Retracing the Battle of Talikota

Retracing the Battle of Talikota
Narasim Katary visits some important places that are associated with the Battle of Talikota, which spelled the end of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire.

At dawn on January 25, 1565, Vijayanagar was the largest South Indian empire. The next day, it was no more. The remains of the day are worthy of a visit. The multiple causes that led to the collapse of the Vijayanagar Empire also hold some valuable lessons for contemporary India.

What has come to be known as the Battle of Talikota in history encompasses seven distinct locations, each with its own story to tell: Karadi, Tangadgi, Rakkasagi, Islampur, Mudgal Fort, Gudur Fort and Talikota. Visiting these places can enable one to go back in time and reconstruct the  great battle. Furthermore, one can also get to know how the battle unfolded.

If you are planning to visit these historical sites, it is best to use Ilkal town in Bagalkot district as the base. It would be easier and less exhausting for the traveller to visit the places over a period of two days. As road is the best connector to most of these places, it is better to go by a well-maintained car.


What has come to be known as the Battle of Talikota in history encompasses seven distinct locations, each with its own story to tell: Karadi, Tangadgi, Rakkasagi, Islampur, Mudgal Fort, Gudur Fort and Talikota. Visiting these places can enable one to go back in time and reconstruct the  great battle. Furthermore, one can also get to know how the battle unfolded.

If you are planning to visit these historical sites, it is best to use Ilkal town in Bagalkot district as the base. It would be easier and less exhausting for the traveller to visit the places over a period of two days. As road is the best connector to most of these places, it is better to go by a well-maintained car.

Talikota
The town of Talikota is famous for two reasons. First, it was the ground where the armies of the Deccan Sultanates (this was formed after the Bahmani Sultanate broke up into five states) assembled prior to marching to Karadi for the battle. Second, the victorious commanders decided to call the final decisive battle north-east of Karadi as the ‘Battle of Talikota’. Talikota is 100 km north-east of Ilkal.

The Battle of Talikota was a battle fought between the Vijayanagar Empire and the Deccan Sultanates. The combined forces of the Deccan Sultanates inflicted a devastating defeat on the Vijayanagar army.

It is tragic that the once renowned fort of Talikota has been reduced to shambles. The remnants of the outer fort wall, the rajvade (royal enclosure) and the fully functional centuries-old homes are indicative of its days of glory.

Karadi
Karadi is famous because the Battle of Talikota took place about four km north-east of this village. Karadi is about 27 km north-east of Ilkal. Knowledgeable people in Karadi are emphatic in their opinions that Emperor Aliya Rama Raya established his base camp adjacent to the built up area of the village. While others insist that he stayed in the village.

The lands stretching from Karadi all the way north to Islampur are currently under cultivation and are quite flat, a feature essential for moving field artillery and large number of troops. One articulate middle-aged man did wonder why the government had not bothered to develop this important battlesite and make it a tourist spot.

Gudur Fort
Gudur Fort is infamous for destruction and atrocities committed by the victorious Deccan Sultanates soldiers after their victory. Gudur is 41 km south-west of Karadi.
After winning the battle, the combined forces of the Deccan Sultanates raided the fort at Gudur. Today, the fort remains as an unknown and unkempt ruin. It is a steep climb to the top of the hill, where the fort is located. It was built as a garrison and could have easily accommodated a battalion of 300 to 500 soldiers with their families.

Islampur
The small village Islampur is famous for two reasons. First, it acted as the beachhead in the south for the combined armies that were fording River Krishna from Rakkasagi on the north shore. Second, it contains a small mosque erected as a victory monument. Islampur is eight km north of Karadi on the south shore of River Krishna.

The mosque at Islampur is said to have been built within a day of the victory. As the battle ended on a Thursday, it is said, the general who led the armies of the
Deccan Sultanates commissioned soldiers to erect the mosque to be ready for the Friday mid-day namaz.

Muslims and Hindus on the victorious side fought together and prayed together. The Hindus in the Deccan Sultanates’ armies offered their prayer of thanks at the pre-Indo-European primal shrine at the southern perimeter of the mosque.

Mudgal Fort
Mudgal Fort is infamous for destruction and atrocities committed by victorious soldiers after their victory at Karadi. Mudgal is located 38 km away from Karadi. Vijayanagar Empire treated Mudgal Fort as the pre-eminent garrison close to the northern frontier.

About 40% of the fort is on a rocky hillock with the rest at ground level matching the plains in the area. The large fort enclosure enabled the stationing of at least 2,000 to 5,000 soldiers and their families. At present, a part of the Mudgal town is inside the fort walls. This indicates that at one time this fort housed soldiers.

The victorious soldiers found Mudgal Fort with its famed riches as an irresistible target. The ensuing pillage and other acts of victorious soldiers reduced the once proud fort to shambles.

Not only do these places remind us of an era gone by, but also offer a unique travel experience. With so much to see and learn, a trip down here will leave you yearning for more.

The town of Talikota is famous for two reasons. First, it was the ground where the armies of the Deccan Sultanates (this was formed after the Bahmani Sultanate broke up into five states) assembled prior to marching to Karadi for the battle. Second, the victorious commanders decided to call the final decisive battle north-east of Karadi as the ‘Battle of Talikota’. Talikota is 100 km north-east of Ilkal.

The Battle of Talikota was a battle fought between the Vijayanagar Empire and the Deccan Sultanates. The combined forces of the Deccan Sultanates inflicted a devastating defeat on the Vijayanagar army.

It is tragic that the once renowned fort of Talikota has been reduced to shambles. The remnants of the outer fort wall, the rajvade (royal enclosure) and the fully functional centuries-old homes are indicative of its days of glory.

Not only do these places remind us of an era gone by, but also offer a unique travel experience. With so much to see and learn, a trip down here will leave you yearning for more.

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