PALLAVA CHRONOLOGY FROM SIṂHAVIṢṆU – A REVIEW

We know that there are so many calculations in the chronology regarding the ruling period of Pallavas. The Pallavas of Sanskrit charters are given more importance than that of the Palavas of Prākṛta charters. The kings starting with Siṃhaviṣṇu and Siṃhavarmā III are dealt by almost all the scholars of pallava history. The opinion of the scholars is tabled below.

Name of the king R. Gopalan R.Sewell D.C. Cirkar K.R.Srinivasan S.R.Balasubrahmanyam K.A.Nilakantha Sastri K.V.Subrahmanya Iyer T.V.Mahalingam
Siṃhavarmā III   550-575       550-560   586-610
Siṃhaviṣṇu 575-600 575-600   550-80   560-80   586-610
Mahendra I 600-30 600-30   580-630   580-630   610-30
Narasiṃha I 630-60 630-68   630-68   630-68   630-68
Mahendra II   668-70   668-72   668-70   668-69
Parameśvara I 660-80 670-90   672-700   670-700   669-91
Narasiṃha II 680-700 690-715   700-28   700-28   690-728
Mahendra III       720-28   720-28    
Parameśvara II 700-710 715-17   728-31   728-31   728-31
Nandi II 710-75 717-79 731-96 732-96   731-96 705-70 731-96
Danti 775-826 779-830 796-847 769-846 788-836 796-847 770-821 796-846
Nandi III 826-49 830-54 847-72 846-59 835-60 846-69 821-844 846-69
Kampavarmā       948-80 878-910 870-912    
Aparājita 875-83 880-98   885-903 879-97 885-903 870-88 869-913
Nṛpatuṅga 849-75 854-80 872-913 859-99 855-96 859-99 844-70 869-913
Nandi IV       904-26        

After these calculations, there are so many hero stones and other inscriptions were found and the highest regnal years of the kings are revised as follows[1].

Name of the king Highest regnal year Inscription
Siṃhavarmā III 6 Pallaṅ koil copper plate
Siṃhaviṣṇu 33 Narasiṅganallūr
Mahendra I 39 Sāttanūr
Narasiṃha I 13 Badami
Mahendra II 11 Periya kolappāḍi
Parameśvara I 17 Salem
Narasiṃha II 30 Sāttanūr
Mahendra III    
Parameśvara II 3 Tiruvadigai
Nandi II 65 Mahābalipuram
Danti 51 Tiruccāṇūr
Nandi III 22 Tiruppālaittuṙai
Kampavarmā 32 Koḍuṅgālūr
Aparājita 18 Tiruttaṇi
Nṛpatuṅga 41 Maṭhavalam

Based on the above details, the regnal years of the kings were revised till Narasiṃha II alias Rājasiṃha.

Name of the king Ruling period
Siṃhavarmā III 550-556
Siṃhaviṣṇu 556-590
Mahendra I 590-629/30
Narasiṃha I 630-668
Mahendra II 668-670
Parameśvara I 670-700
Narasiṃha II 700-730
Mahendra III 721-728
Parameśvara II 728-731

          After Parameśvara II, since no proper successor was available, Nandivarmā was adopted to the main line. Here arises the problem. The total sum of ruling periods from Nandivarmā II to Aparājita/Nṛpatuṅga is 179 years based on the regnal years mentioned in the inscriptions. But the Aparājita was killed by Āditya I by 890 CE. So the period that is available for all rulers is 890-731 = 159 years. There is a gap of 20 years that should be adjusted within these years. Now we have to find out the starting years of Kampa varma, Aparājita varmā and Nṛpatuṅga Varmā.

          In between we have the two important details. The Velañcery copper plates of Aparājita varmā states that Aparājita conquered a Coḹa king at battle at Ciṛāṙṙūr (Tiruttaṇi and Velañceri plates page 7). The Tiruvindalūr plates which are recently discovered states that Vijayālaya Coḹa fought with Kampavarmā. Now we shall discuss these two details. Dr. Nagaswamy, while discussing the Velañceri plates, identified the Coḹa king conquered by Aparājita varmā as Āditya Varmā. He made this identification by thinking that Aparājita was crowned by the time i.e by 870 CE and the king was Āditya. But the plate clearly says that he made this victory during his childhood (Bālye). Hence comparing both the plates We can come to an conclusion that the Battle at Ciṙṙāṙṙur was held between Aparājita and Vijayālaya. Since Aparājita was not crowned, the Coḹa plate claims that Vijayālaya fought with Kampavarmā. But it must be noted that the Coḹa charter doesn’t inform that Vijayālaya won the bottle. Hence it can be concluded that Aparājita and Vijayalaya fought at Ciṙṙāṙṙūr and Aparājita won the battle.

It should be noted that the fight held before Tañjāvūr was conquered by Vijayālaya which can be traced from the order. The Tañjāvūr episode is dealt after the fight with Kampavarmā. Capturing of Tañjāvūr by Vijayālaya cannot be dated after 850 CE. Hence it is clear that Kampavarmā was crowned on or before 848 CE.

Nṛpatuṅga’s Starting year was ascertained by the scholars as 859 CE on the basis of Tirucceṉṉampūṇḍi inscription which was issued on his 22nd regnal year. The astronomical data mentioned in the inscription suits with 867 CE and 881 CE. Scholars followed the second one and calculated the date as 859 CE. But by the above truths, it can be determined that the date of the inscription as 867 CE and the starting year of Nṛpatuṅga as 845 CE. The claim which states that the 18th year of Nṛpatuṅga corresponds with the 16th year of Varaguṇa II on the basis of Tiruvaḍi and Ambāsamudram records (Kanchipuram through the ages, pg 48), is rejected since there is no direct reference to the claim.

          As per the claim of K.V.Soundararajan, Dantivarmā supported stambha, brother of Rāṣṭrakūṭa Govinda II (773-780 CE). Hence it is clear that Dantivarmā was crowned atleast as a prince before 773 CE. Hence the starting year of Nandi Varmā III may be fixed as 822 CE and of Dantivarmā as 771 CE.

Now we can fix the dates of the pallava kings staring from Pallava Malla as

Nandi II 731-796
Danti 771-822
Nandi III 822-845
Kampavarmā 848-880
Aparājita 872-890
Nṛpatuṅga 845-886

By these dates, I think the problem of the charter defining as kampavarmā and Nṛpatuṅga as kings even after Āditya’s conquering of Toṇḍaimaṇḍalam is solved. The only problem remaining here is claim of Karandai copper plates of Rājendra I which informs that Parāntaka I (907-953) fought with a Pallava ruler. Scholars like K.R.Srinivasan claimed that the pallava king mentioned must be Nandivarmā IV who is identified by the Ceṉṉivāykkāl inscription. Dr. R.Nagaswamy fixed the ending date of Nṛpatuṅga as 906 CE so that the king mentioned in karandai plate can be identified easily.

I think the claim of Sri. K.R.Srinivasan cannot be taken into grant since we cannot include Nandivarmā IV based on only and one inscription that too mentions his 23rd regnal year. This can be treated as the erroneous one and the errors mentioned in the inscription happened during its re-engravement. Dr. Nagaswamy’s dates are revised in this article and cannot be fixed by the old view. Hence it can be calculated that the pallava king mentioned in the Karandai plates may be Aparājita varmā or Nṛpatuṅgavarmā and the battle held during the period of Āditya I.

Hence it is clear that after the encroachment of Toṇḍai maṇḍalam, no pallava ruler was left as a king. The successors of the pallava lineage then became officials of the Coḷas and the later pāṇḍyas.

Thus I hereby submit the revision of the dates of Pallava lineage after Rājasiṃha.

[1] Hero stones of Tamilnadu, Nadanakashinathan, Appendix – I

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