Veera Ballala II
Veera Ballala II (Kannada: ವೀರ ಬಲ್ಲಾಳ) (1173–1220 CE) was perhaps the greatest monarch of the Hoysala Empire. This is proven by his successes against the Seuna, Southern Kalachuri, Pandya and the waning Kalyani Chalukya dynasties. His period also saw prolific literary activity in Kannada. He patronised Ranna and Rudrabhatta. During his forty seven years of rule, the Hoysala kingdom consolidated to the extent of being called an independent empire. The Kedareshvara temple at Halebidu and Amrutesvara Temple in Chikmagalur were some important temples built by him.
Ballala II was unhappy with the shrinking size of the Hoysala kingdom during the rule of his not too popular father Narasimha I. With the help of some malnad chiefs, Ballala II overthrew his father and assumed control of the kingdom. He later ensured the same Malnad chiefs could not rise against him.
Wars against Kalachuri, Chalukya and Seuna
Initial years of rule
During his early rule in 1178 Ballala II captured Hanagal and tried to reach Belvola where he faced defeat against the Kalachuri. Bijjala Kalachuri had occupied the Kalyani, capital of the Western Chalukyas king, Tailapa III between 1155-1158 AD and was still ruling in 1168 AD before his death. 'Three of his sons ruled in quick succession up to 1183, but none of them had the ability to turn Bijjala's usurpation to good account, though they continued to war against the Hoysalas under Veera Ballala II', 'and met with some initial successes'. The skirmishes and setbacks to Veera Ballala II against the Kalachuris happened during the period 1175-1183 AD. In subsequent years, Veera Ballala II once again pressed his claims over these northern territories. He captured Balligavi from the Kalachuri and defeated Chalukya Somesvara IV in 1187. He won a comprehensive victory against the Seuna Bhillama V at Soraturu in 1190 and gained much material and land gains from the victory. An inscription dated 1196 claims he had reached as far north as Kaliburgi (Gulbarga). He certainly had full control over lands up to the Krishna River. However by 1212 it seems some of his gains were lost due to southern incursions of Senua King Singhana II. Singhana-II resumed the war against Veera Ballala II a few years after his accession in 1210 and was assisted by the Kadambas of Konkan and other feudatories who had been resisting Veera Ballala II already for some years. As a result of Singhana-II's campaigns, by 1216 AD Ballala-II lost almost all the territory he had gained by his wars against Somesvara IV and Bhillama'.
Relations ship with Cholas
Initially, for gaining control over Gangavadi and Tagadur controlled by the Cholas, Ballala II attacked the forces of Kulothunga Chola III, who had continued Chola hegemony over the provinces of Gangavadi, Kolar in the Kannada country. However, Kulothunga Chola III, who also held the Pandya country and Eelam, modern Sri Lanka, proved to be a strong adversary and he inflicted a defeat on Ballala II. Ballala II thought it fit to turn enmity into friendship by entering into a marital relationship with Kulothunga Chola III. This helped him in his own troubles against other adversaries like the Kalachuris under Bijjala-II and the Seunas of Yadava country. He also reciprocated by fighting with Kulothunga III when the Pandyas attacked the Cholas, Ballala's sent crown prince Vira Narasimha II who fought successfully in the first war against the rampaging Pandyas and ensured victory for the Cholas. By virtue of this, Ballala II gained the title Cholarajyapratishtacharya and Kulothunga Chola III was given the title "Hoysala Purawaradheeshwaran" because of both his victory over Ballala II and his help to his brother in law Ballala II in his wars against the Kalachuris under Bijjala-II.
- Nilakanta Sastri, A History of South India, pp. 179–180
- 'A History of South India', K.A.Nilakanta Sastri (2003), p. 180–181
- Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat, A Concise history of Karnataka from pre-historic times to the present, Jupiter books, MCC, Bangalore, 2001 (Reprinted 2002) OCLC 7796041
- K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, History of South India, From Prehistoric times to fall of Vijayanagar, 1955, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002), ISBN 0-19-560686-8
Vira Narasimha II
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