Chalukya Dynasty

The Chalukya Dynasty is an ancient Indian dynasty which flourished in the southern and the central parts of Indiabetween the time-frame of 600 AD and 1200 AD. It successfully established its rule in the Deccan regions of Indiabetween the 6th and the 8th century AD and then lost its powers for some time. Later, the Chalukyas managed to reiterate their powers and established their rule once again during the 10th century AD and this rule then lasted till 12th century AD.
The Chalukya Dynasty can be broadly classified into three individual yet related dynasties. These are:-
  • Western Chalukyas
  • Later Western Chalukyas
  • Eastern Chalukyas

Western Chalukyas

The earliest of the three Chalukya Dynasties was the dynasty of the Western Chalukyas. They are sometimes also referred as the Badami Chalukyas. Their rule was established in the middle of the 6th century AD and they ruled from the city of Vatapi (modern Badami). These Western Chalukyas established themselves an independent kingdom after the downfall of the Kadambas of Banavasi and then started their struggle for supremacy over thePallavas of Kanchi in the Tungabhadra-Krishna doab region of the peninsular India. Emperor Pulakesi-II of theWestern Chalukya Dynasty is known to have defeated the invasion of the Pallava Emperor Harsha and reached in close proximity of the Pallava capital at Kanchi. However, Pulakesi-II was not successful to stand against the second Pallava invasion and lost the Chalukyan capital, Vatapi, to the Pallava ruler Narasimhava. Later, Vikramaditya-II of the Western Chalukya Dynasty not only defeated the Pallava rulers but also ended their supremacy in southernIndia permanently. Some of the prominent rulers of the Western Chalukya Dynasty include the Pulakesin-I, the Kritivirman-I, the Mangalesa, the Pulakesi-II, the Vikramaditya-I, the Vinayaditya, the Vikramaditya-II and the Kritivarman-II.
Pulakesin-I: Although the Chalukyas ruled successfully between the 535 and 566 AD under the governance of Jayasimha and his son Ranaraga but the real Chalukya Dynasty is believed to have been founded by the Palakesin-I. He was the first to establish a rule at Badami (now Bijapur) which later became the epicenter of the Western Chalukya Dynasty.
Kritivirman-I: Kritivirman-I was the son of Pulakesin-I and succeeded his reign. He is known to have defeated the rulers of Anga, Vattura, Magadha, Kalinga and Vanga. Under his rule, the kingdom of the Western Chalukya Dynasty was spread to a large area embracing Mysore, Tamil Nadu and parts of southern Maharashtra. Kritiviram-I is also remembered for his construction of several buildings and temples in the city of Vatapi.
Mangalesa: The kingdom of the Western Chalukyas was handed to Mangalesa after Kritiviram-I in 598 AD. He was Kritiviram-I’s brother. Under his rule, the kingdom expanded to the next level and whole of the Maratha country was brought under the rule of the Western Chalukyas. Though he is known as a magnanimous ruler but he could not avoid a war with his own nephew Pulakesi-II and lost his life in the war.
Pulakesi-II: Pulakesi-II was the most famous of all Chalukyan rulers. He snatched the kingdom from his uncle, Mangalesa, by raising a war against him. He handled the helm of the Western Chalukyas for about thirty-two years between 620 and 642 AD. Under his rule, the empire was further expanded and the Gangas of south Mysore and theMauryas of Konkan lost their territories to the Chalukyas. His expansions brought him in close proximity of the Pallava Emperor Harsha who raised a war against him in 637 AD but was defeated. Later, Pulakesi-II attacked the Pallava king Mahendra Varman-I and defeated him. However after this victory, he could not hold the second Pallava invasion and lost his life along with the Chalukyan capital, Vatapi, to the Pallava ruler Narasimhava in this war.
Vikramaditya-I: After the death of Pulakesi-II, the Chalukyan thrown remained vacant till 655 AD when Vikramaditya-I managed to take control over the Chalukyan territories and suppressed the dominance of the Pallavas in the Deccan peninsular regions of India permanently.
Vinayditya: Vinayditya was handed the helm of Chalukyan Empire in 681 AD and he ruled successfully till 696 AD. Unlike Pallava-II, his relations with the Cholas and the Pandyas were not pleasant and in his reign he carried some campaigns against them. After he defeated the Lord of entire Uttarapatha, he was given the title, Palidhvaja.
Vijayaditya: He was the immediate successor of the Vikramaditya and ruled between 696 and 733 AD. There are no historical evidences of any conquest made by him and it is believed that most of the period under his rule was peaceful.
Vikramaditya-II: He was the son of Vijayditya and ruled the Western Chalukya Dynasty between 734 and 745 AD. He is known to have defeated the last Pallava king. After this victory, he is known to have taken the possession of the musical instruments, elephants, rubies and banners which belonged to the Pallavas. Also, it is believed that along with the Pallavas, Vikramaditya-II also suppressed the powers of the Pandyas and the Cholas.
Kritivarman-II: He was the last ruler of the Western Chalukyan Dynasty and ruled successfully after his father, Vikramaditya-II, for about eleven years. Later he lost his empire to the Rashtrakutas and all his attempts to regain control over his territories were futile. The Rashtrakutas ruled the territories for about next two centuries after which the control was regained by the Later Western Chalukyas of Kalyani.

Eastern Chalukyas

The Eastern Chalukya Dynasty was a branch of the Western Chalukya Dynasty which lasted for approximately 500 years. This dynasty was formed in 624 AD when the Pulakesin-II of the Western Chalukyas conquered several areas along the Eastern Coast of India, including Vengi, and installed his brother Kubja Vishnuvardhana as the ruler of these areas. So essentially, the Eastern Chalukya Dynasty evolved from the Chalukyan kingdom which was ruled by Pulakesin-II’s brother, Kubja Vishnuvardhana. Later, Kubja Vishnuvardhana expanded his empire up to Nellore in the south and Srikakulam in the north. Hiuen Tsang, the famous Buddhist traveler from China, visted theEastern Chalukya Dynasty under the rule of Kubja Vishnuvardhana and was happy to see the prosperity which prevailed in the empire. In 641 AD, Kubja Vishnuvardhana handed the throne of the Eastern Chalukyas to his son, Jayasimha-I, who ruled the empire till of 673 AD. Though the reign of Jayasimha-I was politically uneventful but he is remembered for using Telgu inscriptions for the first time in the entire history of India and the world. After Jayasimha-I several emperors including the Mangi Yuvaraju ruled the Eastern Chalukyas till 705 AD.
After 705 AD, the prominence of the Eastern Chalukyas shattered and there was a widespread unrest in the kingdom. This unrest was essentially because the weak Chalukyan rulers were unable to cope with the aggression from Rashtrakutas who overran their territories many times. Also, during this phase, there prevailed some family feuds in the dynasty which weakened the kingdom further. Meanwhile the Rashtrakutas were successful to overthrow the Western Chalukyas. Later in 848 AD, King Gunaga Vijayaditya stood against the Rashtrakutas but could not take their offence and ended up as an alley to the Rashtrakuta King Amoghavarsha. However Gunaga Vijayaditya proclaimed his empire independent after the death of Amoghavarsha and ruled the Eastern Chalukyastill 892 AD. Gunaga Vijayaditya’s was succeeded by his son Chalukya Bhima who ruled the Eastern Chalukya Empirefrom 892 to 921 AD. During his reign, Rashtrakutas raised some attacks against his kingdom but were repelled effectively. Thereafter, the Eastern Chalukyas were able to hold the independence of their kingdom until 973 AD, when the Chalukyas of Kalyani overthrew the Rashtrakutas.

Later Western Chalukyas

The Later Western Chalukyas are also known as the Chalukyas of Kalyani. Tailapa-II, famously known as Taila, founded this dynasty with the help of the earlier Western Chalukya family and the Kadambas. He was successful in recovering most of the territory lost by the Western Chalukyas. He rewarded the rule of Banavasi and Goa to the Kadambas, for helping him in his endeavor against the Rashtrakutas. Mentioned below are the major rulers of theChalukyas of Kalyani along with the timeframe of their rule.

  • Tailapa-II (973 AD to 997 AD)
  • Satyashraya Iriva Bedanga (997 AD to 1008 AD)
  • Vikramaditya-V (1008 AD to1015 AD)
  • Jayasimha-II    (1015 AD to 1044 AD)
  • Someshvara    (1044 to 1068 AD)
  • Someshvara-II (1068 AD to 1076 AD)
  • Vikramaditya-VI (1076 AD to 1127 AD)
  • Someshvara-III (1127 AD-1139 AD)
  • Jagadekamalla-II (1139 AD to 1149 AD)
  • Tailapa-III (1149 AD to 1162 AD)
  • Someshvara-IV (1182 AD to 1189 AD)


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