NCERT Class 12 History An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara

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An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara Class 12 History NCERT

Class 12 History students should refer to the following NCERT Book chapter An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara in standard 12. This NCERT Book for Grade 12 History will be very useful for exams and help you to score good marks

An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara NCERT Class 12


Vijayanagara or “city of victory” was the name of both a city and an empire. The empire was founded in the fourteenth century. In its heyday it stretched from the river Krishna in the north to the extreme south of the peninsula. In 1565 the city was sacked and subsequently deserted. Although it fell into ruin in the seventeenth-eighteenth centuries, it lived on in the memories of people living in the Krishna-Tungabhadra doab. They remembered it  as Hampi, a name derived from that of the local mother goddess, Pampadevi. These oral traditions combined with archaeological finds, monuments and inscriptions and other records helped scholars
to rediscover the Vijayanagara Empire.

1. The Discovery of Hampi
The ruins at Hampi were brought to light in 1800 by an engineer and antiquarian named Colonel Colin Mackenzie. An employee of the English East India Company, he prepared the first survey map of the site. Much of the initial information he received was based on the memories of priests of the Virupaksha temple and the shrine of Pampadevi. Subsequently, from 1856, photographers began to record the monuments which enabled scholars to study them. As early as 1836 epigraphists began collecting several dozen inscriptions found at this and other temples at Hampi. In an effort to reconstruct the history of the city and the empire, historians collated  information from these sources with accounts of foreign travellers and other literature written in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Sanskrit.

2. Rayas, Nayakas and Sultans

According to tradition and epigraphic evidence two brothers, Harihara and Bukka, founded the Vijayanagara Empire in 1336. This empire included within its fluctuating frontiers peoples who spoke different languages and followed different religious traditions. On their northern frontier, the Vijayanagara kings competed with contemporary rulers – including the Sultans of the Deccan and the Gajapati rulers of Orissa – for control of the fertile river valleys and  the resources generated by lucrative overseas trade. At the same time, interaction between these states led to sharing of ideas, especially in the field of architecture. The rulers of Vijayanagara   borrowed concepts and building techniques which they then developed further.

Some of the areas that were incorporated within the empire had witnessed the development of powerful states such as those of the Cholas in Tamil Nadu and the Hoysalas in Karnataka. Ruling elites in these areas had extended patronage to elaborate  temples such as the Brihadishvara temple at Thanjavur and the Chennakeshava temple at Belur. The rulers of Vijayanagara, who called themselves rayas, built on these traditions and carried them, as we will see, literally to new heights.


1. What have been the methods used to study the ruins of Hampi over the last two centuries? In what way do you think they would have complemented the information provided by the priests of the Virupaksha temple?
2. How were the water requirements of Vijayanagara met?
3. What do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified area of the city?
4. What do you think was the significance of the rituals associated with the mahanavami dibba?
5. Fig. 7.33 is an illustration of another pillar from the Virupaksha temple. Do you notice any floral motifs? What are the animals shown? Why do you think they are depicted? Describe the human figures shown.

6. Discuss whether the term “royal centre” is an appropriate description for the part of the city for which it is used.
7. What does the architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables tell us about the rulers who commissioned them?
8. What are the architectural traditions that inspired the architects of Vijayanagara? How did they transform these traditions?
9. What impression of the lives of the ordinary people of Vijayanagara can you cull from the various descriptions in the chapter?

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Theme I Chapter 1 Bricks, Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation
NCERT Class 12 History Bricks Beads and Bones The Harappan Civilisation
Theme I Chapter 2 Kings, Farmers and Towns Early States and Economies
NCERT Class 12 History Kings Farmers and Towns Early States and Economies
Theme I Chapter 3 Kinship, Caste and Class Early Societies
NCERT Class 12 History Kinship Caste and Class Early Societies
Theme I Chapter 4 Thinkers, Beliefs and Buildings Cultural Developments
NCERT Class 12 History Thinkers Beliefs and Buildings Cultural Developments
Theme II Chapter 6 Bhakti-Sufi Traditions Changes in Religious Beliefs and Devotional Texts
NCERT Class 12 History Bhakti Sufi Traditions Changes in Religious Beliefs and Devotional Texts
Theme II Chapter 9 Kings and Chronicles The Mughal Courts
NCERT Class 12 History Kings and Chronicles The Mughal Courts
Theme II Chapter 5 Through the Eyes of Travellers Perceptions of Society
NCERT Class 12 History Through The Eyes Of Travellers Perceptions of Society
Theme II Chapter 7 An Imperial Capital: Vijayanagara
NCERT Class 12 History An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara
Theme II Chapter 8 Peasants, Zamindars and the State Agrarian Society and the Mughal Empire
NCERT Class 12 History Peasants Zamindars And the State Agarian Society And the Mugal Empire
Theme III Chapter 10 Colonialism and the Countryside: Exploring Official Archives
NCERT Class 12 History Colonialism and The Countryside
Theme III Chapter 11 Rebels and the Raj The Revolt of 1857 and its Representations
NCERT Class 12 History Rebels And the Raj The Revolt of 1857 And Its Representations
Theme III Chapter 12 Colonial Cities Urbanisation, Planning and Architecture
NCERT Class 12 History Colonial Cities Urbanisation Planning and Architecture
Theme III Chapter 13 Mahatma Gandhi and the Nationalist Movement Civil Disobedience and Beyond
NCERT Class 12 History Mahatma Gandhi and The Nationalist Movement Civil Disobedience and Beyond
Theme III Chapter 14 Understanding Partition Politics, Memories, Experiences
NCERT Class 12 History Understanding Partition Politics Memories Experiences
Theme III Chapter 15 Framing the Constitution The Beginning of a New Era
NCERT Class 12 History Framing The Constitution The Beginning Of a New Era

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