India is the country where the oldest civilization has developed. It is the country of contrast. Various cultural practices are still being followed here. So many great dynasties ruled over here but due to the fault of mainstream historian, we lost the glory of India’s Deccan Region. Whenever we look at the India’s History, we start with two great ancient dynasties Mauryans and Guptas and after the declining of Gupta’s we jump on Turkish and Islamic invaders, Delhi Sultanate, Mughals, British Empire and then India’s Independence. This is how our mainstream historian made it.
Deccan Region’s Dynasties and the Rulers
The story begins with the Great Deccan Chalukya Empire which was established in 543CE. The era was known as golden age of karnatka. Chalukyas united small kingdom and built a Great Empire during their reign. By the beginning of 7th Century, The kings of Chalukya Dynasty aggressively expand their kingdom and gradually it covered maximum part of Central India. The most famous king of this Dynasty was Pulakesin II, which succeeded in the battle with North India’s King and the great conqueror Harshvardhana. Chalukya Empire reached to the peak during the rule of Pulakesin II. The war of succession has started after the death of Pulakesin II. Taking advantage of this, a prince of the Royal House named Kubja Vishnuvardhana took possession of a large part of the territory and the new Empire emerged which is later known as Easter Chalukya Dynasty. The Main Chalukya Empire has declined completely in 753CE.
The Next Dynasty of Deccan was The Rashtrakutas . It was a feudatory of Chalukyas. The Dynasty was established by Dantidurga in 735CE but they came in power after the victory over Chalukya in 753CE. The capital of Rashtrakutas was Gulberga in Karnataka. The expansion policy of this Dynasty was more forceful then chalukyas.
hope You all know about the triparite struggle of 8th to 10th Century in which 3 great power (Pratihara of Malwa, Palas of Bengal and Rashtrakutas ) fought for the dominance of the northern city “Kannauj“. In the southern India Rashtrakutas involved in the battle with pallavas Kingdom for the supremacy. Well, the Rashtrakutas Empire of Deccan has declined in 973 CE and western Chalukya Dynasty replaced it. Western Chalukya ruled from 10th to 12th Century and made their capital Kalyani ( Now in Bidar district in Karnataka). Tailapa II was the founder of this Dynasty. The most famous king of this Dynasty was someshwar I who ruled between 1042 to 1068 CE. The Empire was not as powerful as Chalukya and Rashtrakutas and finally its rule ended in 1189 CE.
The Western Chalukyas were not able to keep the Deccan region united and consequently the Deccan region was divided into many smaller parts and many smaller kingdoms emerged but in the 14th century the Delhi Sultanate occupied the Deccan Region.
But, What about the Glory…….
The contribution of Deccan Empires was indeed worthy of praise. As we discussed above that Chalukya Empire was the early Empire of Deccan Region. To understand their greatness, we have to compare them with other empires. The last major empire before the sixth century was the Gupta Empire. Who made an unprecedented contribution to the religious and cultural field of India. Guptas has been considered the peak of Indian architecture, art, poetry and military power. Artifacts and architectures of the Gupta period are still considered a pillar of Hinduism. But if seen from a comparative point of view, when the Deccan Empire was at its peak, the history of the Gupta period was pale in front of them. After the Narmada river, all the small and big kingdoms considered the Chalukyas as their overlord and gave tribute to him. Title of “Prithvi Vallabha” meaning Lord of earth was adopted by Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas and their successors. Even today we call him Deccan Vallabha. It is really a big deal to establish the dominion over such a large territory.
Well, We all consider the military of the Gupta Empire to be the strongest. Then, It is a matter to think that even after having such a strong military, Guptas could never control Deccan. In history there was no king other than Samudragupta who had established his dominance in the south India. But there was 5 rulers of Deccan who dominated in Northern India. (1) Indra III attacked over Parmara Dynasty of North India in 914 CE. He also captured Kannauj which was the main centre of North India at that time. If we go in deeper we got (2) Chalukyan king, Vijayaditya who invaded the region till Ganga between 681 and 696 AD. (3) Rashtrakutas kind, Dhruva I also succeeded in defeating Pratihara and Pala Dynasty. (4) Krishna III waged many wars to bring back the glory of the Rashtrakutas. As part of his expansionist policy, he attacked various regions of Malwa in North India. (5) Western Chalukyan king, Someshwara also attacked on Malwa region to expand their territory. All those Deccan kings showed the immense military power during their reign.
Influences and the Contributions
Just as the Gupta dynasty in North India left its religious and cultural mark on the society, in the same way the empire of the Deccan kings has also left a special mark in terms of its amazing artwork, cultural, poetry and architecture. Kakatiyas of Telangana and Hoysalas of karnataka are still holds a unique identity in regional memories. Kadambas and Shilahars, Jagirdar of Deccan Vallabha founded the great port of Gopakapattinam which attracted portuguese later.
When we talk about the cultural heritage of the South, the Chola dynasty is always remembered. In popular Indian history, the Cholas have left the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas far behind. But it would not be wrong to say that Vallabhas of the Deccan Region was the only contributor to the emergence of the Chola Empire. The rise of Chola was due to the military campaigns of Deccan Vallabhas. If seen, the Deccan Emperor is the main source of inspiration for the Cholas. Deccan Vallabhas greatly influenced Indian culture and also gave them a proper shape. The form of Hinduism that we see in South India today probably would not have been possible without the Deccan kings. They began to patronize Indian sacred practices and also started pilgrimage.
It’s architecture is the best example of cultural mix. Durga temple of Ahiole was fusion of North and South Indian architecture. Deccan architecture is called Vesara Architecture. Kaleshwara temple of karnataka is the example of Vesara Architecture. Start shaped shrines temple was a unique structure of the temple building which developed in this region. Chennakeshwa Temple of karnatka is the example of Start Shaped shrines structure which was built by Hoysalas.
The Deccan Vallabhas also adopted the culture of North India. After which literature started developing rapidly in South India. Rashtrakutas discovered Kannada grammar using Sanskrit grammar, which led to the development of regional literature. Apart from Tamil, all literary work in South India was encouraged by the Deccan Empires.
Conclusion The history of Deccan is full of such stories which need to be read. There are many such things of the Sa
The history of Deccan is full of such stories which need to be read. There are many such things of the Sangam period of the South on which there is a need to study deeply.