History of Iran

India's Parthian Colony
On the origin of the Pallava Empire of Dravidia
By: Dr. Samar Abbas, May 14, 2003
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4- Iranian Origin of Dravidian Architecture and Contribution to Dravidian Civilization

4.1. Iranic Origin of Dravidian Architecture The Pallava foundations for Dravidian architecture is universally accepted by scholars. For instance, a standard textbook on World Architecture states, "Mahabalipuram, the five temples (rathas), Pallava (7th century AD), are embryonic models of later Dravidian, or Southern, temple styles." (Holberton, p.55). Confirming this view, the Encyclopedia Britannica notes:
    "The home of the South Indian style, sometimes called the Dravida style, appears to be the modern state of Tamil Nadu ... The early phase, which, broadly speaking, coincided with the political supremacy fo the Pallava dynasty (c.650-893), is best represented by the important monuments at Mahabalipuram." (Enc.Brit., Vol.27, p.767)
Suthanthiran summarises the views of various eminent scholars:
    "The prototypes of later developed Kopurams are found in the Pallava period. There are different views regarding the proto-types. Heinrich Zimmer was of the view that the Pimaratam is the earliest prototype of the Kopurams. Raghavendra Rao says that the finished oblong plan and the two storeyed waggon roof of Kanesaratam is the prototype of all South Indian Kopurams ... A.H. Longhurst says that the Kailasanatha temple entrance Tavaracalai is the proto-type of all later Kopurams." (Suthanthiran 1989, p.30)
Venkayya agrees with the Pallavite origin of Dravidian architecture:
    "We now enter into a period of Pallava history for which the records are more numerous. The facts available for this period are definite and the chronology is not altogether a field of conjecture and doubt. The earliest stone monuments of Southern India belong to this period. In fact, the foundations of Dravidian architecture were laid by the earlier kings of this series.5 (footnote 5: The monolithic caves of the Tamil country were excavated by the Pallava king Mahēndravarman I. The rathas at the Sevan Pagodas probably come next. The temples of Kaliēsanētha and Vaikuṇṭha-Perumal at Kañcīpuram and the Shore temple at the Sevan Pagodas have probably to be taken as later developments of Pallava architecture.)" (Venkayya 1907, p.226)
Fig.5: Stupendous Granite Kailasanatha temple (formerly Rājasiṁhēśvara), Tamil Nadu, view from NW, c.695-722 AD. Central shrine built by Rājasiṁha (Venkayya 1907, p.230). Note the Iranic vaulted-barrel cupola similar to Sassanian arch at Ctesiphon and the Babylonian-style step-pyramid tower or "Shikara". Longhurst holds that the Kailasanatha temple entrance is the proto-type of all later Gopurams.
(Image courtesy Dr. Vandana Sinha, American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon)

One of the gems of Pallava architecture is the Kailashanatha temple, which was also known as Rajasimha-Pallavesvara in ancient times (Venkayya 1907, p.234, footnote 3).

The pyramid-shaped tower or Shikara of the Kailashanatha temple is strangely similar to Babylonian step-pyramids. Babylonia was an integral part of the Parthian empire. While such innovations could have been due to independant innovation, it is more likely that the Pallavas were emulating Babylonian prototypes during the construction of Kailasanatha.

Fig.6: Pancha-ratha Pallava Temple at Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. Note the Saka-Buddhist vaulted-barrell cupola on central building.
(Image by Stewart Lane Ellington)
The Pancha-ratha Pallava temple at Mamallapuram consists of five temples, one having a Saka-Buddhist cupola, one an Egyptian-style pyramid, and three having ziggurat-shaped roofs reminiscent of Sumer and Babylon (cf. Fig.6). This combination of designs is unlikely to have been independantly invented without external stimulus. These influences could only have come via Iran and the Pallavas, for the Parthians ruled over Assyria and Babylonia.

4.2. Spread of Buddhism
The Pallavas played a major role in propagating the religion of Buddhism. Buddha was known as Sakya-muni, Prakrit for "Lord of the Scythians", and was an Iranian. Thus, there is little surprise when we find Pallavas being the most ardent propagators of Buddhism: "The sect of Buddhism preached in China by Buddha Varman, a Pallava Prince of Kanchi came to be known as Zen Buddhism and it spread later to Japan and other places." (Damodaran 1980, p.70). In other words, Zen Buddhism, like its parent faith of Buddhism, was founded by an Iranian, Buddha Varman.

4.3. Dravidian Shaivism
As noted above, the Pallavas rapidly adopted the indigenous Dravidian religion of Shaivism, and became staunch propagators of the faith. Scores of Shiva temples constructed by the Pallavas remain. While the Pallavas, like the Achaemenids and Parthians, were religiously tolerant, the devotion of some Pallava kings to Shaivism went so far that they went to the extent of demolishing Jain temples:
    "According to the Periyapurāṇam, the saint Tirunāvukkaraśar (also called Appar), and elder contemporary of Tiruñānasambandar, was first persecuted and subsequently patronised by a Pallava king who is said to have demolished the Jaina monastery at Pāṭaliputtiram and built a temple of Śiva called Guṇadaravīccaram." (Venkayya 1907, p.235)
By and large, however, the primordial tolerance of Dravidian Shaivism manifested itself, absorbing the other faiths in due course of time.

5- Refutation of Rival Theories on Origin of Parthians

Ayyar has summed up the various non-Parthian theories as follows:
    "Thus some scholars considered the Pallavas as of Chōḷa-Nāga origin 2, [2. Ind.Ant. Vol. LII, pp.75-80.] indigenous to the southern part of the Peninsula and Ceylon and having nothing to do with Western Indian and Persia, while others placed their original home in the Andhra country between the rivers Kṛishṇā and Gōdāvarī; yet others connected them with the Mahārāshṭra Āryans 3 [3. C.V.Vaidya: History of Mediaeval India, Vol.1, p.281.] and the Imperial Vākāṭakas 4 [4. J.B.O.R.S., 1933, p.180ff.]" (Ayyar 1945, p.11)
We now turn to the three theories, namely Chola-Naga, Andhra and Maharashtra Aryan origins.

5.1. Refutation of the Maharashtrian and Vakataka Origin
The surviving sculptures in Tamil Nadu depict Pallavas as tall and dolichocephalic (long-headed) (Fig.3), while the Marathas are short-statured and brachycephalic (round-headed). Moreover, the Pallavas were Shaivites, as opposed to the Maharastrians, who were adherents of the Vaishnavite religion. Further, the Pallavas waged the brutal 100-year Maratha-Tamil war against the Maratha Chalukyas. Had the Pallavas been Maharashtrians, it is unlikely the conflict would have been so prolonged and of such intensity. Thus, the Pallavas were almost certainly not of Maharastrian origin. The slight Maharastrian influence amongst Pallavas is to be attributed to their migration through Maharashtra on their way from Persia to Tamil Nadu.

5.2. Refutation of alleged Vedic Origin
It is sometimes asserted that the Pallavas were of Vedic origin. However, the Vedic and Puranic evidence itself contradicts this view:
    "The word Pallava is apparently the Sanskrit form of the tribal name Pahlava or Pahṇava of the Purāṇas. The Pahlavas are described as a northern or north-western tribe1 (footnote 1: In chapter 9 of the Bhīṣmaparvan of the Mahābhārata, the Pahlavas are mentioned among the barbarians (mlēccha-jātayaḥ)) whose territory lay somewhere between the river Indus and Persia." (Venkayya 1907, p.217)
    "In the Harivaṃśa 4 (footnote 4: XIV. verses 15 to 19) the Pahnavas5 (footnote 5: In the Rāmāyana (I.55, verse 18) the Pahlavas are said to have emanated from the bellowing of the miraculous cow Nandini, which belonged to the sage Vasiṣṭha.) are said to have been Kṣatriyas originally, but become degraded in later times. They are mentioned here along with the Śakas, Yavanas and Kāmbōjas and their chief characteristic was the beard 6 (footnote 6: The beards of the Westerns (ie. the Yavanas), are also mentioned by Kālidāsa in his Raghuvaṁśa, IV, 63) which Sagara permitted them to wear. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa , the Yavanas, Pahlavas and Kāmbhōjas are said to have been originally Kṣatriya tribes who became degraded by their separation from Brāhmaṇa and their institutions.7 (footnote 7: Muir's Sanskrit Texts, Vol.II, p.259, and Ind.Ant. Vol.IV, p.166). In Manu, the Pahlavas are mentioned along with the Puṇḍrakas, Draviḍas, Kāmbōjas, Yavanas, Śakas and other allied tribes. These were all Kṣatriyas originally, but gradually became degraded by their omission of the sacred rites and transgressing the authority of the Brāhmaṇas." (Venkayya 1907, p.217)
Had the Pallavas been of Vedic origin, they would not be cursed in this manner in the Brahmanic scripture. Moreover, the Pallavas did not practice the custom of Vedic human sacrifice (purushamedha or naramedha) and horse sacrifice (asvamedha). Nor did they permit sati (widow-burning) or bride-burning. The Vedic and Brahmanic caste system was also not supported. Also, the Pallavas in their earliest times promoted Prakrit and not Sanskrit. Thus Venkayya notes, "The earliest known records of the Pallavas are three Prākṛt copper-plate charters, viz. (1) the Mayidavōlu plates of Śivaskandavarman, (2) the Hirehaḍagalli plates of the same king and (3) the British Museum plates of Cārudēvi." (Venkayya 1907, p.222) These facts disprove the Vedic origin of the Pallavas.

5.3. Refutation of the Dravidian Origin
That the Pallavas were not Dravidians is evidenced from the fact that their migration can be clearly traced via copper-plate grants as being from the Telugu to the Tamil country. The Pallavas initially promoted Prakrit, which also goes against the proposed Andhra origin of Pallavas. Had they been Andhras, they would no doubt have propagated the proto-Telugu Dravidian dialect.

In further opposition to the Dravidian origin of Pallavas, Venkayya has fittingly asked why the Andhras should have adopted a name which would lead to them being confused with the Pahlavas of Persia.
    "Why the indigenous tribe which was formed in the Gōdāvari delta called itself Pallava, a name which would lead to their being mistaken for being Palhavas of Western India is a question which, to my mind, must be satisfactorily answered before the theory of indigenous origin can be accepted." (Venkayya 1907, p.219, footnote 5)
However, the Pallavas rapidly adopted the indigenous Dravidian religion of Shaivism and propagated it, just as the Germanist Lombards accepted the Roman Catholicism of their Latin Italian subjects. That the Pallavas were able to flourish in Dravidia is a testimony to Dravidian tolerance and open-mindedness, a rare characteristic in those days.

The remaining rival theories on the origins of the Pallavas having been undermined, the Parthian origin of the Pallavas remains as the sole logical alternative.

6- Consequences and Conclusion

The Parthian origin of the Pallavas was eagerly adopted by virtually all schools of Dravidologists from the very beginning, Formerly, Indo-European influence in Dravidian had been attributed solely to Sanskrit. Anti-Sanskrit Dravidianists welcomed the Iranic origin of Pallavas as it decreased the Sanskrit proportion in the Indo-European component of Dravidian civilization. Indeed, certain votaries of this school believe that Iranic influence in Dravidian is more important than that of Sanskrit, a view which would no doubt make Iranists proud. Dravidianist evangelists have in their turn used the Pallava example to demand that the Tamil Brahmins adopt Dravidian culture. Their chief argument is that, if the Pallavas from distant Persia could so eagerly adopt Dravidian civilization, then why couldn't the local Tamil Brahmins? Multiculturalist Dravidianists, meanwhile, upheld the Pallavas as an example of ancient Dravidian tolerance and multi-culturalism. The South Indian Brahminist school, which is also largely multiculturalist (often miscalled `secularist') in character, has largely followed this path as well. The political use - and abuse - of history goes on.

The Parthian origin of Pallavas also provides an explanation for the presence of tall, fair-skinned members of non-Brahmin castes in Tamil Nadu and other Dravidian states. Formerly attacked as mixed-caste, part-Brahmin, offspring, it is observed that such persons are at present claiming a Pallava-Parthian origin instead. This is certainly true of certain Cholas, Vellalas and Reddis. Especially in case of those fair individuals who are long-headed, a Pallavite origin is more plausible than a mixed-Brahmin one, for the South Indian Brahmins are generally round-heads. The Parthian theory of the origin of Pallavas has thus helped a large number of people to be rehabilitated in Dravidian society.

It is hoped that Iranists will be inspired by this work to carry out further research on the achievements of the enterprising Pallavas in Dravidia, and bring to light the full scale of Iranic influence in Dravidian civilization.

Appendix: Extracts from "A New Link between the Indo-Parthians and the Pallavas of Kanchi"

As Ayyar's 1945 paper is difficult to obtain both in India and abroad, I am reproducing extracts below for reference purposes.

Journal of Indian History J.Ind.Hist. Vol.XXIV, Parts 1 & 2, April & August 1945, Serial Nos. 70 & 71, p.11-16;
Ananda Press, Madras.
"A New Link between the Indo-Parthians and the Pallavas of Kanchi" *

By: V.Venkatasubba Ayyar, Ootacamund

"Though Archaeology, Numismatics and Epigraphy, each by itself, are great assets to the Historian, they rarely combine to assist him in any intricate problem of history. Sometimes the evidence adduced by these remain inexplicable when considered separately, but they gain a new meaning and assume fresh importance when collated together. Such may be said to be the case of some new evidence that is now advanced on what may be called the `Indo-Parthian Origin' of the Pallavas of Kanchi.

It was my father the late Rai Bahadur Venkayya who first traced the origin of the Pallavas of Kāñchī to the Pahlavas mentioned in the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas where they are classified as foreigners outside the pale of Aryan society 1. He thus postulated that they were a northern tribe of Parthian origin with their original home in Iran.This theory was first accepted by scholars, but discarded by later writers as resting wholly on doubtful philological resemblance of the words Pahlava and Pallava. Several arguments against the `foreign origin' were cited, such as the absence of any reference to Pallava migration in copper-plate grants, the more possible identity of the Pallavas with the indigenous Toṇḍaiyar and the Kāḍavar, and the testimony of the poet Rājaśēkhara of about the 10th century AD who refers to two distinct Pallava kingdoms, one in the south and the other in the north-west. Thus some scholars considered the Pallavas as of Chōḷa-Nāga origin 2, indigenous to the southern part of the Peninsula and Ceylon and having nothing to do with Western Indian and Persia, while others placed their original home in the Andhra country between the rivers Kṛishṇā and Gōdāvarī; yet others connected them with the Mahārāshṭra Āryans 3 and the Imperial Vākāṭakas 4
* A paper sent to the Eleventh All-India Oriental Conference, Hyderabad (1941)
1. Archl Sur. Rep. for 1906-7, pp.217ff.
2. Ind.Ant. Vol. LII, pp.75-80.
3. C.V.Vaidya: History of Mediaeval India, Vol.1, p.281.
4. J.B.O.R.S., 1933, p.180ff.


The question of the origin of the Pahlavas may, therefore be said not to have yet been satisfactorily settled. Opinion seems to have now swung back, and recently two authors 5, after examining the arguments for the `indigenous theory', were inclined to advocate the `foreign origin' first propounded by Venkayya. A very important evidence that is helpful in settling this question is now available. It is found in one of the explanatory labels to the sculptures decorating the walls of the verandah round the central shrine of the Vaikuṇṭha-Perumāḷ temple 6 at Conjeevaram. This unique and valuable epigraph narrates how on the death of Paramēśvara-Pōttaraiyar of the Pallava family without any issue, a deputation of ministers waited on Hiraṇyavarman of a collateral line and requested him to grant themn a ruler for the vacant throne. Hiraṇyavarman thereupon consulted his nobles (kullamallar) and then his four sons, and enquired who among them would accept the sovereignty. All of them declined the offer except the youngest prince, Paramēśvaravarman, aged twelve years. Thereupon the deputation offered, probably to Hiraṇyavarman as the chief of the family, the makuṭa resembling an Elephant's Head which they had brought for the sovereign-elect. The passage 7 reads:
    [ ... ]
    (This is) the scene where Hiraṇyavarmma-Mahārāja was seized with fear 8 (on) hearing Taṛaṇḍikoṇḍapōśar say `Hear (what thy) elderly servants submit. This (ie. the object brought) is not an elephant's head, but (only) they son's makuṭa'.

5. Mr. K.R.Subrahmanyam in his `Buddhist Remains in Āndhra', p.73ff and Mr. P.T.S. Iyengar in his `History of the Tamils', p.329.
6. These Historical sculptures form the subject of a Memoir (no.63) by the late Dr. Minakshi issued recently by the Arch. Sur. of India.
7. The inscription is published in S.I.I. Vol.IV, No.135 but the reading there is not quite reliable. A revised reading is given by the late Mr. A.S.Ramanatha Ayyar in Memoir No.63 noticed above.
8. Ramanatha Ayyar (Memoir, No.63) reads here `biti-[vi]du' in the sense `abandoned fear' but Paḍu is clear on the stone. My colleague Mr. G.V.Srinivasa Rao also favours the reading paḍu as the fear is at the thought of the son's impending departure and separation (pirivin santapam) mentioned later on and not really at seeing the makuṭa resembling the elephant's head. Dr. Minakshi has missed this implication and ascribes the fear either to Hiraṇyavarma's ignorance of court customs or to his old age and failure of vision.


The passage previous to the one just cited is damaged, but it also refers to `the elephant's head' brought by the deputation. These two passages clearly indicate that the makuṭa presented to the king-elect was really shaped like an elephant's scalp. Appropriately enough in the sculptural representation 9 above this label can be seen standing three persons, of whom one in the centre is carrying an object like the elephant's scalp. This object must be the crown that Nandivarman had to wear on ceremonial occasions. Excepting this single sculptural representation of the elephant's scalp and the epigraphical explanation of it just cited, no other reference to such a head-dress has so far been found in Pallava sculptures and in fact, in the whole range of Indian Art. But a study of the Greek coins of the successors of Alexander the Great throws light on this custom. The elephant's scalp 10 as a motif of head-dress is found for Alexander in the early coins of his governors, Ptolemy I of Egypt and Seleucus of Babylon. To the numismatists this headgear was a puzzle and they explained it variously, as representing the conquest by Alexander of India, the land of the elephant par excellence, as a mere symbol of power, as a mark of deification, as a mint-mark specially referring to the elephant-god of Kāpiśa 11 etc. Alexander 12 did not adopt the emblem of elephant's scalp himself on his coins, but this symbol served as the iconographical expression of the monarchical principle to some of his successors. When after the death of their master 13, his generals Ptolemy I and Seleucus, established themselves as kings, the former in Egypt and the
9. This panel is very much damaged.
10. The use of scalp as a device on coins was first started in the island of Samos belonging to the Ionian Greeks. Demoteles or his successor at Samos before the end of the 7th century caused to be struck the first official coins of Samos with the lion's scalp. This was adopted as the chief Samian device and it continued to decorate the city's coinage until she became merged in the Roman Province of Asia (Greek Coins: Seltman, p.31). But the elephant itself was used as a device in the coins of Antimachos Theos, Heliokles, Lysias, Antialkidas, Archebios, Apollodotus, Soter, Menander, Zoilos, Maues, Azes, Ayileses and Zeioinises (Ind. Hist. Quart., Vol. XIV, p.301)
11. The tutelary deity of the city of Kāpiśa is supposed to be Indra accompanied by an elephant (Ind. Hist. Quart., Vol.XIV, p.299). The kingdom of Kāpiśa formed the connecting link between Bactria and India. See Greeks in Bactria and India: W.W.Tarn, p.138.
12. In early times it was deemed sacrilegous to put the portrait of a human being on coins. But Alexander introduced his portrait on his issues in the guise of Zeus or Heracles and the figure can be recognised on coins with absolute certainty. After his death this figure came to be used as a type on coins and he was even raised to the rank of divinity.
13. Coins were issued in Alexander's name long after his death. Such types were minted by many cities in Asia Minor and they continued to be struck long after even his empire had crumbled into small states. In fact, Alexander's coinage was among the most lasting of his institutions.


latter in Babylon, they issued their early coins with the figure of Alexander wearing the elephant's scalp. Rao Bahadur K.N.Dikshit has noticed a coin of Andragoras a satrap of Parthia under Alexander the Great, bearing on the obverse the head of Alexander as on the coins of Ptolemy I of Egypt 14. Agathocles the tyrant of Syracuse who concluded an alliance with Ptolemy I issued a similar type of coin with this head-gear, in Africa 15. This symbol was also adopted by Antiochus IV 16, Alexander II 17 and Lysias 18, but the best and most artistic specimen of the elephant-scalp type of coin is that of the Bactrian king Demetrius II who re-conquered the countries of the Indus valley which had been occupied by Alexander the Great, but subsequently surrendered by his successor Seleucus I to Chandragupta. Demetrius, known as the `first king of Bactria and of India' is here represented with a helmet resembling an elephant's head complete with proboscis and tusk, and it is surmised that he was conspicuously imitating Alexander whom he regarded as his ancestor and ideal.

The tradition behind the adoption of this symbol is not clear. Some of the kings like Potlemy who used it had no connection with India, and Seleucus had even bartered his Indian Province for 500 war-elephants. It is, therefore, supposed that the use of this symbol for Alexander represented the utmost extent of Power 19, for both Ptolemy I and Seleucus who first adopted it `had every object in representing themselves as the successors of the man who had reached the summit of human greatness' 20. It is however just possible that this motif is reminiscent of Alexander's connection with India.

The coincidence in the use of this peculiar head-dress by the successors of Alexander in the centuries BC and by the Pallava ruler Nandivarman in the 8th century AD is of more than ordinary interest. In the Vaikuṇṭha-Perumāḷ temple inscription mentioned above, Taṛṇḍikoṇḍa-Pōśar, the vṛiddhāgāmikar (ie. aged soothsayer), is stated to have prophesied that Nandivarman would become a Chakravartti ie. the king of kings 21 (ivaṇ Chakravartti āvāṇ). The consecration (abhishēka) ceremony
14. Ind. Ant. Vol.XLVIII, pp.120-121.
15. Historical Greek Coins: G.F.Hill, No.65.
16. The Greeks in Bactria and India: Tarn, p.189.
17. The Seleucid Kings of Syria: P.Gardner, p.26, No.61.
18. Greek and Scythic Kings of Bactria and India: P.Gardner, Pl.X, 6 and Indo-Greek Coins: R.B. Whitehead, Vol.I, p.30.
19. In the royal consecration called Rājasūya, the king has to step on a tiger skin as a symbol of acquisition of power.
20. The Greeks in Bactria and India: W.W.Tarn, p.131.
21. In this connection the adoption of the imperial title `king of kings' by the Śaka and Pahlava suzerains is worthy of notice.


of this king is stated to have been immediately celebrated when he was still an unmarried 22 prince of only twelve years 23. It is not, however, clear from the inscription whether this ceremony was in the nature of mere nomination to the throne or of actual coronation (muḍi-śūṭṭudal).

It is worthy of note that in the sculptures of the Vaikuṇṭha-Perumāḷ temple, the elephant's scalp is not found as a head-dress of the Pallava kings. Its use by Nandivarman alone may be said to signify his elevation to regal power, as in the case of Ptolemy I and Seleucus who first adopted this symbol on their coins when they established themselves as kings from their position as Viceroys, after the death of their master Alexander the Great. Ernest Hersfeld observes in connection with Kushano-Sasanian coins, that the helmet surmounted by an animal's head such as that of a lion, a horse, an eagle, etc. is the exclusive emblem of the members of the royal family next to the throne.24

The practice of wearing this elephant's scalp observed in common may therefore be considered as establishing a strong link between the Pahlavas and the Pallavas. This headgear has not so far been found among other Hindu rulers of India. Why, then should the Pallavas alone adopt it? The early Pallavas are not celebrated in Tamil literature, they are not classed among the Tamil speaking people and they are also not known to have had any matrimonial connection with the Tamil kings. Their culture was alien to the land of their settlement. The evidence now adduced is thus valuable as emphasising this point and indicating their original habitat beyond the borders of India. This evidence may be said to gain in importance when considered with other circumstances such as the similarity of the name Pallava to the form Pahlava 25, the reference to the rule of the Pahlava governor named Suviśāka in Ānarta (ie. the district round the modern Dvāraka) and Surāshṭra 26, the tradition of marriage alliance with the Nāgas common to both the Indo-Scythians and the Pallavas, the reference made by Ptolemy the Geographer to the Parthian princes as constantly changing their abode by driving each other
22. The Rājyābhishēka ceremony, as laid down in the Śāstras, required the presence of the chief queen. Cf. Harsha of Kanaouj; it is stated that he was not married when he succeeded to the throne and that his coronation was postponed on this account (IHQ, Vol.XII, p.142).
23. Dr. Jayaswal has tried to show that the minimum age for coronation of a king must be 25 years and he cites instances of the coronations of Asoka and Kharavela who had to pass a considerable period after the demise of their predecessors before they could ascend the throne (Hindu Polity, p.52; Ind. Hist. Quart., Vol. XII, p.142).
24. Memoir of the Arch. Sur. of India, No.38, p.21.
25. History of Indian Literature: Weber, p.188, note 201.
26. Ep.Ind., Vol. VIII, p.41.


out and the possibility of tracing the different stages of the Pahlava migration through Kathiawad, Mālwa, United Provinces 27, Dhanakada, and finally to Kāñchī on the east coast. By the time the Pahlavas settled down at Kāñchī they were so Hinduised and merged into the society of their new home that they came to be regarded as Kshatriyas 28 belonging to the Bhāradwājagotra, observing Aśvamēdha and other rituals of the Hindus. The new link now furnished thus strengthens the statement made by Venkayya that `the Pallavas of Kāñchipuram must have come originally from Persia, though the interval of time which must have elapsed since they left Persia must be several centuries' 29."
27. Dr. Fleet finds in the Pahlādpūr inscription of Śiśupala a possible reference to the Pallavas of Northern India: Gupta Ins. Fleet, p.250.
28. In the Harivaṃśa and the Vishṇupurāṇa, the Pahlavas are classed as Kshatriyas.
29. Arch. Sur. Rep. for 1906-7, p.219.

The author would like to thank Prof. Shireen Moosavi and Prof. Irfan Habib (Aligarh) for their kind assistance with references. The author is also very grateful to Prof. P. Oktor Skjærvø and Prof. Michael Witzel (Harvard) for kindly sending important research material. Many thanks to Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian for fruitful discussions, and to The Iranian for publishing this paper.

The author gratefully thanks Michael D. Gunther, http://www.art-and-archaeology.com; Dr. Vandana Sinha, American Institute of Indian Studies, Gurgaon, http://www.indiastudies.org; and Stewart Lane Ellington, http://stewellington.com for permission to reproduce their wonderful images in this paper.


Ayyar 1945: "A New Link between the Indo-Parthians and the Pallavas of Kanchi" by V. Venkatasubba Ayyar, Ootacamund, Journal of Indian History, Vol.XXIV, Parts 1 & 2 (April & August 1945) Serial Nos. 70 & 71, p.11-16; Ananda Press, Madras.

Damodaran 1980: "Contribution of the Tamils to World Culture", G.R.Damodaran, J.Tamil Studies, vol.18 (Dec. 1980) pp.69-76.

Derakhshani 1999: "Die Arier in den nah╬stlichen Quellen des 3. und 2. Jahrtausends v.Chr." by Jahanshah Derakhshani, International Publications of Iranian Studies, http://www.int-pub-iran.com, 2.Auflage, 1999; ISBN 964-90368-6-5.

Holberton 19??: "The World of Architecture" Paul Holberton, WHSmith, Michael Beazley Publishers, 14-15 Manette St, London W1V 5LB.

Minakshi 1977: "Administration and Social Life under the Pallavas", by Dr. G.Minakshi, University of Madras, Madras, 1977.

Nair 1977: "The Problem of Dravidian Origins - A Linguistic, Anthropological and Archaeological Approach", by T.Balakrishnan Nair, University of Madras, Madras, 1977.

Skjærvø 1995: "The Avesta as source for the early history of the Iranians", P.Oktor Skjærvø, in `The Indo-Aryans of Ancient South Asia', ed. George Erdosy, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1995, pp.155-176.

Spooner 1915: "The Zoroastrian Period of Indian History" by D.B.Spooner, J.of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 1915, p.64-89 (Pt.I); p.405-455 (Pt.II).

Suthanthiran 1989: "Evolution of Gopura in Temple Architecture of Tamil Nadu", by A. Veluswamy Suthanthiran, J.Tamil Studies, vol.35 (June 1989) pp.28-38.

Venkayya 1907: "Annual Report 1906-7", Archaeological Survey of India, "The Pallavas", by V.Venkayya, p.217-243; reprint Swati Publications, Delhi.

Waddell 1929: "The Makers of Civilization in Race and History", by L.A. Waddell, 1929, reprint S.Chand & Company, P.O.Box No. 5733, Ram Nagar, 7361, New Delhi-110055, 1986, schand@vsnl.com, http://www.schandgroup.com.

Witzel 2001: "Autochthonous Aryans? The Evidence from Old Indian and Iranian Texts," by Michael Witzel, El.J. of Vedic Studies 7-3 (2001), p.1-115 (http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/).

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