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The victorious career of the Chalukya king Pulakeshin II

Updated on February 29, 2016

Chalkya king Pulakeshin II

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Pulikeshi II, the Chalukhaya

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king vikramaditya

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The struggle between Chalukyas and the Pallavas continued

The grandson of Pulakeshin I made extensive conquests and established an empire which extended from the Vindhyas in the north to beyond the river Kaveri in the south. In the north, the rulers of Malwa, Gujarat and Kathiawar became is willing feudatories to protect themselves from Harsha. As we have seen, King Harsha was defeated by Pulakesin II in the war that followed. His victory over Harsha greatly added to the prestige of Pulakesin and his successors.

Pulakeshin II carried out an extensive campaign of conquests going through Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. After annexing the territory of Pithapuram in Andhra Pradesh, he placed his younger brother, Vishnuvardhana as its viceroy. Soon after, Vishnuvardhana became an independent ruler and the founder of the eastern Chalukya dynasty. Pulakeshin II also defeated the Pallavas in battle, though he could not capture their capital Kanchi. Going beyond Pallava territory, he received the submission of the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Keralas.

The victorious career of Pulakeshin II came to an end in AD 642 when the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I defeated and killed him and destroyed his capital. It was only in about AD 655 that Vikramaditya I, a younger son of Pulakeshin II, was able liberate his father's kingdom from Pallava occupation.

The power of Vikramaditya

The struggle between Chalukyas and the Pallavas continued. Vikramaditya succeeded in capturing Kanchi as a revenge. Hostilities against the Pallavas continued as long as they Chalukyas of Badami remained in power. By about AD 750 the branch of the Chalukya family rose to power in the Deccan again in AD 973 and ruled till AD 1190. They are known as the Chalukyas of Kalyani. The Chalukyas of Vengi (Andhra Pradesh) also continued and had a long lasting struggle against the Rashtrakutas. Yet another Chalukya branch had been established in Gujarat during the reign of Pulakeshin II. The Gujarat Chalukya are also known as Solankis.

The Chalukya rulers were worshippers of Vishnu and Shiva, but they also patronized the followers of Jainism. They built temples at Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal.

Badami Cave Temple of Karnataka

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Badami Aihole and pattadakal

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Chalukyas were patrons of art and culture

The Vishnu Temple at Vatapi is a fine example of rock

After the fall of the Satavahanas, the Chalukyas and the Pallavas became prominent kingdoms in the South from the sixth to the eighth centuries AD. After the fall of the Satavahanas, the Chalukyas, the Pallavas and the Cholas became prominent kingdoms in the South from the 6th to the 8th centuries AD.

The Chalukyas had their capital at Vatapi or modern Badami in Karnataka. Pulakesin IInd AD 608 – 642 was the greatest ruler of this dynasty. He was the contemporary of Harshavardhana. Twas Pulakesin IInd who resisted Harsha's advance in South and defeated him on the banks of the river Narmada. His empire included north Konkan, Gujarat and the Malwa region. He defeated the Pallava ruler Mahendravarman and came very close to the Pallava capital of Kanchipuram. An account of Pulakesin victory is recorded in the Aihole Inscription.

The Chalukyas had their capital at Vatapi or modern Badami in Karnataka. They were patrons of art and culture. The chalukyas were tolerant towards other religions. They constructed a number of temples at Vatapi and Aihole. The Pallavas power began to decline after their defeat by the Chalukyas in AD 691.

The Chalukyas were patrons of art and culture. Ther were worshippers of Vishnu and Shiva, they were tolerant towards other religions. They constructed a number of temples at Vatapi and Aihole. Some of the Ajanta caves belong to the time the early Chalukyas. The Vishnu Temple at Vatapi is a fine example of rock – cut architecture. Other noteworthy temples were the Shiva Temple at Pattadakal and the Vishnu Temple at Aihole. The Chalukyas traded with South – East – Asia, Persia and Arabia.

The Pallava rulers patronised Sanskrit learning. Sanskrit was the official language. Mahendravarman himself was a scholar and musician. Dandin lived during the time of Narasimhavarman. Dandin composed Das Kumar Charitam, or the tale of Ten Princes. It throws light on the socio – economic condition of the age.

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