Civilization and Culture of the Pallavas


The Pallava rule formed a golden epoch in the cultural history of south India. The period under the Pallavas was marked by considerable literary activities and cultural revival. The Pallavas warmly patronized Sanskrit language and most of the literary records of the time were composed in that language. Due to the cultural renaissance and a great revival of the Sanskrit language a galaxy of scholars flourished during the Pallava era, which accentuated the literary and cultural development in Southern India. Tradition referred that Simhavishnu, the Pallava king invited the great poet Bharvi to adorn his court. Dandin, the master of Sanskrit prose probably lived in the court of Narasimhavarmana II. Under the royal patronage, Kanchi became the seat of Sanskrit language and literature. The core of learning and education, Kanchi became the point of attraction for the literary scholars. Dinanaga, Kalidasa, Bharvi, Varahamihir etc were the distinguished person with enormous talent in the Pallava country. Not only the Sanskrit literature, the Tamil literature also received a huge impetus during the Pallava period. “Maatavailasa Prahasana”, written by Mahendravarmana became very popular. The famous Tamil classic “Tamil Kural was composed during the period under the royal patronage. Madurai became a great center of the Tamil literature and culture. The Tamil grammar “Talakappiam” and Tamil versical compilation “Ettalogai” etc were composed during the period. These were of immense literary importance.

From the 6th century AD, due to the Sanskrit revival, long poetical composition replaced the earlier style of the short poetry. Poetry was written according to the taste of the sophisticated and aristocratic people of the society. The “Silappadigaram” is one of such work suited to the taste of the sophisticated, educated people of the Pallava era. One of the most important literary works of the time was “Ramayanam” by Kaban. This is known as the Tamil form and version of Ramayana, where the character of Ravana was painted with all the noble virtues in comparison to Rama. It is consistent with the Tamil tradition and Tamil ego against the Northern Ramayana by Valmiki. The Buddhist literary work “Manimekhala” and the Jaina poetical work “Shibaga sindamani” etc. also flourished during the period.

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