Mahendravarman I, the Pallava ruler of Kanchi
The name of Simhavishnu (575-600), the son and successor of Simhavarman, comes first in the list of the great Pallava kings. He assumed the title of ‘Avni Singh’ and conquered many places and included his empire.
It is known from the Kashakudi donation box that Simhavishnu defeated the kings of Kalabhra, Chola, Pandya and Sinhala. After defeating the Chola ruler, he occupied the Cholamandal. As a result of his victories, the southern border of the state reached the Kaveri river. Simhavishnu He was a Vaishnava devout and encouraged art. During his time ‘Varahamandir’ was built in Mamallapuram. The great Sanskrit poet Bharavi resided in his court. Bharavi’s famous text is ‘Kiratarjuniya Mahakavya’.
Mahendravarman I – 600-630
The son and successor of Simhavishnu was Mahendravarman I (600-630). He was one of the greatest rulers of the Pallava dynasty. Mahendravarman was equally great in both war and peace and had assumed the titles of ‘Mattavilas’, Vichitrachitra, Gunabhar etc.
Conflict with Pulakeshin II
He was a great producer, poet and musician. The Pallava-Chalukya conflict started from the time of Mahendravarman. It is known from the Aihole inscription that the Chalukya king Pulakeshin II entered the Pallava kingdom by conquering the Kadambas and the Chalukyas of Vengi. His forces reached as far north as Pullalur, only 15 miles from Kanchi. There was a fierce struggle between Pulakeshin and Mahendravarman.
Although Mahendravarman was successful in saving his capital. However, the northern provinces of the Pallava kingdom became the possession of Pulakeshin.
In the Kashakudi inscription it is said that Mahendravarman defeated his enemies at a place called Pullilur (Pullilure dvishatam specialan). The names of the enemies are not given here. Some scholars think that here there is a reference to Pulakeshin II, but this is not valid. If he had defeated Pulakeshin it would have been mentioned in the article. It seems that the allusion here is to some of the smaller kings of the south.
“T.V. Mahalingam is of the view that the Telguchod ruler Nalladi may have been defeated for some time near Kanchi along with some of his assistants.”
Mahendravarman abandoned Jainism and embraced Shaivism under the influence of Saivite Saint Appar. He built many cave temples and composed “Mattavilasprahasan”. It is said in the Mandagapatta inscription that he had built monolithic temples of Brahma, Ishwar and Vishnu.
In the Trichinapalli article, he has been called a worshiper of Shivalinga. Apart from the temples, Mahenderwadi, and Chitramegh named Tadagas were also constructed during his time. He was also a musician and took music lessons from the famous musician Rudraacharya. Thus Mahendravarman was rich in versatility.