- February 9, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Section : Medieval History
- Salman Rushdie’s latest work, “Victory City” is a fictionalised telling of the story of Vijayanagara, one of the richest and most powerful kingdoms in mediaeval India.
About Vijayanagar Kingdom
- It was founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka (with the blessings of Guru Vidyaranya) of the Sangama dynasty who originally served under the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal.
- They later proclaimed their independence and founded a new city on the south bank of the Tungabhadra River named it “Vijayanagar” (City of Victory)
- Early Vijayanagar rulers were followers of Saivism. Virupaksha was their family God. Later they came under the influence of Vaishnavism. However, Siva continued to be worshipped.
- There was constant conflict between Vijayanagar Empire and Bahmani kingdom over Raichur doab (fertile region between Krishna and Tungabhadra), Tungabhadra doab (fertile areas of Krishna-Godavari delta) & Marathwada.
- In the south its main rivals were the Sultans of Madurai.
- The kingdom reached its peak under Krishna Deva Raya (reign 1509-1529), a period in which it enjoyed military superiority to its rival kingdoms such as the Bahmani Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate and the Gajapatis of Odisha.
- During the reign of Rama Raya, the combined forces of Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Golkonda and Bidar defeated him at the Battle of Talaikotta in 1565 which marked an end of the Vijayanagar Empire.
- The last ruler of Vijayanagar was Sri Ranga III.
Dynasties of Vijayanagar Kingdom
- Sangama was the first dynasty to rule over the Vijaynagara empire. The founders of the empire, Harihar I and Bukka belonged to this dynasty. It ruled from 1334 AD to 1485 AD.
- Saluva dynasty, founded by Narasimha, succeeded Sangama dynasty as the second dynasty of the empire. It ruled from 1485 to 1505 AD. They ruled over almost the whole South India.
- Tuluva, founded by Vir Narsimha, was the third dynasty, which ruled Vijayanagar Empire. It ruled from Tuluva dynasty. The most famous king of Vijayanagar Empire, Krishna Deva Raya belonged to this dynasty. It ruled from 1491 AD to 1570 AD.
- Aravidu, founded by Tirumala, was the fourth and last Hindu dynasty to rule Vijayanagar kingdom in South India.
- The king enjoyed absolute authority in executive, judicial & legislative matters.
- The succession to the throne was hereditary.
- Administrative units divided as: Mandalams, Nadus, Sthalas and finally into Gramas.
- Mandaleshwar or Nayaka was the governor of Mandalam.
- He had considerable autonomy- had right to issue coins of small denominations & right to impose new tax or remit old one.
- Sources of income: land revenue, tributes, and gifts from vassals and feudal chiefs, customs at ports, & taxes on various professions.
- The army consisted of cavalry, infantry, artillery and elephants.
- Nayakar System – The top-grade officers of the army were known as Nayaks/Poligars.
- They were granted land in lieu of their services which were called
- Manyams were tax free lands.
- A body of 12 functionaries known as Ayangars, conducted village affairs.
- While the economy of the kingdom was largely dependent on agriculture, trade thrived in its many ports on either coast.
- Traveller Abd al-Razzaq Samarqandi chronicled how the ports of Mangalore, Honavar, Bhatkal, Barkur, Cochin, Cannanore, Machilipatnam, and Dharmadam saw traders from Africa, Arabia, Aden, the Red sea, China and Bengal and also served as ship building centres.
- The empire’s principal exports were pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, myrobalan, tamarind timber, anafistula, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, musk, ambergris, rhubarb, aloe, cotton cloth and porcelain.
- Razzaq also chronicled the high degree of monetisation in the Vijayanagara kingdom. In his classic History of South India, K A NilakantaSastri wrote that coins were minted by the state as well as by merchant guilds using gold, silver, copper and brass, and their value depended on material weight.
Art and Cultural contributions
- Vijayanagara architecture is a vibrant combination and blossoming of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles.
- The chief characteristics of the Vijayanagara architecture were the construction of tall Raya Gopurams or gateways and the Kalyanamandapam with carved pillars in the temple premises.
- The sculptures on the pillars were carved with distinctive features.
- The horse was the most common animal found in these pillars.
- The most important temples built: Vittalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy temples, the Stone chariot at Hampi.
- Vijayanagara’s capital Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site today, known for its sophisticated fortifications as well as innumerable temples and other architectural marvels
- The Varadharaja and Ekamparanathatemples at Kanchipuram.
- Different languages such as Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil flourished in the regions.
- Vijayanagar has been remembered as an era of “cultural conservatism”, when classical forms of Hinduism were preserved amidst growing Islamization of the rest of the subcontinent, especially the North.
Foreign Travelers during the period
- Abu Abdullah/ lbnBatuta (Book:Rihla),Morocco – Harihara I
- Nicolo de Conti, Italy – Devaraya-II
- Abd al-Razzaq Samarqandi, Persia – Devaraya-II
- Athanasius Nikitin, Russia- Virupaksha Raya II
- Ludvico de Vorthema, Italy- Krishna Deva Raya
- Duarte Barbosa,Portugal – Krishna Deva Raya
- Dominigo Paes, Portugal – Krishna Deva Raya
- FernaoNuniz, Portugal – Achyuta Deva Raya.