This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
In the region which these later inscriptions indicate as peculiarly the Pallava Province we find in the days of the Satavahanas certain records which called it peculiarly the district of the Satavahanas. The Myakadoni inscription refers to the region round Adoni as Satahani Ahara, and the person responsible for the government of it is named Khanda Naga (Skanda Naga), the Mahasenapti (great general). If the ahara or district of the Satavahanas in this record meant anything it must refer to the district which was the fief of the Satavahanas peculiarly, the Satavahanas being a clan of the powerful race of the Andhra people as a whole. This interpretation of the term Satavahana is quite in keeping with what we find in Tamil literature. The Hirahadagalli copper-plates found in the Bellary district would confirm the same position, but being on copper-plates, it is likely that the record had travelled before it reached its final resting place at the village named above. This spread of the Satavahanas from east to west along the region which the Tamils called Vaduka region would make the Satavahanas, Andhras, and give the region the character of an Andhra frontier province. The name Khanda Naga itself shows a family likeness to the early Pallava names that we know of from other records. Along with these must be considered the records of another class of Satavahana officers who give themselves Naga names and symbols in their records, and are associated with the district which went by the name of Nagara Khanda afterwards. That is the region along the western ghauts with Banavase for its capital. The expanded cobra-hood at the beginning of the inscription and the very name Cutu being Tamil and old Kanarese for crest, in this case the crest of the cobra, would make them Nagas clearly. This interpretation can be supported by a familiar use in classical literature of Sudu, being frequently associated with cobra hoods; and Cutukula can, without violence, be taken to stand for Nagakula, a family of the Nagas. We find this chieftain and his records associated with the western part of the belt of the country extending from the east coast to the west which the Tamils of the classical age invariably called the country of the Vaduka. There is also the feature that the Andhra coins bearing on the obverse the representation of a two-masted ship and found extending in the Tondamandala country proper would argue the possession of this tract by the Satavahanas at least for a time. The representation of a ship on the Satavahana lead coins found in this region is very [appropriate as the more important section of the people who inhabited this tract of country is known to Tamil literature as the Tiraiyar (lit. sea-people). It is one of their chieftains, the son of a Chola king by a Naga Princess, that figures in clasical Tamil literature as the first Viceroy, other than a royal prince, of Kanchi. He is invariably given the name Tondaman, great one among the Tondar or Tondaiyar. The classical passage quoted by Nachinarkiniyar already adverted to equates the Tondaiyar with the Pallavas. Naturally therefore if the region occupied by the Tondaiyar or the Pallavas passed under the authority of the Satavahanas, and if they appointed Governors for this particular region from among them, these Governors would be governors of the Tonda-mandalam or the Pallava country, and would get to be known popularly as Pallava Governors. The name of the great general in authority round Bellary having a family likeness to the names of the early Pallavas would warrant the assumption that it is these Mahasenapatis of the south-eastern territory of the Satavahanas that were the division of the family which came to be known to history as the Pallavas. They extended their authority from Amaravati in Guntur southwards to Kanchi itself and the territory dependent thereon extending to the banks of the south Pennar. The Naga or snake as one of the ensigns on the banners of the Pallavas would argue some intimate connection with the family of the Nagas, and that is what we find in an examination of such records of theirs as are so far accessible to us. There might have been foreigners in the region of the Guntur district. That is something different from calling the dynasty a dynasty of foreigners. So far as the available evidence goes they were a dynasty of officers of the Andhras probably related, or even springing out of the clan of the Satavahanas. When the power of the latter extended southwards as the result of constant struggle on this frontier, the Governors of the Guntur district extended their sphere of authority so as to take in the newly acquired territory. When the Satavahana dynasty broke up in the middle of the third century these apparently set up independently and founded the new dynasty of the Pallavas as distinct from the older chieftains, the Tondamans of the region. As the Tamils did not note any distinction between these Vadukas and those that lived to the westward of them along their northern frontier they must have been near of kin to each other in many respects. Belonging to the same clan as the ruling dynasty of the Dakhan it is nothing strange that they should have entered into marriage alliance even of an important character. All these circumstances would only be natural in their particular position. Hence the conclusion seems warranted by the known facts in relation to these people, that they were natives of South India, and are not a dynasty of foreigners.1 The conquest of the Tondamandalam by the Satavahanas would amply account for the eclipse of the Chola power in that particular region which had hitherto remained unaccounted for. When the Pallavas emerged into importance we find them engaged in a two-faced struggle one against the Cholas of the south in alliance often with the other Tamil powers, and the other against the newly rising power of the Chalukyas in the north-west. In the beginning of this struggle we find the Cholas not the great political power that they were, but comparatively insignificant and depending upon the support of the Pandyas.