Chalukya Dynasty: Founder, Rulers, Chalukya Dynasty UPSC

By Balaji

Updated on: March 9th, 2023

The Chalukya Dynasty ruled a large area of central and southern India from the beginning of the sixth century to the twelfth century. Throughout this time, they led three separate but related dynasties. The “Badami Chalukyas,” the very first dynasty, ruled in Vatapi (also called modern Badami) starting in the mid-sixth century. The Badami Chalukyas rose to fame during Pulakeshin II, afterwards establishing their independence from the Kadamba kingdom in Banavasi.

Chalukya dynasty UPSC is the major topic from History Syllabus. UPSC aspirants can learn the details of the Chalukya dynasty by downloading the comprehensive notes from the PDF link provided below.

Table of content

  • 1. Chalukya Dynasty (more)
  • 2. Founder of Chalukya Dynasty (more)
  • 3. Chalukya Dynasty Kings (more)
  • 4. History of Chalukya Dynasty (more)
  • 5. Periods in Chalukya Dynasty History (more)
  • 6. Significance of Chalukya Dynasty (more)
  • 7. Sources of Chalukya Kingdom History (more)
  • 8. Architectural Style During Chalukya Dynasty (more)
  • 9. Religious Practices during the Badami Chalukya (more)
  • 10. Literature of Chalukyas (more)
  • 11. Chalukya Dynasty UPSC (more)

Chalukya Dynasty

South Indian civilization and Karnataka’s history were shaped by the Chalukya dynasty. The political scene in Southern India evolved from a tiny monarchy to a large empire with the rise of the Badami Chalukyas.

A monarchy based in South India seized control & unified the entire area between the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. The Chalukya Dynasty’s emergence saw the establishment of successful handling, world trade, and a modern construction style called “Chalukyan design.”

Kannada literature gained exceptional patronage among Western Chalukya Jain or Veerashaiva dynasties. It had earlier rejoiced royal endorsement in the Rashtrakuta court of the ninth century. On the other hand, the Eastern Chalukyas favoured Telugu poetry in the eleventh century.

Founder of Chalukya Dynasty

As the Gupta dynasty declined in the 6th century, major changes began to take place in the Deccan and Tamilaham areas south of the Vindhyas.

Pulakeshin I established the Chalukya dynasty in 543. Pulakeshin I made Vatapi (modern Bagalkot district, Karnataka) his capital. He and his descendants are known as “Chalukyas of Badami”. Throughout the Deccan, they ruled a vast empire that included almost all of Karnataka and most of Andhra Pradesh.

Chalukya Dynasty Kings

The Chalukya Dynasty is counted among some of the most powerful and influential dynasties in Southern and Central India. The time period of the Chalukya Dynasty is estimated to have been active between the sixth & twelfth centuries AD. The Chalukya Dynasty rule is considered a significant turning point in the history of South India and especially Karnataka.

Generally, the history of the Chalukya Dynasty is divided into three important periods: Chalukya of Kalyani or Western Chalukya, Chalukya of Vengi or the Eastern Chalukya and the Chalukya of Badami. Some of the famous kings of the Chalukya Dynasty have been listed below.

  • Pulakesin I: He was one of the most famous and important rulers of the Chalukya Dynasty. He was the founder of the empire and established Vatapi as the capital. He ruled from 543 AD-566AD. He is also known to have performed the Ashwamedha. He is also known by various other names such as Vallabha, Satyashraya and Dharmamaharaja.
  • Kirtivarman I: He was the son of Pulakesin I and ruled from 566 AD-597 AD. He took control of northern Kerala and Konkan. He managed the kingdom after his father and brought together the Nalas, Kadambas, Alupas and Mauryas from the Konkan.
  • Mangalesha – He was the third ruler in line and his reign continued from 597 AD – 609 AD. Mangalesha was the brother of Kirtivarman I. He took various titles such as the Ranavikrama, Paramabhagavata and Ururanaparakrama. He is also famous for his excavation at the Vaishnava temple. He won over the Gangas and the Kadambas.
  • Pulakeshin II: He is considered one of the greatest rulers of the Chalukya Dynasty. Pulakeshin II ruled from 609 AD – 642 AD. He extended the kingdom to the Deccan area. He was the first king who issues gold coins in South India. He was the one who killed King Mangalesha.
  • Vikramaditya I: The son of Pulakeshin II was called Vikramaditya I. His reign dates back to 655 AD-680 AD. He was responsible for maintaining order in the kingdom again and restoring back peace. He established the capital at Vatapi.
  • Kirtivarman II: Vikramaditya I’s great-great-grandson was Kirtivarman II. He ruled from 746 AD – 753 AD. He was the last king of the Chalukya Dynasty. Dantidurga (Rashtrakuta king) defeated him in a battle.

History of Chalukya Dynasty

The Karnataka natives are believed to be descended from a second-century ancestor Kandachaliki Remmanaka (a powerful leader), who was feudatory of an Andhra Ikshvaku. However, in Kamath’s opinion, this does not explain the differences in ancestry.

The Kandachaliki feudal vassal identifies themselves as the Hiranyakagotra Vashisthiputras. In its inscriptions, the Chalukyas referred to themselves as the Manavyasagotra’s Harithiputras, the same bloodline as their earlier rulers, the Banavasi’s Kadambas.

This makes them Kadamba ancestors. The Chalukya dynasty captured the land previously that Kadambas ruled. Read the following points to know the history of Chalukya dynasty in detail:

  • The Eastern Chalukyas’ later documentation introduces the north-origin idea but claims that one Ayodhya ruler moved to the south, conquered the Pallavas, and then wedded a Pallava king’s daughter. She was the mother of a son called Vijay Aditya, who is believed to be the father of Pulakeshin I.
  • Nevertheless, Badami Chalukya engravings confirm Jayasimha as Pulakeshin I’s father and Ranaraga as his mother, according to historians K. V. Ramesh, Chopra, & Shastri.
  • According to Moraes and Kamath, connecting South India’s princely family origin to a Northern monarchy was common in the eleventh century. However, the Badami Chalukya evidence is thunderously silent just on Ayodhya origin.
  • Many historians have dismissed the north origin hypothesis, but epigraphist K. V. Ramesh recommended that previous southern immigration is a possibility to be explored. According to him, the lack of any epigraphic reference to their line of descent to Ayodhya, and its later Kannadiga identity, might be ascribed to their previous immigration into current Karnataka, when they attained triumph as tribal chiefs and monarchs.
  • For a reason, their ancestor’s country of origin might have been immaterial to the civilisation’s kings, who might have regarded them as Kannada-speaking natives.
  • According to Bilhana (a Kashmiri poet) of the 12 century, the Cholas were of the Shudra class, whereas other sources state they are Kshatriyas.
  • As per Jan Houben & Kamath (historians), the Badami Chalukya inscription is in Karnataka and Sanskrit, in addition to epigraphist D.C. Sircar.
  • Historiographer N. L. Rao referred to these writings as Karnatas, whose titles included indigenous Kannada names like Priyagallam & Noduttagelvom.
  • The Chalukyas of Badami were referred to as Karnatabala in Rashtrakuta monuments (“Power of Karnata”). However, some historians think that the Chalukyas emerged from agricultural labourers.

Periods in Chalukya Dynasty History

For over 600 years, the Chalukyas ruled nearly India’s Deccan plateau. Throughout this time, they led as three separate but closely related dynasties.

The “Chalukyas at Badami,” as well as their sibling kingdoms, the “Chalukyas of Kalyani” (also referred to as both the “Western Chalukyas” and “Later Chalukyas”) as well as the “Chalukyas the Vengi,” ruled between both the 6th as well as 8th century (known as Eastern Chalukyas).

Badami Chalukyas

With the Gupta dynasty’s fall and its predecessors in North India in the sixth century, significant changes started to take place inside the Deccan & Tamilakam southern parts of Vindhya. Small empires’ age has given means to this region’s large empires.

In 543, Pulakeshin I founded the Chalukyas of Badami. Pulakeshin I seized command of Vatapi (modern Bombay, now Mumbai in the Bagalkot district of Karnataka) and installed it as the royal capital of Chalukya. “Chalukyas of Badami” was a renowned name by which Pulakeshin I and his successors were known. They reigned over a Deccan empire that included the entire Karnataka and the maximum of Andhra.

His queens belonged to the Southern Canara’s Alupa Dynasty and the Talakad’s western Ganga Dynasty of tribes with the Cholas who had close marriages and family ties.

Pulakeshin II expanded the Chalukya dynasty to the north-side limits of the Pallava realm, beating Harsha on Narmada’s bank and stopping his southward march. Finally, he overpowered the Vishnukundins of the southeast Deccan. In 642, Pallava Narasimhavarman permanently occupied Badami.

Chalukyas of Kalyani

After more than two hundred years of dormancy in which the Rashtrakutas ruled a significant portion of Deccan, the Chalukya dynasty kings revived their fortune in 973.

The lineage of this empire’s rulers is still being debated. Based on real-life literary and additional comments, evidence, and the discovery of frequent use of trophies and titles by Western Chalukyas that early they used, a theory proposes that west Chalukya kings did belong to a similar family sphere as that of the prestigious Badami Chalukya ruling family of the sixth century. In contrast, other West Chalukya inscriptional data shows they belonged to a distinct line unconnected to Early Chalukyas.

Tilapia II, a Rashtrakuta dynasty agents’ monarch from the place called Tardavadi – 1000 (Bijapur region), defeated Karka II, and restored Chalukya power on the side of western Deccan. Then by regaining the Chalukya kingdom’s major part.

The West Chalukyas governed for nearly two hundred years. They were constantly at odds with the Cholas and its Vengi cousins, India Eastern Chalukyas. Vikram Aditya VI is often believed to be the most noteworthy emperor of the lineage.

Starting with the commencement of his fifty-year administration, he eliminated the original Saka period & established the Vikram Era.

The bulk of succeeding Chalukya inscriptions is dated during the new era. Vikram Aditya VI was a competent and aggressive military leader. With guidance, the Western Chalukyas successfully ousted their Cholas from Vengi (coastal Andhra) and cemented their status as the preeminent power in the Deccan. The Western Chalukya era proved essential in developing Kannada languages and Sanskrit poetry. The Hoysala kingdom, Pandyas, the Kakatiyas, and the Sauna Yadav of Devagiri all died out by the 12th century.

Vengi Chalukyas

In 616, Pulakeshin II defeated the residual Vishnukundina kingdom and the eastern Deccan, which approximately matched the coastal regions of present Andhra Pradesh. As a consequence, the Eastern Chalukya dynasty came into the area of Kannada.

After the Badami Chalukya realm collapsed in the middle of the 8th century, regional disputes arose among Rashtrakutas, the emerging rulers of a western Deccan, and the Eastern Chalukyas. The Eastern Chalukyas were compelled to accept subjugation to the Rashtrakutas for the next 200 years.

Around 1000, the Eastern Chalukyas’ destiny was altered. Their King, Danarnava, was slain in a fight by Telugu Choda King Bhima in 973, who then ruled the province for the following half-decade. Throughout this time, Danarnava’s two sons took safety inside the Chola kingdom. Choda Bhima’s assault on Chola territory Tondaimandalam and subsequent death just on battle signaled the beginning of a new period for Chola-Chalukya relationships. Sakti Varman I, Danarnava’s elder son, was crowned Vengi’s ruler in 1000, even though he was subordinate to monarch Rajaraja Chola I.

Originally, the Eastern Chalukyas encouraged Kannada literature and language, but regional factors captured and prioritized the Telugu language over time. The Eastern Chalukyas are essential for the growth of Telugu literature.

Significance of Chalukya Dynasty

The Chalukya Dynasty is one of the prominent dynasties in the history of India. Their rule was marked with many valuable contributions in various aspects. The Chalukya rulers contributed majorly to the art and architecture of India. Stambha Mandapa is one of the famous architectural works of the Chalukyas.

  • The Chalukyas also built a number of temples which included a variety of designs of North India and South India.
  • The origin of the art of Chalukyas was in Aihole.
  • The Chalukyas also possessed an organized army.
  • Telugu & Kannada Literature also saw a period of popularity during the rule of the Chalukyas.

Sources of Chalukya Kingdom History

The most prominent and main sources of Chalukya Kingdom history are the inscriptions made in Kannada and Sanskrit languages. Most of these have been cave inscriptions during the Chalukya Badami period. There have been inscriptions of King Mangalesha, Pulakeshin 2 along with various other temple inscriptions such as the Kanchi Kailasanatha inscriptions, all done in the Kannada language.

Apart from these inscriptions, some other sources of Chalukya Kingdom history have been the travel experiences of various foreign tourists who travelled across the country and gave their insights. Xuanzang, who was a Chinese traveller had paid a visit to King Pulakeshin 2. He was highly influenced by the government & administration of the king and gave high praises.

Architectural Style During Chalukya Dynasty

The Badami Chalukya period was indeed a breakthrough moment in South Indian design. Uma Pati Varlabdh, the ruler of this empire, erected numerous monuments for the such Hindu god Shiva. Hence, their building style is referred to as “Karnata Dravida” or “Chalukyan architecture.”

In the modern Bagalkot district of Karnataka State, they built around a hundred memorials, both cave and architectural. They used a native dark red Limestone for the building.

These cavern monasteries were constructed from the living rock formations that they occupied. They were not erected using the same way as their architectural counterparts, instead using a sculptural technique called “subtraction.”

Despite governing a huge realm, the Chalukyan artisans focused maximum of the temple-building activities in a small area of a Chalukyan hinterland- Pattadakal, Aihole, Badami, and Mahakuta in the current Karnataka state.

Their temple-building activity is divided into three phases. These Badami caves temples are comparable in that they feature a simple façade yet an extraordinary finished interior comprising a cella, a pillared porch, and a collonaded hall (mandapa).

Although the exact age of these buildings has indeed been disputed, is a broad consensus that they began about 600. There is the Lad Khan Temple (c. 450, however, precisely 620), which has interesting punctured stone desktops and river goddess sculptures, and the Meguti Jain Temple (634), mostly known for structural design.

Moreover, the Durga Temple (8th century), including its north Indian tower, attempts to integrate a Buddhist Chaitya style into the Brahminic structure (its designer framework is, all in all, a blend of South and north Indian).

Religious Practices during the Badami Chalukya

Shaivism and Vaishnavism thrived during the Badami Chalukya era, albeit the former seems more popular. Famous temples were constructed in Pattadakal, Aihole, and Mahakuta, as well as priests (archakas) from north India, were summoned.

Ancient offerings, religious vows (vrata), and unique gifts (dana) were all critical. In Aihole, ancient Badami monarchs embraced Vedic Hinduism and built temples to popular Hindu deities. The Badami kings also conducted the Ashvamedha (“horse sacrifice”).

It is customary to worship Lajja Gauri, a prosperity goddess. During this era of the Chalukya dynasty, Jainism was also a dominant religion. The dynasty’s kings, in contrast, hand, were secular and actively supported Jainism.

Another of the Badami Ancient temples represents the Jainism religion. The temple at Maguti is one instance of the Jain temple constructed in the Aihole complex. Queen Vinayavati built a Trimurti (“Hindu trinity”) temple in Badami. Hindu Trimurti.

Buddhism was on the decline after making headway into Southeast Asia. Hiuen-words confirms this.

Literature of Chalukyas

The Aihole inscriptions of Pulakeshin II (634) were composed in Sanskrit & Kannada script, and his royal poet Ravi Kirti has been deemed a classic poetry piece. Some verses by Vijayanagar, a writer who identifies her as the “dark Sarasvati,” are conserved. It is indeed conceivable that she was the wife of King Chandraditya (wife of Pulakeshin II son).

Prominent Sanskrit writers of the Western Chalukya era included Vijnaneshwara, who became famous for composing Mitakshara, a textbook on Hindu laws, or King Someshvara III, a renowned scholar who organized Manasollasa, a comprehensive encyclopedia of all sciences and arts.

There are connections to Kannada literature dating back to the Badami Chalukyas, though little of it survived. Inscriptions, in contrast, hand, allude to Kannada as the “human language.” The earliest work in Kannada poetry is Kappe Arabhatta chronicle of about 700 tripadi (three lines) metres. Karnateshwara Katha, later quoted by Jaya Kirti, is thought to be the tribute to Pulakeshin II from this time frame.

Other potential Kannada writers for whom the works are no longer extant and whose titles are recognised from independent citations include Syamakundacharya (650) as well as Srivaradhadeva (also known as Trumubuluracharya, 650 or prior), who is assumed to have composed the Chudamani (“Crest Jewel”), an extended commentary on reasoning.

The Eastern Chalukyas:

The Eastern Chalukyas has become an independent state in the eastern Deccan shortly after the death of Pulakeshin II. During Vengi until the mid-eleventh century, they ruled.

In the west Deccan, the Rashtrakutas eclipsed the Badami Chalukyas at the beginning of the 8th century before being revived by their descendants, India Western Chalukyas, in the late tenth century. When the time came to the 12th century, the Western Chalukyas ruled in Kalyani (modern Basavakalyan).

Chalukya Dynasty UPSC

The Chalukya dynasty ruled a large area of southern India and central India from the beginning of the sixth century to the twelfth century. Chalukya Dynasty UPSC is an important topic from the Medieval Indian History syllabus. Check a sample question based on the UPSC previous year question papers on the Chalukya dynasty.

Question: What was the capital of the Western Chalukyas?

  1. Kalyani
  2. Badami
  3. Vengi
  4. Vatapi

Answer: 4. Kalyani

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