Pallavas,the pastoral tribe emerged as a powerful ruler and commanded the region ofThondaimandalam.from its capital located at Pallavapuri (Bhavatri, of Nellore in theAndhra). They were of sect "Thiraiyar" and the region they ruled was called"Thondaimandalam". With the capital washed away by the sea due to nature's disaster,they moved downwards to Kanchipuram and settled there once for all to establish amore powerful kingdom with its territory even occupying as far as Northern Orissa,Tanjore and Trichi. Kanchipuram thus became their new abode. Though classicalwritings talks about Pallavas, there is no particular mention of any Pallava rulers'sname. But the excavation carried out by the Indian archeological department reveals theearliest possible reign dated back to 1st and 2nd century AD. The earliest known coinagein lead issued by the then Pallavs could be dated between 3rd and 4th century AD. Around4th century AD, Pallavas defeated Ikshvakus and occupied the land as far as river Krishna. Allahabad inscription throws light on a ruler Hastivarman of Vengi'sdefeat to Samudraguptain the 4th century. The copper plate of mid 4th century,talked about the Pallava grant in Andhra by Siva Skandavarman.
During the 5th century, the Pallavas expanded very fast and even crossed river Krishna andoccupied Bellary, Sorth and South Arcot, Trichirapalli, Chengalpet and part of Tanjoretoo. At the end of 500 AD, the territory came into the possession of Simha Vishnu, and he became the founder of the Pallava dynasty. He fought several wars and theempireenjoyed prosperity. After his death, his son Mahendravarman succeded. He was alearned man, he started the work of cave temple at Mahabalipuram. Chalukya Pulkesi-II learnt about the riches of Kanchi and attacked the kingdom to defeat Mahendravarma. Mahendravarman died a broken man with the insult. His son b>Narasimhavarman was a man of tact and intelligence. Now came the worst part. Pulekisin II , the great chalukya ruler learnt about the riches of kanchi and wanted to capture it. He came with a huge army and defeated Mahendravarman at Pullalur in 620 A.D. It was a great insult to the pallavas and Mahendravarman in particular. This ruined his health . His further attempts to take revenge in a series of battles with Pulikesin in the northern part of Tamilnadu were all futile. All went in vain and he died a broken man in 630 A.D.
Narasimhavarman ascended the throne in 630 A.D, and vowed to revenge the insult done tohis father by the Chalukyas. With immense strength and tact he defeated Pulikesi II inthe Battle of Manimangalam and Pariyalam in the year 632 AD. He completely burnt thecapital city of Pulakesi. A man with well built physique was a great wrestler too.He had a title "Mamalla" to his credit, and perhaps this could be the rason whyMahabalipuram is called Mamallapuram ??? Badami remained in his control until 655 ADtill Vinayaditya restored it back to the Chalukya realm.
Narasimhavarman completed the cave temples of Mahabalipuram and constructed immensenumber of temples. The Pallava dynasty was not that peak as under this ruler ever. Butthe successors managed to safeguard the territory until Cholas took their toll in the 9thcentury. The greatest dynasty thus saw its end once for all.