The Pallavas were essentially a pastoral tribe who ruled the southern parts of India for almost 500 years. They were great conquerors and left a huge impact in the field of art and architecture. Initially, the Pallava dynasty conquered the region of Thondaimandalam that was located at Pallavapuri, India. However, this region was washed by the sea due to some unforeseen natural disaster. Thus they moved further south and established the powerful Pallava Empire. Their territory extended from Northern Orissa to Tanjore and Trichi in far south. Their new capital was Kanchipuram.
An excavation in the region where the Pallavas ruled revealed much
information about the Pallava dynasty. The coins that were found
belonged to the period when the Pallavas ruled and dated back to the 1st
and 2nd century. Around 4th century A.D, the Pallavas defeated the
Ikshvakus and spread their territory as far as the River Krishna.
Thereafter, the Pallavas started spreading their territory at a very
rapid pace. Simha Vishnu is often known as the founder of Pallava
dynasty and is considered to be a very efficient and strong conqueror.
After the death of Simha Vishnu, his son Mahendravarman became the
king. Mahendravarman was a very efficient ruler and a learned man. He
initiated the construction of the famous cave temple at Mahabalipuram.
However, the tales of prosperity reached far and wide and Chalukya
Pulakesi-II learnt about the richness and abundance of the kingdom. He
attacked the kingdom and defeated Mahendravarman. The defeat in the
battle was the main cause of the death of Mahendravarman. He was
succeeded by his son Narasimhavarman.
Narasimhavarman vowed to take revenge for the death of his father. He
was a well built man who was also very intelligent. With much planning
and tact, he virtually destroyed the kingdom of Chalukya Pulakesi. Then,
he continued the continued the construction of the cave temple which was
stalled temporarily. He got the title of "Mamalla", which
could be the reason why Mahabalipuram is also known as Mamallapuram.
Apart from this temple, he also got many temples constructed all over
his kingdom. His successors managed to retain the power of the empire
but finally lost to the Cholas, who put an end to this dynasty.