Short biography of Vira Ballala-II


Ballala (now Balla II) crowned himself ceremonially, reduced his father to the position of an administrative offcer in the kingdom, and started a reign of remarkable success and activity. It was Ballala’s achievement to have consolidated his grandfather’s conquests.

He may be supposed to have been the founder of a sort of Hoysala imperialism. In the initial stages of his government he was obliged to meet a number of rebellions. In the Deccan a struggle between the Chalukyan emperor and Tailapa was developing. This confusion enabled Ballala II to interfere in the affairs of the Deccan.

In 1179, however, there was a Kalachuri invasion of the Hoysala country and the claim is made that the Hoysalas were badly treated. This defeat obliged Ballala to come to terms with the Kalachuris. An alliance was negotiated between them. As a result Ballala gained a free hand east and west of the Tungabadhra in return for his promise to assist the Kalachuris against the Chalukyan emperor. Ballala II styled himself Vira Ballala and all his successors followed his example of prefixing Vira to their names. He assumed imperial status.


By 1192 Dvarasamudra was the capital not merely of the old Hoyasala kingdom but of the entire Karnataka. Vira Ballala II became a natural leader of the Karnataka speaking people. The Western Chalukyan power was coming to an end with Somesvara IV, and the famous empire which Vikramaditya VI did so much to build and strengthen was now crumbling.

A new power, Yadavas of Devagiri had come up. But their capital was too far north of southern Karnataka to be any kind of threat to Hoysala domination in the whole of the southern Deccan. In spite of apparent peace and unquestioned hegemony the usual necessity to deal with constantly rebelling forces within the kingdom was present; and Ballala II leaving his young son Narasimha (later Vira Narasimha II) to look after the affairs of the kingdom personally attended to the recalcitrant neighbours especially the Kadambas.

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