Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Emperor Strikes Back !

The period is 7th century AD. It’s a moonlit night. The full moon radiating with its golden light. In the luminous night, everywhere, we see towers, temples, stuphas, big houses, palaces and beautiful gardens. A huge wall encapsulates the city. Everywhere around the city, outside the wall, we see villages. Overall, it’s a wonderful sight in the night.
Suddenly, at the far distant northern side, there is a faint rumbling sound. It grows bigger and bigger. We see dust emanating in the far outline. It’s like a huge wave, coming towards the city. Slowly, as the wave approaches, we understand it’s a wave, but made up of humans and elephants and horses and carts. It’s an army! The moonlight is getting reflected on their weapons, and it gives a chill in the spine. Everywhere there are uproars in the army, and the excitement of conquering a city looms large on their faces. They are marching towards the city we saw earlier (Thanks to Kalki – Sivakamiyin Sabadham).
Yes! This conquest is a very important one in the history of Tamil Nadu. It’s the Chalukya conquest over the Pallavas, and the city we saw is none other than Kanchipuram.
During the 7th century AD, India was divided in to three kingdoms and was ruled by three famous emperors. The entire northern part, till the Narmadha River, was ruled by Harsha Vardhana. From the Narmadha River, till Karnataka, the entire central India was ruled by the Chalukyas, and the entire south India was ruled by the Pallavas. The Chalukya king was Pulakesi II or Polakesi II (He is referred wrongly as Pulikesi). His original name was Eraya in Prakrutha (Old Kannada). He was a terrifying warlord, with a huge army which challenged Harsha Vardhana as soon as he came to the reign. Defeated finally by Harsha, he turned his attention towards the south, which was ruled at that time by Mahendra Pallava.
Mahendra Pallava was a patron of arts. It was only during his period was the famous Mamallapuram (now called Mahabalipuram) was initiated. Also, the famous kanchi university was in its golden height during his period. He was well versed in Sanskrit, Prakrutha & Tamil and has written many plays. He was a great painter & a sculptor himself. He was an expert in playing musical instruments, and at the same time, a very clever and wise king. He holds various titles (which all of us have read in our school days).
When Pulakesi II came towards Kanchipuram, the Pallava capital, Mahendra Varma Pallava fought bravely with him. He managed to save his capital from the warlord, but lost all the provinces to the north of his kingdom. The Pallava army retreated inside the Kanchi fort and the Chalukyas were unable to pierce in to the fort. As a result, finally Pulakesi returned home. But, the defeat stayed on the mind of Mahendra Varma Pallava, and ultimately consumed his life.
His son Narasimma Varma Pallava (AKA Mamallan) succeeded him. He is one of the six Kings of India who have NEVER EVER lost a battle (the other kings:- Karikala Chozha, SamudraGuptha, Ashoka, Rajaraja Chozha & rajendra Chozha). He also had a great warrior general in chief called Paranjothi. One fine day, the Pallava army marched towards the Chalukya capital Vathapi (now called Badami) and destroyed the city completely, defeating Pulakesi II and setting fire to the capital. Pulakesi was allegedly believed to be killed in the battle. This great victory earned Narasimma Varma the surname of ‘Vathapi Kondan’.
But, as soon as the victory, something emotional happened. The general Paranjyothi, after witnessing the war, became compassionate, and he renounced his position. He assumed the name of ‘Sirutthondar’ and became a nayanmar. The famous story of a saint offering his son as food (Pillaikkari) to lord Siva is none than the story of this Paranjyothi.
I personally believe that this story of the conquest is a good material for a film. It has all the ingredients to quality for a nice movie. Anyway, this Narasimma Varma was the one who completed building Mahabalipuram, and that exactly was the place which I visited last Sunday (???!!).. As I knew this entire story, it was a wonderful experience to see Mamallapuram. I strongly felt the presence left over by the Pallava greats.
I’ll upload the pics as a slideshow in my next post shortly. Till then, Njoy life fellas!


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

this is really a good story

Karthik said...

hey Scorp, This is really a good one. We were searcing materials for a historical Short film.. this one could be a good one.. Thank you for sharing this. :)

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