Sample Material of Our IAS Mains History Study Kit
Subject: History (Optional)
Topic: Vijayanagar & Bahamani Empire
Muhammad bin Tughlaq’s reign witnessed the rise of two independent states in
the south, namely the Vijayanagar (A.D. 1336) and Bahamani (A.D. 1347) kingdoms.
Vijaynagar Empire (1336 - 1565)
Vijaynagar Kingdom and the city was founded by Harihar-l and
Bukka-1 (sons of Sangama) who were feudatories of Kakatiyas and later became
ministers in the court of Kampili. Harihar and Bukka were brought to the centre
by Mohammed bin Tughlaq, converted to Islam and were sent to south again to
control rebellion but on the instance of Vidyaranya, they established Vijaynagar
Kingdom in 1336 AD. Vijaynagar’s arch rival were Bahmani Sultans with whom they
fought over Tungabhadra doab(between Krishna & Tungabhadra), Krishna-Godavari
delta (Raichur) and Marathwada.
Kapaya Nayaka availed of the situation, expelled the Muslim
governor of Telengana, captured Warangal and assumed the titles of
Andhradesadhisvara and Andhrasuratrana. The uprising now spread to the kingdom
of Kampili, where the populace, possibly under the leadership of Somadevaraja,
revolted against the Sultanate governor. Muhammad bin Tughlaq despatched the
brothers Harihara and Bukka to the south. The two had been in his custody since
he had overrun the kingdom of Kampili, and had been converted to Islam. The
Sultan took oaths of loyalty from them before sending them to, tackle the
situation in Kampili. The brothers were enthusiastically greeted by the local
people and soon established peace in the region.
According to the Kapaluru and Bagepalli grants, in 1336
Harihara and Bukka laid the foundations of the city of Vijayanagar, on the
inspiration of the great sage and scholar Vidyaranya. Harihara Bukka and their
three other brothers were the sons of Sangama, and the dynasty they founded is
known as the Sangama dynasty. Three other dynasties, the Saluva, Tuluva, and
Aravidu, subsequently ruled over Vijayanagar. The first dynasty, known as the
Sangama dynasty, exercised control till 1485. They were supplanted by the
Saluvas, military commanders, who remained in power till 1503 when they were
replaced by the Tuluvas. Krishnadeva Raya belonged to the Tuluva dynasty.
Vijayanagar, by 1346, had succeeded in incorporating the
entire Hoysala kingdom. Ibn Battuta has provided a chilling account of the
massacre of Hindus by the fourth Sultan of Madura. In 1356, Harihara was
succeeded by his brother, Bukka I. While he engaged the Bahamani Sultans in the
north, his son, Kumara Kampana, successfully challenged the state of Madura,
even killing one of its Sultans. He also reinstated the divine images in the
Rajasimheswara temple at Kanchi and the Ranganathaswami temple at Srirangam.
Finally, by 1377, the Sultanate of Madura was vanquished. The Vijayanagar Empire
now extended over the whole of south India upto Rameshwaram and included Tamil
lands as well as Kerala.
The northern expansion of Vijayanagar, however, was
challenged by the Bahamani kingdom founded in 1347 by Alauddin Hasan Shah Bahman.
an Afghan rebel officer of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. There were three areas of
rivalry between the two kingdoms. The areas of contention were the Tungabhadra
doab, the Krishna-Godavari basin and the Konkan area in the Maratha country.
Bukka I captured the fort of Mudgal and excluding one man, put the entire
garrison to sword. The furious Bahamani Sultan recaptured Mudgal, marched in
pursuit of Bukka I, and ordered the massacre of the inhabitants around the city
of Vijayanagar. It is said that this encounter resulted in the loss of half a
In 1377, Bukka I died and was succeeded by his son, Harihara
II. Bukka I has been described as a vigorous warrior and statesman, who freed
practically the whole of the south from foreign domination. He renovated temples
and revived agraharas. He patronised number of scholars, the most eminent among
them being Sayanacharya, whose voluminous commentaries on the Vedas are highly
rated even today. Sayana’s brother, Madhava, was the Prime Minister of
Ferishta has provided a glowing testimony of the condition of
Vijayanagar in, the closing years of Bukka’s reign. He says, “the princes of the
house of Bahamani maintained their superiority by valour only; for in power,
wealth and the extent of the country, the rajas of Beejanagar greatly exceeded
He was a devotee of Virupaksha (Shiva) but equally patronised
Vaishnavas and Jains. Irugapa, author of the Nanartha Ratnamala and a Jain, was
one of his leading generals. Deva Raya is remembered for his public welfare
projects, including the construction of dams across the Tungabhadra and Haridra
for enhancing irrigation in the empire. The last great ruler of the Sangama
dynasty was Deva Raya’s grandson Deva Raya II, who ascended the throne in 1423.
He enlisted’ two thousand Muslims and advised his Hindu soldiers and officers to
team archery from them. According to Ferishta, he soon had sixty thousand
soldiers well-versed in archery.
The most important Bahamani ruler during this period was
Firuz Shah Bahamani. Most of his reign (1397-1422) was devoted to wars against
Vijayanagar and its confederates. However, despite his impressive contribution
to the state, rivalry between the Deccani (local Muslisms, mostly Sunnis) and
Afaqi (foreign Muslims, predominantly Shi’is) nobles led to his fall from royal
favour. He was executed in 1482 at the age of seventy, on the orders of Sultan
Muhammad III. This event intensified internal strife and precipitated the
division of the Bahamani kingdom into five principalities - Golconda, Bijapur,
Ahmadnagar, Berar and Bidar. Following the death of Deva Raya II. Vijayanagar
was thrown into confusion as various contenders battled for the throne.
Finally, a new dynasty that of the Saluvas, came to power. It
ruled for a brief while and in turn was replaced by the Tuluva dynasty, whose
greatest ruler was Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1530). The first dynasty, known as
the Sangama dynasty, exercised control till 1485. They were supplanted by the
Saluvas, military commanders, who remained in power till 1503 when they were
replaced by the Tuluvas. Krishnadeva Raya belogned to the Tuluva dynasty. After
wresting all the territories upto the Krishna River from the rulers of Orissa,
Krishna Deva Raya relaunched the struggle to control the Tungabhadra doab.
Conflict under Deva Rayas
The reign of Deva Raya I began with a renewed fight for the
Tungabhadra Doab. He was defeated by the Bahmani ruler, Firuz Shah, and had to
pay a huge indemnity. He also agreed to give his daughter in marriage to the
Sultan. After capturing the Righter fort, he marched on to Gulbarga, defeated
Amir Barid, the minister of Sultan Mahmud. He also captured Bidar, released
Mahmud and assumed the title of yavanarajya sthapanacharya (Establisher of the
Yavana or Muslim kingdom).
Decline and Aravidu Dynasty
Krishna Deva Raya’s death was followed by a struggle for
succession among his relations. After the uneventful reigns of Achtyuta Deva and
Vankata, Sadasiva Raya ascended the throne. But the real power, during the reign
of all of them, lay in the hands of Rama Raja, who was a son-in-law of Krishna
Famous Travellers to Vijayanagar Kingdom
Abu Abdullah/Ibn Batuta
A Moroccan traveller, Left account of Harihara I’s reign in
his book Rehla also called Tuhfat-un-Nuzzar ft Gharaib-ul-Amsar Wa
Nicolo de Conti
An Italian traveller who visited during the time of Deva Raya
I, Left an account in Travels of Nicolo Conti.
Ambassador of Shah Rukh of Samarqand at the Court of the
Zamorin of Calicut, He gives an account of the reign of Devaraya II in his Matla
us Sadain Wa Majma id Bahrain. Athanasius Nikitin: A Russian merchant who
described the conditions of the Bahamani kingdom under Muhammad 111 in his
Voyage to India.