Sunday, May 1, 2016

Shree Pruthvivallabha


An interesting news report in "The Hindu" last week (25th April, 2016) has thrown additional light on an important part of History. Studies at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune has accurately fixed the year of the historic war between Pulikeshin II of Badami and Harshavardhana of Kannauj. 

The Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, Maharashtra is an institution founded in honor of Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar who is regarded as the foremost pioneer of scientific Orientology in India. The institute is said to have the largest collection of manuscripts and rare scripts of yesteryears. The institute, founded in 1917, will be celebrating its centenary year shortly. The institute received a collection of copper plates from Shri Raghuvir Pai, a noted coin collector of Mumbai. Research at the institute based on the bunch of copper plates (photo given above) have confirmed the dates of historical events of the seventh century AD. The institute has informed that the coronation of Pulikeshin II as the King was in 610 AD, when he ascended the throne by defeating his uncle Mangalesha, who had planned to deny the throne to him. The research has also fixed the year of the deciding fight on the banks of the river Narmada, between Pulikeshin II and Harshavardhana as the winter of 618-619 AD as against the earlier vague dates of 612 to 634 AD. It further informs that there is a reference to grant of 50 Nivarthanas (units of land) in village Vataviya, in the present Paithan taluka of Aurangabad in Maharashtra to a Vedic scholar Nagasharma. This grant of land was presumably made when Pulikeshi returned from the war on the banks of Narmada river.
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Pulikeshin II belonged to the Chalukya dynasty that ruled large part of South  and Central India intermittently for six centuries, from 6th 12th century AD.  This dynasty ruled in three different and related branches. The first branch of Badami Chalukya took over from the Kadambas of Banavasi and had their reign from mid 6th century to 8th century (543 AD to 756 AD). The rise of Rashtrakutas eclipsed Badami Chalukyas and thereafter they ruled from Vengimandala, the area between Krishna and Godavari rivers in present Andhra Pradesh, until 11th century. King Tailapa was responsible for coming out of the subordination of Chalukyas to Rashtrakutas and started the third branch of Chalukyas ruling from Kalyana, the present day Basava Kalyana in Karnataka. The reign of Kalyana Chalukyas extended till 12th century AD.

Pulikeshin II was the foremost and most famous King from the Badami Chalukya dynasty and ruled for three decades (610-642 AD). His empire covered the large area of parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, entire Maharashtra and Karnataka and parts of Andhra Pradesh. More than a hundred temples and monuments are available even today bearing the stamp of Chalukya architecture in and around North Karnataka. Badami, Aihole and Pattadakal temples are visited by tourists regularly.

Harshavardhana was a popular ruler of North India in the 6th century (590-647 AD) and his reign coincided with that of Pulikeshin II (610-642AD). Harsha's empire extended from Punjab and Rajasthan to Gujarat and parts of Bengal and Odisha. Pulikeshin had become a powerful adversary and taken the title of "Pruthvivallabha" (Lord Paramount). Rise of another powerful King in South India was naturally not to Harshavardhana's liking. He marched from Kannauj with a large army to subdue Pulikeshin II. Harsha's army had a large contingent of elephants. The two armies met in the Narmada valley. Pulikeshin's battle plans and superior warcraft in guarding the river valley resulted in the loss of large part of Harshavardhana's army. Harshavardhana was forced to accept Narmada river banks as the boundary between his and Pulikeshin's kingdoms. The present research has now fixed the date of this decisive war having taken place in the winter of 618-619 AD.

A film by name Immadi Pulikeshi (1967) with popular actor Rajkumar playing the lead role is available for viewing on Youtube. The film was a huge success and is considered as a milestone in the actor's career.

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"Shree Pruthvivallabha" is a title meaning "Lord Paramount" and used by many Kings of that era. It can be compared to the popular cricket cup called "Ranji Trophy". The victor in a major war took the title and held it till the next decisive war. The title would pass on to the winner again. There could a defending champion or a new victor, depending on who won the next war.

The title was lost by Chalukyas of Badami after the Rashtrakutas became powerful and defeated them. King Tailapa II reestablished the supremacy of Chalukyas and made Kalyan (present Basava Kalyana) as his capital. He defeated Munj, a Parmar king and won back the title "Shree Pruthvivallabha". The reign of Tailapa II and later his son Satyashraya is considered as a "Golden Age" in the annals of South India.

C K Nagaraja Rao, well-known Kannada writer who has recorded the reign of Hoysala Kings in his historical novels titled "Pattamahadevi Shantaladevi", "Veeraganga Vishnuvardhana" and "Dayada Davanala?" has also a written another historical novel titled "Shree Pruthvivallabha". The struggle of Tailapa II in establishing the rule of Kalyana Chalukyas and disengaging from Rashtrakutas is well chronicled in his novel "Shri Pruthvivallabha". The book is based on the available historical material relating to that period and subsequent research on the subject. Interested readers can read the novel to get a picture of those times by going through the book. 

15 comments:

  1. Your way of sharing knowledge in any subject matter is laudable.

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  2. worth sharing this information for all on fb

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  3. Thank you Keshav Murthy Sir, you have rekindled our history lesson experience at school, felt very good

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  4. This is an important historical research. Thank you very much for sharing it.

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  5. Very informative. I have been reading lot of books on history of South India recently to understand the role of the different kings and their contribution to art and architecture. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. thanks for this informative article. As is your wont you have penned it in a laudable manner

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  7. Good information and naratted well

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  8. Sir, thank for such insightful information.

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  9. Very interesting article well narrated. Now I will see the movie - Immedi Pulikashi - again.

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  10. quite an interesting historical event ,thank u for remembering the war between Harshavardana &Pulikeshi. yes, i have seen the great film Immadi Pulikeshi..thank u.

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  11. It is truly a remarkable finding. Thank you for bringing back the historical event to light. I will read CKN's(our father's) "Pruthvivallabha" novel again.

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  12. Sir..your way of writing is fantastic..waiting for more insight to our history..

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  13. very interesting story. I too am interested to read an authentic book on the rulers of south India. Can you suggest a title for me please?

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