Kadamba Dynasty

  • Mayurasharma established the Kadamba dynasty. He was a learned Brahman. It is said that Mayurasharma came to receive education at Kanchi, but he was insulted by some Pallava officials. To avenge his insult, he took up a military profession, defeated Pallava officials and then Pallavas recognized the independence of Mayursharma.
  • The Mayurasharma ruled from Banavasi from A.D. 345 to 365.
  • Kakusthavarman (A.D. 435-455) was the most powerful king and administrator of the Kadamba dynasty.
  • Kakusthavarman established matrimonial relations with the Gangas and the Guptas (dynasties). He also extended his territory.

Struggle of Kadamba Dynasty

  • After the death of Kakusthavarman, the Kadamba family split into two branches. One of the branches continued to rule from Banavasi and the other branch ruled from Triparvata.
  • Krishnavarma-I, the ruler from Triparvata, united the family. But around A.D. 540, the Chalukyas of Badami defeated the Kadambas and captured their kingdom.
  • In the southern Peninsula, three dynasties namely the Pallavas, Pandyas, and the Cholas were the major powers during this period.
  • The Pallavas became prominent after the fall of Satavahanas from the 3rdcentury until the rise of Cholas in the 9th century A.D. However, the origin of Pallava is under debate.
  • The Pallava kings were divided into two groups namely the early Pallavas and greater Pallavas.
  • The Tamil and Sanskrit inscriptions tell about the early Pallavas. It is mentioned that they performed sacrifices and ruled over a well organized territory that covered the northern part of the Peninsula extending from the eastern sea to the western sea.
  • Simhavishnu was the famous Pallava king ruling in the 6th century A.D. He increased the influence and prestige of his family.
  • Simhavishnu’s son and successor Mahendravarman-I (A.D. 600-630) was a versatile genius. He was both a poet and a singer.
  • Mahendravarman-I composed a play ‘Mattavilas Prahasana’ (the Delight of the Drunkards) in Sanskrit.
  • During this period, the practice of scooping entire temples out of solid rock was introduced.
  • The ‘Rathas’ of Mahabalipuram are fine examples of rock cutting temple.
  • Mahendravarman-I was the contemporary of the Chalukya king, Pulakesin-II and Harshavardhan of Kanauj.
  • During this period, Pulakesin-II had struggled with Harsha on the one hand and with Mahendravarman-I on the other. In both Pulakesin-II emerged victorious.
  • Pulakesin-II captured the northern provinces of Pallava’s kingdom after defeating Mahendravarman-I.
  • Later on, Pulakesin-II was defeated by Narsimhavarman. He was son and successor of Mahendravarman-I.
  • Narasimhavarman conquered Badami and adopted the title of ‘Vatapikonda.’
  • Narasimhavarman had also defeated the Cholas, the Cheras, the Pandyas, and the Kalabhas.
  • Narasimhavarman gave political refuge to a Ceylonese prince Manavarman and sent two naval expeditions to Ceylon to help him to secure the throne again.
  • Narasimhavarman was one of the most powerful rulers of south India and raised the power and prestige of the Pallavas as far as Ceylon and South East Asia.
  • Narasimhavarman-II ruled peacefully during the A.D. 695-722.
  • During this period, a particular style of temple architecture was developed. This is popularly known as the ‘Dravidian’ style of temple architecture.
  • Pallavas faced attacks from the Chalukya king Vikramaditya-II (A.D. 733-745) during the first half of the 8th century. He is said to have overrun Kanchi thrice.
  • The Pallavas had also been condemned of Pandyas and Rashtrakutas during the reign of Dantivarman (around A.D. 796-840).
  • Because of the continuous struggles, the power of the Pallavas began to decline.
  • The Pallavas were succeeded by the Cholas. They also developed as the greatest imperial power in the south. They had influence over Ceylon and the South East Asian countries.