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Stone Inscriptions of Hassan: Evidence of Muslim Invasion

In the 7th century, spurred on by the spirit and enthusiasm of a new sect of Arabs, the Muslims from the Arab provinces had made inroads into the Sindh province. After the pointless raids carried out by Ghazni in the 11th century, the Muslims were able to move further and relocate themselves in North India. Firishta in his chronicle mentions that in 1190-91 CE, when Muhammad Ghori and his atrocious army made their advances from Punjab, the bold and courageous warrior, Prithviraj Chauhan, the king belonging to the Chauhan dynasty attacked Muhammad Ghori near Taraori with the support of several Rajput Kings. Firishta mentions that the coalition army led by Prithviraj Chauhan was a formidable force comprising of two lakh cavalry horses and three thousand war elephants. Other than Jayachandra, all the Rajput rulers came forward to form a coalition army under Prithviraj Chauhan to defend against Muhammad Ghori. However, Jayachandra remained away from the coalition army because of his ego and personal hatred towards Prithviraj Chauhan.

The coalition army of the mighty Rajputs led by Prithviraj encountered the forces of Muhammad Ghori at Tarain (also called Taraori, or Tarori or Tarawari), now situated in Karnal District of Haryana State. In the battle that ensued, the brave warrior clan of Rajputs fought with all their might and inflicted heavy losses on the Muslim soldiers. The Muslim invader Muhammad Ghori who was severely injured, fled the battlefield and thereafter returned to Ghazni. Humiliated by this defeat, Ghori started reinforcing his army and waited for another opportunity to attack Prithviraj to avenge the humiliation meted out to him by the Rajputs. In 1192 CE Ghori encountered the forces of Prithviraj for the second time at Tarain but this time with a different game plan and war strategy. This time the armies of Ghori pursuing deceitful and treacherous strategies were successful in inflicting a crushing defeat on the Rajputs. The decisive battle ended with Prithviraj being captured as a war prisoner. This victory over Rajputs gave a firm ground for the Muslim invaders in North India to carry out their expansionist policy. In the subsequent year (1194 CE) Muhammad Ghori defeated Jayachandra (the ruler of Gahadavala) whose death led to Muslim invaders ransacking the pilgrimage city of Varanasi, which was looted and a large number of its temples destroyed.

After conquering Chittoor in the North, in 1305 CE Alauddin Khalji fought against the Malwa King Mahalakadeva and his Prime Minister Kokra (also called Goga). The well fought war ended with both Mahalakadeva and Kokra achieving martyrdom. After the fall of Malwa, all the territories of Ujjain, Mandu, Dhara and Chanderi were lost to Khilji. When Alauddin Khalji was embroiled in successive wars in North India, down South in the Deccan with the end of reign of major monopolistic empire, the Sevunas of Devagiri, the Kakatiyas of Warangal, the Hoysalas of Dwarasamudra and the Pandyas of Tamil Nadu were ruling piecemeal. It was just a matter of time – the same tragedy that befell North India also befell South India.

Allauddin Khalji and his army general Malik Kafur undertook a series of expeditions against the southern kingdoms. Allauddin Khilji invaded Devagiri the capital of the Yadavas and Warangal the capital of Kakatiyas in 1296 CE and 1306 CE respectively. Trilled by the plunder obtained in these wars prompted Khilji to invade the other prominent Kingdoms of the South. In 1311 CE Malik Kafur attacked Dwarasamudra and plundered the immense wealth of the Hoysalas. Malik Kafur then raided the Kingdom of Pandya reaching as far as Madurai. These foreign invasions in South India left a devastating trail resulting in ransacking of all major towns, villages, religious places and forts by Malik Kafur and his army along their route march enroute to Dwarasamudra and Madurai. Hundreds of Temples down South of River Narmada were vandalized, Idols mutilated, Scholars were killed, the modesty of the woman was outraged, thousands of civilians were brutally killed and the immense wealth was plundered from these South Indian Kingdoms. It was very clear that Khalji’s invasion were primarily carried out to plunder the immense wealth, to subjugate the native Kings to his throne and more importantly to carry out forceful conversion of the natives to Islam with muscle power.

Acclaimed Historians Dr P. B. Desai, Dr Shrinivas Ritti and Dr B. R. Gopala in the book titled “A History of Karnataka (From Pre-history to Unification)”, state and I quote, “The foundation of the Vijayanagara empire in the 14th century is an epoch-making event not only in the history of Karnataka, but also of India.” While mentioning about the Muslim invasion from the North leading to the onslaught of the South they term Khalji’s raid as and I quote, “fanatic fury and iconoclastic onslaught”.

Attracted by the riches of the Deccan, Khilji in 1294 CE attacked Devagiri and once again in 1303 CE under the leadership of his general Malik Kafur plundered the capital city of the Yadavas. During this expedition ‘Devaladevi’ the daughter of Karna Deva II, the ruler in exile belonging to Vaghela Dynasty of Gujarat was captured by Alf Khan, the governor of Gujarat, who in turn sent her to Delhi along with the loot seized from the war. Devaladevi was forcibly married to Khalji’s eldest son Khizr Khan. Continuing their invasion policy, Khalji’s army attacked the kingdom of the Kakatiyas in 1309-10 CE and by defeating them huge tribute payments were recovered as dues. Wars carried out against the Hoysala and the Pandya kingdoms also resulted in the extraction of vast wealth looted from them. If Khusro’s accounts were to be believed it states that the immense wealth plundered in the South was transported to Delhi passing through Devagiri, Dhara Nagara mounted on thousand camels. A living testimony to this cruel onslaught of the Muslim invaders are the Stone Inscriptions of Dudda Village. These stone inscriptions are lying at Sri Kalleshwara Temple (13°04’26.5″N 76°12’53.0″E) situated at the bottom of the Doddakere Tank Bund in Dudda Village of Hassan District. Two of these stone inscriptions throw light on the attacks carried out by the Muslim invaders on the Hoysala Empire.

The first stone inscription towards the right side of the Kalleswara temple mentions that during the reign of Hoysala Veera Ballaladeva III, when the country was attacked by the Muslim invaders, Baicheya Nayaka, the son of Machaya Nayak of Dudda fort, attained martyrdom while fighting against the Muslim invaders but not before getting an appreciation from the enemies themselves for his great fighting skills displayed in the battlefield. The second stone inscription towards the left side of the same temple also mentions that during the reign of Hoysala Veera Ballaladeva III, Dudda Baichaya Nayaka along with his son Hiriyatammana died a heroic death in a fight with the Muslim invaders who came to attack Dwarasamudra. Another stone inscription of Kallugundi Village in Arsikere Taluk of Hassan District states that during the reign of Hoysala Veera Ballaladeva III when his Prime Minister Kameya Nayaka was ruling, Maragowda known as Katakatotikara Yodha Maravokkadekava, the son of Lingadahalli Balagowda fought very fiercely against the Muslim invaders when they attacked Goravanakallu. The inscription further states that this brave warrior seized the horses of the Muslim invaders thereby pleasing the Ruler and the Prime Minister who in turn gifted the surrounding villages of Kallugundi to Maragowda.

These three stone inscriptions are still standing as a living testimony to the attacks of the Muslim invaders in Southern India, especially on Dwarasamudra, the capital of the Hoysala Empire.


  1. Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 8, Hassan, Inscription No. 138
  2. Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 8, Hassan, Inscription No. 139
  3. Epigraphia Carnatica, Volume 10, Arasikere, Inscription No. 62

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