With the establishment of Kakatiya Dynasty at Warangal in the 11th century, Andhra got one of its major dynasties to shape its history and civilization.
There were many important Kakatiya Kings such as Prola I, Prola II, Rudradeva, Mahadeva, Ganapathideva and Prataparudra. Rani Rudrama Devi, daughter of Ganpathideva, was also equally able ruler.
The rulers of Kakatiya Dynasty were originally the feudatory of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi. Taking advantages of the confusion that followed after the death of the Eastern Chalukya king Ammaraja II Beta I, a feudatory of the Eastern Chalukyas declared his independence by establishing a new dynasty in the year 1,000 A.D. He ruled the Kakatiya Kingdom for 30 years and was succeeded by his son Prola I.
Prola I (1030-1075 A.D.)
Prola I who succeeded his father in 1030 faced a critical situation as the small principality was threatened by both the Cholas and the Western Chalukyas of Kalyani. Nagavamsi of Chakrakuta (Bastar) tried to annex the new principality. Prola I was able to overcome all these dangers. He attacked Chakrakuta and defeated its ruler Dharavasu. During his rule of 36 years Prola was able to extend the Kakatias territories of his principality in all directions. He was succeeded by his son Beta II who ruled from 1075-1110 A.D. His reign was uneventful. He shifted his capital to Anamakonda near Warangal and took the title Tribhuvanamalla.
Prola II (1110-1158 A.D.)
Prola II was an important king of the early Kakatiyas. His exploits are described at length in the Anamakonda inscription of his son Rudradeva. He is credited to have defeated Mailapadeva, Govindaraja, Gunda and Jaggadeva. There is a great deal of controversy regarding the identity of these rulers and the location of their territories.
Rudradeva (1158-1195 A.D.)
Rudradeva who succeeded his father Prola II in 1158 A.D. was a great fighter. His exploits are described in his famous inscription in the Rudresvara temple at Anumakonda. From this inscription it is evident that he had defeated a large number of Chalukyan feudatories round his kingdom. He was also engaged in numerous wars with the rulers of Velanadu in the east and Yadavas in the west.
Rudradeva was a great patron of art literature. He constructed the majestic Rudresvara temple in Anamakonda. He was the author of the Sanskrit work `Nitisara’. He extended his patronage to Saivite divines like Palkurki Somanatha.
Mahadeva (1195-98 A.D.)
Mahadeva who succeeded his brother Rudradeva ruled only for three years. He died while besieging the Yadava capital of Devagiri.
Ganapathideva (1198-1262 A.D.)
Ganapathideva was the greatest of all the Kakatiyas. He accompanied his father Mahadeva when the latter besieged Devagiri, the Yadava capital. Mahadeva was killed before the walls of Devagiri and Ganapathideva was taken prisoner by the Yadavas. The news of the death of Mahadeva and the arrest of Ganapathideva created great commotion in the Kakatiya kingdom. Many feudatories of the Kakatiyas rose in revolt and tried to assert their independence, but the loyal general of the Kakatiyas, Recherla Rudra, put down these revolts and looked after the kingdom. Ganapathideva was released in 1202 and allowed to return to his kingdom.
In the course of his long reign extending over sixty years Ganapathideva brought a great part of the present Andhra Pradesh under his control. He first turned his attention towards Velanadu and Vengi regions of coastal Andhra and brought them under his control. He conquered Kalinga. He helped Manumasiddi the ruler of Nellore in regaining his kingdom.
The greatest triumph of the Ganapathideva was the conquest of Kanchi and the subjugation of the Yadavas of Devagiri.
In spite of his engagements in numerous wars, Ganapathideva did not neglect the administration. In fact, he constructed many temples and improved irrigational facilities. He had also improved trade and commerce.
Ganapathideva had no son but two daughters only. The elder daughter was Rudramba and the younger Ganapamba. Rudramba was actively associated in the administration of the kingdom. Ganapathideva passed away in 1262 A.D. after a glorious reign of 64 years. He is undoubtedly the greatest emperor of the Kakatiya dynasty. He brought a large part of the Telugu-speaking area under his control and laid the foundation for its development in agricultural, commercial and other spheres. He had the foresight to train his daughter in the art of administration by associating her in the government as early as 1240 A.D.
Rani Rudrama Devi (1262 – 1296 A.D.)
Rani Rudrama Devi was the daughter of Ganpathideva. She was one of the most influential women personality in Indian History. Infact, She was the only woman to rule over Andhra. She was declared Queen and given the male name “Rudradeva”.
She is known for defending her empire from the Cholas and Yadavas.
Also read: Brief History of Rani Rudrama Devi
Prataparudra (1296-1323 A.D.)
Prataparudra ascended the throne after the death of his grandmother, in 1296. He began his reign with a series of reforms in the administration. During the reign of Ganapathideva the governors of different areas of the empire known as Nayaks were appointed from the members of different castes. This was known as the Nayamkara system. Prataparudradeva reorganized this system appointing only Padmanayaks to these officers. He dismissed Nayaks belonging to other communities.
His reforming activity ended in 1303 when the empire had to face the first shock of a Muslim invasion from the north. From 1303 to 1323 the Muslim rulers of Delhi invaded five times and finally annihilated the Kakatiya Empire.