Eastern Chalukyas were closely related to the Chalukyas of Vatapi (Badami). Throughout their history they were the cause of many wars between the more powerful Cholas and Western Chalukyas over the control of the strategic Vengi country. The five centuries of the Eastern Chalukya rule of Vengi saw not only the consolidation of this region into an unified whole, but also saw the efflorescence of Telugu culture, literature, poetry and art during the later half of their rule. It can be said to be the golden period of Andhra history.
Origin of Eastern Chalukyas
Pulakesin II (608-644 C.E), the utmost Badami Chalukya king, subjugated the eastern Deccan, analogous to the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh 616 C.E., defeating the remnants of the Vishnukundina kingdom. He allotted his brother Kubja Vishnu Vardhana as Viceroy. On the demise of Pulakesin II, the Vengi Viceroyalty developed into an independent kingdom. Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi outlived the main Vatapi dynasty by many generations.
Between 641 C.E. and 705 C.E. certain kings, except Jayasimha I and Mangi Yuvaraja, ruled for diminutive durations. Later subsequent the period of turmoil characterized by family warfare and weak rulers. Meanwhile, the Rashtrakutas of Malkhed ousted Western Chalukyas of Badami. The feeble rulers of Vengi had to meet the dispute of the Rashtrakutas, who overran their kingdom more than once. No ruler of Eastern Chalukya who could confirm them until Gunaga Vijayaditya III came to power in 848 C.E. The then Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha treated him as his supporter and after Amoghavarsha's demise, Vijayaditya proclaimed independence.
List of Eastern Chalukya Kings are as follows:
Administration: In its premature verve, the Eastern Chalukya court was fundamentally a republic of Badami, and as generations conceded, local factors gained in might and the Vengi kingdom developed features of its own. External authority still sustained as the Eastern Chalukyas had elongated and cherished contact, either friendly or aggressive, with the Pallavas, the Rashtrakutas, the Cholas and the Chalukyas of Kalyani.
Government: The Eastern Chalukyan government was a kingdom based on the Hindu philosophy. The inscriptions refer to the conventional seven components of the state (Saptanga), and the eighteen Tirthas (Offices), such as:
The Vishaya and Kottam were the organizational subdivisions. The Karmarashtra (Kammarattam/Kammanadu) and the Boya-Kottams are instances of these. The imperial edicts (recording gifts of lands or villages) are addressed to all Naiyogi Kavallabhas, a general term, as well as to the Grameyakas, the inhabitants of the community granted. The Manneyas are also seldom referred in inscriptions. They held assignments of land or revenue in different villages.
Fratricidal wars and foreign invasions often distressed the land. The region was boxed out into several small principalities (estates) held by the aristocracy consisting of collateral branches of the ruling house such as those of Elamanchili, Pithapuram and Mudigonda, and a few Kshatriya families (Kona Haihayas (Heheya, Kalachuris), Kolanu Saronathas etc.), closely associated by marital ties with the Eastern Chalukyas and other Kshatriya and non-Kshatriya families (Velanadus, Kondapadamatis, Chagis, Parichedas, Kota Vamsas etc.) who were raised to high position for their loyal services. The nobility paid allegiance and tribute to the Vengi ruler when he was brawny, but when the flaw was apparent; they were geared up to join hands with the enemies against the royal house.
Society: The populace in the Vengi country was assorted in nature. Yuan Chwang, who traveled in the Andhra country subsequent to the founding of the Eastern Chalukya kingdom, noted that the people belonged to a violent character, consisted of dark complexion and were fond of arts. The society was based on genetic caste system. Also the Buddhists and Jains who formerly overlooked caste, adopted it. Moreover, the four traditional castes, minor communities like Boyas and Savaras (Tribal groups) also subsisted. The Brahmins were held in towering admiration in the society. They were adept in Vedas and Shastras and were provided gifts of land and money. They held productive posts such as councilors, ministers and members of civil service. They also entered the army while some of them rose to positions of high authority.
The Kshatriyas were the ruling class. Their adore towards maneuver and skirmishing was responsible for civil war for two centuries. The Komatis (Vaisyas) was an affluent trading community. Their organization into a powerful association (Nakaram) with its headquarters in Penugonda (West Godavari) and branches in seventeen other centers had its origins in this period. The Sudras composed the bulk of the population and comprised of numerous sub-castes amongst them. The army furnished a career for most of them and some of them acquired the rank of Samanta Raju and Mandalika.
Religion: Buddhism, dominant during the Satavahanas was in decline. Its monasteries were virtually abandoned. Due to the love of holy relics in stupas, a few might have lingered. Ywan Chwang observed some twenty or more Buddhist monasteries comprising of more than three thousand monks. Jainism, unlike Buddhism, sustained to benefit from some support from the people. This is apparent from the numerous desolate images in ruined villages all over Andhra. The inscriptions also record the construction of Jain temples and grants of land for their support from the monarchs and the people. The rulers like Kubja Vishnuvardhana, Vishnuvardhana III and Amma II patronised Jainism. Vimaladitya even became a declared follower of the doctrine of Mahavira.
Vijayawada, Jenupadu, Penugonda (West Godavari) and Munugodu were the famous Jain centres of the period. Hinduism was the official religion throughout the Chalukya period. Of the Hindu sects, Saivism was more popular than Vaishnavism. Certain the rulers acknowledged themselves as Parama Maheswaras (Emperors). The Buddhist religious centers ultimately attained great popularity as Siva pilgrim centers. Eastern Chalukya rulers like Vijayaditya II, Yuddhamalla I, Vijayaditya III and Bhima I took vigorous interest in the creation of many temples. The temple establishments like dancers and musicians show that during this period, temples were not only a center of religious worship but also a nurturing ground for fine arts.
Literature: Telugu literature owes its derivation to the Eastern Chalukyas. Poetry makes its first appearance in the Addanki and Kandukur inscriptions of Panduranga in the time of Vijayaditya II in the later half of the ninth century. However no literary work of any value appeared until 11th century C.E. Nannaya Bhatta's Mahabharata is the earliest extant work of Telugu literature. Nannaya was the poet-laureate of Rajaraja Narendra in the middle of the eleventh century C.E. An erudite scholar, he was well versed in the Vedas, Sastras and the ancient epics, he undertook to translation of the Mahabharata in to Telugu. The fact that Narayana Bhatta who was proficient in eight languages assisted him in his endeavor. Though unfinished, his work is collectively commended as a magnum opus of Telugu literature. It vestiges unrivaled for its refined end distinguished diction and sweet and elegant verses.
Architecture: Owing to the extensively broadened Siva devotional sect in the kingdom the Eastern Chalukyan kings assumed edifice of temples on a great scale. Vijayaditya II is attributed with the structure of 108 temples. Yuddhamalla I erected a temple to Kartikeya at Vijayawada. Bhima I created the famed Draksharama and Chalukya Bhimavaram (Samalkot) temples. Rajaraja Narendra erected three commemorative shrines at Kalidindi (West Godavari). The Eastern Chalukyas, following the Pallava and Chalukya traditions, developed their sovereign style of structural design, visible in the Pancharama shrines (especially the Draksharama temple) and Biccavolu temples. The Golingeswara temple at Biccavolu encloses certain opulently carved out sculptures of deities like Arthnariswara, Siva, Vishnu, Agni, Chamundi and Surya.