In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiyas of Warangal, the Hoysalas of Diwarasamundra, and the Pandyas of Madura were the powerful dynasties of South India.
Earlier Kakatiya chiefs served as Samanthas to Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas. It was under the rule of Pratapa Rudra I, Kakatiyas assumed sovereignty. Orugallu (present-day Warangal) was their capital. Kakatiya dynasty lasted for three centuries. The Kakatiya dynasty ruled most of the eastern Deccan plateau comprising Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, parts of Karnataka, and parts of Odisha.
Under the rule of Ganapatideva, the Kakatiya Empire reached its zenith. He united the Telugu-speaking people between the low-lying delta areas around Krishna and Godavari rivers. He was the first ruler since the Satavahana dynasty to do so.
Rani Rudrama Devi
In those days India is dominated by male kings. Of the male-dominated kings, she is one of the very few women to rule in India. Since Ganapati deva had no sons, he designated his daughter Rudramadevi as a son. He named her Rudradeva, to assign her male recognition. As Ganapatideva bought of his daughter as the son he made her learn every art of war. Rudradeva was nominated as the heir of Ganapatideva and the Kakatiya throne.
At the age of fourteen, she succeeded the throne. She learned how to administrate the kingdom along with her father. She wore the male attire and ruled in the name of Rudradeva. Even she asked her artists use the name Rudradeva in all inscriptions. After the death of Ganapatideva, she became the complete ruler of the Kakatiya dynasty.
She was married to Veerbhadra, prince of Nidadavolu a member of Chalukya dynasty, probably in the year 1240. Veerbhadra played no part in her administration and also not participated in any of the battles with Rudramadevi. Rudramba as she fondly called had two daughters, both are adopted.
But her succession to the throne was not an easy task. Due to the male dominance, many of her nobles, small rulers, and even her relatives opposed her succession to the throne. They hated being under the rule of women’s authority. Even her husband Veerbhadra was jealous of her as she was ruling the land. But Rudramadevi handle the situation very cleverly and overcame all the difficulties and challenges. She suppressed all her enemies and crushed the rebellion.
Rudramadevi is one of the most outstanding queens of all times in Indian history.
To gain the trust of commoners and to win the new loyalists she introduced a policy of recruiting people from the non-aristocratic background in her court as well as in the army. She had completed the Warangal fort which had begun during the reign of Ganapatideva. Marco Polo in his travelogue appreciated her rule and greatness. He appreciated her manners of justice and equity. She captured forts like Mulikinadu, Renadu, Eruva, Mutthapi Nadu, and Satti. Her gender did not come on her way in discharging the duties of her office. In her rule, people remained contented and happy.
She was succeeded by Prataparudra, a son of one of her daughters, who inherited a kingdom that was smaller than it had been when Rudrama Devi had ascended her throne.
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