple
architecture. The mandapas contain beautiful sculptures on its walls.
The most popular of these mandapas are Mahishasuramardhini
Mandapa, Tirumurthi Mandapam and Varaha Madapam.
In the next stage, Rajasimha
introduced the structural temples.
These temples were built by using
the soft sand rocks. The
Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi and
the Shore temple at Mamallapuram
remain the finest examples of the
early structural temples of the
Pallavas. The Kailasanatha temple
at Kanchi is the greatest
architectural master piece of the Pallava art.
The last stage of the Pallava art is also represented by structural
temples built by the later Pallavas. The Vaikundaperumal temple,
Muktheeswara temple and Matagenswara temples at Kanchipuram
belong to this stage of architecture.
The Pallavas had also contributed to the development of
sculpture. Apart from the sculptures found
in the temples, the ‘Open Art Gallery’ at
Mamallapuram remains an important
monument bearing the sculptural beauty of
this period. The Descent of the Ganges or
the Penance of Arjuna is called a fresco
painting in stone. The minute details as well
 
Kailasanatha temple at
Kanchipuram
 
Shore Temple at
Mamallapuram
Page 5


123 122
Therefore, the view that the Pallavas were the natives of
Tondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars. They are
also identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions of
Asoka. 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.
Political History
The early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issued
their charters in Prakrit. Important among them 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. The most important ruler of this line was
Vishnugopa who was defeated by Samudragupta during his South
Indian expedition. 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. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of this
line. He destroyed the Kalabhras and firmly established the Pallava
rule in Tondaimandalam. He also defeated the Cholas and extended
the Pallava territory up to the river Kaveri. Other great Pallava rulers
of this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, and
Narasimhavarman II.
Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)
The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began during
his period. Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and captured
the northern part of their kingdom. Although a Pallava inscription
refers to the victory of Mahendravarman I at Pullalur, he was not
able to recover the lost territory.
LESSON 11
SOUTH INDIAN KINGDOMS – I
PALLA V AS
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. Their rule continued till Tondaimandalam was captured
and annexed by the Imperial Cholas in the beginning of the tenth
century A.D.
Origin of the Pallavas
There are different views on the origin of the Pallavas. They
were equated with the Parthians, the foreigners who ruled western
India. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of the
Brahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. The third
view relates the Pallavas with the descendents of the Chola prince
and a Naga princess whose native was the island of Manipallavam.
But these theories on the origin of the Pallavas were not supported
by adequate evidences.
Learning Objectives
Students will acquire knowledge about
1. Origin of the Pallavas.
2. Achievements of  Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I
and Rajasimha.
3. Administration of the Pallavas.
4. Education and Literature under the Pallavas.
5. Art and architecture of the Pallavas.
125 124
monasteries in which about 10,000 Buddhist monks lived. 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 the founder of Mamallapuram and the
monolithic rathas were erected during his reign.
Narasimhavarman II or Rajasimha (695 -722 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was succeeded by Mahendravarman II
and Parameswarvarman I and the Pallava – Chalukya conflict
continued during their reign. Thereafter, Narasimhavarman II
became the ruler of the Pallava kingdom. 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. He was also a great patron of art and letters.
The famous Sanskrit scholar Dandin is said to have adorned his
court. He sent embassies to China and the maritime trade flourished
during his reign. Rajasimha assumed titles like Sankarabhakta,
Vadhyavidyadhara and Agamapriya.
He was succeeded by Parameswaravarman II and
Nandivarman II. 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. With this, the rule of
Pallava dynasty came to an end.
Administration of the Pallavas
The Pallavas had a well organized administrative system. The
Pallava state was divided into Kottams. The Kottam was
administered by officers appointed by the king. The king was at the
centre of administration in which he was assisted by able ministers.
He was the fountain of justice. He maintained a well-trained army.
He provided land-grants to the temples known as Devadhana and
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 built a Siva temple
at Tiruvadi. 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. The Mandagappattu
inscription hails him as Vichitrachitta who constructed a temple for
Brahma, Vishnu and Siva without the use of bricks, timber, metal
and mortar. His rock-cut temples are found in a number of places
like V allam, Mahendravadi, Dalavanur, Pallavaram, Mandagappattu
and Tiruchirappalli. He had also authored the Sanskrit work
Mattavilasa Prahasanam. His title Chitrakarapuli reveals his talents
in painting. He is also regarded as an expert in music. The music
inscription at Kudumianmalai is ascribed to him.
Narasimhavarman I (630-668 A.D.)
Narasimhavarman I was also known as Mamalla, which means
‘great wrestler’. He wanted to take avenge the defeat of his father
at the hands of Chalukyan ruler Pulakesin II. His victory over
Pulakesin II in the Battle of Manimangalam near Kanchi is mentioned
in Kuram copper plates. The Pallava army under General Paranjothi
pursued the retreating Chalukya army, entered Chalukya territory,
captured and destroyed the capital city of V atapi. Narasimhavarman
I assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’. He regained the lost territory.
Another notable achievement of Narasimhavarman I was his naval
expedition to Sri Lanka. He restored the throne to his friend and
Sri Lankan prince Manavarma.
During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital
Kanchipuram. His description of Kanchi is vivid. He calls it a big
and beautiful city, six miles in circumference. It had 100 Buddhist
127 126
abroad. The founder of the Kadamba dynasty, Mayurasarman
studied Vedas at Kanchi. Dinganaga, a Buddhist writer came to
study at Kanchi. Dharmapala, who later became the Head of the
Nalanada University, belonged to Kanchi. Bharavi, the great Sanskrit
scholar lived in the time of Simhavishnu. Dandin, another Sanskrit
writer adorned the court of Narasimhavarman II. Mahendravaraman
I composed the Sanskrit play Mattavilasaprahasanam. Tamil
literature had also developed. The Nayanmars and Alwars composed
religious hymns in Tamil. The Devaram composed by Nayanmars
and the Nalayradivyaprabandam composed by Alwars represent
the religious literature of the Pallava period. Perundevanar was
patronized by Nandivarman II and he translated the Mahabharata
as Bharathavenba in Tamil. Nandikkalambagam was another
important work but the name of the author of this work is not known.
Music and dance also developed during this period.
Pallava Art and Architecture
It was a great age of temple building. The Pallavas introduced
the art of excavating temples from the rock. In fact, the Dravidian
style of temple architecture began with
the Pallava rule. It was a gradual
evolution starting from the cave
temples to monolithic rathas and
culminated in structural temples. The
development of temple architecture
under the Pallavas can be seen in four
stages.
Mahendravarman I introduced the rock-cut temples. This style
of Pallava temples are seen at places like Mandagappattu,
Mahendravadi, Mamandur, Dalavanur, Tiruchirappalli, Vallam,
Siyamangalam and Tirukalukkunram.
also to the Brahmans known as Brahmadeya. It was also the
responsibility of the central government to provide irrigation facilities
to the lands. A number of irrigation tanks were dug by the Pallava
kings. The irrigation tanks at Mahendravadi and Mamandoor were
dug during the reign of Mahendravarman I. Detailed information on
the tax system could also be traced from the Pallava inscriptions.
Land tax was the primary source of the government revenue. The
Brahmadeya and Devadhana lands were exempted from tax.
Traders and artisans such as carpenters, goldsmiths, washer-men,
oil-pressers and weavers paid taxes to the government. The Pallava
inscriptions throw much light on the village assemblies called sabhas
and their committees. They maintained records of all village lands,
looked after local affairs and managed temples.
Society under the Pallavas
The Tamil society witnessed a great change during the Pallava
period. The caste system became rigid. The Brahmins occupied a
high place in the society. They were given land-grants by the kings
and nobles. They were also given the responsibility of looking after
the temples. The Pallava period also witnessed the rise of Saivism
and V aishnavism and also the decline of Buddhism and Jainism. The
Saiva Nayanmars and the Vaishnava Alwars contributed to the
growth of Saivism and Vaishnavism. This is known as the Bakthi
Movement. They composed their hymns in the Tamil language. These
hymns revealed the importance of devotion or Bakthi. The
construction of temples by the Pallava kings paved the way for the
spread of these two religions.
Education and Literature
The Pallavas were great patrons of learning. Their capital
Kanchi was an ancient centre of learning. The Ghatika at Kanchi
was popular and it attracted students from all parts of India and
Rathas at Mamallapuram
129 128
as the theme of these sculptures such
as the figures of lice-picking monkey,
elephants of huge size and the figure
of the ‘ascetic cat’ standing erect
remain the proof for the talent of the
sculptor.
Fine Arts
Music, dance and painting had also developed under the
patronage of the Pallavas. The Mamandur inscription contains a
note on the notation of vocal music. The Kudumianmalai inscription
referred to musical notes and instruments. The Alwars and
Nayanmars composed their hymns in various musical notes. Dance
and drama also developed during this period. The sculptures of this
period depict many dancing postures. The Sittannavasal paintings
belonged to this period. The commentary called Dakshinchitra was
compiled during the reign of Mahendravarman I, who had the title
Chittirakkarapuli.
Learning Outcome
After learning this lesson the students will be able to explain
1. The different theories about the origin of the Pallavas.
2. The political history of the Pallavas and their military
accomplishments
3. Administrative system under the Pallavas.
4. Their cultural contributions.
5. Architectural achievements of the Pallavas.
The Fall of Ganges
The second stage of Pallava architecture is represented by
the monolithic rathas and Mandapas found at Mamallapuram.
Narasimhavarman I took the credit for these wonderful architectural
monuments. The five rathas, popularly called as the
Panchapanadava rathas, signifies five different styles of temple
architecture. The mandapas contain beautiful sculptures on its walls.
The most popular of these mandapas are Mahishasuramardhini
Mandapa, Tirumurthi Mandapam and Varaha Madapam.
In the next stage, Rajasimha
introduced the structural temples.
These temples were built by using
the soft sand rocks. The
Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi and
the Shore temple at Mamallapuram
remain the finest examples of the
early structural temples of the
Pallavas. The Kailasanatha temple
at Kanchi is the greatest
architectural master piece of the Pallava art.
The last stage of the Pallava art is also represented by structural
temples built by the later Pallavas. The Vaikundaperumal temple,
Muktheeswara temple and Matagenswara temples at Kanchipuram
belong to this stage of architecture.
The Pallavas had also contributed to the development of
sculpture. Apart from the sculptures found
in the temples, the ‘Open Art Gallery’ at
Mamallapuram remains an important
monument bearing the sculptural beauty of
this period. The Descent of the Ganges or
the Penance of Arjuna is called a fresco
painting in stone. The minute details as well
 
Kailasanatha temple at
Kanchipuram
 
Shore Temple at
Mamallapuram
131 130
d) Both Vaishnavism and Saivism flourished during Pallava
period.
V. State whether the following statements are True or
False.
1. The Sangam age was followed by the Pallava rule.
2. Mahendravarman I was a follower of Jainism in the early part
of his career.
3. Monolithic rathas were erected at Kanchipuram by
Narasimhavarman I.
VI. Write short notes (Any three points).
1. Origin of the Pallavas.
2. Ghatika at Kanchi.
3. Pallava Chalukya conflict.
4. Bakthi Movement.
5. Fine arts under the Pallavas.
VII. Answer briefly (100 words).
1. Give an account of the reign of Mahendravarman I.
2. Write a brief account on the military accomplishments of
Narasimhavarman I.
3. Examine the administration system of the Pallavas.
4. Write a note on the social life under the Pallavas.
VIII. Answer in detail (200 words).
1. Give an account of the political history of the Pallavas.
2. Assess the cultural contributions of the Pallavas.
3. Mention the salient features of the Pallava art.
MODEL QUESTIONS
I. Choose the correct answer.
1. The Pallava ruler who destroyed the Kalabhras
(a) Vishnugopa (b) Simhavishnu
(c) Mahendravarman I (d) Rajasimha
2. Hiuen Tsang visited Kanchi during the reign of
(a) Mahendravarman I (b) Narasimhavarman I
(c) Rajasimha (d) Nandivarman III
II. Fill in the blanks.
1. The Saiva saint who converted Mahendravarman I to Saivism
was ……
2. The commander of the Pallava army who destroyed Vatapi
……
3. The title Mamalla was assumed by ……
III. Match the following.
1. Perundevanar a) Nalayiradivyaprabandam
2. Alwars b) Devaram
3. Nayanmars c) Mattavilasaprakasanam
4. Mahendravarman I d) Bharathavenba
IV. Find out the correct statement. One statement alone is
right.
a) Pallava period witnessed the decline of the Sanskrit language.
b) Rajasimha destroyed Vatapi and assumed the title
Vatapikondan.
c) Mahendravarman introduced the style of building structural
temples.
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