Vol. XXXVIII - Part IV V " 1986 _
JOURNAL OF THE ANDHRA HISTORICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA
Editor in Chief
Late Dr. R. Subrahmanyam, M.A., Ph.D., F.H.A.S. (London)
Professor & Head o/ the Dept. of Ancient History & Archaeology
Nagorjuna Uniuersify, Guntur.
Dr. V. V. Krishna Sastry, M.A., Ph.D.
Director of Archaeology & Museums,
Government o/ Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad.
Published by :
THE GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Vol. XXXVIII - Part IV V 1986 _
JOURNAL OF THE ANDHRA HISTORICAL RESEARCH SOCIETY
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA
Late Dr. R. Subrahmanyam, MA., Ph.D., F.H.A.S. (London)
Professor & Head of the Dept. of Ancient History & Archaeology
Nagarjuna Uniuersify, Guntur.
Dr. V. V. Krishna Sastry, M.A., Ph.D.
Director of Archaeology & Museums,
Government o/ Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad.
Published by :
THE GOVERNMENT OF ANDHRA PRADESH
Mo. of Copies : 500
Depi. of Arehatology & Museum, Hyderabad, A.P,
Price : Rs.
I am doubly happy that we are bringing out the fourth part which is the last one of Dr,
Venkataramanayya Commemoration Volume, and that we could publish, though belatedly, alf the
.articles sent by various scholars as a token of their regard to the great historian.
This part includes an article by late Prof. Rayaprolu Subrahmanyam entitled "Secular
Remains at IMagarjunakonda". Previously, Sri Subrahmanyam published a comprehensive article
entitled "The Brahmanical structures in Nagarjunakonda" in Volume VIII. No. (1) of Itihas'
published by the State Archives Department. In his present article, Sri Subrahmanyam deals with
the Ikshvaku citadel, once situated adjacent to the river Krishna at Nagarjunakonda and now
soaking under 300 feet deep waters of Nagarjunasagar. The description of the mud fort is
comprehensive and it will be useful for future researchers working on forts. He also described
the residental pattern of the Ikshvaku capital Vijayapuri, and public buildings, the flight of steps
leading to the river Krishna, and the arena etc. Fortunately/most of the structures that would have
gone under waters, were salvaged and reconstructed, some over the SSIagarjuna hill and some at
Anupula near the reconstructed Ranganadha temple. While reading the article, I still remember
my days at Nagarjunakonda when the feverish activity of transplantation was going on when in
-an unfortunate accident, a truck turned turtle and seriously injured a large number of daily wage
This volume also contains an article on the Pillars in Vijayanagara art by C. Puranchand
which is very informative. Dr. B.S.L Hanumantha Rao's article on Boyas in the Medieval Andhra
History culled through various inscriptions, deals with the origin of Boyas, their religious faith,
Boyakottams, and their social status etc. Dr. Hanumanth Rao is a well known author of several
books and research articles. Particular mention may be made of his magnum opus "The Religion
in Andhra Desa" which I feel is one of the authoritative^books. Though externally soft spoken and
amiable, Dr. Hanumantha Rao holds very strong views on academic and research matters, which
.are always convincing.
In the end, I owe my gratitude to Sri Muddu Krishnama Naidu garu, Hon'ble Minister for
Education and Archaeology, Sri S. Kasipandian, i.A.S., Secretary to Government, Education
Department for their co-operation iin bringing out research publications of this Department. My
thanks are also due to Miss G. Lalitha, Asst. Director who helped me in bringing this out and to
the printers Print'N Pack Aids, Hyderabad in bringing out this valuable publication in a record time.
The opinions expressed by the authors of the articles are their own.
V. V. Krishna Sastry,
1. Secular Remains at Nagarjunakonda ... 1
2- The Pillars in Vijayatttaftftf Art 43
. C Pootnachand
3. Patterns of Settlement and Equipment of the Mesolithic ... 63
Hunter Gatherers of Northern Coastal Andhra
4. The Boyas in Medieval Andhra History ... 77
B.S.L. Hanumanth Rao
" f ,
5. The Cult of Vithoba in Vijayanagara ... 93
7. s*d |jSosS
SECULAR REMAINS AT MAGARJUNAKOMDA
Secular remains excavated at Nagarjunakonda consists of a citadel with royal palace and
other buildings, residences of commoners, workshops, rest houses, public and private baths, and
places of public gathering etc. The royal palace is little more than a glorified edition of one of the
private houses, the only difference between them being larger size rooms with better sanitation
facilities. Though nothing has survived, all these houses of the rich must have had decora-
tion in plaster work and carvings in wood and it is quite possible that the latter might have
perished due to age and climatic conditions. However, sculptures discovered at the site help us
in reconstructing a picture of the people that lived in this city, the types of furniture used, doors
and windows, stools and pedestals, carts, besides vessels in mud and metal of everyday use.
Luckily, antiquities discovered also help us in gleaning into the social life of the people. Many
household vessels and utensils, as might be expected in a town site like this, have been salvaged ;
bulk of these vessels, it is needless to say, are earthen-ware conical shapped oil or wine containers,
cooking pots, storage jars, drinking cups with stand, goblets and sprinklers to mention a few, form
the bulk of antiquities found in the residential buildings, Articles of toilet trays are also not
wanting. Besides the above, articles of daily use, particularly those made of stone like querns,
grinding and crushing stones, pestle, mortar with or without ornamentation were also found in
these residential buildings. Metal objects like tongs, hammers of different sizes, chisels, perhaps
belonging to a goldsmith and blacksmith, and tools of agriculturists, like sickle and crowbar also
form part of these collections.
Though the structural remains, as revealed by the excavation, are fragmentary, they give us
a fairly complete picture of the City of Vijayapuri as it stood in the early century of the Christian
era and in the following pages an attempt is made to describe in detail all the different structures
under various heads like citadel, residential buildings workshops, roads and rest houses, public
baths, sources of water and sanitation.
The excavations at Nagarjunakonda have revealed to view structural remains of a citadel
used by the Ikshvakus in the early centuries of the Christian era. Like all contemporary ruling
families, the Ikshvakus also had resorted to construction of forts, to defend themselves against
possible attacks. The explorations conducted in the valley have shown that the Ikshvakus had
SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
built a mud fort in the western half of the valley on the banks of the river, which can be called a
sthafadurga and also fortified the hill which is in the centre of the valley (modern Durgamkonda),
perhaps to serve as a giridurga, to take refuge in times of siege and offer resistance.
The Sfhaladorga : This is located on the right bank of the river Krishna in its immediate
proximity, it is flanked by two lowlying hillocks, locally called Peddakundellagutta (about 565
feet above the sea level). On the west, the river Krishna served as a natural defence and only a
brick built wall with a main passage was also added on that side to complete the shape of this
mud fort, On the east, a massive mud rampart wall was built connecting these two hills and the
area thus enclosed is about three furlongs east-west by four furlongs north-west.
This Sthaladufga is quadrilateral in shape and roughly comforms to the karmuka or bow-
shaped citadel described by Kautiiya. The rampart walls connecting the two hills with] its rough
semi-circular shape formed the bow, while the river on the west served as the string for this bow-
Shaped fort The structures which are located inside the citadel include military quarters, ritualistic
sites of Asvamadha, kings' palaces in a very badly damaged condition, only thick brick walls being
extant, rubble structures, perhaps used by the Durgadhyaksha or Commander of the fort, stone-
paved halls, baths, stables etc,
-Rampart Walls: The citadel has huge rampart walls, traces of which are seen even to
this day. On the southern side, it overlies the summit of Peddakundellagutta. Its maximum extant
height is 16 feet above the outside present ground level. Trenches laid across the wall on the
eastern side showed that it has been built in two phases. The first or the earlier phase was
represented by a rampart of morum or mud, about 80 feet wide at the base. The second phase
represented by a burnt-brick wall, 9 to 14 feet thick, generally built either directly over the
existing rampart or over secondary filling over it, but on naturally higher grounds and directly on
the bare rock-surface. On the southern side, however, on Peddakundellagutta the latter phase of
construction, the burnt-brick wall alone is found without the earlier morum rampart wall. It
appears that the first phase of construction was absent on the hill and exigencies of situation
should have necessitated- the construction of the rampart wall over the hill later on. The pre-
rampart phase is represented by the presence of the ovens, besides other cultural debris.
Date : The ceramic evidence from the pre and post rampart layers was more or less
uniform, the pottery of both the groups pertaining to the Ikshvaku period as a whole. Black-and-
red ware and red-slipped ware have been found, the latter being dominant The most prominent
type of the latter ware are the typical lid-cum-vases and carinated vessels, It appears that the
lower part j. e., the mud part of the citadel of Vijayapuri was of an earlier period, probably coeval
with the first phase of occupation within the Ikshvaku period, and its renovation and the brick
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. ISI. VENKATARAMAMAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 3
structure over it, were done during the second or the third reigns of Ikshvaku rulers. It is
possible to surmise that the need for strengthening the rampart walls was felt during the last
years of Virapurushadatta or the earlier years of Ehuvala-Chantamula as a protection from the
attacks of the neighbouring rulers. This is corroborated by numismatic evidence from this area.
Moat : Save for the portion ovef the Peddakundellagutta hill, the fortification wall was
surrounded by a ditch or moat 12 feet in depth and width varying from 74 to 132 feet. On the
western side / the river Krishna itself served as a natural water barrier. The ditch has been cut into
the natural rock, but no traces of the system by which the moat was fed were noticed during th
Gateway : The main gateway of the citadel on the eastern side and a narrow postern gate
on the northern side, possibly serving as an emergency exit were exposed. On the western side,
only remnants of what appears to be the palace wall and its gate are extant.
Eastern Gateway (Site No. 90) : The main entrance of the citadel was evidently on the
eastern side which was about;33'8" in width. The walls flanking the gateway are obout six feet in
thickness and have post-holes at an interval of 6'3". On one side is found the door-socket of
rectangular shape (2'10"x 2'2"). On either side of the gateway, there are what appear to be the
sub- ways about 11 '6"
(Site No. 104); On the northern side of the citadel, there is a narrow
postern gate or passage about 40 feet long and 2*6" wide in the north-south direction. Traces of
s!ab and brick flooring were found within the passage. This gate possibly served as an emergency
exit Near about this gate inside the citadel are found evidences of a pavement with a few
residential structures nearby,
Western (Site No. 96) : On the western side of the citadel and about 360 feet
from the river Krishna runs the western rampart wall (1 1'6" thck) built of brick in mud. It- was
provided with a gateway. The entrance'passage has total width of 33'8" the same as that of the
main eastern gateway of the citadel. The width of the actual passage is 17'3". There is an offset
running round the walls of the gate. Apparently, there were rectangular guard rooms on either side
of the gateway. On the southern side alone the guard' room is intact. The room measured
18'5" x 6'2" with an opening on the western side, The gateway is provided with doorways, one
in the interior and the other on the exterior. This can be inferred from the existence of two sets
of door-jambs or sockets at either end of the passage. The door-sockets are rectangular. The
sockets of the inner door way were 22" x 12" and those on -the outer 34" x 19". The outer
doorways were evidently bigger,
4 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAG ARJUNAKONDA
Post-Holes: It is rather difficult to say whether the gateway had any roof over it or
whether it was left open to the sky as was the case in the fort of Sisupalgarh. It would have been
a very difficult task to bridge the gulf of 33'8" by a continuous roof. Nevertheless it is interesting
to note the existence of a series of post-holes on either walls of the gateway. There are at least
about 6 such post- holes exactly opposite one another. The post-hole is roughly of one brick
size i.e., about 22" x 1 0.5". The purpose of these post-holes is not clearly known, but possibly
some sort of an improvised roofing supported by pillars was erected in these post-holes.
It is also interesting to record the presence of a series of small holes or sockets roughly
square, arranged at an intetval of about five feet over the wails on the outer edges of the walls
that flank the gateway.
Roads and Tracks: Within the citadel there must have been a number of roads connecting
important places like the royal buildings, the barracks, the bath and other residential places situated
within the citadel. The main road coming from the western portion of the citadel is clearly
traceable right from the main gateway to the opposite (western) side, to a distance of about
2,000 feet. This road connected the citadel and the township outside the citadel. Another road
10 feet wide, ran along the foot of the rampart. The road was perhaps, the inner peripheral path
connecting the barracks and north-eastern gates.
Structures within ihe Citadel : The structure within the citadel as has been mentioned
already, include royal apartments (in a very badly damaged and disturbed condition) military
barracks, rubble structures used probably by palace servants and officers like the durgadhyaksha
or Commander of the fort, slab-paved hails and plat-forms, stables, baths, water-tubs, wells and
On the south-west side of the citadel and the palace gateway, a huge rectangular enclosure
wall made of. rubble, measuring 130'OG" x 160'0" is found (Site No. 95). The main entrance is
on the western side. It contains a few rooms and two open quadrangles. The whole area was
apparently divided into four irregular parts. The north-western-corner was left-open to form the
quadrangles of about 90'Q" x 70'0". Similarly on the southern side also an open quadrangle was
left. In the adjacent part, of the north-east corner, a few rectangular rooms are found. The
eastern room measures 13'3"x8'0" and the western room measures 10'0"x20'0". Besides
these two partitions, there are two wings of apartments on the western side. Thie entrance
between the rooms is about two feet high. From the disturbed conditions of this building, it is
very difficult to get a. clear picture of their construction and use. But taking into consideration the
situation of the building, it is possible that it might have heen the residence of the durgadhyaksha
pr Commander of tfie fort.
A.H.R.S,Vol, 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 5
On the northern fringe of the citadel, adjoining and partly overlapping the Chinnakundella-
gutta is a vast building complex (site No. 102) consisting of a number of halls, rooms, a
series of ceils, small water tanks, tubs, and drains and the whole being enclosed by a wall
which runs right over the hill. The enclosure wall was made of rubble though for palaces bricks
were also used. It is roughly rectangular in plan. The topmost area of Chinnakundellagutta was
particularly well-protected with an enclosed rectangular wall, the elevated place must have
provided an excellent place for watching the military movements and activities of the enemy force
outside the rampart. Down the hill, a huge common bath with well-paved platforms, water tanks
with steps, water cisterns and tubs were found. There is a long rectangular tub of 35'0" X 4'0",
The natural bed-rock is used as the bottom of the tub. The whole tub was surrounded by a drain
10" in width which runs along the adjacent platforms, and goes ultimately to the north-western
corner. Just by its eastern side, there is another limeplastered cistern with steps around to get
in. These two cisterns with the vast paved platform might well have served as a common bath
for the soldiers, who were having their residential quarters immediately on the western side.
These quarters might hava been built for families connected with the service in the palace and
they occupy quite a considerable portion of the area. Broadly, the area can be divided into five
big units, each of which consisted a number of halls, rooms etc. The dimensions of the rooms in
general are 1 2'3" x 10'5" though there are variations, and halls 22'9" x 10'0". In a few rooms,
evidence of lime-plastered flooring was found. One unit in particular on the extreme west is
very striking. There is a spacious square hall at the centre with four rooms on four corners and
the entire hall surrounded by a row of cells on all sides. Each side has five cells. On the eastern
qorner of this area, an open quadrangle is provided (site No. 101) probably for the military
parades. A little towards the west is seen a rectangular brick platform 24'Q" x 16'0", the exact
purpose of which is not clear, It is likely that the platform was used for ceremonial occasions
Towards the northern fringe of the citadel and near about the postern gate, there seems to
have been the residential quarters. Site No. 104 gives some indications of the same. Within a
vast rectangular brick enclosure wall of 108'0" x 54'0", there were four partitions, two on each
wing leaving the centre portion vacant. The smaller rooms measure 19'6" x 16'0 and the bigger
ones about 38'0"xl6'0". There are traces of fine brick flooring within the rooms. Evidently
there are two phases of construction in this area as the outer enclosure wall runs over an earlier
tub at the south-east corner. Many disjointed and fragmentary walls evidently of the earlier
phase are found without giving any indication of their clear lay-out.
About 150 feet towards the south of the above building complex we find vestiges of another
residential building - the south-east group consisting of a row of the rectangular ropnri3 gf
6 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
The ceramic wares recovered from this area (plain red ware and a few black-and-red ware
dishes and carinated vessels, sprinklers and bowls) leave no doubt regarding its identity as typical
Ikshvaku pottery and help us in dating these structures.
Barracks Area : Another focus of habitation was near the eartern geteway (site No 91).
It appears to be a veritable barracks area where possib.y a contingent of soldiers s stoned
to guard the eastern gateway. Here too, a number of .rectangular and ^ ua ; e g ;' S ^ ^ $ h " g
tubs and platforms were found. Within a huge enclosure, two wings of rectangular halls havmg
one room each are seen at the site (halls Nos. 1 and 2). The entrances to these rectangular -h is
are provided with big moon-stones. In one of these rectangular halls, traces of * scuare
platform 18'0"x15'0" with vertical Cuddapah casing slabs were also seen (room NO. 4).
There is a gateway into the outer brick enclosure wall about 17 feet in width. Room No. 5 is a
separate detached rectangular room in a corner of the enclosure wall. Near this traces ot a
drainage are found.
On the southern wing of the enclosure, four rectangular rooms-big and small-are found as a
closely-knit unit. Room No. 7 measured 24'0" x 21'6". They have weli-plastered walls and
flooring. Outside this complex, two entrances on the east and west are found. The former is
intact and the latter is missing. The former is paved with bricks and is provided with a moon-
stone. In one of the bigger halls, a rectangular water oistern was found.
The huge enclosure wall with the above described residential buildings was provided with
many outlets at different places, to take out rain water that might collect in the enclosure. Three
such outlets, one on the northern side and two on the south-eastern side of the enclosure were
unearthed. The former one is about 2*0" wide, while the latter two are smaller, only about 7
wide. It will be interesting to note that in between this enclosure wall and the outer rampart wall
of the citadel, traces of an ancient road going in north-south direction is found.
The antiquities found in this site' include fine terracotta animal figures like elephant, horse,
ram and also female figurines... A dice made of shell found in the site shows that perhaps the
soldiers used their leisure in such pastimes.
Situated almost in the heart of the fortified area in site No. 93, which apparently comprised
ritualistic structure enclosed by a massive compound with flanks measuring 54 feet and central
passage 18 feet wide. The most interesting feature of this structural complex is a square,
plastered masonry tank- 27'<T x-27'0" x 8'6", which is four-tiered with a square bottom. There are
'short 'sidesteps on its flanks at each level. It is in the Sulba orientation of inverted Chandas
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 7
(stepped pyramid reversed). The water level in this tank was evidently maintained constantly upto
the depth of about six feet, the remaining water being drained out through the outlet provided on
the top through the closed subterranean drain. The specific nature of this tank and the adjoining
tank in Kurma shape is not clear but probably the square tank was an Avabr/tha tank where the
performer of the Aswamedha yaga took the purificatory bath The ritualistic association of the
tank may be supported by the occurrence of skeletons of the animals, horse and goat.
All along the top-edge of the tank are seen post-holes (about 21 in number) distributed
more or less at equal intervals, Presumably, some sort of a covering or roof was provided over the
tank. Huge quantities of burnt wood, charred materials, twisted nails and decorative patterns in
metal ware were recovered from the tank, indicating that it had a wooden roofing with lot of
decorative patterns and embellishments.
Immediately to the south of this tank, is another masonary tank, of a peculiar curved
shape, with the top cross measuring 1 8'0" x 1 2'0". It is also built in two tiers and in plan
roughly resembles a tortoise or a kurma with its head projecting towards the west. Its overall
depth is 4'8". A covered drain was provided at the bottom to let the water into two smaller
tub-like structures outside, Whether it represents the kurma altar for ritualistic purpose or simply
represents the ornamental tanks and baths for the royal personages, is not known. The nearby
tub-like structures cannot be taken as ch/tfs or fire-altars as the existence of the drainage
connecting these with the main tank precludes that possibility. Antiquities found in this site
consist of a number of lead coins of Ikshvaku kings Ifke Virapurushadatta, beautiful terracotta
figures and figurines, and lime-stone carvings like the moon-stone with mythical animals etc.
A few rubble-built houses enclosed by a huge outer wall are found in site No. 103, towards
the north-east corner of the citadel. These represent structures of the later period in which earlier
Ikshvaku building materials such as pillar-fragments etc., were used. Besides these residential
buildings, a few temples and baths were also excavated inside the citadal. They have been
described in their proper context.
GIRIDURGA (HILL FORT)
The river Krishna and its minor tributary streams, in the course of centuries, have dissected
their Course through the plateau. Due to this dissection of the river and feeder streams, isolated
flat topped hill masses have been formed within this valley. One such hill ma'ss is the Dufganrv-
konda where it is proposed to have the Museum. It is narrow and elongated with an east-
north-east and west-south-west trend, the most westerly point ending at the river. The river
which had a north-south course has taken a sharp bend here so as to flow along the northern base
8 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAG ARJUNAKONDA
of the hill. Since it has taken a northerly bend it has been considered assacred as Ganges near
Benares and the Ikshavaku monarchs have established Sivalingas and built temples for Siva to
render it a sacred thirta or a place of pilgrimage. The crematorium of Ikshvakus was also located
on the northern slopes of the hill and on the river bank. Associated with the crematorium is the
temple of Siva named Nadagisvarasvami (meaning ofwhich is not quite intelligible) datable to the
reign of Ehuvala Chantamula.
The top surface of the hill has a gentle westerly slope of about 560 feet above sea level,
while on the eastern side, it raises to about 680 feet above mean sea level. The top surface
is elongated with varying width, the maximum width which is on the eastern side is about 1,600
feet. On the westerly side, it is reduced to 700 feet and the total distance lengthwise being
6,000 feet in all. The slope of the hill mass is less than 80 from the horizontal. The profile,
however, shows that the raise from the ground level i$ less than 15 from the horizontal. The
slope gradually increases and for small heights near the top, the slope in nearly vertical. This
vertical portion of the hill consists of bends of quartazitic sand stone with a thickness ranging
from 20 to 30 feet. This natural formation of quartazitic sand stone gives an impression of a
fortification wall when looked from below.
The total surface area of the hill top is 185 acres, which is utilised for the construction of the
port and other buildings for defence purposes. One interesting feature about the layout of this
port is the presence of four temples on four sides at the foot of the hill. On the eastern side, near
the main gate, is the Naga temple; on the north-eastern side is Kodandarama temple with a huge
image of Hanuman in its front; on the north-western side is the Nadggisvara temple and on the
south-western side, the great temple of Pushapabhadrasvami.
The Ikshvakus had built this gfrfdurga to serve as a place of security in times of siege
by the enemies. The entire hillock was fortified by rings of walls built of solid granite blocks
around the hill, both at its base and on its top with four main gates at the cardinal directions.
Fort Walls : The fort walls are made of granite blocks. The thickness of the wall varies
from 15 to 25 feet. At some places on the southern side evidences of later-day repairs by way of
brick reinforcements to a considerable length are found.
On the south-western corner of the hill, a rectangular bastion built of bricks with a stone-
paved path or passage through it meant to be used by the elephants, as the local tradition would
have us believe, has been noticed,
A.H.R.S. Vol.38, Ft- IV.
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 9
Moat .: The fort wall is surrounded by a moat about 35 to 120 feet in width going all
Gateways: There are four main gateways at the south-eastern, south-western, north-
western and north-eastern sides, and a northern gate with a flight of curving steps leading to the
cremation ghat. The main entrance appears to have been on the south-eastern side with a
flight of steps in front leading to the bottom of the hill. Three gateways at" the top of the hill
connected by flights of steps from the start of the hills are in a fair state of preservation. From
the outer or the lower enclosure wall to the gateway on the south-western side, there is a stone
pitched track, which is also in good condition. But the south-western gate has a semi-circular
bastion near the periphery and the steps leading down have disappeared.
South-Eastern Gateway: The main passage of the gateway was about 12 feet broad.
The gateway seems to have had a covered roof of granite beam or lintels, one of them still in
position. Immediately outside the gate, there is a structure complex with four rooms of more or
less of equal dimensions (each room measuring 45'0'' x 38'0") built in random rubble, with inter-
connecting doorways. This was perhaps the building set apart for the chief of guards with his
garrison to protect the gateway. Between this structure and the main gateway, there is the moat.
This house and the main gate are again enclosed by a ring of rubble wall 15 feet in thickness,
which formed a sort of a bastion for the gate. Each of the gates is well protected by rubble
enclosures with minor gates. In all these gates, the passages through them are zig-zag and
hindered all direct approaches, rendering entry into the fort complicated and difficult.
North-Eastern Gateway : It is on the north-eastern corner of the fort, The passage into
the gate is about 20 feet, which narrows down near the door to 4 feet. This gateway was
enclosed by a rubble wall with a secondary opening, which in turn was enclosed by another smaller
enclosure with a minor gate. The entire area in front of the main gate and its enclosures is
surrounded by a ring of semi-circular rubble wall, which runs almost to the bottom of the hill.
This wall, especially the northern side is having three minor gates similar to the eastern side.
The outer minor passage down the hill is connected to the main gate at the top by a flight of steps,
leading down to the river. Further north of the outer rampart wall and down the hill on the
right bank of the river Krishna is the medieval temple of Rama with a huge Hanuman figure in
Northern Gate : Similar gate arrangements with all its outer enclosures are made at the
north-western corner of the fort. Here also, there is a flight of steps connecting the burning
ghat (Site No. 127) and the Siva temples (Site No. 126) at the foot of the hill. The flight of steps
start right from the river itself.
10 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA '
In this outer fortification wall, which runs along the foot of the hill, there are three gateways,
opening on to the river bank front, rendering the river itself to serve as a moat.
North-Western Gateway ; This gateway is connected to the outer enclosure at the bottom
by a flight of steps. At the bottom, there is another gateway which leads to the river.
Structures within the Giridorga : The top of the hiil is almost flat, roughly measuring
185 acres in extent, divided into three enclosures by huge partition walls made of granite blocks.
The central enclosure is bigger than the other two and the partition wall has bastions and a
gateway. Going Iron east to west, the first enclosure occupied roughly one fourth of the area,
while the third enclosure on the extreme west covered roughly 1/6th of the whole area. The rest
is in the middle portion. These enclosures are inter-connected by passages or gateways in the
partition walls. The gateway on the eastern side and the passage in the partition wall were
connected by a road on which the modern road now runs. Within the first enclosure and by the
side of the main road referred to, there is a well-laid out plan of residential buildings and three
temples located at the' junction of ths street facing east. Of these three temples, two are dedicated
to Siva and Rama, while the third perhaps enshrined a Jain image, the broken torso of which was
found thrown in the jungle. From the plan, we can notice one major road running in the
north-south direction with houses on either side. This road goes right upto the northern gateway
of the fort. This road is cut by two other roads, running in the east- west direction. In one of
the junctions, there is the temple of Sri Rama and in other junction, there is another temple
dedicated to Durga. Besides these three major roads, there were some minor streets and by-lanes
roughly parallel to one another. On both sides of the road, wa find a numoer of residential
buildings, built of random rubble, some of them consisting of square rooms within enclosures.
We also get a number of huge square -rectangular quadrangles meant probably for the parade
ground. This entire complex seems to have been the barracks area. On the southern side of these
enclosures, there is a building with a series of rooms within an enclosure which appears to be
Nearby is a huge circular well cut into the natural rock, about 160 feet in diameter.
One could reach the water-level by a wide circular path which winds its way to the bottom.
Even elephants could reach this huge well through this circular path. This wall was probably
meant for the animals kept in the stables. There is another big circular weil on the eastern
side which might have been the main water source for the residents here.
The central enclosure seems to have been the main focus of the habitation with a number
of residential buildings on eitherside of the present road. Here also one can see houses arranged
in a neat manner on either side of the streets and lanes. Here also a number of streets in the
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 11
north-south direction and a cross road in east-west direction are seen. Almost in the centre of this
enclosure, there is a Jain temple, perhaps belonging to the Vijayanagar times, as is evidenced by
the surviving temple as wall as tha torana of the image of Maha Vira, with the vedika showing
the lions (simhasana). But, the most important of all the buildings here, is a huge rubble building
situated almost in the centre of the entire fort. Perhaps this was the place meant to be the
residence of the king or his direct representative. It is a big rectangular rubble structure
425'CT x 370'0" with the main entrance on the east. In front, there is a long rectangular area
with a smaller room, in its corner. Further west of this rectangular room, a passage leads to a
bigger enclosure On the southern wing of the latter, there are a few rooms. Outside this
building^and as part of the same complex, there are smaller square enclosures perhaps meant for
the servants attached to the palace.
From this central enclosure, we pass on to the next enclosure on the western extremity of
the fort through the smaller passage or gate of 8 feet width provided in the partition wall. Within
this enclosure also, we find vestiges of what might have been a magnificent structure built
of rubble meant for some important personages like the durgadhyaksha or Commander of the fort.
The structure consists of one enclosure 150 feet square with a rectangular hall in front. Both have
entrances to the north. In the eastern wing of the rectangular enclosures, there are four square
rooms, The whole building is enclosed by an outer rubble enclosure which shows that the build-
ing had been heavily guarded. To the north of this building complex are a few residential build-
ings with a number of round buried tubs probably meant for storing water for animals. This might
also have been a barracks area with a contingent of troops to guard the north-western gate..
In view of the vastness of the area of the valley, harizontal excavation of residential
buildings was restricted to a square area of 1300 r opposite the eastern entrance of the citadel,
in the centre of the valley to get some data-about the cultural equipment of the common
man - disposition of structures of different classes and castes in the City, town planning etc. Since
no clue to their identification except in one or two places was offered, they are being described by
their site numbers.
Excavations have revealed to view residential buildings distributed practically all over the
valley with major concentration to the east of the citadel area. Residential buildings were also
found near the river bank, at sites like 72, 73, 74, 67 etc,, (on the south of the citadel) and sites
119, 120, 124 (on the north of the citadel) at the foot of Nagarjuna hill, and some stray ones as
at the site No.48 on the eastern side of the valley near the Hariti temple.
From the general distribution of the habitation sites excavated, we can say that residential
areas were in the immediate vicinity of the citadel on its east, south and north. The eastern side
12 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAG ARJUNAKONDA
of the citadel was, however the main centre of habitation. Excavations have revealed residential
buildings by way of enclosures, the largest of them measuring 250'0"x150" representing a well-laid
township, possibly the eastern part of Vijayapuri, mentioned in inscriptions. It was provided with
well-marked out streets with houses on either side, by-lanes measuring 25 feet and 8 feet
respectively in width leading to enclosure or clusters of houses in the interior and away from the
main road. The main street practically divided the township in two halves. Construction of these
houses is simple and perhaps peculiar to the locality. The foundations of the waifs of the buildings
were mostly two or three layers of random rubble in clay or mud over which, stone with rough
dressing or brick walls were constructed. Invariably, except where the^structures were in contact
with water, the building material was mud or local clay which is quite gritty. The plans of the
buildings are as simple as their archstecure. They generally comprised one or two rooms with inter-
communication, a narrow front and rear verandah, enclosed by a compound wall. In the rear
portion of the house, sufficient open space was kept, perhaps for a kitchen in the open, while inside
the rooms valuable materials like grain and jewellery were stored. It was also noticed in the
course of excavations, that storage vessels for grains, oil etc,, were buried in the floor of the
room, a practice which has came down to this day. Since all the superstructures were also
missing, nothing could be ascertained about the height of the roof, nature and materials used for
the doors, windows, ventilators etc. From the occurrence of numerous varieties of roof, drains,
circular earthen-ware pipes and flat stone channels-it is possible to surmise that buildings of richer
people at least had flat roofs made of the Macherla slab over wooden rafters with proper slope to
drain the rain water etc., while the poorer folk had only lean-to roofs with kutcha materials,
fetched from the forest round about and built against one corner of the compound wall with
random rubble or mud partition walls and rammed or mud floors.
From the study of extant remains of residential buildings, the common pattern of a rich
man's building appears to be an enclosure with a central pillared pavilion with an auxiliary structure
on all sides built of brick and lirne, encased in Cuddappah slab. While the flooring was paved with
napa slabs, the walls were plastered with lime, the thickness and the fineness of plaster varying
with the purpose to which the building was put to. The pillared pavilion is an ornamental
building with balustraded steps on four sides with a central elevated platform. The purpose of the
elevated platform in a residential building is not quite intelligible. But from the sculptural
representation on the pillars and of the associated finds it may not be far from truth if we
presume that the platform was used as a. sort of a drawing room to receive the visitors.
Similar platforms were found in the Mukhamandapas of the temples. In the latter case, purpose was
evidently different. The deity was placed in it for the kalyana utsava or the day to day worship.
The Utsavamurtf was temporarily kept there f o r abhfsheka and the visitor could have a close darsan.
That the structure belonged to the Ikshvaku period was evident from the prevalence of typical
pottery, terracotta figurines, beads, metal objects and a large number of lead coins belonging to
A.H.R.S.Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 13
the first three Ikshvaku kings. Within many enclosed walls were found huge storage jars, often
arranged in rows.
South of the Citadel : The area immediately to the south of the citadel has a cluster of
rubble walls (Site Nos. 72, 73 and 74) presumably indicating the habitation site in this part of
Vijayapuri town. Excavation in this area has yielded structural remains of brick-built as well as
rubble-built houses. The normal lay-out of these residential buildings consists of rows of rooms
and a common verandah with a compound wall enclosing them. These are actually located on
either side of the road leading to Yelesvaram ferry. This incidentally helps us to identify that
the modern road was actually laid on the old one,
Site No. 74: Excavation in site No. 74 has yielded the remnants of two buildings-one
super-imposed over the other-the former built of brick and the latter with rubble. The brick-built
structure consists of a row of four rooms measuring 8'6" x 8'Q" with a front verandah. This has
been provided with a roof made of tiles fastened to the ceiling rafters This is indicated by a large
quantity of flat tiles sometimes with perforations discovered during the excavation. Similar
perforated tiles were used in Brahmapuri (Kolhapur) in the Satavahana period. These tiles were
evidently fixed by inserting nails in the holes and fixing them into the wooden rafters, covering the
roof, 1 or to tie them to the rafters with thread or copper wire. It has east-west orientation and
perhaps the southern wall was abutting the enclosure wall. It is curious that even in the present
times, houses are constructed in this locality in identical fashion. A huge compound wall with
a row of rooms arranged side by side with or without inter-connection is the standard type for a
common man's dwelling.
From the extant structure, it is not possible to reconstruct the height of the walls and the
type of timber used in construction. The bricks used vary in size and their average measurement
is 14ir"x 7"x 2".
These buildings compare very well with the structures excavated at Brahmapuri,- a site of the
The rubble-built structure has a different orientation though in right angle alignment with
earlier structure. It comprises of two rooms, one big and the other smaller. The bigger one
measures 15'0" x 9'0". Traces of the front verandah are also noticed. Since the construction
was done on the slopes of the hill, it is quite possible that the remnants of the super-structure
1. Excavations at Brahmapuri (Kolhapur) 1945-46 by Sankalia & Dikshit (1952) p. 30
14 . SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
of the buildings might have been washed down by rain water. 33 lead coins bearing the legend of
Sri V/ra, presumably Virapurushadatta of Ikshvaku dynasty, were picked up in the area which help
us in dating the structure to the period of the Ikshvakus. A terracotta bead and a conch shell were
also recovered from the site. Pottery discovered from this house is mostly utilitarian
indicating domestic rather than monastic use.
Site No. 72 : This structure is almost similar to the site No. 74 and consists of a row of
three rooms each measuring 13'6" x 9'6" with a front verandah about five feet in width in east-
west orientation. The main entrance to the building is on the north where traces of Cuddapah
slab steps leading to the room are extant, Numerous storage jars and pots were found fixed into
the ground, inside the enclosure, presumably used for sorting grains etc.,
, This site was rich in antiquities- nearly 38 lead coins, 14 terracotta human figures, a
terracotta elephant 12 stone beads, besides many iron objects were discovered here. Some of
the coins can be ascribed to Virapurushadatta, the second of the Ikshvakv dynasty and therefore,
the structure may ba dated to his pariod. Terracotta figurines discovered here are made of double
moulded technique and help us in collecting some useful information about the folk-art. A stone
intaglio with an engraving of stylised figure of lion holding in its mouth a beaked animal, on the
left corner and on the right a triratna is, very interesting. This stone plaque is divided into four
compartments and the lower part is without decoration. It may possibly be a toilet tray.
Site No 73: It is a pavilion with three balustraded steps provided on the south. Some
very disturbed remnants of rubble buildings are found, probably representing residential quarters. A
huge kachcha drain is dug on the south, parallel to the main rubble enclosure and spreads outside
in a rectangle. One small drain joins this bigger one. This may indicate that each house was
provided with a drain which was connected to the main drain and all the dirty water was taken and
drained to a far off place,
On the eastern side of the citadel, a cluster of rubble structures, with a rough east-west
alignment have been found. The sites included are: 107,111, 115,89, 87, 57 and 58. As
said earlier, this was the main focus- centre of Vijayapuri town.
Site No. 58 : This is to the north of the Stupa No 9, consisting of a brick house within a
rubble enclosure wall. The main hall measured 46'0", with faint traces of partitions. The
thickness of the brick wall is two feet and contains square post-holes at a distance of three feet
in between, presumably for wooden pillars which support the roof of tiles. Three feet away from
the main building, is a rubble enclosure wall.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKAfARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME . 15
This site has yielded a pot containing jewellery, consisting of two ear ornaments (kundalas),
a gold necklace with a Roman coin, pierced and used as pendant, perhaps belonging to the
inhabitants of this house. Besides these, we also obtained a number of ikshvaku lead coins,
copper armlet, iron miniature bowls, terracotta figures and figurines, shell bangles, beads and glass
Site No. 57: The Kartikeya temple is surrounded by rectangular walls enclosing an area
of 215'0" x 160'0". Apparently by the side of the temple, there must have been residential
buildings connected with this temple.
Towards the east of the Kartikeya temple, huge rectangular rubble enclosures are found with
occasional partition also made of rubble. All the houses which these rubble walls enclosed, have
disappeared, leaving no traces of their plans even. Presumably, they were made of non-durable
materials which have not with stood the ravages of time.
To the south of the Kartikeya temple, traces of an ancient road (No. iV A) are found
going in the eastern direction.. It is about 20 feet in width. On either side of the road, traces of
rubble enclosure walls of irregular size were found. The one on the south measuring roughly about
360'0" x 240*0" has a central partition wall of rubble, inside this enclosure there must have been
many houses built of perishable materials. On the north of the Kartikeya temple, are rows of three
rectangular rubble enclosures which together occupy an area of 270'0" x 100'0". Each of these
t h ree enclosures must have contained smaller houses. The entrance to these enclosures is
towards the north side, where there is another ancient road running in east-west direction. The
total extant length of this road is 1-J- furlongs with a uniform width of 30 feet. It is this road that
leads to the citadel, connecting the town with the citadel area.
Site No. 89: On the northern side of this road is site No. 89 comprising a number of
rubble stone enclosures including the goldsmith's workshop which has been described above.
Therein, we find two rooms intact, the bigger room adjacent to the road measures 2Q < 6" x 17'0"
in which there is platform. The next room Is 2Q'0" x 16'0". Immediately to the west
of the goldsmith's workshop, another typical house was found. Within a rectangular rubble
enclosure, two rooms are found adjacent to each other with a partition wall. One is a rectangle
and the other a square of 19 feet, probably with an entrance towards the road side to the south.
Further north of this Site No. 89, is another smaller street running in the east-west direction. It
is about 15 feet in width. While to the south of this street is Site No. 89, on its north a number
of rectangular enclosures in close proximity all along the road side, of various sizes, were exposed
to view. There is no uniformity with regard to the size of the enclosure. This area must have
been dotted with a number of small dwellings made of perishable materials like wood, thatched
A.RR.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
16 SECULAR REMAINS NAGARJUNAKONDA
roof etc. Only the outer rubble enclosures have survived to this day. Good examples of this type
by way of a series of rubble enclosures are seen in sites No. 115, and 111. In site No, 115
which has a pillared hall, a number of similar rubble enclosure walls are found.
Site No. 87 : To the north of the road No IV, we find a rectangular brick platform
(15'0" x 22'6") with a rubble enclosure (50'0' r x 35'0"). This brick platform formed a part of the
flooring of the rooms, the walls having disappeared, due to the vandalism of local people, who
pillaged the ancient structures for building materials. Another huge rubble enclosure wall is seen
Site No. 37 : Situated by the side of Road No. Ill appears a unique residential building
probably meant for a noble man or a rich foreign merchant. It is a 24-pillared hall with entrances
on the east and on the west, with one long room on either side. The entrances are
provided with well-decorated Chandrasflas (rnoon-slabs) and steps with balustrades. There is a
central platform in the hall with beautifully-carved pillars The walls of these buildings which
are of brick have been encased with Cuddapah slabs neatly cut into shape. About this edifice,
Longhurst wrote: "From the style of this elaborate ornamentation and curious semi-classical subjects
portrayed on their shafts, the pillars appear to have supported the wooden roof of a hall belonging
to the royal palace, No pillars of this kind were found at any other site. Two of these pillars are
particularly interesting, one representing a bearded soldier apparently a Scythian wearing, a
Roman-like helmet, a quilted long-sleeved tunic and trousers holding a heavy spear. The other
sculpture portrays a male figure, nude down to the waist and holding a drinking horn (rhyton) in
his left hand".
In view of the small size of the building, it is difficult to agree with Longhurst's identification
of this structure as a palace. Very likely it can be the house of a rich nobleman or foreign Saka
merchant who lived in the city. From one of the inscriptions discovered in the Kumara Nandi
Vihara, an indication is made of the existence of special enclosures in the city of Vijayapuri with
residential buildings for the use of dignitaries and foreign settlers. Is'varadatta, the Saka is said to
have lived in a special enclosure or par/vena named after the chief Queen Mahadevi (Mahadevi
par/venana) Similar names must have been given to other enclosures though unfortunately we
do not have any inscription of that kind.
Site to the North of the Citadel : On the northern side of the citadel and to the east of
Pushpabhadrasvami temple, on the slope of Mahisasaka vihara, remains of habitation buildings
represented by sites No.. 119, 1 20, 117 and 124 were exposed to view. The first two sites are
situated on either side of Road I, which] runs in the east-west direction of the valley. The
other sites are on the southern slope of the Mahisasaka hill.
Dr. N, VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 17
Site No. 119 : Adjoining the road, on its south-west is a complex of residential buildings
with a rectangular brick enclosure wall containing a row of five rooms of more or less equal
proportions i e., 9'0" x 9'6" with a verandah in front. Remnants of a drain and a tub are also found,
There are a number of disturbed and fragmentary walls of brick and rubble of earlier period. But no
regular plan is discernible. Towards the west two spacious rubble enclosures are also
found with a tub -like structure of brick in a corner. Thickness of the brick-wall is 2'6",
Site No. 120 : On the north of the same road (i.e., Road No. I) behind Pushpabhadravsami
temple are found rubble and brick houses represented by site No. 1 20.
Within a big rubble enclosure wall are seen three rectangular structures, two of brick
and one of rubble, separated from one another. The smallest room measures 20'0" x 12'0", the
next bigger is 33'0' 'x 1 I'O", while the rubble structure measures 25'0" x 17'0". Besides these
three rooms, there are two smaller rooms on the north-western corner of the enclosure probably
used as bath rcoms.
Site Mo. 124 : To the north-west of the habitation area described above, is the site No.
1 24, which is only an extension of that site. Huge rubble enclosures are found on either side of
theRoadNo.il. This must have contained many houses similar to those on the east of the
citadel, built of highly perishable materials.
Site Wo. 117:. To the south-east of the Mahisasaka hill on the slopes, there are a series
of rectangular rubble enclosures, about 20 in number, of various sizes. There is no uniformity in
the size of rooms or any regular alignment. The biggest enclosure is about 205'Q" x!65'0" and
the smallest 31'0" x 55,0".
Site Mo. 48: About 100 yards to the south-east of the Hariti temple, remnants of a habita-
tion area, consisting of well-built residential houses in three rows - on northern, southern, and
western sides have been found. The extant remnants indicate a wall of 42'5" in length with a
partition wall at the northern end, enclosing three sides of a room which measures 14'5" x 10'10".
The northern wing consisted of small rooms 6'8" x 7'2" and 9'4" x 7'5" separated by the partition
walls 1 '6". A narrow passage of 4' x 6' width was left, to serve as a passage or entrance to the rear
verandah. The northern side- wall of the rooms extends further towards east joining with the eastern
sidewall. No trace of any regular room was seen. Particularly at the eastern side, only a wall of T6"
width has survived to a length of 30'0". The huge amount of plastered brick debris and perforated
tiles indicated the use of thickly plastered wall surface and the beautifully tiled roofing over them.
Many post holes at regular intervals of three feet on the walls (particularly in the two rooms at the
northern wing) of the teems suggest that the rcof vvas supported ty vvccc'cn pilleis,
18 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAQARJUNAKONDA
The rooms contained coarse gravel-filling of 2" x A" thickness, the top of which is plastered
with lime and finished smooth. Out- side the rooms, only mud floor is seen. The local farmers
dug the earth close to the structure, which factor contributed much to the destruction of the
structure, so that a full picture of the structure could not be had.
Pottery found here is of the usual red-slipped ware of the Ikshvaku period. A lead coin
bearing the Ujjain symbol on the reverse and a corroded legend on the obverse of the Ikshvaku
kings was found here to help us in dating the structure.
Introduction : Apart from the private residential buildings for the common people and the
nobles,- we find certian edifices in various parts of the valley, which by thair nature and vastness
may have to be identified as. public buildings, meant for social gatherings on important ceremonial
occasions like debates, religious discourses, games and recreation. Ancient Vijayapuri, as a
renowened centre of Buddhism, attracted both Mahayanists and Hinayanist from far off places. It
was also a centre of Buddhist learning, with notable acharyas like Nagarjuna, Aryadeva and
Dharrnanandi etc. Buddhist viharas dedicated to the use of acharyas of different sects like the
Apara Mahavinasely, Mahfsasaka, Ra/agirika, flourished at Vijayapuri, thanks to the patronage
and munificence of the Ikshvaku rulers who encouraged all religions Sakasamaye and Para Samaye
without any discrimination. Buddhism being essentially congregational needed places for
gathering of all the monks for religious discourses. To serve the needs of the inmates of these
numerous viharas, the Ikshvaku kings seem to have built an open-air amphitheatre,
Site No. 17 is a pre-eminent example of a vast amphitheatre or a stadium. On the contours
of the Phirangulamotu hill is juxtaposed the temple of Hariti with an amphitheatre to its west at a
lower level. The PhirangulamDtu hill runs north-south, about 957 feet ab3ve the sea level.
At the lower reaches of this hill, there is a westerly projection of about 150 feet at 400 feet
contour, Taking advantage of this ledge, the builders have chosen this eminence for locating the
temple of Hariti. This rugged projection was secured by building a retaining wall 13 feet in brick
on the southern slope and the top rendered alnriDSt flat by filling the depression with mud and
loose stones, Indications of toe-walls built into the core of the hills to strengthen the retaining
wall and avoid possible bulging due to thrust are available. On the summit of this elevated ground
500 feet above sea level, a small temple for Hariti, the mother of Buddhist pantheon, with a
pillared mandapa'ln front was constructed, That this temple was attracting large number of
Buddhist nuns and lay women is. indicated by ths discovery of large quantities of bangles in shell,
perhaps votive offering at the shrine and a -fragmentery inscription on a pillar, records a
prepetual endownment, Aksayanlv/ior its maintenance.
A.H.R.S. VOL 38, pt. iv-
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 19
Taking advantage of this maximum 13 feet brick wall, which served as a screen on the
south, a large open air amphitheatre was added to its north with a central passage or main
entrance into the quadrangle and a flight of steps with galleries on all sides to a height of about
18 feet. This central open space measures 55'9" x 48'9 // and is exposed to the sun and the rain.
During the excavation it was noticed that the whole area was badly disturbed, Since an elaborate
stone-paved drain was found built at in the south-western corner, to drain out rain water collected
inside, It may have to be presumed that the central court was also paved with Cuddapah slab or
Alround this open court there are galleries or benches built in brick and encased In slabs
both vertically and horizontally, except on the south-western side. The gallery consists of 11 tiers
of seats. On the south-west side, the flight of steps leading to the top of the hill divides the
gallery into- two halves with an addition of 12th, 13th and 14th tiers of steps, perhaps to provide
additional space for distinguished visitors. These latter top galleries have been found converted
into special enclosures, perhaps to afford privacy and privilege to the people occupying these
seats. It Is interesting to note that some of the seating slabs bear the names of those that sat
Dhanakasa Asana etc,, for whom these seats were reserved,
Detailed measurements of gallery of this amphitheatre are as follows : All round the open
space in the centre, there are brick-built galleries encased in Cuddapah slabs. The southern and
northern side benches upto the 11th tier are common to all. The south-eastern side where the
main stair-case divides the two .halls, additional space has been provided on either side of the
stair-case and covering the tiers 1 2th, 1 3th, and 14th for accommodating important visitors to
the function, The tread of the step varies in dimension first 3'00". second T9". third 1'6
fourth 2'0", fifth 1 '6", sixth 5'3", seventh 1 '9", eighth 1 "1 0", ninth 2'Q", tenth 2'OD", eleventh 2'3
twelfth 2'9", thirteenth 2'9", fourteenth 2'9", and fifteenth 7'10".
The height of the steps is first 3'0", second 0.69", third 0.50", fourth 0.50", fifth 6.50" and
the remaining are 0.90".
Flight of : Besides the central flight of steps, galleries seern to have been
provided also on the north-western and south-eastern sides, but only faint traces of that arrange-
ment have survived to this day. The more spectacular and well-preserved one is the central
stair-case, ft is also 8 feet in width and is flanked on either side with ornamented balustrades,
The height of the steps vanished with the gradient of the hill, the lower-most one being 4" in
height. There are landings at regular intervals, to reduce the strain while climbing and the
steps end in a narrow corrldoror rocrn iir mediately above the 14th tier. In the south-east corner
20 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
of this room (measuring 29'0" x 6'6") with niches in the walls, there is a winding or spiral stair-
case leading to the temple on the top. A circular abacus-part of a column was situated right at
the centre of the quadrangle. One of the stone benches bore the tn'ratna and bow-and-arrow
marks. Another has an inscription reading 'Kamasara' or Kamesvara. A rare feature connected
with this building is its fine acoustics, which the architect had succeeded in achieving by utilising
the slopes of the hill.
Th Arena (Site KQ. 122): At the north-western corner of the valley, in between the
citadel wall and the foot of the fortified hill and in the vicinity of the temple of Pushpabhadrasvami,
on the bank of the river, taking advantage of the natural low-lying area, a magnificent arena with
galleries on three sides, and a pillared pavillion on the fourth, was built by the Ikshvakus. This
is just a magnified example of the auditorium near the University site,
The entire construction is brick and lime, lined with Cuddapah slabs. The central open space
309'0" x 259'0" is found divided into a number of sectors by vertical slabs fixed into the
ground. The southern gallery consists of four wide receding steps or benches, the top most one
being the widest For easy access into the central court, there are three more flights of steps, while
the northern wing contains longer benches of equal dimensions -two of them on the south are
divided into two halves by a circular bastion-like structure with some other building, but no traces
of the building are available now. At the mouth of this passage, near the semi-circular opening,
there are grooves in the wail for a wooden shutter to be operated from above. The eastern wing
is perhaps the shortest gallery in height. It has only three or four steps and a wide bench on top.
The western side is the most spectacular of all. It consists of a central projecting gallery, with
two long side benches. Pillar sockets and bases exposed at this site indicate the existence of a
pillared pavilion, where perhaps the king along with other nobility and important members sat and
witnessed the functions. The vertical height of the pavilion from the side of the arena is h'gher
here, which prevented all direct approaches to the king from the centre. Two smaller flights of
of steps or stair-cases, on either end of the pavilion, perhaps served this purpose of approaches to
the pavilion from where people could reach the king unobserved from front, at the same time
maintaining the dignity and decorum of the royal personages.
Excavations in the pavilion site have revealed clearly three phases of structural activity. In
the first phase, there seems to have been only a huge pillared pavilion with a high platform, while
in the second phase, this platform was divided into halls or rooms. In the third phase, on the ruins
of the second phase structures, an apsidal shrine was built and a compound wall on the west was
added. It was perhaps during this period, that the square raised platform with rubble-fijled
floor was also added at the south-eastern corner of the enclosure,
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 21
Antiquities discovered in the area are very interesting. Skeletal remains of animals,
particularly those of elephants, coins, terracotta bulls and pendantsjnscribed vertical slabs fixed
into the ground, stone sculpture of Devasena - the consort of Kartikeya, the patron deity of the
Ikshvakus-all seem to suggest that it was a place of public gathering for functions like kings'
abhfsheka amusements and sports connected and conducted in the immediate presence of the king.
The occurance of elephant bones seem to point out to the elephant fight, while the cfay bullae
with double trident and perforations at the top, might have been tokens issued by the king for the
winners in the sports.
The sections of the tranches in the area showed in the lowest layers, large quantities of
pottery of the Ikshvaku period, mixed with fine sand, while the thick deposits immediately
overlying them is all alluvial clay except for the surface humus and the layer immediately below.
This thick deposit of clay, made some people think that the entire structure might have been a huge
pond or tank (teppakulam). generally found in South India as part of a temple complex. Its
proximity to the temple of Siva - Pushpabhadra seems to have influenced this inference.
There are two strong arguments which made me feel that it was an arena rather than a tank or
teppakulam. Construction of a tank of this dimension, immediately on the bank of the river, is
inexplicable, particularly when the people we*e habituated to use the river for bathing purposes
and when elaborate bathing ghats were built on the river hardly fifty yards away from this site.
Secondly the embankment and the vertical height of the structure on the eastern side is hardly
three feet wh ; ch naturally cannot retain targe quantities of water needed for the float-festival
(teppostavam) connected with the temple. Again, the occurrence of elephant bones and skeletons
in the occupational level of the building needs a satisfactory explanation in case it is to be identi-
fied as a tank.
In view of the above and on the basis of antiquities discovered, I am inclined to identify it
as an arena, the like of which in a smaller scale, we are already familiar with in the eastern part of
the city near the University site.
The Ikshvakus, like all contemporary monarchs, indulged in performing vedic sacrifices, like
'Asvamedha', for which a huge congregation of people gathered at the city. For the numerous
hfranya danas or gifts performed by Chantamula, they needed a place big enough to accommodate
all the citizens, to witness the function and naturally, there cannot be a better place than this huge
structure near the palace, for arranging that.
Ranga-Mondapa or Dancing Hall (Site No. 80) : This site is situated in S. XXI A, on
the bank of the river Krishna near Peddalamody hill. It is a huge 36-pilIared hall surrounded by an
22 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
open courtyard on three sides with tha main entrance on the east and two rooms behind the
mandapa. The pillared hall measured 50 feet square, whereas the rooms stood at 22'0" x 28'0"
and 19'0" x 27'0". Thsse two rooms are inter-connected by a passage. These huge proportions
of the hall and also the main gateway make one surmise that it might have been a sort of
congregation hall probably meant for witnessing some cultural show. There is also a drain
provided to take out the rain water, from the courtyard. A water-tub is also provided in the
south wing of the courtyard.
Site No, 70 : The site No. 70 which is situated (in Sector S II) near the Kartikeya temple
on the river bank also appears to have been a public hail. The hall is enclosed with a brick wail on
all sides. This measures 48'10" x 42'6". The Pillars are arranged in five rows of six each.
Traces of a room within the mandapa are seen on the eastern side. A brick structure in a segment
shape probably representing the entrance is visible on the west To the south-east corner of the
hill, a brick enclosure wall about 55'0" long is seen with traces of fine brick flooring A small
rectangular tub is also found.
Antiquities discovered at Nagarjunakonda, supplemented by structural evidences furnish us
interesting data about trade and merchant guilds that flourished at Vijayapuri during the Ikshvaku
and post-lkshvaku periods Mention can be made here about swarnakaras or gold-smiths, lohakara
or smiths, sanka-valayakaras or shell- workers besides avesanfs - architects and vidhikas or stone-
cutters. Inscriptions also referred to the superintendents of works-Bhadanta Ananda and Naganandi
Thera under whose guidance and direction structural activity at Nagarjunakonda- Vijayapuri was
carried on. Restricted digs in the city site have brought to light vestiges of what appear to be
workshops of gold-smiths, sculptor's ivory and shell objects, bricks, tiles, lime and pots of Ikshvaku
period and an iron-smelting area of post-lkshvaku period
i) Gold smith 3 s shop; Near the eastern wing of site No 89. evidence of a goldsmith's
workshp has been found. Interesting data by way of crucibles, moulds for gold jewellery touch-
stone, weights, iron hammers and terracotta bangles were discovered at the site indicating its
identification without much difficulty. A hoard of coins which was also found within the house/
well-preserved in a pot, seem to lend support to the thaory of Kautilya that the goldsmiths in the
city were authorised to mint coins on behalf of the king.
This site is situated on the northern side of an ancient road running between east and west
amidst a number of residential buildings.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. VI
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 23
It is a small rubble-built structure without an outer enclosure. Within it there are two roughly
rectangular rooms with a central partition wall The bigger cne measures 2Q"6" x 17'0". In a corner
of this room, there is a rectangular platform 8'6" x 6'6" with napa slab flooring and vertical
napa slabs are fixed on three sides. Just by the side of the platform, is also seen trace of pebble
flooring. This might have been the actual workshop while the adjoining smaller room might well
have been the goldsmith's house.
si) Sculptors Workshop : Equally important was the profession of the ' sculptor
(avesan/and vaddhaki). Rich nobles and businessmen (srestms) vied with one another in adding
new edifices to the monasteries and decorating them with stone images etc , (salflamayi prat/ma)
of Buddha and they generally entrusted these tasks to competent sculptors or avesanfs. This is
called navakamma '"a religious building dedicated by some lay member to the Sangha". A
superintendent of works is appointed by the Bhikkus to supervise the constructions. These
vaddhakis or saila vardhakfs mentioned in the inscriptions formed themselves into guilds and they
undertook construction works. Similar guilds of Utthaka-Vad'dhaki, a brick-mason should have
also flourished at Nagarjunakonda, with their characreristic guild marks or symbols, helping the
sculptors. One name of the ancient avesanfs of Nagarjunakonda Mulabhuta, whose memorial
pillar was found in site No, 69 is the surviving evidence of the personal names of these ancient
Site Mo. 1 5 : has yielded a large number of stone images of Buddha in different stages of
execution, stocked in a rectangular room. Th'S was perhaps the place where stone-sculptors were
working and supplying the images to the different monasteries of Nagarjunakonda.
This rectangular room is situated on the southern wing of a vihara on the hillock by the side
of the road to Vijayapuri. It is within a monastic unit which consists of a rubble stupa and a three-
winged vihara. This particular room measures about 18'0" x 8'9", while the northern and eastern
wings of the vihara have only four rooms. The western wing alone has this additional chamber,
probably set apart for the sculptors. Entrance to this chamber is provided with a moon-stone slab,
It is interesting to note that in the centre of the wall of this chamber, there are niches, evidently
meant for keeping these sculptures during the process of carving. To the south-east corner of
this room, another rectangular pedestal made of bricks ss also found. From this room were
recovered three torsos of Buddha and one immediately outside. Besides these lime-stone
carvings of Buddha-pada, a stone with line drawings of Dhyana Buddha was found outside
this room. Similarly, pillars carved or otherwise, needed fortha mandapas or pillar halls were
done by these vaddhakis. A name vfdhfka, with the symbol of a bow and arrow was found
occurring invariably on the niches or pillars, in the halls excavated here, The pillars discovered in
the site of Ashta Bhujasvemi form a class by themselves in this category,
24 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
Hi) Ivory osid Shell - Workshops : Ivory and shell workers also received similar
patronage at the hands of citizens of Vijayapuri. Immediately outside the eastern gate of the
citadel, there seems to have flourished the guild of sankha-valayakaras, who worked on conches
making them into bangles. These shell bangles were in great demand as they formed a major
part of the offerings at the temples of Hariti and Ashtabhujasvami These shell workers (Sankha-
valayakaras) are very often referred to in Mahavastu, and they must have played a leading role in
the internal trade and commerce of Nagarjunakonda also.
Site No. 36 is a 12 pillared mandapa within a brick enclosure. The mandapa measures
52'8" x 32'0". On ail sides except on the east, traces of rubble platforms are seen There are
traces of partition waifs dividing the mandapa into three.
This site produced a maximum number of shell-bangles, about 468 in number, in various sizes
and stages of execution. This high frequency might indicate that in this site must have been
located some centre of manufacture of shell-bangles. There might have been one or two more
centres of manufacture and sale. This might have been located at a religious centre frequented
by visitors from home and abroad. Particularly in front of Harity shrine, a large number of ivory
objects were found. There might have been a shop to sell these objects to the worshippers who
came to offer the ivory and shell bangles to the mother- Goddess Hariti for propitiating her.
iv) Bricks and Tiles : Building materials like bricks and tiles were manufactured in the
city itself. Evidences of the kilns specially built for this purpose and used in the constructions were
noticed at some shes like the University area and Nagargunakonda 1 1. Practically at every site,
flat and corrugated tiles, sometimes with holes and bridges or platforms, were found indicating their
use in construction. The bricks, which are well-built, are of large size and some of them bear the
mark of the brickmason-bow and arrow, the guild responsible for many a construction in this city.
v) Lime-Slaking Centres : Lime was also burnt and slaked at a number of sites as
indicated by the numerous lime-tubs and pots" found at sites. Sand, both coarse and fine variety,
was used in preparing the lime-mortar used for construction purposes. It can be mentioned that
lime was used in construction at places in contact with water while other structures were built in
mud and plastered with lime.
In No. 96 near the western gateway of the citadel, a rectangular tub of 6'6" x 2'6" was
found. Probably this was used for mixing the lime while work was going on in connection with
the construction of the gateway and the rampart w^lls.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38. Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 25
in site No. 18 -A, we have a huge circular lime-kiln with four small passages or outlets on
four sides. Evidences of hard earth mixed with lime were available. The circular S<iln is also
15 feet in diameter.
In site No. 91 near the barracks within the citadel, a few rectangular shallow tubs are found,
which could have been used as limb-tubs. Tub No, 7, 16, are such examples. They are roughly
about 4'0" x 2'6".
vl) Potter's Shop .: (Kumbhakaras) : Significant was the role played by the potter who
not only made utilitarian pots, sprinklers, dishes, lamps of numerous shapes and designs and toys to
serve the demands from people but also engaged himself in the manufacture of all images of cult
goJs, goddesses, and votive tanks etc., used. In this art, the potter betrays in delienation,
ornamentation etc, a skill which is of no mean order. Of these cult gods worshipped by the
people of Nagarjunakonda, the mother Goddess, Kartikeya and puma ghata or fertility symbol,
are popular. The technique adopted by the potters who manufactured these terracottas is also
available. The mo*t important and dominating is the double- moulded one, while evidences for
the manufacture of applique and plaque varieties are also not wanting. Particular mention may
be made of site No. 69, where terracotta figures have been found in plenty. The site No. 69 is
a rubble enclosure on top of the hill mound with a brick wall inside.
vii) Black-Smith's Workshop : Evidences of an iron-smelting area belonging to the
posMkshvaku period are available in the valley. A large number of iron implements found in
various parts of the valley definitely show that iron was used profusely for the day-to-day needs
of the people in agriculture and other purposes. One such centre was apparently located in site
No. 17- A, on the slopes of the hill near the stadium. The surface exploration in this area itself
yielded a large number of molted iron lumps suggesting the location of an iron-smelting industry
and the excavations have also corroborated the surmise. All the necessary equipment of a black-
smith (lohakara) like, furnace for smelting iron, iron slag, pipe-line in terracotta to pass the molten
metal to the moulds to get the desired shapes of implements manufactured, besides arrangement
for storing water were all discovered at this site.
This structure consisted of a single row of four rooms and a front verandah of 3'9" in width.
Room No. I and III were 7'9" square, while- Room No II measures 17'0"x7'9" and Room No, IV
measures 9'2" x 7'9". On statigraphical grounds, the present structure can be ascribed to a
period immediately following the Ikshvaku time, as it overlay the earlier Ikshvaku phase. The
associated ceramic industry like the coarse-grained grey- ware with no slip or wash, plastered slipped
ware of coarse section point to the same conclusion Besides, a number of iron lumps, a furnace
26 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
of kiln in oval shape supported by bricks built around was also fount Similar kilns in brokeh
condition were also recovered in this area. A number of earthen pipes with circular groove of "
to 1" diameter were also found. These were used perhaps to connect the blowers to the furnace
as conduiis of air.
(i) OH -
Excavations have revealed to view structural complexes at vantage points at the road
crossings or in the vicinity of important places of public gatherings like temples, bathing tanks etc.
These comprise mostly of pillared halls or mandapas, which for the sake of convenience can be
classified as dharmasalas. These structures have been referred to as site mandapas or saila
mandapas in inscriptions associated with Buddhist monasteries or viharas and presumably used for
congregational purposes by the monks. This idea seems to have prompted philanthropic and rich
gentlemen of the city to construct similar mandapas in different corners of the city for the use of
pilgrims and other people who visited the temples as temporary shelter-houses or dharmasalas
during their sojourn in the capital.
Generally speaking, material used in the construction of these dharmasalas mostly are
lime-stone pillars with or without any delicate ornamentation enclosed or unenclosed, sometimes
with slab flooring and roofing, perhaps fixed on wooden rafters and slabs of thinner section as is
being done even in these days in the Macherla region, in some places, the flor is paved with
Cuddapah slabs, while in others, the flooring is done with pebble concrete, smoothly plastered.
A simple and unpretentious 12-pillared mandapa appears to be the norm, while 16, 24, 30,
36 and 40-pillared mandapas also occur at places, possibly depending upon the need for less or
more accommodation. No provision for kitchen or bath-rooms has been made, since they are to
serve only as temporary abodes for the pathikas. Invariably, all these are located on road sides
and are datable to the periods of Ikshvakus or to those immediate successors.
The following is the list of the different dharmasa/as discovered at IMagarjunakonda at
Site No. 1.3, 18, 39-A, 50, 55, 70, 81, 107, 1 i1. 114 and 121.
(II) Road of the City and the Mandapas there
Though no systematic attempt was made to expose all the roads of the city. of Vijayapuri,
from the general disposition of the important temples, stupas, monastic units, secular buildings
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. (SI. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 27
like the stadium, university area and other residential structures in the valley, a general picture of
the lay-out of the main arteries of traffic and other minor roads could be made out. It is
interesting to note that these dharmasalas or mandapas were situated at some of the cardinal
points and road junctions.
There were at least five major roads parallel to one another, running between the river
Krishna on the west and Phirangimodu on the east, passing through the important sites or localities.
Two other major roads apparently ran in the north-south direction, one all along the river bank on
the eastern extremity and the other, all along the foot of the Phirangimodu hill, on the eastern
extremity. Besides these, just outside the citadel on the eastern side, which was the nucleus of
the habitation area, some evidences of rubble houses and a few mandapas indicate the presence
of a few minor roads and streets, though no accurate picture of the same could be obtained due
to the restricted dig in the area and disturbed conditions of the excavated remains.
Road I : Of the five parallel roads in the east-west direction of the valley, alluded to
earlier, the outer-most one on the north connected the Pushpabhadrasvami temple on the river bank
and the university area (Sites No. 32 and 32-A) at the foot of the Phirangimodu hill, passing
through the Mahishasaka vihara. At the place where the road joined the University area, a
sixteen-pillared mandapa was situated.
Road II: The next road was running immediately south of the above road and parallel
to it. This road connected the Sarvadeva temple (Site No. 99) on the river-bank, the three-
winged vihara (Site No. 1 16), the few residential buildings (Site No. 124) and the stupa at the
site No. 6 etc. On this road towards the river-side, is situated a twelve-pillared mandapa
(Site No. 121).
Road III : Another small road branched off from the above-mentioned road near about
the mandapa (Site No'. 121) and went by the side of the citadel and took a turn to the east
connecting a monastic unit (Site No. 105) and a few residential buildings (Site No. 115). On both
the sides of the road are situated two mandapas (Sites No, 1 1 4 & 1 1 1 ). The former is a sixteen-
pillared mandapa and the latter a thirtysix pillared mandapa.
Road IV: A fourth road to the south of the above one apparently connected the citadel
area and the sanitation area on its east. On this road, quite near the citadel, is situated sixteen-
pillared mandapa (Site No. 88).
Road V : A fifth road on the extreme south of the city was perhaps the longest and an
important one. Starting from the sixteen-pillared mandapa (Site No. 70) near the Kartikeya
28 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
temple on the bank of the river Krishna, this road ran towards the Phirangimodu hill on the east
more or less on the present road that leads to Macherla through the village Pullareddigudem.
Near about the Site No, 55 on the extreme east of the valley, clear traces of this ancient roads
could be discerned to a dis'ance of about 200 yards, by way of the rubble used for flanking the
roads. This mighty road must have traversed through important sites, like the Devasenapathi
temple (Site No. 39), the stupas (Sites No. 59 and 52), the Chaitya (Site No. 52) and the monastic
unit (Site No 54). Three mandapas are located on this long road :
(i) Site No. 39-A : A 12 pillared hall to the east of the Devasenapathi temple.
(ii) Site No. 61: A 16 pillared mandapa, and
(iii) Site No. 55 : A 36 pillared mandapa on the extreme east of the valley.
Of the two other major roads of the city that ran in the north-south direction, the one on the
west started from the Sarvadeva temple on the river bank and went all along the river bank by the
side of the citadel walis and passed through the Karitikeya temple (Site No. 82), the Navagraha
temple (Site No. 78) and ultimately reached the Sites No. 80 and 81, where some detached
mandapas are situated on the slopes of Putlagudem hill leading to the town to cross over to
the other bank of Yellesvaram temple site. This road was provided with a thirty-pillared mandapa
(Site No. 70) .very near the Kartikeya temple.
The other road of the extreme east referred to above want all along the foot of Phirangimodu
hill towards river Krishna almost near the present path used by the villagers to go to the river.
This road evidently passed through the University area (Site No. 32-A), a monastic unit (Site
No. 26) and reached the Asthabhujasvami temple on the river bank.
On this long road, there were three rest-houses or mandapas represented by Sites No. 50, 18
and 13, the last of which has already been described, as it is situated at the junction of the road
and the major road that went from the University area towards the east. Site No 50 is a sixteen-
pillared mandapa near the ancient Ikshvaku canal bank. Site No. 18 is a spacious 40-pillared
mandapa opposite the stadium.
The foregoing account might well give the reader an idea of the distribution of the major
roads of the valley and the mandapas, used evidently as Dharmasala or rest-houses placed at the
cardinal points therein.
The mandapas referred to above can for convenience be categorised on the basis of the
number of pillars in the following manner :
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38, Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 29
No. of pillars
No. of Mandapas
A, 107 and 121
50, 88 and 114
The following is tha detailed description of the different mandapas or dharmasalas :
i) Site No. 39 A : It is located in sector 3 east of Devasenapathi's temple. It measures
26'6" x 18'6". There is no enclosure wall for this mandapa. No complete pillars are seen.
ii) Site No. 107 : Nearby site is a monastic unit (Site No. 15) and habitation area
(Sites No. 89 and 118). The mandapa is enclosed by a brick wall. Measurements of the
mandapa are 18'10" x 25'3". One carved lime-stone drain is provided. It is located in
iii) Site No, 121 : It is located in sector N-VIII east of the area (Site No. 1 22). The
mandapa measures S2'0" x 46'0". It is enclosed by a brick wall on all sides. Traces of lime
concrete flooring are visible. It had an entrance on the northern side. No complete pillar is
i) Site No. 13 : It is located in sector N-XII near the University area. Only traces of
the pillar sterns are available. Complete plan of the mandapa is not available, as it is highly
ii) Site No. 50 : It is located in Sector S-VII. The nearby sites are Hariti temple and
the stadium. This pillared hafl is first enclosed by a brick wall on all sides and then by a rubble
wall with an entrance on the northern side. The mandapa measures 23'6" x 28'3". The 16
pillars are arranged in four rows having four pillars each.
30 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAG ARJUNAKONDA
This mandapa was provided with a good Cuddapa slab flooring. A big moon-stone of 9'S"
in diameter is used at the entrance of the hall. A tub made of bricks is seen on the north-west
corner outside the hall.
Us) Site t<*o. 88 : It is located in Sector N- II near the eastern gateway of the citadel.
Nearby structure is Senapathf memorial hall. This is attached to another 12-pillared mantfapa*
The 16-pillared mandapa is enclosed by napa slabs, which are fixed in between the pillars vertically
leaving an entrance on the western side, where there is a 12-pillared hall. This
measures 33'9" x 2V3", whereas the adjoining 16-pillared mandapa was (12'9" x 22*1 1"),
Traces of napa slab flooring are visible.
iv) Site No. 114: This is located in Sector N-lll behind the rubble enclosure (Site
No. 124) and a 4-winged mandapa (Site No. 110). This pillar is within a brick enclosure wall
with an entrance on the east. There is again an outer enclosure wall of rubble. This manctapd
is a square of 29'0 r '. The sixteen pillars are arranged in four rows having four pillars each*
i) Site No. 55 : It is located in Sector S-XIX near a monastic unit (Site No* 54) on the
northern and eastern sides. The enclosure wall of bricks is visible. The mandapa is a rectangular
one 40'0" x 60'0". Traces of slab flooring are visible in the hall. No carvings are found. At a
distance of 11 6W to the east of the pillared hall, a chamber of 26'0" x 18'0" with an entrance
on the eastern side is found.
On the northern side, of this structure, a rubble-packed path of 4'0" wide is passing, This
was perhaps the remnant of an ancient road, that passed through the site,
i) Site No, 81 : It is located in Sector S-XXX-A on the river-bank. The mandapa Is -a
square structure of 54'6", The pillars are arranged in six rows each, Enclosure wall is mm
only on the eastern and southern sides.
H) Site No, 111 : It is located in Sector [Si-Ill, near the habitation represented by Silt
No. 112. The mandapa was a square structure of 52'6". Traces of brick enclosure wall are visible'
The height of the pillars available is 8'10" above the ground level. Minor carvings Jfce toVui
medallion are v,s.ble on the .pillars,. For -each pillar in the hall a square pedestal of^ was
constructed for support. wa
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 ft. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 31
i) Site No. 18 : This is located in Sector S-VII opposite to the stadium. It is a rectangular
structure of 19'0" x 31 '0". There is no enclosure wall. The pillars are arranged in four rows of
ton each. No complete pillar is available. Probable height of the pillar is 9'0". The pillars are
vvithout carvings. Traces of a slab flooring are visible. Remnants of a rubble wall on the northern
slcie are visible, probably meant for obstructing the on rush of water from the slope of the hill on
the northern side.
The climate of Nagarjunakonda could not have been very much different from what it is to-
day, in view of the extreme heat prevailing, it became imperative for people to have adequate
provisions for water-supply at all times of the day. There was no paucity of water-supply and the
rl\/er with its perennial flow seems to have been exploited to the maximum degree for this purpose.
All along the river, platforms were built with beautifully ornamented flights of steps for
easy access and the use of all while the richer citizens of the city and the nobility seem
to have had special bathing arrangements in their own dwelling places similar to those
that were used in contemporary Rome. Representation of a man standing in a tub or masonry
oistern, holding a hanging rope from above with both the hands and being bathed by servants
who pour water with pitchers on his body is one of the sculptures at Nagarjunakonda, which
botrays the typical system that might have been in vogue during the early centuries of the Christian
All over the residential or habitational sites at Nagarjunakonda, numerous masonry cisterns,
t>iQ and small, with ornamented steps and benches with smooth floors were exposed to view. Their
sizes and mode of construction and location in the houses are indicative of their use for storing
water brought from outside. One is tempted to identify some of them as baths, public and private.
Some of these are elaborately worked out, while others are utilitarian.
Such water cisterns and reservoirs are distributed all over the valley, in the citadel area,
residential quarters and public mandapas or rest-houses at the crossing of roads. A huge
rectangular or square with a depth of 3 to 4 feat is found usually in such places where the
people were residing in groups, such as, the barracks area and vihara etc. How exactly they were
using it is not clear though presence of stepped approach, sometimes fitted with doors, indicate
that the people were getting in and out of them either to bathe in the tank or to fetch out water for
use. In most cases, these, tanks seem to have been filled up by human labour alone and some of
the small square tub-like structures which are without flooring might have been wells. In the
e rea near the river, sub-soil water column is at a comparatively higher level Many of these tanks
wore provided with outlets to drain out the dirty water. But there is one instance where the tank
vvas evidently fed by the nearby river by some sort of a siphon method.. One interesting fact is thf
32 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
presence of broad, paved platforms in sites like 102. This strengthens the belief that they were
used for bathing by many persons at a time
We can visualise that special water-carriers should have been put on the job of filling up
these tanks and tubs at various places, particualrly those in the citadal. Morever, the presence of
these in large numbers in the citadel area might also show that the people or the officials residing
within the citadel were not normally using the river-side for a bath and that they were supplied
with water in their own dwellings,
These water-cisterns and tanks can be grouped as follows:
1. Big rectangular or square tanks with three or four steps all round, used mostly for
2. Big rectangular or square tanks without steps, which might have been used as water-
reservoir for storage of water, evidently for animals.
3. Smaller square structures used as wells and in some cases as merely dust-bins.
The last item need not concern us here. But as regards others there is no differential distri-
bution in these types. They occur in all the places, even side by side. But generally speaking, the
big rectangular tanks with steps are found more in public places, where there was concentration
of population. Simple rectangular tubs are found in private residences. We can now study the
distribution of these site-wise.
Site No. 100: One well-preserved example of this bath is illustrated in Site No. 100.
This should have formed part of a huge palace complex but only the ruins of this bath disconnected
from the main building have survived to-day, it comprises of an oblong masonry cistern with
flight of steps and a slab paved channel through which the tub was fed, an elevated platform to its
north for the men to sit and bathe, and a closed drain leading to a soak-pit beyond. This
peculiar channel system with gradient towards the interior, its proximity to the river suggests the
possibility of the builder providing some thing like our syphon method for feeding these bath tubs,
while those who could not afford such elaborate arrangements used small tubs filled by manual
labour for bathing purposes. Some of these tubs had coverings. Benches alround were also
provided for people to sit comfortably and wash.
This site contained four tubs in close proximity, the biggest of them being a long rectangular
one 16 feet long and 5'8" wide. It was provided with steps on all sides. The flooring is done
With napa slabs. Adjoining is a well-paved platform where the actual bath was taken. This tub
A.H.R.S, Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 33
is connected to the soakage pit by a drain. Four feet away to the south, there are two more tubs
side by side. One of them is 8'1" x 2'0" while another is 8'6"x3'0", both with napa-$\ab flooring.
In the south-western corner 8 feet away, is a tub 6'6" x 3'0" and 10" deep, built in brick, But
no evidence of inter-connection between these tanks are visible. This shows a fine hygienic
method of bath, the water running from the water reserviors to the main tank where the bath was
taken and later the water draining into a covered soakage pit.
Site No. 94 : Within the citadel, opposite to the western gateway and south of the
Asvamedha site, are traces of brick flooring at two places by the side of the brick-built wall, 7 feet
thick. On both the sides of the wall at different places are seen square tub-like structures of
brick. There are eight such square and two rectangular tanks or tubs. The latter two are about
130 feet apart and measured 33'6" x 5'6" and depth 4'2", fed evidently by the adjoining well and
24'3" x 5'0" depth 4'0", and well plastered. In the centre of the tub, there is a hole of 1 1"
diameter Both have smaller and squarish structures by their side, probably wells. The other
tubs are all smaller about 3'6/ square and they are distributed all over the area, some of them
close to the wall and the flooring. Some of the smaller squares are without flooring and might
have been used as wells. Some of the square tubs contained dumps of pottery, brick-bats etc,,
and perhaps they were used as dust-bins.
Site No. 102 : A fine example of a public bath is afforded by site No. 102, which was,
situated at the foot of the Chinnakundelagutta on its north. There is a huge rectangular tub 35
feet long and 4'6" broad. The natural bedrock was used as the bottom of the tub and hence, it is
irregular. The whole tub is surrounded by a drain 10 inch wide and it runs round the adjacent
platform on all sides and ultimately it falls through the north-west corner. It goes out as two
drains side by side.
On the eastern side of this tank, there is another lime-plastered tub provided with steps
around it. It is about 27 feet long and 4'6" wide.
These two tubs and the huge platform described above seem to be part of the building
complex around the Chinnakundelagutta, where probably there was concentration of population.
Within the rubble enclosure (site No. 95) containing many residential buildings on the
north-western slope of the Peddakundellagutta hill, there is a rectangular tub with well-plastered
walls and flooring. It is provided with steps on one side It is about 2'6" deep, 13'9" long and
8'5" wide. This tub was evidently serving as a water-reservoir for washing purposes etc , for
34 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
Another rectangular stepped tub of a smaller size is found at site No. 70-A. It measures
7'6" x 5'0" x 2'6". It has lime-plastered walls and flooring. In a corner of this rectangular tub,
there is a smaller tub, three feet square.
. Another important place where numerous baths, big and small, are concentrated is the site
No. 91, which is identified as the barracks area. There are about seven rectangular and ten smaller
squarish tubs. One of them (Tub 8) is found in the corner of a room, evidently used as a private
bath. It measures 5'9" x 4'6". Many of the rectangular tubs had a number of steps ranging from
one to six, One of them had post-holes at the entrance evidently for the doorway. The measure-
ments of the big rectangular tubs are ;
Tub No 1 1
Tub No, 4
Tub No. 3
Tub No. 6
Tub No. 5
Tub No. 2
Tub No. 1 4
22'3" x 4'6".
18'0" x 10'9". Depth 4'4". This has steps alround with an entrance.
1 6'6" x 5'0" One step alround and plastered flooring.
15'6" x 5'0" Lime plastered flooring.
13'0" x 4'9" With 4 steps alround and plastered flooring
10'0" x 4'6" With 2 steps alround and well plastered flooring.
TO" x 5'3"
Bathing Ghat : (Site No. 124) : The most spectacular construction associated with public
bath is the huge bathing ghat found to the west of the Pushpabhadrasvami temple. This massive
structure measures 380'0" x 100'0". Major partion of this ghat is in a good state of preservation.
The ghat consists of nine terraces and a flight of steps leading to the river Krishna with four stair-
cases from the river side. These stair-cases that consist about 5 to 7 steps each, are, all
balustraded and the ornamentation over the balustrades is uniformly makara. An equal distance
of 50'0" is maintained between all the main stair-cases and this ghat as a whole is designed
geometrically and symmetry is maintained throughout. The core of ihe ghat is built of brick in lime
and is securely lined with Cuddapah slabs, perhaps for preserving it from the on-rush of waters.
The flight of steps with ornate balustrade constructed systematically vary in measurements
from 4.3" to 4.8" in length, to 1.11 " in width and 3" to 4" in thickness.
As the excavation would reveal, there appears to be two stages of construction in
this bathing ghat. The portion which is found in tact perhaps belongs to the first stage of
construction and might have been used by the royalty. The latter part was perhaps constructed
for the usage of the commoner. In this case, the construction was simple and no decoration could
be seen on the balustrades of the steps provided here.
A.H.R.S, vol. -si Pt.iv
Dr. ISI: VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 35
Since the construction of this bathing ghat is made on the river bank, it has been subjected
to the constant inundations and as such its stratigraphy could not help us much in dating the bathing
ghat. But interestingly, some of the Cuddapah slabs of this ghat bear inscriptions in early Brahmi
Characters, which help us in dating the structure. They read 'Asala', 'Perana', 'Venisiri', all perhaps
names of the guilds that operated in the construction of this magnificent structure. The script is
Brahmi and typical of the Ikshvsku period characters datable to 2nd-3rd centuries A.D. The
evidence of this epigraphical data with the occurence of polished red-ware sprinklers has made it
possible to assign the structure to that of the Ikshvaku period. The masons' marks as, bow and
arrow, swastika and elephant on the Cuddapah slabs of the terraces of this ghat, also corroborate
the above surmise. Its location in the immediate proximity of the temple of Pushpabhadra indicates
its constant use by pilgrims who visited the shrine,
The slabs used in the construction vary in measurements from 3'0" to 7'0" ir length and
2'10" to 3'10" in breadth, while the thickness varies from 3" to 4". The difference in level between
the successive terraces is approximately 1 .5".
Measurements of the flight of steps and of the Cuddapah slabs used in the different terraces
of the bathing ghat from the river-side towards Pushpabhadrasvami temple :
Slab measurement Length Breadth Thickness
1st terrace 6'6" 2'10" 3'4"
2nd do 12'9" 2'11" 3'5"
3rd do 4'11" 2'8" 3'5
4th do 6'4" 2'11" 3'5
5th do 9'1" 3'1" 3'0
6th do 3'7" 2'10" 3'0
7th do 13'10" 2'11' r 3'5
Breadth of the terraces :-
2nd terrace ... 9'8"
3rd do ... 10' 1/2
4th do ... do
5th do ... do
6th do ... do
7th do ... 10' 4.5
36 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
Levels of the terraces :
Level between one and two ... 1' 5'5'
two and three ... T 1'5'
three and four ... V 0'5'
four and five ... 1' Q'5'
five and six . V 0'5'
six and seven ... V 07'
The Common Bath (Site No. 19): Another fine example of a public bath is provided by
Site No. 19 behind the Hariti temple on the banks of the canal, it comprises of a big
rectangular cistern measuring 20'0" x 8'0 /f and 3'0" deep with two steps going all rou
It has a compound wall alround and perhaps had a co\/er. Only sockets, indicating the position
the pillars over which the roofing was done, are extant to-day Though it was built of brick
laid in mud, it was heavily plastered with lime and lined with Cuddaph slab. There is a brick
square platform, where people sat before taking their bath is attached to this structure, There is a
drain on the eastern wall to take out the used water. This bath was perhaps constructed hero to
serve the needs of the people, who came to stay in the rest-house nearby.
This structure has been subjected to wholesale renovation in the subsequent period. The
bath was completely covered and the raised platform thus altered, was remodelled into a temple
with a flight of steps and a moon-stone on the south. Another enclosure wall was added with the
main entrance on the south and a secondary passage on the south,
The circumstances that necessitated the closure of this bath and its remodelling into a
temple are difficult to conjucture. Presumably, after the construction of the canal which passed
by the rest-house, ;used by the inmates of the rest-house as well as the inhabitants of the
locality, they might not have felt any need for a public bath at this spot and it was converted
into a temple.
SOURCES OF WATER
The city of Vijayapuri being vast, all possible sources of water supply had to b@ exploited
to provide this necessity to all the inmates of the capital. River Krishna, which is a per-
ennial source of water has been utilised to the maximum extent for this purpose, Besides this
canals were dug, tanks with earthern embankment wherever the natural features of the area
permitted were constructed. In this task, the noblemen as well as the commoner took active part
Excavation of wells and construction of tanks for public utility were considered as acts of great
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 37
merit. Numerous inscriptions of the period refer to Mahamatras, Srest/ns and kings with their
consorts associating themselves with the construction of wells or tanks - tataka or vapi. The Ailuru
Inscription registered along with other numerous gifts a tataka also while Abhsra Vasusena, who
was responsible for the consecration of an image of Astabhuja in Nagarjunakonda area is credited
with the excavation of a huge well on the fortified hill.
As already pointed out, the people of Nagarjunakonda had tapped many sources for
providing water supply to the town, both for domestic and for irrigation purposes. We have
found evidences of an ancient canal which was dug on the eastern side of the valley between
Sites No. 49 and 19. Earthen embankments, probably indicative of the ancient tanks or lakes
were found, one to the west of the University area and two of them in sectors S-XIII and S-XIV
at the foot of Eddanamotu, besides another in site No. 42. Weils are found in sites No. 57 and
"73 and tanks in sites No. 64, 66 and 67.
Canal . vestiges of a canal of the Skshvaku period have been exposed to a considerable
extent in the south-eastern portion of the valley. It must have served as a substantial source of
water for all the people living in this portion, which was far off from the river Krishna, In this
portion, there were many establishments like the stadium (Site No. 17), the bath. Hariti temple,
residential houses (Site No. 48) etc., all on the slopes and the foot of the Phirangimotu hill and
the people living here were-served by this canal. This canal was found running between sectors
S-V1II and S-VII in east-west direction. The water trickling down from the surrounding hills
through the ravines or gullies was tapped and diverted into this channel by construction of rubble
cross walls. The channel was about 30 feet wide and the water level in this channel must have
been at least about five feet deep. The channel should have been used for irrigation purposes, as
well as to feed the great bath (Site No. 19). With a view to get a full picture of this canal the
area between the bath (Site No. 19) and pillared mandapa (Site No. 49) was excavated. This
area showed depression and it was filled with sand which formed into a sort of long sand-strip
along the length of the Phirangimotu. Trenches laid across this strip of depression at several
places far removed from each other have brought to light thick random rubble embankment wails
built on a good foundation of hard gravel on either side. The pit cut into the natural soil i.e, the
bed of the channel, the raised embankments were all clearly traced. The bunds seem to have been
raised to a height of about two feeta, covering of hard soil and gravel; over this the random
rubble embankment was constructed. This channel after taking a number of turns and bends
following the natural contour of slope facilitating quick and easy flow proceeded along the slope,
probably conforming to the then surface levels, finally took a northerly course flowing along the
foot of the hill for some distance, and finally emptied itself in the river Krishna.
At many places, the layers sealing the embankment as well as the filling in the channel
yielded typical Ikshvaku antiquities. Pottery of dull to medium red ware and red-slipped bowls
38 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
and dish types, conical bowls and carinated vessels typical of the Ikshvaku period were found.
In close vicinity of this canal, an earthern pot full of fead coins of the Ikshvaku period was found.
280 coins bore on the obverse the elephant with raised trunk and a legend and on the reverse the
Ujjain symbol. Majority of these belong to the two kings of fkshvaku dynasty Siri Vira Purusha-
datta and Ehuvala Chantamula.
Tanks and Earthen Embankments :
People of Nagarjunakonda did not allow the water coming from the nearby hills to go waste.
They have built a number of small lakes or tanks with earthern embankments, in different parts of
the city. Remnants of two such earthen embankments in a semi-circular fashion were found in
sectors S-XIII (site No. 66) and S-XV on the southern fringe of the valley and the other was found
opposite to the University area. Portions of these have disappeared due to ravages of nature and
agricultural operations of the farmers in the course of centuries. The embankment is found to be
of murram or red earth mixed with rubble, gravel etc. Though no datable evidence was found in
these tanks, they probably belonged to the Ikshvaku period.
The tank found near the University area Le,, on its western side is slightly bigger, its
embankment walls were also of murram. Its location on the side of the canal indicates the
possibility of its being fed by the channel already described. Long curved embankments of hard
earth or murram are also found.
Site No. 42: At the foot of Phirangimotu hill on the eastern side of site No. 28 (pillared
hall) some vestiges of another embankment of rubble with a sluice and a drain are noticeable.
A rubble wall 17 feet long in north-south direction is alone visible. A sluice or an outlet is provided
in the form of a drain that runs in east-west direction. The width of the drain is i'3". This sluice
in brick masonry is interesting and shows arrangement for regulating the out-flow of water.
These tanks appear to have been mainly used for storing water for irrigation purposes. It is
well-known that tanks used for irrigation were already popular in South India during the Megalithic
period, since the megalithic tradition was also noticed at Nagarjunakonda. This practice of
construction of irrigation tanks might have been a relic of megalithic culture.
Apart from the kutcha earthen lake or tanks, there were brick built tanks as seen in sites
No. 64 and 67, The former is. situated within the enclosure of the Yaksha temple. It is to the
north of the temple. It is a perfect square structure of 97 feet with an 1 8 feet wide entrance on
its south. This huge tank is an excavation into solid rock till the water colum was reached, On
all the sides, the walls were built taking advantage of the solid rock, giving the needed offset to
ensure stability to this structure, Five such offsets were noticed. Since it is a 'stepped' tank
the main flight of steps, was built on the temple side and is about 18 feet in width.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr, N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 39
Site No 67. In sector S-X11I towards the west of the earthen embankment (Site No. 66)
already described) and on the bed of natural stream or rivulet is a tank about 30 feet square with
an entrance on the eastern side, similar to the one in the Yaksha temple, was exposed to
view. This is also of brick masonry, but built with thick Cuddapah slabs. The approach to the
water is by means of a flight of steps, five in number and about three feet in width. Since this
is connected to a residential building near by, it might have been a private well.
Wells: Construction of wells - vapi - as has been mentioned already, was considered as an
act of great merit. Numerous wells have been dug by the citizens of Vijayapuri, but the excavation
which is naturally on a restricted nature, have revealed a few wells, big and small, in various
parts of the city. We find circular and square or rectangular wells built of either coursed rubble or
brick, generally associated with residential areas, temples and the citadel
On the northern side of the Kartikeya temple (Site No. 82) near about the rows of cells,
a brick-built well 20 feet square is found. It was dug to a depth of about 5 feet to 6 feet when
water column was touched and further excavation was abandoned.
Another well in good state of preservation was found in the brick pavilion near the river
bank (Site No. 73). It is situated in the north-western comer of the pavilion abutting on the
outer enclosure wall. It is an irregular circle or elliptical shape with its major axis 15'9" and the
minor axis about 6'0". It is a rubble-built well, perhaps commonly used by the people in
the pavilion and the adjacent residential buildings.
Another elliptical well or tank is found in the Asthabhujasvami temple (site No. 29 ).
It is a temple complex located at the foot of Sidduladari hill on the right bank of the river Krishna.
These were the residential buildings for the priests on the south-west corner of the temple.
This elliptical-shaped brick-built well has a major axis of 50 feet. The thickness of the well
is three feet. This was excavated by the confederacy of Yavana rulers, who were responsible
for the consecration of the image of Asthabhuja in the temple.
An irregular circular coursed rubble well of 92 feet diameter is found in site No. 18- A, near
the Hariti temple and the stadium, lined with Cuddapah slab. A similar one is found in site no. 23.
A beautiful well of irregular square shape with 10 feet sides is found to the west of the
Kartikeya temple (Site No.57). The walls of this well are about 1'6" in thickness. On the eastern
side of the wall,. a flight of steps comprising 16 are noticed leading into the water. Some stone
pillars and sculptures from the Kartikeya temple, and other Buddhist structures were found in
40 SECULAR REMAINS AT NAGARJUNAKONDA
the construction-indicating its renovation at a later date when the Buddhist monasteries were
in ruins and Buddhism was no longer the favoured religion.
Apart from these big wells, we find smaller squarish wells particularly in the citadel area in
sites No. 91 and 94. They are about four feet square probably used for filling the water tubs and
cisterns constructed nearby and to supply the needed water for the kitchen.
A well of huge proportions is found on the Nagarjuna hill. About 160 feet in diameter, this
well served as the only source of water supply to the garrison stationed in the fort on the hill top.
It is about 80 feet deep and stands as a monumental example of the labour spent in such huge
excavations in sheer rock. All round it had a retaining wall in brick masonry which seem to have
fallen into the well. An Abhira inscription dated in the 30th regnal year of Vasusena refers to this
excavation of a huge well (Vapisa Mahatada).
DRAINS AND SOAKAGE PITS
Interesting details about sanitary arrangements at Nagarjunakonda are made available by the
excavations and they constitute mainly a system of drainage provided both in private and public
buildings. In many of the private residential houses excavated, the existence of drains apparently
out of the bathrooms, is attested. As the houses were usually built within huge enclosure walls in
Nagarjunakonda, we often find drains from private houses joining a common drain, which drained
off the dirty water from the outer enclosure wall. Site No. 73 is a case in point. Here, we find a
huge kutcha drain (4'6" wide) into which smaller drains come and join and the water finally is led
outside the enclosure wall. The actual length of the katcha drain is 226 feet in north-south
Besides residentaial areas of common people, we find well-provided drains in viharas,
stupas, public places like arena, rangamandapa, citadel area, and temples (like Kubera temple,
Navagraha temple) etc. Care was taken to see that rain water was not allowed to stagnate
around the buildings. For this, a number of small outlets or spouts were provided as in Site No.
91. In this site, three outlets were provided on the three sides of the outer enclosure wall. Similar
spouts are in the monastic unit at Site No. 2.
While there were katcha drains simply dug into the earth in Nagarjunakonda as they are
to-day 'in Andhra Pradesh, well-provided pucca drains were quite common. We find both open
and covered drains in the valley. The normal width of the pucca drains seems to have been
about 10 to 12 inches.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 41
One outstanding example of the hygienic system of drainage and the soakage pit at
Nagarjunakonda is seen in the University area (Site No, 32-A). On the north-east corner of
'Sobhana Vihara', there is a rectangular room from where a drain starts and runs across the
enclosure wail on the east to fall into a soak-pit or sceptic tank, which is situated 15 feet away
from the outer enclosure. The width of the drain is six inches. This drain is covered throughout
with napa-s\abs. The soak-pit is roughly oval-shaped and is filled with rubble, lime and coal in
successive layers to serve as filtering agents. There were two more soak-pits in the University
area-one on the eastern wing of the University and the other on the southern wing. The former
is/oughly 4'6" square while the latter is 12'0" square. Both are covered with rubble-packing. The
drains in both the cases were well-plastered and covered with /?c?pa-slabs. They connected the
bath-rooms and the soak-pit.
In Site No, 79 in a monastery, we have an instance of a drain having ^apa-slabs for flooring
and side-walls. Bricks are not used except as side-support, This drain was provided to take
out the water coming from the bath-room situated on the south-west corner of the monastery.
The dexterity in constructing the drains is well brought out in Site No. 93 i e., the
aswamedha site within the citadel, The drain starts from the north-west corner of the avabhrita
tank and runs towards the west After a distance of about 21 feet fhe drain branches off into
two channels and they run side by side. Both the drains cut across the brick enclosure wall of the
citadel by running underground and empty into the river Krishna which is close by. This drain had
a uniform width of 9 inches. The drains were completely covered and plastered. Brick-flooring
was provided throughout. One noteworthy feature about this drain is that in places where the
drain took a turn, a small rectangular cistern (30" x 15" x 12") was built evidently to allow the
water to collect and to gain momentum, for further flow. Three such cisterns in the main drain
An example of the drainage in the residential quarters is provided by the Site No. 89-A,
where from one of the rooms of the houses, we find a drain going out. It is provided with brick-
flooring and napd slabs are used for the sides. It is an open drain without any cover.
THE PILLARS IM VIJAYAMAGARA ART
The pillars are the principal features of the temple interior. If the height and grandeur of
the garbhagrfha, antarafa and the v/mana of a temple depend upon the upap/tha and adhishthana
the loftiness and the beauty of the mukhamandapa, sabha-mandapa, kalyana-mandapa, natya-
mandapa etc, depend upon its pillars. It has been rightly suggested by Percy Brown that the
proportions of the various architectural indices of the temple unit mainly revolves round the height
of the shaft of the pillar which in its turn depends upon the length of the stone that was economi-
cally possible to extract from the quarry x Besides, the pillars will give not only depth to the
interior of the temple itself, but also provide ample scope and space for the sculptors to carve
various designs and motifs on these pillars. Mention may be made here that on of the prettiest
parts of a temple interior is the central ceiling which envelopes the central bay of the sabha-mandpa,
and natyamandapa or kalyana-mandapa. The plan, size, shape and the beauty of it depends very
much upon the inter-cplumniation of the pillars. The Vijayanagara temples display a bewildering
variety of pillars. They are classified into different types and some of them are discussed in the
In general modelling and designing this type of pillar bears a very close resemblance to
later Chalukyan pillars. Before going to discuss the later Chalukyan influence over the Vijayangara
pillars of this type, let us first state in brief their general shape and the component parts. The
base, shaft, circular projecting member, abacus and the corbel or the bracket are the principal
parts of this piliar. It should be noted here that the later Chalukyan pillars are not monolithic
ones but are composed with the above referred independent segments. The base or the asvapadam
is normally square in shape. The shaft, which forms the very core of the pillar, is a monolithic
block of octagonal, square and a circular sloping top section. The shaft is surmounted by a circular
projecting member which in its turn is succeeded by an abacus and four-square bracket. Examples
of this type of pillars are found in plenty in later Chalukyan, Eastern Chalukyan, Kadamba, and the
Kakatiya temples 2 . The pillars of this type are found in the early and later Vijayanagara temples
1. P. Brown, Indian Architecture (Buddhist and Hindu periods) Bombay, 1956, p, 154.
2, ML R. K. Sarma, Temples of Telangana, The Architecture, Iconography and sculpture of the
Chalukyan and Kakatiya Temples. Hyderabad, 1972, Pis. 18, 29, 30, 31, 33; M. Rama Rao,
Eastern Chalukyan Temples of Andhra Desa, Figs. 22, 27; 30, 34, 35; Indian Archaeology -
A Review, 1969-70, p. 87; A. Rea, Chalukyan Architecture, P). IJI,
44 THE PILLARS IN VUAYANAGARA ART
and they clearly show how the Vijayanagara architects were influenced by the later Chalukyan
architectural and art traditions. However, the pillars of this type may be divided into various types
by taking into consideration the general shape, size, and the various art-motifs that are employed
to make them attractive and pleasing.
(a) This variety of the above referred type of pillar is found in the mandapa located
adjacent to the natya-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (PI. 1). This has, as
usual, the base, the shaft, circular-wheel-Iike moulding, abacus and the bracket - all independent
and separate segments. The base or the asvapadam has two plain pattikas with a gala cut into
square compartments in between them. The lower and upper pattikas are connected with a
square block of stone arranged vertically on the four central facing sides of the base The lower
rectangular prism-like portion of the shaft has ornamental triangular projections with floral
motifs on the top at its four corners. This is succeded by an octagonal section which is normally
achieved by bevelling the edges. The flutes of this section are arranged vertically and horizontally.
Harmonious fusion of vertical and horizontal patterns which is the hall-mark of the later Chalukyan
pillars, particularly in this octagonal section, is maintained intact by the Vijayanagara sculptors.
The octagonal section is succeeded by the central square block. It is observed that in the present
example the lower rectangular section and the central square block are adorned with sculptures of
bewildering variety. The top portion of this central square block or that portion which represents
the transition from the shaft to the circular moulding looks like a vase. It has a fluted lower section
followed by a set of three polygonal rimmed bands. The shaft is surmounted by a circular
moulding and the abacus. The circular member is considerably thick and less projected. The
lower section of the abacus has a couple of circular bands, expanding in size as they go up. There
is a broad phalaka or platform on the top of the abacus to receive the bracket. A pillar of this type
with little variations is found in the sabha-mandapa of a temple located very near to the
Chennakesava temple at Sompalem. In this case the top pattika of the base has kudu motifs. The
same ornamental kudu motifs are also found on the top section of the shaft. Further the under
surface of the phalaka of the abacus has semi-circular and triangular elevations (PL 2). In all these
cases the pillars are surmounted by the characteristic Vijayanagara floral corbels.
(b) This variety of pillars are found in the Trikutesvara temple at Pushpagiri and the Hazara
Rama temple at Hampi (PI. 3). The Pushpagiri example has four indendent segments instead of
five. In this case the abacus is conspicuous by Its absence. The base of this pillar is decorated
with two plain pattikas and a plain gala in between them. The lower rectangular block and the
central square block of the shaft are severely plain, The octagonal section of the shaft is nearly
two feet in height and has decorative plain bands in the centre of it. The top section of the shaft
which Is circular in section has kudu motifs on its four central sides. The circuIar-wheeMike
moulding of this pillar is niether prominent nor bold nor projected. The other variety of this type
pillars are noticed under the roof of the mukha -mandapa of the Hazara Rama temple at Hampi
. Vol.38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 45
(PI. 4). In this case all the principal parts of the pillar, viz. base, shaft, circular moulding, abacus
and the bracket are present. The basal mouldings of this pillar slightly deviates from the former.
The base has two plain patt/kas and a gala. But there is a rectangular block on the centre of all the
four sides connecting the lower and upper mouldings. Further, a series of miniature kudu motifs
are noticed on the facing side of the upper pattfka of the asvapadam. The lower rectangular and
the central square blocks of the shaft are decorated with floral medallions and figure sculptures.
The corner edges of the lower rectangular prism-like section of the shaft have cyma-recta
terminations. The transition from the shaft to the wheel-like moulding is circular in section and
formed with a series of concentric circular bands of diminishing size, In this example the circular
moulding which is placed below the abacus is very thin, neatly designed and projected considerably
This circular member in many a way, tallies with the same section that is found in the later
Chalukyan pillars, The corner edges of the phalaka of the abacus has triangular projections (PI. 4) .
The corbels or brackets that are found on these two types of pillars are of Chola type.
(c) This variety of pillars are found in the sabha-mandapa of the Trikutesvara temple at
Pushpagiri (P!s. 5, 6). Similar type of pillars are also noticed in the sabha-rrandapa of a temple
situated very near to the Rudrapada temple at Pushpagiri, in the western gateway of the
Tripurantakesvara temple at Tripurantakam and in several temples and detached rnandapas that
are erected on a slopy hillock near Virupaksha temple at Hampi. These pillars exhibit considerable
refinement, balanced ornamentation and supremely pleasing appearance. In this connection
two pillars that are found in the sabha-mantapa of the Trikutesvara temple at Pushpagiri have
been taken for a comparative study. The pillars that are found under the caves are devoid of
figure sculptures (PI. 6). The rectangular and the square blocks of the shaft are plain. The
section that intervenes between the two plain blocks of the shaft has vertical flutes and on the
centre of these flutes runs a plain and horizontal octagonal band. The circular sloping section
which is found on the summit of the shaft has a very meticulously designed simhalalata-kudu.
The central circular cavity of this kudu motif is empty. The wheel-like moulding and the
abacus also exhibit considerable advancement in modelling and designing. It should be noted
here that the central four pillars in the same sabha-mandapa of the Trikutesvara temple exhibit
further advancement. In these pillars the base, the octagonal section and the top of the shaft
have received special treatment at the hands of the sculptors. The base is decorated not only
with patt/kas but also with the padma mouldings and highly pleasing chaitya or kudu motifs.
Further, the gala section of the base has seated vyalas carved with great care, skill and
imagination. The octagonal section is divided into three bands and each band is again sub-
divided into rectangular compartments. These compartments are filled with the sculptures of
gods and goddesses. Similarly the circular sloping top of the shaft is also provided with
charmingly designed kudu motifs with sfmhalalata gables Inside these kudus are sculptured
gods and goddesses in various postures and positions . (PL 5), The most interesting part of
these pillars is that the lower rectangular and the ( central square blocks of the $haft
46 THE PILLARS IN VUAYANAGARA ART
of any decorative motifs. It was done probably with ^the intention of maintaining a dramatic
contrast between the sculptured and the ornamental bands with that of the plain rectangular and
(d) This variety is represented by the four central pillars placed in front of the Devi shrine
in the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti (PL 7). The Vijayanagara sculptors' mastery over the
art of the modelling and designing the pillars reached its highest water-mark in these pillars.
Though the general shape of these pillars, as in the case of the above types, is very closely akin
to the later Chalukyan pillars, they exhibit certain remarkable changes in designing and ornamen-
tation. The base of these pillars is square on plan but decorated with graduated projections. The
topmost moulding of the base has a series of delicately chiselled chaftya kudus. The shaft of
the pillar has two rectangular blocks intervened by an octagonal section between them. The
ornamental motifs that are employed for the decoration of the shaft deserves a special mention
here. The lower rectangular section of the shaft has a tri-tala Dravidian miniature spire on all
its sides. A miniature deva-koshtha, housing a drummer in the central section, is found on the
lower section of this motif. This is surmounted by a stambh/ka-vimana ornamental design. The
stambhfka is shown cutting across the horizontal and vertical mouldings of the octagonal section.
It is canopied by a four-storeyed miniature Dravidian spire, the domical final of which is shown
terminating exactly at the summit of the shaft. The circular-wheel-like moulding of this pillar is
devoid of any ornamental motifs whereas the lower section of the abacus is in the form of a full
blown lotus. The corners of the lower section of the phafaka of the abacus are adorned with
lotus buds (PL .7).
It may be stated here that though the Vijayanagara pillars so far discussed follow in main
the later Chalukyan pillars in general design and shape they differ from the latter in certain
aspects. In the first placa they, are, not over-loaded with ornamental motifs and figure sculptures.
Secondly, the circular or wheel-like member which is placed in between the abacus and the shaft
shows marked deviation from the later Chalukyan models. In the later Chalukyan, the Hoyasala
and the Kakatiya pillars exquisitely designed decorative motifs, rows of kirtfmukhas, hamsas,
dancing female figures, etc. are profusely used to decorate this member. 3 Further, it is as shown,
thin, sharp edged and projecting considerably from the neck of the shaft. All these features are
conspicuously absent in the pillars that are under our study. Further in the later Chalukyan pillars
the central section of the shaft is shown either square or in the form of an inverted bell.* The
inverted bell shaped member is wanting in the Vijayanagara pillars. Besides in one instance three
3. M.R'.K. Sarma,;Op Git., Pis. 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 49 ; A. Rea, Chalukyan Architecture, Pis. Ill,
XXX, XLVII; Marg. Vol. XXXI, No. .1, Pis. 17, 18.
4. A. Rea, Op-Cit; Pis. Ill XXX, XtVIJ.
A.HJR.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. ISI. VENKATARAMANAYYA COM MEMO RATION VOLUME 47
Square blocks are arranged at regular intervals in the shaft of a pillar, This tendency is very well
illustrated by the pillars that are supporting the super structure of the sabha-mandapa of the
Hazara Rama temple at Hampi 5 . This feature is seldom observed in the later Chalukyan pillars.
This type of pillar is generally square in shape. Several varieties of this pillar are noticed
in the temples under our consideration.
(a) An example of this variety is found in the natya-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami
temple at Lepakshi (PL 8). It is square in shape and design. It has a base, shaft and four-square
bracket - all independent segments. The base is adorned with two plain pattlkas and a gala in
between them. A central square block connecting the pattika is found on all the facing sides of
the base. The shaft has three square blocks intervened by two octagonal sections. The top corner
edges of the lower square member are decorated with cyma-reverse terminations. The octagonal
sections not only have vertical flutes but plso horizontal octagonal bands. Beautiful sculptures are
carved on all the four sides of the square blocks. The shaft is surmounted by a bracket having
Chola corbels. The pillar is nearly sixteen feet in height pleasingly proportioned and has graceful
appearance. The pillars that are found in a dilapidated mandapa in the Vitthala temple at Hampi
also illustrate this type of pillar 6 .
The pillars having square shafts, but deviating from the above referred type, are found in the
Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi. In the first variety it is square in shape, from the base to the
top. The most interesting feature of this pillar is that the shaft is decorated with stambhfka-prasada
motif. It should be noted here that generally a vfmana model is shown represented on the
summit of a stambhika. In this case a miniature temple is shown on the top of an ornamental
pilaster. The whole ornamental motif is shown carried away by a dwarfish gana represented at
the base of the pilaster (PL 9). The second variety of pillar is found in the natya-mandapa of the
Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (PL 10). In this case the shaft has two rectangular and one
square block and these are intervened by two octagonal sections. The shaft is decorated with
figure sculptures hamsas and floral motifs. The pillar is surmounted by the Vijayanagara floral
A very interesting variety of this type is found in a mandapa located outside the main temple
and to the north of l\\e gopura-dvara of the Chennakesava temple at Sompalem (PL 11). It has
a monolithic shaft, square through out, and the surmounting bracket The sides of the base of
5. R. N. Salctorc. Vijayanagara Art, Delhi, 1982, PL 72.
6. 1 have surveyed th Vitthala temple at Hampi 12th March 1981.
48 THE PILLARS IN VIJAYANAGARA ART
this pillar are decorated with a vase and foliage motif, pattlkas and four petaled lotus flowers.
It is very interesting to note that a dwarfish gana in the act of bhara-vahika is carved in the
middle of the inner sides of the shaft A miniature dvi~tala Dravidian model spire is carved on
the summit and immediately below the roll corbel. The most interesting feature of this pillar is
the representation of a life-size female figure holding a purna-kumbha in her hands on the lower
part of the shaft. She is shown standing on a projected and pleasingly modelled pedestal The
structural pilasters that are arranged on either extreme ends of this mandapa also have square
shafts and stambhika-vimana models. But on the lower sections of the shafts of these pilasters
are found male figures instead of female figures. The dress, the high conical caps, the posture
and the ornaments worn by these male figures unmistakably represent that they were either the
donors of the temple or some dignitaries of the state.
A more refined and intricately designed pillars of the variety are found under this massive
roll cornice of the mukhamandapa of the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti (Pis. 12,13). The
base or the asvapadam of this pillar has graduated projections and recesses. Rectangular blocks
of stone, having meandering floral patterns are arranged on the central facing sides of the base.
Graceful female figures holding purna-kumbhas in their hands and stambhika-vfmana models are
carved on the lower sections of the shaft. These stambha-puttalikas are surmounted by the most
marvellously chiselled abacus and floral corbels. The pushpa-bodfga, the vyatas with riders
and the dwarfish ganas as bhara-vahfkas are superbly designed and executed. This variety of
pillars exhibit the peerless imagination and skill of the Vijayanagara sculptors in designing,
decorating and above all in the dexterity of handling prick and chisel.
(c) This variety is supposed to be the finest one. It is characterised by matchless modelling,
designing, ornamentation and in displaying the architectural motifs. The most remarkable feature
of this pillar is that the entire shaft and the floral corbel are carved on a monolithic stone. The
best example of this type is found in the entrance mandapa of the gopura-dvara of the Chenna-
kesava temple ot Millampalli (PL 14). Every inch of the shaft of this pillar is adorned with
architectural and ornamental members. The lower and the upper sections of the shaft is occupied
by a -miniature temple having 'a dvi-tala Dravidian vlmana. It is shown that the adhlshthana of
the temple is supported by a row of dwarfish ganas in the role of bhara-vahikas. The pabhaga or
the wall proper, the kapota or the cornice and the vlmana of the temple are beautifully carved.
Wying gandhanas and the mythical vyatas are shown on either side of the sfkhara. The most
important and the unique feature of this temple model lies in the representation of a long flight of
steps that lead into the interior of the temple itself. The Vijayanagara sculptors to give an illusion
of depth and a touch of naturalism to the whole composition represented a couple of pilgrims
crossing the steps with the avowed object of reaching the holy of holies in the sanctum
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. VI
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 49
(d) The pillars of this variety are found in the unfinished kalyana-mandapa of the
Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (PI. 15). in this example the pillar has a monolithic shaft and
four-armed floral corbel at the summit. The base has two pattikas and a gala. The top most
pattika has a series of kudu motifs The shaft has three square blocks and the intervening sections
are circular in shape but decorated with vertical lines and floral motifs. A slight variation of this
type is noticed in a pillar located very near to the above referred variety. In this case the shaft has
two square blocks, one immediately above the base and the other on the top of the shaft. The
intervening portion is fluted, save a circular floral band in the centre. The shaft is surmounted by a.
two- armed floral corbel (PI. 15 right extreme pillar).
(e) Another interesting variety of this type is found in a mandapa located to the south of
the main shrine of the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti. It has a monolithic shaft, square in
section, and surmounted by a floral corbel of the Vijayanagara type. The interesting feature of this
variety of pillar is that the shaft is divided into three zones and these zones are separated by square
bands. Every zone has four highly ornamental niches on its four sides. Every niche has two
pilasters on either side canopied by a tri-forum floral arch. This variety of pillars are seldom
found in the Vijayanagara temples (PI 16 pillar located on the extreme left side).
The pillars of this type are either square or circular in shape but decorated with vertical fluted
bands. Three varieties of this type are noticed in the temples under our consideration.
(a) This variety is found in one of the mandapas of the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti,
The shaft is a combination of square and circular sections. The lower portion of it, up to five feet
is square and the succeeding upper portion is circular. The entire shaft is decorated with square
and circular bands at regular intervals. These bands are either adorned with kudu motifs or floral
designs. Deeply chanelled vertical fluted bands are shown round the entire shaft (PI. 16 pillar
located on the extreme right side).
(b) Examples of this variety of pillar are found adjacent to the above referred one and in
the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti. In this example the shaft is square in shape and has narrow
and broad horizontal bands. The entire shaft is adorned with vertical fluted patterns (PI. 16.)
(c) This is a very interesting variety, found in a mandapa located to the north of the
gopura-dvara of the Chennakesava temple at Sompalem. The pillar is circular in section
and has vertical flutes. The base, the central and the top sections of this pillar are decorated witb
horizontal bands,, strictly in accordance with the vertical flutes of the shaft (PI.17).
SO THE PILLARS IN VIJAYANAGARA ART
(d.) This variety of pillar is found in ibekalyana-mandapa of the Chennakesava temple at
Sompalenrt. The shaft is circular and adorned with shallow vertical bands. A square block is
arranged on the top of the shaft. The most significan part of the pillar is that of the lower section
of the shaft. Acouchant lion is shown on an ornamental pedestal (PL 18). It may be stated here
that the pillars in the maha-mandapa of the Madhavaraya temple at Gorantla has a massive lion
seated on an elephant serving the purpose of a shaft 7 . A seated lion at the base of a pillar is
a common feature in the Pallava rock-cut mandapas, rathas and the structural temples 8 . It is
likely that the above referred examples of pillars reflect the surviving remnants of the Pallava
Examples of this type of pillars are found in the natyamandapa of the Virabhadrasvami
temple at Lepakshi (PI 19), and in the kalyana-mandapa of the^Chennakesava temple at Sompalem,
the Vitthala temple at Hampi and Govindarajasvami temple at Tsrupati. The asvapadam of this type
of pillar is decorated with a padma-pat/ka, gala, tr/patta alfngana-pattika having a couple of kudu
motifs on each side. The shaft is polygonal in section and surmounted by the characteristic
'Vijayanagara floral bracket. The most interseting and impressive feature of this type of pillar is
that of the architectural decorative motifs carved on the shaft. A series of sala and kuta-koshthas
carved in high relief, are arranged both vertically and horizontally in every inch of the shaft.
It is observed that sala-sikharas standing on long and slender stambhfkas represent vertical
pattern whereas the kuta-koshthas of miniature size represent horizontally. The Vijayanagara
architects used this variety of pillar very sparingly and it is found only in the centre of the kafyana-
mndapas or natya mandapas or pillared pavilions. They are invariably shown in the company of
the other types of pillars, apparently to maintain a dramatic contrast.
This type of pillar has a pillaretor pillarets forming the main shaft Examples of this type are
found in plenty in the : Vijayanagara temples under our study. A careful examination of this type
of pillar would enable us to divide it into two types as follows.
(a) In this variety the main shaft of the pillar is divided into three rectangular zones of
"Which the lower one is higher than the rest. The upper and the lower corner edges of these
iBctangular- blocks -are -adorned either with floral terminations or with charmingly designed lotus
feuds, Octagonal sections are 'introduced in between these rectangular blocks. Seated sardulas
,arid human figures in. different positions and postures are sculpted on the shaft. On one side of
7. V. Kameswara Rao, Select Vijayanagara Temples of Rayalaseema, Hyderabad, 1976, PI. IV.
'<8.' P. Brown. Op. Gil., Pis,.LlX, 2; LXII, 1. ' : .'' - . '
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N, VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 51
ih3 shaft, preferably on the front side, a pillaret is shown projecting from the main shaft. It has a
seated lion at the base. The lower section of this pillaret is square in shape whereas the upper Is
polygonal in section. It is surmounted by an abacus and finally by the floral corbel. The most
important feature of this variety of pillar which deserves our attention is that the pilSaret Is
not an independent or detachable segment, but formed a part and parcel of the monolithic
shaft of the main pillar. The best example of this variety is standing on a dilapidated
adhlshthana of a mandapa in the Achyutaraya temple at Hampi (PI, 20). Another example of this
type of pillar where the decorative art of the Vijayanagara period reached its dazzling pinnacle of
perfection is lying pathetically in the midst of a heap of ruins, very near to the Patalesvara
temple at Srisailam (PL 21 ). The master sculptor's chisel touched every inch of this pillar. In
general shape and design this pillar is very closely akin to the above referred example. The pillaret
and the main shaft of the pillar share a common base which has plain and ornamental bands of
graduated projections and recesses. The shaft of the main pillar which is massive in size has eight
horizontal bands representing saia-koshthas intervened by a pattika having a series of miniature
kudu motifs. The pillaret which projects from the main shaft of the pillar is again a marvell in the
decorative art of the Vijayanagara period. It is surmounted by an abacus having a phalaka
(platform) above and a full blown lotus-Sske section below. On the top of the phalaka is arranged
the floral lateral bracket and the figure of a god. He is standing with the right leg firmly planted
on the ground while the left is raised up and folded at the knee. His right hand is kept in
katyavalambita pose and the left hand is in the act of lifting the top section of the pillar the capital
mouldings. The space in between the pillaret and the main shaft is filled with an exquisitely
carved meandering floral creeper of rare beauty and charm.
(b) This variety of pillars are found in abundance in the pillared corridors that are arranged
either on the inner or outer sides of th&prakara walls. In this variety the pillaret is shown
detached and not attached from the main shaft of the pillar. A couchant lion or vyala is shown
invariably at the base and it looks as if the animal is actually carrying the weight of the pillaret
placed either on its head or back. Excellent examples of this variety are found in the pillared
corridors of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi, Ach/utaraya temple at Hampi, and
Venkatesvara temple at Tirumala, etc. 9 (Pis. 22, 23, 24).
It is of absorbing interest to note here that in one of the pillars found in the Virabhadrasvami
temple at Lepakshi, the pillaret is shown resting right on the head of a seated human figure
(PL22). Examples of this type are seldom found in the temples under our survey. It should be
noted here that the pillars of this variety have only one pillaret projecting from the main shaft
A very interesting variety of this type is noticed in the T/rumalaraya-mandapa of the Venkatesvara
9. Itihas, Vol. VIII, No, 1, PL IX.
52 THE PILLARS IN VUAYANAGARA ART
temple at Tirumala 10 . In this example a vya/a with a rider is shown standing on the top of the
abacus of the pillaret. A couchant elephant with upraised trunk is shown serving the purpose of a*
base to the above referred vyafa. In the next stage of the evolution of this type of pillar a number
of pillarets projecting from the main shaft have increased. Pillars having pillarets ranging from
four to twelve are found in the Vijayanagara temples at Lepakshi, Tadiparti, Hampi, Sompalem,
Tiruvannamali, Tirupati, and Mangapuram, etc. (Pis. 24, 25, 26). The famous musical pillars
found in the natya-mandapa of the Vitthala temple at Hampi represent the final stage of the pillar-
pillaret type of pillars (PL 27).
This type of pillar, in general design, closely resembles the above referred pillar-pillaret
type with one difference. In the pillar-pillaret type a slender and gracefully designed pillaret or
pillarets are shown projecting from the main shaft. In this example, instead of a pillaret a fabulous
vya/a standing on the back of a couchant elephant is shown projecting from the rectangular shaft
of the pillar. In the early stages the Gaja-vyala motif is simply chiselled on the projecting slab
of stone. In this case there is no attempt at carving in the round. A lovely example of this type
is- noticed in the Sanfvara-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (PI. 28), In the
next stage, the Vijayanagara sculptors showed their ingenious imagination and superior skill
in modelling and designing this type of pillar. The shaft of the pillar, as in the case of the
earlier examples, is square and divided into three rectangular or square sections. It is ornamented
with figure sculptures, -kumbha-panjara motifs, etc. The important feature of this variety, which
is not noticed in the earlier type, is that the Gaja-vyala bracket is carved In the round and not
carved in high-relief. The trunks of the elephant and the vyala are shown intertwined. Further
these^animals are also provided with riders. The floral bracket which is placed on rhe top of the
vyata's head is meticulously designed and intricately ornamented. Examples of this type are
found in the natya-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi, the ka/yana-rm/utap*-
of the Vitthala temple at Hampi, etc., (Pis. 24, ;9). The finest and the majestic representations
of this type of pillar are found in the horse-court of the Srirangam temple. Here the vyafa are
replaced by the life size horses standing on their hind legs. These horses are provided with
riders above and warriors below. About these pillars K. M. Munshi observes: "A pair of
rampant furious Corses, whose heads support the pillars are carved with great skill and vigour
The riders are shown in realistic pose trying to control them, The fore- legs of one of them are
placed on an arch under which stands a soldier with a woman sitting on his shoulders, Each-
sculpture is realistic, though the conception is fantastic. The artists found fulfillment in bringing
such conceptions into material shape 11 ".
10. Ibid, PLX ,(b).
11. K. M. Munshi. Indian Temple Sculpture, Calcutta; 1959/pl. 135, Notes, p. xi.
A H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt.
Dr. N. VEIMKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOL'J,V.f 53
This is a massive type of pillar weighing a couple of tons. Thsse p:iiars are generally
found supporting the central bay of the sabha-mandapa or natya-mandapa or ka/yaia-mandapa.
Examples of this type of pillars are found in the natya-mandapas of the Vitthaia temple at
Hampiandthe Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (PI. 29). This represents a composite type
of pillar, for it has pillarats and furious rampant vya/as. It has a massive shaft which forms the
very core of the pillar. Rampant vya/as firmly planting their hind legs on the couchant elephants
are shown projecting from three sides of the shaft. They are provided with riders The top
seotionof the gaja-vyala bracket and immediately below the characteristic Vijayaragara floral
corbel are found carved miniature vlmana motifs, rishis and pleasingly modelled ganas in the act of
bha r&-vahakas. In between these projecting gaja-vyala brackets are arranged a pair of pillarets in
two tiers. The base of the piliarets arranged on the lower tier has bhara-vahakas where as the base
of the two piilarets found In the upper section are devoid of them. The asvapadam of this
massive pillar is decorated with pattikas of graduated projections and rescesses. In one example
three dancing human figures are carved on the central section of the base (PL 29).
This type of pillar, like the one above referred, is massive in size. But in this example the
pillarets and the gaja-vyala brackets are not shown projecting from the main shaft of the pillar. In
this case a curved stone slab of massive proportions is attached to the very core of the main shaft,
The shaft and the curved stone projection are adorned with the representations of gods, goddesses,
kuc/u&, kumbha-panjaras, padma-bandhas, lotus medallions, etc. In some cases the facing sides of
the stone projections are occupied by life-size sculptures representing divine and semi-divine
beings. The classical examples of this type of pillars are found in the natya-mandapa and
ka/y&na-mandapa of the Virafohadrasvami tdmple at Lepakshi 12 (PL 30).
We have discussed so far the various types of Vijayanagara pillars including several minor
varieties. A cursory glance at the pillars will prompt us to state that the pillars having pilfarets
and 0a/a-vyala brackets are the most popular and profusely used pillars in the Vijayanagara temples.
We may not be wrong in stating that this type of pillar is the guiding factor or the identifying
symbol of the Vijayanagara style of architecture and art. Hence it may not be out of place here
to discuss the source or sources that inspired the Vijayanagara architects for using the pillars
having ga/a-vya/a bracket projections.
12. V. Kameswara Rao, Op. Cit., PL XXXII, V. Kameswara Rao, The Lepakshi Temple, Tirupat
1982, PI. 7.
64 THE PILLARS IN V1JAYANAGARA ART
It appears that the Pallavas were the first to use the lion or the vya/a at the base of the
pillar. This is amply attested by the pillars that are found in the rock-cut mandapas at Mamalla-
puram, Mandagapattu and Bhairavakonda etc. 13 . In all these examples a couchant lion is shown
on the lower portion of the pillar. The circular or the fluted shaft ' of the pillar is placed right on
the head of the animal. "This heraldic beast, which from now onward occupies a prominent
position in the architectural productions of the Pallavas was appropriated by the ruling dynasty,
and made to serve as a symbol of their Simhavishnu or "lion" (simha) ancestry" 14 . In the next
stage, this heraldic lion or vya/a is found on the pilasters that adorned the exterior walls of the
shrine. Examples of this type are first noticed on the exterior walls of the Shore temple at
Mahabalipuram. About this new feature Percy Brown observes : "But there is also another
important component in the structural temple, which although relatively a matter of detail, was
destined to give not a little of its character to the later Pallava art. This is the appearance In the
architectural scheme of a very pronounced type of pilaster, a rampant lion in prominent relief,
which finds a place where ever such a structural form with an ornamental support is required. In
the Shore temple this heraldic lion, erect and holding up a Dravidian capital, projects from every
angle and is also introduced at intervals around the lower part of the entire building. As the style
progressed this leogriff motif became more frequent and more characteristic so that it may be
generally regarded as the identifying symbol of the Pallava style" 15 . The pillars and pilasters that
are found in the Kailasanatha, Matangesvara, Muktesvara, and Vaikuntha Perumal at Kanchipuram
and the Talagarisvara temple at Panamalai are also adorned with lions. 10 In these examples the
heraldic beast is shown with out-stretched mane, protruding tongue, erect ears, bulging eyes and
gaping mouth In some cases riders are represented on their backs 17 . These figures are dominated
more by vertical tension rather than by grace and naturalism and consequently they look like
wooden statues. The Chola architects did not show any interest in using this heraldic beast either
at the base or in the shaft of the pillars 18 . A vyafa astride on a couchant elephant is used as a
shaft of tht pillars supporting the roof of the ardha-mandapa of the Adikesvara" temple at Chebrolu.
K. V. Soundararajan states that it is. "a mixed structural temple of Later Chalukya- Eastern Ganga
mannerism" and assigned it to the second half of the 12th century A.D. 39 The Pandyan sculptors
13. P. Brown, Op. Cit., Pis. L.IX, 2, LXII, 1 ; K, V. Soundararajan, Architecture of the Early Hindu
Temples of Andhra Pradesh, PI. XII,
14. P. Brown, Op. Cit., p. 94.
15. Ibid., p. 99.
16. A.Rea. Pallava Architecture, Pis. V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XV, XVI, XVIII; K. V. Soundararajan,
Indian Temple Styles, PI. IV.
17. Ibid., Pis .XXVII, . LIV, LV, LVII.
18. ' The Vyala-stambhlkas are found on the exterior walls of the Chola temples. ; M, A. Dhaky, The
Vyala figures on the Mediaeval Temples of India, Varanasi. 1965, p. 12.
19. K. V. Soundararajan, Op. Cit., p. 133, PI. XXX.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 55
showed sufficient interest in the representation of vyafas in different positions and places in the
temples constructed by them. 20
Regarding the origin and antiquity of the rampant vya fa pilaster Percy Brown observes:
"As in the case of the numerous motifs in Indian art, the origin of this rampant lion pilaster
is a mystery, it suddenly appears in the temple design without any marked prefigurement, save for
small representation of it on the unfinshed ratha of Valaiyankuttai of the previous (Mamalla's) reign
in the shape of an insignificant bracket. It is strange that from such a rudimentary detail much of
the charcater of the Narassmha architecture should have developed" 21 . Vya/a as a decorative motif
was used in the Indian art before the advent of the Pallavas, In the south it is found on the
coping stones of the stupas of the later Andhra and Ikshvaku periods. 22 A rampant vyala, as a
lateral bracket, is found under the volute ends of the door-way of the Gautamisvara cave at Nasik 23 .
It is also noticed on the gateway of a mandapa\r\ the Konti-gudi which is supposed to be the earliest
of the early Chalukyan temples at Aihole. 24 It would thus appear that the statement that the
rampant lion bracket found in the unfinished Valaiyankuttai ratha is the earliest example is not
acceptable. It should be noted here that the lateral brackets adorned with the rampant vyafas are
found in the later Chalukyan and the Kakatiya kin! toranas that are noticed at Indirsam, Ainole
and Warangal 25 . In some of the Kakatiya temples massive vya/as standing on elephant head
pedestals are shown springing from the shoulders of the pillars placed under the eaves of the
The Vijayanagara sculptors paid uncommon interest in the representation of this heraldic
beast on the massive pillars which normally support the flat roof of the mandapas and the pillared
corridors. M. A Dhaky rightly observes: "In the edifices erected under the affluent Vijayanagara
dynasty, however, the vyala received the highest recognition, almost to the point of obsession,
when they occupied not only the surcapitals and bracket-struts of pillars ; they came down and
appropriated the shafts of the peripheral pillars of The pavilions and subscribe in no small measure
to the tropical phantasy of such celebrated examples as the kalyana mandapa at Vijayanagara,
Vellore and Vmnchipuram" 27 . K. V. Soundararajan states : "There was indeed a penchant for
20. M. A. Dhaky, Op. Cit , p. 12.
21. P. Brown, Op. Cit., p. 96,
22. M. A, Dhaky, Op. Cit., p. 12, Stella Kramrisch, The Art of India, Fig. 35.
23. J. Fergusson & J. Burgess, The Cave Temples of India, New Delhi, 1968, PI. XX.
24. R- S. Gupta, The Art and Architecture of Aihele - A study of the Early Chalukyan Art through
Temple Architecture and Sculpture, Bombay, 1967, Pis. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
25. M. R f K. Sarma, Op. Cit., Pis. 60, 61.
26. Ibid., PI. 141; M. Rama Rao, Select Kaka,tiya. Temples, PJ, fa. Itihas, VpL VIII, Np. I,
Figs; 11, 12.
27. M. A. Dhaky, Op. Cit., p. 12,
56 THE PILLARS IN VIJAYANAGARA ART
Vijayanagara craftsman to erect lofty pillars in the temple mandapa with a floating tower crest on
the top and several such examples can be seen in Kanchi, Srirangam, Chidambaram, etc,
Sometimes these pillars are of litter kind fully covered with puran/c as well as purely ornate
carvings. Nayakas continued this tradition with less of surface detail'' 28 . A careful comparative
study between the Vijayanagara and the Pallava representations of the vyalas clearly give us an
idea that the former drew inspiration and guidance from the latter. But the Vijayanagar vyalas
show marked advancement over their Pallava counterparts in modelling, designing, ornamentation,
and above all in their distribution and dispostion in the various architectural adjuncts of a temple
Free-stand Ing columns
The free-standing pillars are found prominently attached to some Vifayanagara temples.
Thus no amount of discussion about the Vijayanagara pillars would be complete without a
reference to these free-standing pillars.
It is observed that in some cases free-standing pillars having imposing monolithic shifts are
found in front of the Vijayanagar temples, Mention may be made in this connection that the
tradition of erecting free-standing columns near- the religious edifices was common to all Buddhist,
Jain and Hindu styles of architecture. The Buddhists employed them to bear inscriptions on their
shafts, with emblems or animals on their capitals. The best examples of this type are the Asokan
pillars. The Jains built the dlpa-stambhas or lamp bearing pillars. The Vaishnavites raised
garuda-stambhas or pillars bearing the images of a Garuda bird. The Saivites built dhvaja-
stambhas or flag staffs, The other type of pillars are mana-stambhas or elegant tall pillars with a
pavilion on the top, rana-stambha or pillar of victory, kfrti-stamba or the triumphal pillar, nandi-
stambha or pillar surmounted by a nandiand kalasa-stambha, tc w .
The free-standing pillars that are found in front of the Vijayanagara temples may be
divided into two types. The first type of pillars are noticed at Sompalem, Tadiparti, Rayachoti,
and.Prabhugiripatnam or etc. They are normally provided with bases. The most imposing and
highly interesting base is noticed under a free-standing pillar located in front of the Chennakesava
temple at Sompalem (PI. 31 ). It has both upapttha and adh/shtana. The upapftha has upana, gala
and almgana^attika decorated with kudus. The adhfshthana is adorned with upana, Mpatta,
padma-pamaaM alingana patttka, These mouldings are intervened by deep recesses. They are
28. K. V. Soimtiararajan, The Art of South India, Tamilnadu and Kerala, New Delhi, 1978, p. 45.
mt Proceedings and Transactions of the Second Oriental Conference,
A,H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 57
decorated with floral designs, kudus, semi-circular projections, etc. The free-standing pillar found
in front of the eastern goputa-dvara of the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti also hasanadA/i-
thana of four and half feet htght, 3 These pillars have square and monolithic shafts. These shafts
are either plain or decorated with a prominent meandering floral creepers (Pis, 31, 32). In some
cases the lower section of the shaft has figure sculptures (PL 31) The shaft of the free-standing
pillar found in front of the Chennakesava temple at Sompalem is considered to be the lengthiest
monolithic shaft in the entire range of the free-standing columns of the Vijayanagara period
(PL 31). The shaft of these pillars is surmounted by a circular or octagonal projecting member
which in its turn is succeeded by a broad platform which serves the purpose of a base to the miniature
pavilion placed on the summit of the column. It Is constructed with bricks and and has
the shape of a miniature temple In some cases it looks like a miniature standing on
four pillars It is likely that these pavilions or shrines serve as receptacles for lamps. These
pillars may be classified as dipa-stambhas
Examples of the second type of free-standing pillars are found mostly in front of the temples
at Hampi (PI 33). They have bases or are shown emerging from the earth without any base.
They are of medium size and height. The lower section of the shaft, up to four feet, is square In
shape. The rest of the portion up to the circular projecting neck has ornamental square blocks
bevelled on the four edges of the shaft. Tha circular neck of the shaft is surmounted by an
abacus having a lotus-like section below and a square pha/aka above. On the top of this type
of pillar, an ornamental iron lamp post, having five projecting arms connected to centra! rod, is
The Vijayanagara architects also showed considerable interest In erecting free-standing
toranas in the vicinity of the temples. Examples of this type are found in front of the
Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti and on the way to the Vitthala temple at Hampi 31 ,;PIs 34, 35).
The torana standing in front of the eastern gopura-dvara of the Venkataramana temple at
Tadiparti has a base of four and half feet hight. The torana has two uprights roughly of twenty
five feet high, on either side and surmounted by an architrave. The uprights and the architrave
are devoid of any ornamental designs, save a few fluted edges. It appsars that the architrave was
originally adorned with semi-circular arches made of brick and chunam. But at present most of
them are fallen except the one that is arranged on the extreme end of the right corner of the
architrave, The torana located on. the way to the Vitthala temple exhioits furthsr advancement In
modelling and designing This is not provided with a high base. It has two uprights and an
architrave. The uprights are decorated with kumba-panfara motifs. The architrave place j on the
top of the uprights has slanting edges and decorated with a series of kudu matifs and seated
sarcfu/a figures. The surmounting part of the architrave has miniature ekatala Draviiiao vimana
models with domical finials standing on stambhikas on either extreme ends. But an eka-tala
30. V. Kamesw.ara Rao, Op. Cit., PI. XXIV, 2,
31. Ibid., Pi. XXIV, 2.
58 THE PILLARS IN VIJAYANAGARA ART
sa/a-v/mana adorned with simhalalata gables and kalasa finials is found on the central section
of the architrave.
The tradition of erecting torana gateways round a religious edifice was started first by the
Buddhists. Examples of this type are found at Bharhut, Sanchi, and Nasik etc. 32 This tradition was
later on adopted by the Hindu architects. The early Chalukyan architectects were the first who
raised the torana gateways and this is very well attested by the examples that are found at Aihole 83 ,
The Western Chaiukyas of Kalyani and their subordinates the Kakatiyas of Warangal patronized the
tradition of erecting torana gateways before the temples. The best examples of this type are
noticed at Nandikandi, Hanumakonda, Kolanupaka, Indirsanx Ainole and Warangal 34 . The Orissan
sculptors also took sufficient interest and care in erecting graceful toranas and this is evident from
a beautiful torana standing in front of the jagmohana of the Muktesvara temple at Bhuvanesvar 35 .
The Vijayanagara toranas differ sharply from the above referred toranas. They are not intended
to serve the purpose of a gateway to the temples. They were originally used for the ceremonial
swingining of the god. The rings that are attached on the lower side of the architrave clearly show
that these toranas were used for ceremonial swinging of the god and goddess on festive
occasions. Similar type of toranas, popularly known as hfndolas are found in the vicinity of
temples in Western India. Two finest examples of this type are found at Vadnagar in Gujarat 36 .
Brackets or corbels
One of the most important architectural elements of a pillar, apart from the base, shaft and
the abacus, is the bracket or the corbel. It is placed above the capital of the pillar and below the
prastara. The Vijayanagara pillars exhibit different types of brackets Both two armed and four-
armed bracket are found in the pillars that are under our survey. Though the Vijayanagare corbels
show considerable amount of Pallava and Chola influence some amount of newness and novelty
are not lacking. The following are the principal types of corbels that are found in the Vijayanagara
32. P. Brown, Op. Cit., p. 18; E. B. Havell, The Art Heritage of India Comprising Indian Sculpture and
Painting and the Ideals of Indian] Art, Bombay, 1964, PI. 83 A; J. Fergusson & J. Burgess,
The Cave Temples of India, New Delhi. 1969, PI. XX; Vignasarvasvamu, VoL III, Madras,
1959, PL 95.
33. R. S. -Gupte/Op. Cit., Pis. 47, 48.
34. S G.K. Murthy, The Sculpture of the Kakatiyas, Figs, 1,43; M. Rama Rao, Select Andhra Temples,
PL XXlV-i; M. R.K. Sarma, Op. Cit., p. 178, Pis. 60, 61.
35. K. C Panigrahi, Archaeological Remains of Bhuvanesvar, 1961, Figs. 55, 56.
36. P. Brown, Op. Cit , p. 150. PL Cl. Fig. 2; The struggle for Empire, History and Culture of the
Indian People, Vol V, 1969, Fig, 51; H. B; Lai, The Temples of Rajasthan, Jaipur. 1969,
Figs. 19; 67,
A.H.R.S. Vol,38 P|. IV
br. fsl. VEIMKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 69
This is principally square in shape and divided into two sections by introducing a couple of
deeply incised horizontal lines, The sides of the lower part of this bracket are cut at 40, there
by giving the shape of a triangular elevation. Besides, a square or' rectangular projecting patta is
shown prominently on the facing sides of the corbel This type of bracket is devoid of any
ornamental motifs save a few vertical and horizontal linear patterns. Examples of these types are
found in the Vitthala temple at Hampi, the Trikutesvara temple at Pushpagiri, the Hazara Rama
temple atji'ampi and in the pillars found in the natya-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami temple at
Lepakshi 37 (Pis. 3,4,8 ). The Chola architects also used this type of bracket. In the first instance they
have used that type of bracket which has a slanting under edge cut at 45. Pillars and pilasters
having this type of brackets are found in abundance in the Chola temples 38 In some cases the facing
sides of the projecting arms are decorated with deeply incised wavy lines 39 , in the later stages, the
Chola sculptors introduced a patta projecting from the middle of the slating under surface of ' the
arm. 40 It is likely that the Vijayanagara sculptor, while modelling this type of bracket, might have
got inspiration and guidance from the Chola models.
This type of bracket has a rectangular or square section above and the lower section is
adorned with kapota-palika or cyma-recta edge. This may be termed as a roll corbel. Excellent
examples of this type are found in the Venkataramana temple at Tadiparti, the Chennakesava
temple at Sompalem, the Trikutesvara temple at Pushpagiri and the Hazara Rama and Vitthala
temples at Hampi 41 (Pis, 6, 11, 16). It should be noted here that this roll bracket is either
provided with a median band or not. If the median band is present it is either plain or decorated
with dwarfibh ganas or serpent hoods, etc. 42 The brackets that are found on the pillars of a
mandapa located outside the prakara wall of the Chennakesava temple at Sompalem give us
some interesting information In this example the bracket is provided with two arms That
particular projecting arm of the bracket which is placed under the prastara has cyma-recta
terminations whereas the other arm which is supporting the massive cornice is simply square in
shape. The combination of roll and square brackets is very interesting and this reflects upon the
Vijayanagara sculptors' unstinted curiosity and love for novelty (PI. 11).
37. V. Kameswara Rao, Op. Cit., P. 214.
38. B. Venkataraman, Temple Art Under the Chola Queens, Faridabad, 1976, Pis. 8, 32, 34, 38, 48,
55; S. R. Balasubrahmanyam, Early Chola Temples, Pis. 1, 11, 28, 32, 71.
39. B. Venkataraman, Op. Cit., PI. 36; S. R. Balasubrahmanyam, Op. Cit., Pis. 51, 78, 104, 191.
40. P. Brown, Op. Cit., Pis. LXX, Fig. 2.
41. V. K*meswara Rao, Op. Cit., PL LXVIII.
THE PILLARS IN V1JAYANAGARA ART
The roll and roll and patta corbels are extremely rare in the Pallava, Chola and Pandyan
pillars. It is likely that this type of bracket was introduced for the first time by the early Chalu-
kyan architects. This is very well illustrated by the pillars that are found in the temples at
Papavfnasana-tirtha near Alampur, Ramalingesvara temple at Satyavolu, the Mahanandisva'ra
temple at Mahanandi. etc 43 . The Eastern Chalukyan architects also used this type of brackets,
but very sparingly 44 . The later Chalukyan, Hoyasala and the Kakaiiya sculptors showed a great
liking for this type of bracket. Both plain and highly ornate roll corbels are found in their pillars.
In some cases double volute taranga corbels are also used by the above referred architects 45 .
This type represents the floral corbel. The Vijayanagara sculptors profusely adopted this
type of bracket, A careful examination of this bracket will enable us to state that there are two
varieties "of this type. The first variety represents a harmonious combination of concave and
convex floral curves. The sides of this curved corbel are adorned with floral patterns Generally
the basal section of this corbel has some wide and narrow pattfkas with a deep gala in between
them. The lower pattika has kudu motifs and in some cases this serves the purpose of a base.
Examples of this type are found in the pillars of the san/vara-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami
temple at Lepakshi and the Vittha la temple at Hampi (PI 28). Further the pillars that are found
in the corridors of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi and the Achyutaraya temple at Hampi
also have this variety of floral corbels (Pis. 22, 23). The finest variety of this type is found on a
pillar lying Jn the vicinity of the Paialesvara temple at Srisailam (PI. 21). The lower and the
upper sections of this floral corbel have mouldings of graduated projections and recesses. The
curye of the bracket has floral flutes. Further, a ' gana with pleasing anatomical features, is shown
lifting the top of the bracket with his upraised proper left hand whereas the right hand is kept in
katyavalambita pose. Another example of this type is found in the plliars of the entrance mandapa
of the Venkatesvara temple at Tirumala. Here a parrot is shown instead of gana^. The second
veriety represents the Pushpa-potika bracket. In this type the projecting floral arm of the bracket
is terminated with a hanging lotus bud or potika. Several stages of its evolution are noticed in
the pillars of the Vijayanagara temples, in the first stage the floral arm of the corbel, curves
at the base itself without projecting considerably. Further the under side of the curved end has
a flat surface without a bud. An excellent example of this type is found in one of the pillars
of the kalyana- mandapa at Lepakshi (PI. 9). In the second stage of its evolution the formation
of the potfka on the centre of the under side of the floral arm of the corbel is noticed. But it
looks like a semi-circular projection. An example of this bracket is noticed in the ka/yana-
.','',* ft " '-...
43. M. R. K. Sarrna, Op. Cit., PL 18; M. Rama Rao, Early Chalukyan Temples of Andhra Desa,
Figs, 19, 27.
44. M.Rama Rao, Eastern Chalukyan Temples "of Andhra Desa, Fig. 27.
45. A. Rea, Chalukyan Architecture, Pis. GUI. 1,XXX, 2, Archaeologial Bulletin, No II Pi. XLI"
P. Brown, Op. Git., PL GXXIV, Fig. 2. M. Rama Rao, Select Kakatiya Temples Pl.X(a);
M. R. K/Sarma Gp.Ot., PIs/32,33, 36, 37, 49/41.
46. Itihas, Vol. VIII, No. 1, PI.1V.
A.RR.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
PILLAR IN A MANDAPA, LEPAKSHI
PILLAR IN THE SABHA-MANDAPA
OF A TEMPLE AT SOMPALEM
PILLAR IN THE MUKHA-MANDAPA OF THE
TRIKUTESVARA TEMPLE, PUSHPAGIRI
PILLAR IN THE MUKHA-MANDAPA OF
THE HAZARARAMA TEMPLE, HAMPI
PILLAR IN THE TRIKUTESVARA TEMPLE,
PILLAR IN THE TRIKUTESVARA TEMPLE,
PILLAR IN THE MUKHA-MANDAPA
OF THE DEVI SHRINE
VENKATARAMANA TEMPLE, TADIPARTF
P ILL AR IN THE NATYA-HANDAPA,
PILLAR IN THE KALYANA-MANDAPA
PILLAR IN THE NATYA-MANDAPA,
PILLAR IN A MANDAPA-
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE, SOMPALEM
TAD I PARTI
PILLAR IN THE MANDAPA
OF THE GOPURA-DVARA
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE, WILL AMP ALL I
PILLARS IN THE KALYANA-MANDAPA
PILLARS IN A MANDAPA OF THE
VENKATARAMANA TEMPLE , TADIPARTI
FLUTED PILLAR IN A MANDAPA
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE SI
LION BASED PILLAR
IN THE' KALY ANA-MAN DAP A
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE, SOMPALEM
PILLARS IN THE.NATYA-MANDAPA
PILLAR WITH PILLAREL
ACHYUTARAYA TEMPLE, HAMPL
PI. 21 PILLAR WITH PILLARET+PATALESVARA TEMPLE, SRISAILAM
PI. 22 PILLARED CLOISTER INSIDE THE PRAKAR WALL
VIRABHADRASVAMI TEMPLE, LEPAKSHI
PI. 23 PILLARED CLOISTER ACHYUTARAYA TEMPLE, HAMPI
PI- 24 NATYA-MANDAPA-VIRABHADRASVAf4I TEMPLE, LEPAKSH
PI. 25 KALYANA-MANDAPA-VITTHALA TEMPLE, HAMPI
PI. 26 CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE, SOMPALEM
PILLAR WITH VYALA - SANIVARA - MANDAPA
VIRABHADRASVAMI TEMPLE, LEPAKSHI
PILLAR WITH MULTIPLE PILLARETS
VITTHALA TEMPLE, HAMPI
PILLARS IN THE NATYA-MANDAPA
VITTHALA TEMPLE, HAMPI
KALYANA - MANDAPA
VIRABHADRASVAMI TEMPLE, LEPAKSHI
FREE STANDING PILLAR
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE, SOMPALEM
FREE STANDING PILLAR
CHENNAKESAVA TEMPLE, SOMPALEM
FREE STANDING PILLAR, HAMPI
TORANA VITTHALA TEMPLE, HAMPI
T , m . PT.35
TOBANA VENKATARAMANA TEMPLE, TAD IP ART!
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 61
mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (PI. 15). In the third stage the curved
floral arm of the corbel is marked with considerable advancement, The floral arm is shown
projecting from the central core of the corbel. Further the potika or the lotus bud is also very well
modelled and projecting from its base considerably. Examples of this type are found in plenty
in the natya-mandapa of the Virabhadrasvami temple at Lepakshi (Pis. 10,19). It should be
noted here that in all these above referred cases, the floral arms are attached to the main block of
the bracket but not modelled in the round In the final stage of its evolution the curved floral
arm of the bracket is modelled in the round and shown projecting out. Further it is decorated
with leafy and creeper patterns. The lotus bud, shown at the termination of the floral arm, is
marvellously designed and meticulously decorated. In some cases a horizontal decorative band
connecting the potika with the main block of the bracket is also noticed. Excellent examples of
this type are found at Hampi, Millampalli, Lepakshi, Sompalem and Tiruvannamalai etc. 47 (PI. 14).
The bracket having floral arms with pushpa-potlka terminations was neither invented nor
introduced for the first time by the Vijayanagara sculptors. The Pallavas were the first who
introduced this pushpa-potika bracket. This is amply supported by the bracket that is found in the
pillars of the Panchapandava cave, assigned to 7th century A D. 48 The shaft of the pillars are placed
on the head of a couchant lion - the identifying symbol of the Pallava style. It is surmounted by
a two-armed bracket. The curved floral arm of the corbel has a beautifully designed lotus bud
at the end. The Cholas succeeded the Pallavas. About the Chola corbels V. Kameswara Rao
observes: "In the early Chola style, the sides of the capital came to be cut at 45. Sometimes
there was a protruding block at the base on either side. The next development was the stretching
of the capital to the sides in two sections, the second assuming the form of an elephant's trunk.
A further development was the addition of a semi-circular hanging below the elephants trunk.
Subsequently this semi-circle developed an angle at the centre resembling a potika or bud" 40 ,
The Pandyan sculptors also displayed a liking for this type of bracket, Percy Brown observes:
"In the hands of the Pandyan sculptors this flower element was given a scalloped edge, thus
presenting it with a foliated and more exquisite appearance. The other attraction is in the form of
the bodigai or corbel of the bracket overhanging the capital, which has been converted from purely
conventional and abstract member into moulded pendent or drop" 50 . It is thus evident from the
above discussion that the pushpa-potika bracket was introduced by the Palfavas and it was
adopted later on by the Cholas and Pandyas. Hence it is reasonable to assume that the
Vijayanagar sculptors drew inspiration either from the Pallavas or from the Cholas while modelling
the Pushpa-potika corbels. The Vijayanagara pushpa- potfka corbels inturn inspired the Nayaka
sculptors who literally converted them as marvels in the decorative art of that period.
47. V. Kameswara Rao, Op. Cit., Pis. XXXI, 3, XXXVI, 3, XXXVII, 3. Itihas, Vol. VIII, Pls.XI, XV.
48. H. Zimmer, The Art of Indian Asio, Vol.11, Pis. 290, 291, 292.
49. V. Kameswara Rao, Op. Cit., pp. 225 ff.
50. P. Brown. Op. CU, P. 107,
P/VTtEPMS Of 1 SETtLEMEMt AMD EQUIPMENT OF THE
MESOL1THIC HUMTEP-GATHEREPS OF NORTHERN
The Mesolithic phase characterized by the extensive use of composite tools made of
microliths represents a smooth transition from palaeolithic savagery to the neolithic barbarism.
It was a time during which hunting - foraging techniques have been very much systematized
and small bands constituting the various societies were in continuous interaction with the
eco - zone or eco - tone; the 'symbiotic' relationshrp between man and his ecological niche
leading finally to the identification and careful manipulation of potential domesticates. A
careful study of the equipment and patterns of settlement of the mesolithic phase would
reveal the technical and social organization prevailing in the hunter-gatherer communities at the
dawn of food production. Microliths continue tooccurin various post mesolithic cultural phases
too (Joshi, R V. 1973) indicating that even after the mooring in of the neolithic traits, the
society through times had a demand for the microlithic tool kit. Obviously the genesis
of the microlithic tradition could be routed through some of the advanced flake- tool or blade-tool
cultures probably of the Upper palaeolithic composition. Thus a study of the microlithic artefacts
of the mesolithic phase becomes not merely an interesting subject by itself but much informative
for understanding the forces leading to the food production and the concurrent advances. Features
about the organization of the settlements and equipment during the Mesolithic times in northern
Coastal Andhra are described in the present essay.
In the Northern Coastal Andhra the mesolithic people habited the banks of the river Godavari
and its tributaries and a few minor river systems like the Vamsadhara, the Gosthani, the 'Gambhira
gadda, the Marikavalasa gadda, The Sarada, and the Eleru etc. AH these watercourses, excepting
the main stream of Godavari, rise on the eastern flanks of the ranges of hills which form part of
the astern ghats, They flow through stretches of littoral zone before they finally reach the Bay of
Bengal, Besides on the river banks, the mesolithic people habited certain low hillocks over
looking the perennial water courses. The microlithic settlements on the Sappies hill (1656' N.
Latt; 81<>48' E, long.) at Rajahmundry, the Kadama hill (1715' N. Latt; 8138'30" E. long.) near
Polavaram, and the Jangammetta <1712'13" N. Latt; 8138' E. long.) near Pattisam are a few
examples to quote; all these hillocks with their prehistoric remains are of course, situated on the
banks of the river Godavari.
64 PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MESOLITHIC
In coastal Andhra cave sites are very few, An important group of caves is available at
Borrah in the Visakhapatnam district, but they have not been explored for the pre-historic finds
by any expert archaeologist. Late Prof. C. Mahadevan of Andhra University is said to have
collected a few palaeoiiths from the vicinity of those caves, But elsewhere in Rayalaseema the
caves at Betamcherla (15 25' N. Latt; 788' E. Long.) have produced a large number of Upper
palaeolithic implements in the association of late pleisotocene fauna (Murti, M. L K 1974),
In the vicinity there are a few more caves which are likely to yield further data about the early
man- Probably an intensive survey of the natural caves and grottos may help in locating
microlithic horizons also in their vicinities.
All the mesolithic settlements are distributed in areas presently grown over by dry
deciduous forest and open scrub jungles. Evidence is not lacking, however, about such sites
located in deciduous forests of the east and west Godavari districts. Ratchana gudem (1719' N.
Latt;8l11' E. Long.), Lankapalle (17T4' N. Latt; 81 22'30" E. Long.) and Rasur (1713'40" N.
Latt; 8122' E. long.) are a few such instances.
While choosing their camping sites, the mesolithic folk were particularly keen about the
availability of raw material in the locality. Usually the small water worn nodules or pebbles
from the bed of water courses were taken up for the fabrication of tools. Where such sources
were not available, the craftsmen quarried the cypto-crystalline and crystalline silicates from the
local hills. In case there were conglomerate sand stones in the vicinity, they exploited the silicate
nodules from them. As such quartz, chert, jasper, agate, opal, and chalcedony etc., were the
usual rocks taken up for tool manufacture
Microliths occur -in various concentrations at different localities. Usually microliths are
exposed as scattered, finds on the surface of red loams. This is more so when the implementi-
ferous horizons are badly dissected. Occasionally they are associated with coarse sands and
very- fine gravels of fluvratNe. origin. A few gravel lenses in some of the river sections yield
considerable number of microliths; mesollths from Chilakagadda (1810' N, Latt; 837' E. Long.)
are collected in such contexts.
The most interesting type of occurrence, however, is in clusters. Many such clusters have
been identified at Madhuravada (1747' N, Latt; 83 23' E Long.). Marikavalasa (i750'"N.
Latt; 83020' -:.- L0ng.) r Lankapalle (17<M4'.N. Latt; 8122'30" E. Long.), Ramannagudem
(1713'15" N, Latt; 8122'30" E. Long.), 'Manchulurigudem (1712' N. Latt; 8122' ;E. Long.)
and Kangalagudem (17TQ'. N-. Latt; 8123' E. Long.). Similar instances are noted elsewhere at
Aklaspur (19 N Latt; 79 E. Long.) and Afbaka (18 12'3(T N. Latt; 8040' E. Long.) in the
Karirnnagar and Khammam districts respectively. The clusters at Manchulurigudem, Lankapalle
A.H.R.S. Vol.38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME . 65
and Albaka have a speciality. They retain anvils at the centre surrounded by scatters of micro-
liths in all stages of their manufacture. Both worked and unworked nodules a!so occur in their
association. However, at sites situated right on the out crops, working-platforms are not clearly
located. Probably the outcrop itself was made the base for the fabrication of tools. In such
cases microliths and a few hammer stones (?) are scattered about the rock eminences, At
Ramannagudem and Kangalagudem such instances were noticed.
In rnesolithic horizons of northern coastal Andhra small parallel sided blade-blanks and
tools made on them are the common finds. It appears Jthat the blade-blanks were broken at a
particular length to produce blade-lets, After imparting retouch they were converted into the
desired tool shape. Pen knife blades, backed blades, retouched blades, notched or serrated blades,
etc., constitute the general blade element. Lunates, trapeze and triangular are the usual
geometries. Crescentic and symmetric types of points occur, the latter constituting tanged
variety also. Crescentic points are always modelled on blade blanks while for the symmetric types
flake blanks form the medium. End scrapers and side scrapers are also of common occurrence.
Retouched, notched and those with signs of use damage constitute the flake element. Micro
burins are relatively rare.
Specimens made on fossilwood, wood, bone, antler, ivory, etc. have not come to light in this
region. Even if they were present In the original assemblages they could not escape the ravages
of the tropical rainy environment. Evidences for the structural activity of the microlithic people
have not been identified probably because no considerable area of the times has been studied
The largest microlithic settlement wauid m3asure about 10) metres square containing more
than half a dozen clusters. Usually a few small camping sites are situated not far away from the
larger settlements, but for a quantitative difference in tools no major variation in the tool-
morphology could be established between them. Major sites are situated close to the water
courses, either right on the banks of the stream or on the nearest rock eminences, probably for
economic reasons. A few temporary camping sites are usually located a little away from the
streams scattered through denser floral niches. The straight distance between one major site to the
other is not more than 2 kilometres in any case. The camping sites are more in number, and close
to each other in the upper reaches of tributary river valleys, while they became more scattered in
the lower courses. For reasons largely governed by drainage morphology sites in the upper
courses, more intact while those in the Sower reaches of any stream are mercilessly denuded.
River courses flanked by moist deciduous forests are inhospitable for microlithic camping sites; the
impenetrable jungles do not allow free movement of the game and the hunter. In such areas
naturally primary or base camps of the mesoiithic are absent,
66 PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MESOL1THIC
Ratchanagudem and Lankapalle distributed across the deciduous tracts may however repres-
ent the areas of hot-weather hunting grounds of the mesolithic folk. Even at far higher reaches at
Puchikapadu, Ankanagudem etc., mesoiithic artefacts have been collected in scattered contextthe
sites do not present anything interesting but in all probability they represent seasonalsummer
camping grounds In the vicinity are a few small streams issuing from springs which must have
attracted both the game and the hunter in hot weather The local tribes like the Koyas even today
drive the sheep, goat and the cattle to far higher reaches of the eastern ghats for summer grazing.
After the first shDwars they return down to their base camps. Perhaps seasonal migration in
search of food and fodder is not a new element in the life and culture of the Koyas but the origin
lies in much greater antiquity.
Sites and equipment
Battili (18 43' N, Latt: 845' E. Long.) is the northern most microlithic site so far known in
coastal Andhra Pradesh. It is situated in the Patapatnam taluk of the Srikakulam district. The
site is in the upper Vamsadhara valley, to the north of which lie the ranges of 'Eastern Hills'.
At a place, where the Vamsadhara emerging from the hill country enters a plain, sheet
erosion followed by gullying exposed microlithic clusters on the right bank of the Vamsadhara.
Presently the microliths are associated with residual fine gravels and coarse sands, deposited there
by fluvial agencies. The very fact that they are associated with alluvial deposits indicates that
the specimens have been transported through unknown distance and laid in there But as the
artefacts appear fresh and unworn possibly their place of manufacture does not lie much beyond.
It appears that the top of the overlying red earth is the original 'Old land surface' from which the
specimens have been drifted. (Prasad, K. 1971 ).
Among the tool-types parallel sided blades with or without use, damage, backed blades,
scrapers, points, burins and lunates may be recognised, A number of primary flakes, amorphous
flakes, chips and partly worked nodules of quartz and chert are the other finds. Water worn
pebbles of quartz and nodules of chert are locally available and the craftsmen exploited the natural
rock resources (Table-1 ).
In the Gajapatinagaram (1817' N. Latt; 832V E. Long.) area a number of microlithic
settlements are noticed on the banks of the various rivulets that drain into the Champavatl a local
stream. Situated on the banks of the stream in the vicinity of Andhra, Raba and Rompalle have
yielded a number of microliths The tools which were originally distributed on the surface of the
red land are brought down by sheet erosion. At present they are apparently associated with the
yellowish brown earth, where ever the top lying red earth is eroded away (Radhakrishna, U. 1972),
The localities on the Ghampavati brought to light a variety of retouched and backed blades,
the usual blade and flake blanks, A fw scrapers, points, burins and lunates are the other
. Vl38 Pt.JV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 67
tool types known from here. The points are usually crescentic and the scrapers fall into the side,
end, convex and concave varieties, At all the three localities scrapers find a good representation.
At Kasipatnam (1813' N. Latt: 837' E. Long.) microliths are collected from the pre-neolithic
levels in a scattered context The village is situated on the right bank of the Gosthani, in the
Sringavarapukota taluk, at a distance of 48 kms. north of Visakhapatnam. The area is amidst
ranges rising to~35X)0' above M.S.L. On the concave bends of the meanders, stretches of rolled
pebbles and sub angular rocks are scattered. The stream has cut down its bed upto the bed rock
and at present the braided channels occur at a depth of 50' below the banks. Thick deposits
of red earth, occasionally interspersed with lime concretions, are exposed in the sections.
The artefacts are exposed at places situated a little to the north and west of the village, on the
tops of sheet-eroded red lands.
Parallel sided blades with signs of retouch, burins, points, scrapers and flakes with signs of
use damage are collected. Fluted cores and amorphous cores are also found along with the abova
artefacts. Red and yellow varieties of chert were employed for the fabrication of the tools.
About 8 kms. south of Kasipatnam at Chilakagadda (1810 f N. Latt; 837' E. Long.)
microliths have been collected across the tops of the residual heaps of the undulated topography.
The local stream is the Chilakagadda, which is a tributary to the Gosthani. The implements are
apparently associated with the coarse sands and small nodules of chert and quartz In all
probability the implements were originally stationed in the top levels of the red loam, which in
course of time was brought down by erosion. Scrapers, points, borers, burins, backed blades,
and lunates are among the types of tools. A trapeze is also collected at the site. It appears that
chert, quartz, crystal, jasper, felspar etc. were freely employed by the craftsmen to fabricate the
tools. However, those made on quartz and chert predominate the assemblage (Sastri, 1972).
Boyipalem (1755' N. Latt; 8918' E. Long.) is another microlithic site situated 18 kms. north
of Visakhapatnam. In the vicinity flows a stream locally known as the Gambhira gedda. The
village proper lies on the south bank of the stream while the tool bearing deposits occur on the
north bank at a distance of 500 metres away from the stream bed. The area is covered by thick
beds of red earth dissected by a number of small streams that drain into the Gambhira gedda.
The artefacts occur here as surface scatters, which could be categorized as blade -tools, pointed
flakes, crescentic flakes, a variety of scrapers, borers, burins, flake blanks, fluted and amorphous
cores besides large quantities of chips. Most of the specimens are fabricated on agate and chert.
K.T. Reddi (1978) surveyed the entire Gambhiram valley and identified upper palaeolithic,
microlithic, neolithic and early historical cultural phases. At Madhyakadama, Soutyam,
Mamidilova, Gudilova, Gambhiram, Boyapalem, etc , Reddi collected artefacts. He finds that
Madhyakadama and Soutyam are very potential sites of the upper palaeolithic- and
P. B. Murti
68 PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MESOLITHIC
times, Reddi conducted resistivity survey and obtained the following stratigraphy at Madhya
Kadama Quoted :..
0-47 cms. ... Bright red soil (sterile)
47-80 cms. .... Red soil (mesolithic)
80-110 cms. ... Dull red soil (sterile)
110-119 cms. ... Pellety lateritic gravel (upper palaeolithic)
The mesoliths and the upper palaeoliths are found in a mixed context scattered over the bad
land topography. The artefacts include blunted backed blades, tanged points, burins, borers and
scrapers besides a large number of waste products.
At Marikavalasa (17^50' N. Latt; 8350' E. -Long.) another microlithic locality has been
identified. It is situated at a couple of kilometres south of Boyipalem on the Marikavalasa gadda,
The area is about 14 kms. north of Visakhapatnam. The archaeological horizon is located on the
left bank of the stream.
The implementiferous area is the top lying red earth at a height of 1 .25 mts. above the stream
level. The site proper is flanked on the eastern and western sides by low ranges. The red earths
in the area are dissected by transverse rills producing a bad land topography. At present the area
is strewn over by calcareous concretions. Scattered through some of these dissections implements
belonging to the microlithic and neolithic times have been recovered. A number of parallel sided
blades, backed blades, a few lunates and flakes with use-damage are the noteworty specimens
under the category of microliths. All the artefacts are fabricated on small water worn nodules of
agate which are locally available.
At Madhuravada (1747' N. Latt; 8323' E. Long.) which is situated 3 kms. south of
Marikavalasa and 10 kms. north of Visakhapatnam, another microlithic industry is located. Here
also the tools are found scattered over the red land surfaces. The area is much dissected and
strewn over by concretions of lime. Here nearly 200 artefacts are collected. On typological
ground they may be classified as parallel sided blades, pen pnives, backed blades, notched blades,
crescentic blades, burins, lunates, awls, points, scrapers and a few flakes with signs of use-damage.
Fluted cores, amorphous cores, core fragments, primary flakes and chips are the other associated
finds. A few neoliths, fragments of coarse red ware and mace-heads are the new stone age
remains of the area. Quartz, chert and agate are the materials employed for the fabrication of the
' ' . . . PI >
'H.R.S. VoL 38Pt,
Dr N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 69
About 2 miles south of Madhuravada, on the out skirts of Potinamallayapalem a few quartz
made microliths have been collected. They are mainly blade flakes and amorphous cores.
A few kms. south of the above site, in the vicinity of the zoological park (1740' N. Latt;
8325' E Long.) of Visakhapatnam town a few blades, flakes, cores, and fluted cores of chert were
collected. Here too the artefacts occur in the dissected landscape of red earths.
In the Anakapalle taluk of Visakhapatnam district the vicinity of Lankalapalem (1740'
N. Latt; 832 J E. Long.) has yielded a number of microliths. Here the tool-bearing deposits are
spread over a wide srea from Lankalapalem to Aganampadi. On both the sides of the high way
the deposits underwent deep erosion, exposing the bedrock at places. At present the area is
criss-crossed by a number of dry flow channels leading to the dry bed of an ephemeral stream.
The implements occur on the led earth as surface remains where ever the top mantle of^the soil
is eroded. The microliths from this site include a variety of blade flakes, beside a few finished
tools. Chert appears tj be the most preferred raw material, though some specimens occur in
A few knis. west of Kasimkota at Subbupalem, a hamlet, a few microliths have been
collected from the dissected reJ land surfaces. The artefacts include a few blade flakes, scrapers
etc. Quartz and chert are the raw materials used for the fabrication of microliths.
Explorations have not been conducted in the minor river valleys of Tandava and Parnpa
both of them flowing in the northern and western parts of the east Godavari district. However,
the Elarj, which runs partly parallel to the main stream of the R. Godavari has been thoroughly
surveyed by Dr. M Kasturi Bai. Earlier L. A Cammiade (1924) discovered a few microlithic
camping sites in the valleys of the Eleru and Maddigadda.
In the Eleru valley, the microlithic camping site at Eleswaram (1717' N. Latt; 826' E Long.)
is important. The microliths are scattered on the top of a low hillock, situated to 3 kms. north of
Eleswaram. A pre-mesoli hie flake industry has also been noticed there. The site yielded normal
types of mesolithic artefacts made on crystalline and crypto-crystalline silicates.
In the Eleru valley many more sites have been located in the recent times, but the details are
to be published However, the data from Lingavaram and Appannapalem have been presented
here. The microlithic site at Lingavaram (1720' N. Latt; 824' E. Long.) is situated a little to the
north-west of the village on the southern flanks of a small hill. The artefacts are exposed on the
top of the red loam, which lie against the southern flanks of a small hill. The artefacts are
exposed on the top of the red loam, which lie against the southern slopes of the hj 11
70 PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MESOLITHIC ....
disturbance of the archaeological horizon has been caused by the local people during their
agricultural-activities in the vicinity. The hill has been shedding large quantities of rock debris
which slid down the slopes and as a consequence the archaeological horizon is partly buried by
Collection of the artefacts is made from the exposures in the rain gullies and on the top of
the red earth.
The artefacts from Lingavaram are broadly ciassifed as blades, lunates, tanged points,
crescentic points, symmetric points, retouched flakes, flake blanks, primary flakes, cores and waste
products. Altogether 116 artefacts have been accounted for. Medium-blank analysis indicated
that 32 implements are either blade-made tools or blade blanks and 15 are flake tools, showing a
domination of the blade element. A majority of the blade tools are retouched and the specimens
range in length between 1 cm. to 2 cms. A few blade tools also retain patches of cortex. The
lunates, borers, and tanged points are all flake made.
On petrological grounds it would appear that about 50% of the tools were made on grey, red
and yellow varieties of chert Next in order of preference comes chalcedony which would show a
frequency of 40%. The rest of the 10% of the artefacts are on quartz "and agate. All .the types
of crypto crystalline rocks are locally avail ble in the form of nodules while quartz must have been
quarried from the local veins,
Appannapalem (1716'N, Latt; 825' E. Long.) is another hamlet in the vicinity of Eleswaram,
situated on the right bank of Eleru To the southwest of Appannapalem some archaeological
horizons have been located. The site lies on the eastern slopes of a small range. Here the Eleru
entering the valley from the north, flows south-east. .The area is very deeply dissected by the
transverse streams. The implementiferous horizon is the top of the red loam, resting directly on
the bed rock. Clusters and scatters of microliths are noticed where the top soil is subjected to
sheet erosion. That some of the tools are exposed for a long time is substantiated by their
association with heaps of lime nodules,
The industry at Appannapalem includes blades, lunates, crescentic points, symmetric points
it 7J* ! ^ mber of finished tools is only forty seven. Though the total number of artefacts
colitis 868. the fmtetad products Jprm only- -a small fraction of the collection. The large
number of amorphous cores and almost thrice the number of bi-product flakes and waste suggest
th the site may Dea work-spat of the times. But unfortunately the erosive hater* of the various
A ? H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME ?1
rills has deformed completely the archaeolgica! horizons and routed out all anvils and the encircl
A few of the 32 blades show signs of retouch. They range in length between 1.5 cm. to
3-00 cms. The chords of all the eight lunates show signs of use damage. One of the crescentic
points is weathered probably due to long exposure. The symmetric point shows an incipient tang
at the proxial end.
All the scrapers in the industry fall into the category of side scraper variety only.
About 95% of the artefacts are fabricated on plain yellowish agate. The entire area is
strewn over by nodules of agate and it is possible that the raw material is available locally. The
rest of ths 5 % of the specimens are on quartz, chalcedony and chert.
!n the lower Godavari valley many mesolithic camps have been located by Cammiade, L A.
in 1924, At some of the sites Cammiade collected neolithic artefacts too. A note on the
mesolithic finds from the area has been published by Allchin, B (1966). More recently detailed
investigation of the prehistoric sites in the lower Godavari valley has been undertaken by the
author and a f ?w of the interesting details have been furnished here The prehistoric camp sites,
particularly th;>;eofthe mssolithic timas, are distribjted across the banks of the mmor river
systems like the Seetapalle va gu, the Peddagedda, the Turpu kalva and the Baineru; all these
streams finally join the R. Godavari after its escape from the Bison gorge Some of the mesolithic
sites are located on the tops of low nillocks situated along the banks of the R, Godavari. important
armng which are the Kadama konda (1 7 15' N. Latt; 18 38' 30" E Long ), the Zangam metfa
(17 12' N, Latr; 8133' E Long.) th^ Toyyaru Hill(179'N Latt;8!40 f E, Long ) and the
Sapees' Hill (1656' IM Latt;8148'E Long.).
Among the scores of sites distributed along the tributary streams, Lank.apalie ;17 lj ! 3' N.
Latt;8122'38" E. Long.), Rasur (1713' N. Latt;8122' E Long), Ramannaguden (17 9 I3'15" N.
Latt; 8l22'30" E. Long.), Kapavaram (173'10" N. Latt; 8122' E Long.}, Manchulurigudem
(1712 f N Latt;8122 f E. Long.), and Kangalagudem (1710' N. Latt; 8l23 f E Lang.) am
important in the context of artefact densities on the Baineru, while Puliramudugjdem (I7 tj lo* N,
Latt; 8126' E. Long), Sig-padu ( i 712'30" N. Latt; 8132'30" E. Long.) and Lakshmipuram
(1712'N Latt; 8129'30" E Long.) are th a interesting mesolithic localities on the Turpjkalva;
both the streams flow in parts of the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh On the Seetapall*
vagu, flowing across parts of the East Godavari district, Cheruvupalem (1723' N. Latt; 81^k>
E Long.) is an intere;ting masolithic site Though microliths have bean collected at differed
times from the vicinities of Rampachodavaram p7^7* N Latt; 8 IMS' E Long ) and Sa^t
D. B. Murti
72 PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MESOLiTHIC
(1726' N. Latt; 8147' E. Long.) in all probability they may be hailing from the neolithic horizons
At al! the sites mentioned above the mesolithic artefacts have been recovered from the top
levels of the earth flanking on either side of the stream courses. They occur in small clusters
distributed over wider areas. The artefacts did not drift through fluvial agencies, with
the result they appear fresh and the contours are sharp. At some of the sites like
Manchulurigudem amidst the clusters, anvils are also noticed; they were the working platforms of
the mesolithic arteficers. Not far away from these high concentration zones but distributed across
areas within a radius of a kilometer or two, groups of artefacts are scattered, probably indicating
that they were the zones within their hunting rounds. The too! kit produced and utillized by the
mesolithic hunters of the Godavari valley has been listed in Table-2. The mesoiithic adaptation
patterns in the lower Godavari valley are similar to those observed in the Bastar area (Zarine
M Cooper 1983).
Apparently the mesolithic camp sites are widely distributed in the entire northern coastal
Andhra. As the industries constitute more 'or less the same typology, possibly there was not
much of a variation in their economic exploitation levels. As the area under investigation
confines uniformly to similar geo-and eco-settings the opportunities available to the mesolithic
hunter-gatherers remained practically constant through time and space. The specimens from the
Godavari valley exhibit napping technical skill par excellence-the tool types take much neater out
lines than those from the other parts described. In morpho-metrical details artefacts from the
Visakhapatam area appear broader and thicker than their counter parts in the Godavari valley;
perhaps it was more difficult to obtain neater and thinner forms on agates and amorphous quartz
nodules than on chalcedony and chart, the latter two being the choicest raw material for the
mesolithic artificers of tne Godavari
In the magnitude of occurrence and the sub-types of various toDls, represented sites of the
Baineru valley could be compared with those from Aklaspjr and Albaka, Lcated on the upstream
of Godavari and in general terms specimens from these areas have features much in common with
those from Adamgarh (Joshi FL V, 1968) and Birbhanpur (Lai B. B. 1958) Sites around
Visakhapatnam have, however, produced tool kit akin to that from the Bastar area (Zarine M.
At some of the sites around Visakhapatnam ground stone axes of Eastern Indian affinities,
particularly those from .-Kucha! (Thapar, B. K 1262), have been recovered. Apparently there is
not mu$h of a ' strattg raphic separation or distinction between the mesolithic and neolithic
.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. fsl. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 73
levels indicating that they were not chronologically far apart. Also even after the introduction
of the neoli-hic way of life into the area the folk could not make permanent settlements of their
own as there is complete absence of habitational mounds of the times. It is also likely that
hunting and food collection played a vital role in their economy even during the neolithic times
demanding extensive use of microlithic toolkit. Thus it would appear that the mesolithic sites
on the Baineru are pristine and anterior in time scale to those around visakhapatnam which are
on the threshold of neolithicism. If a time bracket of 1000-1500 B.C. could be suggested for
the diffusion of neolithic traits into the Visakhapatnam area, then most of the mesolithic settle-
ments in the lower Godavari valley should be dated to times far earlier; perhaps a date around
4000 B. C. would not be far fetched and it is well within the frame work suggested by Agrawal
and others (1978),
T A B L E 1
List of Artefacts from various sites
- T - ur ,,,,
Total 175 298 167 194 1092 164 237 186 176 165 116 656
D. B. Murti
PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT AND EQUIPMENT OF THE MESOLITHIC
9. Zoo area
B L E 2
List of artefacts from the Lower Godavari valley
10 11 12
43 1 1
65 35 34
_.., ..,..., : .
226 78 118
47 6 18
28 1 1
28 22 78
391 168 297
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME
Agrawal, D.P., R.V. Krishna Murti. Sheela Kusumagar and R.K. Pant 1978
Indian Prehistory from the Mesolithic period to the Iron age J r of Hum F i ronol SV of
London, Academic Press, a " tv jiution 7; 37-41.
Allchln. Bridget, 1966. The Stone Tipped Arrow, Late Stone Age Hunters of th. T
World, p. 113. New York: Barnes and Noble. ^ Tr P ' caI OId
Cammiade, L.A. 1924. Pygmy implements from the Lower Godavari. Man in Indi V
Joshi, R.V. 1968. Late Mesolithic Culture in Central India. La Prehistoire -Problems Et
Joshi, R.V. 1973. The Significance of Microlithic tools in Post Palaeolithic industries in India
Radio Carbon and Indian Archaeology, eds. D.P. Agrawal and A. Ghosh, T.I F.R, Bombay.
Lai, B.B. 1958. Birbhanpur - a microlithic site in the Damodar valley. Ancient India No 14
Murti, M.L.K. 1974. A Late Pleistocene cave site in Southern India. Proce. Am. Phil See
Vol. 118, No. 2, pp. 196-230.
Prasad, K.V.V.S.D. 1971. Archaeological sites in the Srikakulam district; Unpublished Disserta-
tion - A.U. Libraries.
Radhakrishna, U. 1972. Stone age sites in the Taluk of Gajapatinagaram. Unpublished Disserta-
tion - A. U. Libraries.
Reddi, K.T. and P. Vijaya Prakash 1978. Late Quaternary Cultural evidence from Visakha-
patnam Coast (A. P.). V Annual Congress of ISPQS - Dharwar.
Sastri, C.L.N. 1972. Stone age sites at Chilakagadda in Sringavarapukota taluk. Unpublished
Dissertation - A U. Libraries.
Thapar, B.K. 1962. Excavations at Kuchai, District Mayurbhanj. Indian Archaeology - A
Review 1961-62, p. 36.
Zarina. M. Cooper 1983. Adaptation patterns during the Late Stone age in Bastar District,
Madhya Pradesh. Bull., Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association No. 4, Canberra.
0. B. Murti
tHE BOYAS IM MEDIEVAL AMDHRA HISTORY
B. S, L Hanumantha
The Boyas are a hardy warlike aboriginal people of Andhra Pradesh. Being
hunters, they live in the thickly forested mountainous tracts of Prakasam, Welfare and Chittore
Districts. In the Anantapur District gezetteer they are noted as 'an old fighting Caste' 1 . They
are known for their tenacity in hunting, never missing their mark. In some of the late medieval
inscriptions the homeland of the Boyas was referred to as Boyav/haradesa*, BoyavMu 5 , and
Boyavila*. The Boyavfharadesa of these inscriptions roughly corresponds to the eastern taluks of
Neilore District viz., Kanigiri, Atmakur and Udayagiri. Infact, the activities of the Boyas
extended far beyond the boundaries of the above region into the neighbouring districts and
therefore the term Boyaviharadesa appears to indicate the original concentration of the Boyas.
The word Nisada is taken to be the Sanskritic synonym of Boya and interestingly some
of tha Boya sects trace their descent from the mythical Nisada, son of Venaraja, depicted in the
puranas as a wicked king. The Boyas hold that they are the legitimate children of Nisada where
as the Kuravas, Yanadis and Cencus are his illegitimate children 5 . However, Nisada appears to
be a generic term used to describe all the aboriginal tribes 6 , and particularly as the synonym of
Throughout history, the Boyas have retained their ferocious nature and predatory habits.
The medieval Telugu poets .like Peddana used the term Boya in the sense of cruel or mericiless'.
Another poet Cintalapati Yarranaraya in his Tarakabhyudayam describes a Boyavldu on the
1. Thurston, Castes and Tribes of South India (197*) pp. 187-88.
2. Nelloie Dt. Inscriptions I, Atmakur 32 dated A,D. 1409
3. Ibid., Kandukur 10, dated A.D. 1415-16.
4. Ibid., Atmakur, 37 undated.
5. Thurston, Op. cit.
6. The Puranic literature included the Pulindas, Sabaras and other under the Nisadas.
"From Tribe to Untouchable - The case of Nisadas", Indi m Society Historical probing,
Memorial volume) pp. 67 ff.
7. Manucharitra, IV, verse 87
THE BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISTORY
outskirts of a forest and that the Boyas indulged in highway robbery, in the section on Rajaniti
in his Amuktamalyadd; the Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya advocates a polity of
cautious appeasement towards the hiiS and forest tribes which included the Boyas 8 . According
to Rayavachakam, the army of Krishnadevaraya consisted of Boya Lords from eighteen Kampanas*.
In the course of his eastern campaign, Krishnadevaraya had let loose on the districts of Vinukonda,
Bellamkonda and Kondavidu the Boyas and the other tribesmen 10 who looted and struck panic in
the civifan population with the result that the forts capitulated easily. Later in the modern period,
Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan employed the Boyas in their wars against the trouble-some palegars
and against the British and recognising their excellent marksmanship placed them incharge of
matchlocks 11 .
The Boyas are not a homogenous tribe. They are divided into several groups which are
mainly occupational. Among the Boyas there are two main divisions ; Uruboyas (village Boyas)
and Myasaboyas (grassland Boyas) and each of the above categories is sub-divided into a
number of exogamous groups such as Yenumu/avaru (buffalomen) Manda/avaru (herdsmen),
Pufavaru (flowermen), M/na/avaru (fishermen) and the like. Such a division among the Boyas
does not appear to have been of recent origin but has been coming down from early times. It is
in the early Eastern Calukyan records of late 7th century A, D , that we have the earliest
inscriptional evidence about the Boyas and their names suggest that even during that distant past,
the Boyas were divided into occupational groups. The Reyur grant 115 of Vishnuvardhana II
(A. D. 673-'81) introduces names such as Manda Sarma, Kappa Sarma of the house of Alaboya,
Koilboya, Manduboya and Pululurboya. Pularf means grass in Telugu and Pululurboya might
have belonged to the Mysaboya sect. Manda Sarma might be of Mandalavaru (herdsmen).
Manduboya means medicine man, whereas Kofi boya (templeman) was a priest. The Koneki
plates 14 of the same king give the name Pati sarma. As pat/ in Telugu means flowerbed (Pati-
fertile, mannu-soil), Patisarma may be taken to have belonged to the Pulavaru Boya section,
It is further observed that Boyas do not engage Brahmins in their religious activities as they
had their own priests 15 , The Reyur record noted above mentions Koilboyas. Koil means temple
and the Koi/boyas* may signify the existence of priestly class among the Boyas as early as the 7th
' ,8. Canto, V, Verses 204 & 223
9, Andhra Sahitya Parishat Publications, p, 13. '
10. 0. Ramachandraiah, Further studies on Sri Krishnadevaraya, p. 114 note 3-lr
11. . Thurston, op. cit.
12. .Ibid., p, 184
13. Indian Antiquary VII, pp. 185 ff,
14. Epigrapbia Indica XI, pp. 74 ff.
15. Thurston, op. cit.
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 79
century A.D., In the above record we further come across two Koiiboyas, one of Bharadvaja
gotra and the other of Gautama gotra and thus the record suggests that there were different family
groups in each of the Boya castes
Incidentally it may be roted that the Boyas appear to have been Saivite by faith. Siva is
known as the god of N/sadas. 1 * Curiously, the human form on the famous Gudimallam L/nga,
probably the earliest in South India assigned to 200 B.C 17 unmistakably betrays the physical
features of N/sada. 1 * In this Kalahastimahatyam, Dhurjati, a Telugu poet of the 16th century
describes Kannappa who worshipped Siva with his own eyes, as the son of a Boya chief.
In his short note on the Boyas, Dr. N, Venkataramanayya remarks "minor communities like
the Boyas are occasionally mentioned in the inscriptions but (they) were far down in the scale of
civilization and the part played by them is indeed very insignificant". 20 R N. Nandi on the other
hand, holds the view, on the basis of the Eastern Calukyan records that the Boya tribe was
transformed into the caste of Boya Brahmins and for considerable time retained their identity In
the same way as the Goragas or Saivite Brahmins 21 But a careful examination of the available
epigraphies! evidence reveals that the Boyas played an interesting role in the political and social
history of Medieval Andhra. It was a story of several sections of the Boyas giving up their
aboriginal habits and entering into the fold of the neighbouring Brahminical social order, gradually
rising in the scale of civilization and social ranking and getting absorbed not only into the priestly
class but into the ruling class and the trading and agricultural classes as well, ultimately losing their
But about the 7th century A D., the Boyas appear to have reaped the fruits of acculturation
resulting from their nearness to and contracts with the neighbouring civilised societies in Andhra,
Karnataka and Tamilnad. The Eastern Calukyan records of the 7th century A.D. suggest that the
Boya priests emulated their counterparts in the Brahminical society in mastering Medic learning and
performing Ved/c rituals. Most of them added the suffix Sarma to their names which may be taken
to mean 'Vedic Scholar'. The Kondanagur plates 23 of Indravarma (A.D, 673} refers to Somayajula
16. Bhandarfear, Vaisnavism and other minor Systems,
17. C. Sivaramamurthy, Indian Sculpture, p. 47 Fig. 6
18. S. Chattopadhyaya, The Evolution of Theistic Sects in India,
19. Canto 3. But the poet uses Bhilla, Pulinda, Kirata and Boya as synonymus.
20. The Eastern Calukyas of Vengi, p. 128.
21. The Boyas- Transformation of a tribe into caste, Proceedings of th Indian History Congw,
39th Session (1968) pp. 94-102.
22. E,M. XVIII, pp. 1-5
B.S.L Hanumantha Rao
fHE BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISTORY
Vellakki Bol where as the Bezawada plates 23 of Calukya Bhima I (A.D. 891-922) describe
Revamaiah alias Ummarakanthibol as a master of Vedas and Vedangas (Vedavedanga paragaya).
The donees of the Chandalur grant 24 of Mangiyuvaraja (A.D. 681 -705) were students of vedas
and performers of the six karmas and the five yafnas.
In his Dasakumaracaritra, the great Sanskrit writer Dandin, who is said to have lived at the
Pallava court about the middle of the 7th Century A. 0., wails over the miserable plight of the
Brahmins who lived in forests among the k/'ratas, eating their food and obeying their orders, 25
Ketana of the 13th century who translated Dasakumaracaritra into a Telugu poem actually says
that the Brahmins became teachers of the Boyas. 2 ' 5 It is riot unreasonable to assume that Dandin
described the conditions prevailing in the neighbourhood of the kingdom where he was living The
Dasakumaracaritra may thus be taken to give us a clue to the mastery of the Boya priests over
vedic lore and their skill in performing Vedic rituals. It may be remembered that the age of the
Pallavas was a period of vigorous Brahmanisatior] in the South. The Pallavas themselves were of
non-Brahminical origin and the consensus is that the Kadambas were an aboriginal tribe worship-
ping the Kadamba tree as their totem. The origin of the Calukyas and Vishnukundins is in no
way more flattering. But all these dynasties were stout champions of the vedic t//?ar/7?a-exhibiting
the zeal of new converts like the Rajputs in medieval North India.
The Koil Boya of the above record suggests that the Boyas had built temples of their own
and engaged priests for conducting worship in them. It was the period when Brahmanism
developed into theism of the puranic type with temple as the centre of religion and there was brisk
temple building activity in the Palldva and Calukya kingdoms between which the Boyadesa was
interposed. Again it was during this period devabhogas and brahmadeyas multiplied and the
resultant compulsions of expanding agriculture rrade it almost imperative to admit the aboriginals
like the Boyas into the fold of the peasant communities the Sudras of the Brahmanical system,
Devotion or Bhakti which was the kernal of the theistic sects Saivism and Vaisnavism, which
were gaming widespread popularity through the propaganda of the Nayanmars and the A/wars was
the philosophy of the Sudras or lower castes and it provided for their active participation in the
temple festivities-alround the year thereby working for their intellectual elevation and social
Politically the Boyas, by this time organised themselves Into twelve Kottams. The word
/fotta/77 is frequently met with in the Tamil inscriptions in the meaning of a sub-division of nadu.
23. Ibid., V. pp. 127 ff.
24. Ibid., VI11, pp. 236 ff.
25. II Chapter, The study of Matanga as related to Rajahamsa,
26. Ill Chapter
A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt;IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 8 1
The word Kottam with a Song a means a fortress and each of the Kottams- 1 might have developed
around a fortified town and under a chieftain. The Boya chieftains were known as Doras or
Simhasana Boyas. 28 Of all the twelve forts, according to the Ad Janki record of Pandaranga/ 1
the general of Gunaga Vijayaditya (A.D. 848-891), Kattem appears to be the strongest and the
most important. !t is probable that the Boya kingdoms formed a loose confederacy under the
leadership of the chief who held Kattem Kandukur was another stronghold of the Boyas. Both
the Paliavas and the Vengi Calukyas coveted to occupy the Boyakottams, as a result of which
they frequently changed hands, till about the middle of the 9th century, when Pandaranga
destroyed the Boya strongholds and dispersed the Boyas.
Almost from the time of the foundation of the Vengi kingdom, the Eastern Calukyas appear
to have cast their greedy eyes on the Boyakottams. The very second king In the line,
Jayasimhavallabha (A.D. 643-673) issued his Pedamaddali plates 30 from Udayapura, identified
by scholars with Udayagiri in Neliore district 31 evidently in the Boyav/haradesa. Jayasimha took
the proud title Vajayasiddh/ (scorer of victory) and his Polimburu plates 32 were issued from
Vi/aya skandhavara (victorious war camp). But he was silent about the name of the king on
whom he waged the war and scored the above victory. However it can be surmised that in tils
effort to expand his kingdom southwards, Jayasimha came into conflict with the Boyas, defeated
their chief, but was silent about his name as he was too insignificant for him to be mentioned.
With this victory of Jayasimha, the Vengi kingdom extended south- wards beyonds Manner 33 right
into the very heart of the Boyakottams.
The records of the immediate successors of Jayasimha, Indravarma (A. D. 673),
Visnuvardhana (AD. 673-81-) and Sarvabkasraya Mangi (A D. 673-705) suggest that they were
left with the problems of consolidating the authority of Vengi in the newly conquered Boyakottams.
Ever since the conquest of Vengi (A.D. 616), the Calukyas appear to have adopted the statesman
like policy of winning the loyal support of loea! Brahmins by granting them Brahmade^s and
'Agrahavs and through their good offices hoped to get the people of the region reconciled to the
newly established Calukyan 'authority. The successors of Jayasimha appear to have carried this
policy into the Boyakottams It is in their records that we come across Brahmin donees w. h
thP,nffix'/)ova indravarma divided the village of Kondanagur into 64 shares and gave it to
clS laZndlo" c, D ugg3 sa, m a .,,.. ,,ra, u , b oy, Th, na.es c, , he ss,s o, *, .
end in 'bo!' which is only the honorific plural of boya. Visnuvardhana II divided the village or
27. Burton Stein, Peasant State and Society in Medieval South India, pp. 81-85
28. Thurston, op. cit,
29. Bharati, Vol. II, p. 484
30. I A XIII, p. 137
31. N. Venkataramanayah, op. cit.
B,SJU Hanumantha Rao
82 THi BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISTORY
Reyur 34 between 74 boya Brahmins. The same king gifted Koneki to several Boya Brahmins,
His successor, Mangi granted Chandalur 35 to 16 Boya Brahmins.
The suffix boya to Brahmin names in these inscriptions has been interpreted differently by
earlier scholars. E, Hultzsch who edited the Kondanagur and Chandalur records is in two minds
about its meaning In the first place he assumes that it may be the designation of a village clerk.
His view is based upon the word gamabhojaka which appears in the Hirahadagalli plates of Pallavas
Vijayaskandavarman. 30 This word is explained by Monier Williams as a village priest. 37 and by
others as a village proprietor. 38 It is likely that the Pallavas as the rulers of the Kanchi and
Pallakkada (Pulicat) regions came into contact with the Boyas and realised the need of winning
their loyalty and took them into service as village headmen However Hultzsch goes on to add
that 'this possibility is excluded by the fact that in the Reyur grant two different persons,
Vennisarma and Camundisarma are stated to have been Marataboyas. In fact according to these
early Eastern Calukyan records the villages were divided between a number of Boyas. In the
light of Bezawada plates of Cafukya Bhima (A.D. 892-922) which describes Revamaiah as
Ummarakanthfbol, Hultzsch concludes that Boya means 'Vastavyaya' or 'resident'. B. V. Krishna
Rae on the other hand held the view that Bhoja means 'enjoyer' of the village and Boya is its
vernacular form, 40
But the conclusions of Hultzsch and Krishanrao are contradicted by several cases in which
Boya is suffixed to personal names as in the case of Kesavaboya which occurs three times in the
Reyur record. Further a/a 'cow) dudi (cotton), mandu (medicine) and koil (temple) cannot be
taken to be place names, and the meaning 'enjoyer' cannot be satisfactorily justified in these
cases. J. F. Fleet who edited the Reyur grant seems to have rightly understood the implication of
the term. He says 'Boya appears to be some surname or class name since it occurs in lines 32, 47
and 50 affixed to the proper name, probably all names to which it is affixed are proper names -some
of them taken from the names of the villages'. 41
34. Op. cit;
35. EL, 'I, pp. 1-10
36. Sanskrit -English Dictionary, p. 768.
37. M. Rama Rao, Studies in Early History of Andhradesa, p. 157.
38. LA., VII, pp. 186 If.-
39. . EJ.VIli; pp, 236 fL
40, The Eastern Calukyas, p. 107, note i
41. Op. clt/
A.HR.S, Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 83
There are several points of interest to be noted about these grants and the donees that
received the grants,
1) These grants were made mostly on the recommendations of the military officers of the
Calukyas who were probably entrusted with the governance of the Boyakottams. The
Kondanagur grant was made on the recommendation of Kondivarma of the Ayyahu family where
as Anaghavarma of the Ayyana family, who had obtained victories in many battles, was
responsible for the Chandalur grant.
2) The villages that were granted or in which these Brahmin donees were settled are
situated in Karmarastra within the Calukyan kingdom, but not far off from the Boya Kottams.
3) The names of most of the Brahmin donees are non Sanskritic as Badi, Pala, Jetti,
Eddonde, Gabota etc., (Reyur grant). In several cases as in the Chandalur plates the donees
are not mentioned by their personal names.
4) Village names with the suffix boya are used as the aliasses. In the Koneki grant four
beneficiaries are referred to merely by th^ir proper names suffixed by Boya and seven are referred
to merely as the boyas of different villages. But in the case of one of these four, the original
village name is also mentioned. Madisarma alias Patiboya is also characterised as Kummunurboya.
Kummanur is identified with Konur in the Settenapalli Taluq , Guntur District (Karmarastra),
5) Among these Boya Brahmins the most popular gotras are Kaundinya, Bharadvaja,
Kasyapa and Parasara. But it is strange thnt gotras are not recorded in many cases. Out of the
74 Brahmins in the Reyur grant 24 are without gotras. Five of the donees of the Chandalur
record belong to the Kaundinya gotra and the sixth one belongs to Kalabava gotra. The word
Kalabava does not sound like the name of a ft/shf though the Kalabavas are classed as a
subdivision of Visvamitra. 42 R, N. Nandi points out that Kafava in Kannada and -Kafavu in
Malayalam means a spinous shrub bearing edible black berries. Kalabava might probably be
identical with Carissa Caranc/a and it was the totem or atleast the symbl of a section of the
Boyas. 43 The Kalabava gotra thus contains a clue to the aboriginal origin of the Brahmin family.
42. Bough Johnson, Early Brahmanical System of Gotra and Pravara, p, 149,
43. N.R. Nandi, op. cit.
p.S.L, Hanumantha Rao
THE BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISTORY
The foregoing account reveals that the donees in the above grants with 'boya' suffix or alias
were in fairly advanced stage of Brahmanisation. Consistent with the Eastern Calukyan policy,
the officers in charge of the administration of the Boya Kottams encouraged the Boya Brahmins
with land grants to settle down in different villages of Karmarastra almost adjacent to the Boya-
vihara-desa, as "a second line of defence 44 " to the Eastern Calukyan authority. As we do not
come across Boya Brahmins in the subsequent records of the dynasty the only exception being
that of the Bezwada grant of Calukya Bhima it may reasonably be assumed that they gradually
lost their tribal identity and merged with the traditional Brahmin families of the region, gaining
thereby equality with them in ritual purity. The village names which they had earlier used as
aliassess were retained or changed into their surnames. It may be noted that most of tha present
day Brahmin families of Andhra have village names as surnames. 45
The policy of the Vengi officers towards the Boyas was successful and the Boya Kottams
remained peaceful under the Calukyan rule for the next hundred years. Udayendiram plates"
of Nandivarman, Pallavamalla (A.D. 730-790) speak about Prithvi Vyaghra, a Nisada chief towards
the north of the Pallava kingdom. Evidently he was a Boya chief and his name is a clear proof of
his loyal subordination to the Calukyas and of the increased fascination of the Boyas for Sanskrit
names. The same record states that Pallavamalla followed an agressive policy towards the Boya
Kottams and his general Udayachandra is credited with a victory in the battle of Nellore . probably
against the -combined forces of the Boyas and the Vengi Calukyas. Pallavamalla is said to have
defeated Pnthvi Vyaghra, occupied the kingdom of Visnuraja, evidently Visnuvardhana, a Vengi
Calukyan long (Kal, Vishnuvardhana A.D. 847)? and collected jewels and other valuables
N-ravadya probably a Badami Calukyan prince . The Vengi Ca.ukyas iost to the
portion of the, .ngdom and their control over the Boya Kottams. The successors of Pa
Dantryarman and his son Nandivarman were a.so powerful ru.ers credited with resounding S V
~ to ' - "v.
Karimnagar District pp. 64 ff ? ChS M nis? rof
hailed frooi a village
-ord VELLAKKII. understood as
^"P"* of Andhra Pradesh,
(A D. 1158-95)' says that he
46. S.J.I., II. p. 368.
4.7. . Classical Age, p, 262.
48 4 ibid.;
49. N. Venkataramanaiah, op. cit, pp. 96-97.
50. .Classical Ag. p 263
A,H,R,S. Vol. 38 Pt,lY
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 85
The Dharmavaram epigraph 51 of Calukya Bhima states that Vijayaditya fought with ihe
opposing Boyas and drove them into forests (Ramavibhunitoda nedirana boyala nadavf sonipe).
The Addanki record 52 of Pandaranga, the redoubtable- general of Gunaga, states that the
engagement with the Boyas took place soon after the coronation of the king (Pattambu gatt/na
prathamambu nandu). It is probable that instigated by their Pallava overlords, the Boyas attacked
the Vengi kingdom and exasperated by their hostile .activities, Gunaga was determined to take
permanently effective steps against the Boya menace. Pandaranga whom Gunanga had despatched,
demolished the (Kattepu durgambu kadu bayalsesf,) burned Nellore and occupied Kandukur. The
Attifi grant 53 of Calukya Bhima credits Gunaga with the burning of Nellore- which was of course an
achievement of his general. Pandaranga made Kandnkuru an impregnable military outpost of the
Vengi Calukyas, as strong as Bezawada. 54
The military exploits of Pandaranga not only shattered the base of the political power of the
Boyas but also disturbed th-e tribal concentration in the Kottams as the Boyas are found in the
post- Gunaga era, scattered across and settling down in the fertile coastal plains of Andhre. This
may be the implication of the statement that Gunaga drove the Boyas into wilderness (adavison/pe)
One of the Macerla inscriptions 55 dated A. D. 1 1 1 1 mentions Kambhampadu alias Boyumbrolu,
the town of the Boyas. They even crossed the river Krishna and migrated into the Telingana
region. One of the Palem inscriptions notes the Boyas operating hydraulic machines (ratnamu). 56
for irrigating agricultural lands. Following different occupations, the Boyas gradually entered the
main stream of the socio-poHtico-economic life of the lands. Their settlement in new lands also
appears to have helped them in rising quickly even in social status. 57
51. Bharaii, V. p. 2 p. 619.
52. Ibid., p. 484
53. Journal of Telugu Academy, XI, p. 241.
54. Addanki Record, op. cit
55. S. I. I., X No. 66.
56. B.N, Sastry, Inscriptions of Kandur Codas pp. 24-25.
Another inscription from Ollala mentioned a Boya who was given charge of cattle gift to a local
temple, p. 1 19.
57. Romila Thaper observes that in Hundu society upward mobility was no doubt difficult and not
oppen to individuals. But in could be rendered possible via the group through a period of time
and was further facilitated by a change in habitation or geographical location,
Ancient Indian Social HistorySome Interpretations (New Delhi, 1978) pp. 125-126,
B.S.L, Hanumantha Rap
THE BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISTORY
From about the middle of the 1 1th century the Boyas appear from Srikakulam, 58 the northern
mmt Hindu pilgrim centre in Andhra, in charge of the cattle gifts made to temples. 59 In several
in<criptions we come across Golla Boyas fio who were probably the precursors of the present-day
G0!Ia caste." For maintaining these cattle gifts, the Boyas received land grants and house sites 62
Indicate that they were new to those regions and the anxiety of the local people to utilise
their services as cowheards and peasants. The Boyas were recruited even into the staff of temple
cervant& w and the Boya girls were admitted into the the Sani Munnuvuru, An inscription from
Nandencla dated AD. 11 39 mentions the grand-daughter of Peddana boya as the Sa/7/of the
temple of Mulasthaneswara. 84 The Boya temple servants like those in charge of temple gifts
land grants in lieu of monthly salaries. 65 The Boyas thus entered the agricultural class of
the fertile plains
Even trade was not closed for the Boyas. An inscription from Sattenapalli dated A.D. 1 1 33
registers the gift of sheep made by Provinayaka kept incharge of Gadeboya son of PerisettL 66
Savasandi Balla is mentioned in an inscription of Visakhapattanam as the son of vyapari
Boyaraja and the former gives instructions to Samaya Cakravart/or leader of the local merchant
guild, regarding the land gift he had made. An inscription from Tripurantakam mentions, besides
others, the Boyas as members of the Nanedesi Pekkamdru, an itinerent merchant organisation. 68
Having thus become a part of the promising professions of agriculture and trade and having
through them built up a fortune, it was natural that the Boyas aspired for corresponding social
status and respectability. From about the 12th century we frequently come across inscriptions
58. S.Ll No,. 1338,
59. S1.I/1V, 735, 765, 766, 780, 781A; V. 156, 172, 188; VI, 96, 905, 910, 921 etc.
60. SJ i., V. 167/1228; VI, 913. 914 etc.
61. Thurstonhas observed that the Gollas are a pastoral class of Telugu people whose hereditary
occupation is fending sheep and cattle and selling milk. Their social status is fairly high and are
albueJ to mix freely with Kapus, Kanrimas and Balijas. op. cit. pp. 284-286.
2. 5 1 1.. !, 663; 667, 675, 677 etc.
Ibid. 107, 60
Ibid., X. 338; IV. 1248.''
66. IbidUX, 94 . .'
67 Ibid,, 21. . .
. 473,; ;-.. . '' , ; . . -.' -: . ' ;
A.H.R.S. vol. 3$.-p.t. iv
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOiUME 87
recording gifts of cattle, money and land made by Boyas to temples and priests 09 . It is again
about this time we find Boyas, taking Sanskrit names such as Bhima Boya 70 Candana Boya 71 ,
Surya Boya 72 , Trikoti Boya 7a and give up their tribal suffix in preference to honorifics like Nayaka,
Reddi, Nayudu, Nadu and Raju. An inscription from Nadendla mentions Kundana and Kamens,
brother and son-in-law respectively of Proleboya 71 . Codaya son of Kesavaboya is mentioned in
an inscription from Srikakulam 75 . Candananayaka son of Numkanaboya makes a gift to
Bhimeswara of Daksarama 76 . Another inscription from the same place records a gift made by
Malleboyuni DarapareoW 7 . Pinnamarri naidu son of Proleboya makes gifts to Tripurantakadeva 78 .
The following genealogical table of the Kompula (Koppula) family obtained from an
inscription In the Mallesvara temple at Bezwada dated A, D. 1264 shows the honorific suffixes,
reddf. naidu, naik being used by different persons of the same boya family 79 ,
Nareboya, m. Kommasani
Prolinayaka Nagana Erapotinayaka Marenedu
According to tha record, Naganaboya presented a crown to Mallesvara, erected a brass pillar
weighing 1 100 pa. and gifted some land to the temple. An inscription from Palakollu (East
Godavari) mentions Naganaboya, son of Chimgaraju gifting gadyanas to the temple of.
69. Ibid IV 720; VI 94, V. 156 etc. The Manu Dharma Sastra states that the property
of a Sudra could' be' seized. But a Brahmin could not ask a Sudra for money for
performing his religious rites. If he does so, the Brahmin would be born in the next birth as a
Candala. By implication, the Dharma Sastra denied the Sudra the eligibility of making gifts,
Buhler, Laws of Manu (SEE), Penances, Gifts and Sacrifices no. 24, p. 435,
70. SII, IV. 1143
71. Ibid , M, 678
72. Ibid., V. 188
73. Ibid., X, 33
74. Ibid,, IV. 675
75. Ibid , 991
76. Ibid , 1367
77. Ibid., 1259
78. Ibid,, X, 318
79. Ibid., IV, 765
THE BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISTORY
Ksbirarama and to the priest there in. 80 The process climaxed the claim of the Boyas to the
fourth caste and even to divine origin. Malleboya of the .Suravaram record 81 and Enjiliboya of
the Tripurantakam record 32 described themselves as to have belonged to the fourth caste,
Malleboya was a benefactor of gods, Brahmins and sadhus whereas Enjiliboya was credited with
capability to bear the entire burden of the earth (dharanibharana/kac/aksah).Jnkol\boyaoilhQ
above mentioned Bezwada record which is undated, but said to be in the Calukyan characters,
claims to have been a descendant of the Yaksa. who had guided Arjuna, the Pandava to the
Indrafcila hill. He compares himself to Kama in strength, valour and generosity, to Matali in
abiHty to accomplish any task and to Hanuman in loyalty to his master but who the master of
Trikotiboya was is not known.
The troubled condition of Vengi during the 10th and 1 1th centuries gave the Boyas an easy
access to political power. The history of Vengi during the post-Gunaga era was characterised by
frequent fratricidal wars and invasions from the neighbouring imperial powers. In their efforts to
get control over the rich coastal plains and the fertile basins of Krishna and Godavari, the
Rastfakutas frequently invaded Vengi, reducing her at times to vassalage. During the historic
Cola-Calukya struggle for hagemony over Deccan, Andhradesa presented a miserable picture of a
huge battle-field and the power of Vengi was much reduced, 83 The situation gave rise to a
nj Tiber of local ruling families, such as the Durjayas of Velanadu, Kotas of Dharanikota, the Cagis
of Gudimetta and the Haihayas of Konamandala. The mutually aggressive internal conflicts
among these subordinate families and the frequent incursions of the neighbouring powers increased
tti0 military requirements of Vsngi and her sub-ordinates which gave a rich opportunity to the
talented Boyas. They entered the court and the army and soon by their ability and loyalty rose to
positions of trust and authority. Having thus gained admission into the ruling elite, they, soon got
integrated 'with it by matrimonial alliances. '
From about the beginning of the 12th century, the Boyas are found in high positions of
responsibility in most of the kingdoms in the coastal Andhra. Naganaboya, son of Chimgaraju
was in the service of Bhimavallabharaya, the Lord of Konamandala. 84 Boddeboya was in the
service of Ctgi Potaraju, the ruler of Gudimetta. 85 Ketanaboya was the adapa or betel-nut pouch
bsarer" of Kota Ganapaya. KunabDya was a general of Kota Beta. Ha fought a battle at
80, Ibid., I/,, 186
81, Ibid,, X, 318
82, Ibid., 32? ..
83, N. Venkataramanaiah, op, cit '
84, SII. V, 156 . , '. . . '. :
Jb.d.. VI. 94 " ' . .
S!l 29 ' '.. ' ' ' ' '
A.H.R.S. VOL ss Pt, iv
Dr. N. VENKATARAMAfslAYYA COMMEMORATION VOlUME 8<l
Garlapadu, killed Bhimaraju and another archer and fell on the battlefield He was the son of
Codeboya who was Bandaruvu or treasurer, probably of the same king. 87
However it was at the court of the rulers of Velanadu that the Boyas distinguished them-
selves as administrators and generals and rose to the highest positions including that of mahaman-
dalesvaras and thus began to share the honours of the traditional ruling elite such as the Kotas and
Haiahayas. Gundayaboya was a prominent mandalika (mandalika sekhara) under Velanati
Gonkaraja and his son Eriya boya was a nrvlitary officer. Gundaya was described as Arjuna and
Bhima on the battle-field 88 . The most prominent and powerful among the Boya officers of the
time was Gundaboya. He was a general of rare distinction (Bhandana-bhima and Ahavarakkasa)
and being the lord of 480 villags (catussatasitf gramavani vallabha) he became one of the
mahamandalesvaras, early in the time of Gonka II 80 .
There were several Boyas in the service of Kulottunga Rajendra Coda, occupying positions
of authority. Codapanayaka son of Numkanaboya was his mulabhntya^ which might mean
superintendent of his services. The position of sarvadhfkarf was held by Enjiliboya and after
his death, his son Sri Boyacodi appears to have succeeded to the position, Enjiliboya described
himself as to have belonged to the fourth caste 91 , that is the caste to which the Velanati rulers
belonged and thus he claimed social equality with his overlords.
Jiliaboya was another prominent general under Rajendracoda. It appears that he took a
leading part in the famous battle of Koccherevulakota 82 between the forces of Velanadu and
Karnataka (Kalacuris) and won a victory for his master. In recognition of the signal service
rendered by the Boya general, Rajendra Coda conferred the rulership of Divisima, the region of
Divi on Jilla's brother Naraya or Narayana 93 . Narayana built temples, laid gardens and developed
DM into a strong and beautiful jaladurga and became the founder of the Ayya family of
Kroyyur, which ruled the region as the subordinates of Velanadu. It was from his grandson,
87. Ibid., X, 391
88. Ibid., IV, 1108
89. Ibid., X, 90
90. Ibid., IV, 136
91. Ibid., X, 327
92. Ibid., 1179; Jiliaboya made a gift for tha merit of Rajendra Coda in th<2 yeer A.D. 1167 Ibid, 162.
93. Ganapcswaram Inscription of Ganapatideva, E.I., III, Sloka, 15, pp. 15ff: The record says that
Jilla destroyed the enemies of Codi who appreciating his ability and loyalty conferred the rulership
of Divi on Jilla's brother Narayana. It is not difficu/t to identify Jilla with Jiliaboya and Codi with
B.S.L. Hanurnantha Rao
tHE BOYAS IN MEDIEVAL ANDHRA HISfORY
Jayapanayaka, that Kakati Ganapatideva conquered Divi 94 (A. D. 1203). Ganapatideva followed
a wise policy of consolidating his authority through matrimonial alliances and by allowing the
conquered princes to continue as the masters of their respective regions, but as Kakatiya subordi-
nates. Ganapatideva married Narama and Perama, sisters of Jayapa and took him into his
service as Ga/asah/n/^. Ganapatideva entrusted the administration of Velanadu 96 , probably
with the expectation that being a local potentate, the latter could easily consolidate the Kakatiya
authority in the region, Besides being an able administrator and general, Jayapa was a Sanskrit
scholar-poet of very high order who gave masterly exposition to Marga and Desi styles of
dance in his NrittaratnavalP 1 . Jayapa's scholarship is a proof of the fact that the Bhakti
movements opened the gates of Sanskrit learning before the non-Brahmin castes. Ganapatideva
appears to has replaced Jayapa by another local Boya chieftain who is described in an inscription
of Gudivada dated A, D, 1235 as the master (adhikarl) of Velanadu and Gudrahara 98 .
Malleboya's son's Parisaboya" and Potanaboya 100 undertook many works of public utility in
The Koppulas were another Boya chieftain family who rose to political prominence during
the Kakatiya period, probably under Prola and Rudra. There is a village by name Koppolu in
Prakasam. District and the family might have hailed from that village. 101 From the Mallesvaraswamy
temple inscription, noted above, wa learnt that Bezwada was the original base of their rise 102 But
in the post Kakatiya period they appear as rulers at Pitthapuram, Kottam and other places in the
Godavari Districts. 103 It is probable that during the Durjaya- Kakatiya conflict they had migrated
to Pitthapuram along with their overlord, Prithvisvara. 104 The Koppulas like the Ayyas, shifted
their loyalty to "the Kakatiyas, became powerful asv/rasamantas and held the title Pagameccu-
ganda. lor> Kapayanayaka was the first of the Koppulas who held the office of Nayaka probably
under Prataparudra. 106 His son and successor Prola cooperated with the Musunuru Prolayanayaka
in the struggle for freedom from the Muslim rule. His successors ruled portions of East Godavari
94. P.V. Parabrah-na Sastry, The Kakatiyas of Warangal,
95. Sarma & Venkataramanaiah, Early History of (he Deccan (ed. G. Yazdani) p. 602.
96. Cebrolu Inscription of Jayapa, E.I /f V, pp. 142-150 "
97. Nrittaratnavali, published by Narendra Sahitya Mandali, Tanuku.
98: SIL Y, 211
99. Ibid.; 212'"
100. Ibid., 213
101. List of villages in the Madras Presidency, p.. 107
102. See above note 75,
103. M.S. Sarma, The History of Reddy Kingdoms, pp. 28-30.
104. P.V. Parabrahma Sastry; Op. cit.
105. Journal of Andhra Historical Reserch Society, I, P. 113
106. Donepudi grant of Namayanayaka, E.I ., iv, pp, 356 ff.
A.H.R.S, Vol.38 Pt.lV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME d1
District for some time. 107 Some scholars appear to have confused the Koppulas even with the
Reddis. 108 There are Koppula Velamas in the Visakhapatnam and Vijayanagaram Districts 109 but
the relationship between this caste and the Koppufas cannot be clearly established. In his Rajaraja-
bhisekam, Angara Lakshminarasimha Kavi who lived about A D 1500 used most of the titles of the
contemporary Reddi and Velama kings - Pattu talata, Kefadiraya, Ra/adevemdfa, Rj/adhirajacandra,
Gayagovala, and Jagadobbaganda - in describing his patron, a Koppula chief by name Vallabhu-
pala no It is not possible to ascertain into which subsect of the fourth caste tha Koppjlas were
1-Hfe CULT OF VlTHOBA Ih VUAVAMAGARA
K. Sarojani Devi
The cult of Vithoba or Vithala was an important aspect of the Bhakti movement which
gained momentum in the Vijayanagara empire. The cult based on total devotion to Lord Visnu
attained great popularity in Maharastra. The temple of Vithala is situated in Pandharpur
and it became a great centre of pilgrimage. The earliest reference to the worship of Vithoba is
found in the Nama devagathas belonging to the later half of the 13th century. 1 They relate how
Pundarika's infinite devotion towards his old parents attracted Lord Krsna to Pandharpura. Lord
Krsna who came with his flock and five hundred companions could not return to Dwaraka as he
was made to stand on a brick by Pundarika who was immersed in serving his old parents. The
varkarf saints, whose poems and devotional songs had an overwhelming influence on the people
of Maharashtra, considered Vithoba as a form of Krsna and gave credence to the story of Lord
Krsna taking His abode at Pandarpur on account of Pundarika. 2
Pandurangamahatmyam, a classic of Telugu literature composed mainly to extol the
greatness of Panduranga Vithala and Pandharpur presented the story of Pundarika as its main
theme. According to this Lord Krsna having come to know the saintly nature and profound
devotion to Visnu and the dedicated service of Pundarika to his parents went to Pandharpur to
see him, leaving behind his cattle and companions in Dwaraka. He was tremendously
impressed with Pundarika's dedicated service to his parents and the depth of his devotion, desired
Pundarika to ask for a boon. There upon Pundarika realising that Lord Krsna was the only
supreme God capable of redeeming him from all worldly entanglements requested to Him to take
His abode at Pandharpur permanently. To fulfil his devotee's cherished desire, Lord Krsna assumed
a benvolent form with eyas closed in peaceful repose which ,was at the same time capable of
creating fear in the hearts of even his most defiant enemies. Accordingly, Lord Krsna took up his
abode in Pandharpur as Panduranga Vithala. Pandharpur came to be known as Pundarika
Kshetramu in honour of Pundarika. A person who made a pilgrimage to Pandharpur would
1. Namdev the famous Marat ha Saint composed Abhangs in praise of Vithoba of Pandharpur
(Citrasala ed); D.S. Sarma, Hinduism through the Ages, p. 52; NamadeVaca Gatha, No. 444.
2. Mac Nicol, Indian theism, pp. 120, 126; Varkari Pantha ca Itihasa, pp. 1,2.
THE CULT OF VITHOBA IN VIJAYANAGARA
attain sayujya or mukti in Visistadvaita terminology. 3 This echoes the importance given to
pilgrimage by the varkari saints. The word varkari literally means one who journeys to
Pandharpur. 4 The religious merit obtained by the devotee depended on the number of times he
visited the sacred place. Pandharpur had great sanctity as it was a combination of dafvata,
kshetra and t/rtha. 5
To appeal to the minds of the masses the story of how a crow, a swan, a parrot, a snake, a
bee and a cow attained salvation at this place was also brough out. 6 This story resembles that of
Kalahasti Mahatmyam by Dhurjati in which the story of the attainment of mukt/by a spider, an
elephant and a snake are illustrated. The story of Radha, the spouse of Lord Krsna was specially
introduced to bring out the significance of Lord Krsna's incarnation as Panduranga Vithala. 7
Pandharpur appears to have attained great fame even during the epic age. Dharmaraja made a
pilgrimage to Pandharpur along with his brothers to seek salvation. Jhevarkarf saints though
they considered Vithoba as a form of Krsna, they did not give any importance to the puranic
legends connected with Lord Krsna. Similarly Pundarika's ideal of devotion was Bala Krsna as a
child playing with pebbles which he carried in a bag. The varkaris believe that the purpose of the
incarnations of God. is to fulfil the desires of his devotee finds tacit support in the description of
Dasavataras in Pandurangamahatmyam. 8
The varkari saints conceived Vithoba as \Para Brahman called by different names as Siva,
Panduranga and Harihara. 9 Though they advocated the worship of Visnu in the form of Vithoba,
believed that the different gods are but the different aspects or names of the Absolute one. The
same sentiment is reflected in Pandurangamahatmyam wherein Lord Siva enlightened Narada on
the greatness of Pandharpur. He is reported to have said to Narada that while Lord Krsna
3. . . Opclt., Ch. II VV, 590
4, The word Varkari is composed of the two words Vari' and 'kari' ; the root *var' means time - an
expression for three times, four times and so on. So 'Vari' stands for the making of annual
pilgrimage to Pandharpur. Kari means the one who does; varkari therefore means one who makes
a pilgrimage to Pandharpur at tha fixed time. And this indeed is the first characteristic of the
varkari, a regular pilgrim to Pandharpuri, 6.A. Deleury, The Cult of Vithoba, p. 2,
5, Duivati means an abode of God" or a temple. Kshetra means a sacred place and Tirtha means a
sacred river. Pandharpur was sanctified by the existence of the temple dedicated to Vithala,
river Bfaima and the birth of Pundarika. Panduranga Mahatmyam, Ch. II. V. 166. Suryarayandhra
... Nighantuvu, A. P. Sahitya Akademi Publication, 1979, Vol. 11, 535, Vol. Ill, p. 754, Vol. IV,
6, Ch. IV, VV, 131-141.
V Ch. 111, VV. 179-204/ , . . '
a ch. ii v.v. 56-66; '
9. Fatquhar, J. M. Outlines of Religious Literature of India, p. 301.
A.HJFLS. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N, VEKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 95
commanded the central and focal point of Pandharpur, he occupied the Southern portion of the
place. 10 This suggests that Lord Siva did not stand in a subordinate position to Lord Krsna. Lord
Siva explaining the sanctity of Pandharpur pronounced that if a person happened to die in the left
corner of the temple he would become an emperor and in case he breathed his last on the right,
would attain salvation. In case the person died behind the temple he would be directly
transported to heaven. Thus death in Pandharpur had its own material and spiritual merits. 11
Another highly interesting aspect of the eclectic tendency of the poet which again illustrates the
liberal religious outlook of the varkari saints was the comparison of Radha and Krsna with Parvati
and Paramesvara 12 . In another place Lord Krsna received Radha as affectionately as Siva
received Parvati. Siva even admitted that He formed part of Pandharpur. When Siva destroyed
the three cities of Tripurasura, the sweat that accumulated on Siva's body due to fatigue flowed
as the sacred river Bhima 13 .
Thus the worship of Vithoba, an incarnation of Krsna or Visnu which attained great
popularity among the classes and masses in Maharashtra, spread to Vijayanagara especially at a
time when bhakti movement was making a great headway in Vijayanagara empire. The Talla-
paka musician saints of Andhra and the Haridasas of Karnataka with their soul-stirring
devotional songs or samkhtanas popularised bhakti or pure devotion to God M centering round
Visnu. It is a well known fact that the Rayas of Vijayanagara the Saluvas, Tuluvas and
Aravidu kings were adherents of Vaisnavism and promoted the cause of Vaisnavism. The
prevalence of the cult is reflected in the occurence, in the inscriptions of the time, of the name of
Vithafa in varied forms such as Vittheya Nayaka, Vittiyakkan, Vithane, Vithaparya, Vithaladeva,
Vithala, Vithanna, Vithapa, Vithappa, Viththalarya, Vithalesvara, Vithalaraju, Vithalayyadeva-
maharaju, Vithalapuram, Vithalarn, Prasanna Vithalapura, etc. The adoption of the name
of Vithala as a personal and place name is indicative of the devotion of the people to this God 14 .
The popularity of the cult of Vithoba in Vijayanagara empire is proved by the existence
of temples dedicated to Vithala, sculptures of Vithala, inscriptions registering grants of land,
cash payments and structural additions to the temples of Vithala. According to a record dated
A, D. 1408 some citizens of Araga granted an agrahara village Nagasamudra to Brahmans in the
10. Ch. Ill, V. 116.
11. Ch. II, V. 236.
12. Pandurangamahatmyamu, Introduction, p. 27.
13. Ch. V. 132
14. E.G., IV., Ch. 184, Yl. 194, Yl. 168; C C.. V, TN. 225; E C. VII; Ml. 139, Ng.
E. C., HI. Hg. 89; E. C. VIII, Th. 221; S.I I Vol. XVI, Nos ? 167/297,109,;-
96 THE CULT OF VITHOBA IN VIJAYANAGARA
presence of the God Vithalesvara 15 . Acyutaraya granted a village to the Vithala temple at
Hampiin 1531. 16 In A. D. 1536 Hiriya Tirumala Nayaka gave 200 varahas for daily offerings
to the Vithala temple. 17
Koneti Timmaraja made a gift of the toll revenue raised in Ravudur for offering to the God
Vithaladeva 18 . According to another inscription dated A. D. 1554 the Vipravinodins of Kovil-
kuntlamadea grant of their incomes from the mahajanas to god Panduranga Vithalesvara for
corducfing the Sri Ramajayanti festival for the spiritual uplift of their community not only of
Koviikumla but also of other places such as Vidyanagara, Bedadakota, Kataka Dravi^a eic
The fact that the Vip.ravinodinL community made an offering of their income to God Pandurarga
Vithalesvara and also invoked the blessings of the God not only for their kinsmen of the region
but also to those of other regions proves in unmistakable terms, the wide popularity of the cult 19
Yet another inscription dated A. D. 1516 registers the construction of a hundred-pillared mardapa
to God V,fhala at Hampi by king Krsnadavaraya". Mahamandalesvara Chikkaraju bought two
vteof.and endowed by Bukkaraju Peddinayaka from Chamnaya for 75 ^.tt^*/^ which
he remrtted mto the treasury of God Laksminarayana Perumal in the temple of Vitha.esvara
an endowment for daily worship of the God- This indicates that the delstha^c Vi al
"^rSli IT eStab '; Shmen t " C ntained ""H" """ dedicated to other forms f
Visnu like Laksminarayana etc., w,th regular treasuries attached to them. Similarly there was
an agreement granted by Kurucheti Sri Rangaraju to a person for having bro oht unde
15, Ibid. VIII, Th. 22.
16- S.I.I. Vol. IX, Pt. 11, No. 534
17. Ibid.. Mo. 574.
18. Ibid., No. 616.
19. S.U., Vol. XVI S No. 190
20. Ibid., No. 56.
21. Ibid., No, 141.
22. Ibid., No. 251
23. T.T.D.I.. VoI.V.N .-66-
24. Ibid, No. U8,
. Vol..'38 Pt, IV
Dr. N. VEKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 97
gifts were made in the presence of Vithalesvara to other temples. This suggests that it was
considered meritorious to make a gift in the presence of God Vithala 20 ,
The innumerable stone sculptures of Vithala not only prove the popularity of the cult but
also provide a fascinating study of their artistic excellence in terms of sculptural craftsmanship.
An image of Vithala from Mulbagal protrays Bala Vithala with proportionate limbs, chubby face
and four hands. He has simple ornamentation and headdress. He holds a sankha in the left
hand and his right hand is held in the posture of varacfa. The other two hands rest on the hips
(katyava Iamb ita), This icon which bears a close resemblance to the Pandharpur one represents the
infant God of the varkarf poets. It is interesting to note in this connection that Lord Krsna
revealed Himself to his devotee Pundarika \nkatyavafambita posture 27 Another icon belonging
to the same period is found in the north cell of the Channakesava temple at Kadur. 28 Two
hands are holding a kind of horizontal bag or bunch of flowers It has no prabhava//. It possesses
an elaborate rnakuta and is clad in a heavy dhoti with a long tassel which hangs down between
the two legs. The eyes are open unlike the Vithoba in Mulbagal temple. There is no conch or
lotus in the hands. Another idol of Vithala found in the Mallikarjuna temple at Basral has a
conical makuta and is clad in a heavy dhoti covering the legs upto the feet. The two hands are
holding the collar which looks like small pots or bags, Vithoba as Balakrsna is stated to hold a
beautiful bag containing round nuts used by. children as pebbles for playing. 29 Another image of
Vithoba is found among the sculptures on the external wall of the fourth cell in the Pancalinga
temple at Govindanahalli in Mysore. Its main features are as follows:
^ The hands are holding two bags inclined side-ways. The makuta is conical and the long
dhoti which covers the legs of the idol upto -the ankles is adorned with a succession of tufts
hanging from the belt between the two legs. However the image of Vithoba found on the pillars
in the Pattabhirama temple are represented as holding a water vessel or kamanda/a which is the
oldest attribute of Avalokitesvara. 30
A study of these sculptures reveals the following attributes: an elaborate makuta, or head
dress, heavy dhoti, small pot or bag and katyavalamabita or the hands resting on the hips.
25. MER, 1904, No. 8.
26. S. I. I. Vol. XVI, Nos. 1 16, 61, 118, 147, 148, 149, 297.
27; My. Arch. Rep.. 1945, pp. 36-37; Pandurangamahatmyam, Ch. 11, V, 51.
28. My, Arch. Rep., 1944, p. 27, plate III.
29. Ibid, 1934, p. 42; op. cit, Ch. II, V. 37.
30. M De-Mellermann, Avolokitesvara p. 266 According to Buddhist iconography there are 108 forms
. of Avalokitesvara hearing distinct featutes and names. ' He is famous as a Bochisatva in the
Mahayana pantheon. B. Bhattacharya, the Indian Buddhist iconography, pp. 124-44.
98 THE CULT OF V1THOBA IN VIJAYANAGARA
Thus the iconographic description of Vithoba suggest some interesting similarities with that of
Avalokitesvara. The figures of Avalokitesvara from Mahrashtra, Deccan and Bagh 31 possess
more or less the same attributes as that of Vithoba namely high head dress, kamandalu or water
flask, an antelope skin over the left shoulder, stalk of a lotus etc. Though the katyavaiambita
posture is not common to all the sculptures of Avalokitesvara, yet one interesting sculpture from
Bagh, 32 bears a striking similarity, to a typical katyavalambfta posture, in addition to the above
mentioned attributes common to Vithoba and Avalokitesvara sculptures. It is interesting to note
that the original [mage of Vithala is stated to have been made of wood. Ramakrsna Ksvi described
Vithala as koyya Vithala, that is an image made of wood 33 .
A comparison of the sculptures suggest that Vithala was probably a modified form of
Avalokitesvara adopted by the local people of Maharashtra in the Pandhapur region as a popular
form of worship. Buddhism was a vital faith in Maharashtra and lingering traces of Buddhism are
available as late as the 12th century A.D. in the same region, 34 It was believed that Avalokitesvara
particularly was capable of delivering his votaries from eight great perils namely shipwreck,
conflagration, wild elephant, lion, serpent, robber, captivity and demon. 35 In view of this it is
pertinent to assume that the votaries of Vithala borrowed and adopted certain features of
Avalokitesvara to avoid offending the local sentiments. Some temples in Maharashtra were
known to have been converted into Hindu temples and these may include Buddhist caftyas in the
early mediaeval period. Probably in view of this Hopkins stated that "Vithala Panduranga is the
One of the prominet har/dasas, Purandaradasa was a great devotee of Vithala. He appealed
to God Vithala for mercy in the following words; "Having assumed the title of protector of
devotees/should you not be at hand to them? You, who liberates man, my God Purandara Vithala,
I have trusted in you, a competent saviour". 37 In another place he said: "If the thief sees a purse in
the mirror and makes a hole in the mirror to get it, will it become his? I have placed my-trust in
you, Oh Purandhara Vithala save me" 38 Purandharadasa established the superiority Purandhara
Vithala when he stresed that 'There is only one who is great- Our Purandhara Vithala" 39 The
31 Douglas Baret, A guide to the Buddhist caves of Aurangabad, pp. 7-8, 12, 17; James Burgess,
The Cave temples of India, p. 387.
32. Sir John, Marshall, The Bagh caves in the Gawalior State, Plate. VIII, C. P. 33-35,
33. Pandurangamahatmyamu, Ch. V. 134
34* Debala Mltra, Buddhist: Monuments, pp. 12,47.
35, Ibid., p, 165; P. V. Bapat, 2500 years of Buddhism, pp. 143 179.
36, Religions of India, p. p. 500.
37, Levoiional Poets and Mystics, Part II, Publications Division P. 41.
38, Ibid., p. ...41.
39, Ibid., pp. 43, 44.
A,H,R,S. VoL 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VEKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 99
great Tallapaka poets sang the praise of Panduranga Vithala. According to them though
Vithala was small in stature he mastered all branches of knowledge. Panduranga, according to
Annamacharya was so great that 770 persons sang in praise of him. 40
In this paper attention has been focused on the Vithala or Vithoba cult and its key role in
the spread of Bhakti movement of the Vaisnava school of religion in Vijayanagara empire.
As Vaisnavism has already taken deep roots in Vijayanagara as a result of the patronage of the
rulers and the ruled, Vithoba worship became Smmense3Sy popular both among the elite and the
masses. This coupled with the devotional hymns of the saints of Maharastra and Vijayanagara
had tremendous emotional impact on the people which accounted to a great extent for its rapid
spread and popularity. This is borne out by abundant iconographical, epigraphical and literary
evidence of the period under review.
A comparative study of the icons of Vithoba and Avalokitesvara suggests that the followers
of Vithoba might have borrowed and adopted certain iconographic features of Avalokitesvara, a
popular Bodhisatva. It is possible that the votaries of Vithoba did this in order to respect the
feelings of a section of the people who still owed allegiance to the Bodhisatva. Buddhism
survived upto 12th century in Maharastra, However particular attention must be paid to the
finding of a symmetrical and reciprocal relationship between the Avalokitesvara cult and the
|" S> as " a '
* L so-brf s
SO V. A. Smith
"The Kalachuri of Haihaya Rajas of Cheddi are last mentioned in an inscription of
the year 1181 A. D- and the manner of their disappearence is not exactly known, but there
is reason to believe that they were supplanted by the Bhugals of Rewa "
in S'u estf^o-B
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A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 103
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allegiance to the Chola throne, for Yishnuvardhana undoubtedly refers to Kulottunga Ii mentioned
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Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME
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A.H.R.S. Voh 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME
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Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 115
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A.H,R,S. Vol. 38 Pt. IV
Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME
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Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 121
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Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 125
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Dr. N. VENKATARAMANAYYA COMMEMORATION VOLUME 145
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A.H.R.S. Vol. 38 pt. VI:
NUGARJUNAKONDA - BATHING GHAT