Kannada, Kannadiga, Kannadigaru, Karnataka,

Kannadigarella ondaagi Kannadavannu ulisona, kalisona and belesona

HISTORY of RAICHUR Dt.-Website-KANNADA INSCRIPTIONS-Literary & Cultural Activities


Raichur is very rich from the epigraphical point of view also. It has already yielded hundreds of inscriptions, ranging right from the Mauryan period upto the end of the Muslim period, in a variety of languages like Sanskrit, Prakrit, Kannada, Arabic and Persian and belonging to almost all the dynasties that ruled over the Dekkan. The most important places from this point of view are Maski, Koppal, Kuknur, Mudgal and Raichur.

The District of Raichur was a part of the Hyderabad State till the re-organisation of State on 1st November 1956. The recorded history of the district is traced to as far back as the third century B.C. The fact that three minor rock edicts of Ashoka are found in this district one at Maski in the Lingasugur taluk and the other two near Koppal, prove that this area was included in the dominions of the great Mauryan king Ashoka (273 – 236 B.C.). At that time, this region was under the governance of the Viceroy or Mahamatra of Ashoka. Early in the Christian era, the district appears to have been a part of the kingdom of the Satavahanas. The Vakatakas, who reigned during the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., seem to have held sway over Raichur for sometime, after which it appears to have been included in the Kadamba dominions. The next dynasty of importance, which ruled over this region, was that of the Chalukyas of Badami. According to an inscription from Aihole, Pulikeshi-II having defeated the Pallavas, occupied this area and made it a province in his empire under the governance of his son Adityavarma. Later the whole of the present Raichur district was included in the dominions of the Rashtrakutas, who rose to power in the eighth century, as could be gathered from the inscriptions of that period found in this district. According to an inscription from Manvi taluk, one Jagattunga, a subordinate ruler under the Rashtrakuta king Krishna-II, was ruling the province of Adedore Eradusavirapranta, i.e., the area constituting the present Raichur district. Nripatunga, a Rashtrakuta king, has described Koppal in his Kannada work, Kavirajamarga, as the great Kopananagara.

Numerous inscriptions of the Chalukyas of Kalyana, found in the various parts of the district, testify to the fact that this region was under their sway for a considerable length of time between the 10th and 12th centuries A.D. It is learnt from an inscription found at Naoli in Lingsugur taluk that during the reign of Chalukya Vikramaditya-V, the Adedore-pranta, i.e., the Raichur region, was being ruled by his younger brother Jagadekamalla-I. Another inscription from Maski describes the place as a capital and makes a reference to the reign of Jayasimha. There were, however, frequent wars between the Chola kings of the south and the Chalukyan kings of Kalyana for supremacy over the Raichur region and the territory had passed into the hands of the cholas for a brief period. The Haihayas and Sindas also seem to have ruled some parts of this region for sometime. Later, after the fall of the Chalukyas, Raichur passed into the hands of the Kalachuri kings. Then came the Kakatiyas in the 13th century. From an inscription on the fort-wall of Raichur, referred to earlier, it is learn that the original fort was built by one Gore Gangayya Reddy, a general of the Kakatiya queen Rudramma Devi of Warangal, in 1294 A.D., at the instance of the latter.

The district of Raichur has a hoary past. It has had an eventful & rich beginning from the days of the Mauryan King Ashoka. A number of inscriptions, rocks edicts & other records, temples, forts & battlefields bear testimony to this fact. Lying between two important Kingdoms. In the recent past, it was a part, it was a part of the princely State of Hyderabad, and since the 1st November 1956, it is a constituent district of the Mysore State.

Origin of the name of RAICHUR

The district derives its name from its headquarters town Raichur (origin of name Rayachooru in Kannada), as do most of the other districts also in the State. Though many of the villagers round about still call the place by the earlier from of the name which is Rayachooru, however, in modern times, it has come to be generally written and pronounced in Kannada as Rayachooru. The name of this place which is of considerable antiquity, can be traced back to the Twelfth Century at least. As Dr. P.B. Desai has pointed out the Raichur fortress was one of the fortresses conquered by the Hoysala king Vishnuvardhana. This is evident from at least Three of the Hoysala inscriptions in Kannada. In the earliest of these three inscriptions which was found at Hulkera in Belur taluk of Hassan district (numbered Belur 193 in Epigraphyia Carnatica, Vol V, PartI, 1902) and which belong to the year 1161 A.D. and the region of Hoysala Narasimha I, mention is made of the Perddore (the Krishna river) as the northern boundary of Vishnuvardhana’s Kingdom and the Rachavoor as one of the places conquered by Vishnuvardhana while still a youth.

The second of these inscriptions which was discovered at Hatana in Nagamamgala taluk of the present Manday district Numbered Nagamangala 70 in Epigraphia Carnatica, Vol IV-Part II,1898) and which is dated 1178 A.D. when Hoysala Vira-Ballala II was ruling, refers to Permmana (ie., Permma+na) Rachavoor as one of the numerous forts which Vishnuvardhana captured with a frown . This lithic record indicates that the place was known at the time as Permma’s Rachavoor, this Permma being probably a local chieftain, the third of these inscriptions, which is from Hirehalli in Belur taluk of Hassan district (numbered Belur 137 in Epigraphia carnatica, Vol. V-part I, 1902) and which is dated 1183 A.D. and is also the reign of Hoysals Vira-Ballala II enumerates Rachavoor as one of the places which Vishnuvardhana captured by the might of his arm.

From the context of enumeration of places in these inscriptions and other account of exploits of Vishnuvardhana, it becomes clear that the place referred to above as Rachavoor or Rachanoor is Raichur of the present days. Racha being derived from Raja (i.e., King) and oor meaning a place of town. Rachavoor (Racha + oor) or Rachanoor (Racha+na+oor) means in Kannada King’s place showing that it was already an important town in Kannada country. By 1294 A.D., Permmana Rachavoor or Rachanoor had been shortened into Rachoor or Rachooru as is clear from a Kakatiya inscription of that year found on the fort-wall of Raichur itself. That this form of the name for the place continued during the Vijayanagara times, at least upto 1541 A.D., is known from two Kannada inscriptions of that year found at Alampur (now in Mahaboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh ) which says that the king Krishnadevaraya captured Rachoor by his expendition in the north. Thus it is obvious that this historical Rachoor or Rachooru underwent a further slight change in recent times with the addition of ya between Ra and cha to become the present Rayachooru (Ra+ya+cha+oor) . The ya here might be the second letter of the word Raya meaning again king. In Hindi and Urdu the equivalent of Raya being Rai, it seems to have become the practice to spell the name as Raichur in Urdu, later bringing that usage into vogue in English as well.

It is narrated that a chieftain on witnessing a strange spectacle of a rabbit turning on a dog that pursued him and tearing the latter (dog) to pieces at this spot, thought that the scene of this heroic and unusual action was a fit place for building a fort and accordingly constructed a formidable fort and named the place as Naichur which, in Kannada, connotes the idea of the dog being torn to pieces. The present name, Raichur, is said to be have derived from that Naichur. But this kind of the story is repeated in respect of many forts. It is also said that Rai meaning stone in Telugu, with ooru (town), gave rise to Rajooru, that is, a town of stones (because of rocks in the vicinity) which becomes Rayachooru or Raichooru. These and such other stories can be said to be only conjectures, in view of the clear historical evidence about the name already explained. It appears that Raichur had been once renamed Ferozenagar by a Bahmani Sulthan, but the appellation did not stick on to it and it continued to be called by the old name only.





Literary & Cultural Activities

Raichur district has rich cultural traditions and has been playing an important role in the field of literary activities since early times. The temples and mathas were centers of cultural, literary and social activities. A galaxy of eminent personalities, who shone in the cultural field, hailed from this district. Rulers of powerful kingdoms like those of the Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas, of Viajayanagara and of the Bahmanis and Adil Shahs, which arose in the vicinity of the district, were great patrons of arts and letters. There were independent Bhakti movements pioneered by Sharanas and Haridasas who were dedicated souls and many of whom have left a deep impress on the literature and culture of the Kannada country.

In the 11th century, nearly a 100 years before the time of Sri Basaveshvara, Naoli, in Lingsugur taluk, was known for two reputed vachanakaras, namely, Shankara Dasimayya and Dhakkeya Marayya. They were the beginners of the vachana style which produced, in the following centuries, a unique treasure of Kannada literature. In the 12th century, Ayadakki Marayya of Amareshwara in Lingsugur taluk, his wife Ayadakki Lakkamma, and Bibbi Bacharasa of Gabbur made a notable mark as vachanakaras. In the 16th century, Lingannacharya of Kallur wrote Vararamya-Ratnakara in Bhamini-shatpadi metre.

During the times of the Vijayanagara kings, the mathas were re-organised, and during the reigns especially of Proudha Devaraya and Krishnadeva Raya, cultivation of arts and letters received a great impetus. The great Haridasa tradition was propagated in Raichur district by several eminent saints like Vijayadasa, Gopaladasa and Jagannathadasa in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Vijayadasa was born in 1687 A.D., at Chikalparvi in Manvi taluk in very humble circumstances. At an early age, he went to Varanasi for education. It is said to have composed 25,000 songs, the largest number of Kannada songs, ranking second after Purandaradasa in that respect. Gopaladasa, born in 1717 A.D., at Masarkal of Deodurg taluk, was a disciple of Vijayadasa. Gopaladasa is well known for his songs, which are full of devotion. There is hardly a topic, which he has not dealt with concerning mysticism. Jagannathadasa was born in 1727 A.D., in a family of Kukarnis (village accountants) at Biagwat, a village in Manvi taluk. He was called Jagannatha Vitthala by Gopaladasa. He was an eminent scholar of Sanskrit and a proficient writer in Kannada. He composed a number of devotional songs and wrote a learned treatise called Harikathamritasara. He was admired by Purnaiya, the great Dewan of Mysore.

Manohar Vitthala of Buddinni in Manvi taluk, earlier called as Buddinni Desai Narayanappa, was a disciple of Sri Gopaladasa. He lived about 175 years back. He wrote Raghavendraguru Stotra, Manmathavilasa, Sri Krishna Jayantikatha, Gadayuddha, Sankocha Bharata, Anantakathe and other works.

Vasudeva Vitthala, whose earlier name was Venkataramacharya and later known as Paramahamsa Vyasattvagna, was a famous saint of the 18th century (1705-1801 A.D.) He was a great devotee of Sri Raghavendraswamy of Mantryalaya. He is said to have performed many miracles. He was proficient both in Sanskrit and Kannada. He wrote 13 works in Sanskrit, of which his treatises on Manasasmriti and Upasanabhaga and his comments on the seventh canto of Bhagavata are well known. In Kannada, he wrote ten ugabhogas, sixteen suladis and hundreds of padas.

Praneshadasa (Pranesh Vitthala 1744-1822), whose former name was Yogappa, was born in Lingsugur taluk. He is said to have served his guru, Jagannathadasa, for nearly sixteen years. He was the author of Parth-Vilasa, Veerabhadra-Vilasa, Aniruddha-vialasa and 12 other Harikathas and rendered Vayustuti into Kannada and composed several ugabhogas and suladis and hundreds of padas.

The other famous Dasas were Panganama Thimmanna Dasa, Kallur Subbannacharya, Guru Pranesha, Sreesha Pranesha Vitthala, Guru Sreesha Vitthala, Ananda Dasa, ModalakalSeshadasa, Sri Varadesha Vitthala, Srinivasa Vitthala, Asigyala Govinda Dasa, Manvi Gundacharya, Lingsugur Padmanabha Dasa, Panduranga Rao Kasbe, etc., and a number of others strove earnestly to continue the Haridasa tradition.

During the 18th century, there were also a good number of Veerashaiva writers. Sangavibhu of Ganekal wrote Kumara Vijaya (a Champoo kavya) and three Shatakas, namely, Basava Shataka, Pampa Shataka and Bhuvanaika-Nayaki Shataka. Ganamathadarya was the author of Bhakti-Sudharasa, while Kudlur Basavalinga Sharma wrote Brahmatatva-Ratnakara and Channamalla Kavi of Deodurg wrote Karuneshwara-Purana.

The famous writers of the 19th century were Veerabhadra kavi, the author of Aravattumuru Puratanara Purana, Gugal Parappayya who was the author of Anubhava Padyagalu and Mariswamy who also composed Anubhava Padyagalu. The late Kaviratna Chenna kavi and Maski Basavappa Sastry were famous for their Puranas. The famous works of Chenna kavi are : Hemareddy Mallammana Purana, Anagal Kumareshwara Purana, Sollapurada Nalwathar Veereshwara Purana, Mulagunda Balaveera Mahanta Shivayogi Purana, Gowlakere Annadaneshwara Purana and other works.

The research work of late Gorebala Hanumantha Rao of Lingsugur in the field of Dasa Sahitya (the literature of Dasas), has brought to light the works of several Dasas (through Varadendra Sahitya Mandala, Lingsugur) who strove hard to propagate the Dasa tradition. He brought out more than 50 works containing keertanas of several Dasas. It was also discovered that there were Harijans and Muslims too among the Dasas. During the twenties and thirtees of the present century, the literary and cultural activities gained a considerable momentum through the strenuous efforts of Pandit Taranath (1891-1942), an eminent thinker, linguist and social worker, who hailed from South Kanara District but spent many active years of his life in the Raichur region. He attracted a number of devoted followers whom he inspired to work earnestly for the country. He wrote Dharma Sambhava, Dharmada Tirulu and other works, which are thought- provoking. He was highly proficient in Ayurveda also and trained up many youths in that medical science. He founded the Hamdard High School at Raichur. The late Kallinatha Shastri Puranik wrote Puranas, like his father Kaviratna Chenna kavi, of which Sharana Basaveshwara Purana, Gudleshwara Purana, Belwantara Chennabasaveshwara Purana and Itagi Bhimambika Purana are well known. He has written also plays, songs and other works. Late Prof. D.K.Bhimasen Rao of Bidgi in Manvi taluk, who worked as the Head of the Kannada Department of Osmania University, was responsible for fostering Kannada movement in Hyderabad through Kannada Sahitya Mandir and Nizam Karnatak Sahitya Parishat. His literary contributions are Hadimurane Shatamanda Karnataka, Andhra, Maharashtra Sahitya Avalokana, Shabdamani Darpanada Pathantaragalu Mattu Harikathamrita and Humale (a collection of poems edited), etc.

Late Sri Manvi Narasinga Rao, who worked for the cause of Kannada through Kannada Sahitya Mandir, Hyderabad, contributed to the Kannada literature Saraswati Tatva (a collection of essays) and Kannada Yatre (a travelogue), etc. He was mainly responsible for organizing the Nizam Karnatak Sahitya Parishat. Sri Tawag Bhimasen Rao of Tawag in Lingsugur taluk, a retired Kannada Lecturer, made a notable contribution by establishing Kannada Shitya Sangha in Gulbarga which has become a nucleus of many Kannada activities. His contributions are mostly in the form of articles or criticism published in literary journals like Prabuddha Karnataka. Sri Siddayya Puranik (son of the late Sri Kallinatha Shastri Puranik), an administrator, whose pen-name is Kavyananda, is one of the present-day eminent poets. His Manasa Sarovara, a collection of poems, won him a State award and his Thuppa Rotti Ge Ge Ge (children’s poems) won him a National award. He has written three dramas namely Atmarpana, Rajatarekhe and Bharataveera, two collections of stories, namely, tusharahara and Kathamanjari, and a novel, namely, Tribuvanamalla. Sharanacharitamrita is his other well known book of life-sketches of sixty-three Sharanas. Besides, he has edited Kannada Padya Ratnakara, Srikara Prabandhamale, Subodha-Sara, Mahatma Kanakadasa Prashasti and Sharanaprasada. His other works are Jalapata, Karana Sravana, Kallolamale, Modala Manavanagu, Vikasa Vani, etc. His brother Sri Annadanayya Puranik has written Channabasava Shitya, Bhageeratha Nyayadarshana, etc. Dr.S.M.Hunashal, Principal of the Hamdard Higher Secondary School, Raichur, has published several works both in English and Kannada, among which are the Veerashaiva Social Philosophy, Puratana Shraneyara Vachanagalu, Bharatada Samskritiya Ithihasa and Vichara Taranga (a collection of poems). Pandit D.M.Sharma has published a Kannada work entitled Amareshwara Purana. Shantarasa, a teacher by profession, has published a collection of poems called Musuku-tere; he is also the author of Satyasnehi, Nanjumorevalu and Manasagalli (poems), and has edited Siddharama, Kalyanadeepa, Basava Shataka and other works. Sri Jaithirth Rajpurohit, another administrator, is a noted novelist and a short-story writer. Suligali, a novel of his, won him a prize in 1968 in a competition. His other literary contributions are Paravvana Panchayati, Rohini (short stories), Halu Jenu (novel), Thungeyangaladalli (plays in verse) and Kanakagireesha Charite. Sri Chandrashekhara Sastry of Raichur has brought out several works on philosophy, while Vidwan Sri Veereshwara Shastry, a journalist and editor of Amaravani (a local monthly), has written a commentary on Bhava-Chintaratna of Gubbi Mallanarya. Sri Gadwal Shankarappa of Raichur, the organizer of Sangadigar Samithi, has been responsible for publication of several books brought out by young writers. He has also written Avale Ivalu, Brahma Tatva Ratnakara and Hariharana Kathegalu. Prof. T.Srikanthaiah of the L.V.D. College, Raichur, has written Arivu (a collection of poems) and Hariharanu Chitrisiruva Kelavu Sharanaru; he has also edited Shabara Shankara Vilasa.

To the credit of Sri Chennabasava Swamigalu of Naradagadde, a religious place, are works of literary and spiritual value such as Savijenu, Swayamprabha, Antaranga (being collections of his vachanas) and Sri Gurusannidhi. Sri Kushtagi Raghavendra Rao is working in Mysore University as a research worker on Dasa Sahitya. Sri Devendra Kumar Hakari, a Lecturer in Karnatak University, Dharwar, has written Chinmayi, Ache Eche, Chelva Kogile and Koogutive Kallu, while Sri Panchakshari Hiremath, another noted writer of Raichur district, has written a novel Borban Club serialized in a journal. In additiona to the above person, mention may be made of several others such as Sriyuths : the late Sugaveera Sharma and Manikya Rao, G.Krishna Rao, Jambanna, Hanumnthachar Updhyay, Amarananda, Vsanta Kushtagi, Vasudeva Bhat, Kanthannanavar, Basavaiah, Seetharam Jagirdar and so on who have earnestly contributed to Kannada literature.







November 10, 2007 - Posted by | Classical status to Kannada, EKAVI RAICHUR


  1. This article is more benefit for me. Hope you post more benefit article in the future. ++

    Comment by Sik | May 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. naviruvadu neemagagee

    Comment by mareppa bhajantri | September 21, 2011 | Reply


    Comment by NEELAMBIKE | April 11, 2012 | Reply

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