12th and the 13th centuries saw the emergence of the
Kakatiyas. They were at first the feudatories of the
Western Chalukyas of Kalyana, ruling over a small
territory near Warangal. A ruler of this dynasty,
Prola II, who ruled from A.D.1110 to 1158, extended
his sway to the south and declared his independence.
His successor Rudra (A.D.1158--1195) pushed the kingdom
to the north up to the Godavari delta. He built a
fort at Warangal to serve as a second capital and
faced the invasions of the Yadavas of Devagiri. The
next ruler Mahadeva extended the kingdom to the coastal
area. In A.D.1199, Ganapati succeeded him. He was
the greatest of the Kakatiyas and the first after
the Satavahanas to bring the entire Telugu area under
one rule. He put an end to the rule of the Velanati
Cholas in A.D.1210. He forced the Telugu Cholas of
Vikramasimhapura to accept his suzerainty. He established
order in his vast dominion and encouraged trade.
Ganapati Deva had no sons, his daughter Rudramba succeeded
him in A.D.1262 and carried on the administration.
Some generals, who did not like to be ruled by her,
rebelled. She could, however, suppress the internal
rebellions and external invasions with the help of
loyal subordinates. The Cholas and the Yadavas suffered
such set backs at her hands that they did not think
of troubling her for the rest of her rule.
succeeded his grandmother Rudramba in A.D.1295 and
ruled till A.D.1323. He pushed the western border
of his kingdom up to Raichur. He introduced many administrative
reforms. He divided the kingdom into 75 Nayakships,
which was later adopted and developed by the Rayas
of Vijayanagara. In his time the territory constituting
Andhra Pradesh had the first experience of a Muslim
invasion. In A.D.1303, the Delhi Sultan Ala-ud-din
Khilji sent an army to plunder the kingdom. But Prataparudra
defeated them at Upparapalli in Karimnagar district.
In A.D. 1310, when another army under Malik Kafur
invaded Warangal, Prataparudra yielded and agreed
to pay a large tribute. In A.D.1318, when Ala-ud-din
Khilji died, Prataparudra withheld the tribute. It
provoked another invasion of the Muslims. In A.D.1321,
Ghiaz-ud-din Tughlaq sent a large army under Ulugh
Khan to conquer the Telugu country then called Tilling.
He laid siege to Warangal, but owing to internal dissensions
he called off the siege and returned to Delhi. Within
a short period, he came back with a much bigger army.
In spite of unpreparedness, Prataparudra fought bravely.
For want of supplies, he surrendered to the enemy
who sent him to Delhi as a prisoner, and he died on
the way. Thus ended the Kakatiya rule, opening the
gates of the Telugu land to anarchy and confusion
yielding place to an alien ruler.
Kakatiya period was rightly called the brightest period
of the Telugu history. The entire Telugu speaking
area was under the kings who spoke Telugu and encouraged
Telugu. They established order throughout the strife
torn land and the forts built by them played a dominant
role in the defence of the realm. Anumakonda and Gandikota
among the `giridurgas', Kandur and Narayanavanam among
the `vanadurgas', Divi and Kolanu among the `jaladurgas',
and Warangal and Dharanikota among the `sthaladurgas'
were reckoned as the most famous strongholds in the
Kakatiya period. The administration of the kingdom
was organized with accent on the military.
Saivism continued to be the religion of the masses,
intellectuals favoured revival of Vedic rituals. They
sought to reconcile the Vaishnavites and the Saivites
through the worship of Harihara. Arts and literature
found patrons in the Kakatiyas and their feudatories.
Tikkana Somayaji, who adorned the court of the Telugu
Chola ruler Manumasiddhi II, wrote the last 15 cantos
of the Mahabharata which was lying unfinished.
Sanskrit, which could not find a place in the Muslim-occupied
north, received encouragement at the hands of the
Kakatiyas. Prataparudra was himself a writer and he
encouraged other literature.
Kakatiya dynasty expressed itself best through religious
art. Kakatiya art preserved the balance between architecture
and sculpture, that is, while valuing sculpture, it
laid emphasis on architecture where due. The Kakatiya
temples, dedicated mostly to Siva, reveal in their
construction a happy blending of the styles of North
India and South India which influenced the political
life of the Deccan.
most important of these temples are those at Palampeta,
Hanamkonda and the incomplete one in the Warangal
fort. The temple at Palampeta, described as the `brightest
gem in the galaxy of Medieval Deccan temple architecture',
was constructed by Recherla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya
Ganapati, in S.1135 (A.D.1213). The figures in the
temple are of a heterogeneous character comprising
gods, goddesses, warriors, acrobats, musicians, mithuna
pairs in abnormal attitudes and dancing girls. The
sculptures, especially of the dancing girls, possess
the suggestion of movement and pulsating life. A striking
peculiarity of this temple is the figure-brackets
which spring from the shoulders of the outer pillars
of the temple. The figure-brackets are mere ornaments
and represent the intermediate stage between their
earlier analogues at Sanchi and the later examples
Thousand-Pillared Temple at Hanamkonda, built by the
Kakatiya king Rudra in A.D.1162, is similar in style
and workmanship to the Ramappa temple. This temple,
dedicated to Siva, Vishnu and Surya, is star-shaped.
The Nandi pavilion, in which a huge granite bull still
stands, the beautiful entrances to the shrine, the
pierced slabs used for screens and windows, and the
elegant open work by which the bracket-shafts are
attached to the pillars are the other most interesting
features of this temple.
temple in the Warangal fort, believed to have been
built by Kakatiya Ganapati, was constructed making
use of large slabs. The floor of the shrine is beautifully
polished and shines like a mirror. An interesting
feature of this temple is the four gateways called
`Kirti Stambhas' which face the four cardinal points
of the compass. In their design the gateways are reminiscent
of the `toranas' of the Great Stupa at Sanchi. The
architecture and sculpture of these temples are thus
conventional to a degree but no one can deny their
magnificence nor can any one fail to see the rich
imagination, patient industry and skilful workmanship
of the builders of the temples of the Kakatiya period.
the fall of Kakatiyas, uncertainty prevailed over
the region. Several small kingdoms came into existence,
Musunuri Nayakas occupied Warangal from Muslims and
ruled between A.D.1325--1368. The fall of Kakatiya
kingdom and its annexation to the Tughlak empire made
the Hindu feudatories to unite themselves to liberate
the Andhra country from alien rulers. A movement was
started at Rekapalli on the bank of the Godavari under
the leadership of Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka and his
cousin Kapaya Nayaka and succeeded in driving away
the Muslims from the Telugu country in A.D.1328. Kapaya
Nayaka became the ruler in A.D.1333, after the demise
of Prolaya Nayaka, and Warangal was once again the
capital of the Telugu Country. They were dethroned
by Recherla Chiefs and ruled the entire Telangana
from A.D.1325 to 1474 with Rachakonda as their capital.
The coastal area was ruled by the Reddis of Kondavidu
between A.D.1325 and 1424. Addanki was their first
capital which was later shifted to Kondavidu. There
was also another branch of Reddis at Rajahmundry.
In due course, Reddi kingdom disappeared in the hands
of Vijayanagar kings, and Gajapatis of Orissa in the
frequent battles with each other. The Gajapatis of
Orissa with Cuttack as their capital extended their
territory far into Telugu land by conquering the Reddis
of Rajahmundry in A.D.1448. They also occupied some
parts of the Bahmani kingdom. But, Vijayanagar king,
Krishnadevaraya, occupied the entire Telugu region
that was in the possession of Gajapatis.
Reddis and Recherla chiefs were the patrons of learning.
The renowned poet Srinatha, and one of the three great
poets who wrote the Mahabharata in Telugu,
Errapraggada lived in that age.
disastrous fall of Warangal in A.D.1323 brought the
Andhras, for the first time in their history, under
the yoke of an alien ruler, the Muslims. In A.D.1347
an independent Muslim State, the Bahmani kingdom was
established in south India by Alla-ud-din Hasan Gangu
by revolting against the Delhi Sultanate. To stabilise
his position, Hasan waged wars to annexe the two neighbouring
Hindu kingdoms, Warangal, under the Musunuri Nayakas,
and Vijayanagar, which was under the Rayas. He occupied
the area up to the river Tungabhadra in A.D.1358,
and shifted his capital from Daulatabad to Gulbarga.
The Hindu rulers, however, reoccupied their lost territory
during the period between A.D.1358--75. Harihara Raya
II of Vijayanagar conquered many areas which were
under the Bahmanis during the period of Muhammad Shah
II (A.D.1378-1397). The successors of Muhammad Shah
II, who were also hostile to Rayas of Vijayanagar,
waged wars against them. But they were defeated by
the Vijayanagar armies. During the reign of Muhammad
III (A.D.1463--82), the Bahmanis, for the first time,
extended their empire from sea to sea and thereby
got into their possession a large part of the Telugu
area, namely, the area north of the Krishna up to
the coast and the present Guntur district. By the
end of the 15th century the Bahmani rule was plagued
with faction fights and there came into existence
the five Shahi kingdoms, the Nizamshahis of Ahmadnagar,
the Adilshahis of Bijapur, the Imadshahis of Berar,
the Qutbshahis of Golconda and the Baridshahis of
Bidar. Thereafter, the rule of the Bahmani dynasty
came to an end in A.D.1527. Of the five Shahi dynasties,
it was the Qutbshahi dynasty that played a significant
and notable role in the history of Andhras.
year A.D.1336 saw the emergence of a new power, the
kingdom of Vijayanagar in the south-western part of
Andhra on the banks of the Tungabhadra. It was founded
by two Sangama brothers, Harihara and Bukka, with
the blessings of a great saint patriot of medieval
India, Vidyaranya, and Harihara became its first ruler.
It was that great kingdom which, by resisting the
onslaughts of Muslims, championed the cause of Hindu
civilisation and culture in its polity, its learning
two brothers took possession of Kampili from Hoyasala
ruler of Karnataka, Ballala III. They later established
a new city on the southern bank of Tungabhadra, opposite
Anegondi, and gave a name to it as Vijayanagar or
Vidyanagar. They expanded their territory by occupying
the Udayagiri fort in the Nellore region and Penukonda
fort from Hoyasalas. Meanwhile the Bahmani Kingdom
came into existence in the Deccan. In the conflicts
between the Bahmanis and Vijayanagar, Harihara-I lost
some territory. After his death in A.D.1355, his brother
Bukkaraya succeeded him. On account of frequent wars
with Bahmanis, Bukka could not do anything in the
initial period, however, he conquered Madhura and
extended his territory to the south up to Rameswaram.
Harihara II (A.D.1377--1404), who ascended the throne
after Bukkaraya, consolidated and its frontiers further
extended. During this time coastal Andhra lying between
Nellore and Kalinga was under the Reddis of Kondavidu.
Harihara II carried on campaign, for gaining control
over the territory, against the Reddis and wrested
Addanki and Srisailam areas from the Reddis. This
led to clashes with the Velamas of Rachakonda in Telangana.
To counter attack, Rachakonda sought help from Bahmanis
and this checkmated Harihara II from proceeding further
into Telangana. The extension of Vijayanagar territory
towards northwest gave it control over the ports of
Goa, Chaul, and Dabhol and led to an expansion of
commerce and ensuing prosperity.
the dispute between sons, after the death of Harihara
II, Devaraya I (A.D.1406--422) emerged victorious
and ascended the throne only to wage wars against
the Bahmanis, the Velamas of Telangana and the Reddis
of Kondavidu. His reign also saw the commencement
of hostilities between the Gajapatis of Kalinga and
the Rayas of Vijayanagar. Devaraya I passed away in
A.D.1422. His sons, Ramachandraraya and Vijayaraya
I, who ruled one after the other, did not do anything
next ruler, Devaraya II (A.D.1426-1446), son of Vijayaraya,
was a great monarch. He effected the conquest of Kondavidu
and carried his arms into Kerala, subjugating the
ruler of Quilon and other chieftains. The writings
of Abdul Razzak, the Persian ambassador, who visited
south India during the reign of Devaraya II, bear
testimony to the supremacy of the king over many ports
of south India. According to him, the dominions of
Devaraya II extended from Ceylon to Gulbarga and from
Orissa to Malbar. The relations between the Vijayanagar
and Bahmani kingdoms continued to be hostile during
the reign of Devaraya II also. Devaraya was a great
builder and a patron of poets. Extensive commerce
and revenues from various sources contributed to the
prosperity of the Vijayanagar kingdom under him.
the kings who succeeded Devaraya II were quite incompetent
and allowed the empire to disintegrate. To add to
this, there was pressure from Bahmani Sultans. The
Portuguese were also rapidly trying to establish themselves
on the west coast and in the ports along it.
Vijayanagar minister, Saluva Narasimha, who usurped
the throne in A.D.1485 could successfully counter
these forces. Thus the Saluva line of kings came to
rule Vijayanagar. However, he had to spend a good
deal of his time and energy putting down many rebel
chieftains. He died in A.D.1490 leaving his two sons
to the care of Narasanayaka of the Tuluva family,
a trusted general. Narasanayaka assumed himself the
power as a regent in A.D.1492 keeping the real rule
under tutelage. Narasanayaka died in A.D.1503 and
by that time he had established his authority effectively
over the whole of his extensive dominion. His son,
Vira Narasimha, succeeded him as the regent and proclaimed
himself as a ruler in A.D.1506, thus inaugurating
the third dynasty. He died in A.D.1509 and his brother,
Krishnadevaraya, succeeded him.
period of Krishnadevaraya was considered as the golden
age of the Vijayanagar history. He was a great warrior,
statesman, administrator and a patron of arts. His
first task was to repulse the Bahmanis. He occupied
Raichur doab, carried the war up to Gulbarga and returned
successfully. He extended his dominion in the east
and north-east by defeating the Gajapatis of Orissa
Devaraya died in A.D.1529. After his death, Vijayanagar
kingdom started declining gradually. There was a tussle
for power and the rulers spent their time in struggle
against internal revolts. The five Muslim rulers in
Deccan kingdom, took this opportunity, united and
formed a league and marched towards Vijayanagar with
combined forces. In a decisive battle fought on the
23rd January, 1565 on the south bank of the Krishna
near the village of Rakkasi Tangadi, Vijayanagar was
defeated and Ramaraya, who led the Vijayanagar armies,
was killed. Tirumalaraya, the younger brother of Ramaraya,
along with his puppet ruler, Sadasivaraya fled to
Penukonda in Anantapur district with all the treasure.
The victorious armies of Muslims then marched towards
Vijayanagar. Uninhibited looting of the city by the
Muslim rulers as well as the ruthless robbers went
on for days together. Never perhaps in the history
of the world has such havoc been brought and wrought
on such a splendid city teening with a wealthy and
industrious population in prosperity one day and on
the next seized, pillaged and reduced to ruins amid
scenes of savage measures and horrors beggaring description.
after reaching Penukonda ruled for some time and tried
his best to rebuild the empire but failed. The last
ruler of Vijayanagar dynasty was Sriranga (A.D.1642--1681).
Rayas of Vijayanagar regarded all sects of Hindus
alike, built temples to Siva and Vishnu and patronised
them by lavish grants. They patronised even Jains
and Muslims. The Vijayanagar architecture fused various
elements of the Chalukya and Chola art, and produced
extremely beautiful gopuras and mantapas.
The most typical of them can be found at Tirupati,
Tadpatri, Srikalahasti and Penukonda. The Tadpatri
and Lepakshi temples are the notable examples of Vijayanagar
architecture and sculpture.
language and literature was given a preferential treatment
and Telugu was treated as official language of the
empire. Simultaneously, Sanskrit and other languages
were encouraged by the Vijayanagar rulers. The renowned
Telugu poet Srinatha was honoured with Kanakabhisheka
by Proudhadevaraya of the first dynasty of the rulers.
Particularly, the reign of Krishnadevaraya marked
a new era in the literary history of south India.
He was himself a scholar and authored Amuktamalyada,
a celebrated Telugu work. His court known as Bhuvanavijayam,
was adorned by such eminent poets like Allasani Peddana,
Nandi Timmana, Dhurjati, Tenali Ramakrishna, Mallana,
Ramarajabhushana, Pingali Surana and Rudra, known
as Ashtadiggajas. The greatest of them was
Allasani Peddana whose famous work Manucharitra
heralded the eminence of the native genius of Telugus.
Qutb Shahi dynasty held sway over the Andhra country
for about two hundred years from the early part of
the 16th century to the end of the 17th century. Sultan
Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of the dynasty, served
the Bahmanis faithfully and was appointed governor
of Telangana in A.D.1496. He declared independence
after the death of his patron king, Mahmud Shah, in
A.D.1518. During his 50-year rule, Sultan Quli extended
his kingdom upto Machilipatnam. He was murdered by
his third son, Jamsheed, who succeeded Sultan Quli.
Jamsheed reigned for seven years till A.D.1550 but
remained maligned by all for his patricidal crime.
His youngest brother, Ibrahim, who was hardly thirteen
at the time of his father's assassination, fled to
Vijayanagar and took refuge there. It afforded him
a training ground and he learned the art of administration.
Jamsheed's death in A.D.1550, Ibrahim returned to
Golconda and ascended the throne. Ibrahim Qutb Shah,
who was known as Malkibharam in the Andhra country,
was the real architect of the Golconda kingdom. He
ruled the kingdom for 30 years from A.D.1550 to A.D.1580.
He organised the central and provincial governments
and brought them into close contact. He also introduced
an efficient intelligence service which kept him informed
on all affairs. The kingdom was made safe for travel
and trade. Ibrahim had also many works of public utility
to his credit. He dug lakes and tanks and laid out
towns and gardens. He also encouraged local language
Telugu and patronised Telugu scholars and poets like,
Telaganarya and Gangadhara who dedicated their works
took an active part in the battle of Rakkasi Tangadi
in A.D.1565. It immensely benefited him in cash and
territories, and the kingdom was extended to the south
as far as Madras and Gandikota.
next period of forty years led by Ibrahim's son and
grandson was an era of peace and prosperity. Muhammad
Quli, son of Ibrahim, was a great writer and a builder.
The city of Hyderabad was laid in A.D.1591 with magnificent
buildings, straight roads and other civic amenities.
For this purpose, he invited many Persians to settle
down in Hyderabad and Machilipatnam. He was a scholar
and a poet, composed a large number of poems in the
Deccani language. Muhammad Quli was succeeded by his
nephew and son-in-law Sultan Muhammad in A.D.1612.
He was highly religious and a model of virtue and
piety. He followed his uncle in promoting learning
and architecture. The great mosque known as Mecca
Masjid in Hyderabad was designed and its foundation
laid by him, though the main structure of the Mosque
was completed during the next four generations.
Muhammad's premature death in A.D.1626 was a sad prelude
to the decline and fall of Golconda. He was succeeded
by his minor son, Abdullah Qutb Shah, who was indolent.
The fall of Ahmadnagar in A.D.1633 to the Mughals
exposed Golconda. Abdullah Qutb Shah acknowledged
the suzerainty of the Mughals and concluded a treaty
in A.D.1636. He was reduced to vassalage and the Mughal
Hajib, a resident officer of the Mughals imposed on
him, interfered in day-to-day administration and encouraged
fissiparous tendencies. The traitors of Golconda found
their strength in the Mughals who did not hesitate
to invade Golconda.
Qutb Shah died in A.D.1672 and was succeeded by his
third son-in-law, Abul Hassan Qutb Shah, popularly
known as Tana Shah. He had a steady mind, broader
vision and administrative experience of a high order.
He handled the domestic and foreign affairs deftly
and put forth all his efforts against the Mughal tide.
Hassan and his kingdom were misrepresented by false
propaganda to justify the interference of the Mughal
emperor who contemplated to liquidate the Deccan Sultanates
and incorporate it in the Mughal empire. The emperor
came to the Deccan in A.D.1682 and launched his campaign
against both the Marathas and the Deccan Sultanates.
His original plan was to put down the Maratha power,
but later on, he suspended the plan and directed his
forces against Bijapur and Golconda in A.D.1685. Bijapur
fell in after two months' siege. But Golconda held
out for a long time. It came to an abrupt end owing
to the treachery of an Afghan general, Abdullah Khan,
who opened the gate in the dead of night and facilitated
the capture of the fort. The equanimity with which
Abul Hassan Tana Shah had faced the Mughal captors
and the unequalled loyalty of Abdul Razak Lari, who
remained faithful to his king, Tana Shah, are of special
fall of Golconda in A.D.1687 had far reaching consequences.
It halted the face of cultural progress for years
and relaxed the administrative grip on the English
Company at Machilipatnam and Madras. So long as the
kingdom was powerful in the south, the king Abul Hassan
and his Minister, Madanna, kept their constant vigil
on the English merchants.
Shahi rulers adopted religious tolerance. They treated
Hindus equal with Muslims as well and maintained cordial
relations between the two throughout. They encouraged
the local language Telugu besides the Deccani Urdu.
They patronised scholars and awarded them titles and
Jagirs. The builder of Hyderabad, Muhammad Quli Qutb
Shah was an eminent poet in Persian and was an author
of several Persian works. The fourth king, Ibrahim
was a great patron of Telugu. His court was crowded
with Telugu poets besides many others. The rulers
adopted the local customs to a great extent. This
tolerance and patronage of the kings were followed
by the nobles as well. Ramadas (Goppanna), a great
devotee of Sri Rama who lived in the period of Abul
Hassan, wrote a number of poetical works and songs
in praise of his deity.
Deccani architecture, is a combination of Persian,
Hindu and Pathan styles. They mostly borrowed heavily
from Hindu style of architecture. The Bala Hissar
gate of the Golconda fort is remarkable for the figures
and emblems of Hindu mythology.
citadel of Hyderabad, the Charminar is the most remarkable
of all the Qutb Shahi monuments. It is one of the
magnificent structures in India.
socio-cultural life of the people during the rule
of the Qutb Shahis was marked by a spirit of broad-mindedness
and catholicity based on sharing and adopting of mutual
traditions and customs.
the Mughal emperor, invaded Golconda in A.D.1687 and
annexed it to the Mughal empire. When this was done,
Golconda became part of the Deccan Subha and a Nazim
was appointed as an agent of the Mughal emperor. Thus,
for about a period of 35 years it was ruled by Nazims,
the last one being Mubariz Khan.
period between A.D.1687 and A.D.1724 saw several sea
changes. Aurangazeb died in A.D.1707. The administrative
machinery of the Mughal imperial regime began to crumble
and the central authority manned by successive feeble
rulers gradually lost control over the provinces.
In Deccan, situated far away from the capital, the
state of affairs was still worse. This anarchy contributed
much in giving a new turn to Indian history. It enabled
two foreign mercantile companies to consolidate themselves
as political powers capable of subsequently playing
decisive roles in shaping the destiny of the nation.
They were the East India Company of England and the
Compagnie de Inde Orientale of France. These
trading companies had their headquarters at Madras
and Pondicherry respectively and both had trade centres
at Machilipatnam. They were waiting for suitable opportunities
to expand their areas of control and so, did not hesitate
to take sides in the local skirmishes.