Pulakeshin I

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Pulakeshin I
Satyashraya, Vallabha and Dharmamaharaja
Founder of Chalukya dynasty
Reign c. 543 – c. 566
Successor Kirtivarman I
Issue Kirtivarman I
Dynasty Chalukya
Father Ranaranga

Pulakeshin I (IAST: Pulakeśin), also spelt Pulakesi I and Pulikeshi I, was a monarch from the Chalukya dynasty in the western Deccan region of India. His descendants ruled over an empire that comprised the entire state of Karnataka and most of Andhra Pradesh. Pulakeshin overthrew the Kadambas to establish the Chalukya kingdom. He had the titles Satyashraya, Vallabha and Dharmamaharaja.


The Chalukya records mention two early chiefs of the family, Jayasimha Vallabha (500–520) and his son, Ranaranga (520–540). They must have been petty chiefs under the Kadambas, but we know little about their activities and achievements.

Establishment of Chalukya kingdom[edit]

Pulakeshin I was Ranaranga's son. He earned the distinction of being the first independent King and the real founder of the Chalukya dynasty. He successfully defied the waning power of the Kadambas and proclaimed the Chalukyan independence. He chose Badami (Vatapi) as his capital and constructed a strong hill fortress there. The new fortress stood on the indefensible location surrounded by rivers and steep mountains.

Pulakeshin performed sacrifices like Asvamedha, Hiranyagarbha, Agnistoma, Vajapeya, Bahusuvarna and Paundarika. These details are provided by his Badami Cliff inscription dated Saka 565 (543 CE).55

Extent of kingdom[edit]

At the time of Pulakeshin I the Chalukyan kingdom did not extend much beyond the immediate vicinities of Badami. However his conquests pushed the borders of the empire outward from that core. He annexed the kingdom of Vakataka and expanded to the west coast of Karnataka giving him access to the valuable Arabian Sea trade routes.[1]


Pulakeshin assumed titles like Vallabha, Dharma Maharaja, Satyashraya, Ranavikrama and so on. Inscriptions compare him with such mythical heroes as Yayati and Dilipa. His wife was Durlabhadevi of Bappura family.

Pulakeshin was succeeded by his son Kirtivarman I (566–597).

Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kirtivarman I


  1. ^ Bauer, Susan Wise (2010). The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 231. ISBN 978-0-393-05975-5. 


  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1935). The CōĻas, University of Madras, Madras (Reprinted 1984).
  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (1955). A History of South India, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002).
  • Dr. Suryanath U. Kamat (2001). Concise History of Karnataka, MCC, Bangalore (Reprinted 2002).
  • South Indian Inscriptions - http://www.whatisindia.com/inscriptions/
  • History of Karnataka, Mr. Arthikaje