KOTAVARI SCULPTURE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – History)

News-CRUX-10     16th February 2024        

Context: A team of archaeological researchers have discovered an 8th-century Kotravai sculpture, an artefact that dates back to the Pallava period, near Ulundurpet.

Kotravai Sculpture

  • About:  It is made in a slab stone of five-feet height and four-feet width. The idol is depicted with eight hands, indicating its origin in the eighth century during the Pallava period.
  • Features: Its local artistic style, crown, batrakundalams on ears, sarapali neck ornament, tholvalai on shoulders, kaivalai in all hands, and marbu kachai covering the chest

oKotravai is portrayed standing on the head of a buffalo, with two guards on each side,” he said. Raj also noted the uniqueness of the sculpture’s crown compared to other eighth-century Kotravai sculptures found in the area.

Pallava Dynasty

  • About: The Pallava Dynasty, a prominent power in South India, flourished from the 3rd to the 9th centuries, leaving a significant mark on the region's history, culture, and architecture.
  • Origin: Initially, the Pallavas were feudatories of the Andhra Satavahanas.
  • They gained autonomy following the decline of the Andhra Satavahanas at Amaravati.
  • The Pallavas gradually migrated southward, establishing Kanchipuram as their capital in the 4th century CE.
  • The reigns of Mahendravarman I and Narasimhavarman I marked periods of increased wealth and influence for the Pallava dynasty.
  • Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang's accounts shed light on Pallava patronage of Buddhism and notable figures like Bodhidharma.
  • Architecture

oThe Pallava Dynasty was renowned for its contributions to Dravidian architecture, particularly temple architecture.

oMahabalipuram emerged as a vital center of art, architecture, and literature under Pallava rule.

oNarasimhavarman II commissioned significant structures like the Kailasanatha Temple and the Shore Temple.

oTemples like Kailasanatha and Vaikuntaperumal exemplify Pallava architectural prowess and feature intricate sculptures depicting their history.

  • Religion: The Pallavas embraced Shaivism, aligning with the prevalent religious practices of the Dravidian region.
  • Conflicts: Throughout their reign, the Pallavas engaged in frequent conflicts with the Chalukya Dynasty to the north and the Tamil kingdoms of Chola and Pandyas to the south.
  • Their battles with the Chalukyas of Badami culminated in their eventual subjugation by the Chola kings in the 8th century CE.
  • Decline: The ascent of the Rashtrakutas signaled the decline of the Pallava Dynasty.
  • Vijayalaya, a Chola king, decisively defeated Aparajitavarman, the last Pallava king, in 897 AD, marking the end of Pallava rule.
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