Pallavas : Socio – Economic & Political conditions

pallavasPallavas established their kingdom in Tondaimandalam with its capital at Kanchipuram.

Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)

  • Earlier he was a follower of Jainism.
  • Later he converted to Saivism under Thirunavukkarasar (Appar).
  • He wrote Mattavilasa Prahasanam in Sanskrit.

  • His title Chitrakarapuli reveals his talents in painting.

Narasimhavarman I (630-668 A.D.)

  • Also known as Mamalla, which means ‘great wrestler’.

  • Assumed the title ‘Vatapikonda’ after destroying the chalukyas capital “vatapi”.

  • Restored the throne to his friend & Sri Lankan prince Manavarma.

  • During his reign, Hiuen Tsang visited the Pallava capital Kanchipuram.

  • Founder of Mamallapuram.

Narasimhavarman II (695 -722 A.D.)
  • Also known as Rajasimha.

  • Shore temple at Mamallapuram and the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchipuram were built in his period.

  • Famous Sanskrit scholar Dandin is said to have adorned his court.

  • He sent embassies to China and the maritime trade flourished during his reign.

The Pallava rule lasted till the end of the 9th century A.D.

The Chola king Aditya I defeated the last Pallava ruler Aparajita and seized the Kanchi region.

Administration of the Pallavas

  • They had a well organized administrative system.

  • Pallava state was divided into Kottams. The Kottam was administered by officers appointed by the king.

  • land-grants to the temples known as Devadhana and also to the Brahmans known as Brahmadeya. Both were exempted from tax.

  • Irrigation tanks at Mahendravadi and Mamandoor were dug during the reign of Mahendravarman I.

  • Land tax was the primary source of the government revenue.

  • Pallava inscriptions throw much light on the village assemblies called sabhas and their committees.

  • Maintained records of all village lands, looked after local affairs and managed temples.

Society under the Pallavas
  • Caste system became rigid.

  • Brahmins occupied a high place in the society and were given land-grants by the kings and nobles. Pallava period also witnessed the rise of Saivism & Vaishnavism and also the decline of Buddhism & Jainism.

  • Saiva Nayanmars and the Vaishnava Alwars contributed to the growth of Saivism and Vaishnavism. Composed their hymns in the Tamil language.

Education and Literature
  • Their capital Kanchi was an ancient centre of learning.

  • The Ghatika at Kanchi was popular and it attracted students from all parts of India and abroad.

  • The founder of the Kadamba dynasty, Mayurasarman studied Vedas at Kanchi.

  • Dinganaga, a Buddhist writer came to study at Kanchi.

  • Dharmapala, who later became the Head of the Nalanada University, belonged to Kanchi.

  • Bharavi, the great Sanskrit scholar lived in the time of Simhavishnu.

  • Dandin, another Sanskrit writer adorned the court of Narasimhavarman II.

  • Mahendravaraman I composed the Sanskrit play Mattavilasaprahasanam.

  • The Devaram composed by Nayanmars and the Nalayradivyaprabandam composed by Alwars.

  • Perundevanar was patronized by Nandivarman II and he translated the Mahabharata as Bharathavenba in Tamil.

pallavas art mammallapuram shore templePallavas  Art and Architecture

  • Pallavas introduced the art of excavating temples from the rock.

  • In fact, the Dravidian style of temple architecture began with the Pallava rule.

  • Development of temple architecture under the Pallavas can be seen in four stages.pallava-art-free-studymaterial-ias-psc

First stage: Mahendravarman I introduced the rock-cut temples. This style of Pallava temples are seen at places like Mandagappattu, Mahendravadi etc……..

Second stage: Pallava architecture is represented by the monolithic rathas and Mandapas found at Mamallapuram. The five rathas, popularly called as the Panchapanadava rathas, signifies five different styles of temple architecture.

Third stage: Rajasimha introduced the structural temples. These temples were built by using the soft sand rocks. The Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi and the Shore temple at Mamallapuram remain the finest examples of the early structural temples of the Pallavas.

garden sculptures_PALLAVA_ART_AND_ArchitectureFourth stage:

  • Pallava art is also represented by structural temples built by the later Pallavas.

  • The Vaikundaperumal temple, Muktheeswara temple and Matagenswara temples at Kanchipuram belong to this stage of architecture.

  • Apart from the sculptures found in the temples, the ‘Open Art Gallery’ at Mamallapuram remains an important monument bearing the sculptural beauty of this period.

  • The Descent of the Ganges or the Penance of Arjuna is called a fresco painting in stone.

  • The minute details as well as the theme of these sculptures such as the figures of lice-picking monkey, elephants of huge size and the figure of the ‘ascetic cat’ standing erect remain the proof for the talent of the sculptor.

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