An Imperial Capital Class 12 History Notes
The Vijayanagara city and the empire were known as the “city of victory”. It was set up in the 14th century. When it was at its highest peak of popularity it expanded from the north of Krishna River to the south of the peninsula. In the 16th to 17th centuries, it started coming down. Pampadevi named it as Hampi. The City of Vijayanagara was dismissed by employment and was abandoned in 1565.
Pampadevi was known as the local goddess’s mother. The records such as these oral rituals, scriptures and structures were combined by the archaeologists and helped to discover the Vijayanagara Empire again.
The Discovery of Hampi
- Colonel Colin Mackenzie was an engineer and antiquarian who brought light to the ruins of Hampi in 1800.
- The first survey map of this site was prepared by an employee of the English East India Company.
- The initial information he received was from the temple of Virupaksha and the sanctum of Pampadevi.
- Scholars were able to study these because of the photographers as they started making records of the monuments in 1856.
- Before 1856, in 1836 epigraphists started collecting notes which were found at temples in Hampi.
- Historians also collected information from different literature sources such as the literature written in Sanskrit, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.
- Information was also collected by chroniclers with the account of foreign travellers.
Rayas, Nayakas and Sultans
In 1336, the two brothers, Harihara and Bukka founded the Vijayanagara city as per the tradition and the evidence of the epigraphics. On the northern border, the kings of Vijayanagara competed with the existing rulers for control over the fertile river valleys and the resources that would generate great profit. Deccan’s Sultan and the Orissa’s Gajapati rulers were included in these.
During the same period, both states started interacting and sharing ideas mostly and especially about architecture. Later on, the rulers of Vijayanagara developed and borrowed concepts and techniques of building. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu started developing. Vijayanagara rulers used to call themselves rayas. People of different languages followed the other religions culture and traditions.
Kings and traders
- During this period, soldiers used to fight the war on horses so the import of horses was very vital for the opponent empires. The import was from Arabia and Central Asia.
- Initially, the trade was in the hands of Arab merchandisers.
- Kudirai Chettis, the local community of merchants also participated in these.
- The Portuguese came into it in 1498 and tried to establish military and trading positions.
- They became significant performers by using muskets as they had superior military technology power.
- Vijayanagara was furthermore known for its spices, textiles and precious stones.
- At that time, the value of precious stones and jewellery was considered very high and status-symbolic too.
- The earnings earned from the trade were used for the betterment of the state.
The apogee and the decline of the empire
- Under the political organisation, the rulers and military captains claimed the powers.
- The Sangama dynasty was the first dynasty that controlled powers till 1485.
- Saluvas who were the military commanders replaced them and ruled till 1503.
- Later they were superseded by Tuluvas.
- Krishnadeva Raya was a member of Tuluvas.
- Krishnadeva Raya was appreciated for constructing temples and for adding gopurams in the south Indian temples.
- Krishnadeva Raya died in 1529. Afterwards, his beneficiaries were worried by revolutionary nayakas/military chiefs.
The Rayas and the Nayakas
- Military chiefs were those who exercised leverage in the empire and they usually regulated forts and had armed backers.
- These chiefs usually go from one place to another in search of fertile land to settle down and in most cases, they are attended by peasants.
- These chiefs are called nayakas.
- They spoke Kannada and Telugu.
- The military commanders were the Amara-nayakas and the territories were given to them to control by the Raya.
- The kings received gifts from the amara-nayakas as they expressed their loyalty and they appeared personally and gave tribute to the king.
- During the 17th century, the Nayakas built up their empires.
- The nayakas were used to collect taxes and dues from the traders, peasants and craft persons of the same area.
The Capital Vijayanagara and its Environs
Resources of water
- The very noticeable characteristic of Vijayanagara was the natural basin.
- It flows in the north-east direction and was formed by the Tungabhadra River.
- Kamalapuram tank was considered the most important tank. In the 15th century, it was founded.
- This water tank irrigated the fields and supplied water to the royal centre.
- Hiriya Canal was a canal that brought out water from the dam across the Tungabhadra.
- It irrigated and cultivated a valley which occurred in the separation of the urban core and the sacred centre.
- The rulers of the Sangam dynasty founded this.
Fortifications of roads
- In the 15th century, an ambassador was sent by the ruler from Persia to Calicut named Abdur Razzaq.
- He was so impressed by the fortifications of the forts.
- In the construction, there was no cementing or ordnance employed.
- There used to be an agriculture track between these places where they sow rice in the fields.
- The Vijayanagara’s rulers selected a costly and elaborate strategy to protect the agrarian belt by itself.
- Generally, rulers were prepared by constructing granaries under the fortified areas for such situations.
The urban core
- The Ordinary people’s houses are represented by archaeologists.
- It is considered that some areas which were occupied by rich traders were some of the areas of the northeast of the urban core.
- It is also said that it was the Muslim’s residential areas.
- The mandapas of the temple Hampi and Tombs and mosques were similar.
The Royal Centre
The mahanavami Dibba
- This place was known as the “king’s palace” but they did not have any evidence of being a royal residence.
- “Mahanavami Dibba” and “audience hall” were the two platforms that were so impressive.
- It was located on the top of the city.
- Mahanavami Dibba was structured from a base of around 11000 sq. ft to 40 sq. ft in height.
- The evidence is there that there used to be a wooden structure.
- The structure on the wall of the mahanavami Dibba is related to the Hindu festival which is Dussehra is known in north India and Bengali it is called as Durga puja and Navratri and mahanavami in peninsular India.
- In these they praise the image, worship the horses of the states and buffaloes and other animals are sacrificed all these are the ceremonies which they perform on the occasions. It remained mysterious about some of the structures of the royal palace.
Other buildings in the royal centre
- Lotus Mahal was known for being one of the most beautiful buildings in the royal centres. Britishers named it in the 19th century. These Britishers were the travellers.
- A map was drawn by Mackenzie so it was suggested that it might be a council chamber.
- The Council chamber is the place where advisors come and the king meets his advisors.
- In the royal centre, there were many temples in the sacred centre.
- The Hazara Rama temple was the place where only the king and his family used to live.
- When the city was dismissed some structures of the Vijayanagara were destroyed. Some structures and buildings have survived.
The Sacred Centre
Choosing a capital
- According to the rulers, repairing, maintaining and constructing temples were significant means of winning authorization and praise for his domination, wealth and righteousness.
- The Vijayanagara rulers developed the shrines of the state. And also innovated.
- When the kings visited the temples they were accompanied by the nayakas of the empire.
- Temples were also considered and used for learning.
- Vali and Sugriva of the monkey kingdom who was also mentioned in the Ramayana were sheltered in these hills.
- The construction or building of a temple has a very long history.
- Rulers usually enabled the building of temples as they could associate themselves with the deity.
- Rulers usually provided land and other resources for the maintenance of the temples.
- Therefore, temples developed as vital religious, social and cultural centres.
- The existence of the shrines of Virupaksha and Pampadevi inspired Vijayanagara.
- The rulers of Vijayanagara claimed to rule on behalf of the god Virupaksha.
- Pampadevi was known as the local goddess and she wanted to marry Virupaksha as she performed penance in these hills to marry Virupaksha.
Gopurams and mandapas
- The halls in the shrines and temples were used for different purposes.
- For some special programmes like dance, drama, music etc. Some photos were placed of gods to witness the programs.
- Marriages of deities used to happen.
- The Vitthala temple is another interesting shrine.
- Vitthala, a form of Vishnu was the principal deity here, naturally worshipped in Maharashtra.
- The Chariot Street of the temple of Gopuram which is a characteristic of the temple extended in a straight line.
- The streets have pillar pavilions where the merchants run their shops.
Plotting, Palaces, Temples and Bazaars
- In the initial surveys by Mackenzie, information was accumulated from the foreigner’s or traveller’s accounts and notations.
- Photographs, plans, structures and scriptures information were produced by chroniclers, historians, biographies, and epigraphists.
- Later on, archaeologists surveyed India and the Karnataka Department of Archaeology and Museums surveyed the sites.
- Hampi was recognised as a significant site in 1976.
- A project was launched to record the remains of Vijayanagara in detail in 1980.
- It took more than 20 years of intensive and extensive surveys to accumulate this information and dozens of scholars worked to gather the information.
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