‘Victory City’: A brief history of the kingdom of Vijayanagara, in which Salman Rushdie’s latest novel is situated

Source: The post is based on the article “Victory City: A brief history of the kingdom of Vijayanagara, in which Salman Rushdie’s latest novel is situated” published in Indian Express on 10th February 2023

What is the News?

Salman Rushdie released a new novel “Victory City” – a fictionalized story of the Vijayanagara Kingdom.

About Vijayanagara Empire

Vijayanagara Empire was founded in 1336 by Harihara I of the Sangama dynasty.

The kingdom expanded from a strategic position on the banks of the Tungabhadra river with Hampi as its capital.

The kingdom reached its peak under Krishna Deva Raya (reign 1509-1529), a period in which it enjoyed military superiority to its rival kingdoms such as the Bahmani Sultanate, the Golconda Sultanate and the Gajapatis of Odisha.

At its peak, the kingdom stretched from Goa on the Konkan coast to parts of southern Odisha in the east and all the way to the very tip of the subcontinent in the south.

Economy: The economy of the kingdom was largely dependent on agriculture, and trade thrived in its many ports on either coast. 

– Traveller Abd al-Razzaq Samarqandi chronicled how the ports of Mangalore, Honavar, Bhatkal, Barkur, Cochin, Cannanore, Machilipatnam and Dharmadam saw traders from Africa, Arabia, Aden, the Red Sea, China and Bengal and also served as shipbuilding centres.

– The empire’s principal exports were pepper, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, myrobalan, tamarind timber, anafistula, precious and semi-precious stones, pearls, musk, ambergris, rhubarb, aloe, cotton cloth and porcelain.

– Coins were minted by the state as well as by merchant guilds using gold, silver, copper and brass, and their value depended on material weight.

Architecture and Literature: Literature in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, as well as Sanskrit, was produced in the kingdom with new writing styles and methods emerging.

– Vijayanagara architecture is a vibrant combination and blossoming of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles.

– The Prasanna Virupaksha temple of Bukka I and the Hazara Rama temple of Krishna Deva Raya are striking examples of Vijayanagara’s characteristic style and intricate artistry.

– Vijayanagara’s capital Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its sophisticated fortifications as well as innumerable temples and other architectural marvels. 

– From accounts of foreign travellers, by the beginning of the 16th century, Hampi-Vijayanagara was probably the second-largest urban settlement on the planet (after Beijing).

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