Ravella Nayaks

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[edit] Introduction

The independence of Telugu land came to an end in fifty years with the martyrdom of Musunuri Kaapaaneedu in 1370 A.D at the hands of Recherla Velamas who collaborated with Bahmani sultan. A large number of remaining Nayaks who served under Kaapaaneedu migrated to Vijayanagar and sworn allegiance to Bukka Raya, a close associate of Kaapaaneedu in protecting the Hindu dharma in Dakshnapatha (Deccan). Among them, Ravella clan which earned laurels for their bravery and defense of Vijayanagar Empire in the coming three centuries was noteworthy. The military commanders of Araviti kings were predominantly from Ravella clan. The most invaluable source of Ravella chiefs, their lineage and military exploits is a Telugu poetic treatise “Sougandhikaprasavapaharanamu” by Ratnakaram Gopalakavi.

[edit] Early history

The first menton of a Ravella chief was found in the inscription of Rajaraja III (1257 CE). Ravella chiefs ruled Srisailam and Dupatiseema from 1364 CE as vassals of Vijayanagar Empire. Their title Chalamartiganda shows that they belonged to Durjaya clan and Vallutla Gothra.

[edit] The commanders

The Ravella clan can be traced from Malla Nayaka (1495 A.D.) who served as a commander in Saluva Narasimha Raya’s army. Malla vanquished the army of Qutb Shah (Bahmani General) at Gudipadu and cut the general into pieces. He was known by his title Rajahridayabhalla Pratapaprabhava. Poet Ratnakaram Gopalakavi described the exploits of Malla in detail. Ravella clan had a large camping ground of 1260 Kuntas in the city of Vijayanagar. Malla used to maintain an army of 6,000 soldiers and 400 horses. His annual income was 13,000 Varahas (gold coins) out of which one third was paid to the king. Malla assisted Vasireddy Mallikarjuna in his battle with Haider Jung and died in 1527 CE (Vasireddy Clan).

Malla’s son Tippa participated in the expedition of Krishnadevaraya to defeat the Gajapatis (1513-1515 CE). The king decorated Tippa with many laurels and presented many gifts.

Tippa’s son Papa defeated the Muslim army and captured Kurnool fort for Rama Raya (1506 CE). Papa’s son Tippa II and grandson Linga I were also great warriors.

Konda (son of Linga I) who served Saluva Timmaraya conquered Adoni fort by defeating Naudul Khan at Manavapuri.

Tippa II’s son Ayyappa was a decorated commander in the army of Rama Raya. He ruled from Tirumanikota. He recovered Penukonda and Adoni forts from Abdullah Qutbshah of Golkonda in 1611 CE. He was decorated with many titles such as Aswarevanta, Parabalabhima, Chalamartivaraganda, Adavanidurgagarvavibhala, Hattumuvvraganda etc., Later, Linga II, grandson of Ayyappa, commanded the Vijayanagar army and captured the forts of Kurnool, Gandikota and Adoni. Gopala Kavi who described the exploits of Linga II was patronized by him.

Inscriptions in Nellore district showed that during the rule of Araviti kings, Ravella clan controlled Podili (Tippa Nayudu), Udayagiri (Koneti Nayudu) and Kocherlakota (Timma Nayudu).

Families of Ravella clan are currently distributed in Krishna, Guntur and Khammam districts of Andhra Pradesh in addition to a Zamindari (Ilavarasanandanan in Tirunelveli Dt) in Tamil Nadu.

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