The Western Chalukya era was a time of significant legendary activity in Kannada and Sanskrit. In a golden age of Kannada literature, Jain scholars wrote about the life of Tirthankaras and Virashaiva poets 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. Early works by Brahmin writers were on the epics, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavata, Puranas and Vedas. In the field of secular literature, subjects such as romance, mathematics, medicine, lexicon, astrology, encyclopedia etc. were written for the first time.
Ranna who was patronised by king Tailapa II and Satyasraya is one among the "three gems of Kannada literature".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 Bhima and Duryodhana using clubs on the eighteenth day of the Mahabharata war. He wrote Ajitanatha Purana Tilakam in 993 recitating the life of the second Tirthankara, Ajitanatha.
Nagavarma II, poet laureate (Katakacharya) of King Jagadhekamalla II made contributions to Kannada literature in various subjects. His works in poetry, prosody, grammar and vocabulary are standard authorities and their significance to the study of Kannada language is well accredited. Kavyavalokana in poetics, Karnataka-Bhashabhushana on grammar and Vastukosa a lexicon (with Kannada equivalents for Sanskrit words) are some of his comprehensive contributions. A unique and native form of poetic literature in Kannada called Vachanas developed during this time. Mystics, who expressed their devotion to God in simple poems that could appeal to the masses, wrote them. Basavanna, Akka Mahadevi, Allama Prabhu are the best known among them. Inscriptions mention a Bahurupi Chaudayya, a Vachanakara (Vachana poet) who was well known for his histrionic talent while reciting his poems and a Mokari Baramayya who is described as a "Brahma" (creator) of all arts with knowledge and talent in singing, dancing and playing musical instruments.
In Sanskrit, a renowned poem (Mahakavya) in 18 cantos called Vikramankadeva Charitha by Kashmiri poet Bilhana recounts 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.
Manasollasa or Abhilashitartha Chintamani by king Somesvara III (1129) was a Sanskrit work proposed for all sections of society. This is an instance 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. While the book does not provide any dealt topics particular hierarchy of importance, it serves as a landmark in understanding the state of knowledge in those subjects at that time. The first song ever written in Marathi is in praise of Buddha avatar, in the Sanskrit work Manasollasa.
A Sanskrit scholar Vijnaneshwara famed in the field of legal literature for his Mitakshara, in the court of Vikramaditya VI. Perhaps the most accredited work in that field, Mitakshara is a treatise on law (commentary on Yajnavalkya) based on earlier writings and has originated approval in most parts of modern India. An Englishman Colebrooke later translated into English the section on inheritance giving it currency in the British Indian court system. Some important literary works of the time related to music and musical instruments were Sangita Chudamani, Sangita Samayasara and Sangitha Ratnakara.