Pallava period (Social and Cultural History)

by S. Krishnamurthy | 2017 | 143,765 words

This study examines the Social and Cultural History of the Pallava period (as gleaned through the Sculptural Art). The Pallavas (6th-9th century A.D.) mainly ruled over the Tondaimandalam (Tondai Nadu) region in the Northern part of Tamil Nadu (South-India). The Pallava dynasty ensured a golden age of architecture, arts, and spirituality and while ...

The inscriptions and sculptures of this period show that polygamy was in vogue. The portrait panels adorning the lateral walls of the ardhamandapa in the Adivaraha cave temple at Mamallapuram (fig. 13) attests to this fact. These panels carry label inscriptions on them reading “Sri Simhavinna-Pottrathirajan” and “Sri Mahendra-Pottrathirajan”, facilitating their identification as Simhavishnu and Mahendravarman with their respective queens[1].

Many inscriptions like the Velurpalayam plates of Nandivarman III (circa 852 A.D.)[2], while describing the geneology of the Pallava kings mentions the name of the queen with the title mahishi or chief queen. Thus it can be taken as an indicative of the existence of more than one queen for a king. For example, the Kilur inscription of Nandivarman III (circa 850 A.D.)[3], Tiruvorriyur inscriptions of Aparajitavarman (circa 899 A.D.)[4] and Manampundi inscription of Vairameghavarman (9th century A.D.)[5] mention seperate donations made by four different wives of Vairamegavarman alias Vanakovarayar. Similarly, the Uttirameru inscription of Kampavarman (circa 894 A.D.)[6] clearly refers to a brahmana lady Taliccani as the second wife (Ilaiyal) of Sanakumara-chaturvedi-agnichitta-sarvvakratukkal of Kumulur.

Footnotes and references:


H. Krishna Sastri, Two statues of the Pallava Kings and Five Pallava inscriptions in a Rock cut temple at Mahabalipuram, New Delhi, 1926, p. 3.


South Indian Inscriptions, vol. II, part V, no. 98.


T. V. Mahalingam, op.cit., no. 130.


Ibid., no. 238 and 239.


Ibid., no. 266.


Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy, 1898, no. 31.

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