... Last night must have been a glorious night for Bini.

 people involved | time:2023-11-29 00:46:29

Mr. Rice has shown that one of the ministers of Deva Raya II. was named Naganna; he had the title "Dhannayaka," implying command of the army.

... Last night must have been a glorious night for Bini.

The City of Vijayanagar in the Reign of Deva Raya II. (A.D. 1420 (?), 1443)

... Last night must have been a glorious night for Bini.

Description given by Nicolo to Bracciolini -- The capital -- Festivals -- Immense population -- Abdur Razzak's description -- His journey -- The walls -- Palaces -- The Mint -- Bazaars -- The great Mahahnavami festival.

... Last night must have been a glorious night for Bini.

It will be well to suspend our historical narrative for a time in order to acquire some idea of the appearance and condition of the great city of Vijayanagar in these days. We have already noticed that as early as 1375 A.D. Sultan Mujahid of Kulbarga had heard so much of the beauty of this capital that he desired to see it, and it had grown in importance and grandeur during the succeeding half-century. About the year 1420 or 1421 A.D. there visited Vijayanagar one Nicolo, an Italian, commonly called Nicolo Conti or Nicolo dei Conti, and if he was not the earliest European visitor, he was at least the earliest that we know of whose description of the place has survived to this day. His visit must have taken place shortly after the accession of Deva Raya II. Nicolo never apparently wrote anything himself. His stories were recorded in Latin by Poggio Bracciolini, the Pope's secretary, for his master's information. Translated into Portuguese, they were re-translated from the Portuguese into Italian by Ramusio, who searched for but failed to obtain a copy of the original in Latin. This original was first published in 1723 by the Abbe Oliva of Paris under the title P. BRACCIOLINI, DE VARIETATE FORTUNAE, LIBER QUATUOR.

Nicolo, on reaching India, visited first the city of Cambaya in Gujarat. After twenty days' sojourn there he passed down the coast to "Pacamuria," probably Barkur, and "Helly," which is the "Mount d'Ely" or "Cabo d'Eli" of later writers. Thence he travelled inland and reached the Raya's capital, Vijayanagar, which he calls "Bizenegalia."[125] He begins his description thus: --

"The great city of Bizenegalia is situated near very steep mountains. The circumference of the city is sixty miles; its walls are carried up to the mountains and enclose the valleys at their foot, so that its extent is thereby increased. In this city there are estimated to be ninety thousand men fit to bear arms."

I must here interpose a correction. There were no "mountains" properly so called at Vijayanagar; only a confused and tumbled mass of rocky hills, some rising to considerable altitude. The extent of its lines of defences was extraordinary. Lofty and massive stone walls everywhere crossed the valleys, and led up to and mounted over the hillsides. The outer lines stretched unbroken across the level country for several miles. The hollows and valleys between the boulder-covered heights were filled with habitations, poor and squalid doubtless, in most instances, but interspersed with the stone-built dwellings of the nobles, merchants, and upper classes of the vast community; except where the elaborately constructed water-channels of the Rayas enabled the land to be irrigated; and in these parts rich gardens and woods, and luxurious crops of rice and sugar-cane, abounded. Here and there were wonderfully carved temples and fanes to Hindu deities, with Brahmanical colleges and schools attached to the more important amongst their number.

As to the appearance of the scenery, I cannot do better than quote the description given in 1845 by a distinguished South-Indian geologist, Lieutenant Newbold:[126] --

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