(Last Updated on : 02-02-2009)
South Indian history talks about many princely states, dynasties and kings which have left back some fine prints of their great work on the minds of the people. Especially some great kings who are remembered for their conquests or their benevolent activities, their scholarship, and administration and some for the splendid works of art and architecture they contributed. Vikramaditya II of the dynasty of the Chalukyas of Badami (Vatapi of the ancient Karnataka area) belonged to almost all of the above-mentioned categories.
Vikramaditya was a powerful conqueror who distinguished himself when he was crowned prince in the campaigns of his father Vijayaditya. He was enthroned a king in 734 A. D. It was during his reign he defeated theArabs who had captured Sind and were making an effort to conquer the Deccan region and as a result the South was saved from an invasion.
One of Vikramaditya's greatest achievements was the capture of Kanchi (Kanchipuram, 75 km from Chennai), the capital-city of the Pallavas of the Tamil country. Vikramaditya supported the cause of a Pallava prince named Chitramaya against the then Pallava emperor of Kanchi named Nandivarman II Pallavamalla. He defeated Nandivarman II and entered Kanchi as victor. By defeating Nandivarman he had avenged the defeat of his ancestor Pulakesin II who had been defeated by the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I in 642 A.D. a praise worthy about Vikramaditya was that inspite of capturing Aknchi, he never harmed Kanchi.
As a connoisseur of art and architecture, he was captivated by the beauty of the Kailasanatha temple in Kanchi, which was constructed during the reign of Narasimhavarman II (Rajasimha) in the early years of the 8th century A.D. In a Kannada inscription found on one of the pillars of this temple (which can still be seen today), Vikramaditya states that he donated plenty of gold to this shrine of Rajasimheshwara (the original name of the Kailasanatha temple).
It is believed that the Virupaksha temple at Pattadakkal (Karnataka) was constructed on the orders of Vikramaditya and that it was built according to the plan of the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi.