Version classiqueVersion mobile

Studies on fortification in India

 | 
Jean Deloche

II. The Hindu System of Fortification in South India (3rd-14th century A.D.)*

Texte intégral

Introduction

  • * Revised version (with additions) of a part of my article entitled: ‘Etudes sur les fortifications (...)
  • 1 Our survey covers mainly the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada countries.

1As mentioned in the preceding chapter, until the 3rd century A.D., strongholds in the Indian subcontinent were usually built according to a geometrical plan (quadrilateral, trapezium, rectangle, square, circle or semicircle); they consisted of a high and thick earthen embankment, with stone facing, corresponding to a wide and deep ditch; curtain walls were always massive and, except at some sites, flanked by solid quadrangular towers; gateways were relatively simple: a passage between rectangular structures forming either a projecting work outside or a curved opening inside; finally, according to iconographic sources, walls were crenellated with rectangular or serrated merlons. How did these principles evolve in South India during the following centuries?1

2As there was no major innovation in the machines used in warfare, military engineers carried on with this building tradition until the 14th or 15th century, combining the same customary practices with new elements, but without changing radically the system of defence.

3When Muslim rule became established in the Deccan there was a renewed interest in military technology and new principles were adopted by the builders. With the development of firearms towards the end of the 15th century and the general use of artillery in the following centuries, significant progress took place, though, in many places, engineers stuck to the old methods until the end of the 18th century.

  • 2 These designations are used by eminent archaeologists of the Medieval period. H. Cousens (in List (...)

4We can thus distinguish between “Hindu” and “Muslim” systems of fortification.2 The first one will be here considered.

From the Beginning of the Christian Era to the 6th Century A.D.

5In excavations conducted in the fortified sites from the beginning of the Christian era to the 6th century A.D., only remains of enclosures, often modified by later additions, have been found; they are all situated on flat land with little relief or near streams.

Fig. 1. Map of the fortified sites.

6Many are situated on the bank of a river. Such are, in Karnataka, Kotinlingala, on the right bank of the Godavari (Karimnagar district); in Andhra Pradesh, Dharanikota, on the right bank of the Krishna, near Amaravati (Guntur district), along with Banavasi, Nagarjunakonda, Sannati and Satanikota already mentioned in the preceding chapter.

  • 3 Description and references in N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, Forts of Andhra Pradesh (from the earliest (...)

7Some other sites such as Vengi, Lendulura (W. Godavari district), Kudura (Krishna district), Kisaragutta (Haidarabad district), Dhulikatta (Karimnagar district), all in Andhra Pradesh, are located in the plains.3

8It they were to be classified according to the ancient treatises, then they would correspond to sthaladurga ("earthen forts") and jaladurga ("water forts").

9It is surprising to find that none of them is located on high ground (mounds, outcrops, hillocks) and, therefore, that there was no giridurga ("hill fort").

10Most of them consist of high and thick earthen bunds surrounded by deep and broad ditches. Masonry works-mainly brick or laterite revetments-have been exposed. Breaches through the embankments often correspond to gates; at Dharanikota, simple rectangular openings are found; the gate of Dhulikatta consists of a passageway between two guardrooms. Strangely enough, flanking towers are never seen, except at Kotilingala, where a brick tower rectangular in plan, 10 x 11 m, was exposed, which represents, for this period, the only example of a projecting mass in a fortification.

  • 4 N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., pp. 91-92.

11From these observations it can be inferred that the enclosures of that period were elementary, that this lack of strength was due to the fact that cities surrounded with walls were more political centres than military posts, that, the art of warfare having not been improved, the fate of wars was more dependent on battlefields than on fortifications.4 This is, however, pure hypothesis: excavations in those sites have just begun and new lights will probably be thrown on these structures by the A.S.I. in the near future.

From the 6th to the 11th Century

12Among the works built after the 6th century, on the other hand, some of them have been well preserved and it is thus possible to analyse their main features.

13Three fortified sites have been selected for this period: Aihole, Alampur and Badami, all of them famous for their Chalukya temples. Religious edifices in these places have been the subjects of very detailed studies, but defence works did not attract the attention of archaeologists, except in the latter, which has been investigated by S.K. Joshi.

14The sitting of these forts is not the same. The first one is found on a flat land near a mound, the second, on the bank of a large river, the third one occupies the extremity of a rocky hillock.

151. At Aihole (Bijapur district, Karnataka), situated at a short distance of a meander of the river Malaprabha, dominated by a rugged sandstone mound (fig. 2), there is an enclosure, oval in shape around the human settlement, but square in form on the hill, which could be dated from the Chalukyan period (7th-9th century).

  • 5 C.S. Patil, in D.V. Devaraj & C.S. Patil, Vijayanagara Progress of Research, 1988-1991, p. 209.
  • 6 Plan of the site in G. Michell, Early Western Catukyan Temples, vol. II, pl. 13; see also Gazettee (...)

16Parapets have disappeared (however we know from inscriptions of the 9th century that they were provided with a battlement5), but vestiges of curtain walls, about 4.5 m high, remain, strengthened by rectangular towers every 33 m.6

Fig. 2. Aihole (after G. Michell, op. cit. vol. II, PI. 13)

17To the north and east part of the enclosure, they are built with stone facings on the exterior and interior enclosing an infilling from 1 to 1.7 m thick (photo 4), but, towards the south, most of them are revetted only on the exterior face. Towers are 4 m in width and are projecting 5 m. It is a massive masonry construction with a slightly tapering profile on the outer face. Stone blocks, rectangular in shape, are laid without mortar (photos 2-4).

182. At Alampur (Mahbubnagar district, Andhra Pradesh), on the left bank of the Tungabhadra, near its confluence with the Krishna, opposite Karnul, the nine famous Chalukyan temples from the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. were protected by a stone enclosure, strengthened by 30 quadrangular towers, surrounded with a deep ditch, 30 m broad (photo 8), except in its southeast part running along the river.

  • 7 P.R. Ramachandra Rao, Alampur, A Study in Early Chalukyan Art, pp. 20-24; the author does not desc (...)

19This defence wall was probably built at the same period as the temples, since an inscription found on a stone block and dating from the 7th century mentions the construction of a prākāra which could have been the fort enclosure (?).7

20It consists of rectangular schist blocks (rocks whose constituent minerals have a parallel arrangement), of variable length, laid in regular courses (photo 5). The curtain walls (about 10 m high) are impressive; they rise straight from the ditch (photos 6 & 7); the counterscarp is also revetted with stone. Towers, regularly spaced, are from 6 to 7 m broad, but are not projecting much (1.50 to 3.40 m only). Inside the fortifications, there is a large square tower of the same material, renovated at a later period. Compared to the low wall of Aihole, this enclosure, protected on all sides by water surfaces difficult to cross, was really a strongly-fortified place.

213. Badami (Bijapur district, Karnataka), capital city of the first Chalukyas from the 6th to the 7th century, is situated at the end of a rounded hollow with steep sides, consisting of huge sandstone rocks, occupied by a large pond confined with a dam, called Agastya tīrtha (fig. 3).

22The fortifications consist of a lower and inner fort enclosing the town and on a level with the plain (today almost obliterated), commanded by two strong forts on the hill overhanging the town (where vestiges of defence works can still be seen).

23To the north, the fort is built on detached masses of steep rock cut into separate outcrops by narrow chasms, from 10 to 30 m deep, hence its name: Bāvanabaṇḍe kōṭe, "Fifty two Rocks Fort". The passage lays over a series of stone steps and through several narrow gates built in the masonry between the boulders, thus affording good shelter against projectiles.

24The south fort stands on the top of a bluff crag, cut from the main hill by a deep chasm; it is accessible by a steep and narrow flight of steps and is called Raṇamaṇḍala kōṭe, "Battlefield Fort".

  • 8 A good description of the site is found in Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, vol. XXIII, Bijapur (...)

25Though these forts were dismantled, there are are still enough vestiges of defence works to enable archaeologists to establish the chronology of the fortification.8

  • 9 S.K. Joshi., op.cit., pp. 53-66, figs. 21-33 and photos 9-13A.

26S.K. Joshi9 has shown the different stages of construction of these structures.

27a. The northern hill associated with the sage Agastya and provided with a good water supply was the first fortified, between the 6th and the 7th century.

28The ascent is very winding. The first gate is located between two boulders to the north-west of Agastya tīrtha, which acts as a ditch. It is a simple opening formed by two vertical huge jambs carrying lintels; on the inner side there is a platform. The second one has a narrow way leading to a wider passage with guardrooms on both sides, followed by a flight of steps towards the northwest, ending up in the third gate hemmed in by boulders and also provided with guardrooms. Then, there is a way, 4 m wide, leading to the fourth one, lined with long guardrooms. From there are two passages, the first one towards the south, i.e. Lower Sivalaya, the other towards the north, along a narrow passage in the valley ascending upwards, then to the east, where a small entrance (the fifth one) has been built between two huge rocks, and from this point the path runs in between boulders towards the south and finally reaches Upper Sivalaya which apparently was an important settlement during the Chalukyas on the top of the hill (fig. 5, a, b, & c).

Fig. 3 Badami: the four forts (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs 22 & 23).

Fig. 4. Badami: wall revetments (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 27, 28 & 29).

Fig. 5. Badami: gates (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 24, 25, 26 & 31).

Pl. I. Badami (6th-7th century, Aihole (6th-9th century)

Pl. I. Badami (6th-7th century, Aihole (6th-9th century)

1. Badami, a fortified rocky hill.

2. Aihole, north enclosure, with a tapering profile.

3. Aihole, earth and rubble revetted with stone blocks.

4. Aihole, rectangular sandstone block laid without mortar.

Pl. II. Alampur (7th-8th century)

Pl. II. Alampur (7th-8th century)

5. Rectangular schist blocks laid without mortar.

6. High curtain walls and towers.

7. Tower rising straight from the ditch.

8. Wide and deep ditch.

29Over the rocks there is an enclosure running along the cliff, with rectangular towers every 50 m, all in commanding positions, defending the town below. The walls, 6 m wide at the bottom and 2 m at the top, made of blocks of irregular shapes and of varied sizes, are strong (fig. 4, a). Parapets have disappeared. Wherever, as on the north face, the formation of the hill is weak the works are specially high.

30This labyrinth of deep chasms was thus completely defended by works raised on inaccessible crags not far from the gateways and had an exceptional defensive value. It can therefore be considered one of the first giridurga of South India.

31b. To the south-west of this hill, at the ground level, a new enclosure was built between the 8th and 9th century, connecting the steep side of the rock and Agastya tīrtha. It consists of curtain walls made of rectilinear segments cut by successive recesses forming right angles and flanked by towers having a rectangular plan. The walls are made of dressed stone blocks, with a polygonal facing (fig. 4, b & c).

32It is provided with two gates. The first one is simply a narrow passageway, 1.5 m wide; the other is a mandapa-gate, protected by an outwork made of two rectangular blocks acting as buttresses: on the inner side is a mandapa with four pillars at the comers and sockets cut into blocks of stone to carry the leaves of the (missing) doors (fig. 5, d). The greatest part of these works has been destroyed to build houses.

33d. The two other forts (fig. 3) were built at a later period, according to new defence technologies, after the rise of firearms.

34To the west, a lower fort, connecting the two hills, defended by a deep broad dry ditch, was built between the 14th and the 17th century. It was crescent-shaped with semicircular towers and a gate made of an open courtyard.

35On the top of the south hill a pentagonal fort was built in the 18th century, with semicircular towers holding ordnance and commanding the town below.

Characteristics of the works

36It should be noted that these defensive works do not differ basically from those of early historic India, described in the preceding chapter.

37It is still a passive fortification protected by its mass, based on the principle that the defence is conducted from the top, with thick and solid walls, rectangular towers, simple gates in the plan of the curtains. But an improvement is emerging:

  • the layout of the enclosures becomes more rational and takes into account the interdependence of the curtains, towers and gates;
  • the flanking of the enclosures becomes more systematic with outward-projecting works;
  • nothing can be said about parapets, because they all have disappeared.

From the 11th to the 15th Century

38These basic principles were not abandoned during the next period, though new methods were put into practice and defence devices strengthened, but offensive maneuverings having been improved, it became necessary to adopt systems which could fit to the new conditions of warfare and to carry out the needed modifications to the fortifications.

39The first innovation appears to have been the erection of barriers in front of the strongholds.

Successive Earthworks with or without Facing

40From the 11th to the 14th century, in certain places a complex system of defence is found. It is based on the accumulation of obstacles, i.e. the erection of a series of barriers in front of the main enclosure to keep away attackers by using natural features such as a hill, a river, or artificial works on flat grounds.

41These successive enclosures, semicircular, circular, or ovoid in shape, multiply the lines of defence. Some of them are ordinary banks of earth, others are levees, partly or fully equipped with stone works.

421. At Hangal (Dharwar district) (figs. 6 & 7), are four oval-shaped enclosures, each one bordered with a ditch 15 to 25 m wide:

  • the first wall, exclusively of mud, 5 m high (and measuring 2500 m from east to west), is edged with a ditch supplied with water by two big pounds to the south-west and north-east;
  • the second one, built between the 10th and 12th century, 10 m high (and measuring 1800 m from east to west), is revetted with a laterite wall;
  • the third one, 20 m high, made of brick, protects the fourth one or citadel built of laterite, probably more ancient, which is 38 m high.10
  • 11 Indian Archaeology, a Review, 1955-56, pp. 27-28.

432. At Tanjavur (district of the same name), archaeologists have found around the city a mud wall (probably earlier than the 14th century), 7 m high and 6 km long, with stone facing at its lowermost portion. Oval in shape, it surrounds the western part of the modem town, encompassing the stronghold of Tanjavur and the small fort of Sivaganga.11

  • 12 In R.H. Major, India in the Fifteenth Century, pp. 23-24.
  • 13 R Sewell, A Forgotten Empire, Vijayanagar, A Contribution to the History of India, pp. 242-244, 25 (...)

443. Vijayanagara (Bellary district) was encircled by several barriers. The Persian Abdur Razzak who visited the place in 1443 says that there were seven revetted enclosures and that the distance between the first and the seventh was 2 parasang, i.e. 10.5 km.12 The Portuguese Domingo Paes mentions that the town was surrounded with a discontinuous line of hills, forming several concentric circles, that the first one measured 24 Portuguese leagues (i.e. 148 km), and that all these successive crowns represented insurmountable obstacles, except at the gates giving access to the city.13 These enormous earthworks must have been undertaken a century before the arrival of the Persian traveller. Outside the city, in a zone covered with all kinds of inselbergs, there are but a few vestiges of these constructions.

Fig. 6. Hangal (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 53).

Fig. 7. Hangal, section through the enclosures (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 56).

Fig. 8. Warangal: The three enclosures (after I.K. Sharma, in Pandu Ranga Rao, op.cit p. 50).

454. It is at Warangal (fig. 8) that the best example of a ring-shaped enclosure is found. To the south-west of the modern town three concentric defensive lines were erected.

  • 14 G. Michell, (City as Cosmogram: the Circular Plan of Warangal), Journal of South Asian Studies, 19 (...)
  • 15 D. Someshvar Rao, (Ekasila Nagar-Warangal -Its Origin, Defence Structures- A Historic Appraisal), (...)

46It is possible that this fortified city be connected to a cosmic symbolism, as suggested by George Michell,14 because this circular plan reminds us of a maṇḍala or a yantra and the four gates of the inner fort with their bent outwork look like the śvastika. In any case, it corresponds to a distinctive defence system15

47The first one, made of earth and rubble, vestiges of which still exist, makes a ring 12.2 km in diameter.

  • 16 The earthen bund and the stone-built fort represent such a colossal work that it cannot be attribu (...)

48The second is an enormous and impressive concentric earth embankment, 2.4 km in diameter, 19 km in circumference and from 14 to 17 m high, with, at intervals, bulges or flanking works, defended by a wide and deep ditch. In places, the earth is held by a low rubble surface, which is a part of a retaining wall. Called Bhūmikōṭa, it was built in the course of the 12th century.16

49There are four gates situated at cardinal points. The entrances seen today are obviously Muslim structures (photo 9). As no traces of Hindu constructions are found, it is assumed that originally the openings through this barrier were rudimentary, because, if massive stone gateways had existed there, invaders would have preserved them, as they have done for the inner fort. According to a text from the Kakatiya period, the Siddhēśvaracaritra (end of the 13th century), this enclosure was pierced by 8 gavani (gates) and 16 diḍlu (posterns).

50The third wall defending the inner fort, a massive construction in granite with quadrangular towers and gates, will be described infra.

51Before the invention of gunpowder, the purpose of these gigantic earthworks was twofold. First, because of the depth of the ditch and the slope of the embankment outside the enclosure, they were intended to block the impetus of the attackers and put the enemy in a position of inferiority; secondly, because of their circular form, inside the walls, they were to make the movements of the defenders easier towards the most vulnerable points during an attack.

52Thus, at Warangal, where vestiges of constructions are well preserved, the outer ring was meant to check the advance of the enemy and give the alert to the defenders; on the second one, thicker and higher, was the actual barrier (to judge by the facilities installed by the Muslims at the gates, it was still considered effective after the invention of firearms); the third, fully covered in a protective layer of stone broken by a regular series of towers and elaborate gates, represented the final halting line.

53This system of defence must have been adopted elsewhere. And it would not be surprising to find such earthworks at excavation sites in the immediate future.

54As regards stoneworks built during this period, improvements are noticed in their capacity to resist attack.

Masonry fortifications

  • 17 Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the Year 1930, pl. VIII. This plan shows (...)

551. On the Maisur plateau, Halebid (Hassan district), capital of the Hoysala kingdom for three centuries (but plundered by Malik Kafur at the beginning of the 14th century), was surrounded by a solid enclosure connecting several ponds whose vestiges still remain. A plan of the site drawn by the Mysore Archaeological Department is reproduced here with some corrections and additions17 (fig. 9).

Fig. 9. Halebid (after Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department of the year 1930, pl. VIII)

56In its eastern part bordering Dorasamudra lake and in the northern section, only a few irregular blocks of stone fitted together without mortar are found, but, towards the west, to the south of the road leading to Belur, there is a long earthen embankment edged with a wide ditch, about 10 m high, 15 m thick, revetted outside only, strengthened, every 55 m, by rectangular towers, 11 m wide, projecting 9 m, of which the base only remains (photo 10). After the seventeenth tower there is a cut in the levee corresponding to an ancient gate, in part faced with masonry, describing a zigzag course.

  • 18 A good description of the Hindu and Muslim works is given in S.K. Joshi, op. cit., pp. 69-75, figs (...)

572. In Malkhed (Gulbarga district) (fig. 10), on the left side of the river Kagina, which was the magnificent capital of the Rashtrakutas, there are vestiges of two forts. The most recent, situated inside the other one and dating from the Muslim period could have been built between the 9th and 12th century. Polygonal in plan, 1500 m long, broken by 39 rectangular towers, each measuring 5 x 3 m, and positioned at regular intervals of 30 to 40 m, the enclosure is edged with a ditch connected to the river that protects the western side. The original parapets have disappeared and have been replaced by battlements of a later period. On the western side, the base of the enclosure is reinforced by huge blocks of stone to fight against the current of the river. The northwest gate forms a path, 3 m wide with, on both sides, a guardroom and a staircase leading to the chemin-de-ronde (later two semicircular towers were added). The Muslims built the inner fort in the second half of the 15th century and, at the same time, renovated completely the old citadel.18

  • 19 G. Yazdani, in Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of his Exalted Highness the Nizam's (...)
  • 20 See J. Deloche, Contribution à l'histoire de la voiture en Inde, pp. 59-60, fig. 19 a.

583. At Raichur (district of the same name) (fig. 11), in the Krishna-Tungabhadra Doāb, two different enclosures are also found; but, there, it is the most recent that encloses the most ancient. The Muslim rampart, dating from the Bahmani and Add Shahi periods, oval in shape, punctuated with semicircular towers and constructed of rough stone masonry with mortar, contrasts with the Hindu fortification it encircles. The latter follows an irregular quadrilateral, made of rectilinear segments, cut by successive recesses forming right angles and flanked by quadrangular towers (photo 11). It is made of huge blocks of well-dressed and nicely fitted stones without any cementing material. On one slab in the western inner wall, measuring 12 m, an ancient Canarese inscription records the construction of the fort in 129419 (the process by which this block was brought to the site from the quarry, laden on two solid-wheeled carts connected by a strong beam and drawn by a long team of buffaloes is here depicted).20

Fig. 10. Malkhed: the two forts (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 35).

Fig. 11. Raichur: the two forts (after G. Yazdani, in Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of his Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1929-30).

Fig. 12. Warangal: the western gate (after N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., fig. 6); inset plan: section through the stairs.

Pl. III. Earthworks and masonry fortifications (12th-13th century)

Pl. III. Earthworks and masonry fortifications (12th-13th century)

9. Warangal, 2nd enclosure, east entrance through the enormous earth embankment.

10. Halebid, remains of a quadrangular tower.

11. Raichur, curtain walls made of rectilinear segments flanked by quadrangular towers.

Pl. IV. Warangal (12th century) (A)

Pl. IV. Warangal (12th century) (A)

12. Granite blocks fitted closely together without mortar.

13. Tiers of steps within the rampart.

14. Parapet made of large horizontal blocks with rectangular notches.

15. Muslim pointed merlons erected on the old wall.

16. Square tower topped by pointed merlons.

Pl. V. Warangal (12th century) (B)

Pl. V. Warangal (12th century) (B)

17. Square tower flanking the south gate.

18. South gate, detail.

20. Ditch excavated in the rock.

594. Finally, the most amazing (and the best preserved) stronghold is the third enclosure or inner fort of Warangal, called Kalukōṭa. It is a massive circular granite construction with a perimeter of 6 km, surrounded by a deep moat and flanked by 46 rectangular towers and 4 monumental gates, built during the same period as the second ring of walls described above, i.e. in the course of the 12th century. Though the parapets have been rebuilt and the gates modified by the Bahmanis who renamed the town Sultanpur, the greater part of the old fortification remains.

60The walls, 6 to 8 m high, 6 to 7 m thick, with a strong batter, are provided with a wide chemin-de-ronde accessible, inside, through a construction with tiers of steps extended all around the wall, a kind of immense amphitheatre, making it possible to rush men and supplies to the fighting forces (photo 13).

  • 21 N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., pp. 59-60.

61The facing consists of stone blocks of various dimensions, laid contiguously without any mortar; some of them are enormous (6 x 1 m) (photos 12 & 15). Towers are almost square (13 x 12 m) (photo 16). The four gates situated at the cardinal points, though damaged, are still erect. They are all built from the same pattern (fig. 12): from outside to inside, there is a first rectangular opening flanked by two square towers, leading to a long open courtyard connected to a second opening that in turn runs into a passage which leads inside the fort (fig. 12 and photos 17-19 & 21). The presence of stone sockets on the pillars shows that there were wooden doors, secured when closed by heavy timber bars.21

62Unlike the constructions we have mentioned, whose parapets have been rebuilt, in this fort, on the walls of the gates, beautiful specimens of Hindu merlons, each made of a single block of stone, still exist (see infra, p. 72).

Principles of defence

63It is difficult to appreciate the progress made in the siege engines during that period, but, if we are to believe what the Muslim chronicles say regarding the way they besieged the Kakatiya capital at the beginning of the 14th century, projectile machines were efficient: attackers used catapults called manjanīk for casting stones, darts and firebrands; defenders used the same engines and also missiles, especially flaming torches, called arad, thrown upon the wooden engines of the besiegers.

64Judging by the military works of Warangal, significant modifications took place in the fortification.

65First in the layout of the stronghold, which was more consistent, with more cohesion in the different elements of the construction: inside the Kakatiya capital, because of its circular plan, the garrison could reach any point of the enclosure attacked by the enemy, all the more so since the chemin-de-ronde was accessible, from all directions, by a gigantic staircase (the same concern is found in other sites, whether polygonal or quadrilateral in shape).

66Second, in the curtain walls which have their sides considerably battered from base to summit in order to eliminate the blind spot at their foot. They are strengthened by towers of the same height which are bulkier: for example, at Aihole (7th-9th century), they are 4 m wide and project 5 m only, but at Halebid the width is 11 m and the salient 9 m; at Warangal, 12 and 12 m respectively, thus increasing the strength of the masonry and giving better control over the curtain walls, which are more regularly spaced out.

Fig. 13, Battlement represented in hero stone (virakkal) dating from the 12th and 13th centuries

Fig. 14. Warangal: old battlement (after a photo).

67The most noticeable progress is in the plan of the gateways, well protected, with open rectangular courtyards, surrounded with walls, connected by two or three entrances, which follow a zigzag course where the attackers are vulnerable to the projectiles of the defenders.

68Very little is known about the cresting of the walls for this period, except at Warangal, where, as already said, it has been preserved. Parapets are made up of large horizontal stone blocks lying on a series of slabs (Jig. 14); in these blocks, 3 to 4 m long and 45 cm thick, there are rectangular notches (crenels) 40 cm wide, dividing the solid parts in merlons, 80 cm high, the overall height of the parapet is 1.70 m only (photos 14, 17 & 19). We recently found at Siddhavattam (Cuddapah district) merlons made in one stone piece (see infra, p. 154).

69In commemorative steles, scattered throughout Karnataka (vīrakkal) of the 12th-13th century (fig. 13, a-d), rectangular, circular and elliptical forts are represented with an enclosure provided with a regular alternation of rounded merlons and crenels. On the temple of Amritesvara of Annigeri (Dharwar district), dating from the same period, a parapet consisting of semicircular merlons is found.

70Thus the crenellation appears to have been elementary. The parapets are at the height of a man and do not fully protect the defenders. Without loopholes, soldiers were in serious danger whenever they were shooting: this was the weak point of the fortification.

  • 22 J. Delochc, Military Technology in Hoysala Sculpture, pp. 1-48.

71But, overall, it is clear that the enclosures of this period were not only protective walls, but that they had become powerful military carapaces, capable of striking blows. Elsewhere,22 I have shown that, in the Deccan kingdoms between the 10th and 13th century, thanks to the general use of the stirrup, the saddle and the horseshoe, the cavalry became the “queen of battle”, the mobility of the armies increased and attack prevailed over defence. This progress, which culminated in the second half of the 13th century, corresponds to a turning point in the history of military techniques in South India. This is probably the reason why fortifications were strengthened with thicker and higher walls and towers.

Conclusion

72These features of the Hindu military constructions correspond to a period when gunpowder and firearms were not in use.

73When new weapons were introduced into warfare, at the end of the 15th and at the beginning of the 16th century, a different military architecture was adopted in the Deccan, with new principles of fortification. The examination of the fortified works shows that various improvements were carried out to give a better protection to the strongholds.

Annexes

List of Figures

Fig. 1. Map of the fortified sites.

Fig. 2. Aihole (after G. Michell, op.cit. vol. II, pl. 13).

Fig. 3. Badami: the four forts (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 22 & 23).

Fig. 4. Badami: wall revetments (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 27, 28 & 29).

Fig. 5. Badami: gates (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 24, 25, 26 & 31).

Fig. 6. Hangal (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 53).

Fig. 7. Hangal, section through the enclosures (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 56).

Fig. 8. Warangal: The three enclosures (after I.K. Sharma, in Pandu Ranga Rao, op.cit., p. 50).

Fig. 9. Halebid (after Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the Year 1930, pl. VIII).

Fig. 10. Malkhed: the two forts (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 35).

Fig. 11. Raichur: the two forts (after G. Yazdani, in Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of his Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1929-30).

Fig. 12. Warangal: the western gate (after N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., fig. 6); inset plan: section through the stairs.

Fig. 13. Battlements represented in hero stones (vīrakkal) dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. Fig. 14. Warangal: old battlement (after a photo).

List of Plates

Pl. 1. Badami (6th-7th century, Aihole (6th-9th century)

1. Badami, a fortified rocky hill.

2. Aihole, north enclosure, with a tapering profile.

3. Aihole, earth and rubble revetted with stone blocks.

4. Aihole, rectangular sandstone blocks laid without mortar.

Pl. II. Alampur (7th-8tli century)

5. Rectangular schist blocks laid without mortar.

6. High curtain walls and towers.

7. Tower rising straight from the ditch.

8. Wide and deep ditch.

Pl. III. Earthworks and masonry fortifications (12th-13th century)

9. Warangal, 2nd enclosure, east entrance through the enormous earth embankment.

10. Halebid, remains of a quadrangular tower.

11. Raichur, curtain walls made of rectilinear segments flanked by quadrangular towers.

Pl. IV. Warangal (12th century) (A)

12. Granite blocks fitted closely together without mortar.

13. Tiers of steps within the rampart.

14. Parapet made of large horizontal blocks with rectangular notches.

15. Muslim pointed merlons erected on the old wall.

16. Square tower topped by pointed merlons.

Pl. V. Warangal (12th century) (B)

17. Square tower flanking the south gate.

18. South gate, detail.

19. East gate.

20. Ditch excavated in the rock.

21. West gate.

Notes

1 Our survey covers mainly the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada countries.

2 These designations are used by eminent archaeologists of the Medieval period. H. Cousens (in List of Antiquarian Remains in his Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, p. 51), describing the fort of Bonghir, notes:"... old walls and gates remain and form a great contrast in mode of construction with the later Musalman work"; G. Yazdani (in Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of his Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1921-24, p. 3), writes that “by the advent of the Moslems into the Deccan a vigourous style of military architecture grew up and the use of the guns... brought about still further improvements in the principles and material of building as well as in the laying out of the defences".

3 Description and references in N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, Forts of Andhra Pradesh (from the earliest limes up to 16th century A.D.), pp. 81-92, and S.K. Joshi, Defence Architecture in Early Karnataka, pp. 37-49. On the ancient forts of the Tamil country, see S. Suresh, Defence Architecture in the Early Tamil Country, Proceedings of Indian History Congress, 1988, pp. 657-661.

4 N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., pp. 91-92.

5 C.S. Patil, in D.V. Devaraj & C.S. Patil, Vijayanagara Progress of Research, 1988-1991, p. 209.

6 Plan of the site in G. Michell, Early Western Catukyan Temples, vol. II, pl. 13; see also Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, vol. XXIII, Bijapur, pp. 378, 545-548, 683-686.

7 P.R. Ramachandra Rao, Alampur, A Study in Early Chalukyan Art, pp. 20-24; the author does not describe the defence works and does not give a plan of the place.

8 A good description of the site is found in Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, vol. XXIII, Bijapur, pp. 550-563.

9 S.K. Joshi., op.cit., pp. 53-66, figs. 21-33 and photos 9-13A.

10 S.K. Joshi, op.cit., pp. 85-92, figs. 52-56 and photos 18 A-19A, 26-29.

11 Indian Archaeology, a Review, 1955-56, pp. 27-28.

12 In R.H. Major, India in the Fifteenth Century, pp. 23-24.

13 R Sewell, A Forgotten Empire, Vijayanagar, A Contribution to the History of India, pp. 242-244, 253-254.

14 G. Michell, (City as Cosmogram: the Circular Plan of Warangal), Journal of South Asian Studies, 1992, vol. VIII, pp. 1-18; see also S. Nagabushan Rao (ed.), Cultural Heritage of the Kakatiyas, A Medieval Kingdom of South India, pp. 92-105.

15 D. Someshvar Rao, (Ekasila Nagar-Warangal -Its Origin, Defence Structures- A Historic Appraisal), in Pandu Ranga Rao, Engineering and Technological Achievements during the Kakatiya Period, pp. 95-102; N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, Forts of Andhra Pradesh (from the earliest times up to 16th century A. D.), pp. 177-196.

16 The earthen bund and the stone-built fort represent such a colossal work that it cannot be attributed to the queen Rudramadevi (1262-1289) only. These gigantic earthworks (millions of cubic metres must have been handled by workers) involved a considerable manpower. If you also consider the huge hydraulic works carried out at the time of the Kakatiyas, it makes you wonder whether the people were forced to provide such very heavy services, as in Assam in Ahom times, when all male adults were grouped in units: soldiers during wars, labourers during times of peace, and were employed, each in their turn, in the service of the state. This mobilisation of the populace permitted the sovereigns to achieve these extensive works.

17 Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department for the Year 1930, pl. VIII. This plan shows an enclosure punctuated with semicircular towers, but, in fact, these structures are rectangular works. I have therefore corrected it accordingly and have added the bund.

18 A good description of the Hindu and Muslim works is given in S.K. Joshi, op. cit., pp. 69-75, figs. 35-42, photos 14-17A.

19 G. Yazdani, in Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of his Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1929-30, pp. 6-7, pl. VII a; see also V.S. Sarma, History and Antiquities of Raichur Fort, 110 pp. & 19 pis.

20 See J. Deloche, Contribution à l'histoire de la voiture en Inde, pp. 59-60, fig. 19 a.

21 N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., pp. 59-60.

22 J. Delochc, Military Technology in Hoysala Sculpture, pp. 1-48.

Notes de fin

* Revised version (with additions) of a part of my article entitled: ‘Etudes sur les fortifications de l’inde. III. La fortification hindoue dans le Sud de l’Inde (VIe-XVIIIe siècle)’, Bulletin de l’Ecole française d’Extrême-Orient 88, 2001, pp. 98-134.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 1. Map of the fortified sites.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 428k
Légende Fig. 2. Aihole (after G. Michell, op. cit. vol. II, PI. 13)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 305k
Légende Fig. 3 Badami: the four forts (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs 22 & 23).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 198k
Légende Fig. 4. Badami: wall revetments (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 27, 28 & 29).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 77k
Légende Fig. 5. Badami: gates (after drawings by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., figs. 24, 25, 26 & 31).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 388k
Titre Pl. I. Badami (6th-7th century, Aihole (6th-9th century)
Légende 1. Badami, a fortified rocky hill.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 215k
Légende 2. Aihole, north enclosure, with a tapering profile.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 207k
Légende 3. Aihole, earth and rubble revetted with stone blocks.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 221k
Légende 4. Aihole, rectangular sandstone block laid without mortar.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 231k
Titre Pl. II. Alampur (7th-8th century)
Légende 5. Rectangular schist blocks laid without mortar.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 229k
Légende 6. High curtain walls and towers.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 225k
Légende 7. Tower rising straight from the ditch.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 196k
Légende 8. Wide and deep ditch.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 203k
Légende Fig. 6. Hangal (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 53).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-14.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 193k
Légende Fig. 7. Hangal, section through the enclosures (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 56).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-15.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 113k
Légende Fig. 8. Warangal: The three enclosures (after I.K. Sharma, in Pandu Ranga Rao, op.cit p. 50).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-16.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 440k
Légende Fig. 9. Halebid (after Annual Report of the Mysore Archaeological Department of the year 1930, pl. VIII)
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-17.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 167k
Légende Fig. 10. Malkhed: the two forts (after a drawing by S.K. Joshi, op.cit., fig. 35).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-18.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 206k
Légende Fig. 11. Raichur: the two forts (after G. Yazdani, in Annual Report of the Archaeological Department of his Exalted Highness the Nizam's Dominions, 1929-30).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-19.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 222k
Légende Fig. 12. Warangal: the western gate (after N.S. Ramachandra Murthy, op.cit., fig. 6); inset plan: section through the stairs.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-20.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 359k
Titre Pl. III. Earthworks and masonry fortifications (12th-13th century)
Légende 9. Warangal, 2nd enclosure, east entrance through the enormous earth embankment.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-21.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 197k
Légende 10. Halebid, remains of a quadrangular tower.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-22.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 220k
Légende 11. Raichur, curtain walls made of rectilinear segments flanked by quadrangular towers.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-23.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 215k
Titre Pl. IV. Warangal (12th century) (A)
Légende 12. Granite blocks fitted closely together without mortar.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-24.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 224k
Légende 13. Tiers of steps within the rampart.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-25.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 141k
Légende 14. Parapet made of large horizontal blocks with rectangular notches.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-26.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 182k
Légende 15. Muslim pointed merlons erected on the old wall.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-27.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 169k
Légende 16. Square tower topped by pointed merlons.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-28.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k
Titre Pl. V. Warangal (12th century) (B)
Légende 17. Square tower flanking the south gate.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-29.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 178k
Légende 18. South gate, detail.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-30.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 122k
Légende 19. East gate.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-31.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 155k
Légende 20. Ditch excavated in the rock.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-32.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 221k
Légende 21. West gate.
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-33.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 195k
Légende Fig. 13, Battlement represented in hero stone (virakkal) dating from the 12th and 13th centuries
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-34.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 210k
Légende Fig. 14. Warangal: old battlement (after a photo).
URL http://books.openedition.org/ifp/docannexe/image/4017/img-35.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 51k

© Institut Français de Pondichéry, 2007

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Cette publication numérique est issue d’un traitement automatique par reconnaissance optique de caractères.

Acheter

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search