One theory, based on contemporary literary and inscriptional substantiation as well as the discovery 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 well-known Badami Chalukya dynasty of sixth century while other Western Chalukya inscriptional evidence indicates they were a distinct line unrelated to the early Chalukyas.
Tailapa II re-established Chalukya rule and overpowered the Rashtrakutas during the supremacy of Karka II by timing his insurgence to correspond with the bewilderment rooted in the Rashtrakuta capital of Manyakheta by the invading Paramaras of Central India in 973. After overpowering the Rashtrakutas, Tailapa II moved his capital to Manyakheta and consolidated the Chalukya Empire in the western deccan by subjugating the Paramara and other aggressive rivals and extending his control over the land between the Narmada River and Tungabhadra River.
The severe competition among 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 doab region of the Krishna and Godavari River called Vengi (coastal Andhra Pradesh). The Western Chalukyas and the Chola Dynasty fought many bitter wars over control of this strategic resource. The imperial Cholas gained power during the time of the famous king Rajaraja Chola I and the crown prince Rajendra Chola I.
The Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi were cousins of the Western Chalukyas but were increasingly predisposed by the Cholas through their marital ties with the Tamil kingdom. As this was in opposition to the interests of the Western Chalukyas, they wasted no time in involving themselves politically and militarily in Vengi. When King Satyasraya succeeded Tailapa II to the throne, he was able to protect his kingdom from Chola aggression as well as his northern territories in Konkan and Gujarat although his control over Vengi was shaky. His descendant, Jayasimha II, fought several battles with the Cholas in the south while both powerful kingdoms struggled to choose the Vengi king. Concurrently, Jayasimha II restrained the Paramara of central India.
Jayasimha's son, Somesvara I, moved the Chalukya capital to Kalyani in 1042 as hostilities with the Cholas continued and while both sides won and lost battles, neither lost significant territory during the enduring politics of installing a puppet on the Vengi throne. In 1068 Somesvara I, anguish from a fatal illness, drowned himself in the Tungabhadra River (Paramayoga). Regardless of countless divergences with the Cholas, Somesvara I managed to maintain control over the northern territories in Konkan, Gujarat, Malwa and Kalinga during his rule. His successor, his eldest son Somesvara II, feuded with his younger brother, Vikramaditya VI, an ambitious warrior the initial 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. 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 Kadambas of Hanagal. 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 triumphant and proclaimed himself king of the Chalukya empire. 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".
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 preserved this province for several years regardless of enduring skirmishes with the Cholas. 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 shimmering tributes for his military leadership, interest in fine arts and religious tolerance. Literature proliferated and scholars in Kannada and Sanskrit adorned his court. Poet Bilhana, who immigrated from far away Kashmir, eulogized the king in his eminent work Vikramankadeva Charitam.
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. The frequent militaristic with the Cholas fatigued both empires, offering their subsidiaries the prospect to insurgent. 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. 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 heir, Tailapa III, was overpowered by Kakatiya Prola in 1149. Tailapa III was taken captive and later unconstrained pulling down the stature of the Western Chalukyas.
Seeing decadence and uncertainty seeping into Chalukya rule, the Hoysalas and Seunas also impinged upon the empire. Hoysala Narasimha I defeated 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 II captured Kalyani and occupied it for the next twenty years, coercing the Chalukyas to shift their capital to Annigeri in the present day Dharwad district.
The Kalachuris were initially immigrants into the southern deccan from central India and called themselves Kalanjarapuravaradhisavaras. 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 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. Nevertheless the heirs of Bijjala II were incapable of holding on to Kalyani and their decree ended in 1183 when the last Chalukya shoot, Somesvara IVmade a final bid to recuperate the realm by recapturing Kalyani.
Chalukya general Narasimha in this conflict killed Kalachuri King Sankama. During this time, Hoysala Veera Ballala II was mounting ruthless and clashed on numerous occasions with the Chalukyas and the other claimants over their empire. He defeated Chalukya Somesvara IV and Seuna Bhillama V fetching huge sections in the Krishna River valley under the Hoysala domains, but was ineffective against Kalachuris. 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 in general endeavor by Somesvara IV to rebuild the Chalukya Empire failed and the Seuna rulers who drove Somesvara IV into exile in 1189 ended the dynasty. After the fall of the Chalukyas, the Seunas and Hoysalas continued warring over the Krishna River region, each inflicting a defeat on the other at various points in time. 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 communal antagonisms crammed the annals of Deccan history for over a hundred years, the Pandyas taking control over some regions of the erstwhile Chola Empire.
(Last Updated on : 14-05-2012)
|More Articles in Western Chalukya Dynasty (9)|