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Chalukya Dynasty, History, Founder, Rulers, Administrations, Art & Religion

Chalukya Dynasty

Smaller kingdoms gave way to vast empires as a result of the emergence of the Chalukya Dynasty in South India. In the western Deccan, the Chalukyas of Badami were the Vakatakas’ heirs. They built Vatapi, or present-day Badami, as their capital in Karnataka’s Bijapur district. They unified the entire south of India from 543 to 753 CE while ruling over a sizable portion of the Deccan. Founded by Pulakeshin I in 543 AD, the Chalukya dynasty governed from the sixth to the twelfth centuries. This article gives all the important information related to Chalukya Dyansty an important topic of History Subject of UPSC Syllabus.

Chalukya Dynasty History

The Chalukya Dynasty reigned over sizable portions of central and southern India between the sixth and the twelfth centuries. Beginning in the middle of the sixth century, the Chalukyas governed from Vatapi (modern-day Badami). Under Pulakeshin II’s rule, they made a point of claiming their freedom and becoming well-known. The Chalukyas’ first king was named Jayasimha.

Pulakesin I, however, was the true founder of the Chalukyan empire. (543–566 CE). Pulakeshin II, the most well-known king of the Badami family after him, ruled over the entire Deccan. Internal conflicts caused the Badami Chalukya dynasty to briefly fall after Pulakeshin II’s passing. Vikramaditya I’s rule saw the successful expulsion of the Pallavas from Badami and the establishment of order throughout the kingdom. Vikramaditya II (733–744 AD) was the kingdom’s greatest emperor and during his leadership, it attained its zenith. The Pandyas, Cholas, and Cheras, the three traditional nations of Tamil land, were subjugated by Vikramaditya II.

Also Read: Rashtrakuta Dynasty

Chalukya Dynasty Division

During this period, the Chalukyas were divided into three distinct but connected dynasties: the Badami, Eastern, and Western Chalukyas. Beginning in the middle of the sixth century, the “Badami Chalukyas,” the first dynasty, governed out of Vatapi (modern-day Badami). Under Pulakeshin II’s rule, they attained independence and a position of supremacy. The Chalukyas kingdom was first ruled by Jayasimha, but Pulakesin I (543–566 CE) is considered to be its true founder.

After Pulakeshin II’s demise, the Eastern Chalukyas established a sovereign state in the eastern Deccan. Till the 11th century, they held power in Vengi. The Chalukyas of Vengi split off from the Chalukyas of Badami. Pulakeshin II (609–642 AD) appointed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana as the ruler of the recently annexed eastern Deccan in 624 A.D. Pulakeshin II’s brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana created an independent kingdom following his passing.

The Western Chalukyas came into existence in the western Deccan as a result of the Rashtrakutas’ collapse in the middle of the 10th century. They governed until the year 12th. The Kalyani Chalukya Empire is another name for the Western Chalukya Empire. This kingdom was founded by Tailapa-II, a Rashtrakuta feudatory. They battled the Cholas and the eastern Chalukyas of Vengi for 200 years.

Also Read: South Indian Dynasties

Chalukya Dynasty Map

Below given is the map representation of the Chalukya Dynasty. Go through the map to get the location of the Badami Chalukya Dynasty:


Chalukya Dynasty Important Rulers

Pulakesin I (543 – 566 AD)

Pulakesin’s father was Ranaraga, and his grandpa was Jayasimha. His ancestors were subordinate kings, probably from the Kadamba or Rashtrakuta families. The Chalukyan dynasty actually had a genuine founder named Pulakesin I (543-566 AD). In the Bijapur district of Karnataka, he built a substantial fortification at Vapati (modern Badami), where he also sacrificed a horse to proclaim his country’s freedom. A Sanskrit-Kannada hybrid word with the meaning “tiger-haired” may be the source of the moniker “Pulakesin”.

Kirtivarman I (566 – 597 AD)

Kirtivarman I ascended to the kingdom in 566 AD, following the demise of his father Pulakesin I. A modest empire founded on Vatapi that Kirtivarman inherited was considerably expanded by him. His empire extended from the Shimoga area of Karnataka in the south to the Konkan coast of modern-day Maharashtra in the north. Likewise, from the Arabian Sea in the west to the Kurnool and Guntur regions of Andhra Pradesh in the east. The Kirtivarman period was “the night of doom” for the Nalas, Mauryas, and Kadambas, according to the Pulakesin II Aihole inscription. He carried out the Bahusuvarna-Agnishtom Yagya, which is described in the inscription on the Mahakuta pillar.

Mangalesha (597 AD – 609 AD)

Kirtivarman I, who was likely his half-brother and left at least three minor sons, was succeeded by Mangalesha, his older sibling. According to later Chalukya inscriptions at Kalyani, Mangalesha “took upon himself the responsibility of governance” because Pulakesin II, Kirtivarman’s son, was a minor. From southern Gujarat in the north to the Bellary-Kurnool area in the south, he ruled a kingdom.

During Kirtivarman’s reign, when he was preoccupied with military exploits, he oversaw the realm. It’s possible that Mangalesha and Kirtivarman alternated leading military campaigns and running the realm. Pulakesin’s claim to the throne was denied by Mangalesha, who then banished him and might have named his own son the heir apparent. During his exile, Pulakesin II planned an attack on Mangalesha, which he finally carried out and killed the Mangalesha.

Pulakesin II (609AD-642AD)

The Badami Chalukyas’ most potent king was Pulakesin-II. In South India, he was the first monarch to issue gold coins. When his father passed away, he was still too immature, so his paternal uncle Mangalesha was made king. After defeating Mangalesha in the Bana region at Elpattu-Simbhige, Pulakesin II took the throne.

He is renowned for having vanquished King Harsha on the Narmada River’s shores. Similar to Harsha’s Uttarpatheshwara, he also adopted the name Daskshinapatheshwara. Narasimhavarman I, Mahendravarman I’s son and successor, defeated and killed him after he had defeated Pallava monarch Mahendravarman I.

Vikramaditya I (655 AD – 680 AD)

Pulakesin II had a third boy named Vikramaditya. With the help of his maternal grandfather Bhuvikarma or Durvineet of the Western Ganga Dynasty, he assigned himself the task of fending off the Pallava invasion and restoring the unity of his father’s realm. He succeeded in ending Pallava’s 13-year rule and capturing Vatapi.

In 668 AD, he overcame the Pallava king Mahendravarman II, and for the next five to six years, he proceeded to seize Kanchi. He pillaged the Chola, Pandya, and Kerala kingdoms at this period without annexing any land (his army remained in Thiruchirapalli).  Vikramaditya adopted the family names Shri-prithvi-vallabha and Satyashraya (“refuge of truth”). Along with the typical Chalukyan titles, Vikramaditya I also adopted the term Rajamalla, indicating that he was now the ruler of the Mallas, or the Pallavas.

Kirtivarman II (746 AD – 753 AD)

Vikramaditya II’s firstborn was named Kirtivarman. He also went by the name Nripasimha. (lion among kings). Due to the Pallavas’ defeat, the Chalukyas’ conquest of the Deccan, and the Muslims’ apparent invincibility, the Chalukyas appeared to be at their best when he ascended to the throne.

But within ten years, Kirtivarman had lost his renown as the Pandya and Rashtrakuta dynasties gained power and created problems for the Chalukya king. Kirtivarman II, who was overthrown by Dantidurga in 753 AD, marked the end of the Chalukya dynasty.

Chalukya Dynasty Administration

The government of the Chalukyas was modeled after the administrative structures of Magadha and Satavahana at its upper levels. King was the highest-ranking official in the province. Some academics contend that kings held unrestricted authority, while others contest this notion. However, it cannot be denied that the bulk of Chalukya kings were concerned with the well-being of their subjects.

The king’s principal consort was referred to as “Tattamahish.” The monarch was promoted to Yuvaraja status. The King presided over the administrative council and was the highest legal power. A council of ministers and other officials advised the monarch and helped him run the country. The Prime Minister went by the moniker of Mahamatya.

The kingdom was divided for administrative purposes into provinces and other subdivisions. Mandal served as the imperial capital, and Mahamandateshwara oversaw it. For municipal administration, the empire was split up into villages known as Visha. At the community level, gram sabha and gram panchayats were in charge. The leader of Visha was called Vishayaka. As a special officer in command of revenue collection, Pattaiika was chosen. The state’s primary source of money came from land taxes, which were assessed at a rate equal to one-sixth of production.

The “Chaturangini,” a four-winged force of the Chalukyas, was so named. There was a lot of emphasis placed on the elephant force. King served as the Army’s top leader. The responsibilities of Senapati were handled by Danda Nayaka or Dandadhipatya. Samantas kept their own forces and supported their kings when necessary. There were distinct military and civil courts during the Chalukya era. The King was the highest court, and his judgments were founded on precedent and his ministers’ recommendations.

Chalukya Dynasty Art and Architecture

The Badami Chalukya period marked a turning point in South Indian building. The rulers of this kingdom, known as Umapati Varlabdh, constructed a great deal of Shiva temples. “Chalukyan architecture” or “Karnata Dravida architecture” are two terms used to describe their building aesthetic. In the contemporary Bagalkot district of northern Karnataka, they constructed nearly a hundred monuments; both structural and rock-cut (cave) monuments.

The number of elaborate temples the Western Chalukyas erected in the Tungabhadra-Krishna River doab area of the modern-day Gadag district in Karnataka led to the term “Gadag style” being sometimes applied to their art. In addition to temples, the dynasty’s architecture is well known for the elaborate stepped wells (Pushkarni), which were used as sites of ritual bathing. A few of these well-preserved wells can be found in Lakkundi.

Chalukya Dynasty Society

The Chalukyas adhered to the Hindu social system, and Brahmins enjoyed special privileges as local experts and judges. With the exception of a few who excelled in martial arts, most of these Brahmins were employed in professions based on study and religion. Because widows like Vinayavathi and Vijayanka are noted in records, Sati might not have been present.

Government recognition of Devadasis and their presence in shrines. The precursor to Bharatanatyam, Sage Bharata’s Natyashastra, was well-known and is depicted in numerous statues and inscriptions. Women held prominent places in society, as evidenced by the fact that some members of the royal family held political power positions in administration. Records of women’s involvement in the fine arts include the dance and musical talent of Kalachuris of Kalyani queen Sovala Devi and Chalukya queen Chandala Devi.

Brahmins, Jains, Buddhists, and Shaivas all adhered to a strict vegetarian diet, while other groups ate a variety of meats. Market vendors offered both domesticated meat from animals like goats, sheep, pigs, and poultry as well as exotic meat from animals like partridge, hare, wildfowl, and boar. People found amusement indoors by gambling, watching animal fights (such as cock fights and ram fights), or watching wrestling contests (Kusti). Horse racing was a well-liked outdoor pastime. Records indicate that clinics and schools were constructed close to temples.

Chalukya Dynasty Religion

The Chalukyas were Vedic Hindus who constructed revered Hindu deities-themed sanctuaries in Aihole, Pattadakal, and Mahakuta. Shaivism and Vaishnavism flourished during their time, especially among the Badami and Eastern Chalukyas. The Virashaivism-adherent Western Chalukyas were. A Hindu group built on Shaivism is known as Virashaivism or Lingayatism. Vedic offerings, sacrifices, and sacred vows were all important.

Hindu deities like Vishnu, Shiva, Kartikeya, Ganapathi, Shakti, Surya, and Sapta Matrikas (seven moms) are frequently depicted in sculpture. The decline of Buddhism in South India started in the eighth century with the spread of Adi Shankara’s Advaita doctrine. Jainism was able to retain a sizable amount of public support while Buddhism was on the decline. Badami, Aihole, Kurtukoti, and Puligere served as the Badami Chalukyas’ main educational institutions.

Chalukya Dynasty Decline

Although Jayasimha was the initial ruler, Pulakesin I actually established the Chalukyan empire (543–566 CE). Following him, Pulakeshin II ruled the entire Deccan, and following his passing, there was a brief time of decline as a result of internal strife. Vikramaditya II, however, brought the realm to its zenith (733–744 AD). Vikramaditya II marked the beginning of the kingdom’s decline.

Within ten years, Kirtivarman had lost his renown as the Pandya and Rashtrakuta dynasties gained strength and created problems for the Chalukya king. Kirtivarman II, the final Chalukya monarch, was overthrown by the Rashtrakuta Ruler Dantidurga in 753 AD. The Badami Chalukyas split off into the Chalukyas of Vengi, also known as the Eastern Chalukyas. Kingdom upkeep was attempted by kings like Jayasimha I and Kubja Vishnuvardhana. The Rashtrakutas and Vengi came to an understanding and were regarded as allies.

They were able to preserve their freedom until the Kalyani Chalukyas deposed the Rashtrakutas in 973 A.D. The Vengi realm finally fell to the Chola Dynasty and was overthrown. This kingdom was founded by the Western Chalukyas, a Rashtrakuta feudatory. They battled the Cholas and the eastern Chalukyas of Vengi for 200 years.

The Western Chalukyas were superior to the Deccan ruling houses, the Hoysalas, and the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri. These two empires’ remains served as the foundation for the Kingdoms of their feudatories, whose rivalries dominated Deccan history for more than a century. The Western Chalukyas were ultimately vanquished by the Hoysala Empire in the 12th century.

Chalukya Dynasty UPSC

In South Indian history, the Chalukya dynasty’s rule marked a turning point. An Indian monarchy with its capital in the south of the country took control of the entire region between the Kaveri and the Narmada rivers. During the growth of this mighty empire, efficient governance, an increase in international trade, and the creation of the Vesara architectural style all took place. They were devoted to Vedic culture, and this era is regarded as Karnataka’s “golden age.” To know all the important information related to UPSC preparation candidates can visit the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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Who is founder of Chalukya dynasty?

Jayasimha was the first ruler of the Chalukyas. He began it with Vatapi as the core of the kingdom.

What is Chalukya dynasty famous for?

The Badami Chalukya era saw a major expansion of South Indian architecture. The rulers of the Umapati Varlabdh family built a great deal of Shiva temples. They are famous for their "Chalukyan architecture" or "Karnata Dravida architecture," respectively."

Who destroyed Chalukya dynasty?

In the eighth century CE, Rashtrakuta Dantidurga, the founder of the Rashtrakuta Empire, overthrew the final ruler of the Badami Chalukyas, according to tradition (and the majority of academics).

Who ruled India after Chalukyas?

Beginning with Rajaraja I's conquest of the southern Deccan in about 993, the Cholas proceeded to conquer the plateau until around 1021. After many ups and downs, the Chalukya Empire was succeeded by the Kalacuri family under Bijjala. Around 1156, Bijjala assumed the throne and reigned until 1167.

Who defeated Chalukyas?

Narasimhavarman I of the Pallava Dynasty vanquished the renowned Emperor Pulakeshin II of the Chalukya Dynasty.

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