Pallava is a Sanskrit term which means “tender shoot or new leaves of a plant”. The Pallava dynasty was located in the South Indian sub-continent. The span of Pallava’s reign was from 275 A.D. to 897 A.D which can be categorized into three phases? Early, Middle and Later. They were the most influential rulers of South India and contributed enormously in the fields of religion, philosophy, art, coins and architecture. Pallavas were at their peak during the reign of Mahendravarman I and Narsimhavarman I. Throughout their rule in Tondaimandalam, they were in constant conflict with both Chalukyas of Badami in the north, and the Tamil kingdom of Cholas and Pandyas in the South. They are most remembered for their shore temple architecture.
There are many versions of Pallava’s genesis. As per to one version, Pallava were variant of Pahlava (Parthians) who were of Scythian origin. Few historian connected Pallava with the island of Manipallavam which was mentioned in Manimekalai epic. Historian K.P. Jayaswal postulated theory that Pallavas were branch of Vakatakas dynasty. Late Sanskrit inscription found at Amravati late traced the line of an eponymous from the child of the union between apsara Madani and the Brahmana warrior Ashvathaman. Their early charters are in Prakrit which proved that they were not Tamil in origin. The most accepted version says Pallavas were in the service of the Satavahana Empire. They founded new dynasty at the time of Satavahana downfall.
As per to Velurpaliyam plate, Kumaravishnu- I captured Kanchi from Chola and made it as a capital of Palava. During Vishnugopavarman reign, Kanchi was drove away by Chola. The Simhavishnu once again re-captured Kanchi from Chola. Many inscription of Kadamba described the hostility and conflicts existed between early Pallavas and Kadamba. Kalabhras invaded Tamil state and had convulsed with Pallavas. Political rivalry between Pallavas and Pandyas divided Tamil into north and south of Pallavas and Pandyas respectively. As a result, Kanchipuram was the capital of Pallavas and Madurai was of Pandyas. The royal custom of Pallava of using descriptive honorific titles by kings was called as birudas. Mahendravarman I used the biruda, Satrumalla which means “a warrior who overthrow his enemies”, and his grandson Parmeswara I used title Ekamalla “the sole warrior or wrestler”. Pallava kings as a whole were known by title Mahamalla that defines “great warrior”.