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Musunuri Nayaks

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The Musunuri Nayaks were warrior kings of 14th-century South India who were briefly significant in the region of Telangana.

They were warrior chieftains in the Kakatiya army, who regained Andhradesa in 1326 from the Delhi Sultanate in the aftermath of the Kakatiya defeat.[1][need quotation to verify] Prominent among them were Musunuri Prolaya Nayak and Musunuri Kapaya Nayak, also known respectively as Prolaaneedu and Musunuri Kaapaaneedu.

Opposition to Turks[edit]

After the fall of the Kakatiyas, their empire was annexed by the Delhi Sultanate and Warangal was renamed "Sultanpur". Ulugh Khan remained as the governor of the region for a short period, until he was recalled to Delhi to succeed Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1324. A former Kakatiya commander, Nagaya Ganna Vibhudu, now renamed Malik Maqbul, was appointed as the governor of the region.[2] However, the Tughluq hold over the erstwhile Kakatiya kingdom was tenuous and a number of local chieftains seized effective power.[3]

In 1330, Musunuri Prolaya Nayak published the Vilasa grant, a copper-plate grant near Pithapuram, in which he bemoaned the devastation of the Telugu country brought about by the Turks and attempted to legitimise himself as the rightful restorer of order.[4] His successor, Kapaya Nayak (r. 1333–1368), led a rebellion against the Tughluqs, driving them out of Warangal in 1336. According to the Kaluvacheru grant of a female member of the Panta Reddi clan in 1423, Kapaya Nayak was assisted by 75 subordinate Nayaks, including Vema Reddi, the founder of the Reddi dynasty.

Kapaya Nayak ruled over Telangana until 1368. Upon his death, the subordinate Nayaks are said to have dispersed to their own towns.[5] Despite his opposition to the Turks, Kapaya Nayak continued using the Kush Mahal built by the Turks in Warangal and adopted the Persianised title "Sultan of the Andhra country". In 1361, he gifted to the Bahmani Sultan Muhammad Shah I the Turquoise Throne as part of a treaty agreement.[6]


Little is known of Prolaya Nayak or indeed any of the Musunuri family; they are often described as "obscure".[7][8] As uncertain as his rise were the methods that enabled some limited amount of success for the venture, which saw the rebels defeating the Delhi Sultanate's armies in some battles and disrupting their cohesion in the region. The nobles were able to assert control in the Godavari area, over which Prolaya Nayak became the ruler from 1325 until his death in 1333. He left no children and was succeeded by a cousin, Kapaya Nayak, who governed until 1368 and attempted to further expand his rule. He took control of Warangal from Malik Maqbul in 1336 and thus also of a wider swathe of eastern Telangana that was governed from there. He also tried to support other rebels in the surrounding areas, although in the case of aid given to Alauddin Bahman Shah, the outcome was that his fellow rebel turned on him. Several military engagements with Bahaman Shah followed over a period of years, during which Kapaya Nayaka had to cede various forts and territories. His weakened position was exploited by the Reddis and the Velamas, the latter of whom caused his death in battle at Bhimavaram and ended the period of the Musunuri family.[9][10]




  1. ^ After the Kakatiyas, V. Yashoda Devi, 1975, Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy, Hyderabad
  2. ^ Wagoner & Rice 2001, p. 78.
  3. ^ Eaton 2005, pp. 26-27.
  4. ^ Talbot 2001, p. 178; Eaton 2005, pp. 26-27; Chattopadhyaya 1998, pp. 57-59
  5. ^ Talbot 2001, p. 178.
  6. ^ Eaton 2005, p. 50.
  7. ^ Talbot (2001), p. 177
  8. ^ Eaton (2005), pp. 26-28
  9. ^ Prasad (1988), pp. 168-172
  10. ^ Talbot (2001), pp. 177-182


Further reading[edit]

  • After the Kakatiyas, V. Yashoda Devi, Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy, Hyderabad, 1975.
  • A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, Oxford Univ. Press, 1955.
  • The Early Muslim expansion in South India, N. Ventakaramanayya, 1942.
  • Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (1998), "Hearing Voices: Vignettes of Early Modernity in South Asia, 1400–1750", Daedalus, 127 (3): 75–104, JSTOR 20027508, (subscription required (help))