Chalukyas of Vatapi/Badami
The Chalukyas rose to power in the Deccan from the fifth to eighth century and again from the tenth to twelfth century. They ruled over the area between the Vindhyan Mountain and the river Krishna. The Chalukyas were sworn enemies of the Pallavas.
The first great ruler of the Chalukya dynasty was Pulakesin I. He founded Vatapi and made it his capital. He is said to have performed Ashwamedha Yagna. The kingdom was further extended by his sons Kirtivarman and Mangalesa by waging many successful wars against the neighbors including Mauryans of the Konkans.
Pulakesin II was one of the greatest Kings of the Chalukya Dynasty. He enthroned in 620 A.D. As soon as he came to the throne, he restored peace and also granted pardon to all those who opposed his succession. He also strengthened law and order situation throughout his kingdom. He set other primary needs of the people, and started his invasions on enemies. His main aim in life was to expand his Chalukya Kingdom as big as possible.
During his period he defeated the Kadambas, Moriyas of Konkana, Malavas, the Latas and Gurjaras. He also attacked the Kingdom of Pallavas and forced King Mahendra Varma to accept his superiority. He also conquered the region of Pistapura and appointed his own son as the Governor of that place. In the far south, Pulakesin II attacked the Kingdom of the Pallavas and forced the King MahendraVarma I to step down from the throne. His army crossed the Kaveri River and compelled the rulers of Chola, Kerala and Pandya compelled them to accept his friendly diplomatic supremacy.
Pulakesin II occupied the entire region of South India and dominated all the princes with his high commendable nature.
At the mean time, Emperor Harshavardhana was ruling the entire North India region and wanted to show his supremacy in South India also. So he put attention towards the lands beyond the Vindhyas. He brought a huge army to conquer the South Indian territories.
Pulakesin II heard this news and didn’t want the Northern Army to enter into his Empire. So with a large army, he faced Harsha. Both the armies fought in a fiercely and Pulakesin II succeeded to resisted the army of Harsha. Subsequently Harshavardhan gave up his thoughts of conquering the South Indian continents and returned to the North.
Pulakesin was not only a powerful King but also one of the most benevolent administrators of the Southern History. The celebrated Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang also visited the Kingdom of Chalukya and observed the administration system of Pulakesin II and praised him for his power and for his benevolent activities.
Pulakesin’s aggressive nature was one of the causes for him to participate frequently into battles. His unsuccessful attempt on the Pallava Kingdom makes him ashamed and he returned to his capital without success.
Soon, the Pallava King Narasimha Varman invaded the Chalukya kingdom and surrounded its capital. During the resistance battle with Pallava soldiers, Pulakesin II lost his life in 642 A.D.
Chalukyas of Kalyani
The Chalukyas of Kalyani constitute the last phase of the celebrated dynasty. The kings of this segment established themselves after the fading away of the Rashtrakutas. They had their capital in Kalyana which is now known as Basavakalyana.
The Chalukya dynasty which was dormant for quite some time after the cessation of the Badami Chalukyas and holding its own in small pockets of power reinstated itself when Karka-2 (Kakka), the Rashtrakuta king, was defeated by Tailapa-2 in 973 A.D.
He established himself in Manyakheta (Malkhed), the traditional capital of the Rashtrakootas.
However some historians have claimed that the Kalyani Chalukyas were not related to the Badami Chaliukyas and that they belonged to a different lineage. A list of kings who ruled in these small provinces is given by Ranna the famous Kannada poet in his ‘Gadayuddha’. Kalyani Chalukyas ruled a powerful empire for almost two centuries till they were subjugated by the kaLacuri dynasty.
The Chalukya Kingdom was completely under the control of Kalachuris during 1162-1182 A.D., till Someshvara-4 regained control temporarily. The Chalukya kingdom was virtually dissolved by 1190 A.D. by the onslaught of Hoysalas, Kakateeyas and Sevunaas.
The Kalyani Chalukyas were in constant strife with the Chola kings almost throughout their existence. Tailapa-2 had to contend with Gangas, Nolambas and Cholas. Tailapa defeated Rajaraja Chola and his son Satyashraya fought with Rajaraja Chola and his son Rajendra Chola.
Satyashraya moved towards the north after Rajendra Chola usurped GangavaaDi and NoLambavaaDi. His victories over Shilaara Aparjita and the kings of Gujarat were in a way compensatory. Jayasimha had to contend with enemies from all directions. Paramaras, Kalcuris and Colas were his major adversaries.
Jayasimha moved slowly but wisely. He was successful in controlling most of his enemies with the exception of Rajendra Chola who continued to be a thorn in his flesh.
The reign of Someshvara-1 and Someshvara-2 was no different and indecisive battles with the Chola kings continued unabatedly. The politics related to the Chalukyas of Vengi added fuel to the fire and entire South India was converted in a battle field.
Vikramaditya-6 who came to power after ousting his elder brother Someshvara is one of the more renowned emperors of Karnataka. He ruled over the kingdom for more than fifty years and he had some kind of understanding with Kulottunga Chola his counterpart in the Chola dynasty. There was a temporary cessation of warfare between these two kingdoms.
Consequently, Vikramaditya could indulge in efforts to bring about all round development in the affairs of the state. However he did have minor skirmishes with other kingdoms such as Shilaahaara, Paramaara, Gurjara, Kalacuri and Tripuri and he emerged victorious almost invariably.
Many parts of Vengimandala in Andhra were under his total control. He did phase stiff opposition from Hoysala and Vishnuvardhana during the fag end of his rule. He held his own after early setbacks.
The period after the demise of Vikramaditya-6 is characterized by continuous erosion of Chalukya power. Hoysala Vishnuvardhana and Kalacuri Bijjala posed constant threats and ultimately Bijjala declared himself as the emperor in 1153 A.D. The return to power of Someshvara was short-lived. Thus came to end, an important dynasty which made its presence felt for almost seven centuries and which contributed hugely to the art and culture of Karnataka.
The bulk of information that we have about the civic life and the administrative patterns of this period is gleaned from inscriptions. Kalayani Chalukya Empire was a huge kingdom stretching from Kaveri to Narmada River. It consisted of many parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The state was divided in to a number of ‘mandalas’ with appropriate subdivisions. Names like Banavaasi-12000, Nolambavaadi- 32000, and Gangavaadi-96000 indicate such divisions. These regions were ruled by the representatives of the Emperor who enjoyed hereditary powers or were appointed by the king.
The village was the smallest unit and it was looked after by a community of elders called ‘mahajana’s and representatives of various trades. ‘gavunda’ and ‘karana’ were the head official and accountant respectively.
This is deemed to be a period during which the rise of rich people took place. Apparently land ownership was conspicuous by its absence but for a few exceptions where in lands were granted by the kings to Brahmins and warriors. However, they did have many other sources of income.
Different professions had their own guilds. The economic condition of the state was very good and people had to pay varieties of taxes. Agriculturists as well as merchants had to bear the brunt of these taxes. The state also collected fees from customs, professional licenses, and judicial fines. Taxes were to be paid even when weddings took place in a given family. Even drawing a sword in a personal feud was considered a crime and it was heavily penalized. Many temples were also educational institutions. Brahmins held the upper hand in the system and rose to high places.