Contemporary to the history of North India that witnessed several dynasties invasions
reorganization and the consolidation there existed beyond the Vindhyas and the Deccan
Plateau the home land of the Dravidians or Dakshinapath. This part of the country also
witnessed the rule by various dynasties many of whom ventured into the northern boundaries
thus resulting in the study of the Indian history (vague) without a study of the South Indian
The term South India refers to that parts of India which is South of the Narmada beyond the
Vindhya and Satpura. An extensive forest called Mahankantra lay between the two parts of
the mainland and was less ventured into by Early Aryans. The first Aryan establishment is
credited to Sage Agasthya who is said to have spread the Aryan religion, language. This was
followed by migrations to Dandkaranya (Maharashtra), Vidarbh (Berar) and indeed this
affected other parts of the South. The Andhras had established a strong kingdom in the
Deccan. After the decline of the Andhras petty kingdom was under the influence of the
Guptas.. This empire declined in the early sixth century.
The Vakatakas were followed by the Kadambas. This was a dynasty of Brahmana descent
that enjoyed independent power from third to the sixth century. It extended from north to
south of Kanara and Mysore. The Kadambas were followed by the Gangas, also called
Anhilwada. The Chalukyas are also known as Solankis. Mularaja I besides interested in
conquests also was a devout Saiva and had vacated the throne to his son Chamudraja when
he had to compromise between religion and conquests and administration. Chamudraja too
abdicated the throne and Vallabharaja came to rule over the Chalukyas. After his death his
second son Durlabrja who in turn transferred his powers to Bhimaraja I, his nephew.
Bhimaraja I ruled for about forty years from 1021 AD. During this period he had to face the
onslaught of Mahand of Ghaznavi in Gujarat. Unable to face him Bhimaraja I fled from his
capital Bhimaraja I recovered his capital and revived the Chalukya rule. He was followed
by Karna who ruled from 1063-1093 AD. He is said to have fought some battles against the
Paramaras and Chauhans. He was succeeded by Jayamimha Siddharaja. He ruled for over
fifty years from 1093-1143 AD. During his rule he defeated the Chauhans of Nadol
(Jodhpur) and also annexed Saurashtra. After his death Kumarapala a distant relative of
Siddharaja seized the throne. Amongst his various military victories over the Paramara
princes Abu defeat of Maleikarjuna of Konkan was a remarkable achievement. He rebuilt
the Temple of Somnath plundered, and looted by Mahmud of Ghaznavi. He died in 1172
AD. In 1178 AD Bhimadeva II ruled for about sixty years. This period witnessed the
invasion by Muslim sultan of Ghor, and then Qutubuddin led another invasion. In 1297 AD
Allauddin Khilji dispatched a strong army which subdued the Chalukya power in Gujarat.
With this came to an end the Hindu's rule in Gujarat.
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Kalachuris of Chedi
Kalachuris had their kingdom in Madhya Pradesh with their capital at Tripuri near Jabalpur.
These people had come into conflict with the ruler of Kannauj, Malwa, Chalukyas and the
Rashtrakutas. They also faced the palas and Kalinga rulers. Kokalla I was the founder of this
The most important rulers of this dynasty included Gangeyadeva. He tried to make the Chedis
the paramount power of Northern India. He was followed by his son Karandeva. The
Kalachuris history is said to have become insignificant by 1181 AD.
This was the political situation that prevailed in Northern India before the advent of the
Muslims who made this country as their homeland. Unlike the early rulers who came to loot
and plunder the wealth of Indian Kingdoms, many of these invaders settled in various parts
of these Indian subcontinents and contributed politically, socially, economically besides
adding to the Hinduism cultural heritage in India. With the seeds of Buddhism and Jainism
sown on its soil India was to witness a heaven of culture, language and intermixed populace.
This was one of the most prominent of the dynasties in the Deccan founded by Pulakesin I. He
established his power at Valabi (Badami) in the district of Bijapur and built a strong fortress.
Pulakesin I was followed by Kirtivarman I, whose policy of conquest brought Konkan into his
empire. His influence extended till Magadha and Bengal. Kirtivarman I was succeeded by
Mangalesa assumed the crown. He extended the kingdom of the Chalukyas by conquering the
Kalachuris of Northern Decccan and Malwa. A civil war results in Mangalesa's attempt to
secure the crown for his son. In this Pulakesin II the son of Kirtivarman defeated and killed
Mangalesa in 608 AD. Pulakesin II was a contemporary of Harshavardhana of Kannauj and he
ruled from 609 to 642 AD. He is considered to be the greatest of the Chalukya rulers. The
early years of his reign was spent in consolidating his empire. He followed a policy of
conquest to subdue the neighbouring powers which formed a danger to his rule. He defeated
the Kadambas, subdued the Maurayas of North Konkan, the Malwas and Gujars also. The
most striking achievement of his was against that of Harshavardhana who was defeated and
compelled to retire beyond Narmada. The Kosala and Kalinga kingdom to come under his
To the south he competed with the Pallavas. Pulakesin's diplomatic effort also deserves
praise as he maintained friendly relations with the king of Persia, China. His power was done
to its fate by Narasimhavarman I who had allied with the other southern states beyond the
Kaveri. The death of Pulakesi II was followed by a decline in the Chalukya power. In the
year 656AD his son Vikramaditya I defeated the Pallavas and captured their capital Kanchi.
His rule was followed by Vikramaditya II who is said to have defeated the Cholas, the
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Pandyas and Keralas.
Besides being mere conquerors the Chalukyas were patrons of Art and religion. Though they
tolerated other religious like Buddhism and Jainism yet they promoted Hinduism. The
Chalukya power declined with the coming of the Rastrakutas led by a Rastrakuta Chief
The Rashtrakutas Empire was founded by Dantidurga. The empire extended from South
Gujarat, Malwa and Baghelkhand in north to Tanjore in the south. He was succeeded by his
son Krishna I. Besides being a warrior he was a patron of art and architecture. The rock cut
temples at Ellora is such a piece of marvelous art that alone speaks of his patronage. Krishna I
was succeeded by Govinda II also called Prabhuta Varsa, who was an established warrior
swooned to pleasure seeking after he ascended the throne. His younger brother Dhruva
Nirupama who administered the territories for Govinda II eventually overthrew him in
779AD. Dhurva increased the prestige of the Rashtrakutas. He crossed the Vindhyas and
threatened the Gujarat Vatsaraja of Malwa driving him to the desert. He defeated Dharampala
of Bengal in the Ganga Doab, Jamuna region. The Pallava ruler Dhantivarman was defeated
by him and both the Pallavas and Gangas accepted his over lordship. He is also said to have
defeated the Pratiharas and Palas. Of his four sons Dhurva nominated Govinda III as his
successor. GovindaIII also was a powerful ruler. He involved himself in the activities of the
northern powers defeating the Pratihara King Nagabhatta II. Both the Palas and ruler of
Kannauj submitted to his protection. Govinda III was followed by Amoghavarsha I who ruled
from 815 to 877AD. He shifted his capital to Mayankheta in the Nizams dominions in the
Hyderabad state. He was involved with the Chalukyas of Vengi, successfully restrained the
progress of Bhoja I of Kannauj towards south. Amoghavarsha is compared to fourth greatest
monarchs of the world, besides Khalifa of Baghdad, the emperor of China, and the Emperor of
He was a patron of Digambar sect of Jainism. He abdicated in favour of his son Krishna II.
Krishna III was the last greatest ruler of the Rashtrakutas. He succumbed to the attacks by the
Chalukyas of Kalyani.
Chalukyas of Kalyani
This dynasty was founded in 973 AD by Tailapa II who overthrew the Rashtrakuta and ruled
for about twenty four years. The kings of this dynasty were constantly engaged in wars with
their neighbours, the Paramaras of Malwa in the north and the Cholas in the south. The
invasion by Rajaraja Chola caused much harm to the Chalukya rule.
Vikramaditya was the most important King of the dynasty who ruled from 1076 to 1126 AD.
He resisted the Cholas occupying their capital number of times. The Chalukya power
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declined after him and the throne was usurped by a rebel general Bijala Kalachuria. It was
during his reign that his Brahmin minister founded the Lingyat sect. Someshwara IV
succeeded in getting the ancestral dominions from the successor of Bijala in 1183 AD. He
was defeated by the Yadhavas of Devgiri and the Hoyashalas of Mysore.
Yadhavas of Devgiri
The Yadhavas are said to have descended from the Mahabharat hero Krishna. In 1187 AD.
Bhilame II is said to have wrested the territories to the north of the Krishna from the hands of
Someshwara IV. Singhana was one of the most famous rulers of this dynasty. He pushed his
authority beyond the Krishna.
The attack by Allauddin Khilji made its king to pay tribute. In 1309 AD Ram Chandra the
last independent King of Deccan submitted to Malik Kafur and became a feudatory. With
the execution of Harvala who attempted a revolt in 1318 AD the dynasty of the Yadhavas
came to a close.
Hoyasalas of Dwarasamudra
They are said to have descended from the Western Ghats. The founder of this dynasty was
Vishnu Vardhana. He ruled from 1110 to 1140AD. He was a Jain and later converted to
Vaishnavism by the famous religious reformer Ramanuja. The next important ruler was Vira
Ballala I who ruled from 1172-1215 AD. The Hoyasala's are well known for their style and
art of building temples and monuments at Halebid. The ornamentation and sculpture of
statues are of high quality. The Hoyasalas succumbed to the attacks of Malik Kafur and
Khwaja Haji who plundered the kingdom and its capital turning the Hoyasala to mere local
The origin of the Pallavas as claimed by historians are varied and numerous. Some of them
relate them to the Persian tribe. Some attribute them to the Parthians of North Western India.
Others opine that they were Brahman aristocrats from the north who rendered military
service. Other scholars attribute the Pallavas as feudatories of the Satavahnas of the Deccan
who belonged to the Naga family. After the dissolution of the Andhras the Pallavas
established their supremacy. The Pallavas claimed
Brahmana ancestry and patronised Sanskrit learning and also performed the Aswamedha
sacrifice. The first great ruler of the Pallavas was Siva Skandvarman. He is said to have
extended the Kingdom southward. Thus the Pallava Empire extended between the river
Krishna and the Bellary District.
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Vishnugopa was the next ruler. He was a contemporary of Samudragupta. He was succeeded
by Simhavishnu who was followed by Mahendra Varman I in about the beginning of the
seventh century AD. He was involved a struggle between the Chalukyas for establishing
supremacy in the south. Though Mahendra Varman I professed Jainism initially later he
turned into a staunch Saiva. He was well known for his construction of rock cut temples. This
proving him to be a patron of art, learning, painting, dancing and music.
Mahendra Varman I was succeeded by his son Narasimha Varman I who ruled from (625-
645AD). In 642 AD he took over Vatapi (Badami ) from the Chalukyas defeating Pulakesin
II. He is said to have sent naval expeditions to Ceylon in support of Manavamna. Pallava art
had a boost during his rule the reign of NarasimhaVarman I. He was a great builder and
founded the town of Mamallapuram or Mahabalipuram which is adorned with the seven rock
cut Pagodas. It was during his reign that Hieun-Tsang visited Kanchi in about 642AD. He
wrote a remarkable account on the Pallava Kingdom.
NarasimhaVarman I was succeeded by Mahdendra Varman II. He ruled from 645 to 670 AD.
He was succeeded by Parmeshvara Varman I who ruled for about twenty five years.
Narasimha Varman II succeeded him to 695 AD and ruled for about 27 years upto 722 AD. He
built the shore temple of Mahabalipuram and also the Kailashnath temple at Kanchi. The
defeat of NarasimhaVarman II at the hands of the Chalukya King Vikramaditya II marked the
downfall of the Pallava power.
The last Pallava King was Aparajitha. He was defeated by Aditya Chola towards the end of
the 9th century AD.
The Chola Kingdom extended along the Coromandel Coast from Nellore to Pudukottai. It also
included the areas of Mysore and Madras. The Cholas rose to power in the ninth century AD
defeating the last Pallava King. This rise to power was under Aditya I. His son Parantaka ruled
for forty two years from 907 to 949AD. He was an ambitious warrior warrior king who drove
the Pandya king to exile captured Mathura and invaded Ceylon. His successors had to
repeatedly face the onslaught of the Rashtrakutas, Gangas and Pandyas.
It was under Rajaraja the great who ruled from (985-1014AD) that the Cholas rose as the
supreme power in South India. He pursed a policy of conquest for fourteen years during which
he conquered the eastern Chalukya kingdom of Vengi, subdued the Cheras, conquered
territories on the Malabar Coast, inflicted defeat on the Pandyas and annexed parts of Ceylon.
His alliance through marriage with the ruler of Vengi promoted unity among the Cholas and
Rajaraja was succeeded by Rajendra Choladeva I who ascended the throne in 1016 AD. He
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ruled for a period of twenty eight years. He further expanded his territories beyond his
father's territories. He occupied the islands of Andaman Nicobar, Sumatra, Malaya and the
islands of Pegu with his fleet of ships. In his expedition to the North in about 1023 AD he
defeated Mahipala the Pala king of Bihar and Bengal. To commemorate his victory he
assumed the title of 'Gangaikondai' and built in Trichinopoly district a new capital called,
Gangaikonda Cholapuram, which had a magnificent palace, temple and a lake.
His son Rajadhiraja was killed fighting the Chalukyas in about 1052 AD. Adhiraja was the
next ruler of the Cholas who was assassinated in 1074AD. He was succeeded by Rajendra
Kulottunga I but he formed the line of rulers from the Chalukya Cholas.
The power of the Cholas declined in about the 13th century. The rise of the Hindu kingdom at
Vijayanagar ended the Chola dynasty.
The Pandyas ruled over the territories of Madura. Tinnevelly and parts of Travancore. It is
reputed to be most ancient of the Tamil states. The Pandyas rose to power in the seventh
century AD. The rule of the Pandyas is said to be initiated by Kandungori. His son
Maruvarman Avani Sulamani came into conflict with the Pallavas. A Pandya king named
Arikesri is also said to have defeated the Pallavas in the eight century .They aligned with
the Cholas and defeated the Pallavas. They carried on frequent wars with ceylon. In the
eleventh century they were compelled to submit to the supremacy of the Cholas but in the
thirteenth century they asserted their independence and under Jalavarman Sundara Pandya
who ruled from 1251-1272 AD . They became the leading power in the South. A civil war
that broke out among the claimant of the throne is said to have sealed the fate of this
kingdom. This resulted in the Muslim expedition to the south which resulted in plundering
and looting of the territories. The Pandya kingdom was absorbed to the kingdom of
Vijayanagar in the 16th century.
The kingdom of the Cheras consisted of the state of Travancore, Cochin and parts of the
Malabar. They are said to have belonged to the Dravidian race. Their proximity to the sea
favoured trade with Romans. Associations with the Jews were also established with the
permission for a colony by the Chera king Bhaskara Ravi Varma. These small territories
never experienced the conquest of the Muslims and remained independent till the British
THE HINDU EMPIRE OF THE SOUTH
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Vijaynagar 1336 AD to 1646 AD
In 1323 AD Prataparudra the Kakatiya ruler of Warangal was defeated and over throne by
Ulugh khan, the general of Sultan Ghajas-ud-dins. The treasury superintendent of
Prataparudra Harihara and Bukka fled to Kampil, and took refuge there. Kampiladeva the
ruler of Kampil was overthrown and Harihara and Bukka were taken as prisoners to Delhi.
The confusion that prevailed during the rule of Mahamud bin Tughlaq paved the way for
Harihara and Bukka who with their local influence could prove advantageous for the Sultan.
After the death of the sultan the Hindu rulers established themselves over Warangal. Amid
the confusion that prevailed in the Sultanate, Harihara and Bukka founded the city of
Vijayanagar on the banks of the Tungabhadra and declared them independent. They
conquered parts of the Konkan and Malabar. They joined the confederacy of Krishna Nayak
who sought to throw the Muslims out of South India. In 1346 AD they took possession of the
Hoyasala territories. Harihara died in 1353 AD. His brother Bukka who governed over the
western Telegu districts ruled till 1377AD. He was succeeded by Harihara II. He was capable
of extending his territories by adding Mysore, Trichinpoly and Kanchi. He was succeeded by
his son Bukka II who ruled for a couple of years. Bukka II was overthrown by Devaraya I.
Devaraya I died in 1422 and was succeeded by his son Ramachandra who ruled as Devaraya
II. He suffered a defeat at the hands of the Bahmani rulers in 1443 AD. Owing to weak
successors the Sangama Dynasty founded by Harihara and Bukkar declined in 1490 AD.
In place of this came the Saluva dynasty which ruled from 1490-1505AD. This dynasty was
founded by Narasimha who snatched the power from Virupaksha II the last Sangama ruler.
Weak successors resulted in the decline of this dynasty and paved the way for the Tuluva
The Tuluva dynasty was founded by Naresh Tuluva, the commander of Narsimha Rao's
army. The most famous ruler of this dynasty was Krishna Deva Raya who ruled from 1505
to 1530 AD. He brought name to the dynasty by suppressing the revolts against him. He
conquered Orissa, Udayagiri, Kondavidu and Kondagiri. In 1520 he defeated Adil Shah of
Bijapur. He maintained a cordial relation with the foreign powers and carried on trade with
the Portuguese. He was tolerant towards all religion and patronised learning and literature.
He died in 1530AD and was succeeded byt Achyutha Deva who's in competency in
administration led to the disintegration of the dynasty. Under the leadership of Rama Raya
the empire was exposed to Muslim attacks. After the death of Rama Raya his brother
Triumala established the Arvadiu dynasty. Owing to weak successors and the onslaught of
Muslims the empire declined in 1614 AD.
Before the coming of the Mughals into India there evolved several religious movements
which led to the evolution of Sufism. The Bhakti movement was a renaissance in the Hindu
religion which stressed the path of Bhakti for attaining salvation. New literary language
evolved with various literary works too. After the downfall of the Delhi Sultanate there
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existed no central power which could provide a stable administration. The Hindus faced
severe suppression under the Sultanate. The Delhi Sultanate was tottering. Mewar was a
territory that prospered under the rule of Rana Sanga a Rajput. The Vijayanagar kingdom
was in the height of glory in southern India while the Bahmani kingdom was breaking up.
Khandesh, Kashmir, Orissa, Gujarat, Malwa, Bengal and Sind were independent.