Prepare Prelims 2017-Day-13-Medieval India History


After the reign of Muhammed-Bin Tughluq. Bengal and Multan were the first to break away from Delhi.

The Vijayanagar Empire (1336-1 672 A.D.)

 Harihara and Bukka served under the Hoysala King Vira Ballala III

 They founded the city of Vijayanagar on the southern banks of Tungabhadra in 1336 A.D.  Their capital was Hampi.

Vijayanagar Empire was ruled by four important dynasties namely

  1. Sangama
  2. Saluva
  3. Tuluva
  4. Aravidu.

Harihara I

  1. Harihara I became the ruler in 1336 A.D.
  2. He captured Mysore and Madurai.

3.  He was succeeded by Bukka-I in 1356 A.D.


  1. Krishnadeva Raya of the Tuluva dynasty was the most famous king of the Vijayanagar Empire
  2. According to Domingo Paes a Portuguese traveller
  3. “Krishnadeva Raya was the most feared and perfect king there could possibly be”.


 He conquered Sivasamudram in 1510A.D and Raichur in 1512A.D  Orissa and Warangal in 1523 A.D.

 His empire extended from

 The river Krishna in the north to River Cauvery in the south  Arabian Sea in the west to Bay of Bengal in the east


 An able administrator.

 He constructed large tanks and canals for irrigation purposes.

 He improved the naval power as he understood the importance of overseas trade.

 He maintained friendly relationship with the Portuguese and Arab traders and increased the
      revenue of his government.

 Krishnadeva Raya was a great scholar.


A group of eight scholars adorned his court. Allasani Peddanna, Nandi

Thimmana, Tenali Rama, Bhattu,Murthy, Puna Vira Bhadra,Dhurjathy, Mallana and Panaji ,Surana.

  1. He was a patron of art and architecture.
  2. The Vijaya nagar Empire reached its zenith of glory during Krishnadeva Raya’s period.


 The successors of Krishnadeva Raya were weak  During the rule of Ramaraya,

 The  combined  forces  of  Ahmednagar,  Bijapur,  Golconda  and  Bidar  declared  war on Vijayanagar.

 Ramaraya was defeated. He and his people were mercilessly killed.  Vijayanagar was plundered and left in ruins

The Glories of the Vijayanagar Empire Administration

 Well organized administrative system.

 The king was the fountain head of all powers in the state.

 There was a Council of Ministers to assist the King in the work of administration.  The Empire was divided into six Provinces.

 Each Province was under a Governor called Naik

 The Provinces were divided into districts which were further divided into smaller units
      namely Villages.

 The administration of the villages through its hereditary officers like accountants, the 

weightsmen, watchmen and officers incharge of forced labour.


The Central administration maintained contact with the villages through an officer called Mahanayakacharya.

The Army

  1. The army consisted of the infantry, cavalry and elephantry.
  2. The commander-in-chief was in charge of the army.

Revenue Administration

 Land revenue was the main source of income

 The land was carefully surveyed and taxes were collected based on the fertility of the soil.  Great attention was paid to agriculture and the construction of dams and canals.

Judicial Administration

  1. The king was the supreme judge.
  2. Severe punishments were inflicted on the guilty.
  3. Fines were collected from those who violated the law.

Position of Women

 Women occupied a high position and took an active part in political, social and literary life
      of the empire

 They were educated and trained in wrestling

 In the use of various weapons of offence and defence, in music and fine arts  Some of them received education of high order.

 Nuniz writes that the kings had women astrologers, clerks, accountants, guards and wrestlers

Social life

  1. The society was well organized.
  2. Child marriage, polygamy and sati were prevalent.
  3. The kings allowed freedom of religion

Economic conditions

 Led  by  their  irrigational  policies.  Numerous  industries  such  as  Textiles,  mining,
      metallurgy and perfumery existed.

 They had commercial relations with, the islands in the Indian Ocean,

 The Malay Archipelago, Burma, China, Arabia, Persia, South Africa, Abyssinia, Portugal

Contribution to Architecture and Literature

 The Hazara Ramasami temple

 Vittalaswamy temple

 The bronze image of Krishnadeva Raya is a masterpiece

 Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada literature were developed.  Sayana wrote commentaries on Vedas.

 Krishnadevaraya wrote Amuktamalyada in Telugu

 His Sanskrit works were Usha Parinayam and Jambavathi Kalyanam.

Decline of the Empire

 The rulers of the Aravidu dynasty were weak and incompetent.

 Taking advantage of their weakness the provincial governors became independent.  The rulers of Bijapur and Golconda annexed some areas of Vijayanagar.


The Bahmani kingdom was the most powerful Muslim kingdom

Political History

 The founder of this dynasty was Hasan Gangu Bahmani.  He was a Turkish officer of Devagiri.

 He established the independent Bahmani kingdom in 1347 A.D.

 His kingdom stretched from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal

 Included the whole of Deccan up to the river Krishna with its capital at Gulbarga

Muhammad Shah-I (1358-1377.A.D.)

 The next ruler was an able general and administrator.

 He defeated Bukka-I the ruler of Vijayanagar and Kapaya Nayaks of Warangal.

Muhammad Shah-ll (1378-1397.A.D.)

 Ascended the throne in 1378 A.D.

 He was peace loving and hence he developed friendly relations with his neighbours  He built many mosques, madrasas (a place of learning) and hospitals

Feroz Shah Bahmani (1397-1422 A.D.)

  1. He was a great genera
  2. He defeated Deva Raya I, the Vijayanagar ruler.

Ahmad Shah (1422-1435 A.D.)

 Succeeded Feroz Shah Bahmani
 He was a cruel and merciless ruler

 He conquered the kingdom of Warangal and changed his capital from Gulbarga to Bidar.  He died in 1435A.D.

Muhammad Shah-lll (1463-1482 A.D.)

 He became the Sultan at the age of nine in 1463A.D.

 Muhammad Gawan became the regent of the infant ruler.

 Under his able guidance the Bahmani kingdom became very powerful

 Muhammad Gawan defeated the rulers of Konkan, Sangameshwar, Orissa and Vijayanagar.

Muhammad Gawan

 He was a very wise scholar and able administrator.

 He improved the administration, organized finances, encouraged public education, Reformed the
      revenue system, disciplined the army and eleminated corruption. Muhammad Gawan fell a
      victim to the jealousy of Deccan Muslims.

 He was falsely accused by them and so was persecuted and sentenced to death in 1481 by
            Muhammad Shah III.

The Five Muslim Dynasties

Muhammad Shah-lll died in 1482

His successors were weak and the Bahmani Kingdom disintegrated into five kingdoms namely

  1. Bijapur
  2. Ahmednagar
  3. Bera
  4. Golconda
  5. Bidar


   The Sultans followed a Feudal type of administration.

   The kingdom was divided into many provinces called Tarafs
   Each Taraf was under a Governor called Tarafdar or Amir.


Golgumbaz in Bijapur is called the whispering gallery.

This is so, because when one whispers in one corner, a lingering echo is heard in the opposite corner.

Contribution to Education, Art and Architecture

  1. The Bahmani Sultans gave great attention to education. They encouraged Arabic and Persian
  2. Urdu also flourished during this period
  3. Numerous mosques, madarasas and libraries were built
  4. The Juma masjid at Gulbarga,
  5. The Golconda fort
  6. The Golgumbaz at Bijapur
  7. The Madarasas of Muhammad Gawan
  8. Decline of Bahmani Kingdom
  9. The constant wars between the Bahmani and Vijayanagar rulers,
  10. Inefficient and weak successors of Muhammad Shah III
  11. Rivalry between the Bahmani rulers and foreign nobles were a few causes for the downfall
    of the Bahmani kingdom


  1. Bhakti movement in medieval India is a different kind. This medieval Bhakti movement was the
    direct result of the influence of the spread of Islam in India.
  2. The preaching of Sufi teachers shaped the thinking of Bhakti reformers like Ramananda, Kabir
    and Nana


   Sufism was a liberal reform movement within Islam.

   It had its origin in Persia and spread into India in the eleventh century.

   The first Sufi saint Shaikh Ismail of Lahore started preaching his ideas

   Most famous of the Sufi saints of India was Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti, who settled in Ajmer
      which became the centre of his activities.

   He had a number of disciples who are called Sufis of the Chishti order

   Another well-known Sufi saint was Bahauddin Zakariya who came under the influence of
            another famous mystic Shihabuddin Suhrawardi

   His branch of Sufi saints was known as the Sufis of the Suhrawardi Order.

   Yet another famous Sufi saint was Nizamuddin Auliya who belonged to the Chishti order and
      who was a mighty spiritual force.

   Sufism stressed the elements of love and devotion as effective means of the realisation of God

   Love of God meant love of humanity and so the Sufis believed service to humanity was
      tantamount to service to God.

   In Sufism, self-discipline was considered an essential condition to gain knowledge of God by
      sense of perception

   While orthodox Muslims emphasise external conduct    The Sufis lay stress on inner purity.

   While the orthodox believe in blind observance of rituals,

   The Sufis consider love and devotion as the only means of attaining salvation    Sufism also inculcated a spirit of tolerance among its followers

   Ideas  emphasised  by  Sufism  are  meditation,  good  actions,  repentance  for  sins,
      performance of prayers and pilgrimages, fasting, charity and suppression of passions by
      ascetic practices.

   These liberal and unorthodox features of Sufism had a profound influence on medieval Bhakti

Bhakti Movement

    In the ninth century Sankara started a Hindu revivalist movement giving a new orientation to Hinduism.

   He was born in Kaladi in Kerala

   His doctrine of Advaita or Monism was too abstract to appeal to the common man.

    There was a reaction against the Advaita concept of Nirgunabrahman (God without attributes)

with the emergence of the idea of Sagunabrahman (God with attributes)

    In the twelfth century, Ramanuja, who was born at Sriperumbudur near modern Chennai,

preached Visishtadvaita.

   According to him God is Sagunabrahman.

   He also advocated prabattimarga or path of self-surrender to God

   He invited the downtrodden to Vaishnavism

   The thirteenth century, Madhava

o   from Kannada region propagated Deviator dualism of Jivatma and Paramatma.

   According to his philosophy, the world is not an illusion but a reality.

   God, soul, matter are unique in nature.

    Nimbarkaand Vallabhacharyawere also other preachers of Vaishnavite Bhakti in the Telungana


    Surdas was the disciple of Vallabhacharya and he popularized Krishna cult in north India
 Mirabai was a great devotee of Krishna and she became popular in Rajasthan for her bhajans.
 Tulsidaswas a worshipper of Rama and composed the famous Ramcharitmanas, the Hindi

version of Ramayana

    In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Ramananda, Kabir and Nanak remained great

apostles of the Bhakti cult.

    They helped the common people to shed age-old superstitions and attain salvation through

Bhakti or pure devotion.

    They helped the common people to shed age-old superstitions and attain salvation through

Bhakti or pure devotion.

          Denounced all forms of idolatry.


   Ramananda was born at Allahabad.

   He was originally a follower of Ramanuja.

   Later he founded his own sect and preached his principles in Hindi at Banaras and Agra.

   He was the first to employ the vernacular medium to propagate his ideas.

   He was the first to employ the vernacular medium to propagate his ideas.

   He opposed the caste system and chose his disciples from all sections of society disregarding

His disciples were:


  1. a) Kabir
  2. b) Raidasa, a cobbler
  3. c) Sena, a barber
  4. d) Sadhana
  5. e) Dhanna, a Jat farmer
  6. f) Naraharai, a goldsmith
  7. g) Pipa, a Rajput prince



   Among the disciples of Ramananda the most famous was Kabir

   Among the disciples of Ramananda the most famous was Kabir

   But he was brought up by a Muslim couple who were weavers by profession

   He possessed an inquiring mind and while in Benares learnt much about Hinduism.

   Kabir‘s object was to reconcile Hindus and Muslims and establish harmony between the two

   Urged that to achieve this one must have a pure heart, free from cruelty, dishonesty, hypocrisy
      and insincerity.

   He is regarded as the greatest of the mystic saints and his followers are called Kabirpanthis Guru Nanak

   founder of the Sikh religion and a disciple of Kabir    He was born in Talwandi near Lahore

   He denounced caste distinctions and rituals like bathing in holy rivers.

   His conception of religion was highly practical and sternly ethical.

   Abide pure amidst the impurities of the world‘ was one of his famous sayings.

Chaitanya was another well-known saint and reformer of Bengal who popularised the Krishna cult.

   He believed that through love and devotion, song and dance, a devotee can feel the presence of

Gnanadeva was the founder of the Bhakti Movement in Maharashtra in the thirteenth century.
         It was called Maharashtra dharma.

   He wrote a commentary of Bhagavat Gitacalled Gnaneswari

Namadeva preached the gospel of love. He opposed

   Idol worship and priestly domination. He also opposed the caste    System. In the sixteenth century,

Ekanatha opposed caste distinctions and sympathetic towards the lower castes.

   Another Bhakti saint of Maharashtra was Tukaram, a contemporary of Sivaji.
         Responsible for creating a background for Maratha nationalism
Importance of the Bhakti Movemen

   Bhakti movement provided an impetus for the development of regional languages such as
      Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, etc.

   Bhakti movement provided an impetus for the development of regional languages such as
      Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, etc.

   The lower classes were raised to a position of great importance.

   The importance of women in society was also increased because the Bhakti movement gave
            equal importance to them.

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