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Southern Karnataka emerged as a regional entity between the fourth and eleventh centuries AD. Although interest in the nature of early medieval states and their social formations has defined much historical research since the 1970s, studies have, until now, been limited to clarifying only the political-dynastic history of the region. In this path-breaking new study, Malini Adiga reveals the political, social and cultural features that characterised the region. Its distinct identity is explored by examining the processes that created this political and cultural entity: the various social strata, the nature of the socio-political structure, the developments in the field of religion, and the manner in which the early medieval state patronised and utilised the various religious cults and sects to legitimise itself. Based on an extensive analysis of the inscriptions from the region and period under study, this book also drwas on the region's literary sources to explain its characteristic social ethos. Exhaustively researched, carefully analysed and richly descriptive, this book is essential reading for all those interested in early medieval Karnataka.