In the Deccan the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas were the prominent rulers during Harsha’s time. The Pallavas ruled over Tondaimandalam in Tamilnadu.

The Chalukyas ruled from Vatapi. Among the Chalukyas, Pulakesin I and Pulakesin H were the famous rulers. Pulakesin II was the contemporary of Harsha Vardhana. There was a battle between Harsha and Pulakesin II on the banks of the river Narmadha. Pulakesin II defeated Harsha. Then Pulakesin II turned his attention towards the South. He came into conflict with the Pallava king Mahendravarman I and defeated him. The Chalukya Empire was extended unto the gates of the Pallava kingdom. The defeat of Mahendra Varman I was avenged by his son Narasimmavarman I in A.D. 642. After defeating the Chalukyas Narasimmavarman destroyed Vatapi. It was a great blow for the Chalukyas. The Chalukya dynasty came to an end when they were overthrown by the Rashtrakutas in A.D. 753.

Hiuen Tsang also visited the country of Pulakesin II. He has left us a pen picture about the reign of Pulakesin II, According to him, Pulakesin II was a patron of art and literature. His people and the nobles were the loyal and devoted subjects. By religion he was a Hindu but was tolerant towards Buddhism and Jainism. There were more than hundred Buddhist monasteries in his kingdom. In these monasteries 5,000 monks were living.

The Chalukya kings were patrons of art. They had built many grand temples at Aihole and Vatapi now called as Badami. One of the most famous temples is Virupaksha temple. It is adorned with sculptures which represent scenes from Ramayana. The Chalukya kings also built cave temples at Vatapi. Some paintings at Ellora and the exquisite rock temples at Vatapi also belong to this period. A painting in Ajanta cave shows Pulakesin II receiving the Ambassador of Iran.



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