The present volume is an attempt to revisit the history of Badami Chalukyan kings with a view to re- examine their contributions in the light of new material and evidence that have been found. It is a collection of papers presented in a seminar organized by the Dharwad Chapter of INTACH on the Early Chalukya history, art and other aspects. Though the stress is on art, architecture and sculpture, there is enough on other aspects like promoting Chalukyan sites that include Aihole, Badami, Pattadakal and Mahakuta as tourist destinations and the problems involved in making these destinations get their due.
Dr. S Rajasekhara, former Professor of History and Archeology at Karnatak University, is now the Coordinator of the Master of Tourism Administration Course in Karnatak University’s Karnatak Art College, Dharwad. He has written extensively on art- historical aspects of Karnataka. His publications include Holalagundi Paintingss (1982), Masterpieces of Vijayanagara Art (1983), Karnataka Architecture (1985), Early Chalukya Art at Aihole (1986) and Rashtrakuta Art in Karnataka (1991). He has co-authored along with John Fritz, George Michell and Anna Dallapiccola a work on Ramachandra Temple at Vijayanagara(1992).
The Dharwad Chapter of INTACH had the good fortune of hosting a two-day National Seminar in May 2011 on the cultural contribution made by the Chalukyan Kings of Badami.
The eminent historian Prof. (Dr.) S. Rajasekhara had kindly consented to be the Director of this seminar. Eminent scholars and historians from different parts of India participated in the seminar and presented their papers.
The Badami Chalukyas (c. AD 535-AD 757) ruled over a large territory in India. One of their kings, Pulakesi II defeated Harshavardhana of Kanauj on the banks of the river Narmada and became justly famous on that account.
The Chalukyas of Badami played a pivotal role in the history and culture of the Deccan, nay, of India itself. The Chalukyan kings of Badami were successors to the Kadambas of Banavasi (who laid the foundation of the Karnataka empire). The Chalukyan kings of Badami, by dint of military power, expanded it and built a vast empire form Narmada down to Kaveri and from Western ocean to the Eastern.
They thus built up a unified Karnataka as it were, bringing under its umbrella smaller powers that had spread over the entire land. They coined the name Karnataka to this empire. Their army came to be reckoned as invincible 'Karnataka Bala'. The Chalukyan kings of Badami sponsored all religions of the land irrespective of their personal affiliations. They were trend-setters in the field of architecture, which is vouchsafed by astounding monuments, caves as well as structures.
It is well known that Pattadakal, their sub-capital, was known for its temples. Aihole, another Chalukyan art centre, is often referred to as the 'cradle of Indian architecture'. The flourishing trade and commerce built up a strong economy. The Kannada language got, for the first time, the official status and came to be employed liberally in the inscriptions, which were the mouth-pieces of the rulers and their administrative subordinates. Thus, covering a period of over 200 years and more, the Chalukyan period formed a fundamental epoch in the history and culture of our land.
Among the various relics left by the Chalukyan kings, reference must be made to Pattadakal, which is today considered as a 'World Heritage Site'. Visitors from far and near will find these historical relics dating back to Badami Chalukyan times as richly rewarded, as they are truly unrivalled and majestic in their grandeur. Hence, the saga of Badami Chalukyan kings is truly found to be a testimony to the splendour and glory of ancient India.
Many years ago, the Mythic Society in Bangalore had conducted a seminar on Badami Chalukyan kings and published a book based on the papers presented by scholars and historians.
The national seminar organized by INTACH, Dharwad was an attempt to revisit the history of Badami Chalukyan kings with a view to re-examine the contributions in the light of new material and evidences that have been found after Mythic Society's seminar. Hence, the readers will find this book highly informative as it throws new light on some of the hitherto unexplored areas of our culture and society. It is also assumed that the new material accumulated during this period would fulfil the need for bridging the gap and would strengthen the study of the subject. In addition, it would serve the purpose of acquiring and educating the new generation of scholars and enthuse them to carryon with their work in the light of earlier studies.
It gives me great pleasure in remembering all those who made it possible for INTACH, Dharwad Chapter to organize this seminar.
My sincere and deep debt of gratitude is to Prof. (Dr.) S. Rajasekhara, who has painstakingly helped our Chapter in planning and organizing this national seminar, which turned out to be a grand success. But for his devotion, missionary zeal and hard work, this seminar would have not taken place. He has also edited this book with his matchless scholarship, experience and know-how. The book is what it is because of his labour of love.
I am also beholden to all the eminent scholars and historians who responded to our request and came to Dharwad to present their scholarly papers.
I am grateful to Shri Jagadeesh Shettar, the then minister of the Karnataka Government who inaugurated this National Seminar
. I am also deeply obliged to Maj. Gen. (Retd.) L.K. Gupta, Chairman, INTACH, Delhi, who made it convenient to attend this seminar and who obliged us by granting munificent funds. He truly is an enlightened patriarch of INTACH extending his helping hand to all noble causes. I am also grateful to him for getting this book published.
I am also beholden to Shri. P.C. Naik, IAS (Retd.), former State Convenor, INTACH, who goaded me to organize this two- day seminar on Chalukyan kings of Badami. He has been a friend, philosopher and guide to our Chapter.
I must place on record my appreciation and gratitude to all the members of our Chapter, who gave me their unstinted cooperation in organizing this seminar.
I am beholden to my wife Dr. Yashoda Bhat (who is also a member of INTACH, Dharwad) for all the support and help extended to me in organizing this seminar.
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