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The Musunuri Nayakas were warrior kings of 14th-century South India who were briefly significant in the region of Telangana.

Musunuri dynasty

13th century–14th century
• Established
13th century
• Disestablished
14th century



Little is known of the Musunuri family; they are often described as "obscure".[1][2] The founding ruler of the family, Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka, suddenly appears as a new ruler at Rekapalle, near Bhadrachalam, around 1330, claiming heritage from the Kakatiyas.[3]

Andhra historians often state that Musunuri Nayaks belonged to the Kamma caste group.[4][5][6][7] However, the modern castes of Andhra region did not originate until the late stages of the Vijayanagara Empire.[8]

Opposition to TurksEdit

After the fall of the Kakatiyas, their empire was annexed by the Delhi Sultanate and Warangal was renamed "Sultanpur". Ulugh Khan remained as the governor of the region for a short period, until he was recalled to Delhi to succeed Muhammad bin Tughluq in 1324. A former Kakatiya commander, Nagaya Ganna Vibhudu, now renamed Malik Maqbul, was appointed as the governor of the region.[9] However, the Tughluq hold over the erstwhile Kakatiya kingdom was tenuous and a number of local chieftains seized effective power.[10]

Prolaya NayakaEdit

Musunuri Nayakas locations

As uncertain as Prolaya Nayaka's rise were the methods that enabled some limited amount of success for the venture, which saw the rebels defeating the Delhi Sultanate's armies in some battles and disrupting their cohesion in the region. The nobles were able to assert control in the Godavari area, over which Prolaya Nayaka became the ruler by 1330 until his death in 1333.

Scholar M. Rama Rao states that Prolaya Vema Reddy of the Panta Reddi clan, who seems to have established his own independent rule by 1325, must have taken control of the Krishna-Godavari region up to Rajahmundry. He and Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka must have collaborated to drive the Muslim rule out from the area.[11]

In 1330, Prolaya Nayaka published the Vilasa grant, a copper-plate grant near Pithapuram, in which he bemoaned the devastation of the Telugu country brought about by the Turks and attempted to legitimise himself as the rightful restorer of order.[12] Prolaya Nayaka left no children and was succeeded by a cousin, Kapaya Nayaka, who governed until 1368 and attempted to further expand his rule.

Kapaya NayakaEdit

Musunuri Kapaya Nayaka (r. 1333–1368), led a rebellion against the Tughluqs, driving them out of Warangal in 1336. According to the Kaluvacheru grant of a female member of the Panta Reddi clan in 1423, Kapaya Nayaka was assisted by 75 Nayakas, including Prolaya Vema Reddi, the founder of the Reddy dynasty.[13]

Kapaya Nayaka ruled over Telangana until 1368. Upon his death, the allied Nayakas are said to have returned to their own towns.[14] Despite his opposition to the Turks, Kapaya Nayaka continued using the Kush Mahal built by the Turks in Warangal and adopted the Persianised title "Sultan of the Andhra country". In 1361, he gifted to the Bahmani Sultan Mohammed Shah I the Turquoise Throne as part of a treaty agreement.[15]

He took control of Warangal from Malik Maqbul in 1336 and thus also of a wider swathe of eastern Telangana that was governed from there. He also tried to support other rebels in the surrounding areas, although in the case of aid given to Alauddin Bahman Shah, the outcome was that his fellow rebel turned on him. Several military engagements with Bahaman Shah followed over a period of years, during which Kapaya Nayaka had to cede various forts and territories. His weakened position was exploited by the Reddis and the Recherla Nayaks, the latter of whom caused his death in battle at Bhimavaram and ended the period of the Musunuri family.[16][17]




  1. ^ Talbot (2001), p. 177
  2. ^ Eaton (2005), pp. 26-28
  3. ^ Rama Rao (1947), pp. 295–296.
  4. ^ Socio-Cultural History Of Ancient and Medieval Andhra by B.S.L Hanumantha Rao (Published by University of Michigan in 1995) "Within a short time afterwards, the Andhras no doubt liberated themselves from the oppresive Turkish rule. But Andhradesa was once again partitioned between four mutually warring kingdoms - Musunuri (Kamma) kingdom of Warangal . . .” Page 82
  5. ^ Iyer, Lalita (2018-07-22). "Nagunur sits on past glory of 400 temples". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-04-22. The Nagnoor fort (also spelled Nagunur) was built during the Kakatiya dynasty and later developed by the Musunuri Kamma kings in the village of Nagunur, around 8 km north of Karimnagar.
  6. ^ Forgotten Chapter of Andhra History: History of the Musunūri Nāyaks by Mallampalli Somasekhara Sharma. Page 38: "Prolaya Nayaka or Prolanedu of the Musunuri Family was a young and darling chieftain born in the caturthakula or the forth caste. He was the grandson of a Kamma Nayaka . . ."
  7. ^ Prasad D. "History of the Andhras upto 1565 A. D." 1988, P. 168 “The Musunuri family probably hailed from the village Musunuru in the Krishna district. They belonged to the fourth caste (Kamma).”
  8. ^ Talbot 2001, p. 86.
  9. ^ Wagoner & Rice 2001, p. 78.
  10. ^ Eaton 2005, pp. 26-27.
  11. ^ Rama Rao 1947, pp. 296–297.
  12. ^ Talbot 2001, p. 178; Eaton 2005, pp. 26–27; Chattopadhyaya 1998, pp. 57–59
  13. ^ Prasad 1988, p. 173.
  14. ^ Talbot 2001, p. 178.
  15. ^ Eaton 2005, p. 50.
  16. ^ Prasad (1988), pp. 168-172
  17. ^ Talbot (2001), pp. 177-182


Further readingEdit

  • Devi, V. Yashoda (1975), After the Kākatīyas, Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Akademi
  • A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar, K. A. Nilakanta Sastri, Oxford Univ. Press, 1955.
  • Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (1998). "Hearing Voices: Vignettes of Early Modernity in South Asia, 1400–1750". Daedalus. 127 (3): 75–104. JSTOR 20027508. (Subscription required (help)). Cite uses deprecated parameter |subscription= (help)