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The Pallava Dynasty India

The Pallava Dynasty rock-cut temples at Mahabalipuram

Pallava Dynasty ruled a part of southern India between the 3rd and the 9th centuries CE.


  • Several legends are related to Pallava’s origin.
  • According to the First Annual Conference of South Indian History Congress, Pallavas married with princesses of the Andhra Dynasty and inherited a part of Southern Andhra Pradesh.
  • Another theory is that the Pallavas were descendants of a dynasty of Indian origin who moved to South, and adopted local traditions.

Control of Regions between different Tamil Kings

  • Simhavishnu, the Pallava King, captured the Chola country. This military action was opposed by several southern kings. Simhavishnu defeated the Simhala (king), Chola and Pandya (kings), Malava, Kalabhra and Malaya.
  • The Pallavas drove the Cholas away from Kanchi. After that the Cholas defeated the Pallavas in the mid-4th century CE, during the rule of Vishugopa, the 10th king of the Pallava line. In the mid-6th century, the Pallavas re-captured Kanchi. After that the Pallavas remained in Kanchi till the reign of their last king, Vijaya-Nripatungavarman.  

Other conquests and expansions

  • At different periods of time, the Pallavas were at odds with major kingdoms. A tussle for political hegemony existed between the Kadambas and the early Pallavas. The Pallavas also married with Kadambas. The mother of Nandivarman, the Pallava king was a Kadamba princess.
  • Due to the Kalabhra invasion of the Tamil country during the reign of Vishnugopavarman II, political turmoil engulfed the Pallavas. By the close of the 6th century, the Pallava Simhavishnu defeated the Kalabhras. The Pandyas followed suit. After that the Tamil country was divided between the Pandyas in the south and Pallavas in the north.


  • Among the Pallavas, the royal tradition of using a series of descriptive honorific titles, birudas, was common. The birudas of Mahendravarman I are in Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit. The Telugu birudas indicate Mahendravarman's involvement with the Andhra region at the time he was building his cave-temples in the Tamil region. The Pallava rulers used the suffix "Malla". Mahendravarman I used the biruda, Satrumalla and his grandson Paramesvara I was called Ekamalla. Pallavas kings were known by their titles.

Languages used

  • The official languages of the dynasty were Sanskrit or Prakrit and the official script was Pallava grantha. It was in the interest of the ruling elite to protect their privileges by maintaining their supremacy of Prakrit so as to exclude the ordinary people from sharing power. The same method was adopted by the Pallavas in their Tamil country.