One of their great rulers was Satkarni, who was a great conqueror. He fought against the king of Kalinga. The Satavahana kings were among those who were brought under the “Law of Piety” by Asoka.
The Satavahanas were orthodox Hindus, but not intolerant of other religions. Many people in the Deccan had been converted by Asoka’s missionaries to Buddhism, but there was no antagonism between the two religions.
The Satavahana kings patronised Buddhism also. Under them Brahmanism and Buddhism flourished side by side. The Satavahana kings were great patrons of literature. Amongst them, Hala is the most celebrated. He was a poet-king. Gatha-saptasati, an anthology in Prakrit, was composed by Hala himself. “Brihat Katha” (Great Story book) was also written in Hala’s time.
The Chalukyas wielded power in the Deccan from the sixth to eight century A.D. and then again form 10th to 12th centuries. Pulakesin 1 was the first great Chalukya ruler. He set up his capital at Badami (or Vatapi) in Bijapur distt. about 550 A.D. His grandson, Pulakesin II (A.D. 608-42) was a mighty warrior, who soon reduced to submission practically the whole of the old Andhra kingdom.
He was a very capable ruler. He was a contemporary of Harsha of Kanauj, and when Harsha tried to invade Deccan, Pulakesin defeated him. The Narmada was the boundary between the two kingdoms.
Hiuen Tsang, the Chinese traveller, paid a visit to Deccan 641 A.D and was profoundly impressed by the benevolent rule of Pulakesin. Pulakesin’s fame was such that it reached Khusru II, King of Persia. Pulakesin sent ambassadors to Khusru and exchanged letters and presents with him.
The Pallavas, entrenched in the country between the Krishna and Cauvery, invaded the Chalukya kingdom while the bulk of the Chalukya forces were in the north. The Pallava king Narasimhavaran savagely destroyed Badami, putting the inhabitants to the sword. Pulakesin was killed.
After his death the Chalukya Empire began to fall to pieces. For about 12 years the Deccan was in a state of anarchy. But afterwards it partially recovered.
In 674 the Chalukya king Vikramaditya took Kanchi, the Pallava capital. The struggle went on, with varying fortunes, until A.D. 757, when Chalukyas, who had now split into a number of dynasties, were again overthrown, this time by Rashtrakutas.
The Rashtrakutas, who overthrew the Chalukyas in A.D 757, were an indigenous race. They were the descendents of the feudatory nobles who governed a portion of Deccan under the Satavahanas. One of the earliest of the Rashtrakutas kings, Krishana I, was responsible for making the famous Kailasa temple at Ellora.
The most famous of the Rashtrakuta kings was Amoghavarsha (A.D 815-77) or Vallabha Rai. The Rashtrakuta empire at the time of its greatest power stretched from sea to sea and was very prosperous. It included the greater part of Bombay Presidency and was visited by Arabian travellers and merchants. The Rashtrakutas wee overthrown in A.D. 973.
(d) Chalukyas of Kalyani:
From A.D. 973 to 1200 Deccan was governed by a restored branch of Chalukyas with their capital at Kalyani. Vikramaditya who ruled from A.D. 1076 to 1126, was the most famous king of this dynasty. The most important event of this period was the rise, in about A.D. 1167, of the reformed Hindu sect known as the Vira-Shaivas or Lingayats.
This sect was the result of a double revolt against the tyranny of Brahamin priesthood and the heretical beliefs of the Jains. The Lingayats, who are still numerous in Karnataka, worship Shiva in the lingam form, and reject Berahminism and the authority of the Vedas
The Hoysalas were a Mysore family. Their capital was Dorasamudra or modern Halebid. Bittiga was the first ruler of this line. He was a great conqueror. He was an ardent devotee of the Jain religion.
He built many Jain temples which were destroyed in wars. But his successor named Vishnuvardhana was converted to the worship of Vishnu by the celebrated philosopher Ramanuja, and built many magnificent temples at Halebid and Belur.