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Medieval Andhradesa AD 1000-1324

Edited by Somasundara Rao

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The year AD 973 marked the rise of Kalyana Chalukya power in Andhra, followed by a period of wars between the Kalyana Chalukyas and the Cholas of Thanjavur for over a century. The decline of these powers made way for the rise of the Velanati Chodas, the Nellore Chodas and the Kakatiyas in Andhradesa; the Yadavas in the upper Deccan; and the Hoysalas south of the Tungabhadra river.

From the middle of the twelfth century, the Kakatiyas became the dominant power, and Warangal emerged as the premier cultural and political centre. The Kakatiyas consolidated their power by defeating defiant feudatories and bestowing administrative power on loyal subordinates, and by entering into matrimonial alliances with families of conquered local chieftains. Under their rule different social groups migrated to the coastal Andhra region from the neighbouring Tamil country, resulting in the creation of new sub-sects. Further, social groups came to be named on the basis of local identities, such as the Pakanati and Velanati brahmins, the Penugonda vaisyas, and the Panta and Pakanati reddis, to mention a few.

Based on a centralized bureaucracy, the Kakatiya state could be broadly characterized as feudal. The mainstay of the economy was agriculture and there was a substantial increase in irrigation facilities. Trade flourished under a system of guilds and led to the growth of a number of urban centres. The institution of the temple gained significance, facilitated by royal patronage. Buddhism witnessed a decline even as Sri Vaishnavism and Vira Saivism gained ground, and Andhradesa came to be known as Trilinga – the land of the three Saivite shrines at Kalesvaram, Srisailam and Draksharama.

In architecture, the vesara mode flourished under the Kakatiyas, while the phamsana form was popular in the construction of monuments in the Telangana region. In the field of language and literature, the Telugu script underwent significant changes, and classical Telugu literature developed with the translation of the Mahabharata by Nannaya Bhatta, and the rise to eminence of several Telugu poets and writers.

Somasundara Rao

Somasundara Rao, Professor (Retd.), obtained an MA (history and archaeology), MA (Hons) and PhD from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, and specialized in the ancient and medieval history of Andhra Pradesh with particular emphasis on epigraphy. He was initiated into epigraphical research by the noted epigraphist and historian, Mallampalli Somasekhara Sarma. He has presided over the medieval history section of the Andhra Pradesh History Congress, the political history section of the South Indian History Congress and the ancient history section of the Indian History Congress, and served as President of the South Indian Numismatic Society.