A well-organized administration had existed in the Pallava kingdom. We get a lot of information from the literature and inscriptions to know the various aspects of the Pallava administration. The Pallava kings had introduced several administrative institutions in the Tamil country. Mostly, they had adopted the Mauryan system of administration and suitably modified it. It can be said that generally there was peace and order in the Pallava kingdom due to their efficient administrative system.

Administrative Divisions

The Pallavas had a vast empire. It had extended up to the Nellore district in the North and up to the river South Pennar in the South. On the west, it had extended up to the Western Ghats and on the east up to the Bay of Bengal. It was very difficult to have administrative control over such a vast empire. Therefore, the Pallavas had divided the empire into several administrative units. They were called as Mandalam, Kottam, Nadu and Ur. These administrative divisions may be compared with the modern administrative units, namely province, district, taluk and village.


The biggest unit of the Pallava Empire was Mandalam or Rashtra. It had remained almost an autonomous unit. The Pallava king had appointed a prince or Yuvaraja as the governor of a Mandalam. This was done to have direct central control over the provinces.


Each Mandalam was divided into several Kottams or Vishayas. The number of Kottams varied according to the size of the Mandalam. For example, the Thondai Mandalam was divided into twenty-four Kottams. Officials were appointed by the king to administer each Kottam.


The next administrative unit was called Nadu. It was bigger than Oor or Village. There were several villages in each Nadu. A council called Naattar was in charge of the administration of Nadu.


The Oor or village was the smallest unit of the Pallava administration. It was also under the control of the village committees called Sabhas, The village Sabha remained almost autonomous in looking after the day-to-day administration of the village.