NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 7 An Imperial Capital: Vijayanagar

Q. Describe the various efforts made by scholars to reconstruct the history of the city and the empire from the ruins of Hampi up to the 19th century.

Ans.Various efforts made by scholars to reconstruct the history of the city and the empire from the ruins of Hampi in the 19th century were:

  1. Colonel Colin Mackenzie, an engineer, surveyor and cartographer of the East India Company, prepared the first survey map of Hampi in 1800.
  2. A lot of initial information received by him was based on the memories of priests of the Virupaksha temple and the shrine of Pampadevi.
  3. Later the photographers started recording the monuments of Hampi which enabled scholars to study them.
  4. The epigraphists as early as 1836 had started collecting several dozen inscriptions found at this site and other temples at Hampi.
  5. The historians collated information collected from all these sources with accounts of foreign travellers and relevant literature written in various vernacular languages like
    Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Sanskrit in order to reconstruct the history of the city and the empire.

Q. 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?

Ans. The ruins of the Hampi gained prominence when it was came into limelight by Colonel Colin Mackenzie in 1800. The earlier source of information for him was the priest of the Virupaksha temple. The photographers started recording the pictures of the monuments from the year 1856 that helped the scholars to make a detailed analysis of the site. There was also collection of dozens of inscriptions from the site of Virupaksha. Apart from this there are numerous sources of travellers written in Kannada language, Telugu, Tamil and other. All these sources complemented the information provided by the priests.

Q. How were the water requirements of Vijayanagara met?

Ans. The water requirements of the Vijayanagara was met naturally by the basin of the river Tungabhadra. The river flowed in the North-Eastern direction and it was surrounded by the granite hills. The large embankments was built by the rulers of the Vijayanagara for storing the water. There were arrangements made for storing the rain water as the region was arid in nature. There was also an evidence of a very large water tank which came to be known as the Kamalapuram tank.

Q. What do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified area of the city?

Ans. Advantages of enclosing the agricultural lands within the city are:

  1. This led to the regular supply of food grains to the King and its people during the time of seize by an another attacking kingdom.
  2. It ensured that the peasants did not faced any problem in cultivation due to war and other reasons.
  3. The collection of land revenue was very easy. 

Disadvantages:

  1. This system of fortification was very expensive.
  2. This also increased the expenditure of defense for maintaining a large army for the protection of forts.

Q. What do you think was the significance of the rituals associated with the Mahanavami dibba?

Ans. The Mahanavami Dibba is supposed to be the King’s palace in Vijayanagara:

  1. It has very beautiful wooden structure and the base of the platform was covered with relief carvings.
  2. There are many rituals associated with the Mahanavami Dibba. The Hindu festivals of Mahanavami and Navratri was celebrated with great enthusiasm. Some of the ceremonies that were performed during the celebrations are: Worship of different gods and goddesses, worship of the state horses, the sacrifice of the buffaloes and other animals.

Q. Discuss whether the term “royal centre” is an appropriate descripion for the part of the city for which it is used.

Ans. The term royal centre is not an appropriate description due to following reasons:

  1. There was 60 temples and only 30 palaces.
  2. The palace of the King was the largest enclosure but there is no definite evidence
    that it served as the royal residence of the King.
  3. There was another beautiful building of Lotus Mahal. However the purpose for which this Lotus Mahal is used is not exactly clear.

Q. What does the architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables tell us about the rulers who commissioned them?

Ans. The architectural buildings of the Lotus Mahal tells us that the Indian rulers had adopted the Indian traditional signs, symbols and totems. It also depicted the liberal nature of the Kings:

  1. Lotus Mahal: This was named by the British officials during its discovery in the nineteenth century. There is several opinions about the use of this building. Some people believes that it was the chamber in which the King met his officials.
  2. Elephant Stables: The Rajas of the Vijayanagara Empire used to maintain very large army of troops. The elephants were also the part of the army in large numbers. The stables was constructed to ensure the accommodation for the elephants. 

Q. What are the architectural traditions that inspired the architects of Vijayanagara? How did they transform these traditions?

Ans. The Vijayanagara rulers had very keen interests in the architectural activities. Due to these reasons large number of temples was constructed by them. Some of the new features added by them in the temple architecture was gopurams and royal gateways. There was central shrines in the temples that made the temples visible from a very large distance. Other distinctive features were the mandapas or pavilions. There was also pillared corridors which ran around the shrines. The two major temples were the Virupaksha temples and the Vitthala temples.

Q. What impression of the lives of the ordinary people of Vijayanagara can you cull from the various descriptions in the chapter?

Ans. The lives of the ordinary people can be understood by the following examples:

  1. Ordinary people did not have any representation in the administrative and power structure of the society. They generally spoke different languages and had different
    religious traditions.
  2. The common people consisted of the local merchants, small traders, peasants, workers and even the slaves came in the section of ordinary people.
  3. There was a class of workers who were known as “Vipra Viodin.” These included the ironsmiths, carpenters, sculptures and goldsmiths.