Pallavas, who emerged as powerful rulers in the 1st or the 2nd century, were a group of seminomadic people who lived by raising cattle or sheep. They exercised their reign over Thondaimandalam with the capital located at Pallavapuri. But when Pallavapuri was washed away by sea in a natural disaster, they moved downwards to Kanchipuram
and established a more powerful kingdom, around the 4th century.
The Pallava Dynasty was founded by Simha Vishnu around 500 AD. In the 6th century, Simha Vishnu conquered all his southern neighbors including the ruler of Ceylon and the Cholas
. During his reign, a great struggle broke out between the Pallavas and their rivals, the Chalukyas
, which lasted for generations. Simha Vishnu was succeeded by his son Mahendravarman.
Narasimhavarman, a Pallava ruler, who ascended the throne in 630 AD completed the cave temples of Mahabalipuram and constructed a number of temples. By the half of 8th century Chalukyas took over Kanchi and by the end of the 9th century Aditya Chola defeated Aparajita Pallava and took his kingdom.