In various inscriptions attributed to Badami Chalukyas, they call themselves Karnatas. This along with the language used in inscriptions, which is a mix of Kannada & Sanskrit,  has led many historians to believe that the Badami Chalukyas were indigenous to the region.

The Chalukyas ruled over the Deccan plateau in India for over 600 years. During this period, they ruled as three closely related, but individual dynasties. These are the “Chalukyas of Badami” (also called “Early Chalukyas”), who ruled between the 6th and the 8th century, and the two sibling dynasties, the “Chalukyas of Kalyani” (also called Western Chalukyas or “Later Chalukyas”) and the “Chalukyas of Vengi” (also called Eastern Chalukyas)

Source: Wikipedia

The Malaprabha valley was a rich and fertile expanse of land with naturally occurring fortifications in the form of the red sandstone cliffs, which made this a very good site for setting up base. Pulakeshin I (544-567 CE) is generally considered as the founder of the early chalukya line based on various inscriptions found around Badami.

Malaprabha Valley

Source: Badami, Aihole & Pattadakal, George Michell

Chalukyan Kings and Pallavas of Kanchipuram fought many wars over the centuries but the most important ones are:

  • 642 CE – Pallava king Narasimhavarman I invades and occupies Badami after defeating Pulakeshin II
  • 732 CE – Vikramaditya II returns after defeating the Pallavas and inscribing his victory onto the Kailasanatha temple of Kanchipuram

The early Chalukyan empire ended somewhere around 753 CE when Dantidurga of the Rashtrakutas took over the Chalukyan territories. This did not stop Badami & the Malaprabha valley from flourishing as evidenced by the temples constructed in the 8th & 9th Centuries.

Defeat of Pulakeshin II

Source:  Wikipedia

The Chalukyas revived their fortunes in 973 after over 200 years of dormancy when much of the Deccan was under the rule of the Rashtrakutas. The genealogy of the kings of this empire is still debated. One theory, based on contemporary literary and inscriptional evidence plus the finding that the Western Chalukyas employed titles and names commonly used by the early Chalukyas, suggests that the Western Chalukya kings belonged to the same family line as the illustrious Badami Chalukya dynasty of the 6th century while other Western Chalukya inscriptional evidence indicates they were a distinct line unrelated to the Early Chalukyas.

The Western Chalukyas ruled for over 200 years and were in constant conflict with the Cholas, and with their cousins, the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi. Vikramaditya VI is widely considered the most notable ruler of the dynasty.An ambitious and skilled military leader,  under his leadership the Western Chalukyas were able to end the Chola influence over Vengi (coastal Andhra) and become the dominant power in the Deccan.The Western Chalukya period was an important age in the development of Kannada literature and Sanskrit literature. They went into their final dissolution towards the end of the 12th century with the rise of the Hoysala Empire, the Pandyas, the Kakatiya and the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri.

Source: Wikipedia

The architectural styles found in various Chalukyan temples is a mix of both Nagara (primarily North Indian with temple towers similar to Jagannath temple, Puri)  & Dravida style (Primarily South Indian with temple towers similar to Big temple in Tanjavur). Some cases like the Ladkhan temple are examples of what could be called the Malaprabha tradition, which is neither Nagara nor Dravida.

Nagara & Dravaida temple architecture, Pattadakal

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This is a sub post in the Explore Badami post. Please do read the main post for more information.