(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains History (Optional) Study Kit "Vijayanagar & Bahamani Empire"

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 million lives.

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 Vijayanagar.

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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 them...”

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 Deva Raya.

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 Ajaib-ul-Assar.

Nicolo de Conti

An Italian traveller who visited during the time of Deva Raya I, Left an account in Travels of Nicolo Conti.

Abdur Razzak

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.

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