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  • 28 Dec 2022 GS Paper 1 History

    Day 43
    Question 1: Discuss the contribution of Vijayanagar in art and literature. Explain why rulers of Vijayanagar were fighting for doabs and Marathwada with their contemporary rulers. (250 Words)

    Question 2: Discuss the cultural development in South India during medieval era. (150 Words)

    Answer 1


    • Introduce briefly about the Vijayanagar kingdom.
    • Discuss the contribution of Vijayanagar in art and literature.
    • Also mention the reasons why rulers of Vijayanagar were fighting for doabs and Marathwada.
    • Conclude suitably.


    Kingdom of Vijayanagar was founded by Harihara and Bukka of Sangama Dynasty, in 1336, when Mohammad bin Tughlaq moved to Delhi from Daultabad. Four dynasties who ruled Vijayanagar empire were Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu.

    Krishnadeva Raya is considered to be one of the greatest kings of the Vijayanagar Empire and his rule is often regarded as golden period in history of South India. He was not only a great ruler but also had much to contribute to literature and culture.


    Vijayanagar’s Contribution in art and literature:

    The style of architecture named on the excellent and unique architectural style of the empire is known as Vijayanagara School of Architecture.

    Vijayanagara School: The rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1565 AD) had their capital at Hampi (Karnataka). They combined the features of Chola, Hoysala, Pandya and Chalukya architectural styles.

    Under them, the architectural style was also influenced by the Indo-Islamic style of Bijapur, which in turn was reflected in the temples built during this period. The features of the temples were as follows:

    • The walls of the temples were highly decorated with carvings and geometrical patterns.
    • Gopurams, which were previously present on the front side, were now built on all the sides.
    • Monolithic rock pillars were present. Generally, temple pillars had the mythical creature Yali engraved on them. The enclosing walls were larger.
    • More than one mandapa was built in each temple. The central mandap came to be known as the kalyana mandapa (dedicated to divine marriage).
    • The concept of secular buildings inside the temple premises was also introduced during this period.
    • Temple complex was enclosed by boundaries.
      • Examples: Vittalaswami Temple Complex, Lotus Mahal, Virupaksha Temple and Raghunatha Temple at Hampi. The rock-cut idol of Narasimha on Shesha (snake) at Hampi is a marvel in itself.
    • Musical Pillars (SaReGaMa Pillars): They are a testimony of Hindu art found in the famous Ranga Mantapa of the Vittalaswami Temple Complex in Hampi that has 56 musical pillars also known as the SaReGaMa pillars. The pillars produce musical tones when struck. They were built during the rule of Deva Raya II (1422-1446).
    • Mahanavami Dibba: Dasara Dibba or the Mahanavami Dibba is a beautiful and massive stone platform located within the Royal Enclosure of Hampi. It was built during the Vijayanagar period by King Krishnadevaraya to commemorate his victory over Udayagiri. It rises from a base of about 11,000 sq. ft to a height of 40 ft. The base of the platform is covered with relief carvings.
    • Literary contributions of Krishnadeva Raya: He wrote Amuktamalyadam, a literary work in Telugu language which is considered one of the Panchakavyas of Telugu literature. For this, he was conferred with the title Andhrabhoja.
      • He wrote other important or notable literature such as Ushaparinayam and Jambavati Kalyanam in the sanskrit.
    • Patronization of poets and literary scholars: He patronised Allasani Peddana, who wrote Manucharitram in Telugu language, was called as ‘father of Prabandha‘.
      • He was responsible for developing and nurturing Carnatic musical tradition by providing shelter to musicians such as Vyasa Raya, who was the propagator of Haridasa movement in Karnataka.
      • He encouraged classical dance forms such like Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi, which reached its height during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya.

    Conflict of rulers of Vijayanagar with their contemporary rulers:

    • The interests of the Vijayanagara rulers and the Bahmani sultans clashed in three separate and distinct areas, like:
      • Tungabhadra doab
      • Krishna-Godavari delta
      • Marathwada region
    • The Tungabhadra doab was the region between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra and consisted of 30,000 square miles.
      • On account of its wealth and economic resources, it had been the bone of contention between the western Chalukyas and the Cholas in the earlier period, and between the Yadavas and the Hoysalas later on.
    • The struggle for the mastery of the Krishna-Godavari basin, which was very fertile and with its numerous ports, controlled the foreign trade of the region was often linked up with the struggle for the Tungabhadra doab.
    • In the Maratha country, the main contention was for the control of the Konkan and the areas which gave access to it.
      • The Konkan was a narrow strip of land between the Western Ghats and the sea. It was extremely fertile, and included within it the port of Goa which was an important outlet for the products of the region, as well as for the import of horses from Iran and Iraq, as good quality horses were not bred in India.


    • Military conflicts between the Vijayanagar and the Bahmani kingdom were almost a regular feature and lasted as long as these kingdoms continued.
    • These military conflicts resulted in widespread devastation of the contested areas and the neighbouring territories, and a considerable loss of life and property.
    • The battle of Bannihatti or Talikota in 1565 between the Vijayanagra and all the successors of Bahmani kingdom leads to end of the vijayanagra empire.

    Answer 2


    • Introduce briefly about the medieval era of south India
    • Discuss the cultural development in South India by various rulers during medieval era.
    • Conclude suitably.


    The emergence of Rashtrakutas in the eighth century A.D., in south India marked the beginning of a medieval era in the southern part of India. Later on, several dynasties and kingdoms were established in southern India on the destruction of one or another dynasty like the Chalukyas, Pallavas, Cholas, Cheras, and Rayas of Vijayanagar.

    All the dynasties had their unique contribution in the development of the southern India and several of them plated role in the intermixing of one culture with another.


    Contribution of Rashtrakutas:

    • The Rashtrakuta rulers were great patrons of learning. Kannada and Sanskrit literature made great progress during their reign.
    • Amoghvarsha wrote Kavirajamarga, first book on poetics in kannada.
    • They built structural temple, cave temple and Basadis. Ellora, Ajantha and Elephanta are centres of their art.
    • Kailasa Temple, built by the 8th century Rashtrakuta King Krishna I. It is entirely carved out of a single rock.
    • Elephanta cave, an island, has seven caves. The most imposing figure of this temple is Trimurthi It is said to represent the three aspects of Shiva as creator, preserver and destroyer. It is a UNESCO world heritage site.

    Contribution of Bahamani Kingdom: Alauddin Hassan Gangu Bahaman Shah was the founder of Bahamani sultanate in the year 1347AD.

    • Persian, Arabic and Urdu literature flourished in this period.
    • Mohammad Gawan wrote poems in Persian language. Riyaz-ul-Insha, Manazir-ul-insha are his works.
    • They followed Indo-Islamic style of architecture with some improvisation. Local materials were used to construct the buildings.
    • The architecture was highly influenced by Persian architecture.
      • Some features of this style are tall minarets, Strong arches, huge domes, Spacious Hazaras, Crescent moon at the top of the building.
      • Examples: Monuments at Gulbarga: Shah bazaar mosque, Hafta Gumbaz, Jama masjid etc

    Contribution of the Nayakas: The architecture flourished under the Nayaka rulers in the period between 16th and 18th centuries AD. It was also known as Madurai school. It also had Islamic influence. Some of the unique features are as follows:

    • The presence of Prakarams or huge corridors in the portico, around the garbhagriha, along with roofed ambulatory passageways.
    • The gopurams built under the Nayaka rulers were some of the largest gopurams. The Meenakshi temple in Madurai has the tallest gopuram in the world.

    Contribution of later Chalukya or Vesara Style: It was conceptualized under the later Chalukya rulers in the mid-7th century AD. It combined features of both the Nagara school and Dravidian school and resulted in a hybridized style. Some of its features are as follows:

    • Emphasis on vimana and mandapa.
    • Open ambulatory passageway.
    • The pillars, doorways and the ceilings were decorated with intricate carvings.
    • Influence of Nagara style is in the curvilinear shikhara and the square base of Vesara temples.
    • Influence of Dravidian style is seen in intricate carvings and sculptures, design of Vimana and step or terraced Shikara of Vesara temples.
      • Examples: Doddabasappa Temple at Dambal, Ladkhan Temple at Aihole and temples at Badami.

    Contribution of Hoysala: It developed in the period from 1050 to 1300 AD with the prominent seats being Belur, Halebidu and Sringeri. Some of the features of the architecture are as follows:

    • Multiple shrines were built around a central pillared hall.
    • Unlike the crucified ground plan of the Panchayatana style, the shrines led out in the shape of an intricately designed star. This was known as the Stellate plan.
    • Soft soapstone (Chlorite schist)
    • was the main building material.
    • Massive emphasis was laid on the decoration of the temple through sculptures. Both the interior and exterior walls, even the jewelry worn by the deities, were intricately carved.
    • The temples were built on an upraised platform known as Jagati, which was about 1 m high. The walls and stairs of the temple followed a zigzag pattern.
      • Examples: Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu, Chennakesava Temple at Belur, Chennakesava Temple at Somanathapura.


    The southern Indian kingdoms in the medieval era had an immense contribution. During this time the Mesolithic land of peninsular India is replaced with the land of temples. The architectural contribution of the rulers of the medieval is recognized by the national and international authorities like listing of monuments in the UNESCO list.

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