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Class 12 History Chapter 8 An Imperial Capital Vijayanagar
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An Imperial Capital Vijayanagar
Chapter – 8
PART – II
Very Short Answer Type Questions
Q.1. Give one objective and result of the conflict between rulers of Vijayanagara and Sultans of Deccan and the Gajapati rulers of Orissa on their northern frontiers.
Ans : The objective of this conflict was to control the fertile river valleys and the resources generated by lucrative overseas trade.
Result : It led to interaction between these kingdoms which led to sharing of ideas, especially in the field of architecture. Rulers of Vijayanagara adopted their techniques of making buildings and even they developed them further.
Q.2. Write any four special attractions associated with Mahanavami festival.
Ans: a) Dances.
b) Wrestling matches.
c) Processions of caparisoned horses, elephants and chariots and soldiers.
d) Ritual presentations by the chief nayakas and subordinate kings before the king and his guests.
Q.3. In which four cities can we see the temples associated with the Vijayanagara Kingdom?
Ans : Temples associated with Vijayanagara kingdom could be seen in the Vijayanagara city, Kanchipuram, Vellore and Srirangapattam.
Q.4. Who were Amara-Nayakas? Identify any two works done by them.
Ans : Amara-Nayakas were the military commanders of Vijayanagara. They performed the following works :
a) They collected taxes and other dues from peasants, traders and craft persons.
b) They provided an effective fighting force to the rulers of Vijayanagara.
Q.5. The Virupaksha was the most important god of Vijayanagara. Give to arguments.
Ans : a) The kings of Vijayanagara claimed to rule on behalf of the God Virupaksha.
b) All royal orders were signed as “Shri Virupaksha”. The signatures were usually in the Kannada script.
Q.6. State the two types of structures found in the royal centre. Mention one difference which existed between them.
Ans : The royal centre contained 60 temples and 30 palaces. The difference between the two was that temples were constructed entirely of masonry, while palaces was made of perishable materials.
Q.7. State three features of Indo-Islamic architecture.
Ans : Huge Gateways, archers and domes are the three typical features of Indo-islamic architecture.
Q.8. Who brought to light the ruins of Hampi and in which year?
Ans : Colonel Colin Mackenzie, an employee of the East India Company brought to light the ruins of Hampi in the year 1800.
Q.9. Give the meaning of Vijayanagara.
Ans : Vijayanagara literally means ‘City of Victory’. It was the name of both a city and an empire.
Q.10. Who were the contemporaries of the Vijayanagara king in South India?
Ans : The contemporaries of the Vijayanagara kings in the south were:
a) Sultans of the Deccan. and
b) Gajapati rulers of Orissa.
B. Textual Questions & Answers:
Q.1. What have been the methods used to study the ruins of Hampi over the last two centuries? In what way do you think they would have complemented the information provided by the priests of the Virupaksha temple?
Ans : The methods used to study the ruins of Hampi (capital of Vijayanagara Empire) – The ruins at Hampi were brought to light in 1800 by an engineer and antiquarian named colonel colin Mackenzie. An employee of the English East India Company he prepared the first survey map of the site. Much of the initial information he received was based on the memories of priests of the Virupaksha temple and the shrine of Pampadevi. As time past 1856, photographers began to record the monuments which enabled scholars to study them.
As early as 1836 epigraphists began collecting several dozen inscriptions found at this and other temples at Hampi. In an effort to reconstruct the history of the city and the empire, historians collated information from these sources with accounts of foreign travellers and other literature written in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Sanskrit.
Complementation of the information provided by priest of the Virupaksha temple: Some of the old traditions suggest that pampa devi, the local mother goddess, did penance in these hills in order to marry virupaksha, the guardian deity of the kingdom, also recognised as a form of Shiva. To this day this marriage is celebrated annually in the Virupaksha temple. Among these hills are found Jaina temples of the pre-Vijayanagara period as well. In other words, this area was associated with several sacred traditions. Temple building in the region had a long history, going back to dynasties such as the pallavas, Chalukyas, Hoysalas and Cholas.
Rulers very often encouraged temple building as a means of associating themselves with the divine- often, the deity was explicitly or implicity identified with the king. Temples also functioned as centres of learning. Besides, rulers and others often granted land and other resources for the maintenance of temples. In Vijayanagara empire temples developed as significant religious, social, cultural and economic centres. From the point of view of the rulers, constructing, repairing and maintaining temples were important means of winning support and recognition for their power, wealth and piety.
Q.2. How were the water requirements of Vijayanagara met?
Ans : Vijayanagara lay in one of the most arid zones of the peninsula. Elaborate arrangements had therefore to be made to meet the water requirements Vijayanagar was located in the natural basin formed by the river Tungabhadra, which flows in the north easterly direction and the girdle of hills surrounding the city were home to number of streams. The rulers to meet water requirements:
Built embankments along the streams to create reservoirs of varying sizes. Elaborate arrangements were made to store rain water and conduct it to the city. What is now called the Kamalapuram tank was built in the 15th century, water from this tank not only irrigated fields nearby, but was also conducted through a channel to the royal centre. Poes a foreign visitor during the reign of Krishnadeva Raya has given a graphic description of how the king made a tank at the month of two hills so that the water which came from either side could collect, how pipes were laid along the lower ranges, to port water from a lake, which itself overflow into a little river.
In order to make the tank the king broke down a hill and many thousands of people were employed to construct the tank. One of the most prominent water works to be seen among the ruins is the Hiriya canal. This anal drew water from the dam across the Tungabhadra and irrigated the Cultivated valley that seperated the ‘sacred centre’ from the urban centre.
This was built by the king of the Sangama dynasty. The surveys also indicate that wells, rainwater tanks as well as temple tanks may have served as sources of water to the ordinary town dwellers.
Q.3. What do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified area of the city?
Ans : A Great fortification of Vijayanagara was accomplished in the fifteenth century. It also encircled the agricultural heartland and forests. This encirclement had the following advantages –
It enclosed agricultural tracts, cultivated fields, gardens and forests. It had an elaborate canal system which drew water from the Tungabhadra. In the medieval period, sieges were laid to starve the depending armies into submission. These sieges lasted for many months or many years. So the rulers of Vijayanagar adopted an elaborate strategy to protect the agricultural belt and build large granaries. This encirclement also saved crops from animals.
Disadvantages : This system was very expensive. It was inconvenient to farmers during adverse circumstances.
Q.4. What do you think was the significance of the rituals associated with the mahanavami dibba?
Ans : The rituals associated with this structure were generally conducted on Navaratri or Mahanavami which is known as Dussehara in Northern India. It included worship of the state horse and the sacrifice of many animals. Elaborate other ceremonies were conduct for example heavily decorated horses, elephants, chariots and soldiers were taken out in a procession. Dances and wrestling matches were conducted. The kings nayakas and other subordinate kings who recognized his suzerainty made a ritual presentation before the king and his guests. On the last day of this festival the king inspected the royal army as well as the military contingents of his nayakas in a grànd ceremony.
The nayakas in return provided the king with numerous lucrative gifts and their annual tribute. All these rituals and ceremonies conducted had deep symbolic meanings. It gave the Vijayanagara kings an opportunity to display their prestige, power and reaffirm their suzerainty on their nobles and other vassal kings. These rituals strengthened the position of the kings, impressed his people and displayed the might of his empire. Thus preventing challenges to his authority in the form of rebellions or attack by enemy forces.
Q.5. Fig 7.33 is an illustration of another pillar from the virupaksha temple. Do you notice any floral motifs? What are the animals shown? Why do you think they are depicted? Describe the human figures shown.
Ans: In the sphere of Indian art ornamentation and symbolism have played important roles with extremely interesting results. Floral design on the pillar from the Virupaksha temple are manifold in order to produce the manifestation of beauty. The designs are invariably of vines and rarely of flowers. Spaces are thronged with leaves which are mainly executed with the mechanism of lines. Animals show are both mythical and realistic. The most prominent of these animals is the yali and ithyphallic least with lion like body mane, claws and curling tail.
It has bulging eyes and painted teeth, and a long elephant like figure the paws are brought together to clutch the falling among the other imaginative creature is the horse and makara. The Amkara is lymph with a crocodile like head and on open mouth spouting aquatic foliation. All of these animals are shov n in fiercely vigorous postures, re. ing up on their hind legs as if to spring itwards. The elephant and horse were depicted because they formed not only a unit of the army but were treated with great reverence. Surya the sun-god had his chariot drawn by seven horses.
The makara was also conventionally associated with sanctity (Bhagavad Gita). It was considered a symbol of the essence of the waters, the principle of life, Still another factor was to represent power, and strength of the kingdom. The human figures depicted are in the form of Gods and Goddesses. Also represented is linga worship.
Write a Short Essày on the Following:
Q.6. Discuss whether the term “royal centre” is an appropriate description for the part of the city for which it is used.
Ans : I think the term royal centre is an appropriate description for the part of the city for which it is used. One of the most beautiful buildings in the royal centre is the Lotus Mahal, so named by British travellers in the nineteenth century. While the name is certainly romantic, historians are not quite sure what the building was used for. One suggestion, found in a map drawn by Mackenzie, is that it may have been a council chamber, a place where the king met his advisers. While most temples were located in the sacred centre.
There were several in the royal centre as well. One of the most spectacular of these is one known as the Hazara Rama temple. This was probably meant to be used only by the king and his family. The images in the central shrine are missing, however, sculpted panels on the walls survive. These include scenes from the Ramayana sculpted on the inner walls of the shrine. While many of the structures at Vijayanagara were destroyed when the city was sacked, traditions of building palatial structures were continued by the nayakas.
Many of these buildings have survived. The royal centre was located in the south western part of the settlement. Although designated as a royal centre, it included over 60 temples. Clearly, the patronage of temples and cults was important for rulers who were trying to establish and legitimise their authority through association with the divinities housed in the shrines. About thirty building complexes have been identified as palaces. These are relatively large structures that do not seem to have been associated with ritual functions. One difference between these structures and temples is that the latter were constructed entirely of masonry, while the superstructure of the secular buildings was made of perishable materials.
Q.7. What does the architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables tell us about the rulers who commissioned them?
Ans : Lotus Mahal was one of the most beautiful buildings in the royal centre. It was given this name by British travellers in the 19th century. Historians are not quite sure that for which function, this building was built. But the map drawn by Mackenzie suggests that it may have been a council chamber where king used to meet his advisers. There was an elephant stable near the Lotus Mahal in which a number of rooms were lined. King used to keep large number of elephants over here. Architecture style of Lotus Mahal and nearby stable remind us about Indo- Islamic style. Rulers of Vijayanagara kingdom used to built such elaborate buildings and used to spend a lot of money on them. They were of the view that beauty of these places will increase their prestige among masses.
Q.8. What are the architectural traditions that inspired the architects of Vijayanagara? How did they transform these traditions?
Ans : Initially the architects were influenced by the Indo- Islamic architectural styles featuring gateways, domes and arches. Then new features were added. Huge structures were now constructed. The best example being the royal gateways which dwared the towers on the central shrines. This enabled the temples to be seen from a great distance. They also helped to remind the people of the king’s power. Only the king had the means and resources to construct such gigantic gateways. Other features adopted included mandapas or pavilions and long pillared corridors that wound around the shrines within the temple complex.
Q.9. What impression of the lives of the ordinary people of vijayanagara can you cull from the various descriptions in the chapter?
Ans : The chief source of information about ordinary people of vijayanagara can be culled from literary texts and writings of various foreign travellers chief among them being those of Italian trader Nicolo Conti, persian ambassador Abdur Razzaq, merchant named Nikitin all of whom visited the city in the 15th century, and those of Duante Barbosa, Domingo paes and Fernao Nuniz from Portugal who came in the 16th century. All foreigners agree that the country was thickly populated with numerous, towns, villages and brimming with power and wealth. Paes has left a vivid description of bazaars fairs and described the city as being best provided city in the world.
According to Nuniz the Vijayanagara markets were overflowing with abundance of fruits and meat could also be had in abundance. Foreign travellers have made special mention of lakes, water conducts. Paes writes about the tank constructed by krishnadeva Raya. Abdur Razzaq has made special mention of the enclosed agricultural tracts within the fortifications. Paes observed from the first circuit until you enter the city, the great distance in which are fields in which they sow rice. Thus agriculture was in a flourishing condition, and it was the policy of its rulers to encourage agriculture in different parts of the empire and to increase agricultural production by a wise irrigation policy.
Its agricultural wealth was supplemented by numerous industries, the most important of which were textiles, mining and metallurgy. Industries and crafts were regulated by guilds. It was common practice for people of the some trade to live in one and the same quarter of the city. There was flourishing inland, coastal and overseas trade which was an important source of general prosperity. The kingdom according to Abdur Razzaq, had 300 ports. The most important commercial area on the west coast was the Malabar. Among the exports the main items were cloth, rice, spices, iron, saltpetre etc.
The main imports consisted of horses, elephants, pearls, copper, coral, china silks and velvets. Barbosa says the city of Vijayanagara is of great extent highly populous and seat of an active commerce in the country, diamonds rubies from pegu, silk from china and Alexandria, camphor, musk, pepper and sandal from Malabar are traded. The accounts of foreign travellers speak of a high standard of living of the upper and middle classes and growth of urban life. Abdur Razzaq remarked – all the inhabitants of the country whether high or low wear jewels, and gilt ornaments in their ears, and around their necks, arms, writs and fingers. The splendour of the capital city bears testimony of the wealth which was however the monopoly of only a section of the population. But the prices of articles were low and the minimum necessities were probably not beyond the means of the common people.
Historians are not agreed about the economic condition of the peasantry under the vijayanagara rule, because most of the travellers had little knowledge of village life, and thus spoke of it in very general terms. In general, it may be presumed that the economic life of the people remained more or less the same. Barbosa described the houses of the ordinary people, which have not survived. The houses were thatched but nonetheless well built and arranged according to occupations in long streets with many open places. Despite the prosperity, the society was marked by disparities in wealth and position evident from practice of slavery, caste system deva dasi and sati. Krishnadeva Raya in the famous work on statecraft Amukta malyada enjoins the primary duty of the king as protection of the subjects, maintenance of law and order, redressal of grievances and of preserving purva-maryada.
Q.10. On an outline map of the world, mark approximately Italy, Portugal, Iran and Russia. Trace the routes the travellers mentioned on P. 176 would have taken to reach Vijayanagara.
C. Passage Based Question & Answers:
Read the following passage carefully and answer all the questions given below it.
Born in 1754, Colin Mackenzie became famous as an engineer, surveyor and cartographer. In 1815 he was appointed the first Surveyor General of India, a post he held till his death in 1821. He embarked on collecting local histories and surveying historic sites in order to better understand India’s past and make governance of the colony easier. He says that “It struggled long under the miseries of bad management… before the South came under the benign influence of the British Government.” By studying Vijayanagara, Mackenzie believed that the East India Company could gain “much useful information on many of these institutions, laws and customs whose influence still prevails among the various Tribes of natives forming the general mass of the population to this day.” 60 66
Q.1. Who was Colin Machenzie?
Ans: Colin Mackenzie was born in 1754 and died in 1821 A.D. He became very famous as an efficient engineer, surveyor and cartographer. In 1815, he was appointed the first Surveyor General of India. He held that post till he passed away in 1821. He collected local histories of certain regions and spent a lot of time in studying Vijayanagara.
Q.2. What was done by Colin in order to better understand India’s past and to make British governance easier?
Ans: Colin Machenzie was appointed in 1815 the first Surveyor General of India. He embarked on collecting local histories.
Colin Mackenzie surveyed historic sites in order to better understand India’s past and make governance of the colony easier. He said that it struggled long under the miseries of bad management before the south came under the benign influence of the British Government.
Q.3. After study Vijayanagara what changes took place in Mackenzie’s faith?
Ans : By studying Vijayanagara, Colin Machenzie believed that the British East India Company could gain. He collected much information on many of political institutions, laws and customs whose influence still prevailed among the different tribes of natives forming the general mass of the population to that day.
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