Origin of Pallavas
Let us see the theory of Tamil origin. The word Pallava means branch or twig in Sanskrit. The word is rendered as Tondaiyar in Tamil language. The Pallava kings at several places are called Tondamans or Tondaiyarkon. The territory of the Pallavas was known as Tundaka Visaya or Tundaka Rashtra. The word Tondan in Tamil means slave, servant, follower or helper and can either be suggestive of the subordinate position the Pallavas bore to the Chutu Satakarnis. On collapse of the Satvahana power, the Pallavas asserted themselves and annexed a large part of South India but the epithet Tondon remained and their territory also came to be called Tondamandlam. The word Pallava (which in Sanskrit means twig or branch) is a translation of Tamil word Tondaiyar and Tondaman and this finds confirmation in some of the copper plate charters which do bring in 'tender twigs' (=pallavams) of some kind in connection with the eponymous name Pallava'.
But the scholars reject this view since this is a later usage of the term and therefore can not be stated to have given rise to the family name Pallava.
Tamil literature relates the story of Chola king Killivalavan who moved his capital to Uraiyar after the destruction of the Chola capital of Puhar. Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam of Colombo claims that Killi Valavan had a liaison with the daughter of Naga king Valaivanam of Manipallavanam (in Jaffna peninsula) in Ceylon. From this union was born a child who was named Tondaiman Ilantirayan whom his father, Killi Valavan, made the ruler of a territory which was named Tondamandlam with capital at Kanchi. It is pointed out that name Pallava derives from the last syllable of Manipallavanam , the land of prince’s mother.
However this is only Fertile imagination , nothing can be verified as there is no evidence to prove cholas existed prior to Pallava rule.
Mahavamsa has a tradition that Buddhist monks from Pallava Bogga attended the consecration ceremony of Duttagamini of Sri Lanka. This Pallava Boga has been identified by some scholars with the dominion of Kala in Andhra Pradesh. It is pointed out that the Telugu country south of Krishna had formed the major part of Pallava kingdom till Fifth century(before Kadamba took over them), hence, it is argued that the Pallavas may have been from Andhra lineage. This region is called Palnadu (Pallava Nadu) even today, well-known for the great battle of Palnadu. Another name for this region since ancient times is Kammanadu / Kammarattam,
Brahmanical - Kshatriya Origin
According to Dr K. P. Jayswal, the Pallavas were a branch or twig (Sanskrit pallava) of the Brahmana royal dynasty of Vakatakas of the North. The branch was militaristic by profession and thus were able to carve out a kingdom in the South. But according to H. Krishna Sastri, the Pallavas were a mixture of Brahmana and Dravidian lineages. Rayakota copper plates of the Pallavas state that a Brahmin Ashvathama was the founder of the Pallava race. Ashvathama married a Naga girl and bore a son named Skandasisya. Other plates state Skandasisya to be the eponymous king Pallava after whom the family got its name. Earlier Pallava king Sivaskandavarman is probably identified with Skandasisya of the Rayakota copper plates. Some of their inscriptions state that Pallavas belonged to the Bharadvaja-gotra and had descended from Ashvathama of Bharadvaja Brahmana lineage. Ashvathama Bharadvaja was an epic hero and was son of Dronacharya, the Commander-in-chief of the Kuru army in the Mahabharata. In all probability, this appears to be a usual Brahmanical attempt at fabrication of genealogy to connect the illustrious Pallavas to the epic cycles. Or else, the Bharadavaja gotra of the Pallavas might have been due to the reason that the priests and Purohits of the Pallava rulers might have been Brahmins from Bharadavaja lineage. It is pointed out in the Aitareya Brahmana that the gotra of a Kshatriya would be the same as that of his Purohit or priest. Contrasted to the above stated Brahmanical origin of the Pallavas, the Talagunda inscription, on the other hand, clearly states that the Pallavas were of Kshatriya lineage.
Pahlva (persian origin)
The name Pallava resembles so much with the Pahlava that there is a school of scholars like Dr V. A. Smith, Dr Jouveau Dubreuil, Dr B. L. Rice, Dr V. Venkaya, G. Coedes, Dr. K. N. SITRA RAM, Dr H. H. Wilson, Dr P.P. Bulsara, Dr Dominique Boubouleix and numerous others who trace the origin of Pallavas in the Iranian Pahlavas.
Dr Cadambi Minakshi writes:
(i) The Pahladpur inscription (located in Pahladpur village in Uttar Pradesh State) which is datable to first few centuries of our era , is believed to be a record of the Pallavas in the north. This depends upon correct reading of the term “Parthivanikapalah” figuring in the said inscription. This expression has been translated as “the protector of the Parthavas army”. It has been pointed out that term Parthava here is equivalent to Sanskrit Pahlava. Though the term Pahlava indicates the name of a tribe and Pallava that of a ruling family, it has been pointed out that a tribal name Pahlava could easily turn itself into Dynasty name Pallava.
(ii) Yet another link between the Pahlavas of the North and the Pallava rulers of Kanchi may be found in a legend which, according to Victor Goloubew , takes its origin from the Scythians and plays a paramount part in the lands penetrated by the Pallavas and their culture. The Nagi legend of the Scythians which is connected with legends in Tamil literature and Pallava copper-plates as well as the annals of Cambodia carries a special significance here.
On similar reasoning, the same Scythian Nagi legend connects the Kambojas of the north-west. It is stated here that the close connections of the Sakas (Scythians), the Kambojas and the Pahlavas have been highlighted in numerous ancient Sanskrit texts like Mahabharata, Valmiki Ramayana, and the Puranas. In the Puranic literature, the Sakas, Kambojas Yavanas, Pahlavas and Paradas have been noted as allied tribes and have been referred to as pañca.gana (five hordes) . These tribes were all located in the Scythian belt in Central Asia and were therefore followers of common culture and social customs.
It appears that Pallava was a just local variant of Sanskrit Pahlava just as the Indo-Chinese Kambuja is a local variant of the standard Sanskrit Kamboja (or Persian Kambaujiya/Kambujiya).
The ancient inscriptions and coins make it clear that the Pahlavas were ruling in north-west in the beginning of Christian era. There is classical evidence that the Pahlavas were in occupation of Anarta, Soparka and Kalyana region of India in post-Christian times.
Periplus (80 Century AD) attests a Parthian kingdom comprising south-western parts of Kathiawad and region from Narbada to as far as Kalyana (Thana in Bombay) including the Apranta was ruled by Pahlavas. Their capital has been mentioned as Minagara which city was different from the Minnagra of the Indo-Scythians located on the Indus.
"Arrian who resided in the second century at Barugaza (Bhroach) describes a Parthian sovereignty as extending from Indus to the Nerbuda. Their capital has been mentioned as Minagara.
Strabo also attests the Pahlava rule in south-west India around Narbada to as far as Thana District in Konkan (Bombay) in Maharashtra. The Pahlavas governors were in-charge of Anarta and Saurashtra which is mentioned in the Junagad rock inscriptions of Scythian ruler Rudradaman I.
According to Dr Jouveau Dubreuil, Savisakha, a Pahlava minister of Rudradaman-I, was the ancestor of the Pallavas of Kanchi. From Anarta and Konkan, the Pahlavas had penetrated southern India via Kuntala or Banvasi. It is probable that the Pahlavas had penetrated Deccan before the reign of Gautamiputra Satkarni. Gautamiputra Satkarni is stated to have put to sword the Sakas, Yavanas, Pahlavas and the Kshahratas. The defeat of Pahlavas, Kambojas etc by Gautamiputra Satakarani had probably forced them to move further into the Deccan. The Pahlavas and Kambojas appear to have made inroads into western and south-western India and the Pahlavas subsequently settled at North Tamil nadu and on east coast of India. When the Satavahana fortunes sagged, these Pahlavas seized the opportunity and established themselves as the lords of Kanchi.
Some early sculptures in the temple of Kanchi and Mahabalipuram depict a crown shaped like an elephant’s scalp which the Pallava kings wore on their heads. This head-dress was definitely foreign in origin and was used by the Greek kings of north-west with whom the Pahlavas (as well as Kambojas) were in close cultural, linguistic and political intercourse. It is pointed out that the Pallavas had copied this head-dress from the Greeks.
Fifth century Brahmanical text Markendeya Purana attests that the Pahlavas and Kambojas had their settlements not only in Udichya (north-west) but also in south-west India(Karnataka). The sixth century Brhatsamhita of Varahamihira also attests that the Pahlavas and Kambojas were in occupation of south-west (=nairRtyAM dizi) India. The Kambojas as close allies of the Pahlavas are also abundantly attested to have been in south-western as well as southern India by several ancient texts. And very interestingly, Agni Purana locates two Kamboja settlements within India itself, the Kambhoja in south-west India and the Kamboja in southern parts of India.The Garuda Purana also collocates a Kamboj settlement in the neighborhood of Ashmaka, Pulinda, Jimuta, Narashtra, Lata and Karnata countries and specifically informs us that this section of Kambojas were living in southern division of India (dakshina.path.vasinah).Udyogaparava of Mahabharata collates the Shakas, Pahlavas, Paradas and Kamboja-Rishikas apparently situated in/around the Anupa region i.e Anupa-Desa (Narbuda/Tapti region) in south-western India. King Yasovarman, the eighth century king of Kanauj is stated to have fought with the king of Magadha, killed the king of Vanga, reached the eastern shore, defeated the kings of Deccan, crossed the Malaya mountains (east coast of Malabar, southern Mysore), reached the southern sea and fought with the Parasika. He then received tribute from Western Ghats and turned to the north, reaching the banks of Narbada. This eighth century evidence again proves that the Parasikas (Pahlavas here) had indeed penetrated deep into the southern India.
writers criticize the foreign origin of the Pallavas. They say that the kingdom of Pallavas in southern India was located thousands of miles away from the northwestern Pahlavas and there was also a time-frame discrepancy between the ancient Pahlavas and the early Mediaeval era Pallavas of Kanchi. Therefore, it is not appropriate to connect the Pallavas with the Iranian Pahlavas. Furthermore, the Pallavas of Kanchi are known to have been Brahmanical followers, the devotees of Hindu religion & culture and patrons of the Sanskrit learning. They are also known to have performed Asvamedha sacrifices which exclusively belong to Hindu culture. It is further pointed out that the earliest inscriptions of the Pallavas are similar to Nasik inscriptions of Gautamiputra Satkarni. Their accounts are also said to be similar to those of the Satavahanas. All this evidence, according the critics, point out to the indigenous origin of the Pallavas.
Pallavas as Kuruba (kannada)
Dr Rawilinson writes that the Pallavas had collected round themselves the Kurumbas, Marayas, Kallars and other predatory tribes and formed them into a strong and aggressive power which rose into prominence in about 325 CE on the east coast of India, between the mouths of Krishna river and Godavari. The word Pallava is synonymous with rascal, robber or predator in Tamil language, says Dr Rawilinson. About 350 CE, the Pallavas established themselves on the east coast and occupied famous city Kanchi or Conjeeavram
R Sthainathaier seems to connect the Pallavas with ancient Pulindas, who according him, were identical to the Kurumbas.
Also the some of the temple structures are similar to Chalukyas architecture. The cave temples seem to the continuos legacy of satvahanas and chalukyas.
Paintings of Mahisasura mandini in Mahabalipuram suggest kuruba of kannada origin.
Main rivalry between chalukya and pallava dynasties suggest link between the two.
Main Evidence is Inscriptions that show that pallavas origin with Chutu satakarni (kannada dynasty)
Coins containing the image of a "Ship with two masts" are found almost exclusively on the coast between Madras and Cuddalore in of Tondai Mandalam of which Kanchi is the capital. According to Prof. Rapson, these coins bear the legend "Siri pulamavi". 'the Ujjain symbol indicates Satakarnis. So this dynasty reigned over the territory of Kânchîpuram. Further, an inscription of Pulumâvi, the last king of that dynasty, prince Skandanaga was his great general. Chutus emblem is Cobra hood (naga). Banavasi was once called NagaKhanda.
In VelurPalaiyam Inscription, the Pallva dynasty founder sivaskandanaga did not get to rule Kanchi by conquest. He got it by marriage to Chutu satakarni princess Nagasri. The Kanheri inscription mentions her as NagaMulanika. The pallava ruler should have been a general under Chutus before he inherited southern portion of the Empire.
The inscription Banvasi says that king satakarni had a daughter who joined her son in making gift of a naga. The son was called Sata Sivaskanda. Rapson writing on this subject says there can be no doubt that Kanheri Nagamulanika is to be identified with the donor mentioned in the following inscription from Banavasi and that she was, therefore, the daughter of king Haritiputra Vishnukada Chutu Satakarni whose name must have stood original Inscription , Kanheri being situated in Aparanta, there can be no doubt that the Chutu succeeded the satavahanas not only inherited south India but also Aparanta,(konkan).
The prince Sivaskanda naga was not a Chutu because he has married a Chutu princess. To which dvnasty did he belong? He was descendant of the kings that reigned over the territory of Chitradurg, about fifty miles east of Banavasi, where we find the inscription of Sivaskanda Nàga Sada, and to the west of Chitaldurg, on the site of an ancient city whose name is said to have been Chandravali where found in some leaden coins which bear the name of Sadakana Kalalaya Maharathi The emblems are, on the obverse, a humped bull standing, and on the reverse, tree and chaitya. This Sadakai (Satakarni) who bears the title of Maharathi is probably an ancestor of Maharathi Satakana or Sata who made the grant of a naga at Banavasi. In fact, both of them are Maharathis; they have the same title of Sata, and they have both reigned in the same country, in the vicinity of Malavalli and Chitaldurg. The kings of this country were Nagas; Mr. Rice says The early inhabitants of the country were probably to a great extent, Nagas, or serpent worshipper, that is, of the cobra, which is the emblem of Chutus.
Ptolemy Map(140AD) shows SoraNagas and BasaroNagas in Kanchi and southern tamil nadu. So effectively Chutus are ruling Tamil Nadu and Pallavas inherited the land.
Bana refers to satakarni as Tri-samudra-toya-pita-vahana meant 'the ruler whose subjects drank the water of the three seas of the east,west and south'. The Bay of Bengal,The Arabian Sea and The Indian Ocean.
Curiously pallavas also claim their origin to Trilochana same as Kadambas. Pallavas had marital relationships with Gangas.
The pallavas ruled the region for about 2nd century to almost 8th century , a tribe which is foreign cannot rule the land for so long. so it points to kuruba origin and the way Gangas ruled in the area and Ganga-pallava legend show they are very similar and of kuruba or kannada origin.
Origin of Satavahans
Origin of Cholas
Origin of Kamboja