Volume 3: Summary


Despite the long siege, the Chalukyas are unable to make headway. Lack of food makes them seek the help of Jayanta Varma Pandian. In return, Pulikesi offers him the region south of Kanchi, on their victory against the Pallavas.

A contingent of Chalukya soldiers from Kanchi, along with the envoy from Vishnuvardhanan and Gundodharan, whom they have imprisoned, reach Pulikesi’s camp. The message from Vishnuvardhanan angers Pulikesi as it is about Harshavardhanar’s plan to invade the Chalukya Kingdom. After talking to the envoy, Pulikesi interrogates Gundodharan, who convinces Pulikesi that he is Naganandi’s messenger. Naganandi’s so called message emphasizes the untrustworthiness of the Pandian, the ambition of Ganga Nadu King to replace Pulikesi with Vishnuvardhanan, the rumour of Harshavardhanar’s invasion plans and Mahendra Varmar’s secret message to Harshavardhanar. In addition Naganandi advises Pulikesi to protect the sculptures at Mamallapuram and the sculptors of Pallava Nadu to avoid the wrath of Harshavardhanar, who is an art lover.

Gundodharan’s revelation about Mahendra Pallavar’s plan to consign the bikshus to stakes, acts as the last straw and Pulikesi  decides to call for a truce and also expresses his desire to visit Kanchi.

Much against Mamallar’s wishes Mahendrar concedes to Pulikesi’s request and sends Mamallar southwards with an army to the banks of Kollidam River to punish Jayanta Varma Pandian. Pulikesi, as state guest gets a chance to watch Sivakami’s soul stirring dance. In an unguarded moment , Mahendrar reveals all the ruses he has employed to stall the Chalukya invasion. He also criticises Pulikesi’s indifferent attitude towards arts. Meanwhile Sivakami misunderstands Mahendrar’s motives and leaves Kanchi with her father through a secret tunnel,  helped by Kamali.

An enraged Pulikesi decides to resume  his attack which results in the burning of many villages in Pallava Nadu and amputation of the sculptors. Sivakami is taken as prisoner to Vatapi. Aayanar is saved from amputation by Naganandi but ends up with a fractured leg. He returns to his forest residence.

Two battles are subsequently fought between the Pallavas and the Chalukyas. Mamallar and Paranjyothi, after defeating and chasing away Jayanta Varma Pandian, rush back to Kanchi. They defeat and push back the Chalukyas. But Mahendra Pallavar is injured in one of  the battles and is in a precarious condition.

Naganandi goes to Vengi to stabilize the situation as per Pulikesi’s request, but not without ensuring Sivakami’s safety. Though safe, Sivakami has to face humiliation and ill treatment in the hands of Pulikesi. The self-respecting Sivakami takes an ominous oath of leaving Vatapi only after seeing the city being destroyed.  

When Mahendra Pallavar partially recovers, he comes to know that the Chalukyas have abducted Sivakami. Mahendra Pallavar commands Mamallar, Paranjyothi, Gundodharan, Shatrugnan, Kannabiran and Ashwabalar to head to Vatapi and bring back Sivakami surreptitiously. In a meeting marred by misunderstanding, Mamallar pleads with Sivakami to return to Kanchi with him. Citing her vow as the reason, Sivakami refuses to accompany Mamallar. Meanwhile, Paranjyothi informs Mamallar that Naganandi is swiftly walking towards Sivakami’s house. Accusing Sivakami of attempting to get them trapped in the hands of the Chalukyas, Mamallar leaves in a huff along with the others.

When Mamallar returns to Kanchi, he finds Mahendra Pallavar on his deathbed. Mahendra Pallavar, despite his precarious condition, secures the Ministers’ Council approval for the Pallava army to invade Vatapi. He then coerces Mamallar and secures his consent to perform an act that Mamallar will not have agreed to under normal circumstances.

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