The Kakatiya Dynasty was a South Indian dynasty that ruled parts of what is now Andhra Pradesh, India from 1083 to 1323. They were one of the few Telugu kingdoms that lasted for centuries.
During the 10th and 11th centuries though the Deccan came under the declining rule of chalukyas, the kakatiya clan wielded the actual power. This was cemented by the 12th century when one of the feudal chieftans of the Western Chalukyas of Kalyana, Prola II declared independence. This was the emergence of the Kakatiya dynasty in its own right. Initially ruling over a small territory near Warangal, Prola II (1083 - 1158), gradually extended his sway to the south.
Prola II was succeeded by Rudra (1158 - 1195). He consolidated and pushed the kingdom to the north up to the Godavari delta. He built a fort at Warangal to serve as a second capital and faced the invasions of the Yadavas of Devagiri. The next ruler Mahadeva extended the kingdom to the coastal area.
Rise of the empire
In 1199, Ganapati succeeded Mahadeva. He was known as the greatest of the Kakatiyas and the first after the Satavahanas to bring the entire Telugu area under one rule. He put an end to the rule of the Cholas in the year 1210 who accepted his suzerainty. He established order in his vast dominion and encouraged trade. It is around this period that the Golconda fort was constructed.
The most prominent ruler in this dynasty was Rani Rudramma Devi (1262-1295/6), one of the few queens in Indian history. She was born as Rudramba to Ganapathideva who had no sons. She was formally designated as a son through the ancient Putrika ceremony and given the male name of Rudradeva and declared the Queen. Despite initial misgivings by some of her generals who resented a female ruler, she suppressed the internal rebellions and external incursions. An able fighter and ruler Rudramba defended the kingdom from the Cholas and the Yadavas, earning their respect. She remains one of the few female powers of the south for her time.
Fall of the dynasty
The queen was succeeded by her grandson Prataparudra (1295-1323). Prataparudra expanded borders towards the west, whilst introducing many administrative reforms, some of which were also later adopted in the Vijayanagar empire. However, the empire was under threat from the Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khilji. Despite defeating the first wave of attack from the Delhi Sultanate in 1303, in 1310 the invading army defeated the King. After agreeing to a large tribute the kingdom was spared. However, after Khilji's death the tribute was withheld which provoked the final and fatal attack on the Kingdom in 1323. Prataparudra was captured by Ulugh Khan (later known as Muhammad bin Tughluq) and died en route to Delhi.
The Kakatiya dynasty ended and resulted in confusion and anarchy under alien rulers for sometime.Two cousins belonging to Musunuri clan kapayya nayudu and prola nayudu who served as army chiefs for Kakatiya kingdom later united the Telugu people and recovered Warangal from the Delhi Sultanate and ruled for half a century.
The Kakatiya dynasty is regarded as one of the golden ages in Telugu history. The kingdom was ruled by Telugu speaking hindu rulers who encouraged literature, art and architecture. The Thousand-pillar Temple in Hanmakonda (now merged with Warangal) stands as testimony to this. And the famous Kohinoor diamond which was unearthed near the Golconda fort during their reign, was among the booty carried to Delhi after the dynasty's fall.
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