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Maximum extent of the Reddi Kingdom, 14th Century CE
|Historical era||Medieval India|
|Outline of South Asian history|
The Reddy kingdom (1325–1448 CE) was established in southern India by Prolaya Vema Reddi. The region that was ruled by the Reddi dynasty is now part of modern day coastal and central Andhra Pradesh. Prolaya Vema Reddi was part of the confederation that started a movement against the invading Turkic Muslim armies of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323 CE and succeeded in repulsing them from Warangal.
The first of the Reddi clans came into prominence during the Kakatiya and their own DurjayaKamma Musunuri kings period.The Reddi chiefs were appointed as generals and soldiers under the Kakatiyas. Reddis were among the feudatories of Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra. During this time the Reddis carved out feudal principalities for themselves. The Reddi feudatories fought against the invading Muslim sultans and defended the region from coming under Muslim rule. Eventually, the Muslim army of the Delhi Sultanate invaded Warangal and captured Pratapa Rudra. In 1323 CE, after the death of Pratapa Rudra and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya empire, the Reddi chiefs became independent. Prolaya Vema Reddi proclaimed independence and established the Reddi kingdom in Addanki.
Extent of rule
They ruled coastal and central Andhra for over a hundred years from 1325 to 1448 CE. At its maximum extent, the Reddi kingdom stretched from cuttak,orissa to the north, Kanchi to the south and Srisailam to the west. The initial capital of the kingdom was Addanki. Later, it was moved to Kondavidu and subsequently to Rajahmundry. The Reddis were known for their fortifications. Two major hill forts, one at Kondapalli, 20 km north west of Vijayawada and another at Kondavidu about 30 km west of Guntur stand testimony to the fort building skill of the Reddi kings. The forts of Bellamkonda, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda in the Palnadu region were also part of the Reddi kingdom. The dynasty remained in power till the middle of the 15th century and was supplanted by the Gajapatis of Odisha, who gained control of coastal Andhra. The Gajapatis eventually lost control of coastal Andhra after Gajapati Prataprudra Deva was defeated by Krishna Deva Raya of Vijaynagar. The territories of the Reddi kingdom eventually came under the control of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The Reddi rulers played a prominent part in post-Kakatiyas of Telangana. The Kakatiya empire came to an end in 1323 CE after the Muslim army of the Delhi sultanate invaded Warangal and captured Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra. Warangal fell to the Muslim invaders and Ulugh Khan commanded Warangal and Telangana. During this time of foreign invasion and chaos in Telugu country, seeds of revolt were sown by two patriotic souls, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva. They united the Telugu nobles with the singular purpose of rescuing Telugu country from Muslim domination and re-establish Hindu Dharma. Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka, Prolaya Vema Reddi, Recharla Singama Nayaka, Koppula Prolaya Nayaka and Manchikonda Ganapatinayaka were the prominent nobles. Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka was the chosen leader of this confederation of Telugu nobles who united and vowed to put an end to Muslim rule. They succeeded in repulsing the Muslim forces from Warangal and then established independent kingdoms of their own.
It was during this chaotic period in Andhra history that Prolaya Vema Reddi established the Reddi kingdom in 1325 CE as a bulwark of Hinduism against the Islamic invaders. The Reddi rulers patronised and protected Hinduism and its institutions. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddi kings and the agraharas of Brahmins were restored. Vedic studies were encouraged. The Hindu temples of Srisailam and Ahobilam were provided with more facilities. Prolaya Vema Reddi bestowed a number of agraharas on the Brahmins. He was revered by the title of Apratima-Bhudana-Parasurama. He commissioned major repairs to the Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swami temple, and had a flight of steps built from the Krishna river to the temple. The Narasimha Swamy temple at Ahobilam was built during his reign. He built 108 temples for Shiva.
Telugu literature blossomed during the period of stability under the Reddi kings. The Reddi kings also patronized Sanskrit, the sacred Hindu language. Several of the Reddi kings themselves were distinguished scholars and authors. Kumaragiri Reddi, Kataya Vema Reddi and Pedakomati Vema Reddi were the most outstanding among them. Errapragada (Errana), Srinatha and Potana were the remarkable poets of this period. Errapragada, the last of the Kavitraya (Trinity of Poets) was the court poet of Prolaya Vema Reddi. He completed the Telugu translation of the Mahabharata. He completed the rendition of the Aranya Parva of Mahabharata left incomplete by Nannaya Bhattu (Aadi Kavi who started the translation of Mahabharata into Telugu). He wrote Hari Vamsa and Narasimha Purana. Errana's translation of the Ramayana in Chapu form (a style of poetry) has been lost.
Srinatha was considered the most distinguished writer of the Reddi period. He was the court poet of Pedakomati Vema Reddi. He wrote 'Palnadu Viracharitra' in 'Dwipada' meter. This story chronicles the 12th century war between two branches of Kalachuri family that ruled from Gurazala and Macherla. This battle changed the course of Andhra history, with political control passing into Kakateeya hands. Other works of Srinatha, include 'Pandita-radhya Charita', 'Sivaratrimahatmya,' 'Haravilasa', 'Bhimakhanda' and 'Kasikhanda'.
Gona Buddha Reddi lived during the 13th century so actually belonged to the Kakatiya period. He is famous for his Ranganatha Ramayanam. His translation of the Ramayana was a pioneering work and is still used during puppet shows.
The administration was carried according to the "Dharmasutras". One sixth of agriculture surplus was levied as tax. Under the reign of Anavota Reddi custom duties and taxes on trade were lifted. As a result trade flourished. Sea trade was carried through the port Motupalli. Large number of merchants settled down near it. Celebrating 'Vasantotsavalu' was revived during the rule of Anavema Reddi. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddi kings. Caste system was observed. Heavy taxes by Racha Vema Reddi made him highly unpopular.
Notes and references
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Reddy dynasty.|
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- Telugu World literature