Middle Kingdoms of India, Part 67


Lord Narasimha at Badami (ancient Vatapi)

Aug 04, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of India's great history, religious movements and temple architecture.

The Badami Chalukyas

'The Chalukya Empire, native residents of the Aihole and Badami region in Karnataka, were at first a feudatory of the Kadambas.[62-66] They encouraged the use of Kannada in addition to the Sanskrit language in their administration.[67-8] Among the greatest of ancient Vaisnava temple relics are those built by the pious Badami Chalukyas.

In the middle of the 6th Century the Chalukyas came into their own, when King Pulakesi I made the hill fortress in Badami his center of power.[69] During the rule of Pulakesi II, for the first time, India saw a South Indian empire send expeditions to the North, past the Tapti and Narmada Rivers. There, they successfully defied Harshavardhana, the King of Northern India (Uttarapatheswara).

The Aihole inscription of Pulakesi II, written in both classical Sanskrit and old Kannada script, dated 634 A.D., [70-1] proclaims his victories against the Kingdoms of the Kadambas, Western Gangas, Alupas of South Canara, Mauryas of Puri, the Kingdoms of Kosala, Malwa, Lata and Gurjaras of southern Rajasthan. The inscription describes how King Harsha of Kannauj lost his harsha (joyful disposition) on seeing a large number of his war elephants die in battle against Pulakesi II.[72-76] These victories earned him the title Dakshinapatha Prithviswamy (Lord of the South).

Lord Vamanadev. Badami

Pulakesi II continued his conquests in the east where he conquered all kingdoms in his way and reached the Bay of Bengal in present day Odisha. A Chalukya viceroyalty was set-up in Gujarat and Vengi (coastal Andhra), and princes from the Badami family were dispatched to rule them. Having subdued the Pallavas of Kanchipuram, he accepted tributes from the Pandyas of Madurai, Chola dynasty and Cheras of the Kerala region. Pulakesi II thus became the master of India, south of the Narmada River[77], and is thus widely regarded as one of the great kings in Indian history.'[78][79]


[62] N. Laxminarayana Rao and S. C. Nandinath in Kamath 2001, p57
[63] Keay (2000), p168
[64] Jayasimha and Ranaraga, ancestors of Pulakesi I, were administrative officers in the Badami province under the Kadambas (Fleet in Kanarese Dynasties, p343), (Moraes 1931, p51)
[65] Thapar (2003), p328
[66] Quote:"They belonged to the Karnataka country and their mother tongue was Kannada" (Sen 1999, p360); Kamath (2001), p58
[67] Considerable number of their records are in Kannada (Kamath 2001, p. 67)
[68] 7th century Chalukya inscriptions call Kannada the natural language (Thapar 2003, p345)
[69] Sen (1999), p360
[70] In this composition, the poet deems himself an equal to Sanskrit scholars of lore like Bharavi and Kalidasa (Sastri 1955, p312
[71] Kamath (2001), p59
[72] Keay (2000), p169
[73] Sen (1999), pp361–362
[74] Kamath (2001), pp59–60
[75] Some of these kingdoms may have submitted out of fear of Harshavardhana of Kannauj (Majumdar in Kamat 2001, p59)
[76] The rulers of Kosala were the Panduvamshis of South Kosala (Sircar in Kamath 2001, pp59)
[77] Keay (2000), p170
[78] Kamath (2001), pp58
[79] Ramesh 1984, p76


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