Discuss the achievements of Pallavas.

Achievements of Pallavas.

Early 4th century to late 9th century CE line of rulers in southern India whose members originated as indigenous subordinates of the Satavahanas in the Deccan, moved into Andhra, and then to Kanci, where they became rulers. Their genealogy and chronology are highly disputed. They rose in power during the reign of Mahendravarman I (571-630 CE) and Narasimhavarman I (630-668 CE) and dominated the Telugu and northern parts of the Tamil region for about six hundred years until the end of the 9th century.

The first group of Pallavas was mentioned in Prakrit (a simple and popular form of Sanskrit) records, which tell of King Vishnugopa, who was defeated and then liberated by Samudra Gupta, the emperor of Magadha, about the middle of the 4th century CE.

A later Pallava king, Simhavarman, is mentioned in the Sanskrit Lokavibhaga as reigning from 436 CE. The Pallavas were the emperors of the Dravidian country and rapidly adopted Tamil ways. Their rule was marked by commercial enterprise and limited amount of colonization in Southeast Asia, but they inherited rather than initiated Tamil interference with Ceylon. The Pallavas supported Buddhism, Jainism, and the Brahminical faith and were patrons of music, painting, and literature.  Their greatest monuments are architectural, in particular the Shore Temple, the various other temples carved from granite monoliths.

Mahendravarman I (reigned c. 600-630) contributed to the greatness of the Pallava dynasty. Some of the most ornate monuments at Mamallapuram, especially those dedicated to be Hindu god Shiva, were constructed under his rule (though born a jain, Mahendravarman converted to Shaivism). He was a great patron of art and architecture and is known for introducing a new style to Dravidian architecture, which the noted art historian Jouveau Debreuil referred to as “Mahendra style.”

Mahendravarman also wrote plays, including (c 620) Mattavilasa prahasana (“The Delight of the Drunkards”), a farce in Sanskrit, which denigrates Buddhism. Mahendravarman’s reign involved constant battles with the Western Chaulukya kingdom of Badami under Pulkeshin II.

Mahendravarman’s successor, Narasimhavarman I, conquered some of the territory that was lost during numerous Pallava Chalukya battles. Although he was able to recapture some of Pallava land, the Pallavas were ineffective in withstanding military pressure from the Western Chalukya dynasty, who were eventually ousted by the Cholas. The Pallava dominions passed to the Chola kings about 880. The Pallavas were instrumental in the transition from rock-cut architecture to stone temples.

The earliest examples of Pallava constructions are rock-cut temples dating from 610-690 CE and structural temples between 690-900 CE. A number of rock cut cave temples bear the inscription of the Pallava king, Mahendravarman I and his successors. The greatest accomplishments of the Pallava architecture are the rock-cut temples at Mahabalipuram. There are excavated pillared halls and monolithic shrines known as rathas in Mahabalipuram. Early temples were mostly dedicated to Shiva. The Kailasanatha temple in Kanchipuram and the Shore Temple built by Narasimhavarman II are fine examples of the Pallava style temples.

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