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Battle of Vatapi
Part of Chalukya-Pallava Wars
Result Pallava victory and conquest of Vatapi
Chalukya Empire Pallava kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Pulakesin II Narasimhavarman I, Paranjothi, Manavarman
unknown unknown
Casualties and losses
Pulakesin II

The Battle of Vatapi was a decisive engagement which took place between the Pallavas and Chalukyas near the Chalukya capital of Vatapi (present day Badami) in 642. The battle resulted in the defeat and death of the Chalukya king Pulakesin II and the commencement of Pallava occupation of Vatapi which lasted until 654.

Causes[edit | edit source]

In about 617–18, Pulakesin II invaded the Pallava kingdom defeating the king Mahendravarman I and proceeded as far south as the Cauvery River on the northern frontier of the Chola country.[1] The Pallavas long wished to avenge the humiliation suffered at the hands of Pulakesin II and over the next few years, strengthened their forces in preparation for a counter-attack.[1]

In 630, Mahendravarman I was succeeded his son Narasimhavarman I under whom the Pallava kingdom emerged as a powerful state. This prompted Pulakesin II to lead a second expedition into the Pallava country.[2] According to K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, Pulakesin II first defeated the Banas, who were feudatories of the Pallavas, before advancing into the Pallava country.[2] Narasimhavarman I met the Chalukyas and defeated them in three separate encounters in Pariyala, Suramana and Manimangala, all close to the Pallava capital Kanchi, forcing them to retreat.[2][3] The Pallavas, then, took the offensive and pursued the fleeing Chalukya forces deep into their territory.[2][3][4]

Events[edit | edit source]

In 642, a formidable Pallava force under Paranjothi was sent by Narasimhavarman I to capture Vatapi, the capital of the Chalukyas.[4][5] Pulakesin II met the Pallavas on the outskirts of his capital and is presumed to have lost his life in the ensuing battle.[4] The Pallavas achieved a decisive victory over Pulakesin II. The victorious Pallavas then took the capital and ruled it for 12 years (642-654).[4]

The Kuram plates of Paramesvaravarman I describe the battle thus

Narasimhavarman... who wrote the syllables of (the word) vijaya, as on a plate, on Pulikesin's back, which was caused to be visible in the battles of Pariyala, Manmangala, Suramara, etc., and who destroyed Vatapi, just as the pitcher born (Agastya) (destroyed the demon) Vatapi[6]

The Udayachandramangalam plates state

Narasimhavarman, the equal of Agastya, the crushed of Vatapi, who frequently conquered Vallabharaja at Periyar-Bhumanimangala, Shuramara and other places[3]

According to the Velurpalaiyam plates

Narasimhavarman I famous like Upendra (Vishnu) who defeating the host of his enemies took from them the pillar of victory standing in the centre of Vatapi[3]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

Narasimhavarman I constructed a Mallikarjuna Temple at Vatapi to commemorate his victory.[4] He also adopted the title "Vatapi-kondan" or "taker of Vatapi".[4][7] He carved an inscription recording his victory on the walls of the Teggina-Irappa temple in Vatapi.[5]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Dikshit, p 94
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dikshit, p 96
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Heras, p 35
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Dikshit, p 98-99
  5. 5.0 5.1 Heras, p 38
  6. Heras, p 34
  7. Heras, p 39

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Dikshit, D. P. (1980). Political History of the Chalukyas of Badami. Abhinav Publications. 
  • Heras, H. (1933). Studies in Pallava History. Madras: B. G. Paul and Co. 

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