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 ...

[Full title: Other Religious Beliefs and Customs (during the Pallava period): Asvamedha-yaga]

There are several epigraphical and few sculptural reference to the existence of the practice of conducting asvamedha-yaga by the Pallavas, as a means of proclaiming their prowess and to claim territorial victory. The earliest such epigraphical reference is found in the Hirahadagalli plates[1] of the 8th regnal year of early Pallava king Sivaskandavarman (circa 337 A.D.), which credits him with the performance of this sacrifice, along with agnistoma and vajpeya. Similarly the Omgodu (I) grant[2] of Vijaya Skandavarman III mentions, that his great-grandfather Kumaravish?nu I (circa 350 A.D.–370 A.D.) performed the horse sacrifice. Coming to the later Pallavas the Sivanvayil inscription[3] of Narasimhavarman I refer to his celebration of dasa-asvamedha and bahusuvarna sacrifices.

The historical panels in the Vaikunthaperumal temple at Kanchipuram portray at two places the figure of a horse with a sacrificial pillar (yupa) in the background (fig. 86)[4]. Minakshi has identified one such depiction on the northern wall as performed by Kumaravishnu I. The second such depiction on the southern wall was dentified by her as of the reign of Nandivarman I.

Footnotes and references:


Epigraphia Indica, vol. I, p. 7.


Ibid., vol. XV, p. 249.


Ibid., vol. XXVII, pp. 59–62.


C. Minakshi, op.cit., pp.10–11, 14 and 59.

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