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Kerala Plus Two History Chapter Wise Questions and Answers Chapter 9 An Imperial Capital: Vijayanagara
The official who discovered the ruined remains of Vijayanagara?
Krishnadevaraya – which dynasty did he belong to?
The author of the book ‘Amuktamalyada’?
Where are most of the temples of Vijayanagara seen?
Who is the builder of the Hazara Ram Temple?
Who discovered the ruins of Hampi? How were they brought to light?
The ruins of Hampi were discovered in 1800. They were discovered and brought to light by Colin Mackenzie. He was an engineer and a collector of antiques. He was an important official of the East India Company. He visited Hampi and made the first survey map of this site. He got the first information about Hampi from the priests in the Virupaksha Temple and the shrine of Pampadevi.
From 1836, calligraphic experts began to make their researches in Hampi. They collected a lot of inscriptions from Hampi and the temples there.
From 1856, photographers began to take pictures of the monuments there. They also took photographs of the various pictures. These pictures helped the scholars to study more about Hampi.
Historians now wanted to recreate the history of Vijayanagara. They used information from these sources to compare it with the descriptions of foreign travellers to this place. They also compared it with the information available in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Sanskrit books. Thus by studying things in minute detail, the historians tried to recreate the history of Vijayanagara. Further efforts were made by the Archaeological Survey India to find out more things about Hampi.
Cavalry was the most important feature of the army of Vijayanagara Empire. On the basis of this statement, discuss the horse-trade that existed at that time.
Cavalry was the most important feature of the Vijayanagara army. It played a major role in battles.
Therefore countries were competing among themselves to import the best breed of horses from other countries. They got their horses from Central Asia and Arabia. The horse trade was initially controlled by the Arabs. Local traders called ‘Kudirai Chettis’ also took part in this horse trade. From 1498, Portuguese traders also came into this field. The Portuguese who reached the Western shores of the subcontinent tried to found trade centres and military establishments there. In military technologies they had the upper hand. This helped them to become a strong political power.
Krishnadevaraya was the most important ruler in the Vijayanagara Empire. Do you agree with this statement? Explain.
Krishnadevaraya ruled from 15Q9 to 1529. It was time of expansion and unification of the Empire. He was one of the best warriors. In 1512, he captured the lands between Thungabhadra and Krishna Rivers. He also defeated the rulers of Orissa in 1514. Later he also overcame the Bijapur Sultan. Thus under Krishnadevaraya, the Vijayanagara army became the best in South India the Empire reached its peak.
Although battles and military preparations were constant, Krishnadevaraya was able to bring prosperity to his country.
He took great pains in unifying the country. He subdued all his enemies. He was a good administrator and an artist. He built many palaces and temples. He was the one who built the Hazara Ramaswami Temple and the Vittalaswami Temple in Vijayanagar. He also built many gate towers in different temples of South India. He founded a township called ‘Nagalapuram’ in memory of his mother Nagaladevi.
He encouraged arts and literature. He was known as ‘Andhra Bhoja’. In his palace there were many famous poets. He was a scholar and writer. It is believed that he wrote many books. Some of his known works are Amuktamalyada in Telugu and Ushaparinayam in Sanskrit.
Amuktamalyada is a book dealing with the strategies a king has to use. In it Krishnadevaraya explains the attitude rulers should have towards trade and traders. He wrote that a king has to develop the ports and thus encourage trading. A ruler should help foreign navigators who are forced to come to his country because of bad climate or illness. A ruler must have cordial relations with traders who import good breed horses and encourage them by giving them proper prices and gifts. If these things are done the good horses will not get into enemy hands.
Assess the position the military commanders had in Vijayanagara.
Military commanders had great powers. They controlled the fortresses of the country. They could keep armed guards. They often moved their residence from one place to another. Agriculturists who were interested in getting fertile fields also accompanied them. These military commanders were called ‘Nayakans’. Most of them lived obeying the Vijayanagara kings. But sometimes they also rose in revolt. The revolts of the Nayakas were suppressed by the ruler.
In Vijayanagara Empire there was the system of “Amara Nayaka”. This system had many of the features of the “Iqta system’ of the Delhi Sultans. Amara Nayakas were military commanders. Vijayanagara kings gave them some regions to govern. These regions were called ‘Amara’.
The governing of these regions was done by the Amaranayaks. They collected taxes of different kinds from the farmers. traders, artisans and big merchants. A big portion of the income was used for their personal needs. The other part was spent in maintaining horses and elephants. A small portion was also spent on maintaining temples and irrigation.
Amaranayakas rendered military help to the kings of Vijayanagara. It was by using this military might that the kings brought the Southern Peninsula under their control. Amaranayakas were to give the king tribute every year. They also had to visit the king and give him gifts to show their loyalty to him. To show that the king had power over them, he used to transfer amaranayakas to different places. Even then by the 17th century, the amaranayakas became powerful and some of them started challenging the authority of the king. Some even established independent states. This caused the slow disintegration of Vijayanagara.
How were the water resources protected in Vijayanagara? What arrangements were made to ensure that people got sufficient water for their use?
Vijayanagara is a dry area. Therefore rulers took special interest in preserving the water and distributing it to the needy places. Vijayanagara is located in the Thungabhgdra River basin. This river flows into north¬eastern direction. There are beautiful rocky hills all around it. These fills surround the city. From these hills, many streams flow into Thungabhadra.
The rulers of Vijayanagara built dams across these streams. They also made provision to collect rain water and supply it to the cities. They also got many ponds dug to collect water during rains. The most important pond they made was Kamalapuram Pond. It was made in the 15th century. Water from this pond was used for irrigation in the nearby fields. It was from this pond water was taken to the royal centre through small canals.
The most important irrigation work was the making of Hiria Canal. This canal took water from the dam built across Thungabhadra to different parts of the country. It was this canal that made irrigation possible in the fields of the valley that separates the ‘Holy Centre’ and the ‘City Centre’. This canal was built by the rulers of Sangama dynasty.
Do you think the rituals connected with Mahanavami Dibba are important? Explain.
Celebrations like Mahanavami are connected to Mahanavami Dibba. Mahanavami means the Great Ninth Day. Mahanavami is a Hindu festival that lasts 10 days. This festival is in the months of September or October in the Autumn season. This feast is known by different names in different regions. In North India it is ‘Dussehra’, in Bengal it is ‘Durga Pooja’ and in South India it is ‘Navaratri’. The Vijayanagara kings exhibited their glory and authority during this festival. Mahanavami is celebrated with many rituals. Idol worship, veneration to the royal horse, animal sacrifice etc. were part of the rituals. The celebrations are made more enjoyable through dance performances, wrestling, processions with adorned horses, elephants, chariots and soldiers. Nayakas and regional chiefs owing loyalty to the main King come with gifts for their king and his guests. All these rituals had their symbolic meanings.
On the last day of the festival, a huge function was conducted in an open place. In that the King examines his army and also those of the Nayaks. On this occasion, the nayaks give tribute to the king. Along with the tribute, the nayaks also gave the king plenty of expensive gifts.
In the Royal Centre there were many buildings. What were the most important? What are their special features?
One of the most beautiful buildings in the Royal Centre is the “Lotus Mahal”. This name was given by the British travellers who came here in the 19th century. Historians are not very sure for what purpose this structure was used. Mackenzie feels that this was a Council Chamber in which the King met his advisors. There are many temples in the Royal Centre. Most of the temples of Vijayanagara are seen in the Holy centre. But the Royal Centre is also rich in temples. One of the important temples in tl^e Royal Centre is Hazara Rama Temple. It was built by Ramayan I. It is believed that only the king and his family members used this temple.
The important idols of the Hazara Ramaswami Temple are not yet found. But the inscriptions and sculptures on the walls are still seen there. There are scenes from the Ramayana. They have been inscribed on the inner walls of the temple. When Vijayanagara was destroyed most of the constructions there also were destroyed. Still the tradition of building palatial structures was continued by the Nayaks. Many of the buildings made by them are still standing.
There was much importance for the temples in the history of Vijayanagara. Do you agree with this statement? Explain.
Temples were also centres of knowledge. For maintaining the temples, the King and others gave land gifts. As a result, the temples grew into religious, cultural and economic centres. Kings believed that constructing temples, maintaining them and protecting them would increase people’s faith in them. It was a way to get public recognition of the wealth, authority and generosity of the kings.
The main reason for choosing Vijayanagar as the capital was the presence of the Virupaksha Temple and the Shrine of Pampadevi. The Vijayanagara kings claimed that they were ruling the country in the name of Virupaksha Devan. All royal edicts in Kannada were signed “Sri Virupaksha Deva’. By receiving the title ‘Hindu Suratrana’ the kings tried to establish their close relation with gods. Suratrana is the Sanskrit equivalent of the Arabic Sultan. So Hindu Suratrana means Hindu Sultan.
The kings of Vijayanagar continued with the old temple traditions and they expanded them. They also started new things. The statues of the kings were exhibited in the temples. The visit of the King to the temple was considered a big official event. At this time the major Nayakas of the country accompanied the king.
Describe the architectural styles (Vastu) of the Vijayanagara temples. What were the special features that appeared at that time?
In the temple construction, some new features appeared. The most important innovation was the construction of huge gate towers and halls. These were the symbols of royal authority. Therefore these towers were called ‘Rayagopuras’. They were very tall, like skyscrapers, and sometimes they were even bigger than the temple itself. They showed even from a far distance the presence of a temple.
The Vijayanagara kings constructed halls and corridors with tall pillars. These corridors were made in such a way that they went around the main worshipping area. The halls had many pillars with inscriptions. The temples had extensive grounds on all the sides. Two of the temples in the Holy Centre are especially important – Virupaksha Temple and Vittala Temple.
Virupaksha temple was built over centuries. Evidence shows that the first construction was done in the 9th or 10th century. With the establishing of the Vijayanagara kingdom, the temple was expanded. In front of the temple there is a huge hall. It was Krishnadevaraya who got it built. It was a mark of his coronation. This hall is decorated with pillars with inscriptions. The eastern gate tower was also made by him. Because of the halls and towers, the temple itself was confined to a small area.
In the temple complex there were many halls. They were used for different purposes! In some halls there were idols of deities. These halls were used for conducting dance performances, music concerts and such celebrations. Some halls were used for celebrating the wedding of deities. Some were for the deities to swing. On all these occasions special idols were used. They were different from the idols in the main temple.
Vittala Temple is another important one. The main idol here is Vittala, a form of Siva. Vittala is a deity that is commonly revered in Maharashtra. The Vijayanagara kings used different traditions to get acceptability. It was with this purpose that they brought Vittala to Karnataka. There are many halls here. There is a temple here made on the model of a chariot. It is a unique structure.
An important feature of the temple complex is the ‘chariot streets’. From the tempie tower it lies in a straight line. These’streets are paved with stone. There are also pillars with small halls. Traders have their stalls here.
The temple construction tradition was continued by the Nayaks. Some of the most beautiful regional towers were made by Nayaks.
What does Domingo Pius say about the markets of Vijayanagara?
Domingo Pius says that the markets were working along the most beautiful and extensive streets of Vijayanagara. The traders stayed there. They had all sorts of ornaments, gems, pearls, jewels and clothes. Everything under the sun was available there. Every evening there was a market there. Not only grains, vegetables and fruits, but even horses were sold in these evening markets.