History of Musunuri Nayaks
The Delhi Sultanate had begun conquering the region of the Deccan Plateau in 1296 during the time when Alauddin Khilji had plundered Devagiri in Maharashtra. It is said that Alauddin Khilji had assassinated Sultan Jalaluddin and thereafter had assumed control over the political powers of the Delhi Sultanate. It was in 1303 that the first intrusion was made into the kingdom of the Kakatiyas by the armies of Malik Fakruddin. However, they lost to the brave army of the Kakatiyas in the war at Upparapalli, present in Karimnagar District. The forts situated at Hanumankonda and Siripur were captured by Malik Kafur in the year 1309 and the fort at Warangal was also conquered after besieging it for a prolonged period.
Historical records claim that Malik Kafur then conspired against King Pratapa Rudra and ensured that the region around the fort was perturbed by violence and unrest. This compelled Pratapa Rudra to enter into a peace pact and pay a grand tribute to Kafur. However, in 1320, immediately after an alteration in the power in Delhi, Pratapa Rudra declared his independence. During this time, Ghiyas- ud- din Tughlaq became the new ruler at the throne of Delhi, while the reign of the Khilji Dynasty concluded. Ulugh Khan, who was the son of Tughlaq was sent to the Kakatiya ruler in 1323, for the purpose of defeating him. Eventually, after a long battle, the army of Ulugh Khan managed to win against the army of the Kakatiya king at Warangal. Warangal was robbed and raided of all its riches which comprised ivory, diamonds and gold. It is believed that these had been transported to Delhi on 100 camels and elephants and 20, 000 horses. The renowned 'Kohinoor' diamond was also a part of the treasures plundered. Finally, Pratapa Rudra was captured, taken prisoner and he chose to end his life by drowning himself in Narmada River, when he was being taken to Delhi.
Valiant Cousins of Musunuri Nayaks
The Kakatiya kingdom of Pratapa Rudra was taken care of by 'Nayaks', who were the 75 warrior chieftains. They were known for their courage and their services, especially during times of emergency. Numerable Nayak chiefs were defeated and consequently had converted to the religion of Islam. However, some of these chiefs were also returned as governors. Bukka and Harihara were amongst such Nayak chiefs and they had founded the kingdom of Vijayanagara at the area of Hampi. In 1323, following the defeat of Warangal, the forts at Kolanuveedu, Kondapalli, Nellore, Nidadavole, Kondaveedu and Rajahmundry were captured by the Muslim armies. The kingdoms of Kampili, Hoysala and Madhura in Tamil Nadu were also included as territories of the Delhi Sultanate. Ulugh Khan occupied the Delhi throne after assuming the name of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.
Kolani Rudradeva and Annaya Mantri were patriotic people who were capable of uniting the Nayak chieftains. The Nayaks were inspired to be united in order to safeguard the Hindu Dharma. They chose a valiant Nayak as their leader, who belonged to the region of Vengi which constitutes present-day Godavari district. His name was Musunuri Prolayanayak or 'Prolaaneedu; and he was known for being a bold warrior. Pochinayaka was the father of Prolayanayaka. Rajanayaka, Kammanayaka and Devanayaka were the three brothers of Prolaynayaka. Musunuri Kaapaaneedu was Devanayaka's son and was a confidante of Prolaya. Prolaya was also assisted by some of his cousins and played a significant role in uniting the Nayaks. Prolaya motivated the Nayaks to protect their Hindu Dharma. Vundi Vengabhupathi, Manchikonda Ganapatinayaka, Recherla Singamanayaka, Koppula Prolayanayaka and Addanki Vemareddy were some of the most illustrious Nayaks.
Freedom of Musunuri Nayaks
By the year 1326, Warangal was freed by the armies of the Nayaks after the Muslims were overthrown from their empire, in Andhra Pradesh. Several inscriptions explained the victories of Prolaya. Prolaya's cousins reconstructed old temples, strengthened the forts, and offered rich gifts to Brahmins. They patronised literature and arts. The Musunuri Nayaks were said to have aided numerous rulers to attain freedom from the Delhi Sultanate. The Hoysala king had joined the Musunuri Nayaks in their efforts to liberate the region of Telangana and Warangal fort from the Muslim invaders. Thereafter, Kaapaya achieved the title of 'Andhradesaadheeswara' and 'Andhrasuratraana'.
Decline of Musunuri Nayaks
The Recherla Vema Nayaks who were spearheaded by Singama had plundered Addanki, which was ruled by Vema Reddy. However, Singama could not achieve his goals since Vema Reddy, alongwith Kaapaya fought in unison against him. Kaapaya also helped the Bahmani ruler to thwart the attack planned by the Delhi Sultanate. In 1350, Telangana was again invaded by the Sultanate, this time by Alauddin Khilji. The Kaulas Fort was surrendered by Kaapaya's army to Khilji, finally.
In 1355, Alauddin Khilji attacked Telangana with a much larger army and conquered some forts, which involved Bhuvanagiri. Vinayaka Deva, the son of Kaapaya was sent to free the fort of Bhuvanagiri and Kaulas form the Muslims. He was being helped by Bukka Raya, the king of Vijayanagar. However, eventually he was killed in a disastrous manner. Mohammed Shah had attacked Telangana again and captured Warangal and Golconda. Kaapaya was compelled to offer the precious turquoise throne, along with a generous amount of tribute to Mohammed Shah.
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