Mahendravarman I- A.D. 600-630

Simhavishnu was succeeded by his son Mahendravarman I. In the beginning of his life, Mahendravarman I was a follower of Jainism, Later, he embraced Saivism due to the influence of the Saivaite Saint Tirunavukkarasar, who is also known as Appar. This is testified by Periyapuranam.


The Paliava-Chaiukya conflict had begun during the period of Mahendravarman I. The Chalukyan king Pulakesin II marched against the Pallavas and defeated Mahendravarman, Subsequently, Mahendravarma I chased his enemy and defeated the Chalukyan army at Pullalur. He had also defeated the Western Ganga ruler Durvinitha.


Mahendravarman I had assumed a number of titles. The titles Sathrumallan and Kalagapriyan show his military genius. His generosity was known from the title Gunabhara. Other titles such as Chitrakkarappuli, Vichitrachitha, Mattavilasa, Sangeernnajaathi reveals his interest in literature, art and music

Art and Literature

Mahendravarman I had evinced much interest in art and architecture. He introduced a new technique in the temple architecture. He carved out temples from huge rocks without using bricks, wood and mortar. It is considered to be an innovation in the field of South Indian art and architecture. Therefore, he was called as Vichitrachitha. These temples are known as rock-cut temples or cave temples. His rock-cut temples are found in several places in South India including Mandagapattu, Mamandur, Mahendravadi, Vallam, Pallavaram, Thirukkazhukunram and Tiruchi.
We can find the Pallava paintings at Chittannavasai. The music inscription at Kudumiyanmalai reveals Mahendravarman’s skill in music. He was an expert in playing Veena known as Parivathini. Mahendravarman I was also a great scholar in the Sanskrit language. He wrote the satirical drama Mattavilasa Prahasanam in Sanskrit.