Pallava Dynasty

Pallava Dynasty

      early 4th-century to late 9th-century southern Indian line of rulers whose members originated as indigenous subordinates of the Sātāvahanas in the Deccan, moved into Andhra, and then to Kāñcī (Kānchipuram in modern Tamil Nadu state, India), where they became rulers. Their genealogy and chronology are highly disputed. The first group of Pallavas was mentioned in Prākrit (a simple and popular form of Sanskrit) records, which tell of King Viṣṇugopa, who was defeated and then liberated by Samudra Gupta, the emperor of Magadha, in about the middle of the 4th century AD. A later Pallava king, Siṃhavarman, is mentioned in the Sanskrit Lokavibhāga as reigning from AD 436.

      The Pallavas were the emperors of the Dravidian country and rapidly adopted Tamil ways. Their rule was marked by commercial enterprise and a 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, and the Varāha cave (7th century) at Mahābalipuram (Māmallapuram), once a flourishing port. The mother of the Pallava ruler Siṃhaviṣṇu (mid-6th century) may have been a Christian. Mahendravarman I wrote (c. 620) the Mattavilasa-prahasana, a farce in Sanskrit.

      In general, the Pallava rulers were ineffective in withstanding military pressure from the Western Cālukya dynasty, and their capable feudatories, the Cōḷas, gradually ousted them from power. About 880 the Pallava dominions passed to the Cōḷa kings.

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Universalium. 2010.

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