Inscriptions of The Vijayanagara Rulers (Tamil Inscriptions)
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Inscriptions of The Vijayanagara Rulers (Tamil Inscriptions)

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Item Code: NAL978
Author: Y. Subbarayalu and S. Rajavelu
Publisher: Indian Council of Historical Research
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9789380607757
Pages: 550 (8 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.0 inch X 8.5 inch
Weight 1.47 kg
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About the Book

The Vijyanagara Empire (c. 1336-1650), the first south Indian state spread over most of the peninsula, except kerala, has, to its credit a rich corpus of inscriptions in three Dravidian languages-kannada, Tamil and Telugu-besides those in Sanskrit. This volume, the fifth in this ICHR series of vijayanagara inscriptions, is the first part of a two-volume publication and contains 576 Tamil inscriptions of the pre-Krishnadevaraya period. The inscriptions throw much light on the significance of the Tamil area for the Vijayangara state. Its political organization there shows some peculiar features, being dominated, as it were, by the princely viceroys. The Tamil inscriptions also provide somewhat richer details than the Kannada and Telugu inscriptions do regarding the socio-economic conditions of the times. The inscriptions, compiled, have been arranged in a chronological order, and the text of each inscription is given in Roman transliteration followed by an abstract in English. The Index provides explanations to most technical terms found in the inscriptions, and, hence it can also be used as a glossary. Together the five volumes in this series place a large and systematically organized body of Vijayanagara inscriptions in this hands of scholars and researchers in medieval south Indian history.


About the Editor

Y. Subbarayalu is Researcher, Department of Indology, French Institute of Pondicherry. From 1983 to 2001, he was Professor at the Department of Epigraphy and Archaeology, Tamil University, Thanjavur and was subsequently appointed Co-ordinator for the Digital Historic Atlas of South India, French Institute of Pondicherry ( Dr. Subbarayalu has also been a member of the Indian Council of Historical Research, and is, at present, General President, Indian History Congress. His publications include political Geography of the chola Country (1973); A Glossary of Tamil Inscriptions (2002-3); South India under the Chola (2012); and a co-authored volume, A Concordance of the Names in the Chaola Inscriptions (1978).



I am happy to see the issue of this volume of Inscriptions of the Vijayanagara Rulers which is the fifth in the Series of that name. This is the first part of the volume dedicated to the inscriptions in Tamil language found in Tamil Nadu adjoining parts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In early 1980s the Indian Council of Historical Research launched upon an ambitious programme to compile and publish volumes of Inscriptions pertaining to different periods and regions, with appropriate annotations. The programme has made steady progress and has brought out several volume which have enriched the enriched the epigraphical literature and which have been able to provide ample material for researchers in Indian and culture. They include Inscriptions of the Western Gangas (Ed. K. V.Ramesh 1984); Inscriptions of the Maukharis, Later Gupta, Pushyabhutis and Yasovarman of Kanauj (Ed. K. k. thapliyed 1984); Inscriptions of the Suryamsi Gajapatis of Orissa (Ed. R. Subamanyam 1986); Inscriptions of the Pallavasa (Ed. T.V. Mahalingam 1988); Inscriptions of the Serabhapuriyas, Panduvamsis and Somavamsis (Ed. Ajay Mitra Shastri 1995); Incriptions of the Early Kadambas (Ed. G. S. Gai 1996); Inscriptions of Orissa (Ed. Singdha Tripathy 1997, 1999); Inscriptions o Haryana, Himachal Praddech, Punjab, Kashmir and Adjoining Jilly Tracts (Ed. J.N. Agrawal 1999); Inscriptions of the Early Pandyas (Ed. K. G. Krishnan 2002); CD Ro M of Epigraphia Carnatica (Ed. B.L. Rice-CD prepared by the IDHR Southern Regional Centre, Bangalore).

Since the number of Inscriptions pertaining to the history of Vijayanagara is very large and written n three major South Indian languages, namely Kannada, Tamil, and Telugu, besides Sanskrit, it was decided to start under the above programme a project to compile separate volumes for each of the concerned language and 585 inscription in Telugu language have been published between 2004-09. The Kannada volumes have been edited by Dr. Shrinivas Ritti and Dr. B. R. Gopal and the Telugu language volume by Dr. P.V. Parabrahma sasrtry. I congratulate Dr. Shrinivas Ritti, Convener of the Vijayanagara Inscriptions Project, who is Instrumental in successfully bringing out these volumes in quick succession. The present volume containing 567 Tamil inscriptions ranging in time from 1346 A.D to 1509 A.D has ably edited by Dr. y. Subbarayalu and Dr. S . Rajavelu. I heartily congratulate the two editors for this achievement. The second part of the volume containing the rest the Tamil inscription will follow soon.

I am sure students, scholars and researchers interested in Indian treasure of inscriptional source material.



I am glad that one more volume (Volume V Part I) in the series of The Insriptions of the Vijayanagara Rulers is seeing the light of day. This volume as many as 576 Tamil inscriptions covering a period from 1346 AD to 1509 AD. It was envisage that the available Tamil inscriptions of the Vijayanagara rules would cover one only but in view of the availability of larger number of inscriptions of the period, it was thought of publishing these inscriptions in two parts. With the coming out of the latter and a volume of Sanskrit inscriptions, which also is in the advanced stage of preparation, the project of bring out the Inscriptions of the Vijayanagara Rulers in different languages will be compete. I expect these two volumes also to be published during this year.

It is well known that the Vijayanagara empire stretched itself over area of thewhole of South Indi covering three major linguistic regions, viz., Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. Inscriptions in these languages and a sizeable number of Sanskrit inscriptions are scattered over this vast area and most of them have been published in several and similar epigrphical publications, many of which are not readily available for today. It well known that the study of the history of Vijyanagara will not be complete unless and until the inscriptions in different languages have carefully studies and properly interpreted. In order to facilitate his process the Indian Council of Historical Research thought of making available all such inscription in handy volumes and planned this Project. Three volumes containing Kannada inscriptions and one volume containing Telugu inscriptions of the Vijayanagara rules have already been published. I am sure that the present volume will add considerably for understanding and elucidating the history of Vijayanagara. I am beholden to Professor Basudev Chatterji, Chaiman of the ICHR and Prof. Ishrat Alam, Member Secretary, for facilitating the good progress of the Project. I express my heartfelt thanks to Dr. S.K. Aruni Director, Southern Regional Centre, ICHR, for his continued interest and co-operation in furthering the cause of the project.

The onerous task of editing the Volume of Tamil inscriptions was entrusted to that known scholars in Tamil epigraphy, Dr. Y. Subbarayalu and Dr. S. Rajavelu. I am thankful to them for accepting the assignment and I congratulate them for ably discharging their responsibility. I am also sure that will help the completion f the Project by making the second part of the volume as early as possible. The brining out of a reliable and comprehensive history of Vijayanagara which is indeed the need of the hour will be possible only with the availability of all the inscriptions in different languages in one place.

I hope the scholars and researchers in the history culture of our country will wholeheartedly welcome this Volume.



This volume includes 576 Tamil inscriptions of the Vijayanagara rulers, from 1346 to 1509 CE. Only those inscriptions that have been edition and published with texts in various epigraphical publications are included here. There remain approximately an equal number of Tamil inscriptions for this period which remain unpublished, according to the estimate made by B.R. Gopal and T. V. Mahalingam, who prepared a topographical list of all the Vijayanagara inscriptions. There inscriptions come twenty-two districts of Tamil Nadu, th eKolar and Bangalore Districts of Karnataka and the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh. As for the Tamil area, the inscriptions are concentrated in the northern and central districts. It is curious to know that there is practically no occurrence in the Madurai District and further south, even though the prince Kampana (1352-74) claims to have uprooted the Muslim Sultanate of Madurai. Perhaps some local Pandya rulers were [permitted to hold the area independently but there is no definite information on this aspect. A line of chiefs with the Bana title is found to rule there during the fifteenth century until the south was fully incorporated within the Vijayanagara state during the Tuluva rule. On the other hand the northern districts became part of the state from about 1350 soon after Mulavayil or Mulavay (Mulavagilu in Kannada inscriptions, presently Mulubagal) in Kolar District became the southern centre of administration. Three of the earliest inscriptions in this volume, dated in 1345 and 1346, are naturally met with in Bangalore and Kolar Districts. In the subsequent decades the inscriptions are distributed throughout the coastal districts up to the Kavari delta. Altogether they are found in 215 places (See Tables IV and V). However, most places have yielded each one or two numbers only, while some five places have a good number of inscriptions each. Those place are the most important religious centres of the day, namely Tirumala-Tirupati (with 63 insciptions), Tiruvannamalai (39), SRIRANGAM (65), Kanchipuram (21), Tirukkalukkunram (15), and Papanasam (13). Most of the inscription in this volume are written in Tamil language and script. A few are fully or partly in Sanskrit written in Grantha script. There are four inscriptions in Kannada language written in Granth script. The style of the language is simple and terse and perhaps more colloquial and less grammatical than the earlier Cola period Tamil inscriptions. The inscriptions lack any poetical, eulogistic preamble except the stereotyped prasasti passage ‘sriman maha-mandalesvaran ariraya vibhatan bhasaikku tappuva-rayara-kantan miva-rayara-kantan kantanatu kontu konta natu kotatan catu-samudradhipati’, with is a Tamil of the Kannada original. Comparatively speaking, the Vijayanagara inscriptions provide more useful information for socio-economic history than earlier ones. In the following sections the historical potential of the inscriptions in this volume is indicated using some typical examples.


Political Information

Altogether some twenty-nine rulers are represented in the records. Tables I and II list all those rules chronologically as well as alphabetically. Table I is an Tables II and III. Table II given the records of each rules in their chronological order. In this volume, the ‘ruler’ is taken as the one who, according to the particular inscription, is said to be actually ruling (indicated generally by the passage ‘peithvirajyam panni arulaninra) and not the presumed king who was ruling from Vijayanagara. In Table III, second column given the name in the ‘standard’ textbook from’ while the first column given the name as found in the particular inscription. It need be emphasized that the names in column I were the more familiar name current among the contemporary population while the ‘standard’ names would have been restricted to the elite circles only. Barring a few names which lack specific attributes, most of them can be recognized as either the ruling king at Vijayanagara or some prince representing the eking Tamil country. Until the reign of Devaraya II it is one prince or the other who figures prominently in the Tamil area farther than the king himself. It is the prince who is actually said to be ‘ruling’. Thus we have only eight inscription dated in the name of King Bukka I whereas there are sixty-eight inscriptions in this name of his son Kampana (II) who, according to the usual understanding, remained an uncrowned prince, without sitting on the Vijayanagara through. A typical passage of the latter’s record (No. 12) reads thus : ….ubhaya-samudradhipaisrivira Bukkanna utaiyar kumarar Kampanna prithvirajyam panna nirka meaning ‘While Kampana Udaiyar, son of the illustrious and brave Bukkanna Udaiyar, the lord of the both oceans, … was ruling the earth’. Ti many be noted that in such contexts the king’s name figures only as the father of the ruling prince. The prince Savana Udaiyar (son of Kampana I), who has four inscriptions in this volume (Nos. 5, 7, 17, 18), is actually following the earlier local practice of using the regnal years in the date portion. Another striking thing is that most of the time, besides the primary king, more than one prince is found ruling simultaneously (See Table I). A typical case is that of Harihara II and his two sons Bukka II and Vijayanagara II. Whether this was due to competing claims or due to some mutually acceptable sharing of responsibilities difficult to tell from th einscriptional information. The reign of Devaraya II is an exception to this general phenomenon. All the inscriptions of his time bear only his name in the date portion. And so he has the largest number of inscriptions in this volume.

The post-Devaraya II period continues to show the same trend. At that time. Besides the kings Mallikarajauna and his successor Virupaksha III, There occur simultaneously records dated in the name of the Saluva Narasimha I, Saluva Tirumalaideva, Rajasekhara, Pratapa Devaraya, another Virupaksha, and Konerideva. Unlike the princes of times , some of these rulers (Saluva Narasimha I, Saluva Tirumalaideva and Konerideva) were not related to the king. Naturally during the latter haft of the fifteenth century the Tamil country could not be effectively controlled from the capital city of Vijyanagara due the existence of such independent rulers of the locality. There are also several inscriptions in this period without any reference to the ruler, though they can otherwise be considered as belonging to the time of either Mallikarjuna or Virupaksha III on the basis of the Saka year and other date particulars referred to in the particular inscriptions and on the basis of some official names found in them or on some circumstantial evidence. Such inferred identifications are indicated in Table II by putting the king’s name within square brackets. From about 1485 when Saluva Narasimha I becomes the actual ruler, his general and executive agent Narasa-nayaka and the latter’s executive agents like Tipparasa-udaiyar are found in several places trying to establish good government, pacifying people suffering from excessive taxation, and so on. When Saluva Nrasimha II became the king, Narasa-nayaka occupied the some superior position as the regent. In several inscriptions is himself said to be actually ruling, though the king is mentioned in the date portion. It is interesting to note that he established a temple village called Viramarasa- nallur (in Tiruchirappalli District) for the merit of ‘Ayyan’ Somaya Viramarasar in the year 1501 (No. 548). This Somaya Viramaradsara made a grant of land to the Srirangam temple in 1499; there he is referred to as Viramarasar, son of Somarasara of Mulavay (No. 540). In 1498 the same person is found giving some orders to his own executive agent regarding a village grant in the same locality on the south bank of the Kaveri (No. 538). From the above facts, it may be taken that Viramarasar was a senior and loyal official officialworking under Carasa-nayaka, attracting respect from latter.

Some remarkable changes are found in the revenue and administrative territories of this period. The pre-Vijayanagara administrative until like nadu and valanadu were replaced by newer units like parru and ucavadi, though the earlier geographical names survived at the social level. Parru was the lowest administrative unit above the village and included a number of villages. It seems the size of a parru was smaller than the earlier nadu. The locally influential corporate body of the landholders, called nattavar, is quite visible at this level in relation to local and temple affairs, and remission of local taxes. Fop the Vijayanagara government thehigher level unit ucavadi or cavadi, otherwise called raiya, was the most important unit for revenue collection (Nos. 234, 273, 285, 358, 498, 509). As far as the Tamil area is concerned the territorial designation ucavadi or cavadi was more popular than the term rajya. In the social parlance the mandalam was also used at times as an equivalent of these bigger territories. This fact is found clearly in the Right-and Left-Hand inscriptions of 1429. A few of those inscription also attest to fact that the pradhani was the administrative head of the ucavadis. There were five ucavadis. There were five ucavadis, namely Candragiri, Padaividu, Valudilampattu, Tiruccirappalli, and Tiruvarur (Nos. 156 234,277, 366, 268, 371, 453, 498, 509, 528). A sole inscription (No. 103) dated 1378 refers to Tanjavur-cavadi, which seems to have subsequently merged with got renamed as Tiruccirappalli-ucavadi. Mulavay-rajya, though centred outside the Tamil area its noethern borders, included within its limits the area of the present Dharmapuri, Salem, and Erode Districts, besides the Kolar District (Nos. 241, 276, 334). Moreover, the Mulavaya was the headpuarters of the kings who rules over Tamil country (27, 138, 141, 261).

From the beginning of the Vijayanagara rule, a number of high officials are found active throughout the area. A few of them are found to hold the superior designation pradhani or mahapradhani, and some the subordinate designation karanikkam. A couple of them are found to be adaipaam (‘page’) of the king. The title mahamandalesvara, which is found associated with the royal members from the beginning, is taken by some chiefly figures from about 1400 CE onwards. The names of those officials are found somewhat different from the local names, in that they have generally the udaiyar (rarely udaiyar) suffixes *(Somappa-udaiyar, Nanjana-udaiyar). Most of them can be recognized as hailing from the Kannada core area of the kingdom. Some of them were also raja/arasar (Tippa-raja or Tipparasar) or maharaja (Savanadeva-maharaja). Dannayaka (Somaya-dannayaka), or simply nayaka (Maraya-nayaka). Many of them are found to be functioning as agents for king or superior official. This official hierarchy was indicated by the verbal phrases kariyattukku kadava or kariyatturana, meaning ‘one who is obliged to carry on or execute the commands of (his master)’. In this volume these phrases are uniformly translated as ‘the executive agent of’.

I seems that the tax collection was farmed out to some official in public auction, A unique inscription from Tevur (No. 273) dated 1426 throws some light on this aspect. It shows haw a poll tax called mallayi-avvaiyar-magamai, payable by all the valangai and idangai communities in the Tiruvarur-cavadi, was increased several times within a short duration of fifteenth years due to competitive bidding of the tax-farming officials, reising the original rate of 200 pon to 2000 pon. It is seen that the tax rate was always fixed in money terms and if grain payments are involved they were commuted into money payments, which seems to have the general practice throughout the kingdom. In this case the commutation rate was fixed while the market price for grain (paddy) was high and subsequently this rate was not reduced even if grain prices became low. This also added to the miseries of the people. A few other inscriptions would suggest that the collection of taxes from herding communities was given to the charge of separate collectors, who were called idaiturai, or sada-manigam (sadam, ‘tax on cattle’, ‘headman’) (Nos. 401 411, 423). This may show that the pastoral activities had become an important feature of the economy, perhaps due to a large migration of pastoral communities along with the Vijayanagara warriors.




  Foreword by Chairman vii
  Preface by Convener ix
  Editors' Note xi
  Note on Transliteration xiii
  Introduction xv
Table I: Kings, Reign-periods and Inscriptions xvii
Table II: Alphabetical List of Kings xxiii
Table III: Identity of Kings xxiv
Table IV: Alphabetical List of Places xxxiii
Table V: Places by Districts and Taluks xxxix
  References xliv
  Inscriptions of the Vijayanagara Rulers 1
  Index 487


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