The first important ruler was Siva Skandavarman who performed an Aswamedha and other Vedic sacrifices. His capital was kanchi. Samudragupta forced the pallava king, Vishnugopa, to acknowledge the Gupta suzerainty. And the story of the Pallavas in the 5th and 6th centuries is very sketchy.By end of the sixth century the Pallavas re-emerged on the scene. Simhavishnu (575 to 600 A.D.) captured the territory of the Cholas and humbled the pride of his neighbours including Ceylon. He was ovavaishnava faith as borne out by the magnificent reliefs representing Simhavishnu and two of his consorts in the Varsha cave at Mamallpuram.With Mahendravarman I, the son and successor of Simhavishnu, began thetitanic tripartite struggle with the Chalukyas of Vatapi and the Cholas. The Chalukya king, Pulakesin II, captured Kanchi. Pulakesin II won the pitched battle fought at Pullalur, fifteen miles north of Kanchi.However, Narsimhavaram I, the son and successor of Mahendravarman I, defeated pulskesin II in many battles and probably killed pulakesin himself. He also defeated the Cholas, the Cheras and the pandyas. He even sent two naval expeditions to Ceylon and placed his protégé on the throne of Ceylon. Narasimhavarman I was a great builder too. Mamallapuram was embellished during his time. Hiuen-Tsand visited his kingdom. He states that the soil was fertile and produced abundance of grain; flowers and fruits were many precious gems and other luxury articles were known; and the people were courageous and greatly attached to learning, honestry and truth.Narasimhavarman II. He too, fought with the chalukyas. He was succeeded by Paramesvaravarman I in whose reign Vikramadhitya I of the Chalukyas, in alliance with the Pandyas, renewed the hostilities. He probably captured the city of Kanchi. Later, Paramesvarvarman I defeated Vikramadhity II. The Pallava records claim that the Chalukya pattack was hurled back.
Origin of the Pallavas
There are different views on the origin of the Pallavas. Theywere equated with the Parthians, the foreigners who ruled westernIndia. Another view was that the Pallavas were a branch of theBrahmin royal dynasty of the Vakatakas of the Deccan. The thirdview relates the Pallavas with the descendents of the Chola princeand a Naga princess whose native was the island of Manipallavam.But these theories on the origin of the Pallavas were not supported by adequate evidences.
Therefore, the view that the Pallavas were the natives ofTondaimandalam itself was widely accepted by scholars. They arealso identical with the Pulindas mentioned in the inscriptions ofAsoka. When Tondaimandalam was conquered by the Satavahanas,the Pallavas became their feudatories. After the fall of theSatavahanas in the third century A.D., they became independent.The Pallavas issued their earlier inscriptions in Prakrit and Sanskritbecause of their Satavahana connections, and also patronisedBrahmanism.Political HistoryThe early Pallava rulers from 250 A.D. to 350 A.D. issuedtheir charters in Prakrit. Important among them wereSivaskandavarman and Vijayaskandavarman. The second line ofPallava rulers who ruled between 350 A.D. and 550 A.D. issuedtheir charters in Sanskrit. The most important ruler of this line wasVishnugopa who was defeated by Samudragupta during his SouthIndian expedition. The rulers of the third line who ruled from 575A.D. to their ultimate fall in the ninth century issued their chartersboth in Sanskrit and Tamil. Simhavishnu was the first ruler of thisline. He destroyed the Kalabhras and firmly established the Pallavarule in Tondaimandalam. He also defeated the Cholas and extendedthe Pallava territory up to the river Kaveri. Other great Pallava rulersof this line were Mahendravarman I, Narasimhavarman I, andNarasimhavarman II.Mahendravarman I (600 – 630 A.D.)The long-drawn Pallava – Chalukya Conflict began duringhis period. Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and capturedthe northern part of their kingdom. Although a Pallava inscriptionrefers to the victory of Mahendravarman I at Pullalur, he was notable to recover the lost territory.