A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar by Robert SewellA Contribution to the History of India

Preface The two Portuguese chronicles, a translation of which into English is now for the first time offered to the public, are contained in a vellum-bound folio volume in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, amongst the manuscripts of which institution it bears the designation “PORT. NO. 65.” The volume in question consists of copies of
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The two Portuguese chronicles, a translation of which into English is now for the first time offered to the public, are contained in a vellum-bound folio volume in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, amongst the manuscripts of which institution it bears the designation “PORT. NO. 65.” The volume in question consists of copies of four original documents; the first two, written by Fernao Nuniz and Domingo Paes, being those translated below, the last two (at the end of the MS.) letters written from China about the year 1520 A.D. These will probably be published in translation by Mr. Donald Ferguson in the pages of the INDIAN ANTIQUARY.

The first pair of original papers was sent with a covering letter by some one at Goa to some one in Europe. The names are not given, but there is every reason for believing that the recipient was the historian Barros in Lisbon.

Both these papers are in the same handwriting, which fact — since they were written by separate Portuguese merchants or travellers at Vijayanagar in different years, one, I believe, shortly subsequent to 1520 A.D., the latter not later than about 1536 or 1537 — conclusively proves them to be copies of the originals, and not the originals themselves.[2] I have inserted a facsimile of two pages of the text, so that no doubt may remain on this point. The first portion consists of the conclusion of the text of Fernao Nuniz; the second of the covering letter written by the person who sent the originals to Europe; the third of the beginning of the text of Domingo Paes.

Paes being the earlier in date (about 1520) I have given his account of personal experiences first, and afterwards the historical summary composed by Nuniz about the year 1536 or 1537.

I have stated that the person to whom the documents were sent from Goa was probably the celebrated historian Barros. He is alluded to in the covering letter in the words: “It seemed necessary to do what your Honour desired of me,” “I send both the summaries … because your Honour can gather what is useful to you from both;” and at the end of the long note on “Togao Mamede,” king of Delhi, quoted in my introduction, “I kiss your Honour’s hand.”

Since the first DECADA of Barros was published in 1552,[3] this argument is not unreasonable; while a comparison between the accounts given by Nuniz and Barros of the siege and battle of Raichur sufficiently proves that one was taken from the other. But we have fortunately more direct evidence, for the discovery of which we have to thank Mr. Ferguson. I have mentioned above that at the end of the MS. volume are copies of two letters concerning China. These were written subsequent to the year 1520 by Vasco Calvo and Christovao Vieyra. Mr. Ferguson has pointed out to me that, in the third DECADA (liv. IV, caps. 4, 5), after quoting some passages almost verbatim from this chronicle of Nuniz regarding Vijayanagar, Barros writes: “According to two letters which our people had two or three years afterwards from these two men, Vasco Calvo, brother of Diogo Calvo, and Christovao Vieyra, who were prisoners in Canton, etc….” He also mentions these letters in two subsequent passages, and quotes from them. This renders it certain that Barros saw those letters; and since they are copied into the same volume which contains the chronicles of Nuniz and Paes, we may be sure that Barros had the whole before him. It is of little importance to settle the question whether the chronicles of Nuniz and Paes were sent direct to Barros — whether, that is, Barros himself is the addressee of the covering letter — or to some other official (the “our people” of the passage from Barros last quoted); but that Barros saw them seems certain, and it is therefore most probable that the Paris MS. was a volume of copies prepared for him from the originals.

* * *

These documents possess peculiar and unique value; that of Paes because it gives us a vivid and graphic account of his personal experiences at the great Hindu capital at the period of its highest grandeur and magnificence — “things which I saw and came to know” he tells us — and that of Nuniz because it contains the traditional history of the country gathered first-hand on the spot, and a narrative of local and current events of the highest importance, known to him either because he himself was present or because he received the information from those who were so. The summaries of the well-known historians already alluded to, though founded, as I believe, partly on these very chronicles, have taken all the life out of them by eliminating the personal factor, the presence of which in the originals gives them their greatest charm. Senhor Lopes, who has published these documents in the original Portuguese in a recent work,[4] writes in his introduction: “Nothing that we know of in any language can compare with them, whether for their historical importance or for the description given of the country, and especially of the capital, its products, customs, and the like. The Italian travellers who visited and wrote about this country — Nicolo di Conti, Varthema, and Federici — are much less minute in the matter of the geography and customs of the land, and not one of them has left us a chronicle.” They are indeed invaluable, and throw an extraordinary light on the condition of Vijayanagar as well as on several doubtful points of history.

Thus, for instance, we have in Nuniz for the first time a definite account of the events that led to the fall of the First Dynasty and the establishment of the second by the usurpation of Narasimha. Previous to the publication of these chronicles by Senhor Lopes we had nothing to guide us in this matter, save a few vague and unsatisfactory lines in the chronicle of the historian Firishtah.[5] Now all is made clear, and though as yet the truth cannot be definitely determined, at least we have an explicit and exceedingly interesting story. Paes too, as well as Nuniz, conclusively proves to us that Krishna Deva Raya was really the greatest of all the kings of Vijayanagar, and not the mere puppet that Firishtah appears to consider him (Firishtah does not mention him by name); for Paes saw him on several occasions and speaks of him in warm and glowing terms, while Nuniz, whose narrative was evidently firsthand, never so much as hints that his armies were led to victory by any other general but the king himself. Nuniz also gives us a graphic description from personal knowledge of the character of Krishna’s degenerate successor Achyuta, whose feebleness, selfishness, cowardice, and cruelty paved the way for the final destruction of the great empire.

By the side of these two chronicles the writings of the great European historians seem cold and lifeless.

* * *

I have mentioned the publication of Senhor Lopes. It is to that distinguished Arabic scholar that we owe the knowledge of the existence of these precious documents. He it was who brought them to light in the first instance, and to him personally I owe the fact of my being able to translate and publish them. His introduction to the DOS REIS DE BISNAGA is full of valuable matter. India owes him a debt of gratitude for his services; and for myself I desire to record here my sincere thanks for the disinterested and generous help he has so constantly accorded to me during the last two years.

My thanks are also due to Mr. Donald Ferguson for his careful revision of the whole of my translations.

I desire further to express my appreciation of a particular kindness done to me by Colonel R. C. Temple, C.I.E., and lastly to acknowledge gratefully the liberality of H.E. the Governor of Madras and the Members of his Council, who by subsidising this work have rendered its publication possible.

I trust that my remarks regarding the causes of the downfall of Portuguese trade in the sixteenth century will not be misunderstood. It is not in any spirit of criticism or comparison that I have written those passages. History, however, is history; and it is a fact that while the main cause of the small success which attended the efforts of the Portuguese to establish a great and lasting commerce with India was no doubt the loss of trade after the destruction of Vijayanagar, there must be added to this by the impartial recorder the dislike of the inhabitants to the violence and despotism of the Viceroys and to the uncompromising intolerance of the Jesuit Fathers, as well as the horror engendered in their minds by the severities of the terrible Inquisition at Goa.

* * *

A word as to my spelling of names. I have adopted a medium course in many cases between the crudities of former generations and the scientific requirements of the age in which we live; the result of which will probably be my condemnation by both parties. But to the highly educated I would point out that this work is intended for general reading, and that I have therefore thought it best to avoid the use of a special font of type containing the proper diacritical points; while to the rest I venture to present the plea that the time has passed when Vijayanagar needs to be spelt “Beejanuggur,” or Kondavidu “Condbeer.”

Thus I have been bold enough to drop the final and essential “a” of the name of the great city, and spell the word “Vijayanagar,” as it is usually pronounced by the English. The name is composed of two words, VIJAYA, “victory,” and NAGARA, “city,” all the “a’s” to be pronounced short, like the “u” in “sun,” or the “a” in “organ.”

“Narasimha” ought, no doubt, to be spelt “Nrisimha,” but that in such case the “ri” ought to have a dot under the “r” as the syllable is really a vowel, and I have preferred the common spelling of modern days. (Here again all three “a’s” are short.)

As with the final “a” in “Vijayanagara,” so with the final “u” in such names as “Kondavidu” — it has been dropped in order to avoid an appearance of pedantry; and I have preferred the more common “Rajahmundry” to the more correct “Rajamahendri,” “Trichinopoly” to “Tiruchhinapalle,” and so on.

This system may not be very scientific, but I trust it will prove not unacceptable.

* * *

The name of the capital is spelt in many different ways by the chroniclers and travellers. The usual Portuguese spelling was “Bisnaga;” but we have also the forms “Bicheneger” (NIKITIN), “Bidjanagar” (ABDUR RAZZAK), “Bizenegalia” (CONTI), “Bisnagar,” “Beejanuggur,” &c.

A Forgotten Empire: Vijayanagar



Introductory remarks — Sources of information — Sketch of history of Southern India down to A.D. 1336 — A Hindu bulwark against Muhammadan conquest — The opening date, as given by Nuniz, wrong — “Togao Mamede” or Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi — His career and character.

In the year 1336 A.D., during the reign of Edward III. of England, there occurred in India an event which almost instantaneously changed the political condition of the entire south. With that date the volume of ancient history in that tract closes and the modern begins. It is the epoch of transition from the Old to the New.

This event was the foundation of the city and kingdom of Vijayanagar. Prior to A.D. 1336 all Southern India had lain under the domination of the ancient Hindu kingdoms, — kingdoms so old that their origin has never been traced, but which are mentioned in Buddhist edicts rock-cut sixteen centuries earlier; the Pandiyans at Madura, the Cholas at Tanjore, and others. When Vijayanagar sprang into existence the past was done with for ever, and the monarchs of the new state became lords or overlords of the territories lying between the Dakhan and Ceylon.

There was no miracle in this. It was the natural result of the persistent efforts made by the Muhammadans to conquer all India. When these dreaded invaders reached the Krishna River the Hindus to their south, stricken with terror, combined, and gathered in haste to the new standard which alone seemed to offer some hope of protection. The decayed old states crumbled away into nothingness, and the fighting kings of Vijayanagar became the saviours of the south for two and a half centuries.

And yet in the present day the very existence of this kingdom is hardly remembered in India; while its once magnificent capital, planted on the extreme northern border of its dominions and bearing the proud title of the “City of Victory,” has entirely disappeared save for a few scattered ruins of buildings that were once temples or palaces, and for the long lines of massive walls that constituted its defences. Even the name has died out of men’s minds and memories, and the remains that mark its site are known only as the ruins lying near the little village of Hampe.

Its rulers, however, in their day swayed the destinies of an empire far larger than Austria, and the city is declared by a succession of European visitors in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to have been marvellous for size and prosperity — a city with which for richness and magnificence no known western capital could compare. Its importance is shown by the fact that almost all the struggles of the Portuguese on the western coast were carried on for the purpose of securing its maritime trade; and that when the empire fell in 1565, the prosperity of Portuguese Goa fell with it never to rise again.

Our very scanty knowledge of the events that succeeded one another in the large area dominated by the kings of Vijayanagar has been hitherto derived partly from the scattered remarks of European travellers and the desultory references in their writings to the politics of the inhabitants of India; partly from the summaries compiled by careful mediaeval historians such as Barros, Couto, and Correa, who, though to a certain degree interested in the general condition of the country, yet confined themselves mostly to recording the deeds of the European colonisers for the enlightenment of their European readers; partly from the chronicles of a few Muhammadan writers of the period, who often wrote in fear of the displeasure of their own lords; and partly from Hindu inscriptions recording grants of lands to temples and religious institutions, which documents, when viewed as state papers, seldom yield us more than a few names and dates. The two chronicles, however, translated and printed at the end of this volume, will be seen to throw a flood of light upon the condition of the city of Vijayanagar early in the sixteenth century, and upon the history of its successive dynasties; and for the rest I have attempted, as an introduction to these chronicles, to collect all available materials from the different authorities alluded to and to weld them into a consecutive whole, so as to form a foundation upon which may hereafter be constructed a regular history of the Vijayanagar empire. The result will perhaps seem disjointed, crude, and uninteresting; but let it be remembered that it is only a first attempt. I have little doubt that before very long the whole history of Southern India will be compiled by some writer gifted with the power of “making the dry bones live;” but meanwhile the bones themselves must be collected and pieced together, and my duty has been to try and construct at least the main portions of the skeleton.

Before proceeding to details we must shortly glance at the political condition of India in the first half of the fourteenth century, remembering that up to that time the Peninsula had been held by a number of distinct Hindu kingdoms, those of the Pandiyans at Madura and of the Cholas at Tanjore being the most important.

The year 1001 A.D. saw the first inroad into India of the Muhammadans from over the north-west border, under their great leader Mahmud of Ghazni. He invaded first the plains of the Panjab, then Multan, and afterwards other places. Year after year he pressed forward and again retired. In 1021 he was at Kalinga; in 1023 in Kathiawar; but in no case did he make good his foothold on the country. His expeditions were raids and nothing more. Other invasions, however, followed in quick succession, and after the lapse of two centuries the Muhammadans were firmly and permanently established at Delhi. War followed war, and from that period Northern India knew no rest. At the end of the thirteenth century the Muhammadans began to press southwards into the Dakhan. In 1293 Ala-ud-din Khilji, nephew of the king of Delhi, captured Devagiri. Four years later Gujarat was attacked. In 1303 the reduction of Warangal was attempted. In 1306 there was a fresh expedition to Devagiri. In 1309 Malik Kafur, the celebrated general, with an immense force swept into the Dakhan and captured Warangal. The old capital of the Hoysala Ballalas at Dvarasamudra was taken in 1310, and Malik Kafur went to the Malabar coast where he erected a mosque, and afterwards returned to his master with enormous booty.[6] Fresh fighting took place in 1312. Six years later Mubarak of Delhi marched to Devagiri and inhumanly flayed alive its unfortunate prince, Haripala Deva, setting up his head at the gate of his own city. In 1323 Warangal fell.

Thus the period at which our history opens, about the year 1330, found the whole of Northern India down to the Vindhya mountains firmly under Moslem rule, while the followers of that faith had overrun the Dakhan and were threatening the south with the same fate. South of the Krishna the whole country was still under Hindu domination, but the supremacy of the old dynasties was shaken to its base by the rapidly advancing terror from the north. With the accession in 1325 of Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi things became worse still. Marvellous stories of his extraordinary proceedings circulated amongst the inhabitants of the Peninsula, and there seemed to be no bound to his intolerance, ambition, and ferocity.

Everything, therefore, seemed to be leading up to but one inevitable end — the ruin and devastation of the Hindu provinces; the annihilation of their old royal houses, the destruction of their religion, their temples, their cities. All that the dwellers in the south held most dear seemed tottering to its fall.

Suddenly, about the year 1344 A.D., there was a check to this wave of foreign invasion — a stop — a halt — then a solid wall of opposition; and for 250 years Southern India was saved.

The check was caused by a combination of small Hindu states — two of them already defeated, Warangal and Dvarasamudra — defeated, and therefore in all probability not over-confident; the third, the tiny principality of Anegundi. The solid wall consisted of Anegundi grown into the great empire of the Vijayanagar. To the kings of this house all the nations of the south submitted.

If a straight line be drawn on the map of India from Bombay to Madras, about half-way across will be found the River Tungabhadra, which, itself a combination of two streams running northwards from Maisur, flows in a wide circuit north and east to join the Krishna not far from Kurnool. In the middle of its course the Tungabhadra cuts through a wild rocky country lying about forty miles north-west of Bellary, and north of the railway line which runs from that place to Dharwar. At this point, on the north bank of the river, there existed about the year 1330 a fortified town called Anegundi, the “Nagundym” of our chronicles, which was the residence of a family of chiefs owning a small state in the neighbourhood. They had, in former years, taken advantage of the lofty hills of granite which cover that tract to construct a strong citadel having its base on the stream. Fordable at no point within many miles the river was full of running water at all seasons of the year, and in flood times formed in its confined bed a turbulent rushing torrent with dangerous falls in several places. Of the Anegundi chiefs we know little, but they were probably feudatories of the Hoysala Ballalas. Firishtah declares that they had existed as a ruling family for seven hundred years prior to the year 1350 A.D.[7]

The chronicle of Nuniz gives a definite account of how the sovereigns of Vijayanagar first began to acquire the power which afterwards became so extensive. This account may or may not be accurate in all details, but it at least tallies fairly with the epigraphical and other records of the time. According to him, Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi, having reduced Gujarat, marched southwards through the Dakhan Balaghat, or high lands above the western ghats, and a little previous to the year 1336[8] seized the town and fortress of Anegundi. Its chief was slain, with all the members of his family. After a futile attempt to govern this territory by means of a deputy, Muhammad raised to the dignity of chief of the state its late minister, a man whom Nuniz calls “Deorao,” for “Deva Raya.” or Harihara Deva I. The new chief founded the city of Vijayanagar on the south bank of the river opposite Anegundi and made his residence there, with the aid of the great religious teacher Madhava, wisely holding that to place the river between him and the ever-marauding Moslems was to establish himself and his people in a condition of greater security than before. He was succeeded by “one called Bucarao” (Bukka), who reigned thirty-seven years, and the next king was the latter’s son, “Pureoyre Deo” (Harihara Deva II.).

We know from other sources that part at least of this story is correct. Harihara I. and Bukka were the first two kings and were brothers, while the third king, Harihara II., was certainly the son of Bukka.

The success of the early kings was phenomenal. Ibn Batuta, who was in India from 1333 to 1342, states that even in his day a Muhammadan chief on the western coast was subject to Harihara I., whom he calls “Haraib” or “Harib,” from “Hariyappa” another form of the king’s name; while a hundred years later Abdur Razzak, envoy from Persia, tells us that the king of Vijayanagar was then lord of all Southern India, from sea to sea and from the Dakhan to Cape Comorin — “from the frontier of Serendib (Ceylon) to the extremities of the country of Kalbergah … His troops amount in number to eleven lak,” I.E. 1,100,000. Even so early as 1378 A.D., according to Firishtah,[9] the Raya of Vijayanagar was “in power, wealth, and extent of country” greatly the superior of the Bahmani king of the Dakhan.

The old southern states appear (we have little history to guide us) to have in general submitted peaceably to the rule of the new monarchy. They were perhaps glad to submit if only the dreaded foreigners could be kept out of the country. And thus by leaps and bounds the petty state grew to be a kingdom, and the kingdom expanded till it became an empire. Civil war and rebellion amongst the Muhammadans helped Harihara and Bukka in their enterprise. Sick of the tyranny and excesses of Muhammad Taghlaq, the Dakhan revolted in 1347, and the independent kingdom of the Bahmanis was for a time firmly established.

The chronicle of Nuniz opens with the following sentence: —

“In the year twelve hundred and thirty these parts of India were ruled by a greater monarch than had ever reigned. This was the king of Dili,[10] who by force of arms and soldiers made war on Cambaya for many years, taking and destroying in that period the land of Guzarate which belongs to Cambaya,[11] and in the end he became its lord.”

After this the king of Delhi advanced against Vijayanagar by way of the Balaghat.

This date is a century too early, as already pointed out. The sovereign referred to is stated in the following note (entered by Nuniz at the end of Chapter xx., which closes the historical portion of his narrative) to have been called “Togao Mamede.”

“This king of Delhi they say was a Moor, who was called Togao Mamede. He is held among the Hindus as a saint. They relate that once while he was offering prayer to God, there came to him four arms with four hands; and that every time he prayed roses fell to him from out of heaven. He was a great conqueror, he held a large part of this earth under his dominion, he subdued … (blank in original) kings, and slew them, and flayed them, and brought their skins with him; so that besides his own name, he received the nickname … which means ‘lord of … skins of kings;’ he was chief of many people.

“There is a story telling how he fell into a passion on account of (BEING GIVEN?) eighteen letters (OF THE ALPHABET TO HIS NAME?), when according to his own reckoning he was entitled to twenty-four.[12] There are tales of him which do indeed seem most marvellous of the things that he did; as, for instance, how he made ready an army because one day in the morning, while standing dressing at a window which was closed, a ray of the sun came into his eyes, and he cried out that he would not rest until he had killed or vanquished whomsoever had dared to enter his apartments while he was dressing. All his nobles could not dissuade him from his purpose, even though they told him it was the sun that had done it, a thing without which they could not live, that it was a celestial thing and was located in the sky, and that he could never do any harm to it. With all this he made his forces ready, saying that he must go in search of his enemy, and as he was going along with large forces raised in the country through which he began his march so much dust arose that it obscured the sun. When he lost sight of it he made fresh inquiries as to what the thing was, and the captains told him that there was now no reason for him to wait, and that he might return home since he had put to flight him whom he had come to seek. Content with this, the king returned by the road that he had taken in his search for the sun, saying that since his enemy had fled he was satisfied.

“Other extravagances are told of him which make him out a great lord, as, for instance, that being in the Charamaodel country he was told that certain leagues distant in the sea there was a very great island, and its land was gold, and the stones of its houses and those which were produced in the ground were rubies and diamonds: in which island there was a pagoda, whither came the angels from heaven to play music and dance. Being covetous of being the lord of this land, he determined to go there, but not in ships because he had not enough for so many people, so he began to cart a great quantity of stones and earth and to throw it into the sea in order to fill it up, so that he might reach the island; and putting this in hand with great labour he did so much that he crossed over to the island of Ceyllao, which is twelve or fifteen leagues off[13], This causeway that he made was, it is said, in course of time eaten away by the sea, and its remains now cause the shoals of Chillao. Melliquiniby,[14] his captain-general, seeing how much labour was being spent in a thing so impossible, made ready two ships in a port of Charamaodell which he loaded with much gold and precious stones, and forged some despatches as of an embassy sent in the name of the king of the island, in which he professed his obedience and sent presents; and after this the king did not proceed any further with his causeway.

“In memory of this work he made a very large pagoda, which is still there; it is a great place of pilgrimage.

“There are two thousand of these and similar stories with which I hope at some time to trouble your honour; and with other better ones, if God gives me life. I kiss your honour’s hand.”[15]

To conclusively establish the fact that this account can only refer to Muhammad Taghlaq of Delhi, who reigned from 1325 to 1351, it is necessary that we should look into the known character of that monarch and the events of his reign.

Nuniz states that his “Togao Mamede” conquered Gujarat, was at war with Bengal, and had trouble with the Turkomans on the borders of Sheik Ismail, I.E. Persia.[16] To take these in reverse order. Early in the reign of Muhammad Taghlaq vast hordes of Moghuls invaded the Panjab and advanced almost unopposed to Delhi, where the king bought them off by payment of immense sums of money. Next as to Bengal. Prior to his reign that province had been subdued, had given trouble, and had again been reduced. In his reign it was crushed under the iron hand of a viceroy from Delhi, Ghiyas-ud-din Bahadur “Bura,” who before long attempted to render himself independent. He styled himself Bahadur Shah, and issued his own coinage. In 1327 (A.H. 728) the legends on his coins acknowledge the overlordship of Delhi, but two years later they describe him as independent king of Bengal.[17] In 1333 Muhammad issued his own coinage for Bengal and proceeded against the rebel. He defeated him, captured him, flayed him alive, and causing his skin to be stuffed with straw ordered it to be paraded through the provinces of the empire as a warning to ambitious governors. With reference to Gujarat, Nuniz has been led into a slight error. Muhammad Taghlaq certainly did go there, but only in 1347. What he did do was to conquer the Dakhan. Firishtah mentions among his conquests Dvarasamudra, Malabar, Anegundi (under the name “Kampila,” for a reason that will presently be explained), Warangal, &c, and these places “were as effectually incorporated with his empire as the villages in the vicinity of Delhi.”[18] He also held Gujarat firmly. If, therefore, we venture to correct Nuniz in this respect, and say that “Togao Mamede” made war on the “Dakhan” instead of on “Gujarat,” and then advanced against Anegundi (wrongly called “Vijayanagar,” which place was not as yet founded) we shall probably be not far from the truth. The history of “Togao Mamede” so far is the history of Muhammad Taghlaq.

Then as to the extraordinary stories told of him. True or not, they apply to that sovereign. Muhammad is described by contemporary writers as having been one of the wonders of the age. He was very liberal, especially to those learned in the arts. He established hospitals for the sick and alm-houses for widows and orphans. He was the most eloquent and accomplished prince of his time. He was skilled in many sciences, such as physic, logic, astronomy, and mathematics. He studied the philosophies and metaphysics of Greece, and was very strict in religious observances.

“But,” continues Firishtah, from whom the above summary is taken, “with all these admirable qualities he was wholly devoid of mercy or consideration for his people. The punishments he inflicted were not only rigid and cruel, but frequently unjust. So little did he hesitate to spill the blood of God’s creatures that when anything occurred which excited him to proceed to that horrid extremity, one might have supposed his object was to exterminate the human species altogether. No single week passed without his having put to death one or more of the learned and holy men who surrounded him, or some of the secretaries who attended him.”

The slightest opposition to his will drove him into almost insane fury, and in these fits he allowed his natural ferocity full play. His whole life was spent in visionary schemes pursued by means equally irrational. He began by distributing enormous sums of money amongst his nobles, spending, so it is said, in one day as much as [pound sterling]500,000. He bought off the invading Moghuls by immense payments instead of repelling them by force of arms. Shortly after this he raised a huge army for the conquest of Persia, his cavalry, according to Firishtah, numbering 370,000 men. But nothing came of it except that the troops, not receiving their pay, dispersed and pillaged the country. Then he decided to try and conquer China and sent 100,000 men into the Himalayas, where almost all of them miserably perished; and when the survivors returned in despair the king put them all to death. He tried to introduce a depreciated currency into his territories as a means to wealth, issuing copper tokens for gold, which resulted in entire loss of credit and a standstill of trade. This failing to fill the treasury he next destroyed agriculture by intolerable exactions; the husbandmen abandoned their fields and took to robbery as a trade, and whole tracts became depopulated, the survivors living in the utmost starvation and misery and being despoiled of all that they possessed. Muhammad exterminated whole tribes as if they had been vermin. Incensed at the refusal of the inhabitants of a certain harassed tract to pay the inordinate demands of his subordinates, he ordered out his army as if for a hunt, surrounded an extensive tract of country, closed the circle towards the centre, and slaughtered every living soul found therein. This amusement was repeated more than once, and on a subsequent occasion he ordered a general massacre of all the inhabitants of the old Hindu city of Kanauj.[19] These horrors led of course to famine, and the miseries of the Hindus exceeded all power of description. On his return from Devagiri on one occasion he caused a tooth which he had lost to be interred in a magnificent stone mausoleum, which is still in existence at Bhir.

But perhaps the best known of his inhuman eccentricities was his treatment of the inhabitants of the great city of Delhi. Muhammad determined to transfer his capital thence to Devagiri, whose name he changed to Doulatabad. The two places are six hundred miles apart. The king gave a general order to every inhabitant of Delhi to proceed forthwith to Devagiri, and prior to the issue of this order he had the entire road lined with full-grown trees, transplanted for the purpose. The unfortunate people were compelled to obey, and thousands — including women, children, and aged persons — died by the way. Ibn Batuta, who was an eye-witness of the scenes of horror to which this gave rise, has left us the following description: —

“The Sultan ordered all the inhabitants to quit the place (Delhi), and upon some delay being evinced he made a proclamation stating that what person soever, being an inhabitant of that city, should be found in any of its houses or streets should receive condign punishment. Upon this they all went out; but his servants finding a blind man in one of the houses and a bedridden one in the other, the Emperor commanded the bedridden man to be projected from a balista, and the blind one to be dragged by his feet to Daulatabad, which is at the distance of ten days, and he was so dragged; but his limbs dropping off by the way, only one of his legs was brought to the place intended, and was then thrown into it; for the order had been that they should go to this place. When I entered Delhi it was almost a desert.”[20]

It is characteristic of Muhammad’s whimsical despotism that shortly afterwards he ordered the inhabitants of different districts to go and repeople Delhi, which they attempted to do, but with little success. Batuta relates that during the interval of desolation the king mounted on the roof of his palace, and seeing the city empty and without fire or smoke said, “Now my heart is satisfied and my feelings are appeased.”

Ibn Batuta was a member of this king’s court, and had every opportunity of forming a just conclusion. He sums up his qualities thus: —

“Muhammad more than all men loves to bestow gifts and to shed blood. At his gate one sees always some fakir who has become rich, or some living being who is put to death. His traits of generosity and valour, and his examples of cruelty and violence towards criminals, have obtained celebrity among the people. But apart from this he is the most humble of men and the one who displays the most equity; the ceremonies of religion are observed at his court; he is very severe in all that concerns prayer and the punishment that follows omission of it … his dominating quality is generosity…. It rarely happened that the corpse of some one who had been killed was not to be seen at the gate of his palace. I have often seen men killed and their bodies left there. One day I went to his palace and my horse shied. I looked before me and I saw a white heap on the ground, and when I asked what it was one of my companions said it was the trunk of a man cut into three pieces…. Every day hundreds of individuals were brought chained into his hall of audience, their hands tied to their necks and their feet bound together. Some were killed, and others were tortured or well beaten.”[21]

A man of these seemingly opposite qualities, charity, generosity, and religious fervour linked to unbridled lust for blood and an apparently overmastering desire to take life, possesses a character so bizarre, so totally opposed to Hindu ideals, that he would almost of necessity be accounted as something superhuman, monstrous, a saint with the heart of a devil, or a fiend with the soul of a saint. Hence Muhammad in the course of years gathered round his memory, centuries after his death, all the quaint tales and curious legends which an Oriental imagination could devise; and whenever his name is mentioned by the old chroniclers it is always with some extraordinary story attached to it.

Nuniz, therefore, though accurate in the main, was a century too early in his opening sentence. His “Togao Mamede” can be none other than Muhammad Taghlaq.

Henceforward this will be assumed.[22]


Origin of the Empire (A.D. 1316)

Muhammad’s capture of Kampli and Anegundi — Death of his nephew Baha-ud-din — Malik Naib made governor of Anegundi — Disturbances — Harihara Deva Raya raised to be king of Anegundi — Madhavacharya Vidyaranya — The city of Vijayanagar founded — Legends as to the origin of the new kingdom.

The city of Vijayanagar is, as already stated, generally supposed to have been founded in the year 1336, and that that date is not far from the truth may be gathered from two facts. Firstly, there is extant an inscription of the earliest real king, Harihara I. or Hariyappa, the “Haraib” of Ibn Batuta,[23] dated in A.D. 1340. Secondly, the account given by that writer of a raid southwards by Muhammad Taghlaq tallies at almost all points with the story given at the beginning of the Chronicle of Nuniz, and this raid took place in 1334.[24]

For if a comparison is made between the narrative of Batuta and the traditional account given by Nuniz as to the events that preceded and led to the foundation of Vijayanagar, little doubt will remain in the mind that both relate to the same event. According to Ibn Batuta,[25] Sultan Muhammad marched southwards against his rebel nephew, Baha-ud-din Gushtasp, who had fled to the protection of the “Rai of Kambila,” or “Kampila” as Firishtah calls the place, in his stronghold amongst the mountains. The title “Rai” unmistakably points to the Kanarese country, where the form “Raya” is used for “Rajah;” while in “Kambila” or “Kampila” we recognise the old town of Kampli, a fortified place about eight miles east of Anegundi, which was the citadel of the predecessors of the kings of Vijayanagar. Though not itself actually “amongst the mountains,” Kampli is backed by the mass of rocky hills in the centre of which the great city was afterwards situated. It is highly natural to suppose that the “Rai,” when attacked by the Sultan, would have quitted Kampli and taken refuge in the fortified heights of Anegundi, where he could defend himself with far greater chance of success than at the former place; and this would account for the difference in the names given by the two chroniclers. Ibn Batuta goes on to say that the Raya sent his guest safely away to a neighbouring chief, probably the Hoysala Ballala, king of Dvarasamudra in Maisur, then residing at Tanur. He caused a huge fire to be lit on which his wives and the wives of his nobles, ministers, and principal men immolated themselves, and this done he sallied forth with his followers to meet the invaders, and was slain. The town was taken, “and eleven sons of the Rai were made prisoners and carried to the Sultan, who made them all Mussalmans.” After the fall of the place the Sultan “treated the king’s sons with great honour, as much for their illustrious birth as for his admiration of the conduct of their father;” and Batuta adds that he himself became intimately acquainted with one of these — “we were companions and friends.”

There are only two substantial points of difference between this story and the traditional Hindu account given by Nuniz. One of these concerns the reason for the Sultan’s attack. According to the Hindus it was a war undertaken from pure greed of conquest; according to Muhammadan story it was a campaign against a rebel. The second is that while the Hindus declare that none of the blood royal escaped, Batuta distinctly mentions the survival of eleven sons, and proves his point incontestably. But this does not vitiate the general resemblance of the two accounts, while the synchronism of the dates renders it impossible to believe that they can refer to two separate events. We may suppose that since the eleven sons became followers of Islam they were for ever blotted out of account to the orthodox Hindu.

After the capture of the fortress the Sultan, according to Ibn Batuta, pursued Baha-ud-din southwards and arrived near the city of the prince with whom he had taken refuge. The chief abandoned his guest to the tender mercies of the tyrant, by whom he was condemned to a death of fiendish barbarity.

“The Sultan ordered the prisoner to be taken to the women his relations, and these insulted him and spat upon him. Then he ordered him to be skinned alive, and as his skin was torn off his flesh was cooked with rice. Some was sent to his children and his wife, and the remainder was put into a great dish and given to the elephants to eat, but they would not touch it. The Sultan ordered his skin to be stuffed with straw, to be placed along with the remains of Bahadur Bura,[26] and to be exhibited through the country.”

To continue briefly the story given by Nuniz. After the capture of Anegundi in 1334 the Sultan left Malik Naib (whom Nuniz calls “Enybiquymelly” in his second chapter, and “Mileque neby,” “Meliquy niby,” and “Melinebiquy” in the third) as his local governor, and retired northwards. The country rose against the usurpers, and after a time the Sultan restored the principality to the Hindus, but made a new departure by raising to be Raya the former chief minister Deva Raya, called “Deorao” or “Dehorao” by Nuniz. He reigned seven years. During his reign this chief was one day hunting amongst the mountains south of the river when a hare, instead of fleeing from his dogs, flew at them and bit them.[27] The king, astonished at this marvel, was returning homewards lost in meditation, when he met on the river-bank the sage Madhavacharya, surnamed VIDYARANYA or “Forest of Learning,” — for so we learn from other sources to name the anchorite alluded to — who advised the chief to found a city on the spot. “And so the king did, and on that very day began work on his houses, and he enclosed the city round about; and that done, he left Nagumdym, and soon filled the new city with people. And he gave it the name VYDIAJUNA, for so the hermit called himself who had bidden him construct it.”[28]

Thus, in or about the year A.D. 1336, sprung into existence the great city which afterwards became so magnificent and of such wide-spread fame.

The chronicle continues by saying that the king constructed in the city of Vijayanagar a magnificent temple in honour of the sage. This temple I take to be the great temple near the river, still in use and known as the temple of Hampi or Hampe, having a small village clustering about it. On the rocks above it, close to a group of more modern Jain temples, is to be seen a small shrine built entirely, roof as well as walls, of stone. Everything about this little relic proves it to be of greater antiquity than any other structure in the whole circuit of the hills, but its exact age is doubtful. It looks like a building of the seventh century A.D. Mr. Rea, superintendent of the Madras Archaeological Survey, in an article published in the MADRAS CHRISTIAN COLLEGE MAGAZINE for December 1886, points out that the fact of mortar having been used in its construction throws a doubt upon its being as old as its type of architecture would otherwise make it appear. It is quite possible, however, that the shrine may have been used by a succession of recluses, the last of whom was the great teacher Madhava. If we stand on that rock and imagine all the great ruins of the city visible from thence, the palaces and temples, the statues and towers and walls, to be swept out of existence, we have around us nothing but Nature in one of her wildest moods — lofty hills near and far, formed almost entirely of huge tumbled boulders of granite, but with trees and grass on all the low ground. It was a lonely spot, separated by the river from the mere inhabited country on the farther side, where dwelt the chiefs of Anegundi, and was just such as would have been chosen for their abode by the ascetics of former days, who loved to dwell in solitude and isolation amid scenes of grandeur and beauty.

We shall, however, in all probability never know whether this hermit, whose actual existence at the time is attested by every tradition regarding the origin of Vijayanagar, was really the great Madhava or another less celebrated sage, on whom by a confusion of ideas his name has been foisted. Some say that Madhavacharya lived entirely at Sringeri.

There are a number of other traditions relating to the birth of the city and empire of Vijayanagar.

One has it that two brothers named Bukka and Harihara, who had been in the service of the king of Warangal at the time of the destruction of that kingdom by the Muhammadans in 1323, escaped with a small body of horse to the hill country about Anegundi, being accompanied in their flight by the Brahman Madhava or Madhavacharya Vidyaranya, and by some means not stated became lords of that tract, afterwards founding the city of Vijayanagar.[29]

Another states that the two brothers were officers in the service of the Muhammadan governor of Warangal subsequent to its first capture in 1309. They were despatched against the Hoysala Ballala sovereign in the expedition under the command of Malik Kafur in 1310, which resulted in the capture of the Hindu capital, Dvarasamudra; but the portion of the force to which the brothers belonged suffered a defeat, and they fled to the mountainous tract near Anegundi. Here they met the holy Madhava, who was living the life of a recluse, and by his aid they established the kingdom and capital city.

A variant of this relates that the two brothers for some reason fled direct from Warangal to Anegundi. This account redounds more to their honour as Hindus. Though compelled first to accept service under their conquerors, their patriotism triumphed in the end, and they abandoned the flesh pots of Egypt to throw in their luck with their co-religionists.

A fourth story avers that the hermit Madhava himself founded the city after the discovery of a hidden treasure, ruled over it himself, and left it after his death to a Kuruba family who established the first regular dynasty.

A fifth, mentioned by Couto,[30] who fixes the date as 1220, states that while Madhava was living his ascetic life amongst the mountains he was supported by meals brought to him by a poor shepherd called Bukka, “and one day the Brahman said to him, ‘Thou shalt be king and emperor of all Industan.’ The other shepherds learned this, and began to treat this shepherd with veneration and made him their head; and he acquired the name of ‘king,’ and began to conquer his neighbours, who were five in number, viz., Canara, Taligas, Canguivarao, Negapatao, and he of the Badagas, and he at last became lord of all and called himself Boca Rao.” He was attacked by the king of Delhi, but the latter was defeated and retired, whereupon Bukka established a city “and called it Visaja Nagar, which we corruptly call Bisnaga; and we call all the kingdom by that name, but the natives amongst themselves always call it the ‘kingdom of Canara.’ ” Couto’s narrative seems to be a mixture of several stories. His wrong date points to his having partly depended upon the original chronicle of Nuniz, or the summary of it published by Barros; while the rest of the tale savours more of Hindu romance than of historical accuracy. He retains, however, the tradition of an attack by the king of Delhi and the latter’s subsequent retirement.

Another authority suggests that Bukka and Harihara may have been feudatories of the Hoysala Ballalas.

Nikitin, the Russian traveller, who was in India in 1474, seems to favour the view that they belonged to the old royal house of the Kadambas of Banavasi, since he speaks of “the Hindoo Sultan Kadam,” who resided at “Bichenegher.”[31]

Here we have a whole bundle of tales and traditions to account for the origin of the great kingdom, and can take our choice. There are many others also. Perhaps the most reasonable account would be one culled from the general drift of the Hindu legends combined with the certainties of historical fact; and from this point of view we may for the present suppose that two brothers, Hindus of the Kuruba caste, who were men of strong religious feeling, serving in the treasury of the king of Warangal, fled from that place on its sack and destruction in 1323 and took service under the petty Rajah of Anegundi. Both they and their chiefs were filled with horror and disgust at the conduct of the marauding Moslems, and pledged themselves to the cause of their country and their religion. The brothers rose to be minister and treasurer respectively at Anegundi. In 1334 the chief gave shelter to Baha-ud-din, nephew of Muhammad of Delhi, and was attacked by the Sultan. Anegundi fell, as narrated by Batuta, and the Sultan retired, leaving Mallik as his deputy to rule the state. Mallik found the people too strong for him, and eventually the Sultan restored the country to the Hindus, raising to be rajah and minister respectively the two brothers who had formerly been minister and treasurer. These were Harihara I. (“Hukka”) and Bukka I.

The First Vijayanagar Dynasty

[The following shows the pedigree of this dynasty as given in the EPIGRAPHIA INDICA (iii. p. 36). Inscriptions not yet satisfactorily examined will probably add to the information given.]


The First Kings (A.D. 1336 to 1379)

Rapid acquisition of territory — Reign of Harihara I. — Check to Muhammadan aggression — Reign of Bukka I. — Kampa and Sangama? — The Bahmani kingdom established, 1347 — Death of Nagadeva of Warangal — Vijayanagar’s first great war — Massacres by Muhammad Bahmani — Battle at Adoni, 1366 — Flight of Bukka — Mujahid’s war, 1375 — He visits the Malabar coast — Siege of Vijayanagar — Extension of territory — Death of Mujahid, 1378.

The city of Vijayanagar, thus founded about the year 1335, speedily grew in importance and became the refuge of the outcasts, refugees, and fighting men of the Hindus, beaten and driven out of their old strongholds by the advancing Muhammadans.

The first rulers of Vijayanagar, however, did not dare to call themselves kings, nor did even the Brahmans do so who composed the text of their early inscriptions. It is for this reason that I have spoken of Harihara I. and Bukka I. as “Chiefs.” The inscription referred to of Harihara in 1340 calls him “Hariyappa VODEYA,” the former name being less honourable than “Harihara,” and the latter definitely entitling him to rank only as a chieftain. Moreover, the Sanskrit title given him is MAHAMANDALESVARA, which may be translated “great lord” — not king. And the same is the case with his successor, Bukka, in two inscriptions,[32] one of which is dated in 1353. Already in 1340 Harihara is said to have been possessed of very large territories, and he was the acknowledged overlord of villages as far north as the Kaladgi district, north of the Malprabha, a country that had been overrun by Muhammad Taghlaq. That this was not a mere empty boast is shown by the fact that a fort was built in that year at Badami by permission of Harihara.

And thus we see the first chief of Vijayanagar quietly, and perhaps peacefully, acquiring great influence and extensive possessions. These so rapidly increased that Bukka’s successor, Harihara II., styles himself RAJADHIRAJA, “king of kings,” or emperor.

But to revert to the first king Harihara, or, as Nuniz calls him, “Dehorao,” for DEVA RAYA. He reigned, according to our chronicle, seven years, “and did nothing therein but pacify the kingdom, which he left in complete tranquillity.” His death, if this be so, would have taken place about the year 1343. Nuniz relates that he founded a temple in honour of the Brahman hermit, his protector. This was the great temple at Hampe close to the river, which is still in full preservation and is the only one among the massive shrines erected at the capital in which worship is still carried on; the others were remorselessly wrecked and destroyed by the Muhammadans in 1565. As already stated, the traveller Ibn Batuta refers to this king under the name of “Haraib” or “Harib” in or about the year 1342. If the traditions collated by Nuniz, according to which Harihara I. lived at peace during the seven years of his reign, be true, his death must have occurred before 1344, because in that year, as we learn from other sources, Krishna, son of Pratapa Rudra of Warangal, took refuge at Vijayanagar, and, in concert with its king and with the surviving Ballala princes of Dvarasamudra, drove back the Muhammadans, rescued for a time part of the Southern Dakhan country, and prepared the way for the overthrow of the sovereignty of Delhi south of the Vindhyas. I take it, therefore, that Harihara died in or about the year A.D. 1343.

As to his having reigned quietly, I know of only one statement to the contrary. An inscription of Samgama II. recording a grant in 1356, and referred to below, states that Harihara I. “defeated the Sultan;” but perhaps this only alludes to the fact that Muhammad Taghlaq had to abandon his hold on the country.

The next king was Harihara’s brother, Bukka I. (“Bucarao”), and according to Nuniz he reigned thirty-seven years, conquering in that time all the kingdoms of the south, even including Orissa (Orya). Without laying too much stress on conquests by force of arms, it seems certain that most if not all Southern India submitted to his rule, probably only too anxious to secure a continuance of Hindu domination in preference to the despotism of the hated followers of Islam.[33] According to the chronicle, therefore, the death of Bukka I., as we must call him, took place about the year A.D. 1380. As to inscriptions of his reign, Dr. Hultzsch[34] mentions that they cover the period from about 1354 to 1371, while the first inscription of his successor, Harihara II., is dated in 1379.[35] If, then, we assume that Bukka I. reigned till 1379, we find the chronicle so far accurate that Bukka I. did in fact reign thirty-six years, though not thirty-seven — A.D. 1343 to 1379.

But meanwhile we have another story from an inscription on copper-plates which is to be seen preserved in the Collector’s office at Nellore.[36] It has been carefully edited by Mr. H. Krishna Sastri. According to this it would appear that Bukka I., who undoubtedly was a man of war, usurped the throne. It asserts that the father of Harihara I., who was named Samgama, had five sons. The eldest was Harihara himself, the second Kampa, and the third Bukka. We want to know who succeeded Harihara. There is extant an inscription of Bukka dated in 1354, and there is this Nellore inscription dated in 1356. The latter comes from a far-off country near the eastern coast, and it relates that Kampa succeeded Harihara, and that Samgama II., son of Kampa, succeeded his father, and granted a village in the Nellore district to the Brahmans on a date which corresponds to May 3, A.D. 1356. It implies that Samgama had succeeded his father Kampa exactly a year previous to the grant. Thus it claims that Kampa was king from 1343 to 1355. We know nothing more of this, and there is only one other document at present known to exist which was executed in the reign either of Kampa or of Samgama This is alluded to by Mr. Krishna Sastri, who refers us to the colophon of the MADHAVIYA DHATUVRITTI, according to which its author, Sayanacharya, uterine brother of the great Madhavacharya, was minister to king Samgama, son of Kampa. The only possible inference is that the succession to Harihara was disputed, and that somehow Bukka got the upper hand and at least as early as 1354 declared himself king, afterwards claiming to have immediately succeeded Harihara. It will be seen farther on that in almost every case the kingdom was racked with dissension on the demise of the sovereign, and that year after year the members of the reigning family were subjected to violence and murder in order that one or other of them might establish himself as head of the State.

On the assumption, therefore, that the reign of Bukka I. lasted from 1343 to 1379, we turn to Firishtah to learn what were this king’s relations with the followers of Islam, now supreme on the north of the Krishna.

Just after his accession, as it would appear, occurred the successful campaign alluded to above, in which a combination of Hindus from different States drove back the invaders. Here is Firishtah’s account of what took place.[37] He is speaking of the year A.H. 744, which lasted from May 26, A.D. 1343, to May 15, 1344, and he says that Krishna Naik, son of Rudra Deva of Warangal, went privately to Ballala Deva and urged him to join a combination of Hindus with the view of driving out the Muhammadans from the Dakhan. The Ballala prince consented, and Krishna Naik promised, when the preparations were complete, to raise all the Hindus of Telingana and place himself at their head.

Ballala Deva then built the city of Vijayanagar,[38] raised an army, and the war began. Warangal, then in the hands of the Muhammadans, was reduced, and its governor, Imad-ul-Mulkh, retreated to Daulatabad or Devagiri. The two chiefs then induced other Rajahs of the Malabar and Kanara countries to join them, and the joint forces seized the whole of the Dakhan and expelled the Muhammadans there, “so that within a few months Muhammad Taghlak had no possessions in that quarter except Daulatabad.”

So far the Muhammadan historian. It is necessary to observe that this success of the Hindus was only temporary, for their enemies still swarmed in the Dakhan, and immediately after this contest the Hindus appear to have retired south of the Krishna, leaving the distracted country a prey to temporary anarchy. This, however, was of short duration, for though the domination of the Sultan of Delhi in that tract was completely destroyed, yet three years later, viz, on Friday the 24th Rabi-al-akhir A.H. 748, according to Firishtah, a date which corresponds to Friday, August 3, A.D. 1347, Ala-ud-din Bahmani was crowned sovereign of the Dakhan at Kulbarga, establishing a new dynasty which lasted for about 140 years.

A few years after this there was a successful invasion of the Carnatic country by Ala-ud-Din; but though the army returned with some booty Firishtah does not claim for him a decisive victory. He does, however, claim that the new Sultan extended his territory as far south as the river Tungabhadra, “the vicinity of the fortress of Adoni.” Ala-ud-din died at the age of sixty-seven on Sunday, February 2, A.D. 1358,[39] and was succeeded by Muhammad Shah. The Raya of Vijayanagar had presented Ala-ud-din with a ruby of inestimable price, and this, set in a bird of paradise composed of precious stones, the Sultan placed in the canopy over his throne; but some say that this was done by Muhammad, and that the ruby was placed above his umbrella of State.

Early in the reign of Muhammad it was discovered that the gold and silver coins of the Bahrami Sultans were being melted down in large quantities by the Hindus of Vijayanagar and Warangal, and numbers of the merchants were put to death. At the same time Bukka I., supported by his friend at Warangal, demanded the restoration of certain territories,[40] and as the Sultan was not ready for war, he “during a year and a half kept the ambassadors of the Raies at his court, and sent his own to Beejanugger to amuse his enemies.” Finally he resolved on war, and made extravagant counter-demands on the Hindus. Bukka joined forces with Warangal, and Muhammad waged war on the latter state, plundering the country up to the capital, and retiring only on receipt of a large indemnity. Firishtah does not relate that any further campaign was at that time initiated, and we are therefore free to suppose that the Muhammadans were unable to press their advantage. Warangal was not long left in peace, and it may be well to glance at its subsequent history before returning to the events of the reign of Bukka at Vijayanagar.

After an interval, enraged at an insult offered or supposed to have been offered by the Rajah of Warangal, Muhammad made a rapid advance to the former’s city of “Vellunputtun,” as it is spelt by Firishtah, or “Filampatan,” according to the author of the BURHAN-I-MAASIR. He seized it, slaughtered the inhabitants without mercy, and captured the unfortunate prince Vinayaka Deva.[41] The Sultan “commanded a pile of wood to be lighted before the citadel, and putting Nagdeo in an engine (catapult), had him shot from the walls into the flames, in which he was consumed.” After a few days’ rest the Sultan retired, but was followed and harassed by large bodies of Hindus and completely routed. Only 1500 men returned to Kulbarga, and the Sultan himself received a severe wound in his arm.

This was followed by a joint embassy from Bukka of Vijayanagar and the prince of Warangal to the Sultan of Delhi, in which they offered to act in conjunction with him should an army be sent southwards by that monarch in order to regain his lost power in the Dakhan; “but Feroze Shah, being too much employed with domestic commotions to assist them, did not attend to their representations.” Thus encouraged, Muhammad assembled fresh forces and despatched them in two divisions against Warangal and Golkonda. The expedition was successful and the Rajah submitted, the Sultan receiving Golkonda, an immense treasure, and a magnificent throne as the price of peace. The throne was set with precious stones of great value, and being still further enriched by subsequent sovereigns was at one time valued at four millions sterling.[42] Warangal finally fell in A.D. 1424, and was annexed to the Bahmani kingdom, thus bringing the Muhammadans down to the River Krishna all along its length except in the neighbourhood of the east coast.

Now for the principal events of Bukka’s reign and the affairs of Vijayanagar. The story deepens in interest from about the year 1365, and for two centuries we can follow the fortunes of the Hindu kingdom without much difficulty.

Early in A.D. 1366[43] the Sultan opened his first regular campaign against Vijayanagar. Originating in an after-dinner jest, it ended only after such slaughter that Firishtah computes the victims on the Hindu side alone as numbering no less than half a million. The story is told us by an eye-witness, one Mullah Daud of Bidar, who was seal-bearer to Sultan Muhammad.[44]

“One evening, when the spring of the garden of mirth had infused the cheek of Mahummud Shaw with the rosy tinge of delight, a band of musicians sung two verses of Ameer Khoossroo in praise of kings, festivity, and music. The Sultan was delighted beyond measure, and commanded Mallek Syef ad Dien Ghoree to give the three hundred performers a draft for a gratuity on the treasury of the roy of Beejanuggur. The minister, though he judged the order the effect of wine, in compliance with the humour of the Sultan wrote it, but did not despatch it. However, Mahummud Shaw penetrated his thoughts. The next day he inquired if the draft had been sent to the roy, and being answered, not, exclaimed, ‘Think you a word without meaning could escape my lips? I did not give the order in intoxication, but serious design.’ Mallek Syef ad Dien upon this, affixed the royal seal to the draft, and despatched it by express messenger to the roy of Beejanuggur. The roy, haughty and proud of his independence, placed the presenter of the draft on an ass’s back, and, parading him through all the quarters of Beejanuggur, sent him back with every mark of contempt and derision. He also gave immediate orders for assembling his troops, and prepared to attack the dominions of the house of Bhamenee. With this intent he marched with thirty thousand horse, three thousand elephants, and one hundred thousand foot to the vicinity of the fortress of Oodnee;[45] from whence he sent detachments to destroy and lay waste the country of the faithful.”

The Raya, in spite of the season being that of the rains, pressed forward to Mudkal, an important city in the Raichur Doab, or the large triangle of country lying west of the junction of the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers, a territory which was ever a debatable ground between the Hindus and Mussulmans, and the scene of constant warfare for the next 200 years. Mudkal was captured, and all the inhabitants, men, women, and children, put to the sword. One man only escaped and carried the news to Kulbarga.

“Mahummud Shaw, on hearing it, was seized with a transport of grief and rage, in which he commanded the unfortunate messenger to be instantly put to death; exclaiming that he could never bear in his presence a wretch who could survive the sight of the slaughter of so many brave companions.”

The same day — I.E. on a day in A.H. 767, in the month of Jamad-ul-awwal, which lasted from January to February 13, A.D. 1366 — the Sultan marched southwards taking a solemn oath —

“that till he should have put to death one hundred thousand infidels, as an expiation for the massacre of the faithful, he would never sheathe the sword of holy war nor refrain from slaughter. When he reached the banks of the Kistna, he swore by the power who had created and exalted him to dominion, that eating or sleep should be unlawful for him till he had crossed that river in face of the enemy, by the blessing of heaven routed their army, and gladdened the souls of the martyrs of Mudkul with the blood of their murderers. He then appointed his son Mujahid Shaw to succeed him, and Mallek Syef ad Dien regent of his kingdom. He resigned all his elephants, except twenty, to the prince, gave him his advice, and sent him back to Kulbarga. He then crossed the river with nine thousand chosen horse without delay. The roy of Beejanuggur, notwithstanding his vast army, was so alarmed[46] that he sent off all his treasure, valuable baggage, and elephants towards his capital, intending to engage the next morning, or retreat, as he should find it adviseable. The night being stormy and heavy rain falling, the elephants and other beasts of burden stuck frequently in the mud,[47] and were not able to advance above four miles from the camp. Mahummud Shaw heard of the enemy’s movement during the night, and immediately marched towards them, leaving his encampment standing. Towards the dawn he arrived at the roy’s camp, and the alarm being given, so great was the confusion, that the infidels fled with the utmost precipitation towards the fortress of Oodnee, leaving everything behind them. Mahummud Shaw entered the camp of their market and baggage, putting all to death without any distinction; and it is said that the slaughter amounted to seventy thousand men, women, and children.”

Muhammad passed the hot weather and the season of the early rains that year near Mudkal, and after being reinforced marched against Adoni — “in the plains of which, on the banks of the Tummedra (Tungabhadra), the roy of Beejanuggur had taken up his station in his own territories, having given the command of Oodnee to his sister’s son. Here he had collected a great army, and brought elephants and all the splendid insignia of empire from Beejanuggur.”[48]

The Sultan had with him a train of artillery[49] and in a short time crossed the Tungabhadra, “and entered the domains of Beejanuggur, which were now for the first time invaded by a Muhammadan sovereign in person.” This remark of Firishtah’s is historically correct, for the Delhi Sultan’s attack on Anegundi took place on the north bank of that river.

Before continuing the story I must note that Firishtah calls the king of Vijayanagar “Kishen Roy,” otherwise Krishna Raya; but there can be no doubt that his real name was Bukka. The historian collected his information more than two hundred years after these events, and often misnamed the Hindu kings of whom he writes.

Muhammad, then, crossed the Tungabhadra, and only about twenty-five miles intervened between him and the great fortress of Adoni, which is situated on a precipitous range of hills about that distance from the river. The Tungabhadra at this portion of its course may be considered as forming the arc, west to north, of a quarter circle having Adoni for its centre, the radius roughly measuring about twenty-five miles. The river is fordable at most seasons of the year, lying as it does in a shallow rocky bed with low banks. It is difficult to locate with any certainty the scenes of this campaign, but I gather generally that, finding the Muhammadans aiming at the reduction of Adoni, Bukka marched out with a very large force to intercept this move, and placed himself on the south bank of the Tungabhadra, In the neighbourhood of the threatened fortress. The Sultan crossed somewhere near the present town of Siruguppa, and the great battle that ensued took place in the open cotton-plains, perhaps near Kavutal (“Kowtall” on the Ordnance Map).

Here is Firishtah’s account:[50] —

“Roy Kishen Roy (I.E. Bukka), on receiving the intelligence (that Muhammad had crossed), called together all the first nobles of his court, and consulted on the best mode of opposing the mussulmauns. It was agreed that Hoje Mul,[51] a maternal relation to the roy and commander of his armies, should have the conduct of the war. Hoje Mul, vain to excess, on receiving his command, asked the roy if he should bring the prince of the mussulmauns alive a prisoner into his presence, or present him only his head upon a spear. Kishen Roy replied, that a living enemy, in any situation, was not agreeable, therefore he had better put him to death as soon as he should take him. Hoje Mul, having received his dismission marched to oppose Mahummud Shaw with forty thousand horse and five hundred thousand foot. He commanded the Bramins to deliver every day to the troops discourses on the meritoriousness of slaughtering the mahummedans, in order to excite zeal for expelling them. He ordered them to describe the butchery of cows,[52] the insults to sacred images, and destroying of temples, practised by the true believers.

“Mahummud Shaw, when the enemy arrived within fifteen coss[53] of his camp, commanded his general, Khan Mahummud, to muster the troops, who were found to be fifteen thousand horse and fifty thousand foot. Ten thousand horse and thirty thousand foot, with all the artillery, he advanced under Khan Mahummud Khan.

“On the 14th of Zeekaud (A.H. 767, or Thursday, July 23, A.D. 1366), the armies of light and darkness met. From the dawn till four in the afternoon, like the waves of the ocean, they continued in warm conflict with each other, and great numbers were slain on both sides. Mooseh Khan and Eeseh Khan, who commanded the right and left wings of Khan Mahummud’s line, drank the sherbet of martyrdom, and their troops broke; which misfortune had nearly given a blow to the army of Islaam. At this instant Mahummud Shaw appeared with three thousand fresh horse. This restored the spirits of Khan Mahummud as also of the disordered troops, who rallied and joined him. Mukkrib Khan, advancing with the artillery, was not wanting in execution, greatly disordering the enemy’s horse and foot. He asked leave to charge and complete the rout. Khan Mahummud upon this, detached a number of the nobility to support him, and permitted him to advance; which he did with such rapidity that the infidels had not time to use fireworks (I.E. cannon), but cane to short weapons such as swords and daggers. At this time an elephant, named Sheer Shikar,[54] belonging to Khan Mahummud, refused the guidance of his driver, and rushed into the center of the enemy’s line, where he was stopped by the elephants of Hoje Mul Roy, and his driver was killed. Khan Mahummud with five hundred horse followed, and the elephant becoming unruly, turned upon the enemy, throwing their ranks into confusion. Hoje Mul Roy, after receiving a mortal wound, fled, and his followers no longer made resistance. The infidels, seeing their center broke, fled on all sides. The scymetars of the faithful were not yet sheathed from slaughter when the royal umbrella appeared. The sultan gave orders to renew the massacre of the unbelievers. They were executed with such strictness that pregnant women, and even children at the breast, did not escape the sword.

“Mahummud Shaw halted a week on the field, and dispatched accounts of his victory to his own dominions. In performance of his vow of massacre he next marched towards the camp of Kishen Roy, who, thinking himself unable to oppose notwithstanding his numerous force, fled to the woods and mountains for shelter. The sultan followed him from place to place for three months, putting to death all who came in his way, without distinction. At length Kishen Roy took the road of Beejanuggur, his capital. The sultan, pursuing, soon arrived with his army near the city.”

To make a long story short, the Sultan besieged Vijayanagar in vain for a month, and then retreated across the Tungabhadra, harassed at every step by masses of the Hindus from the city. He halted at last in an open plain, and the king also pitched his camp at no great distance. Muhammad’s retreat had been deliberately carried out in order to draw on his enemy, and cause him by over-confidence to neglect proper precautions. The ruse was successful. The Muhammadans made a sudden and unexpected night-attack. Bukka (called, as before, “Kishen”) was off his guard, having indulged in wine and the amusements provided by a band of dancing-women. The slaughter was terrible, and the Raya fled to Vijayanagar, ten thousand of his troops being slain; — “But this did not satisfy the rage of the sultan, who commanded the inhabitants of every place round Beejanuggur to be massacred without mercy.”

Then Bukka tried to make peace, but the Sultan refused.

“At this time a favourite remarked to the sultan that he had only sworn to slaughter one hundred thousand Hindoos, and not totally to destroy their race The sultan replied that though twice the number of his vow might have been slain, yet till the roy should submit, and satisfy the musicians, he would not pardon him or spare the lives of his subjects. To this the ambassadors, who had full powers, agreed, and the money was paid at the instant. Mahummud Shaw then said, ‘Praise be to God that what I ordered has been performed. I would not let a light word be recorded of me in the pages of time!’ ”

The ambassadors then pleaded that no religion ordained that the innocent, and particularly helpless women and children, should suffer for the guilty: —

“If Kishen Roy had been faulty, the poor and wretched had not been partakers in his crimes. Mahummud Shaw replied that the decrees of providence had so ordered, and that he had no power to alter them.”

The ambassadors finally urged that as the two nations were neighbours, it were surely best to avoid unnecessary cruelty, which would only embitter their relations with one another; and this argument had effect.

“Mahummud Shaw was struck by their remarks, and took an oath that he would not in future put to death a single enemy after victory, and would bind his successors to observe the same lenity.”

For some years, no doubt, the promise was fulfilled, but we read of wholesale massacres perpetrated by sovereigns of later date. As to Muhammad, Firishtah glories in the statement that he had slaughtered 500,000 Hindus, and so wasted the districts of the Carnatic that for several decades they did not recover their natural population.

Thus ended the war, and for some years there was peace between Vijayanagar and Kulbarga.

Muhammad Shah died on 21st April A.D. 1375,[55] and was succeeded by his son Mujahid, then nineteen years old. Shortly after his accession Mujahid wrote to Bukka Raya (still called “Kishen Roy” by Firishtah[56]), “that as some forts and districts between the Kistnah and Tummedra (Tungabhadra) rivers were held by them in participation, which occasioned constant disagreements, he must for the future limit his confines to the Tummedra, and give up all on the eastern side to him, with the fort of Beekapore and some other places.” This “Beekapore” is the important fortress of Bankapur, south of Dharwar. The Dakhani sovereigns always looked on it with covetous eyes, as it lay on the direct route from Vijayanagar to the sea, and its possession would paralyse Hindu trade.

The Raya replied by a counter-demand that the Sultan should evacuate the whole of the Doab, since Raichur and Mudkal had always belonged to the Anegundi family. Bukka declared the Krishna river to be the true boundary, and asked that the elephants taken by Sultan Muhammad should be restored.

The Sultan’s answer was a declaration of war. He advanced in person, crossed both the rivers, and arrived before Adoni. On hearing that the Raya was encamped on the bank of the Tungabhadra, he left one force to besiege the fortress, sent another to advance towards Vijayanagar, and himself marched, probably in a north-westerly direction, towards the river, “by slow marches and with great caution.” The Hindu prince at first prepared to receive his attack, but for some reason[57] lost heart and retired to the forests on the hills of Sandur, south of his capital.

Firishtah here pays a tribute to the interest felt by the inhabitants of this part of India in the new city, then only forty years old, but evidently growing in grandeur year by year.

“Mujahid Shaw, having heard great praises of the beauty of the city, advanced to Beejanuggur; but thinking it too strong to besiege at present, he moved in pursuit of the enemy in the field.”

Now follows a passage on which it is difficult to place full reliance, but which only echoes common tradition. It runs to the effect that, on the advance of the Sultan, the Raya

“fled through the woods and hills towards Seet Bunder Ramessar followed by the sultan, who cut passages for his cavalry; through forests before inaccessible. In this manner the roy fled from place to place for six months, but never dared to appear without the woods. It was in vain that the favourites of the sultan represented the pursuit as fruitless and destructive to the troops. He would not desist. At last his good fortune prevailed. The health of Kishen Roy and his family became affected by the noxious air of the woods, and they were warned to quit them by the physicians…. Driven by necessity, he retired by secret paths to his capital of Beejanuggur. The sultan despatched an army after him, while he himself, with the ameer al amra Bahadur Khan and five thousand men, went to amuse himself with the sight of Seet Bunda Ramessar.

“The sultan at this place repaired a mosque which had been built by the officers of Sultan Alla ad Dien Khiljee. He broke down many temples of the idolaters, and laid waste their country after which he hastened with all expedition to Beejanuggur.”

It is a fact that a mosque is declared to have been erected by Malik Kafur on the sea-coast in 1310, but apparently not at Ramesvaram, which lies in the extreme south of India, on the eastern coast opposite the island of Ceylon. Moreover, it is extremely improbable that a Muhammadan sovereign could, in the fourteenth century A.D., have penetrated so far south with such a handful of men. They would have been harassed at every step by myriads of Hindus, who, though doubtless trembling at the sight of a Muhammadan, would, we may be sure, never have permitted 5000 men to traverse in peace 1000 miles of forest and mountain; for Ramesvaram is fully 500 miles from Vijayanagar. Malik Kafur’s expedition is said to have taken place after the conquest by him of the Ballala Rajah of Dvarasamudra in Maisur, when he erected a mosque on the SEA-COAST OF MALABAR, and therefore nowhere near Ramesvaram. Colonel Briggs has observed this difficulty,[58] and thinks that the place alluded to must be Sadasivaghur, on the western coast,) south of Goa, adding, “The spot … is called Cape Ramas on our maps.”[59] He believes, however, that the remains of an old mosque do exist at Ramesvaram, and its date should be settled. Leaving it to others better informed to throw light on this point, I return to Bukka Raya and his doings.

Firishtah says that there were two roads to Vijayanagar:

“one fit for the passage of armies, the other narrow and difficult. As the former was lined with ambushes, he chose the latter, through which he marched with a select-body of troops, and appeared suddenly in the suburbs of the city.”

If Mujahid came up from the Malabar coast, the former of these two roads would perhaps be the usual route adopted by travellers, which leads through open undulating plains. Avoiding this route, the Sultan may have turned the Sandur hills by a flank movement to his right, and approached either along the valley of Sandur or along the valley which now carries the main road from Bellary to Vijayanagar, between the Sandur hills and the hills that surround the latter city.

“Kishen Roy was astonished at his boldness, and sent myriads of his people to defend the streets. The sultan drove them before him and gained the bank of a piece of water which alone now divided him from the citadel, in which Kishen Roy resided. Near this was an eminence, upon which stood a temple covered with plates of gold and silver set with jewels, much venerated by the Hindoos, and called in the language of the country Puttuk. The sultan, esteeming the destruction of it as a religious obligation, ascended the hill, and having razed the temple, possessed himself of the precious metals and jewels.”

The piece of water alluded to may have been the picturesque lake at Kamalapuram; but which was the temple that Mujahid destroyed? It seems useless to speculate, considering that the historian only wrote from tradition after a lapse of two centuries. There are many temples on hills to choose from, and several pieces of water. But the strangest part of the story is that we are not told how the Sultan succeeded in penetrating the outer lines of works, and in reaching a spot which divided him only from the inner citadel or palace enclosure. It must, however, be remembered that though in A.D. 1443 Abdur Razzak saw seven lines of walls, we are not certain how many there were in the days of Bukka Raya.

At this point Mujahid was attacked and nearly lost his life.

“The idolaters, upon seeing their object of veneration destroyed, raised their shrieks and lamentations to the sky. They obliged Kishen Roy to head them and advanced resolutely in astonishing numbers. Upon which the sultan formed his disposition. He laid aside his umbrella, and with one of his arms-bearers, an Afghaun named Mhamood, crossed a small rivulet to observe the numbers and motions of the infidels. A Hindoo, who knew the sultan from the horse he rode, resolved, by revenging the destruction of his gods and country, to gain immortal reputation for himself. He moved unperceived through the hollows and broken ground along the bank of the rivulet, had gained the plain, and was charging towards the sultan at full speed, when Mujahid Shaw, at a lucky instant, perceiving him, made a sign to Mhamood Afghaun, who without delay charged the Hindoo. Mhamood’s horse rearing, he fell to the ground. His antagonist, having every advantage, was on the point of putting him to death, when sultan Mujahid Shaw advanced with the quickness of lightning. The Hindoo, changing his object, aimed a heavy stroke at the sultan, giving at the same instant a shout of triumph, which made the spectators believe his blow was effectual. Luckily, a helmet of iron saved the head of the sultan, who now inflicted such a wound on his enemy that he was divided from the shoulder to the navel and fell dead from his horse,[60] upon which the sultan remounted Mhamood and joined his army on the other side of the rivulet.”

A battle ensued in which the Hindus were defeated; but while the invading force had hardly recovered from their fatigue, the Raya’s brother[61] “arrived at the city from his government with a reinforcement of twenty thousand horse and a vast army of foot”[62] The fighting then became furious. In the middle of the battle the Sultan’s uncle, Daud Khan,[63] fearful for the safety of his sovereign, quitted his post at “Dhunna Sodra”[64] and joined in the engagement with distinguished gallantry. The Muhammadans were again victorious; but the enemy, having taken advantage of Daud Khan’s movement, had captured the abandoned position, and thus seriously threatened the Sultan’s retreat. He therefore left the field, and by skilful manoeuvring enabled the whole of his force to extricate themselves in safety from the hills. With between sixty and seventy thousand prisoners, mostly women, he retreated from Vijayanagar and sat down before Adoni; but after a siege lasting nine months the attempt was abandoned, and the Sultan retired to his own territories. Thus ended the campaign.

Firishtah gives a short account of the kingdom of Vijayanagar at this period (about 1378 A.D.), from which the following extracts are taken.

“The princes of the house of Bahmanee maintained themselves by superior valour only, for in power, wealth, and extent of country the roles of Beejanuggur were greatly their superiors;” and he implies that at this time, as certainly in after years, all Southern India had submitted to the sway of the Raya.

“The seaport of Goa,[65] the fortress of Malgaon,[66] … belonged to the roy of Beejanuggur, and many districts of Tulghaut[67] were in his possession. His country was well peopled, and his subjects submissive to his authority. The roles of Malabar, Ceylon, and other islands and other countries kept ambassadors at his court, and sent annually rich presents.”[68]

We must revert for a moment to the Sultan’s uncle and his behaviour before Vijayanagar. It will be remembered that, filled with the best intentions, he had quitted his post to defend his king.

“The sultan, on seeing the standard of Daood Khan, was enraged, but stifled his displeasure till the gale of victory had waved over the standards of the faithful. He then called Daood Khan before him, and gave him a harsh reprimand for quitting a station so important that, should the enemy gain possession, not a mussulmaun could make his escape from the city.”

Daud treasured up his resentment at this treatment, and, being joined by other disaffected nobles, secretly plotted the assassination of the Sultan. The conspirators waited till Mujahid was on his way from Adoni towards Kulbarga, and then one night, that of Friday, April 16, A.D. 1378,[69] while the Sultan was asleep in his tent, Daud, accompanied by three other men, rushed in and stabbed him. There was a struggle, and the unfortunate monarch was despatched by the blow of a sabre.[70] Daud at once proclaimed himself Sultan as nearest of kin — Mujahid having no children — and being acknowledged, proceeded to Kulbarga, where he was proclaimed.

The assassination of his nephew availed Daud but little, as the country was at once divided into two opposing factions, and on May 21, A.D. 1378,[71] after a reign of only one month, the murderer was himself assassinated while at prayer in the great mosque of the capital. Meanwhile Bukka Raya overrun the Doab, advanced as far as the river Krishna, and invested the fortress of Raichur.

Daud was succeeded by Ala-ud-din’s youngest son Mahmud I,[72] Mujahid’s sister Ruh Parvar Agah having blinded Daud’s son, then a boy of eight years, in order to prevent dissension. Mahmud was apparently welcome to all parties, for even the Raya raised the siege of Raichur and agreed to pay him the tribute exacted by Muhammad Shah; so at least says Firishtah. And during the whole of his reign of nearly twenty years there was peace and tranquillity at home and abroad. He died on the 20th April A.D. 1397.[73]

The decease of Bukka I. of Vijayanagar must apparently, for reasons shown, be placed at about A.D. 1379.


Growth of the Empire (A.D. 1379 to 1406)

Harihara II. — Firuz Shah of Kulbarga — Fresh wars — Assassination of a prince in 1399 A.D. — Bukka II.

Bukka I. was succeeded by Harihara II., his son by his wife Gauri. Nuniz calls the new king “Pureoyre Deorao,” and “Pureoyre” seems to be a rough Portuguese version of the name Harihara; H and P representing the same sound in the Kanarese and Telugu languages. According to the inscriptions,[74] Harihara II. reigned at least twenty years, and he was the first king who gave himself imperial titles under the style of MAHARAJADHIRAJA. He gave many grants to the temples, and consolidated the supremacy of his dynasty over all Southern India. Sayana, brother of Madhavacharya, appears to have been his chief minister, as he was to King Samgama II.[75] Mudda is mentioned in two inscriptions of A.D. 1379 and 1382 as the king’s general. Another of his generals was called Iruga. He was son of Chaicha, minister of Bukka II. His name appears on a pillar in a Jain temple near Kamalapura at Vijayanagar in an inscription bearing date A.D. 1385; which proves that the king was tolerant in religious matters. There seems also to have been a general named Gunda living in his reign, but his date is uncertain.[76] According to another inscription,[77] King Harihara early in his reign expelled the Muhammadans from Goa; and the last inscription of his reign at present discovered[78] mentions that one Bachanna Udaiyar was then governor of that place.

The king’s wife, or one of his principal wives, was Malladevi, or Mallambika. The extent of his domination is shown by the fact that inscriptions of his reign are found in Mysore, Dharwar, Conjeeveram, Chingleput, and Trichinopoly.[79] He was a worshipper of Siva under the form Virupaksha, but appears to have been singularly tolerant of other religions. The latest actual date of the reign afforded by inscriptions is October 15, A.D. 1399.[80]

Ghias-ud-din, a boy of seventeen, eldest son of the late Sultan Mahmud, had succeeded his father on the throne of Kulbarga; but on June 14, 1397,[81] he was treacherously blinded during an entertainment by an ambitious slave, after a reign of only one month and twenty days. His younger brother, Shams-ud-din, was then placed on the throne, but after a reign of five months was blinded and deposed by his cousin Firuz, second son of the late Sultan Daud. Firuz was by birth undoubtedly of the elder branch, and he became one of the most celebrated monarchs of his line, ascending the throne on November 15, A.D. 1397.[82] He must have then been well advanced in years, as Firishtah says he was “old” in A.D. 1419.

The date of the last inscription of Harihara II. as yet brought to light is, as before stated, October 15, A.D. 1399. There are two inscriptions extant of Bukka II., his eldest son, both dated in A.D. 1406,[83] and several of the latter’s successor, the younger brother of Bukka II., whose name was Devaraya I., and whose reign lasted till at least A.D. 1412.

It will be remembered that the first king of Vijayanagar, Harihara I., was an old man (Nuniz says “very old”), and reigned seven years. His successor, Bukka, his brother, reigned thirty-seven years according to Nuniz, and perhaps, therefore, it would be best not to assume too great an age for Harihara I. However this may be, it would appear that when the peaceful monarch Harihara II., son of Bukka I., came to the throne, his father must have died at a very advanced age, and he himself must have been by no means young. He reigned at least twenty years, as before stated, and we are therefore justified in assuming that at the close of his reign (in A.D. 1399) he was quite an old man. With this in our minds, let us turn to Firishtah’s narrative of the reign of Firuz Shah Bahmani, beginning with his accession in November A.D. 1397.

He tells us that in the Hijra year 801 (13th September 1398 to 3rd September 1399), month not given —

“Dewal Roy of Beejanuggur, with thirty thousand horse and a vast army of foot, invaded the royal territories between the rivers, with a design to reduce the forts of Mudkul and Roijore” (Raichur).

And in a later passage we are told that the campaign was at an end a few months before the end of Hijra 801; I.E. a few months before the end of August A.D. 1399. The first movement of the Hindu army must therefore have taken place at the beginning of the cold season of A.D. 1398, probably not earlier than December in that year, when the great cotton plains across which the troops had to march were passable. It can hardly be supposed that King Harihara II., then quite old and always a lover of peace, would without motive have waged this sudden war and himself led his armies into the field, and it seems more likely that the invasion was a bold dash made by his son with the king’s permission. The Muhammadan historians admit an unbroken peace of twenty years previous to this date.

It seems, therefore, that the chronicles of Nuniz, the writings of Firishtah, and the extant inscriptions all agree together, and that we must place the death of Harihara II. at the close of the year A.D. 1399. Little more can be said about the events of his reign.

The new king, his eldest son, Bukka II., must have been a man of middle age, as he had a son old enough to take the field with him before he himself came to the throne.

“This king (‘Pureoyre’),” says Nuniz, “had a son, who by his death inherited the kingdom, who was called Ajarao; and he reigned forty-three years, in which time he was always at war with the Moors.”

I can give no explanation as to why Nuniz calls the successor of Harihara II “Ajarao,” nor as to his estimate of forty-three years for his reign. The names and lengths of reigns given to “Ajarao’s” successors by our chronicler prove that by “Ajarao” he means two kings, Bukka II. and his successor, Deva Raya I.; and the period covered by their combined reigns was only fourteen years, not forty-three.

Nuniz states that the successor of Harihara II. greatly improved the city of Vijayanagar, raising fresh walls and towers, increasing its extent, and building further lines of fortification. But his great work was the construction of a huge dam in the Tungabhadra river, and the formation of an aqueduct fifteen miles long from the river into the city. If this be the same channel that to the present day supplies the fields which occupy so much of the site of the old city, it is a most extraordinary work. For several miles this channel is cut out of the solid rock at the base of the hills, and is one of the most remarkable irrigation works to be seen in India. No details are given of the wars he engaged in, except that, besides his campaigns against the Moors, he took “Goa, Chaul, and Dabull,” and reduced the Choromandel side of the peninsula to loyalty and obedience to his rule.

We learn a great deal more about the doings of Bukka II. and Deva Raya I. from Firishtah than from Nuniz, and I make no apology for quoting copiously from the former author, whose writings throw much light on the period.

Bukka’s first war began with the invasion already alluded to. It took place during his father Harihara’s reign, apparently about the month of December A.D. 1398 (rather later than earlier). The wide cotton plains of that tract are only passable during prolonged dry weather, and the prince would certainly not have risked an advance while there was any likelihood of rain falling. Bukka’s son accompanied his father, and the objective was the country of the Doab, and particularly the fortresses of Mudkal and Raichur, then in the hands of the Bahmani Sultan. Sultan Firuz moved to meet him, slaughtering on the way a Hindu chief or zamindar and seven or eight thousand of his followers, “who had always been very troublesome and refractory.” The Raya had advanced to the northern frontier of the debatable land and was encamped on the river Krishna, then in full flood, having large bodies of troops posted to oppose the passage of the Muhammadans.

“Sultan Feroze Shaw,[84] on his arrival near the river, held a council of war with his chief officers, but received no advice that to him appeared satisfactory.

“While the sultan was debating in his own mind how to act, Cauzi Serauje, seeing his concern, offered, if the sultan would permit him, to cross the river with a few of his friends, whom he would select for that purpose, to assassinate Dewal Roy or his son, as he found most convenient….

“The sultan approving the measure, some hundreds of hurdles covered with leather[85] were prepared expeditiously for the troops to cross. Cauzi Serauje, with seven of his friends disguised as holy mendicants, proceeded to the roy’s camp, and repaired to the quarter where the dancing-girls resided.[86] Here the cauzi pretended to be enraptured with a courtesan, and was guilty of a thousand extravagances to support his character. In the evening the girl, having adorned herself in her richest ornaments, prepared to go out, on which the cauzi, like a jealous and distracted lover, falling at her feet, entreated her to stay, or let him attend her, and not rend his heart by her absence. The woman upon this informed him that she was ordered to attend an entertainment by the roy’s son, and durst not disobey, nor could she take him with her, as only musicians and dancers would be admitted. The cauzi upon this replied that he played on the same instrument as herself, and had, besides, some curious accomplishments that would highly please the roy’s son. The dancing-girl, thinking him in jest, out of contempt gave him her mundal,[87] and desired him to play, which he did in so masterly a manner that she was delighted, saying that his company would give her superiority over her fellows and do her honour with the roy’s son. Accordingly he with his companions attended the girl to the tents of the young roy.

“As is the custom of Dekkan, many sets of loolies[88] and dancing-girls were ordered to perform at the same time, and having finished their parts, the roy’s son called for the players and mummers. The dancing-girl now obtained leave for the cauzi and one of his companions to show their feats. Having assumed the dress of women, they entered ogling and smiling, and so well imitated the mummers in playing on the mundal, dancing, and mimicry, that the roy’s son was charmed with their performances. At length they each drew a dagger, and, like the dancers of Dekkan, continued to flourish them for some time, making a thousand antic postures in advancing, retreating, and turning round. At last, suddenly rushing upon the roy’s son, they plunged both the daggers into his breast, afterwards attacking his companions. Their remaining friends, who were watching without the tent, on hearing an alarm, ripped up the curtain, and entered to assist them. Many of the company, being much intoxicated, were easily put to death. The cauzi with his friends extinguished all the lights, and, making their escape through the rent, mingled with the crowd. The outcry soon became general round the tents. Great confusion ensued, and various reports and alarms took place. Some said that the sultan had crossed the river and surprised the camp, others that one of his chiefs, with twelve thousand men, had cut off both the roy and his son. The night was uncommonly dark, and the camp extended near ten miles, so that circumstances were variously reported, and the different chiefs, ignorant of the real cause of the alarm, contended themselves with waiting in their several quarters; under arms. About four thousand of the sultan’s troops, in this interim, crossed the river in boats and rafts which had been prepared for the purpose. The enemy’s foot, stationed to oppose the passage, terrified by the alarm in camp and the approach of the sultan’s forces, fled in confusion without waiting to be attacked. Before the morning Feroze Shaw had crossed the river with his whole army, and at dawn assaulted the enemy’s camp with great fury. Dewul Roy grieved by the death of his son and panic struck at the bravery of the assailants, made but a faint resistance. Before sunrise, having taken up his son’s corpse, he fled with his army. The sultan gained immense plunder in the camp, and pursued him to the vicinity of Beejanuggur. Several actions happened on the way, all of which were fortunate to the sultan, and the roads were heaped up with the bodies of the slaughtered Hindoos.”

Bukka reached Vijayanagar in safety and took refuge behind its fortifications, while the Sultan sent his brother Ahmad (afterwards Sultan), whom he had honoured with the title of “Khankhanan,” to ravage the rich districts south of the city. Ahmad fulfilled his instructions and returned with numberless prisoners, and amongst them many Brahmans. The relatives of these in the city begged the aged Raya (Harihara II., still alive) to offer ransom, and after much negotiation the Sultan accepted “ten lakhs of oons”[89] and agreed to the execution of a treaty.

According to this treaty, which was entered into a few months before the close of the Hijra year 801, I.E. a few months before 3rd September A.D. 1399, the boundaries of the two kingdoms were to be the same as before the war, and each party agreed to refrain from molesting the subjects of the other. This does not look as though the Sultan had gained any very material advantage in the campaign, since the true boundary was always a subject of dispute. I obtain the date above given from Firishtah’s sentence: “In a few months after the conclusion of this campaign, and the beginning of the year 802, the sultan marched to punish Nersing,” a chief who had raised disturbances on the borders of Berar.

The BURHAN-I MAASIR passes over this war with great brevity. It states that the Sultan began it, and that at its close he accepted a large indemnity and promise of payment of annual tribute. The date given is identical.

Not long after this war, but certainly not before October 15, A.D. 1399, Harihara II, died, and was succeeded by Bukka, his son.

We have little to guide us as to the events of Bukka’s reign, but Firishtah states that he ceased to pay tribute to Firuz Shah, partly owing to instigation from Gujarat, Malwa, and Khandeish. In Hijra 808 (June 1405 to June 1406 A.D.) four years’ tribute was owing, but the Sultan took no notice, and waited for a more convenient time.

Bukka was followed on the throne of Vijayanagar by his brother Deva Raya I., the date of whose coronation is fixed by an inscription at Hasan in Mysore as November 5, 1406.[90] The last inscription of Bukka Raya at present known bears a date corresponding to April 30th in that year — in Hindu reckoning the 12th day of the first half of the month Vaisakha, in the (expired) Saka year 1328, the name of the cyclic year being “Vyaya.”[91]


Deva Raya I. (A.D. 1406 to 1419)

The amorous monarch, Deva Raya I. — The farmer’s beautiful daughter — The king’s escapade — The city threatened — A Hindu princess wedded to a Muhammadan prince — Firuz Shah’s anger — Pertal’s marriage — King Vijaya — Probable date of accession of Deva Raya II.

Firishtah tells us of an event that must have taken place towards the end of the year A.D. 1406, in which the principal actor was the king of Vijayanagar. This king I believe to have been Bukka II.’s successor, his younger brother, Deva Raya I. The story relates to a mad adventure of the Raya which he undertook in order to secure for himself the person of a beautiful girl, the daughter of a farmer in Mudkal. His desire to possess her attained such a pitch, that he made an expedition into the debatable land north of the Tungabhadra for the sole purpose of capturing the girl and adding her to his harem. I have already shown reasons for supposing that Bukka II. was a middle-aged man at his accession, and it is not unreasonable to suppose that this hot-blooded monarch was his younger brother, who began to reign in November 1406 A.D. His escapade must be narrated in full as told by Firishtah, since it led to very important consequences.

“There resided in the town of Mudkul 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.”

This attractive person was educated by an old Brahman, whose admiration of her led him to think that she would prove a desirable member of the Raya’s household.

“He proceeded to Beejanuggur and being introduced to the roy, spoke in such praise of the beauty and accomplishments of the young maid, that he was fired with the desire of possessing her, and entreated the bramin to procure her for him of her parents in marriage. This request was what the bramin earnestly wished, and he immediately agreed to satisfy him; upon which the roy despatched him with rich gifts and great promises of favours to the parents, and the title of ranee, or princess, for their beautiful daughter. The bramin lost no time in his journey, and, upon his arrival at the farmer’s house, delivered to him and his wife the roy’s orders, that they should repair to Beejanuggur with their daughter. The parents were overjoyed at such unexpected good fortune, and calling for the young maid, laid before her the rich gifts of the roy, congratulated her on being soon to be united to a great prince, and attempted to throw upon her neck a golden collar set with jewels, as a token of immediate espousals, and which, if done, could not have been broken off.

“The beautiful virgin, to their great astonishment, drawing her neck from compliance, refused to receive the collar, and observed, that whoever entered the harem of Beejanuggur, was afterwards not permitted to see even 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 bramin with all his gifts, and he returned, chagrined and disappointed, to Beejanuggur….

“When the bramin arrived at Beejanuggur, and related to the roy the failure of his scheme, the prince’s love became outrageous, and he resolved to gratify it by force, though the object resided in the heart of Feroze Shaw’s dominions.[92] For this purpose he quitted Beejanuggur with a great army, on pretence of going the tour of his countries; and upon his arrival on the banks of the River Tummedra, having selected five thousand of his best horse, and giving the reins of his conduct to love, commanded them, in spite of the remonstrances of his friends, to march night and day with all expedition to Mudkul,[93] and, surrounding the village where Pertal[94] lived, to bring her prisoner to him, with her whole family, without injury.”

The unexpected, however, happened. The king neglected to send the Brahman to warn Pertal’s family, and on the arrival of news at Mudkal that a large force of the Raya’s troops was approaching, the inhabitants fled, and amongst them the girl and her relatives. The troops therefore resumed, but on the way looted the country. They were attacked by superior forces and 2000 of them were slain. This led to a war.

“In the beginning of the winter of the year 809 (I.E. the winter of A.D. 1406),[95] he (the Sultan) moved in great force, and arrived near Beejanuggur, in which Dewul Roy had shut himself up. An assault was made upon the city, and the Sultan got possession of some streets, which, however, he was obliged to quit, his army being repulsed by the Carnatickehs. Dewul Roy, encouraged by his success, now ventured to encamp his army under protection of the walls, and to molest the royal camp. As the mussulmauns could not make proper use of their cavalry in the rocky unevenness of ground round Beejanuggur, they were somewhat dispirited. During this, Sultan Feroze Shaw was wounded by an arrow in the hand, but he would not dismount; and drawing out the arrow, bound up the wound with a cloth.

“The enemy were at last driven off by the valour and activity of Ahmed Khan and Khankhanan, and the Sultan moved farther from the city to a convenient plain, where he halted till his wounded men were recovered.”

He halted here for four months, holding the Raya a prisoner in his own capital, while bodies of troops harassed and wasted the country south of Vijayanagar, and attacked the fortress of Bankapur. The “convenient plain” was probably in the open and rich valley near the town of Hospett, south of the city; for the Sultan could not have ravaged the country to the south unless he had been master of the whole of this valley for many miles. Bankapur was taken, and the detached forces returned bringing with them 60,000 Hindu prisoners; on which the Sultan left Khankhanan to hold Vijayanagar, while he himself attempted to reduce the fortress of Adoni, “the strongest in possession of the enemy.”

Deva Raya then began to treat for peace, and was compelled to submit to conditions to the last degree humiliating. He agreed to give the Sultan his daughter in marriage, to indemnify him with an immense treasure, and to cede for ever the fort of Bankapur.[96]

“Though the roies of Carnatic had never yet married their daughters but to persons of their own cast, and giving them to strangers was highly disgraceful, yet Dewul Roy, out of necessity, complied, and 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 Carnatic displayed their feats and skill to amuse passengers. Khankhanan and Meer Fuzzul Oollah, with the customary presents of a bridegroom, went to Beejanuggur, from whence at the expiration of seven days they brought the bride, with a rich portion and offerings from the roy, to the sultan’s camp. Dewul Roy having expressed a strong desire to see the sultan, Feroze Shaw with great gallantry agreed to visit him with his bride, as his father-in-law.

“A day being fixed, he with his bride proceeded to Beejanuggur, leaving the camp in charge of Khankhanan. 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 six miles,[97] 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[98] over their heads as they advanced, and then threw them to be gathered by the populace. After this 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,[99] 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 him richer presents than before given, and attended him four miles on his way, when he returned to the city.

“Sultan Feroze Shaw was enraged at his not going with him to his camp, and said to Meer Fuzzul Oollah that he would one day have his 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.”

Firuz returned after this to his capital and sent for the lovely