Narasimhavarman I (Tamil: முதலாம்
நரசிம்மவர்மன்.) was a Tamil king of the
Pallava dynasty who ruled
South India from 630–668 AD. He
shared his father Mahendravarman I's love of art and completed the
work started by Mahendravarman in Mamallapuram.
He avenged his father's defeat at the hands of the
Pulakeshin II in the year 642 AD . Narasimhavarman was also known as
Mamallan (great wrestler), and
Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) was named
It was during his reign, in 640 AD, that the Chinese traveller Hiuen
Tsang visited Kanchipuram.
Narasimhavarman I was a devotee of Shiva. The great Nayanar saints
Siruthondar and Tirugnanasambandar lived during his reign.
Narasimhavarman I was succeeded by his son
Mahendravarman II in the
year 668 AD.
1 Military conquests
1.1 War with the Chalukyas
1.2 Influence on Sri Lankan politics
2 Narasimhavarman in literature
5 External links
Narasimhavarman I is claimed to be one of the 12 Indian kings who
never lost on the battlefield to their enemies, the others being
Ajatashatru, Chandragupta Maurya, Karikala Chola, Cheran Senguttuvan,
great Nayanmar saint Kochengannan of Chola dynasty, Chola king
Rajasuyam Vaetta Perunarkilli (575 BC), who successfully completed
military Rajasuyam sacrifice, Pandyan Nedunchezhian of the Sangam age,
Pallava Nayanmar saint Rajasimha, Rajaraja Chola
I, his great warrior son
Rajendra Chola and
Rana Kumbha of Mewar.
War with the Chalukyas
Pulakeshin II, a deccan king, had previously raided various northern
Pallava provinces and forts. However, he was unable to capture the
Pallava capital of Kanchipuram. This led to a long conflict between
the Chalukyas and the Pallavas.
Pulakeshin II again attempted to seize the
Pallava capital and
undertook another expedition several years later. However, the Pallava
reign had moved on to
Narasimhavarman I by then. Narasimhavarman
defeated the Chalukyas in several battles, including one at
Manimangalam 20 miles to the east of Kanchipuram. The king states that
he could see the back of his dreaded enemy as he tore apart his army.
Encouraged by this victory, Narasimhavarman led his army along with
Paranjothi and invaded Vatapi, successfully defeating
and killing the
Pulakeshin II in 642 CE. The city was
never a capital again.
He returned victorious to Kanchipuram, and was given the title
Vatapikondan (one who conquered Vatapi).
Paranjothi (a Vikrama Kesari, also known as
paradurgamarddana) was known very well for his devotion to Lord Siva
and as one of the 63 Nayanmar saints, is said to have indeed
personally destroyed the city of
Vatapi under the command of
Narasimhavarman I. Sekkizhaar's work 12th tirumurai credits this
siruttondar of having destroyed the evil kali as manifested by the
deccan enemy of pallavas. He is also known as 'Siruthonttar', a
dutiful warrior and a practicing medic who had "mastered several
treatises in medicine". This vikramakesari had at the insistence of
Lord Sivan sacrificed his child without any qualms. There was a
confusion as to whether the Ganesha at a temple in Chengattankudy
could have been a result of this invasion but this seems not to be
true because the temple and association of Lord Ganesha with the same
are well described in sthalapuranam or the literature discussing the
importance of the place. The Ganesha seems to be installed several
thousands of years ago in a previous epoch. Many grants refer to this
event as: "kilisayoneriva vimattita vathapi" or the one who destroyed
Vatapi, the same way Sage Agastya had killed a demon by that name long
Influence on Sri Lankan politics
The Sinhalese prince Manavarma lived at the court of Narasimhavarman
and had helped him crush his enemy Pulakeshin II. In return,
Narasimhavarman supplied Manavarma twice with an army to invade Sri
Lanka. The second attack was successful. Manavarma occupied Sri Lanka,
over which he is supposed to have ruled from A. D. 691 to 726. The
Kasakudi copper plates refer to Narasimhavarman's conquest of Sri
Mahavamsa also confirms these facts.
Narasimhavarman in literature
Kalki Krishnamurthy's work, Sivagamiyin Sabadham, is based on
Narasimhavarman's early years and his battles with the Chalukyas.
Kalki Krishnamurthy's Parthiban kanavu is based on the later years of
^ a b Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History.
Primus Books. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
^ Keay, John, India: A History, p170
^ KAN Sastri, A History of South India, p136
^ Keay, John, India: A History, p172
Keay, John (2001). India: A History. Grove Press.
Sastri, K A N (2008). A History of
South India (4th ed.). New Delhi,
India: Oxford University Press.
(**) Ancient India, R. C. Majumdar, Ancient India, K.A.Nilakanta
Inscriptions of India -- Complete listing of historical inscriptions
from Indian temples and monuments