Reddy dynasty

Reddy dynasty
Capital Addanki (initial)
Common languages Telugu
Religion Hinduism
Government Monarchy
Historical era Medieval India
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kakatiya dynasty
Vijayanagara Empire
Gajapati Kingdom

The Reddy dynasty (1325–1448 CE)[1] was established in southern India by Prolaya Vema Reddy. The region that was ruled by the Reddy dynasty is now part of modern-day coastal and central Andhra Pradesh. Prolaya Vema Reddy was part of the confederation that started a movement against the invading Turkic armies of the Delhi Sultanate in 1323 and succeeded in repulsing them from Warangal.

Andhra historians often state that Reddy kings belong to the Reddy caste group. However, the modern castes of Andhra region did not originate until the late stages of the Vijayanagara Empire.[2]


Reddy Kings (1325-1448)
Prolaya Vema Reddy (1325 - 1335)
Anavota Reddy (1335 - 1364)
Anavema Reddy (1364 - 1386)
Kumaragiri Reddy (1386 - 1402)
Kataya Vema Reddy (1395 - 1414)
Allada Reddy (1414 - 1423)
Veerabhadra Reddy (1423 - 1448)

The first of the Reddy clans came into prominence during the period Rashtrakuta dynasty.[3] Later, the Reddy chiefs were appointed as generals under the Kakatiyas. During this time, the Reddys carved out feudal principalities for themselves. After the Delhi Sultanate conquered Warangal annexed the Kakatiya empire, the Reddy chiefs became independent. Prolaya Vema Reddy proclaimed independence and established the Reddy Kingdom in Addanki.[4]

Extent of rule

The Reddy kings ruled coastal and central Andhra for over a hundred years from 1325 to 1448.[1][5] At its maximum extent, the Reddy kingdom stretched from Cuttack, Orissa to the north, Kanchi to the south and Srisailam to the west.[6] The initial capital of the kingdom was Addanki.[7] Later, it was moved to Kondavidu and a subsidiary branch was established at Rajahmundry.[8] The Reddys were known for their fortifications. Two major hill forts, one at Kondapalli, 20 km north west of Vijayawada and another at Kondavidu about 30 km west of Guntur stand testimony to the fort building skill of the Reddy kings.[9] The forts of Bellamkonda, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda in the Palnadu region were also part of the Reddy kingdom.[9] The dynasty remained in power till the middle of the 15th century. In 1424, Kondavidu was annexed to the Vijayanagara Empire and Rajahmundry was conquered by the Gajapatis some twenty five years alter.[5] The Gajapatis eventually lost control of coastal Andhra after the defeat of Gajapati Prataprudra Deva by Krishna Deva Raya of Vijaynagara. The territories of the Reddy kingdom thus came under the control of the Vijayanagara Empire.[10]

Prolaya Vema Reddy

Prolaya Vema Reddy, the first king of the Reddy dynasty. Vema assembled a large army of peasants and herdsmen, and adopted guerrilla warfare. It is said that when he attacked Muslims, Vema Reddy had their water supply lines contaminated with sewage leading to dysentery in their ranks. Veera Ballala III of Dwarasamudra helped the coalition leader Kapaya Nayaka. Vema Reddy was part of the coalition.Vema then led a blitzkrieg on the Kondavidu fort and hacked off the head of Maliq Gurjar, the Muslim commander there after pitched battles. Vema then defeated an army of Jalaluddin Shah in a raid on Tondaimandalam, while Vira Ballala engaged the Sultan himself. Vira Ballala was finally defeated and skinned alive, and his dry skin was hung from the walls of Madurai where Ibn Battuta reportedly saw it later. Undaunted, Vema continued his lightning raids on the Muslim-occupied forts of Bellamkonda, Vinukonda and Nagarjunakonda and captured them all. He then declared himself a raja (king) with Kondavidu as his capital. Prolaya Vema reddy's sister's daughter got married to Basthar landlord Gandla potu Narsimha reddy's brother's son. He built the fortress at Kondapalle.[11]

His famous inscriptions from this period state: "I restored all the agraharas of Brahmins, which had been taken away by the evil Muslim kings. I am indeed an Agastya to the ocean which was made of the Muslim".

Prolaya Vema Reddy commissioned major repairs to the Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swami temple, and had a flight of steps built from the Krishna river to the temple. He also had the Sri Maha Vishnu temple at Ahobilam repaired. The restoration of peace starting with his reign brought about a revival of literature and the arts. Errana, the translator of the Mahabharata, lived during his period. He built 108 temples for Lord Siva.[11]

Later kings

Anavota Reddy (1353-1364 CE) was the successor of Prolaya Vema Reddy.

Anavema Reddy (1364-1386 CE) was the brother of Anavota Reddy. He conquered the Simhachalam fort and parts of the Kalinga kingdom. He built the Vira Siromandapam at the Srisailam temple. His inscription from Srisailam states that their family belongs to the 'Vellacheri' gotram. His inscription states: "I the valiant member of the fourth Varna destroyed the throngs of Muslims and gathered learned Brahmanas at this court". He extended the dominion of the kingdom to Rajahmundry on the north, Kanchi on the south and Srisailam on the west.[11]

Kumaragiri (Komaragiri) Reddy (1386-1402 CE) was the son of Anavota Reddy. Kataya Vema Reddy, the Senapathi of Anavota Reddy and the brother-in-law of Kumaragiri Reddy, and Pedakomati Vema Reddy always indulged in internal squabbles. Many parts of the kingdom announced their independence and did not pay taxes. Kumaragiri Reddy had only one son named Anavotha Reddy 2. He was made in charge of Rajamaendravaram. He died in 1295.[12].[13]

Pedakomati Vemareddi (1403-1420 CE) was a great patron of literature.[14]

Kataya Vema Reddy (1395-1414 CE) suppressed the revolt in Rajamahendravaram and ruled it for 19 years. Harihara Rayalu, the ruler of Vijayanagara empire, married his daughter Vijayalakshmi to Kataya Vema Reddy's son Kataya after his defeat to Kataya Vema Reddy at Tripurantakam Battle in 1385. Hariharamba was their daughter, married to Vema Reddy, son of Allada Reddy. He fought many wars with Pedakomati Vema Reddy. He had two sons Kataya and Komaragiri named after his brother-in-law. Kataya died during the lifetime of Kataya Vema. Anitalli was the daughter of Kataya Vema was Married to Veerabhadra Reddy of Rajamahendravaram.

Allada Reddy (1414-1423 CE) ruled on behalf of the young Komaragiri Reddy who was only 10 years old at the time. Allada Reddy managed to fend off Pedakomati Reddy twice, and made peace treaties with Vijayanagar and Kalinga.

Veerabhadra Reddy (1423-1448 CE) succeeded to the kingdom of Rajamahendravaram. Devaraya II of Vijayanagara came to the support of the Reddy kings against the Gajapathis of Orissa. The Reddys could not get the support from Mallikarjuna of Vijayanagar, the successor of Devaraya II, in time and lost to Hamvira, the son of Kapilendra Gajapathi. The Reddy kingdom started to decline because of internecine warfare with the Recherla Velamas and the Gajapathis. By 1448 CE, Rajamahendravaram and the surrounding places were taken by Kapilendra Gajapathi. By 1454 CE, the Kondavidu region also came under the control of the Gajapathis. Srinathudu, the greatest Telugu poet of the time was his court poet.[15][16]


The Reddy rulers played a prominent part in post-Kakatiyas of Telangana. The Kakatiya empire came to an end in 1323 after the army of the Delhi sultanate invaded Warangal and captured Kakatiya ruler Pratapa Rudra. Warangal fell to the invaders and Ulugh Khan commanded Warangal and Telangana. During this time of foreign invasion and chaos in Telugu country, seeds of revolt were sown by two princes, Annaya Mantri and Kolani Rudradeva. They united the Telugu nobles with the purpose of reclaiming the kingdom. Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka, Prolaya Vema Reddy, Recharla Singama Nayaka, Koppula Prolaya Nayaka and Manchikonda Ganapatinayaka were the prominent nobles. Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka was the chosen leader of this confederation of Telugu nobles who united and vowed to put an end to the Sultanate's rule. They succeeded in repulsing those forces from Warangal and then established independent Kingdoms of their own.[17]

It was during this chaotic period in Andhra history that Prolaya Vema Reddy established the Reddy kingdom in 1325. The Reddy rulers patronised and protected Hinduism and its institutions. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddy kings and the agraharas of Brahmins were restored. Vedic studies were encouraged. The Hindu temples of Srisailam and Ahobilam were provided with more facilities. Prolaya Vema Reddy bestowed a number of agraharas on the Brahmins. He was revered by the title of Apratima-Bhudana-Parasurama.[18] He commissioned major repairs to the Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swami temple, and had a flight of steps built from the Krishna river to the temple. The Narasimha Swamy temple at Ahobilam was built during his reign. He built 108 temples for Shiva.[19]


Telugu literature blossomed under the Reddy kings. The Reddy kings also patronized Sanskrit. Several of the Reddy kings themselves were distinguished scholars and authors. Kumaragiri Reddy, Kataya Vema Reddy and Pedakomati Vema Reddy were the most outstanding among them. Errapragada (Errana), Srinatha and Potana were the remarkable poets of this period. Errapragada, the last of the Kavitraya (Trinity of Poets) was the court poet of Prolaya Vema Reddy. He completed the Telugu translation of the Mahabharata. He completed the rendition of the Aranya Parva of Mahabharata left incomplete by Nannaya Bhattu (Aadi Kavi who started the translation of Mahabharata into Telugu). He wrote Hari Vamsa and Narasimha Purana. Errana's translation of the Ramayana in Chapu form (a style of poetry) has been lost.[9]

Srinatha was considered the most distinguished writer of the Reddy period. He was the court poet of Pedakomati Vema Reddy.[20] He wrote 'Palnadu Viracharitra' in 'Dwipada' meter. This story chronicles the 12th century war between two branches of Kalachuri family that ruled from Gurazala and Macherla. This battle changed the course of Andhra history, with political control passing into Kakateeya hands. Other works of Srinatha, include 'Pandita-radhya Charita', 'Sivaratrimahatmya,' 'Haravilasa', 'Bhimakhanda' and 'Kasikhanda'.


The administration was carried according to the "Dharmasutras". One sixth of agriculture surplus was levied as tax. Under the reign of Anavota Reddy custom duties and taxes on trade were lifted. As a result, trade flourished. Sea trade was carried through the port Motupalli. Large number of merchants settled down near it. Celebrating 'Vasantotsavalu' was revived during the rule of Anavema Reddy. The Brahmins were given liberal grants by the Reddy kings. Caste system was observed. Heavy taxes by Racha Vema Reddy made him highly unpopular.[21]

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 Pran Nath Chopra (1982). Religions and communities of India. Vision Books. p. 136.
  2. Talbot 2001, p. 86.
  3. Frykenberg, Robert Eric (1965). Guntur district, 1788–1848: A History of Local Influence and Central Authority in South India. Clarendon Press. p. 275.
  4. P. Sriramamurti (1972). Contribution of Andhra to Sanskrit literature. Andhra University. p. 60. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  5. 1 2 Rao & Shulman, Srinatha 2012, p. 16.
  6. Rao 1994, p. 82.
  7. Prasad 1988, p. 173.
  8. Prasad 1988, pp. 174, 177.
  9. 1 2 3 Rao 1994, p. 83.
  10. Hermann Kulke; Dietmar Rothermund (2004). A history of India. Routledge. p. 189. ISBN 978-0-415-32919-4. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  11. 1 2 3 Gordon Mackenzie (1990) [first published 1883]. A manual of the Kistna district in the presidency of Madras. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 9788120605442.
  12. Reddy Kingdoms by M Somasekhara Sarma
  13. Pedarapu Chenna Reddy (1 January 1991). Guilds in mediaeval Āndhra Dēśa: A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1500. Sundeep Prakashan. ISBN 9788185067704. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  14. Andhra Pradesh year book. Hyderabad Publications & Newspapers. 1988. p. 10. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  15. Rao 2003, p. 385.
  16. Eṃ Kulaśēkhararāvu (1988). A history of Telugu literature. For copies, M. Indira Devi. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  17. Amaresh Datta; Mohan Lal (1992). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Sasay-Zorgot. Sahitya Akademi. p. 4637. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  18. Krishnaji Nageshrao Chitnis (2003). Medieval Indian history. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 77, 83. ISBN 978-81-7156-062-2. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  19. Rao 1994, p. 89.
  20. Andhra Pradesh year book. Hyderabad Publications & Newspapers. 1988. p. 10. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  21. Rao 1994, pp. 87,88.

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