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The Chalukyas of Kalyani
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The Chalukyas of Kalyani played an important role in shaping the history of Karnataka during the eleventh and twelfth centuries A. D. They were the descendants of the famous Chalukyas of Badami and were able to emerge from the obscurity of two centuries when the Rashtrakuta power declined.

Taila II (973 - 997) or Trailokyamalla was a feudatory of Krishna III, before his dramatic rise to power. He took advantage of the confusion following the sack of Manyakheta by the Paramara forces in 972 A. D. He overthrew Karka II of the Rashtrakuta dynasty in 973 with the help of some other feudatories. Within a few years he subdued the other claimants to the Rashtrakuta throne, putdown all opposition and revived the Chalukya monarchy.

Taila II defeated Panchaladeva of Ganga dynasty and the Shilaharas of South Konkana. In 992 A. D. Raja Raja Chola was vanquished and the Chalukya monarch secured one hundred and fifty elephants. According to Prabandha Chintamani of Merutunga, Taila II was defeated sixteen times by Munja Paramara, but in the final encounter the latter was imprisoned and killed. Taila II is said to have registered a victory over Mularaja of Gujarat.

Taila II was succeeded by his son Satyashraya (997 -1008) who bore titles like Irivabedanga, Sahasabhima and Akalavarsha. During his reign the Paramaras reconquered the territory that they had lost to the Chalukyas earlier. But Satyashraya was able to defeat Raja Raja Chola and the crown prince Rajendra Chola when they invaded parts of Karnataka. He also subdued the Shilahara ruler of north Konkana. Satyashraya patronized the great kannda poet Ranna.

Vikramaditya V (1008 -15) had to face to face the invasion of his Kingdom by Rajendra Chola. Ayyana (1015) ruled for a short while and was succeeded by Jayasimha II (1015 - 43). He had to fight a pitched battle at Masangi against Rajendra Chola. Though Jayasimha met with reverses, he was able to drive the Cholas back. Bhoja Paramara invaded the Chalukya Kingdom and occupied Northern Konkana. But Jayasimha was successful in recovering it and in putting down the revolt of Bhillama III, the Seuna ruler.

Someshwara I (1043 - 68) shifted the capital from Manyakheta to Kalyani (Kalpana) and developed it into a great City. Soon after his accession Someshwara I launched an attack upon Vengi but Rajadhiraja near Amaravathi defeated him. A few years later the Cholas invaded Karnataka again; but in the battle of Koppal (Koppam) Rajadhiraja lost his life (1054). In 1064 Virarajendra Chola proceeded against Someshvara I and defeated him at Kudala Sangama.

While the Chalukya Kingdom was being threatened by the Cholas in the South, his attention was constantly drawn by the other ruling powers in the north and the west. Someshwara invaded Malava and ravaged its capital Dhara in 1051. In a subsequent encounter (1055) Bhoja Paramara lost his life and his successor Jayasimha established friendly relations with the Chalukyas. Someshwara had to fight against the Shilaharas of Northern Konkana and the Chalukyas of Gujarat. He is said to have opted voluntary death by immersing himself in the waters of Tungabhadra, as he could not recover from a serious type of disease. Someshwara II (1068 - 76) was a weak and unpopular ruler and his younger brother Vikramaditya VI, with the help of the Seunas, the Kadambas and the Hoysalas, overthrew him in 1076 A. D.

Vikramaditya VI (1076 - 1127):
Vikramaditya VI was the most distinguished ruler of the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty and scholars have considered his rule as a brilliant period in the history of Karnataka.

During the reign of Someshwara II Vikramaditya was the governor of Gangavadi. He had married a daughter of the Chola ruler Virarajendra. By the death of Virarajendra in 1070 A. D. the alliance of Vikrama with the Cholas became a liability because he had to divide his attention between the pursuits of his differences at home with his brother, and the protection of his young brother - in - law Adhirajendra on the Chola throne against the designs of Kulottunga I of Vengi. Vikramaditya proceeded to Gangaikonda Cholapuram and installed Adhirajendra on the throne after suppressing attempts at rebellion. But, after some time, Kulottunga was able to overthrow Adhirajendra.

Vikramaditya slowly planned to depose his elder brother. In this attempt the Seunas, the Hoysalas and the Kadambas of Hangala helped him. Someshwara II was defeated and Vikramaditya assumed sovereignty in 1076 A. D. He marked his accession to the throne by founding the new era called Chalukya Vikram Era.

Vikramaditya invaded Malava thrice and conquered the territories to the south of the Narmada. The Paramara prince Jagadeva sought shelter in the Chalukya Kingdom and became one of the trusted feudatories of Vikram. Jayasimha, the younger brother of Vikramaditya, who had been appointed ruler of Banavasi, rebelled and made an attempt to seize the throne in 1080. The emperor defeated him and later pardoned him.

In 1085 Vikramaditya seized Kanchi from the Cholas and in 1088 he conquered major pats of the Vengi Kingdom. Though Kulottunga captured Vengi in 1099, the Chalukya ruler regained it in 1118. The Kadambas of Goa, the Shilaharas, the Seunas and the Pandyas of Uchangi were the other rulers who were subdued by Vikramaditya VI. The Hoysala Chief, Vishnuvardhana, invaded the Chalukya Empire and Vikrama sent his able commander Achugi against him. In 1122 the Hoysalas were defeated twice and they had to remain loyal to the Chalukyas till the death of Vikramaditya.

Except for a few wars, the long reign of Vikramaditya VI was known for its peace and tranquility. The emperor improved the system of administration and gave sufficient attention to the welfare of the people. Though Kalyani was the Capital of the empire, a number of subordinate capitals were established at places like Etagiri, Vijayapura, Manneyakere and Vikramapura.

Vikramaditya was a well-known patron of learning. Bilhana the Kashmiri Pundit, who wrote Vikramankadevacharita, was his court poet. Vijnanesvara, the author of Mitakshara, became a famous authority on Hindu law. Kirthi Verma wrote Govaidya during this period. Even the queens of Vikramaditya were good administrators and patrons of arts. Permadideva and Tribhuvanamalla were the titles assumed by Vikrama. Bhilhana considers his rule as Ramarajya. "No single ruler of Karnataka prior to Vijayanagara times has left so many inscriptions as this monarch and of these records, a large majority are grants to scholars and centres of religion". Viewed in terms of his achievements Vikramaditya VI stands out as the most illustrious ruler of his dynasty.

Decline and fall:
Vikramaditya VI was succeeded by Someshwara III (1127-39) who was deeply absorbed in intellectual and literary pursuits. He wrote Manasollasa dealing with topics of varied interest. He was followed on the throne by Jagadekamalla II (1139-49), who checked the encroachments of the Hoysalas and wrested a portion of Malava from Jayavarman Paramara.

The Chalukya Empire shrank in size due to revolts of many feudatories. The Kakatiyas, the Seunas and the Hoysalas encroached upon the empire during the time of Taila III (1149 - 62). Bijjala of Kalachuri family occupied Kalyani in 1157 and Taila III filed to Annigeri where he died in 1162. After the Kalachuri interregnum Someshwara IV re-established his dynastic power in 1183. But he lost his empire by 1189. The Seunas captured the northern portions of the Chalukya territories and the rest of the empire fell into the hands of the Kakatiyas and the Hoysalas.

to be continued…..

Arthikaje,
Mangalore

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