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Maximum extent of the Reddy Kingdom, 14th Century CE[disputed ]
|Historical era||Medieval India|
|Outline of South Asian history|
The Reddy dynasty (1325–1448 CE) was established in southern India by Prolaya Vema Reddy. The region that was ruled by the Reddy dynasty is now part of modern-day coastal and central Andhra Pradesh. Prolaya Vema Reddy was part of the confederation that started a movement against the invading Turkic armies of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323 and succeeded in repulsing them from Warangal.
The first of the Reddy clans came into prominence during the Rajendra Chola III kings period.The Reddy chiefs were appointed as generals under the Kakatiyas. During this time the Reddys carved out feudal principalities for themselves. Eventually, the army of the Delhi Sultanate invaded Warangal and captured Pratapa Rudra. In 1323, after the death of Pratapa Rudra and the subsequent fall of the Kakatiya empire, the Reddy chiefs became independent. Prolaya Vema Reddy proclaimed independence and established the Reddy Kingdom in Addanki.
Extent of rule
They ruled coastal and central Andhra for over a hundred years from 1325 to 1448. At its maximum extent, the Reddy kingdom stretched from Cuttack, 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 Reddys 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 Reddy kings. The forts of Bellamkonda, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda in the Palnadu region were also part of the Reddy 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 Reddy kingdom eventually came under the control of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The Reddy rulers played a prominent part in post-Kakatiyas of Telangana. The Kakatiya empire came to an end in 1323 after the army of the Delhi sultanate invaded Warangal and captured Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra. Warangal fell to the 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 princes, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva. They united the Telugu nobles with the purpose of reclaiming the kingdom. Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka, Prolaya Vema Reddy, 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 the Sultanate's rule. They succeeded in repulsing those forces from Warangal and then established independent Kingdoms of their own.
It was during this chaotic period in Andhra history that Prolaya Vema Reddy established the Reddy kingdom in 1325. The Reddy rulers patronised and protected Hinduism and its institutions. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddy 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 Reddy 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 under the Reddy kings. The Reddy kings also patronized Sanskrit. Several of the Reddy kings themselves were distinguished scholars and authors. Kumaragiri Reddy, Kataya Vema Reddy and Pedakomati Vema Reddy 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 Reddy. 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 Reddy period. He was the court poet of Pedakomati Vema Reddy. 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 Budda Reddy 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 Reddy 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 Reddy. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddy kings. Caste system was observed. Heavy taxes by Racha Vema Reddy made him highly unpopular.
Notes and references
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Reddy dynasty.|
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- Sheldon I. Pollock (2003). Literary cultures in history: reconstructions from South Asia. University of California Press. pp. 385–. ISBN 978-0-520-22821-4. Retrieved 8 July 2011.
- Reddys of Rajahmundry: http://www.rajahmundry.net/rajahmundry/history.asp#Rajamahendravaram
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