B. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) Rice.

Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) online

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against which the plough-share had struck, and at once informed his landlord of it.
The latter was so struck by his tenant's honesty that he cast his horoscope, and


" One evening wlien the spring of the garden of mirth had infused the
cheek of Muhammad Shah with the rosy tinge of delight, a band of
musicians sang two verses of Amir Khusru in praise of kings, festivity
and music. The Sultan was delighted beyond measure, and commanded
to give the performers a draft for a gratuity on the treasury of the Roy
of Beejanuggur " (a deliberate insult). The draft was signed and despatched.
But " the Roy, haughty and proud of his independence, placed the presenter
of the draft on an ass, and parading him through all the quarters of
Beejanuggur, sent him back with every mark of contempt and derision."
War naturally followed. The Raja captured the frontier fortress of Mudkal
and put all the inhabitants to the sword, only one escaping to carry the
tale. The Sultan swore that he would not rest till he had slain a hundred
thousand of the infidels. A series of engagements took place, in which the
Raja was worsted, and an indiscriminate massacre of men, women and
children continued until the payment of the wretched draft was enforced.
'I'he cold-blooded slaughter of hosts of helpless human beings for so paltry
a provocation, led the ambassadors of the Raja to propose that in any future
wars the lives of unarmed inhabitants and prisoners should always be spared.
This merciful provision was agreed to and the rule long after observed.

Coming down later, to the time of Deva Raja and Firoz Shah, shortly
after the latter ascended the throne an invasion of his territories was made
by the Vijayanagar king on the south and by other enemies on the north .
Firoz, on marching to encounter Deva Raja, found the Krishna so swollen
with the rains that he could not cross in the face of the opposing army. At
this juncture a kdzi offered to cross with a few friends and by some plot to
assassinate either Deva Raja or his son, as he might find chance. He went,
and joining himself to a party of dancing girls in the camp, obtained
admission in the disguise of a woman to an entertainment given by the
Raja's son. While performing a dance with a dagger in each hand, he seized
an opportunity to plunge them into the prince's breast. His accomplices
extinguished the lights, and in the confusion and darkness all made their
escape. The Sultan, taking advantage of the alarm created in the Hindu
camp, crossed with a select body of troops, and before sunrise was in a
position to make an assault. The Hindus were panic stricken, and the
Raja, filled with grief, made no resistance, but securing the body of his son,
fled with all his forces. A treaty was at last concluded, fixing the common
boundary of the two powers, and De\a Raja paid a sum equal to forty
lakhs of rupees for the ransom of the prisoners.

foretold that he one day would be a king, requesting that when that should come to
pass he might be made the minister. Hasan, in honour of his patron, took the name
Gangu, and by the influence of the Brahman was advanced in various ways and
appointed to a command with a jagir. He became a marked man, and when the
measures of Muhammad Toghlak led to a rebellion, his talents placed him at the
head of the revolt. He finally succeeded in establishing himself as ruler of the
Dekhan, and fixed his capital at Kulbarga. He and his descendants styled themselves
kings of the Bahmani (that is, Brahmani) dynasty, in gratitude to the Brahman who
had first announced the fortune of their founder.


In 1406 another war took place, brought about as follows : — •" There
resided in the town of Mudkal a farmer, who was blessed with a daughter of
such exquisite beauty that the Creator seemed to have united all his powers
in making her perfect." Hearing of her beauty and accomplishments, Deva
Raja resolved to marry her, and sent valuable presents to her and her
parents by a Brahman. The parents were overjoyed at such unexpected
good fortune, and displaying the rich gifts before the girl, showered on her
their congratulations. But the beautiful virgin, to their great astonishment,
refused to receive the gifts, and observed " that whoever entered the haram
of Beejanuggur, was afterwards not permitted to see her nearest relations
and friends ; and though they might be happy to sell her for worldly riches,
yet she was too fond of her parents to submit to eternal absence from them
even for all the splendour of the palace of Beejanuggur. This declaration
was accompanied with affectionate tears which melted her parents ; who,
rather than use force, dismissed the Brahman with all his gifts, and he
returned, chagrined and disappointed, to Beejanuggur."

The royal lover now became mad for the possession of the girl, and
resolved to obtain her by force. On the plea of making a tour, he went
towards the Tungabhadra, which suddenly crossing with a select body of
troops, he hastened by forced marches to Mudkal. In the excess of his
passion he had omitted to let the parents of the girl know the object of the
expedition. They, therefore, in common with all the country, fled on the
approach of the army to the most distant parts for shelter. Foiled in their
object, the troops returned in disgust, and committed depredations in the
country through which they passed. Firoz Shah resolved to be revenged
for this inroad on his territories. Unable to effect anything against the
Raja's capital, he laid waste all the adjacent country, and the hostile camps
remained in each other's presence for several months. At last a treaty was
concluded, by which the Raja was to give his daughter in marriage to the
Sultan, with the fort of Bankapur and a large sum of money.

" Preparations for celebrating the nuptials were made by both parties.
For forty days communication was open between the city and the Sultan's
camp. Both sides of the road were lined with shops and booths, in which
the jugglers, drolls, dancers and mimics of Karn^taka displayed their feats
and skill to amuse passengers." The bridegroom sent valuable presents to
Vijayanagar. from which, after the expiration of seven days, the bride was
brought forth with a rich portion and offerings from the Raja, to the Sultan's
camp. What followed is thus described by Ferishta : —

" Dewul Roy having expressed a strong desire to see the Sultan, Firoz
Shah, with great gallantry, agreed to visit him with his bride, as his father-
in-law. A day being fixed, he with the bride proceeded to Beejanuggur.
On the way he was met by Dewul Roy in great pomp. From the gate of
the city to the palace, being a distance of nearly six miles, the road was
spread with cloth of gold, velvet, satin, and other rich stuffs. The two
princes rode on horseback together, between ranks of beautiful boys and
girls, who waved plates of gold and silver flowers over their heads as they
advanced, and then threw them to be gathered by the populace. After this

35© IflSTOR Y

the inhabitants of the city made offerings, both men and women, according
to their rank. After passing through a square directly in the centre of the
city, the relations of Dewul Roy, who had lined the streets in crowds, made
their obeisance and offerings, and joined the cavalcade on foot, marching
before the princes. Upon their arrival at the palace gate the .Sultan and
Roy dismounted from their horses and ascended a splendid palanquin, set
with valuable jewels, in which they were carried together to the apartments
prepared for the reception of the bride and bridegroom ; when Dewul Roy
took his leave, and retired to his own palace. The Sultan, after being
treated with royal magnificence for three days, took his leave of the Roy,
who pressed upon hini richer presents than before given, and attended him
four miles on his way, when he returned to the city. Sultan Firoz Shah
was enraged at his not going with him to his camp, and said to Meer
Fuzzul OoUah that he would one day have revenge for the affront offered
him by such neglect. This declaration being told to Dewul Roy, he made
some insolent remarks, so that, notwithstanding the connection of family,
their hatred was not calmed." The girl who had been the innocent cause
of the war was sent for and married to the Sultan's son.

In T417 there was war again, in which Deva Raja inflicted a severe
defeat upon the Sultan. A great slaughter of the Muhammadans
followed, and the dominions of Bijapur were laid waste with all the
treasured resentment of many years. These reverses killed Firoz Shah.
Ahmed Shah, his successor, resolved to take revenge on the Hindus,
who had now been driven back. He desolated the possessions of
Vijayanagar, slaughtering women and children without mercy, ^^'hen-
ever the number of slain came to twenty thousand, he halted for three
days and made a feast. The Hindus, in desperation, formed a
plot against him, from which he escaped by a hairs-breadth. Terms
were then agreed to, and he retired to his own country, the capital of
which he shortly removed from Kulbarga to Bidar, a hundred miles to
the north.

The further progress of events in that country need be noticed only
so far as to state that the Bahmani empire was dismembered at the
end of the fifteenth century, and broken up into the five states of
Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golkonda, Berar, and Bidar. The first of these,
with which our history will be principally concerned, was founded in

To return to Vijayanagar, the following extracts from the interesting
account by Abdur Razzak,^ who visited that capital as ambassador
from Persia in 1441, during the reign of Ueva Raya, give a lofty idea
of the wealth and magnificence of the empire : —

From our former relation and well-adjusted narrative, well-informed
1 Matldii-s Sddaiii, Sir H. YAXwK^, Hist, hid., \o\. W .


readers will have ascertained that the writer Abdu-r-razzak had arrived at
the city of Bijanagar. There he saw a city exceedingly large and populous,
and a king of great power and dominion, whose kingdom extended from the
borders of Sarandip to those of Kulbarga, and from Bengal to Malibar, a
space of more than 1,000 parauings. The country is for the most part well
cultivated and fertile, and about three hundred good seaports belong to it.
There are more than elephants, lofty as the hills and gigantic as
demons. The army consists of eleven lacs of men. In the whole of
Hindustan there is no Rdi more absolute than himself, under which
denomination the kings of that country are known. The Brahmans are
held by him in higher estimation than all other men.

The city of Bijanagar is such that eye has not seen nor ear heard of anv
place resembling it upon the whole earth, It is so built that it has seven
fortified walls, one within the other. Beyond the circuit of the outer wall
there is an esplanade, extending for about fifty yards, in which stones are
fixed near one another to the height of a man ; one-half buried firmly in
the earth, and the other half rises above it, so that neither foot nor horse,
however bold, can advance with facility near the outer wall. The fortress
is in the form of a circle, situated on the top of a hill, and is made of stone
and mortar, with strong gates, where guards are always posted, who are
very diligent in the collection of taxes. . . .

The seventh fortress is placed in the centre of the others ; in it is situated
the palace of the king. From the northern gate of the outer fortress to the
southern is a distance of two statute parasa?igs, and the same with respect
to the distance between the eastern and western gates. Between the first,
second and third walls there are cultivated fields, gardens and houses.
From the third to the seventh fortress shops and bazars are closely
crowded together. By the palace of the king there are four bazars,
situated opposite to one another. That which lies to the north is the
imperial palace, or abode of the Rai. At the head of each bazar there is
a lofty arcade and magnificent gallery, but the palace of the king is loftier
than all of them. The bazars are very broad and long, so that the sellers
of flowers, notwithstanding that they place high stands before their shops,
are yet able to sell flowers from both sides. Sweet-scented flowers are
always procurable fresh in that city, and they are considered as even
necessary sustenance, seeing that without them they could not exist. The
tradesmen of each separate guild or craft have their shops close to one
another. The jewellers sell their rubies and pearls and diamonds and
emeralds openly in the bazar. . . .

This country is so well populated that it is impossible in a reasonable
space to convey an idea of it. In the king's treasury there are chambers
with excavations in them filled with molten gold, forming one mass. All
the inhabitants of the country, whether high or low, even down to the
artificers of the bazar, wear jewels and gilt ornaments in their ears and
around their necks, arms, wrists and fingers.

Deva Raya II is specially distinguished as ( "laja-bentikdra, the



elephant hunter, and an interesting account is given by Abdur Razzak
of the mode of capture and the treatment of elephants at Vijayanagar
at that time. One inscription describes the king as having received
the tlironc from his elder sister. This might be the princess married
into the Bahmani family.

Nothing of importance is known of the reigns of Mallikarjuna and
Virupaksha. The former had as his minister Timmanna-dannayaka,
lord of Nagamangala, who had held the same ofifice under his father.
Mallikarjuna is described as being at Penugonda, along with him^
engaged in the affairs of Narasinga's kingdom. This may therefore
have been a powerful chief whose possessions had escheated to the

With Narasa or Narsingha the line was changed. According to
some accounts, Virupaksha, having no issue, raised one of his slaves
named Sinhama to the throne, who took the title of Fraud ha Deva
and ruled four years. His son, Vira Narasimha, succeeded and ruled
but two years, when, he also being childless, gave his signet to his
falconer Narasa. According to other accounts, Narasa was a powerful
chief of Telingana, who possessed himself of the greater part of the
Vijayanagar territory. But an inscription at Shimoga brings him from
Tulava (South Kanara), and states that he was of the Yadu line, of the
family of Krishna Rava, and the son of Is'vara and Bukkama. He is
said to have crossed over the Kaveri when in flood, taken an unnamed
enemy prisoner alive, conquered his country, and founded Seringa-
patam as a capital. His conquests extended over the whole of the
south. By Tippakshi or Tippaji and Nagala Devi, he had two sons,
Vira Narasimha and Krishna Raya, who in turn succeeded him.

This does not agree with the traditional account, according to which
Krishna Raya was an illegitimate son, by Nagamba, a friend or
attendant of the queen. He was so superior as a boy to Vira Nara-
simha that Tippamba, the mother of the latter, became jealous, and
prevailed on the king to have him put to death. But the prime
minister concealed the prince, reporting that the orders had been
obeyed. In his last illness the king was much afflicted for the death
of his son, on which the minister produced the prince, and Krishna
Deva was declared the heir and successor to the throne. Vira Nara-
simha, it is added, died of vexation on his brother being acknowledged
Raja. But there is evidence that Narasimha ruled for some years, and
both he and his successor were distinguished for the munificence of
their gifts to sacred places. Narasimha's titles were medini-nusara
ganda and kathdri-sdluva.

Krishna Raya was one of the most powerful and distinguished


monarchs of the Vijayanagar line. About 1520 the Muhammadans
sustained a severe defeat from his armies, in consequence of which
a good understanding prevailed between the courts of Vijayanagar and
Bijapur for a considerable period. He not only restored the kingdom
to its former limits, but extended them in every direction. He kept
possession of all the country up to the Krishna; eastwards he captured
Orangal and ascended to Cuttack, where he married the daughter of
the Raja as the bond of peace; while westwards his conquests extended
up to Salsette. He was also a great patron of Sanskrit and Telugu
literature. Eight distinguished poets, called the askta-dig-gaja, were
maintained at his court, the principal of whom was Appaya Dikshita.

The Hindu traditions represent Krishna Raya as conducting his
affairs, both in peace and war, in person. But they acknowledge that
he owed much to the Brahman minister of his father, who had saved
his life, and who continued to be his minister until his death, three
years preceding that of the Raja. His name was Timma Raja, the
Hem raj of the Muhammadan historians. At no period probably in the
history of the south did any of its political divisions equal in extent
and power that of Vijayanagar in the reign of Krishna Raya. From
this time for a long period we shall meet with continual anarchy and
successive revolutions.

Edoardo Barbessa, who travelled in India in 15 16, describes the
city of Vijayanagar as " of great extent, highly populous, and the seat
of an active commerce in country diamonds, rubies from Pegu, silks of
China and Alexandria, and cinnabar, camphor, musk, pepper and
sandal from Malabar." The palaces of the king and his ministers,
and the temples were " stately buildings of stone," but the dwellings of
the common people were " hovels of straw and mud."

According to the received account, Krishna Raya had no legitimate
male issue, and Achyuta Raya, his half-brother by Obambika, was thus
the nearest heir. The latter being absent at the time, Krishna Raya,
on his death-bed, placed an infant named Sadasiva on the throne,
under the guardianship of his son-in-law Rama Raja, who was the
son, as is supposed, of the deceased minister Timma Raja. But
Achyuta soon returned and assumed the government, and on his death
Sadasiva succeeded, under the control of Rama Raja as before
arranged. Sadasiva was apparently the son of Ranga, a deceased elder
brother of Achyuta by the same mother : on the other hand, he is
expressly stated' to be the .son of Achyuta Raya.

As long as Rama Raja was alive, Sadasiva was only the nominal
sovereign, and little more than a tool in the hands of the minister. On

» ]\lys. Ins., S. S. 192.

.\ A

354 /f /STORY

one occasion it is stated that, aided by his maternal uncle and some of
the nobles, he conspired against the minister, who was forced to resign,
but allowed to live in the capital. Tirumala Raja, the uncle, then
assumed the whole power, having, it is said, murdered the prince. If
this were the case, several puppet rajas may have been successively set
up under the name of Sadasiva Raya, for grants in that name continue
down to 1574. 'I'irumala Raja conducted himself so tyrannically that
the chiefs rose against him, but he called in the assistance of the
Sultan Ibrahim Adil Shah and put them down. No sooner, however,
had the Muhammadans retired than the nobles, with Rama Raja at
their head, again rebelled, and shut up the usurper in his palace ; where,
finding his fortunes desperate, he destroyed himself. Rama Raja now
seized the supreme power, and being an able and powerful ruler, not
only established his influence over all the kingdoms of the south, but
made encroachments on the Muhammadan states which they were power-
less to prevent, and on one occasion even assisted Bijapur against
Ahmednagar. His arrogance, however, was the prelude to his ruin.

The four Muhammadan principalities of the Dekhan resolved to
combine in an attack upon Vijayanagar, and in 1564 the allied armies
of Bijapur, Golkonda, Ahmednagar and Bidar assembled at Bijapur,
prepared to march south. Rama Raja thought lightly of the impend-
ing danger, but took measures for the defence of his territory by sending
his brother, Tirumala Raja, with a strong force to occupy the fords of
the Krishna ; another division followed under his brother Venkatadri,
while he himself brought up the rear with the main body of the army.
The enemy, on arriving at the river, found the defending force
entrenched on the right bank, behind earthworks mounted with cannon,
and in such a position as to effectually bar the passage of the river.
As this was the only point where their troops could safely cross, the
allies resolved by a feint to draw their opponents out of the position.
They accordingly marched along the river as if to attempt a passage at
a different point, and were followed on the other side by the Hindu
army. But on the third night they suddenly decamped, and gaining
the now undefended ford, succeeded in carrying over their whole army,
and marched against Rama Raja. The latter, though surprised at
their activity, was not alarmed, but summoned his brothers to join him.

The 25th of January, 1565, saw the two armies confronting each
other in battle array on the since memorable field of Talikota, about
ten miles south of the Krishna, near Raichor. The Musalman right
was commanded by Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur, the left by Ali Barid
Shah of Bidar and Ibrahim Kutb Shah of Golkonda, the centre by
Husen Nizam Shah of Ahmednagar. Rama Raja entrusted his left to


his brother Tirumala Raja, his right to his other brother Venkatadri,
and himself commanded in his centre. The alUes guarded their front
wrth a hne of cannon fastened together with strong chains and ropes.
The Hindu front was protected by a large number of war elephants, as
well as cannon. The battle opened with rapid discharges of artillery
and rockets from the Hindu side. A general action ensued, accom-
panied with great slaughter. The Hindu right and left drove back
both wings of the Musalman allies, but their centre was unbroken.
At this moment a war elephant, becoming ungovernable, rushed madly
about and overturned the litter of Rama Raja. Taking advantage of
the confusion, some Muhammadan gunners rushed in, and before he
could recover himself, seized Rama Raja and carried him off. His
head was instantly struck off and paraded on the point of a lance in
sight of both armies. The Hindus, on seeing their leader was slain,
gave up all for lost and fled in every direction, closely pursued by the
enemy. The slaughter was immense, and the booty sufficient to enrich
every private of the victorious army.^ The sultans marched to
Anegundi, the troops entered Vijayanagar, and plundered and destroyed
the capital, committing all manner of excess.

This terrible and decisive defeat broke up the Vijayanagar empire,
but the mutual jealousies of the allies prevented either of them enlarg-
ing his kingdom by appropriating any of the conquered territory. A
year after the battle, Tirumala Raja, the brother of Rama Raja,
returned to the capital. But he found the attempt to restore it hopeless,
and in 1567 retired to Penugonda. Venkatadri, the other brother,
established himself at Chandragiri.

Caesar Frederike visited the city of Vj'jayanagar two years after the battle.
He states that Ram Rai perished through the treachery of two Musalman
generals in his service, who turned against him in the middle of the battle.
The Musalmans spent six months in plundering the city, searching in all
directions for buried money. The houses were still standing, but they were
empty. The court had moved from Vijayanagar to Penugonda, which was
eight days' journey to the south. The inhabitants had disappeared and
gone elsewhere. The surrounding country was so infested with thieves
that he was compelled to stay six months longer at Vijayanagar than he
intended. When at last he set out for Goa, he was attacked every day, and
had to pay a ransom on each occasion.

He thus describes the palace : — " I have seen many kings' courts, yet have
never seen anything to compare with the royal palace of Bijianugger, which

I Such is Ferishta's account. The Hindu account says that the divisions of Kulb
Shah and Nizam Shah were routed, and reUcaled in confusion, covered hy the armies
of Adil Shah and Barid Shah. The Hindus, considering the engagement over and
the enemy annihilated, gave themselves up to rejoicing and festivity, and were
surprised in their encampment.

A A 2

356 Iff STORY

h.ith nine gates. First, when you go into that part where the king lodged,
there arc five great gates, kept by Captains and Soldiers. Within these
are four lesser gates, which are kept by porters, and through these you enter

Online LibraryB. Lewis (Benjamin Lewis) RiceMysore: a gazetteer compiled for government (Volume 1) → online text (page 42 of 98)