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Introduction to Pallavas Chalukyas etc. The history of the region south of the Vindhyas between 300 and 750 A.D. constitutes a water-shed. After the collapse of the Satavahanas, Ikshvakus rose to power in the Krishna-Guntur region. They were supplanted by the pallavas. In northern Maharashtra and Vidharba the Satavahanas were succeeded by the Vakatakas. They in turn, were followed by the Chalukyas of Badami. After two centuries they were overthrown by their feudatories, the Rashtrakutas in 757 A.D.

During the period review, the region south of the Vindhyas witnessed the march of Brahmanism. In early stages, extensive Buddhist monuments came into existence. A little later Jainism came to prevail in Karnataka. And the peninsula, as a whole saw the emergence of a stone temple for Shiva and Vishnu in Tamilnadu under the Pallavas, and in Karnataka under the chalukyas of Badami. In a way, south India ceased to be the land of megaliths inearly 4th century A.D.

Along with religion, the language of the rulers and the literate class witnessed a transformation. From about 400 A.D. Sanskrit became the official language of the peninsula.

The history of the pallavas illustrate three characteristics the L.C.Ms. of Indian history till the 17th century: wars with neighbouring States, controversial neature of historical material, and royal patronage of literature and arts.


Very little reliable information on the origin of the Pallavas is available. They appear to have intruded into the south. Katyayana (fourth century B.C.) mentions the Pandyas and the Cholas, but not the Pallavas, Ashoka (third century B.C.) refers to the Cholas, the Pandyas and Keralas, but not the Pallavas.

The Pallavas were a branch of the Pahleves of Parthians is the opinion of some scholars, like father Heras; but there is no positive evidence for the Phalava migration into the south.

That Pallavas were an indigenous dynasty which rose to power after the dismemberment of the Andhra empire, is another thesis. Probably their leaders gathered around them selves the Kurumbas, the Moravars, the killers and other predatory tribes in order to form one great community. According to srinivas Aiyangar, the Pallavas belonged to the anciert Naga people who them selves were composed of a primitive Negri, an element of Australisian and the later mixed race. To start with they lived in the Tondaimandalam districts around Madras. Later, they conquered Tanjore and Trichinopoly districts. The Pallavas recruited their troops from the martial tribute of pallis of Kurumbas. The Pallavas were the hereditary enemies of Tamil Kings. Even now the term palava means a rogue in Tamil language; and a section of the Pallavas who settled in the Chola and pandya countries came to be known as kallar or thieves. All these people doubtless belong to a Naga race.

The third is that the Pallava dynasty emerged and owed its origin to a Chola prince and the Naga princess of Manipallavam an is land near Ceylon. According to this theory, the son born out of the wedlock was made the king of Tondaimandalam by his father, and the dynasty was so named after his mother's home land. Dr. Krishnaswamy Aiyangar argues that the Pallavas are mentioned as Tondaiyar in the literature of the Sangam era and that they were descended from the Naga chieftains but owed allegiance to the Satavahana kings. But this theory, too, is doubtful because of their continual fight with the cholas and their striking northern character as compared to the Cholas.

Dr. K.P.Jayaswal argues that the pallavas were a branch of the Brahmin dynasty of the Vekatakas. Except for their early copperplate charters which are in Prakrit. All the other epigraphich records are in Sanskrit. Hiuen-Tsang says that their language and literature differed very slightly from that of northern India. The Talagunda inscription, however. States that the Pallavas were Kshatriyas.

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