Monday, May 3, 2010



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

dynasties vague.

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 Pallavas

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 Cholas

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

Eastern Chalukyas.

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

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




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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.

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