A 900-year-old Chalukyan inscription was unearthed

A 900-year-old Kannada inscription from the Kalyana Chalukya dynasty was discovered neglected at Gangapuram, a temple town in Jadcherla mandal, Mahabubnagar, Telangana.

Origin and Expansion:

  • The Chalukyas arose as a powerful dynasty in the sixth century CE, with their capital in Badami, present-day Karnataka.
  • The dynasty’s founder, Pulakeshin I, arrived to the throne in 543 CE and expanded the empire by defeating the Kadambas, Mauryas, and other neighbouring kingdoms.
  • Pulakeshin II, one of the Chalukyan Empire’s most distinguished monarchs, took the throne in 610 CE and considerably extended its area through military victories and diplomatic partnerships.
  • Pulakeshin II led the empire to its pinnacle, extending its power over most of Southern and Central India, including modern-day Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Andhra Pradesh.

Dynastic Divisions:

The Chalukyan Empire saw the rise of several dynastic branches, including the Badami Chalukyas, Western Chalukyas (also known as the Later Chalukyas), and Eastern Chalukyas.

  1. Badami Chalukyas governed from their capital, Badami, and were renowned for their contributions to art, architecture, and literature.
  2. Western Chalukyas, located in Kalyani (present-day Basavakalyan), continued their predecessors’ legacy and achieved power over sections of modern-day Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  3. Eastern Chalukyas, centred in Vengi (present-day Andhra Pradesh), established their own kingdom and played an important part in South India’s political landscape. 

Religion and Faith:

  • The Chalukyas were supporters of art, literature, and architecture, creating a thriving cultural milieu within their empire.
  • They supported Hinduism as the main religion and helped build many temples dedicated to Hindu deities, notably the well-known Virupaksha Temple at Pattadakal.
  • The Chalukyas also supported Jainism and Buddhism, resulting in the construction of Jain caves and monasteries in areas under their rule.

Decline and Legacy:

  • The Chalukyan Empire declined gradually from the 12th century due to internal disputes, dynastic rivalry, and external invasions, leaving a legacy.
  • The Western Chalukya dynasty ended with the defeat of Vikramaditya VI by the Cholas in the 12th century, while the Eastern Chalukyas ruled Vengi until the 13th century.


  • The empire was divided into administrative units called ‘Rashtras or Mandalas’, each led by a ‘Mandaleshwara’ (local administrative officer).
  • At the highest levels of governance, regional governors known as ‘Rashtrakutas’ were appointed to supervise various mandalas and report directly to the king.
  • Revenue administration was critical to the empire’s survival, with land revenue serving as its principal source of income. To secure a consistent cash stream, the empire maintained a comprehensive land measurement and taxation system.

Arts and Culture:

  • Sculpture thrived under the patronage of the Chalukya monarchs, with fine stone carvings decorating temple complexes and royal monuments.
  • The magnificent Nataraja sculpture in Pattadakal, depicting Lord Shiva in a cosmic dance position, is a masterwork of Chalukyan art.
  • Pampa, a Chalukyan court poet, wrote the Kannada epic poem “Vikramarjuna Vijaya” (also known as “Pampa Bharata” or “Pampa Ramayana”), which tells the story of the Mahabharata from Arjuna’s point of view.
  • Classical dance traditions such as Bharatanatyam emerged during the Chalukyan era, as demonstrated by sculptures found in temples such as the Mallikarjuna Temple in Pattadakal.
  • Ranna, a notable Kannada poet of the Chalukyan period, wrote the “Ajita Tirthankara Purana,” an epic poem commemorating the lives of the Jain Tirthankaras.


  • The ‘Gadag Style’, which combines Dravidian and Nagara styles, distinguishes Chalukyan temple architecture.
  • The Virupaksha Temple at Pattadakal, erected by the Chalukyan monarch Vikramaditya II in the eighth century, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its intricate sculptures and towering gopurams (entry gates).
  • Similarly, the Durga Temple at Aihole, built in the seventh century, exemplifies Chalukyan architecture with intricate pillars and sculpted panels showing Hindu deities and mythological themes. 

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