Vikramaditya VI (1076 – 1126 CE) became the Western Chalukya King after deposing his elder brother Somesvara II. Vikramaditya's reign is marked by the start of the Chalukya-Vikrama era. Vikramaditya VI was the greatest of the Western Chalukya kings and had the longest reign in the dynasty. He earned the title Permadideva and Tribhuvanamalla (lord of three worlds). Vikramadtiya VI is noted for his patronage of art and letters. His court was adorned with famous Kannada and Sanskrit poets. In Kannada, his brother Kirtivarma wrote Govaidya on veterinary science and Brahmashiva wrote Samayaparikshe and received the title Kavi Chakravarti. More inscriptions in Kannada are attributed to Vikramaditya VI than any other king prior to the twelfth century.Noted Sanskrit poet Bilhana wrote a eulogy of the King in his Vikramankadevacharita and Vijnaneshvara wrote Mitakshara on Hindu family law. One of his queens Chandaladevi called Abhinava Sarasvati was a noted dancer. At his peak, the Vikarmaditya VI controlled a vast empire stretching from the Kaveri river in southern India to the Narmada river in central India.
Chalukya Vikrama era
Vikramaditya ascended the Chalukya throne by deposing his elder brother Somesvara II, with the help of some of the Chalukya feudatories and by utilising the opportunities arising out of a conflict with the Cholas.
As soon as Somesvara II, the eldest son of Somesvara I came to the throne, Vikramaditya started planning his overthrow. Making use of the Chola invasion, he, along with some of the feudatories of Somesvara, especially the Seuna, the Hoysalas and the Kadambas of Hangala achieved his goal. Vikramaditya went into negotiations with the Chola king Virarajendra Chola. Vikramaditya consented to rule the Vengi kingdom as the Chola feudatory. Virarajendra also forced Somesvara to bifurcate his kingdom and let Vikramaditya rule the southern half (Gangavadi) independently. Vikramaditya married one of Virarajendra's daughters to strengthen the alliance with the Cholas.
Trouble in Chola Empire
During this time Virarajendra Chola died (1070) and his son Athirajendra Chola came to the throne. Vikramaditya soon found his Chola alliance a liability. Rajendra Chalukya (future Kulothunga Chola I), a Vengi prince with close Chola connection, having been denied his rightful place on the Vengi throne by Vikramaditya, wanted to assume the Chola throne instead. Rajendra Chalukya had his opportunity when civil disturbances arose in the Chola kingdom. To quell rioting in Kanchipuram Vikramaditya led his forces into the city to assist his brother-in-law Athirajendra. Vikramaditya soon after proceeded to the Chola capital and helped Athirajendra inaugurate his reign and to defeat any attempts by Rajendra Chalukya to overthrow the rightful Chola king. Satisfied that order had been restored, Vikramaditya returned to his capital. But news soon came to him that Athirajendra had been murdered in the civil uprising and Rajendra Chalukya had assumed the Chola throne under the title Kulothunga Chola I.
Vikramaditya now found enemies on both sides of his domain: Kulothunga in the south and his brother in the north. Vikramaditya spent the next six years to protect himself from this dangerous situation. He continued to undermine the position of his brother Somesvara by inducing Somesvara's feudatories to desert him. Finally with the help of the Seuna, the Hoysalas and the Kadambas of Hangala, Someshwara II was defeated and Vikramaditya assumed sovereignty in 1076. He marked his accession to the throne by founding the new era called Chalukya Vikram Era.
Chalukya civil war
The conflict eventually occurred in 1076 when Kulothunga launched an attack on Vikramaditya. The war began with a clash at Nangili in the Kolar district between Kulothunga and Vikramaditya. Vikramaditya's forces were defeated and were pursued up the Tungabhadra by the Chola forces with heavy fighting all the way. Kulothunga took over Gangavadi. In 1088 Vikramaditya conquered major parts of the Vengi Kingdom. Though Kulottunga captured Vengi in 1099, the Chalukya ruler regained it in 1118 CE and retained it up to 1124. The Kadambas of Goa, the Shilaharas, the Seunas and the Pandyas of Uchangi, Chaulukyas of Gujarat and Chedi of Ratnapur were the other rulers who were subdued by Vikramaditya VI. He married princess Mailaladevi of the Kadamba family and Chandaladevi of the Shilahara family.
Vikramaditya experienced some serious troubles during the first few years of his rule. His younger brother Jayasimha rebelled and had to be quelled. More seriously his former friends the Hoysalas, who had assisted Vikramaditya in his fight against his brother, began to undermine Vikramaditya's position. The Hoysala, although professing allegiances to the Chalukya throne, steadily began go build up their power and extend their territories. Hoysala Vishnuvardhana turned on Vikramaditya in 1116 and captured territories up to Goa on the west coast and advanced up to the Krishna River in the north.
Vikramaditya dealt firmly with this situation and expelled the Hoysala from the Chalukyan territories. Vishnuvardhana had to seek refuge in a hill fortress in his country. After many battles, Vishnuvardhana submitted to Vikramaditya in 1123.
In the island of Sri Lanka the Chola reign was coming to an end with the success of Vijayabahu. Vikramaditya hailed Vijayabahu as his natural ally and sent him an embassy with rich presents.
Capture of Narmada Territory
Vikramaditya invaded Malava thrice, in 1077, 1087 and in 1097. He conquered territories south of the Narmada. He erected a pillar of victory at Dhara. The Paramara prince Jagadeva sought shelter in the Chalukya Kingdom and became one of the trusted feudatories of Vikramaditya VI. Vikramaditya's plan to make Jagadeva the Paramara king did not succeed. However, Chalukya control over areas up to Narmada was undisturbed.
Successes against Cholas
While still engaged with the Hoysalas, Vikramaditya, turned against Kulothunga Chola I. In 1115 Kulothunga Chola I recalled his son Vikrama Chola, who was ruling Vengi as the viceroy. Utilising the vacuum in the leadership in Vengi, Vikramaditya sent his general Anantapala to invade and conquer the Vengi country who conquered Vengi. Around this time, the Chalukya feudatory, Hoysala Vishnuvardhana also defeated the Cholas in the battle of Talakadu.
However, Cholas regained both Eastern Gangavadi as well as Vengi under Vikrama Chola.
For a brief time, during the reign of Vikramaditya VI the Chalukya empire reached its zenith and included territories as vast as their predecessors, the Badami Chalukyas.
However, This was the beginning of the end for the Chalukyas for they ceased to exist by 1190 AD as Vikramaditya VI was followed by inept rulers who consistently kept losing territory to their adversaries and feudatories.
After the death of Vikramaditya VI, by 1150, Prolla II of Kakatiya dynasty, in 1162, Bijjalla II of Kalachuri and in 1173, Veera Ballalla II of Hoysala feudatories revolted against and took large territories away from the Chalukya empire which went into decline. A brief attempt to revive the kingdom by the last king Somesvara IV failed and the Chalukyas became a part of the past by 1200. Vikramaditya's reign
Perhaps no other king in Indian history has left behind as many inscriptions, all in Kannada language, as Vikramaditya VI did. Legends recount that he followed a ritual of giving away land to the needy on a daily basis. The rule of Vikramaditya, though marred by repeated battles for supremacy in the south, was a glorious era in Kannada literary history. Great poets such as Bilhana and Vijnanesvara adorned his throne. Bilhana wrote Vikramankadevacharita and was Vikramaditya's court poet. Vijnanesvara, the author of Mitakshara, was an authority on Hindu law. Kirthi Verma wrote Govaidya during this period. Vikramaditya's long reign came to an end in 1126. His son Somesvara III became the Chalukya king.
- Thousands of Kannada language inscriptions are ascribed to Vikramaditya VI and pertain to his daily land and charitable grants (Nityadana),Kamat, Jyotsna. "Chalukyas of Kalyana". 1996-2006 Kamat's Potpourri. Retrieved 2006-12-24.
- Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
- Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
- Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat (2001). Concise History of Karnataka, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002).
- History of Karnataka