Recherla Padmanayaka Dynasty

1326 AD - 1475 AD 

Capitals: Rachakonda and Devarakonda

The Recharla chiefs came to political prominence only in the reign of the Kakatiyas, and they ruled an independent kingdom only after the fall of the Kakatiyas. They ruled from Rachakonda in Nalgonda district. It is one of the historically famous forts from Telengana.

The sasanas describe the founder of the kingdom as Dachanaya also known as Eradachanaya. Velugotivari Vamsavali however, describes the earlier three generations and terms Bethala Reddy also known as Chevi Reddy as the founder of this dynasty.

Bethala Reddy sons are Dama, Prasaditya and Rudranayakas. All these were in the service of the Kakatiyas under Ganapati Deva and of them Prasadityanayaka was the most prominent. After Ganapatideva’s death some Kakatiya senanis and samantas tried to prevent Rudrama Devi from coming to the throne. Prasaditynayaka then defeated them and made her ascend the throne. For this he is given the title “Kakatiyarajya Sthapanacharya” by Rudrama Devi.

Nothing is known about his brothers Damanayaka and Rudranayaka. Nothing is also known about Damanayakas sons Vennamanayaka and Sabbinayaka. In the Vamsavali it is mentioned that Vennamnayaka defeated a Muslim army.

Vennamanayakas son is Dachanayaka or Eradachanayaka with whom the Rachakonda kingdom begins. Dachanayaka had three sons Singama, Vennama and Yechama Nayakas. Dachanayaka and his son Singamanayaka were senanis of Prataparudra. When Prataparudra attacked the Pandyas at Kanchi in 1316 AD, Dachanayaka and Singamanayaka have shown great valor and helped the king in winning the battle. Prataparudra gave the title of “Panchpandyadala Vibhala” to Dachanayaka. He probably died in the battle of Orugallu with the Muslims in 1323 AD.

 1326 AD - 1361 AD : Singama nayaka-I
After Warangal was captured by Muslim rulers, Musunuri Nayakas revolted against them at around 1335 A.D. During that time, Kapaya nayaka Musunuri dynasty was helped by Singama nayaka. Later Singama nayaka had became independent and extended his kingdom towards the south upto the coast of river Krishna. 

He also wanted to extend his kingdom in the North and hence attacked Kapayanaka. As per the Vamsavali he defeated Kapayanaka. This, however did not appear to have yielded him much benefit because as per the Pillalamarri sasanam of Kapayanaka in 1357 AD, Kapayas kingdom stretched right upto Pillalmarri. Singamanayaka attacked Jallipalli fort with an intention to increase his kingdom further but was killed by the ruling Somavamsa Kshatriyas by treachery.

1361 AD - 1384 AD Anavotha nay-aka
Singamanayaka had two sons Anapotanayaka and Madanayaka. When they heard about the death of their father, Anavotha nayaka along with Madana nayaka attacked the Jallipalli fort in 1361 AD, killed Soma dynasty rulers and took the title of ‘Somakula parasurama’.
At that time their capital appears to have been Anumagallu. Anapotanayaka shifted the capital from Anumagallu to Rachakonda and built a strong fort there.

While occupying the Srisailam area they had a conflict with the Kondaveeti Reddy chiefs. At that time Srisailam was under the Reddimannis. As per the Vamsavali Madanayaka and his uncles son Naganayaka defeated Anapota Reddy near Dharanikota. Although victorious Dharanikota did not fall into Anapotanayakas hands. This is the first conflict between the Velama chiefs and the Reddy chiefs. From this time onwards uptill the end of the Kondaveedu Reddy kingdom, this rivalry did not abate.

After this southern conquest Anapotanayaka attacked the Orugallu kingdom of Kapayanaka which was already weakened by the attacks of the Bahamani kingdom. The battle took place at Bhimavaram in Warangal district and the Recharla chiefs emerged victorious. Kapayanayaka was killed in the battle and Anapotanayaka got the control of the kingdom. This must be around 1368 AD in which the Ainavolu sasanam of Anapotanayaka describes him in possession of Tribhuvanagiri(Bhongir), Orugallu and Singavaram forts and took the title of “Tribhuvana Rayarao’. With this victory his kingdom stretched upto Godavari in the North, Srisailam in the South, Bahamani kingdom in the West, and Kondaveedu in the East. 

Looking to the excellent relations these kings had with the Bahamani Empire, it is possible that the Bahamanis have helped them in their war against Kapayanayaka. 

He divided his kingdom into Northern and Southern regions for ease of administration; made Rachakonda the capital of North and ruled it himself; made Devarakonda as the capital of South and appointed his younger brother Mada nayaka as its ruler.

Anapotanayaka attacked the Kalinga kingdom in 1380 AD. This is known by his Simhachalam sasanam. The Vamsavali however is silent on this. Anapotanayaka ruled upto around 1384 AD.
Descendants of Anavotha nayaka ruled from Rachakonda and descendants of Mada nayaka ruled from Devarakonda.

1384 AD - 1399 AD : Singama nayaka-II / Singabhupala-II
After Anapotanayaka his son Singamanedu II ascended the throne of Rachakonda. He is also known as Kumara Singabhupaludu. Before coming to the throne he captured the fort of Kalyani in Gulbarga district. It appears that he went to Karnataka to help the Bahamani kings and took this fort during the campaign.

In the early days of Sighabhupala’s reign, the Vijayanagara kings took Srisailam and marched against Rachakonda. The Vijayanagara sasanam in Tumkur district dated 1384 AD states that the king of Vijayanagara Harihara Devaraya II, sent his son Vira Bukkaraya against Orugallu. The Bahamani sultan then laid siege to Kottakonda in Mahabubnagar district (possibly taken earlier by the Vijayanagara forces) and one of the Vijayanagara commanders Saluva Ramadevaraya died in the battle. As per the sasana the sultan has done this to protect his samantas who owed allegiance to him. It appears from the sasana that the Vijayanagara forces were defeated.

The reason for this aggression by Vijayanagara is unknown but Ziauddin Barani mentions that Kapayanaka and Harihararaya (the founder of the Vijayanagara kingdom) are related. Although this may not be certain they may have been closely associated with each other and Kapayanayakas defeat, coupled with the leanings the Rachakonda kings had shown towards the Bahamani kings precipitated the attack.

In 1387 AD, Kumara Singha Bhupala has attacked the Gowtami banks area via Southern Kalinga which was in his possession. As per his Simhachala sasanam he scored a number of victories in the area which was lying in the Kondaveedu kingdom at that time. With this campaign the authority of the Reddys was extinguished in the southern Kalinga.

The Vijayanagara king Hariharadevaraya did not forget his defeat at the hands of the Rachakonda kingdom and the Bahamanis. In 1397 he declared a war against the Bahamani kingdom and as per his Vijayanagara sasana, one of the Vijayanagara senanis, Gunda Dandadhinadha inflicted a defeat on Siaf Khan and Fateh Khan.

To reduce the pressure on the Bahamani forces Singhabhupala sent Ramachandranayaka, the son of Vedagirinayaka to attack the area of the Vijayanagara kingdom on the banks of river Krishna. Ramachandranayaka crossed the Krishna river, entered Kurnool and started plundering it whereupon he was attacked by the Vijayanagara armies near Bandikanuma. Ramachndranayaka emerged victorious in this battle.

Now Harihara II sent his son Bukkaraya to attack Ramachndranayaka. Bukka then defeated Ramachandranayaka and drove him out of the Vijayanagara kingdom. He then entered the Rachakonda kingdom and plundered it. It appears that the victories enumerated in the Vamsavali attributed to Anapotanayaka son of Singhabhupala and Ramachandranayaka and Madanayaka the sons of Pedavedagirinayaka seem to have taken place during this campaign. Although both sides claimed victory in this campaign, it appears that Vijayanagara kingdom had been victorious in this battle.

Bukkaraya took his armies crossed the Krishna and attacked the Panugallu fort in Devarakonda kingdom. The Bahamani armies immediately came to the rescue of Panugallu. In this campaign, Pedavadagirinayaka’s son Kumaramadanayaka has defeated Era Krishnaraya and Pandadadhisa as per the Vamsavali. In this Era Krishnaraya besieged Devarakonda. Although he was defeated, Bukkaraya scored a victory and secured the Panugallu fort in 1397 AD. In this campaign the son of Bukkaraya Anantabhupala had shown great valor. A few days after the Panuganti war Kumara Singhabhupala died.

1399 AD -1421 AD : Anavotha nayaka-II
After Singhabhupala his son Immadi Anapotanayaka came to the throne in 1399 AD. He is also known as Kumara Anapotanayaka and Pinnamanayaka. He is a contemporary of the Bahamani sultan Firoz Shah. The burden of saving his kingdom from Bukkaraya fell on him. As per Velugotivari Vamsavali he saved 10,000 people from Metuku (Medak) Fort. It is possible that Bukkaraya went up to Medak fort victorious and laid seize to it and Anapotanayaka relieved and saved the garrison during this campaign.

It appears that on the side of Bahamani sultan Anapotanayaka scored a number of victories against the Kondaveedu and Rajahmundry reddy kings and also Vijayanagara kings. It is probable that the Raya supposed to have been stopped by him is Devaraya I.

Contemporary to Anapotanayaka Devarakonda was ruled by Kumara Madanayaka and Ramachandranayaka, the sons of Pedavedagirinayaka. Annadevachoda took refuge in Devarakonda during Pedavedagirinayaka’s reign. Kumara Madanayaka gave him an army and sent him via Kalinga to regain his kingdom. However, this army was defeated by Chalukya Vishveshwara Bhupati a tributory king of the Gangas in 1402 AD. After this Kumara Madanayaka proceeded with an army to help Annadevachoda. It is possible that the victory attributed to him over the Rajahmundry Reddy kings took place during this campaign.

Anapotanayaka mounted a successful campaign in 1417 AD against Panugallu. During the campaign the Bahamani sultan Tajuddin Ferozshah laid siege to Panugallu.  At that time Panugallu was under the Vijayanagara kings. The Velamanayakas also went along with their armies to help Ferozshah, but during the campaign their relations soured. Seeing the opportunity Devaraya I negotiated with the Velamanayakas and turned them into his favor. During a fierce battle at Panagallu fort the Velamanayakas like Anapotanayaka came over to the side of Devaraya along with their armies. Due to this Ferozshah ‘s assumed victory turned into defeat and he could barely escape and reach his capital Gulbarga. Anapotanayaka died during this battle in 1421 AD.

1421 AD - 1430 AD : Madanayaka
After Anapotanayaka, his brother Madanayaka came to the throne in 1421 AD.,probably because Anapotanayaka’s eldest son Singamanayaka was too young to assume charge. 

After the battle of Panagallu, the recherla's maintained enmity with the Bahmani Sultans and helped the Vijayanagara rulers in every way they could. During the battle between Ahmed Shah (Bahmani sultan) and Devaraya-II in 1424, Madanayaka helped the latter. Because of this, though Ahmed Shah made peace with Devaraya after the battle was over, he sent his deputy, Azam Khan to capture Warangal (kingdom of Mada nayaka). In this battle, Azam Khan captured not only Warangal,but also many forts in Rachakonda and Devarakonda kingdoms.

When Ahmad Shah was immersed in a war with the Sultan of Gujarat, the Rachakonda kings recovered all their lost forts.

1430 AD - 1475 AD : Singama nayaka-III
After Madanayaka his brother Anapotanayaka’s son Mummadi Singamanayaka came to the throne. He ruled from 1430 AD. onwards. From his time, the Rachakonda and Devarakonda kingdoms fell into decline and by 1433 AD., the forts of Rachakonda and Orugallu were taken over by the Bahamani Sultan. Only Devarakonda remained in the Padmanayaka’s hands.

After his war with the Sultan’s of Malwa and Gujarat, Ahmad Shah again attacked the Rachakonda kingdom in 1433 AD. and emerged victorious. 

In Devarakonda, the contemporary of Mummadi Singhabhupala was the son of Kumara Madanayaka, known as Lingamanayaka. Lingamanedu was very valiant in battle and at the age of 12 years itself, he led the forces and fought a battle. The Vamsavali attributes a lot of victories to him, but many of them could not be confirmed. However, it is certain that Lingamanedu’s attack on the Rajamahendravaram Reddy kingdom weakened and destroyed it. The Padmanayakas of Rachakonda and Devarakonda supported the Bahamani Sultan’s for sometime, the Vijayanagara kings for sometime and the Gajapati’s of Orissa for sometime and fought with their respective enemies.

After 1433 AD., the Rachakonda and Devarakonda kingdoms disappeared and only some forts remained in the Padmanayaka’s control. They then sought the help of the Gajapati’s of Orissa for regaining their kingdom. Kapileswara Gajapati of Orissa attacked the Telengana areas of the Bahamani kingdom, but was defeated by the Bahamani Sultan, Allauddin. In 1435 AD, the Rachakonda area was given by the Sultan to his brother Mohammed Khan. The Padmanayakas then supported Sikander Khan in his rebellion against the Bahamani Sultan Humayun Shah.

Humayun Shah marched against Sikander Khan and killed him in battle. To punish the Padmanayakas who supported Sikander khan, he sent Kwaza Jahan and Nizam Ul Mulk. They raised an army of 20,000 cavalry, 40 elephants and innumerable foot soldiers and laid seize to Devarakonda fort, which was under the Padmanayakas.

The Padmanayakas then sent a message to Kapileswara Gajapati of Orissa appealing for his help and also promising him a large amount of money. The Gajapati then sent his son Hamviradeva (known to Muslims as Ambar Roy) along with a huge force to help the Padmanayakas and also to release Telengana from the control of the Bahamani Sultan. When Hamviradeva’s forces attacked the Bahamani forces from the rear, Singamanayaka and Lingamanayaka came out from the fort and attacked the Bahamani forces from the front. The Bahamani forces were caught in between and suffered a humiliating defeat. Kwaja Jahan and Nizam Ul Mulk somehow escaped from the battlefield. When Humayun Shah came to know of the defeat, he becme enraged and killed Nizam Ul Mulk and imprisoned Kwaja Jahan.

The Bahamani Sultan then assigned the work to Mohammed Gawan, his minister. This was beyond Mohammed Gawan and the Muslim forces suffered one defeat after another in the hands of Hamviradeva and the Padmanayakas. One fort after another fell to them. They took Rachakonda, Bhuvanagiri and finally Orugallu around 1461 AD.

Dharmanayudu / Dharmanayaka, brother of Singama nayaka-III was appointed as the ruler of Warangal. He issued the ‘Shayampet inscription’ in l462 A.D. Later,

However, now Padmanayakas lost their independence and became the tributaries of the Gajapatis of Orissa.

After the death of the Bahamani Sultan Humayun Shah, Nizam Shah became the Bahamani Sultan. He again tried to recover the Telengana areas from the Padmanayakas, but again Kapileswara Gajapti sent his armies which inflicted a defeat on the Bahamani forces and came near the capital Bidar. Then one Amirzada Muhibullah scored a tactical victory over the Gajapati forces, as a result of which Bidar could be saved. This is however, not a complete victory and the Orugallu kingdom remained under the Padmanayakas.

As long as Kapileswara Gajapati was alive, the Bahamanis could not conquer the Orugallu kingdom and it remained with the Padmanayakas. He died around 1470 AD. The Bahamani Sultan, then sent Malik Nizam Ul Mulk Bahri to conquer Telengana. This man not only took the forts in Telengana, but also Kondaveedu and Rajamahendravaram forts and occupied all of Telengana. The Orugallu kingdom was given by the Sultan to Azim Khan. This happened around 1475 AD. The Recherla kingdom is thus over and the Padmanayakas joined the court of Hampi Viajayanagar.

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