- Western Chalukya Empire
Infobox Former Country
native_name = ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ
conventional_long_name = Western Chalukya Empire
common_name = Western Chalukya Empire|
continent = moved from Category:Asia to South Asia
region = South Asia
country = India
status = Empire
status_text = Empire (Subordinate to
government_type = Monarchy|
year_start = 973
year_end = 1189|
event_pre = Earliest records
date_pre = 957 |
p1 = Rashtrakuta
s1 = Hoysala Empire
s2 = Kakatiya dynasty
s3 = Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri
image_map_caption = Extent of Western Chalukya Empire, 1121 CE|
common_languages = Kannada
religion = Hindu|
leader1 = Tailapa II
leader2 = Somesvara IV
year_leader1 = 957 – 997
year_leader2 = 1184 – 1189
title_leader = King
footnotes = The Western Chalukya Empire (
Kannada:ಪಶ್ಚಿಮ ಚಾಲುಕ್ಯ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ) ruled most of the western Deccan, South India, between the 10th and 12th centuries. This dynasty is sometimes called the "Kalyani Chalukya" after its regal capital at Kalyani, today's Basavakalyanin Karnatakaand alternatively the "Later Chalukya" from its theoretical relationship to the sixth century Chalukya dynastyof Badami. The dynasty is called Western Chalukyas to differentiate from the contemporaneous Eastern Chalukyasof Vengi, a separate dynasty. Prior to the rise of these Chalukyas, the Rashtrakutaempire of Manyakhetacontrolled most of deccan and central India for over two centuries. In 973, seeing confusion in the Rashtrakuta empire after a successful invasion of their capital by the Paramaraof Malwa, Tailapa IIa feudatory of the Rashtrakuta ruling from Bijapur region defeated his overlords and made Manyakheta his capital. The dynasty quickly rose to power and grew into an empire under Somesvara Iwho moved the capital to Kalyani.
For over a century, the two empires of southern India, the Western Chalukyas and the
Chola dynastyof Tanjorefought many fierce wars to control the fertile region of Vengi. During these conflicts, the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi, distant cousins of the Western Chalukyas but related to the Cholas by marriage took sides with the Cholas further complicating the situation. It was only during the rule of Vikramaditya VIin the late eleventh to early twelfth century that the Western Chalukya empire convincingly eclipsed the Cholas and reached its peak with territories spreading over most of the deccan. Vast areas between the Narmada Riverin the north and Kaveri Riverin the south came under Chalukya control. During this period the other major ruling families of the Deccan, the Hoysalas, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynastyand the Southern Kalachuri, were subordinates of the Western Chalukyas and gained their independence only when the power of the Chalukya waned during the later half of the twelfth century.
The Western Chalukyas developed an architectural style known today as a transitional style, an architectural link between the style of the early Chalukya dynasty and that of the later Hoysala empire. Most of its monuments are in the districts bordering the Tungabhadra River in central Karnataka. Well known examples are the
Kasivisvesvara Templeat Lakkundi, the Mallikarjuna Temple at Kuruvatii, the Kallesvara Temple at Bagali and the Mahadeva Temple at Itagi. This was an important period in the development of fine arts in Southern India, especially in literature as the Western Chalukya kings encouraged writers in the native language of Kannada, and Sanskrit.
Knowledge of the Western Chalukyas history has come through examination of the numerous excavated Kannada language inscriptions left by the kings and from the study of important contemporary literary documents in
Western Chalukya literaturesuch as "Gada Yuddha" (982) in Kannada by Rannaand "Vikramankadeva Charitam" (1120) in Sanskrit by Bilhana.Kamath (2001), pp10–12, p100] cite web|title=Kannada inscriptions|url=http://www.whatisindia.com/inscriptions/south_indian_inscriptions/volume_9/chalukyas_of_kalyani.html|author=Sastry, Shama & Rao, N. Lakshminarayana|publisher=What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd.|work=Archaeological survey of India, South Indian inscriptions, Saturday, November 18, 2006|accessdate=2006-12-28] The earliest inscription is dated 957, during the rule of Tailapa IIwhen the Western Chalukyas were still a feudatory of the Rashtrakutas and Tailapa II governed from Tardavadi in present day Bijapur district, Karnataka.The province of Tardavadi, lying in the very heart of the Rashtrakuta empire, was given to Tailapa II as a "fief" (provincial grant) by Rashtrakuta Krishna IIIfor services rendered in war (Sastri 1955, p162)] Kamath (2001), p101] 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 Chalukyadynasty of sixth centuryPoet Bilhanas 12th century Sanskrit work " Vikramadeva Charitam" and Ranna's Kannada work "Gadayuddha" (982) and inscriptions from Nilagunda, Yevvur, Kauthem and Miraj claim Tailapa II was son of Vikramaditya IV, seventh in descent from Bhima, brother of Badami Chalukya Vikramaditya II(Kamath 2001, p100)] Kings of the Chalukya line of Vemulavada, who were certainly from the Badami Chalukya family line used the title "Malla" which is often used by the Western Chalukyas. Names such as "Satyasraya" which were used by the Badami Chalukya are also name of a Western Chalukya king, (Gopal B.R. in Kamath 2001, p100)] while other Western Chalukya inscriptional evidence indicates they were a distinct line unrelated to the early Chalukyas.Unlike the Badami Chalukyas, the Kalyani Chalukyas did not claim to be "Harithiputhras" of "Manavysya gotra" in lineage. The use of titles like "Tribhuvanamalla" marked them of as a distinct line (Fleet, Bhandarkar and Altekar in Kamath 2001, p100)]
Inscriptional evidence suggests a possible rebellion by a local Chalukya King, Chattigadeva of
Banavasi-12000 province (967), in alliance with local Kadamba chieftains. This rebellion however was unfruitful but paved the way for his successor Tailapa II.Moraes (1931), pp88-93] A few years later, Tailapa II re-established Chalukya rule and defeated the Rashtrakutas during the reign of Karka IIby timing his rebellion to coincide with the confusion caused in the Rashtrakuta capital of Manyakheta by the invading Paramaras of Central India in 973.Later legends and tradition hailed Tailapa as an incarnation of the God Krishnawho fought 108 battles against the race of Ratta (Rashtrakuta) and captured 88 fortresses from them (Sastri 1955, p162)] According to a 973 inscription, Tailapa II helped by Kadambas of Hangal, destroyed the Rattas (Rashtrakutas), killed the valiant Munja (Paramara kingdom), took the head of Panchala (Ganga dynasty) and restored the royal dignity of the Chalukyas (Moraes 1931, pp 93–94)] After overpowering the Rashtrakutas, Tailapa II moved his capital to Manyakheta and consolidated the Chalukya empire in the western deccan by subjugating the Paramaraand other aggressive rivals and extending his control over the land between the Narmada River and Tungabhadra River.Sastri (1955), p164] However, some inscriptions indicate that Balagamve in Mysore territory may have been a power centre up to the rule of Somesvara I in 1042.A minor capital of Jayasimha II (Cousens 1926, p10, p105)]
The intense competition between the kingdoms of the western deccan and those of the Tamil kingdoms came to the fore in the eleventh century over the acutely contested fertile river valleys in the
doabregion of the Krishna and Godavari Rivercalled Vengi(coastal Andhra Pradesh). The Western Chalukyas and the Chola Dynastyfought many bitter wars over control of this strategic resource. The imperial Cholas gained power during the time of the famous king Rajaraja Chola Iand the crown prince Rajendra Chola I.King Rajaraja Chola conquered parts of Chalukya territory in present day South Karnataka by subjugating the Western Ganga Dynasty of Gangavadi (Kamath 2001, p102)] The Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi were cousins of the Western Chalukyas but became increasingly influenced by the Cholas through their marital ties with the Tamil kingdom. As this was against the interests of the Western Chalukyas, they wasted no time in involving themselves politically and militarily in Vengi. When King Satyasrayasucceeded Tailapa II to the throne, he was able to protect his kingdom from Chola aggression as well as his northern territories in Konkanand Gujaratalthough his control over Vengi was shaky.From the Hottur inscriptions dated 1007 – 1008, Satyasraya was able to defeat crown prince Rajendra Chola (Kamath 2001, p102)] His successor, Jayasimha II, fought many battles with the Cholas in the south while both powerful kingdoms struggled to choose the Vengi king.Quote:"Beautified it so that it surpassed all the other cities of the earth" (Cousens 1926, p10)] as hostilities with the Cholas continued and while both sides won and lost battles, neither lost significant territoryGanguli in Kamath 2001, p103] Sastri (1955), p166] during the ongoing politics of installing a puppet on the Vengi throne.Somesvara I supported the cause of Shaktivarman II, son of Vijayaditya II while the Cholas preferred Rajendra, son of the previous king Rajaraja Narendra (Kamath 2001, p103)] Sastri (1955), p169] In 1068 Somesvara I, suffering from an incurable illness, drowned himself in the Tungabhadra River ("Paramayoga").Kamath (2001), p104] Sastri (1955), p170] Cousens (1926), pp10–11] Despite many conflicts with the Cholas in the south, Somesvara I had managed to maintain control over the northern territories in Konkan, Gujarat, Malwaand Kalingaduring his rule. His successor, his eldest son Somesvara II, feuded with his younger brother, Vikramaditya VI, an ambitious warrior who had initially been governor of Gangavadi in the southern deccan when Somesvara II was the king. Married to a Chola princess (a daughter of Virarajendra Chola), Vikramaditya VI maintained a friendly alliance with them. After the death of the Chola king in 1070, Vikramaditya VI invaded the Tamil kingdom and installed his brother-in-law, Adhirajendra, on the throne creating conflict with Kulothunga Chola I, the powerful ruler of Vengi who sought the Chola throne for himself.Sastri (1955), p171] At the same time Vikramaditya VI undermined his brother, Somesvara II, by winning the loyalty of the Chalukya feudatories: the Hoysala, the Seuna and the Kadambasof Hangal. Anticipating a civil war, Somesvara II sought help from Vikramaditya VI's enemies, Kulothunga Chola I and the Kadambas of Goa. In the ensuing conflict of 1076, Vikramaditya VI emerged victorious and proclaimed himself king of the Chalukya empire.Sastri 1955, p172] Eulogising Vikramaditya VI, Kashmiri poet Bilhana wrote in his "Vikramanakadeva Charita" that lord Shiva himself advised Chalukya Vikramaditya VI to replace his elder brother from the throne (Thapar 2003, p468)]
The fifty year reign of Vikramaditya VI, the most successful of the later Chalukya rulers, was an important period in Karnataka's history and is referred to by historians as the "Chalukya Vikrama era".Vikramaditya VI abolished the "saka" era and established the "Vikrama-varsha" (Vikrama era). Most Chalukya inscriptions thereafter are dated to this new era (Cousens 1926, p11)] Vikramaditya's rule is mentioned as an era ("samvat") along with
SatavahanaVikrama era 58 BCE, Shaka era, of 78 CE, Harshavardhana era of 606 CE (Thapar, 2003, pp 468–469)] Not only was he successful in controlling his powerful feudatories in the north and south, he successfully dealt with the imperial Cholas whom he defeated in the battle of Vengi in 1093 and again in 1118. He retained this territory for many years despite ongoing hostilities with the Cholas.Quote:"From 1118, Ananthapala, Vikramaditya VI's famous general is described as the ruler of Vengi, other Chalukyan commanders are found established in other parts of Telugu country and the Chola power practically disappears for a number of years thereafter. Thus Kulotunga sustained another curtailment of his empire which by the end of his reign was practically confined to Tamil country and a relatively small area of the adjoining Telugu districts".(Sastri 1955, p175)] Quote:"Vikramaditya VI led an expedition against the Cholas in 1085 and captured Kanchi and held it for some years. Vikramaditya VI succeeded in conquering major parts of Vengi Kingdom in 1088. Kollipakei-7000, a province of Vengi was under his control for long after this. Vengi was under his control from 1093 to 1099 and though it was recaptured by the Cholas in 1099, he reconquered it in 1118 and held it till 1124" (Kamath 2001, p105). Vikramaditya VI successfully subdued the Hoysalas, the Silharas of Konkan, the Kadambasof Goa, the Pandyasof Uchangi, the Seunaof Devagiri, the Kakatiyaof Warangal, the Chaulukyas of Gujarat, the Chediof Ratnapur and the rulers of the Malwaterritories south of the Narmada river (Kamath 2001, p105)] This victory in Vengi reduced the Chola influence in the eastern deccan and made him emperor of territories stretching from the Kaveri River in the south to the Narmada River in the north, earning him the titles "Permadideva" and "Tribhuvanamalla" (lord of three worlds). The scholars of his time paid him glowing tributes for his military leadership, interest in fine arts and religious tolerance.Vijnyaneshavara, his court scholar in Sanskrit, wrote of him as a king like none other (Kamath 2001, p106)] Cousens (1926), p12] Literature proliferated and scholars in Kannada and Sanskrit adorned his court. Poet Bilhana, who immigrated from far away Kashmir, eulogised the king in his well known work "Vikramankadeva Charita".Bilhana called the reign "Rama Rajya" in his writing that consisted of 18 cantos. The last canto of this work is about the life of author himself who writes that the work was composed by him in gratitude for the great honor bestowed upon him by the ruler of "Karnata" (Sastri 1955, p315)] Bilhana was made "Vidyapati" (chief pandit) by the king (Cousens 1926, p12)] Vikramaditya VI was not only an able warrior but also a devout king as indicated by his numerous inscriptions that record grants made to scholars and centers of religion. No other king prior to the Vijayanagara rulers have left behind so many records as Vikramaditya VI (Kamath 2001, p105)]
The continual warring with the Cholas exhausted both empires, giving their subordinates the opportunity to rebel.Their feudatories, Hoysalas of Mysore region, Kakatiyas of Warangal, Seunas of Devagiri and the Pandyas of Madurai wasted no time in seizing the opportunity, (Sastri 1955,p158)] In the decades after Vikramaditya VI's death in 1126, the empire steadily decreased in size as their powerful feudatories expanded in autonomy and territorial command.Sastri (1955), p176] The time period between 1150 and 1200 saw many hard fought battles between the Chalukyas and their feudatories who were also at war with each other. By the time of
Jagadhekamalla II, the Chalukyas had lost control of Vengi and his successor, Tailapa III, was defeated by Kakatiya Prola in 1149. Tailapa III was taken captive and later released bringing down the prestige of the Western Chalukyas. Seeing decadence and uncertainty seeping into Chalukya rule, the Hoysalas and Seunas also encroached upon the empire. Hoysala Narasimha Idefeated and killed Tailapa III but was unable to overcome the Kalachuris who were vying for control of the same region. In 1157 the Kalachuris under Bijjala IIcaptured Kalyani and occupied it for the next twenty years, forcing the Chalukyas to move their capital to Annigeri in the present day Dharwad district.
The Kalachuris were originally immigrants into the southern deccan from central India and called themselves "Kalanjarapuravaradhisavaras".Kamath (2001), p107] Bijjala II and his ancestors had governed as Chalukya commanders ("Mahamandaleshwar") over the Karhad-4000 and Tardavadi-1000 provinces (overlapping region in present day Karnataka and Maharashtra) with Mangalavada or AnnigeriCousens (1926), p13] as their capital. Bijjala II's Chikkalagi record of 1157 calls him "Mahabhujabala Chakravarti" ("emperor with powerful shoulders and arms") indicating he no longer was a subordinate of the Chalukyas.Kamath (2001), p108] However the successors of Bijjala II were unable to hold on to Kalyani and their rule ended in 1183 when the last Chalukya scion,
Somesvara IVmade a final bid to regain the empire by recapturing Kalyani. Kalachuri King Sankama was killed by Chalukya general Narasimha in this conflict.From the Minajagi record of 1184 (Kamath 2001, p109)] A Kalachuri commander called Barmideva or Brahma is known to have given support to the Chalukyas (Sastri 1955, p179–180)] During this time, Hoysala Veera Ballala IIwas growing ambitious and clashed on several occasions with the Chalukyas and the other claimants over their empire. He defeated Chalukya Somesvara IV and Seuna Bhillama V bringing large regions in the Krishna River valley under the Hoysala domains, but was unsuccessful against Kalachuris.Kamath (2001), p127] The Seunas under Bhillama V were on an imperialistic expansion too when the Chalukyas regained Kalyani. Their ambitions were temporarily stemmed by their defeat against Chalukya general Barma in 1183 but they later had their vengeance in 1189.
The overall effort by Somesvara IV to rebuild the Chalukya empire failed and the dynasty was ended by the Seuna rulers who drove Somesvara IV into exile in
Banavasi1189. After the fall of the Chalukyas, the Seunas and Hoysalas continued warring over the Krishna River region in 1191, each inflicting a defeat on the other at various points in time.Sastri (1955), p180] This period saw the fall of two great empires, the Chalukyas of the western deccan and the Cholas of Tamilakam. On the ruins of these two empires were built the Kingdoms of their feudatories whose mutual antagonisms filled the annals of Deccan history for over a hundred years, the Pandyas taking control over some regions of the erstwhile Chola empire.Sastri (1955), p192]
The Western Chalukya kingship was hereditary, passing to the king's brother if the king did not have a male heir. The administration was highly decentralised and feudatory clans such as the
Alupas, the Hoysalas, the Kakatiya, the Seuna, the southern Kalachuri and others were allowed to rule their autonomous provinces, paying an annual tribute to the Chalukya emperor.Kamath (2001), p110] Excavated inscriptions record titles such as "Mahapradhana" (Chief minister), "Sandhivigrahika", and "Dharmadhikari" (chief justice). Some positions such as "Tadeyadandanayaka" (commander of reserve army) were specialised in function while all ministerial positions included the role of "Dandanayaka" (commander), showing that cabinet members were trained as army commanders as well as in general administrative skills.Kamath (2001), p109]
The kingdom was divided into provinces such as "Banavasi-12000", "Nolambavadi-32000", "Gangavadi-96000", each name including the number of villages under its jurisdiction. The large provinces were divided into smaller provinces containing a lesser number of villages, as in "Belavola-300". The big provinces were called "Mandala" and under them were "Nadu" further divided into "Kampanas" (groups of villages) and finally a "Bada" (village). A "Mandala" was under a member of the royal family, a trusted feudatory or a senior official.
Tailapa IIhimself was in charge of Tardavadi province during the Rashtrakutarule. Chiefs of "Mandalas" were transferable based on political developments. For example, an official named Bammanayya administered Banavasi-12000 under King Somesvara III but was later transferred to Halasige-12000. Women from the royal family also administered "Nadus" and "Kampanas". Army commanders were titled "Mahamandaleshwaras" and those who headed a "Nadu" were entitled "Nadugouvnda".There was flexibility to the terms used to designate territorial division (Dikshit G.S. in Kamath 2001, p110)]
The Western Chalukyas minted punch-marked gold pagodas with Kannada and Nagari legendsCoins of Western Chalukyas with Kannada legends have been found (Kamath 2001, p12)] which were large, thin gold coins with several varying punch marks on the obverse side. They usually carried multiple punches of symbols such as a stylised lion, "Sri" in Kannada,cite web|title=Indian coins-Dynasties of South-Chalukyas|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/chalukya/south_chalcat.html |author=Govindaraya Prabhu, S|publisher=Prabhu's Web Page On Indian Coinage, November 1, 2001|work=|accessdate=2006-11-10] a spearhead, the king's title, a lotus and others. Jayasimha II used the legend "Sri Jaya", Somesvara I issued coins with "Sri Tre lo ka malla", Somesvara II used "Bhuvaneka malla", Lakshmideva's coin carried "Sri Lasha", and Jagadhekamalla II coinage had the legend "Sri Jagade". The Alupas, a feudatory, minted coins with the
Kannadaand "Nagari" legend "Sri Pandya Dhanamjaya".cite web|title=Indian coins-Dynasties of South-Alupas|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/alupa/south_alupacat.html|author=Govindaraya Prabhu, S|publisher=Prabhu's Web Page On Indian Coinage, November 1, 2001|work=|accessdate=2006-11-10] Lakkundiin Gadag districtand Sudi in Dharwad districtwere the main mints ("Tankhashaley"). Their heaviest gold coin was Gadyanaka weighting 96 grains, Dramma weighted 65 grains, Kalanju 48 grains, Kasu 15 grains, Manjadi 2.5 grains, Akkam 1.25 grains and Pana 9.6 grain.Kamath (2001), p111]
Agriculture was the empire's main source of income through taxes on land and produce. The majority of the people lived in villages and worked farming the staple crops of rice, pulses, and cotton in the dry areas and sugarcane in areas having sufficient rainfall, with
arecaand betelbeing the chief cash crops. The living conditions of the labourers who farmed the land must have been bearable as there are no records of revolts by the landless against wealthy landlords. If peasants were disgruntled the common practice was to migrate in large numbers out of the jurisdiction of the ruler who was mistreating them, thereby depriving him of revenue from their labor.Thapar (2002), p373]
Taxes were levied on mining and forest products, and additional income was raised through tolls for the use of transportation facilities. The state also collected fees from customs, professional licenses, and judicial fines.Thapar (2002), p378] Records show horses and salt were taxed as well as commodities (gold, textiles, perfumes) and agricultural produce (black pepper, paddy, spices, betel leaves, palm leaves, coconuts and sugar). Land tax assessment was based on frequent surveys evaluating the quality of land and the type of produce. Chalukya records specifically mention black soil and red soil lands in addition to wetland, dry land and wasteland in determining taxation rates.Sastri (1955), p298] Key figures mentioned in inscriptions from rural areas were the Gavundas (officials) or Goudas. The Gavundas belonged to two levels of economic strata, the "Praja Gavunda" (people's Gavunda) and the "
PrabhuGavunda" (lord of Gavundas). They served the dual purpose of representing the people before the rulers as well as functioning as state appointees for tax collection and the raising of militias. They are mentioned in inscriptions related to land transactions, irrigation maintenance, village tax collection and village council duties.Thapar (2002), p382] Almost all arts and crafts were organised into guilds and work was done on a corporate basis; records do not mention individual artists, sculptors and craftsman. Only in the regions ruled by the Hoysala did individual sculptors etched their names below their creations.Sastri (1955), p299] Merchants organised themselves into powerful guilds that transcended political divisions, allowing their operations to be largely unaffected by wars and revolutions. Their only threat was the possibility of theft from brigands when their ships and caravans traveled to distant lands. Powerful South Indian merchant guilds included the " Manigramam", the " Nagarattar" and the " Anjuvannam". Local guilds were called "nagaram", while the " Nanadesis" were traders from neighbouring kingdoms who perhaps mixed business with pleasure. The wealthiest and most influential and celebrated of all South Indian merchant guilds was the self styled " Ainnurruvar", also known as the 500 "Svamis" of Ayyavolepura ( Brahminsand " Mahajanas" of present day Aihole),Sastri (1955), p300] Thapar (2002), p384] who conducted extensive land and sea trade and thereby contributed significantly to the total foreign trade of the empire. It fiercely protected its trade obligations ("Vira Bananjudharma" or law of the noble merchants) and its members often recorded their achievements in inscriptions called "Prasasti". Five hundred such excavated "Prasasti" inscriptions, with their own flag and the bull as their emblem, record their pride in their business.
Rich traders contributed significantly to the king's treasury through paying import and export taxes. The edicts of the Aihole "Svamis" mention trade ties with foreign kingdoms such as Chera,
Pandya, Maleya ( Malayasia), Magadh, Kaushal, Saurashtra, Kurumba, Kambhoja ( Cambodia), Lata ( Gujarat), Parasa ( Persia) and Nepal. Travelling both land and sea routes, these merchants traded mostly in precious stones, spices and perfumes, and other specialty items such as camphor. Business flourished in precious stones such as diamonds, lapis lazuli, onyx, topaz, carbuncles and emeralds. Commonly traded spices were cardamom, saffron, and cloves, while perfumes included the by-products of sandalwood, bdellium, musk, civetand rose. These items were sold either in bulk or hawked on streets by local merchants in towns.Sastri (1955), 301] The Western Chalukyas controlled most of South India's west coast and by the 10th century they had established extensive trade ties with the Tang Empireof China, the empires of Southeast Asiaand the Abbasid Caliphate in Bhagdad, and by the 12th century Chinese fleets were frequenting Indian ports. Exports to Song DynastyChina included textiles, spices, medicinal plants, jewels, ivory, rhino horn, ebony and camphor. The same products also reached ports in the west such as Dhofarand Aden. The final destinations for those trading with the west were Persia, Arabia and Egypt.Thapar (2002), 383] The thriving trade center of Siraf, a port on the eastern coast of the Persian Gulf, served an international clientele of merchants including those from the Chalukya empire who were feasted by wealthy local merchants during business visits. An indicator of the Indian merchants' importance in Siraf comes from records describing dining plates reserved for them.
The fall of the Rashtrakuta empire to the Western Chalukyas in the tenth century, coinciding with the defeat of the
Western Ganga Dynastyby the Cholas in Gangavadi, was a setback to Jainism. The growth of Virashaivismin the Chalukya territory and Vaishnava Hinduism in the Hoysala region paralleled a general decreased interest in Jainism, although the succeeding kingdoms continued to be religiously tolerant.Kamath (2001), p112, p132] Two locations of Jain worship in the Hoysala territory continued to be patronaged, Shravanabelagolaand Kambadahalli. The decline of Buddhism in South India had began in the 8th century with the spread of Adi Shankara's Advaitaphilosophy.A 16th century Buddhist work by Lama Taranatha speaks disparagingly of Shankaracharya as close parallels in some beliefs of Shankaracharya with Buddhist philosophy was not viewed favourably by Buddhist writers (Thapar, 2003, pp 349–350, p397)] The only places of Buddhist worship that remained during the Western Chalukya rule were at Dambaland Balligavi.An inscription dated 1095 CE of Vikramaditya VI mentions grants to a "Vihara" of Buddha and Arya-Taradevi (Cousens 1926, p11)] There is no mention of religious conflict in the writings and inscriptions of the time which suggest the religious transition was smooth.
Although the origin of the Virashaiva faith has been debated, the movement grew through its association with
Basavannain the twelfth century.It is said five earlier saints Renuka, Daruka, Ekorama, Panditharadhya and Vishwaradhya were the original founders of Virashaivism (Kamath 2001, p152)] However it is argued that these saints were from the same period as Basavanna (Sastri 1955, p393)] Basavanna and other Virashaiva saints preached of a faith without a caste system. In his Vachanas(a form of poetry), Basavanna appealed to the masses in simple Kannada and wrote "work is worship" (Kayakave Kailasa). Also known as the Lingayats(worshipers of the "Linga", the universal symbol of Shiva), these Virashaivas questioned many of the established norms of society such as the belief in rituals and the theory of rebirth and supported the remarriage of widows and the marriage of unwed older women.Thapar (2003), p399] This gave more social freedom to women but they were not accepted into the priesthood. Ramanujacharya, the head of the Vaishnava monastery in Srirangam, traveled to the Hoysala territory and preached the way of devotion (bhakti marga). He later wrote "Sribhashya", a commentary on Badarayana Brahmasutra, a critique on the Advaitaphilosophy of Adi Shankara.He criticised Adi Shankara as a "Buddhist in disguise" (Kamath 2001, p151)] Ramanujacharya's stay in Melkoteresulted in the Hoysala King Vishnuvardhanaconverting to Vaishnavism, a faith that his successors also followed.
The impact of these religious developments on the culture, literature, and architecture in South India was profound. Important works of metaphysics and poetry based on the teachings of these philosophers were written over the next centuries.
Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu, and a host of Basavanna's followers, including Chenna Basava, Prabhudeva, Siddharama, and Kondaguli Kesiraja wrote hundreds of poems called Vachanasin praise of Lord Shiva.Narasimhacharya (1988), p20] The esteemed scholars in the Hoysala court, Harihara and Raghavanka, were Virashaivas.Sastri (1955), p361–362] This tradition continued into the Vijayanagar empirewith such well known scholars as Singiraja, Mallanarya, Lakkana Dandesa and other prolific writers of Virashaiva literature.Kamath (2001), p182] Narasimhacharya (1988), p22] The Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu dynasties of the Vijayanagar empire were followers of Vaishnavism and a Vaishnava temple with an image of Ramanujacharya exists today in the Vitthalapura area of Vijayanagara.Mack (2001), pp35–36] Scholars in the succeeding Mysore Kingdom wrote Vaishnavite works supporting the teachings of Ramanujacharya.Kamath (2001), p152] King Vishnuvardhana built many temples after his conversion from Jainism to Vaishnavism.cite web|title=Hoysala Temples of Belur |url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/hoysala/belur.htm|author=Kamath K.L., November 04,2006 |publisher=© 1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri|work=|accessdate=2006-12-01]
The rise of
Veerashaivaism was revolutionary and challenged the prevailing Hindu caste systemwhich retained royal support. The social role of women largely depended on their economic status and level of education in this relatively liberal period. Freedom was more available to women in the royal and affluent urban families. Records describe the participation of women in the fine arts, such as Chalukya queen Chandala Devi's and Kalachuriqueen Sovala Devi's skill in dance and music. The compositions of thirty Vachanawomen poets included the work of the 12th century Virashaivamystic Akka Mahadevi whose devotion to the " bhakti" movement is well known.She was not only a pioneer in the era of Women's emancipation but also an example of a transcendental world-view (Thapar 2003, p392)] Contemporary records indicate some royal women were involved in administrative and martial affairs such as princess Akkadevi, (sister of King Jayasimha II) who fought and defeated rebellious feudals.Sastri (1955), p286] This is in stark contrast to the literature of the time (like Vikramankadeva Charita of Bilhana) that portrayed women as retiring, overly romantic and unconcerned with affairs of the state (Thapar 2003, p392)] Inscriptions emphasise public acceptance of widowhood indicating that Sati (a custom in which a dead man's widow used to immolate herself on her husband’s funeral pyre) though present was on a voluntary basis.The Belathur inscription of 1057 describes the end of a widow called Dekabbe who committed Sati despite the requests of her parents not to while some widows such as Chalukya queen Attimabbe long survived their deceased husbands (Kamath 2001, pp 112–113)] Ritual deaths to achieve salvation were seen among the Jainswho preferred to fast to death ( Sallekhana), while people of some other communities chose to jump on spikes ("Shoolabrahma") or walking into fire on an eclipse.
In a Hindu caste system that was conspicuously present,
Brahmins enjoyed a privileged position as providers of knowledge and local justice. These Brahmins were normally involved in careers that revolved around religion and learning with the exception of a few who achieved success in martial affairs. They were patronised by kings, nobles and wealthy aristocrats who persuaded learned Brahmins to settle in specific towns and villages by making them grants of land and houses. The relocation of Brahmin scholars was calculated to be in the interest of the kingdom as they were viewed as persons detached from wealth and power and their knowledge was a useful tool to educate and teach ethical conduct and discipline in local communities. Brahmins were also actively involved in solving local problems by functioning as neutral arbiters ("Panchayat").The intellectual qualifications of the Brahmins made them apt to serve as ministers and advisers of Kings("Rajguru"), (Charles Eliot in Sastri 1955, p289)]
Regarding eating habits, Brahmins, Jains, Buddhists and Shaivas were strictly vegetarian while the partaking of different kinds of meat was popular among other communities. Marketplace vendors sold meat from domesticated animals such as goats, sheep, pigs and fowl as well as exotic meat including partridge, hare, wild fowl and boar.Sastri (1955), p288] People found indoor amusement by attending wrestling matches ("Kusti") or watching animals fight such as cock fights and ram fights or by gambling. Horse racing was a popular outdoor past time.Sastri (1955), p289] In addition to these leisurely activities, festivals and fairs were frequent and entertainment by traveling troupes of acrobats, dancers, dramatists and musicians was often provided.The "Manasollasa" written by King
Somesvara IIIcontains significant information of the social life of Western Chalukyan times (Kamath 2001, p112)]
Schools and hospitals are mentioned in records and these were built in the vicinity of temples. Marketplaces served as open air town halls where people gathered to discuss and ponder local issues. Choirs, whose main function was to sing devotional hymns, were maintained at temple expense. Young men were trained to sing in choirs in schools attached to monasteries such as Hindu "
Matha", Jain "Palli" and Buddhist " Vihara".Orchestras were popularised by the Kalamukhas, a cult who worshipped Lord Shiva (Kamath 2001, p115)] These institutions provided advanced education in religion and ethics and were well equipped with libraries ("Saraswati Bhandara"). Learning was imparted in the local language and in Sanskrit. Schools of higher learning were called "Brahmapuri" (or "Ghatika" or "Agrahara"). Teaching Sanskrit was a near monopoly of Brahmins who received royal endowments for their cause. Inscriptions record that the number of subjects taught varied from four to eighteen.Sastri (1955), p292] The four most popular subjects with royal students were Economics ("Vartta"), Political Science ("Dandaniti"), Veda ("trayi") and Philosophy ("Anvikshiki"), subjects that are mentioned as early as Kautilyas Arthasastra.
The Western Chalukya era was a time of substantial literary activity in Kannada and Sanskrit.Kamath (2001), p114] In a golden age of Kannada literature,
Jainscholars wrote about the life of Tirthankarasand Virashaivapoets expressed their closeness to God through pithy poems called Vachanas. More than two hundred contemporary "Vachanakaras" ("Vachana" poets) including thirty women poets have been recorded.Sastri (1955), p361] Early works by Brahminwriters were on the epics, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Puranasand Vedas. In the field of secular literature, subjects such as romance, erotics, medicine, lexicon, astrology, encyclopedia etc. were written for the first time.Narasimhacharya (1988), pp18–20]
Most notable among Kannada scholars were
Ranna, grammarian Nagavarma IIand Virashaiva saint Basavanna. Ranna who was patronised by king Tailapa II and Satyasraya is one among the "three gems of Kannada literature".The other two gems are Adikavi Pampaand Sri Ponna(Sastri 1955, p356)] He was bestowed the title "Emperor among poets" ("Kavi Chakravathi") by King Tailapa II and has five major works to his credit. Of these, "Saahasabheema Vijayam" (or "Gada yuddha") of 982 in "Champu" style is a eulogy of his patron King Satyasraya whom he compares to Bhima in valour and achievements and narrates the duel between Bhimaand Duryodhanausing clubs on the eighteenth day of the Mahabharata war.A composition written in a mixed prose-verse style is called Champu (Narasimhacharya 1988, p12)] He wrote " Ajitha purana" in 993 describing the life of the second Tirthankara, Ajitanatha.This also is in "Champu" style and was written at the request of Attimabbe, a pious widow of general Nagavarma who promoted the cause of Jainism (Sastri 1955, p356)] E.P.Rice (1921), p32]
Nagavarma II, poet laureate ("Katakacharya") of King Jagadhekamalla II made contributions to Kannada literature in various subjects.Narasimhacharya (1988), pp64–65,] E.P.Rice (1921), p34] His works in poetry, prosody, grammar and vocabulary are standard authorities and their importance to the study of Kannada language is well acknowledged. "Kavyavalokana" in poetics, "Karnataka-Bhashabhushana" on grammar and "Vastukosa" a lexicon (with Kannada equivalents for Sanskrit words) are some of his comprehensive contributions.Nagavarma II was the teacher ("guru") of another noteworthy scholar
Jannawho later adorned the court of Hoysala Empire(Sastri 1955, p358)]
A unique and native form of poetic literature in Kannada called
Vachanasdeveloped during this time. They were written by mystics, who expressed their devotion to God in simple poems that could appeal to the masses. Basavanna, Akka Mahadevi and Allama Prabhu are the best known among them.Vachanas are disconnected paragraphs ending with a name attributed to lord Shivaor one of his forms. The poems teach the valuelessness of riches, rituals and book learning and the spiritual privileges of worshipping Shiva, (B.L. Rice in Sastri 1955, p361)]
In Sanskrit, a well known poem ("
Mahakavya") in 18 cantos called "Vikramankadeva Charita" by Kashmiri poet Bilhanarecounts in epic style the life and achievements of his patron king Vikramaditya VI. The work narrates the episode of Vikramaditya VI's accession to the Chalukya throne after overthrowing his elder brother Somesvara II.Thapar (2003), p394]
"Manasollasa" or "Abhilashitartha Chintamani" by king
Somesvara III(1129) was a Sanskrit work intended for all sections of society. This is an example of an early encyclopedia in Sanskrit covering many subjects including medicine, magic, veterinary science, valuing of precious stones and pearls, fortifications, painting, music, games, amusements etc.Thapar, (2003), p393] While the book does not give any of dealt topics particular hierarchy of importance, it serves as a landmark in understanding the state of knowledge in those subjects at that time.Sastri (1955), p315]
A Sanskrit scholar
Vijnaneshwarabecame famous in the field of legal literature for his " Mitakshara", in the court of Vikramaditya VI. Perhaps the most acknowledged work in that field, Mitakshara is a treatise on law (commentary on "Yajnavalkya") based on earlier writings and has found acceptance in most parts of modern India. An EnglishmanColebrooke later translated into English the section on inheritance giving it currency in the British Indian court system.Sastri (1955), p324] Some important literary works of the time related to music and musical instruments were "Sangita Chudamani", "Sangita Samayasara" and "Sangita Ratnakara"."Sangita Ratnakara" being written in the court of feudatory Seunakingdom, (Kamath 2001, p115)]
The reign of Western Chalukya dynasty was an important period in the development of deccan architecture. The architecture designed during this time served as a conceptual link between the
Badami Chalukya Architectureof the eighth century and the Hoysala architecturepopularised in the thirteenth century.An important period in the development of Indian art (Kamath 2001, p115)] Sastri (1955), p427] The art of the Western Chalukyas is sometimes called the " Gadagstyle" after the number of ornate temples they built in the Tungabhadra River-Krishna River doabregion of present day Gadag districtin Karnataka.cite web|title=Temples of Karnataka, Kalyani Chalukyan temples|url=http://www.templenet.com/Karnataka/kalyani_chalukya.html|author= Kannikeswaranemail@example.com,1996–2006|work=|accessdate=2006-12-16] The dynasty's temple building reached its maturity and culmination in the 12th century with over a hundred temples built across the deccan, more than half of them in present day central Karnataka.A fabulous revival of Chalukya temple building in central Karnataka in the 11th century (Foekema (1996), p14)] Apart from temples, the dynasty's architecture is well known for the ornate stepped wells ("Pushkarni") which served as ritual bathing places, a few of which are well preserved in Lakkundi. These stepped well designs were later incorporated by the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara empire in the coming centuries.Davison-Jenkins (2001), p89] The Kasivisvesvara Templeat Lakkundi (Gadag district),Cousens (1926), pp79–82] the Dodda Basappa Templeat Dambal(Gadag district),Cousens (1926), pp114–115] the Mallikarjuna Temple at Kuruvatii ( Davangere district),Kamath (2001), p117] the Kallesvara Temple at Bagali ( Davangere district), the Siddhesvara Templeat Haveri( Haveri district),Cousens (1926), pp85–87] the Amrtesvara Temple at Annigeri ( Dharwad district) and the Mahadeva Temple at Itagi ( Koppal district)Cousens (1926), pp100–102] are the finest examples produced by the later Chalukya architects. The twelfth century Mahadeva Temple with its well executed sculptures is an exquisite example of decorative detail. The intricate, finely crafted carvings on walls, pillars and towers speak volumes about Chalukya taste and culture. An inscription outside the temple calls it "Emperor of Temples" ("devalaya chakravarti") and relates that it was built by Mahadeva, a commander in the army of king Vikramaditya VI.Quote:"A title it fully deserves, for it is probably the finest temple in Kanarese districts, after Halebidu"(Cousens 1926, p101)] cite web|title=Emperor of Temples crying for attention|url=http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/06/10/stories/2002061003760500.htm |author=Rao, Kishan|publisher=The Hindu|work=The Hindu, June 10 2002|accessdate=2006-11-10] The Kedareswara Temple (1060) at Balligaviis an example of a transitional Chalukya-Hoysala architectural style.Cousens (1926), pp105–106] cite web|title=Balligavi-An important seat of learning|url=http://www.chitralakshana.com/articles/UB%20githa/balligavi.htm|author=Githa U.B.|publisher=Chitralakshana|work=©Chitralakshana.com 2002|accessdate=2006-12-15] The Western Chalukyas built temples in Badamiand Aiholeduring their early phase of temple building activity, such as Mallikarjuna Temple, the Yellamma Temple and the Bhutanatha group of Temples.Hardy (1995), p 157] cite web|title=Monuments of India - V|url=http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/india/india.html |author= Gunther, Michael D 2002|publisher=|work=|accessdate=2006-11-10] The "vimana" of their temples (tower over the shrine) is a compromise in detail between the plain stepped style of the early Chalukyas and the decorative finish of the Hoysalas. To the credit of the Western Chalukya architects is the development of the latheturned (tuned) pillars and use of Soapstone(Chloritic Schist) as basic building and sculptural material, a very popular idiom in later Hoysala temples. They popularised the use of decorative " Kirthimukha" (demon faces) in their sculptures. Famous architects in the Hoysala kingdom included Chalukyan architects who were natives of places such as Balligavi.Kamath (2001), pp116–118] The artistic wall decor and the general sculptural idiom was dravidian architecture.cite web|title=Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent,20 September 1996 |url=http://www.indoarch.org/place.php?placelink=R%3D5%2BS%3D18%2BP%3D230%2BM%3D0|author=Kamiya, Takeo|publisher=Gerard da Cunha-Architecture Autonomous, Bardez, Goa, India|work=|accessdate=2006-11-10] This style is sometimes called "Karnata dravida", one of the notable traditions in Indian architecture.Hardy (1995), pp6–7]
The local language Kannada was mostly used in Western (Kalyani) Chalukya inscriptions and epigraphs. Some historians assert that ninety percent of their inscriptions are in the Kannada language while the remaining are in Sanskrit language.Pollock (2006), p332] Houben(1996), p215 ] More inscriptions in Kannada are attributed to Vikramaditya VI than any other king prior to the twelfth century,Thousands of Kannada language inscriptions are ascribed by Vikramaditya VI and pertain to his daily land and charitable grants ("Nityadana"),cite web|title=Chalukyas of Kalyana |url=http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/deccan/deckings.htm|author=Kamat, Jyotsna|publisher=1996–2006 Kamat's Potpourri|work=|accessdate=2006-12-24] many of which have been deciphered and translated by historians of the Archaeological Survey of India. Inscriptions were generally either on stone ("Shilashasana") or copper plates ("Tamarashasana"). This period saw the growth of Kannada as a language of literature and poetry, impetus to which came from the devotional movement of the Virashaivas (called
Lingayatism) who expressed their closeness to their deity in the form of simple lyrics called Vachanas.Kannada enjoyed patronage from royalty, influential Jains and the Lingayatmovement of Virashaivas (Thapar 2003, p396)] At an administrative level, the regional language was used to record locations and rights related to land grants. When bilingual inscriptions were written, the section stating the title, genealogy, origin myths of the king and benedictions were generally done in Sanskrit. Kannada was used to state terms of the grants, including information on the land, its boundaries, the participation of local authorities, rights and obligations of the grantee, taxes and dues, and witnesses. This ensured the content was clearly understood by the local people without any ambiguity.However by the 14th century, bilingual inscriptions lost favour and inscriptions became mostly in the local language (Thapar, 2003, pp393–95)]
In addition to inscriptions, chronicles called "Vamshavalis" were written to provide historical details of dynasties. Writings in Sanskrit included poetry, grammar, lexicon, manuals, rhetoric, commentaries on older works, prose fiction and drama. In Kannada, writings on secular subjects became popular. Some well known works are "Chandombudhi", a prosody, and "Karnataka Kadambari", a romance, both written by
Nagavarma I, a lexicon called "Rannakanda" by Ranna(993), a book on medicine called "Karnataka-Kalyanakaraka" by Jagaddala Somanatha, the earliest writing on astrology called "Jatakatilaka" by Sridharacharya (1049), a writing on erotics called "Madanakatilaka" by Chandraraja, and an encyclopedia called "Lokapakara" by Chavundaraya II (1025). Narasimhacharya (1988), pp61–65] E.P.Rice (1921), p33]
Kulothunga Chola I
*cite book |last= Davison-Jenkins|first=Dominic J. |editor=John M. Fritz and George Michell (editors) |title= New Light on Hampi : Recent Research at Vijayanagara|year= 2001|publisher= MARG|location=Mumbai |isbn= 81-85026-53-X|chapter= Hydraulic works
* cite web|author=Githa U.B.|title=Balligavi - An important seat of learning|url=http://www.chitralakshana.com/articles/UB%20githa/balligavi.htm|publisher=Chitralakshana.com 2002 |work=History of Indian Art
*cite web|author=|title=Indian Inscriptions, Vol 9,11,15,17,18,20|url=http://www.whatisindia.com/inscriptions/|publisher=What Is India Publishers (P) Ltd|work=Archaeological Survey of India|accessdate=2006-11-10
*cite web|author=Kannikeswaran, K|title=Kalyani Chalukyan temples|url=http://www.templenet.com/Karnatakafirstname.lastname@example.org|work=TempleNet|accessdate=2006-11-10
*cite book |last= Mack|first=Alexandra |editor=John M. Fritz and George Michell (editors) |title= New Light on Hampi : Recent Research at Vijayanagara|year= 2001|publisher= MARG|location=Mumbai |isbn= 81-85026-53-X|chapter= The temple district of Vitthalapura
*cite book |last=Moraes|first=George M. |title= The Kadamba Kula, A History of Ancient and Medieval Karnataka|origyear=1931|year= 1990|publisher= Asian Educational Services|location= New Delhi, Madras|isbn= 81-206-0595-0
*cite book |last=Narasimhacharya |first= R|title= History of Kannada Literature|origyear=1988|year= 1988|publisher= Penguin Books|location= New Delhi|isbn= 81-206-0303-6
*cite web|author=Prabhu, Govindaraya S|title=Alupa Dynasty-catalogue|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/alupa/south_alupacat.html |publisher=|work=Prabhu's web page on Indian Coins|accessdate=2006-11-10
*cite web|author=Prabhu, Govindaraya S|title=Chalukya Dynasty-catalogue|url=http://prabhu.50g.com/southind/chalukya/south_chalcat.html|publisher=|work=Prabhu's web page on Indian Coins|accessdate=2006-11-10
*cite book |last= Pollock|first= Sheldon |title= The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India|origyear=2006|year=2006 |publisher=University of California Press|location= Berkeley|isbn= 0520245008
*cite book |last= Rice|first=E.P. |title=Kannada Literature|origyear=1921|year=1982|publisher=Asian Educational Services|location=New Delhi|isbn= 8120600630
*cite web|author=Rao, Kishan|title=Emperor among Temples crying for attention|url=http://www.hinduonnet.com/2002/06/10/stories/2002061003760500.htm|publisher=The Hindu|work=Southern States - Karnataka |accessdate=2006-11-10
*cite book |last= Sastri|first= Nilakanta K.A.|title= A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar|origyear=1955|year=2002|publisher= Indian Branch, Oxford University Press|location= New Delhi|isbn= 0-19-560686-8
*cite book |last= Thapar|first= Romila|title= The Penguin History of Early India|origyear=2003|year= 2003|publisher= Penguin Books|location= New Delhi|isbn= 0-14-302989-4
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