Chronologically, the period from the 6th century to the 14th century is called the early medieval period.
This was a formative period in the history of Deccan and peninsular India.
During this phase, two groups of states:
(i) The kingdoms of the Deccan plateau, and
(ii) Tamilham in the south emerged as very important and dominant players in the political and cultural domains.
The Chalukyas of Badami or Vatapi, the Rashtrakutas of Manyakheta and the Chalukyas of Kalyani were the important ruling families in the Deccan.
The Pallavas of Kanchi, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Cholas of Tanjhavur are the important players of the Tamilham. While traditional historians viewed the continuous struggle between these ruling families as a dynastic struggle for political hegemony, the latest researches made some historians view this conflict from the geopolitical perspective.
The reason for the continued conflict between the western Deccan kingdoms and the kingdoms of Tamilham is the desire to control the Vengi region and Raichur doab, where the deltas happen to be prime agricultural lands and the east coast is a well-known trade network.
These kingdoms appear to be more interested in improving their resource base to sustain themselves as imperial powers. Lack of vast fertile plains in the peninsula resulted in the establishment of smaller regional kingdoms.
As such, we notice the regional loyalties taking deep-rooted shape in the form of language, script, art, architecture, sculpture and music and yet having a common syncretic thread as a unifying factor. It was a period where we notice the transmission of northern Indian values and beliefs and faiths in the Peninsula that led to an interface between the assertion of local culture and that of the expanding Sanskritic culture based on Puranic Dharma.
We also notice an expansion of agricultural operations by bringing more and more of forest lands under irrigation by the mechanism of issuing land grants to religious and secular benificiaries, growth of trade and commerce, formation of guilds of merchants and artisans, temple-centred devotionalism as ideology and the emergence of a new social economic formation and state society. In this background, a study of the ruling families of western Deccan for an understanding of the historical process is necessary.