Kakatiya Dynasty

  • The Kakatiya Dynasty was an South Indian Telugu dynasty that ruled most of eastern Deccan region in present-day India between 12th and 14th centuries.
  • Their territory comprised much of the present day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and parts of eastern Karnataka, northern Tamil Nadu, and southern Odisha.
  • Their capital was Orugallu, now known as Warangal.
  • Early Kakatiya rulers served as feudatories to Rashtrakutas and Western Chalukyas for more than two centuries.
  • They assumed sovereignty under Prataparudra I in 1163 CE by suppressing other Chalukya subordinates in the Telangana region.
  • Ganapati Deva (r. 1199–1262) significantly expanded Kakatiya lands during the 1230s and brought under Kakatiya control the Telugu-speaking lowland delta areas around the Godavari and Krishna rivers.
  • Ganapati Deva was succeeded by Rudrama Devi (r. 1262–1289) who is one of the few queens in Indian history.
    • Marco Polo, who visited India around 1289–1293, made note of Rudrama Devi’s rule and nature in flattering terms. She successfully repelled the attacks of Yadavas (Seuna) of Devagiri into the Kakatiyan territory.
  • Alauddin Khalji invaded Kakatiya kingdom in 1303AD. This brought hard times for kakatiyas.
  • Finally in 1323 Prince Jaunakhan (muhammed bin Tughlaq) defeated Prataparudra Deva and annexed their kingdom.
    • Prince Jauna changed the name of Kakatiyas capital Oragallu as Sultanpur.
    • Prataprudra Deva committed suicide near Narmada river while coming to Delhi as a captive of prince Jauna.
Kakatiya dynasty

Polity & Administration

  • The Kakatiya polity was based on the monarchical system. The Kakatiya ruler was the pivot of the entire administrative structure, yet he was not an absolute autocrat. 
  • Generally, in the process of succession, they followed the law of primogeniture and as already referred; a woman coming to the throne was a remarkable exception.
  • The power appears to be decentralized between the ruler and the subordinates who owed allegiance to the ruler.
  • The subordinates were allowed to have their freedom in all respects except military matters. The only concern for the king was to check their overgrowth in power”.
  • Some of the fibres in the fabric of Kakatiya polity united the rulers directly to their primary subordinates, others led from these subordinates to different tiers of associates in a densely ramified pattern.
  • Connections extended horizon­tally, integrating localities spread over a wide territory, as well as vertically reaching down into villages and towns”. 
  • The Kakatiya rulers were assisted by a council of ministers and a host of officers at the centre as well as the provincial and local level. They took care to see that the territorial segments were properly divided and ruled effectively by loyal officials. Mandala, Nadu, Sthala, Seema and Bhumi were the names of the territorial divisions.
  • The Kakatiya state was a military-state ready to face the threat of internal and external enemies. The military organization of the Kakatiyas was based on Nayamkara system
    • In this system the ruler assigned fiefs to the Nayaks in lieu of their salaries and the Nayaks were to maintain some army for the ruler’s use.
    • The number of soldiers, horses, and elephants that are to be maintained by the Nayak were fixed by the king as per the fiefs enjoyed by the Nayak. 
    • Apart from the army that was supplied by the Nayaks, the Kakatiyas also maintained a standing army under the control of the commanders, who were directly respon­sible to the ruler.
  • In the military organization, forts played crucial role and the epigraphs refer to Giridurgas, like Anumakonda, Raichur, Gandikota and the Vanadurgas, like Kandur and Narayanavanam, the Jaladurgas, like Divi and Kolanu and the Sthaladurgas, like Warangal and Dharanikota. 
    • Nitisara of Prataparudra refers to the above mentioned four types of Durgas.
  • The military organization enabled the Kakatiyas to be aggressive and rapidly expand as an Andhra power from the core region or nuclear zone of Telangana to the coastal districts and hence to Rayalaseema or South-West Andhra and to penetrate to the Tamil region also. 


  • The primary source of governmental revenue was the levy on agricultural products
  • Taxes in kind were often paid in the Kakatiya kingdom in two instalments during the two major crop seasons of Kartika and Vaishakh. 
  • A term employed in this context, sunkamu or sunka, meant duties on exports and imports, excise duties, and customs duties levied on goods brought to and taken from market cities.
  • Taxes were levied under the Kakatiyas on the ownership of specific items such as horses, bandis (carriages), and banisas (slaves).
  • Motupalli was a significant port of Kakatiya Dynasty.
  • The Kakatiya monarchs were renowned for showing a strong personal interest in constructing various irrigation systems.
    • For irrigation, dams and tanks (samudrams in the Kakatiya empire) were built. 
    • The tanks were small, the irrigation systems were subpar, and the agriculture area was only a small portion of the land before the Kakatiyas. 
    • The Kakatiya rulers Beta II, Rudra, Ganapathi, and Prataprudra had a number of tanks constructed around their realm.
    • The Ramappa and Pakala lakes are the biggest of all the tanks. Ramappa Lake is located next to the Ramappa temple in Palampet. In 1213 AD, Jagdala Mummadi, a Kakatiya subordinate, built Pakala Lake.
    • Construction of tanks and temples paved the way for the growth of new towns, which allowed for the cultivation of previously uncultivated territory.
    • In the Andhra region, it is known that Kakatiyas and their subordinate chiefs constructed close to 5000 of these tanks, most of which are still in use today.


  • Relying on the evidence furnished by the Dharmasastric literature, traditional historians perceive the society as based on the Varnasramadharma model and divided into fourfold Varnas; Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. 
  • We also notice the emergence of sub-castes and Brahmins being divided on the basis of sub-regions as Velanatis, Veginatis and Mulakanatis, besides Srotriyas and Niyogis.
    • Interestingly, the community of Brahmins besides being scholars and teachers also acted as Dandanayakas or commanders and Amatyas or ministers.
  • Rulership was not the monopoly of the Kshatriyas alone and the prominence of the Kshatriya community as rulers appears to have diminished to a large extent. 
  • Anyone could become a ruler, provided he had the necessary qualities and abilities. One of the prominent features of medieval Andhra was the emergence of Sudras as the new political elite and the other social groups accepted the superiority of the Sudras as rulers. Further, it is believed that kings made it their duty to uphold the Brahmanical Dharma and took measures to see that each caste followed the duties assigned to it.
  • There is a strong belief that in medieval Andhra, the Brahmans occupied superior place in social order and the social order itself depended on their dictates. 
  • Considerable social fluidity among all non-Brahmins and the existence of occupational groups like merchants makes it too complex a situation for applying any standard model for Kakatiya Andhra society. 
  • Temple epigraphs testify to the practice of Saani being added to the women of the royal family and those attached to the temple. Women made donations referring themselves as somebody’s wife or daughter. That women had right to Stridhana and other forms of property is evident as women comprise 11 per cent of all individual donors.
  • Epigraphs also record donation of livestock, temple buildings and metal items used in ritual worship, along with irrigational facilities and cash. 
  • Interestingly, most of the temple women or Gudisanis were daughters of respectable men like Nayakas and Settis and temple women were not barred from marriage.
  • Social rigidity was less noticeable due to dynamism and fluidity witnessed in social relations.
    • For example, the literary test Palanativirulakatha refers to the war and the friends Balachandra from diverse backgrounds: a Brahmin, a blacksmith, a goldsmith, a washer man, a potter, and a barber and all of them call themselves ‘brothers’ and dine together before going to battle.
  • Merchants and artisan association appear to be the largest category of collective donors known from the epigraphs of the Kakatiyas. Social relationships appear to be based on common interest and occupations rather than Varna and Jati as social identities were not expressed in terms of Varna or Jati.


  • The major religion of the Kakatiya dynasty was Hinduism. The Kakatiyan society was largely structured based on Hindu customs and beliefs.
  • The rulers and the society were deeply rooted in Hindu traditions and culture. They patronized the construction of numerous Hindu temples and religious institutions. 
  • The Kakatiya dynasty was known for its religious tolerance.
    • Some of their rulers even patronized Jainism and Buddhism. 
  • However, Hinduism remained the dominant religion throughout the dynasty’s reign. 

Art and Architecture

  • The Kakatiya dynasty was known for its patronage of art and architecture. The dynasty’s rulers commissioned the construction of many temples and monuments. The temples were often adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures.
  • One of the most famous examples of Kakatiya architecture is the Warangal Fort.
    • It was built in the 13th century during the reign of Ganapati Deva. 
    • The fort is located in the heart of Warangal City. 
    • It is a massive structure that was built using granite blocks. 
    • It features the throne of Ganapati Deva, the Swayambhu temple, and several gateways adorned with intricate carvings.
  • The Thousand Pillar Temple is another famous example of Kakatiya architecture.
    • This was built during the reign of Ganapati Deva. 
    • The temple is located in Hanamkonda. 
    • It is known for its impressive pillars, which are carved with intricate motifs and sculptures. 
  • The construction of the famous Kakatiya Thoranam was carried out during the reign of Ganapathi Deva.
    • This intricate arch bears resemblances to the gateways of the Sanchi Stupa. 
    • It is recognized as the symbol of Telangana.
  • It is believed that the Kakatiyas constructed the Golconda Fort during the 13th century CE.
    • The fort was later expanded and fortified by various rulers who came after the Kakatiyas.
    • This included the Bahmani Sultanate, the Qutb Shahi dynasty, and the Mughals.
  • Recharla Rudra, who served as the commander in chief of Ganapati Deva, constructed the Rudreshwar temple.
  • Other notable examples of Kakatiya architecture include the following:
    • the Ramappa Temple, 
      • The Ramappa Temple built by the Kakatiyas was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021.
      • It is a 13th-century temple located in Palampet village of Telangana, India. 
      • Constructed on a platform that stands 6 feet tall, the temple has a cruciform layout.
        • It took almost 40 years to be finished. 
        • The inner chamber of the temple is crowned by a “shikhara” and is surrounded by a “pradakshinapatha.” 
        • It is known for its intricate carvings and unique architecture. 
    • the Bhadrakali Temple, and 
    • the Kolanupaka Temple
  • All of these temples feature elaborate carvings and sculptures.


  • The dynasty’s rulers were known to be great patrons of poets and musicians.
  • The Kakatiya period is considered a golden age of Telugu literature.
  • Jayapa senani has composed Geeta Ratnavali, Nritya Ratnavali and Vadya Ratnavali.
  • Andhra natyam and perinisivatandavam was classical dance forms of this period.
AuthorLiterary WorkDescription
VidyanathaPrataparudriyaAn epic poem celebrating the reign of Prataparudra.
Allasani PeddannaManucharitamBiography of the 14th-century king Manuma.
SrinathaHarikathaasaaramu Collection of stories and moral lessons.
Nandi ThimmanaParijatapaharanamAn epic poem about the abduction of the Parijata tree.
Raghunatha NayakaPrabhavati PradyumnamuPlay about the love story of Princess Prabhavati and Prince Pradyumna.
Palkuriki SomanathaBasava PuranaA biography of the 12th-century Lingayat saint Basavanna.
Gona Budda ReddyRanganatha RamayanamA Telugu retelling of the Ramayana.

Decline of the Kakatiya Dynasty

  • The decline of the Kakatiya dynasty began in the early 14th century. This was attributed to the Delhi Sultanate under Alauddin Khilji expanding its territory southwards. 
  • The Kakatiya kingdom was already weakened by internal conflicts and a succession dispute.
    • The dynasty had a complex system of succession. 
    • The throne was often passed down through maternal rather than paternal lineage. 
    • This system of succession led to frequent power struggles among the royal family. 
  • As a result, it was unable to resist the Delhi Sultanate’s military might.
  • In 1303, the Delhi Sultanate launched a military campaign against the Kakatiya kingdom. This resulted in the capture of the strategic fortress of Kaulas. 
  • The Kakatiya king at the time, Prataparudra, was forced to pay tribute to the Delhi Sultanate. This further weakened his authority and undermined the kingdom’s sovereignty.
  • In 1310, the Delhi Sultanate again launched a military campaign against the Kakatiya kingdom. This resulted in the capture of the city of Warangal.
    • The Kakatiya rulers were able to regain control of the city through a treaty with the Delhi Sultanate. However, the kingdom’s power had been severely weakened.
  • In 1323, the Delhi Sultanate under Muhammad bin Tughlaq launched a massive invasion of the kingdom.
    • The Kakatiya army led by Prataparudra was defeated. He was imprisoned and subsequently executed. 
  • With the fall of the Kakatiya dynasty, the region fell under the control of the Delhi Sultanate.

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Thank you so much for this important information