Gadwal Samsthanam and Fort

Gadwal Samsthanam was a vassal of the Nizam of Hyderabad.  Gadwal was one of the most prestigious of Hyderabad’s samsthanas, being among the oldest, largest, and wealthiest of them.  

The rulers of the Gadwal belong to Mustipalli dynasty and they were Pakanati Reddis. They followed Veera Vaishnava tradition.

Gadwal state was situated in the " Raichur Doab " between river Krishna and Tungabhadra. it had an area of 864 miles and had a population of 986,491 in 1901.

Pudur or Pundrapura known as Keshavapuram or Keshavnagar was the fort capital of Gadwal Samsthan. He was a great warrior and expert in war strategies. He was appointed as ruler of Manalibeludoni, Raichur, Alampuram Adavani, Aija, Mosalakallu by Kakatiya Ruler Pratapa Rudra.

Pedda Veera Reddy alias Buddha Reddy was the founder of the Gadwal Samsthan.

Gadwal is is situated between the rivers Tungabhadra and Krishna over an area of about 800 sq.miles. Located on National Highway No. 44 in between Hyderabad and Kurnool and is only 16 Kms away from Erravelli Junction. 

After the fall of the Warangal Kakatiya dynasty in the 14th century, Gadwal transferred its allegiance to the new Bahmani kingdom.  Gadwal existed long before the foundation of the Hyderabad State. 

Pedda Veera Reddy alias Buddha Reddy
1290 A.D : A warrior local in the area named Pedda Veera Reddy ( also known as Budda Reddy ) assisted Immadi Reddy in land clearing . Immadi recommended him for rewards to Pratapa Rudra. Pratapa Rudra Deva of Warangal conferred upon Bukka Polavi Reddy the status of Sarnagond over the six parganas

Peddanna Bhupaludu

Sarga Reddy 

Veera Reddy

1696 AD : Sri Pedda Soma Bhupala or Somanna
In 1696 Aurangzeb awarded then ruler of Gadwal , Somanna , the title of raja
Soma Bhupala or Somanadri was particularly well-known for having won many battles and strengthened the state. He improved the infrastructure of the town, and built a great many temples including the Chennakesava Swamy temple inside the Gadwal Fort in the 17th century.

The fort was constructed from 1663 - 1713 AD by Raja Somanadri. The Fort was constructed with huge walls and moats around the fort have made the Gadwala Fort very strong and impregnable. Even after completion of 300 years, the strength of the Fort is not lost. 

Somashekar Ananda Reddy, fondly called Somanadri hails from Poodoor village. 

According to the family history, Pedda Veera Reddy, Peddanna Bhupaludu, Sarga Reddy, Veera Reddy and Kumara Veera Reddy ruled Gadwal between 1553 and 1704.

1704 AD : Kumara Veera Reddy 
In 1704 , Kumara Veera Reddy , the fifth descendent from Pedda Veera Reddy , had been given sanad granting him six mahals in the Kurnool area , just across the Tungabhadra River from the doab .

1712 AD :  Nalla Somanadri Raja 

Their main deity Sri Chennakesava Swamy Temple, Sri Venugopala Swamy temple, Sri Ramalayam and Water Body (Koneru) are located inside the Fort.

Raja has defeated the Nawab of kurnool and brought 32 feet long Cannon which was the biggest in the country is still in the fort.

This Gadwal Samsthanam was protected by Mallichetti vamshiyulu. The Nagi Reddy we fondly know Nagappa was an Angarashak of Gadwal samsthanam (Raja somanadri was a minor). He died in a war with fanatic sultans. Then Narsappa succeeded his father Nagappa as Gadwal Samsthanam Angarashak, but unfortunately for some reason he had to leave the palace
The tradition of the Gadwal weavers’ family presenting vastrams to Lord Venkateswara began during the reign of Nala Somanadri Raja of Gadwal Samstan. He was a friend of Nellore Venkatagiri Rajus and he travelled to Tirumala along with the Venkatagiri Raju family. It was then that the Somanadri Raja promised to offer ‘Sesha Vastrams’ to the Lord on the first day of the Brahmotsavam, recall the family members.

The Konkathi family from this town in Mahbubnagar district has been weaving ‘Sesha Vastrams’ for the past 10 generations, on a decree from the Gadwal royal family. The family brings superior quality cotton from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Chirala in Andhra Pradesh. The weavers, adopting the traditional practice, work for over six hours a day to weave the vastrams. It costs nearly Rs 15,000 for raw materials and the total would jump to around Rs. 40,000 by the time the vastrams are presented to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. It takes more than six weeks for a select group of five handloom weavers to produce the five-metre-long white vastrams (dhoti) with a maroon colour silk border.

1712 AD : Raja Tirumal Rao
Soon dissatisfaction arose among the people due to tirumala Raya's rule. It was the time when Ammakkamba wife of Pedda Soma Bhupla was seated on the throne.

1712 AD - 1742 AD : Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma
Ruled as vassal of Nizam
Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma, coadministered affairs at Gadwal until their adopted heir came of age.

Amongst the prominent Hindu feudatories, or Samasthans as they were known, was Gadwal, whose allegiance was eventually secured by the first Nizam - the Mughal governor of the region. Gadwal’s military and economic relationships with other groups and the ruling princely elite had historical precedents, Cohen points out. Interestingly, he writes of the first decade of rule of the first Nizam, Nizam ul Mulk Asaf Jah I, who during this period sought to consolidate the uncertain ground that he had only just occupied through imperial legitimacy in 1724 CE (after the death of Mubariz Khan). In this early venture, the Nizam entered into communications with two women, Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma of Gadwal, seeking their military support, over the course of a year. The ‘urgent’ request, ‘an earnest requisition’ by the Nizam on 3 September 1727 to the two women was ignored by them, but upon a series of firmer ‘diplomatic entreaties’, they eventually acquiesced in early 1729 CE. Cohen comments that this may seem ‘remarkable’ today but is “less shocking in a more fluid eighteenth century”.

1742 AD - 1743 AD : Rani Mangamma, Rani Lingamma

1743 AD - 1747 AD: Rani Chukamma

1747 AD - 1762 AD : Rama Reddy
Brother of Thirumala Raya

1762 AD - 1793 AD : Chinna Soma Bhupala 
China Somanadri or China Somabhupala was himself a poet of great repute and greatly encouraged literary activities.

1793 AD - 1804 AD : Sri Rama Rayalu 
Mushtipalli Ramabhupala I of the Gadwal dynasty was also a Sanskrit scholar and patronized literature, music and other arts. During his reign as well, scholars and poets from distant places like Varanasi, Mysore and Andhra’s Krishna and Guntur districts would convene. His son Sitarama Bhupala was also a great patron of the arts.

1804 AD - 1840 AD : Raja Sitaram Bhupala I
Said to be one of the best rulers of Samsthana. 
Raja Sitaram Bhupal Bahadur sent three of his weavers to Benaras to learn the tricks of weaving spectacular pallus. They came back suitably inspired and equipped with the know-how, and created their own masterpieces which now go by the name of Gadwal sarees.

After his death in 1840, the samsthana came under the contour of court wards for 10 years as his son was a minor. 

1840 AD - 1844 AD Raja Soma Bhupala II

1844 AD - 1850 AD : Rani Venkata Lakshmi

1850 AD - May 1919 AD : Raja Sitaram Bhupala II
Nizam VII bestowed on him the title of "Maharaja" and he died in May 1919 AD and was survived by his widow and two daughters. 

1853 AD : Raichur Doab (Gadwal) was assigned to the British under the treaty of 1853
1857AD : The great Indian mutiny took place and Gadwal did not participate in it.
1860 AD:  In 1860 AD Raichur Doab (Gadwal) was restored to Nizam. 

1919 AD - 1949 AD : Maharani Adi Lakshmi Devamma
Queen Sri Aadi Lakshmi Devamma, with her tactics and knowledge revived the glory of the samsthana. 
In 1947, Adi Lakshmidevamma was the feudatory queen of Gadwal Samsthanam during Nizam rule. She aided forces led by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to annex Hyderabad state into independent India and let those forces to enter Hyderabad state through Gadwal.

Sri Krishna Rama Bhupala

Gadwal is known for its handloom jari sarees (Gadwal sarees). The local weavers can weave the 5.5 meters of saree fabric in such a way that it can be folded down to the size of a small match box. Gadwal sarees have been worn since the 1930s. There are cotton sarees with an attached silk border and silk pallow. For Lord Venkateswara TTD Brahmotsavam starts with Gadwal weaved Gadwal saree by every year.

At a distance of 1 km from Gadwal Bus Station, 78 km from Mahabubnagar Bus Station and 188 km from Hyderabad, Gadwal Fort is situated in ogulamba Gadwal district of Telangana. Gadwal is one of the popular historical places to visit around Hyderabad.

Imperial Gazetteer of India
James Sutherland Cotton Sir Richard BurnSir William Stevenson Meyer