Wednesday, February 20, 2013



                                    VELAMA SCION

                               Dr K Prabhakar Rao

          Velama community played very important role  in the  history of Andhra  Pradesh .Velamas belong to  chaturth varna in the social cadre. They are invariably identified with warrior class. Most of the people remember the names of Tandra Papayya (Papa Rayudu)of Bobbili, Brahmanaidu and Balachandrudu of Palanadu  as the great persons from the Velama community. In fact there are many stalwarts from the community from the past history who have been forgotten. Velama commanders were very prominent during the reign of Kakateeya Kings at Warangal during12 to 14 centuries. They occupied important positions in the army of King Prataparudra deva II in 14 century. It is learnt that Recharla Singa Bhoopalaudu was a Velama  warrior of great repute and he was occupying the position of Commader in Chief of Kakateeya Army.He was reportedy  having titles, Kakateeya rajya samrakshaka  and Kaliyuga Dronacharya. Andhra history is replete with mutual bickerings between Kammas, Reddys and Velamas.Velama chieftains and feudatories fought relentlessly with Reddy and Kamma chiefs during 14 and 16 centuries. The bickerings during the reign of King Parataparudradeva are well known and wewre at zenith.

          Muslim sultans from North started their campaigns in 14 century during the reign of Prataparudradeva and Alluddin Khilji sultan of Delhi sent his Eunuch General Malik Kafur to conquer Waranagal and Devagiri which were the large and rich  kingdoms in South India. But Muslim armies were defeated at Upparapalli in Karimnagar  District and also at Bheemavaram near Warangal. These were conclusive victories.For some time Warangal had peace. However   subsequently Mulsims were victorious and Parataparudradeva agreed to pay tribute to Delhi sultan and his reign continued. After the death of Allauddin Khilji,  the tribute was stopped and the Sultans from Tughlaq dynasty consequently sent large armies to  discipline southern kingdoms. Although Kakateeya armies repelled the attacks Juna Khan ( Later Mohd Bin Tughlaq) again invaded with great army and  during this period bickerings and rivalries between the Velama and Reddy communities were at the peak.  The padmanayaka velamas were reportedly  favorites of the King. General Bobbareddy of Kakateeya  army decided to show the King who exactly were the valorous and important fighters. He decided to wait till the Velama contigent got mauled, and then jump in to save the Velamas as well as the King. Unfortunately, his timing was not good and both  were defeated. Prataparudradeva was captured by Muslim troops and was made a prisoner. Warangal city was devastated and looted and temples were defaced and damaged. These damages can be seen even today where statues with defaced faces, broken limbs look helplessly at the visitors and mock at the inability of Hindus to defend them. Huge carved pillars of the temples were also broken into pieces and structures were pulled down. Warangal fort is the testimony to vandalism by Muslim armies much before the damage done to Hampi and vijay nagar in  16 century.  Prataparudradeva the king was taken to Delhi. But on the way he reportedly committed suicide by jumping in river Narmada ( Some say it was Godavari river). From then onwards, Velama chiefs blamed Reddy Chiefs and community that acts of Reddys were solely responsible for the loss of Kakateeya kingdom.Or else, the kingdom would have flourished for many more centuries and even up to 1947.

               Thus relations between Reddys and Velamas became bitter and bitter day by day. Kakateeya dynasty collapsed and Warangal was occupied by Muslims and  Muslim governor Malik Maqbool was appointed by Mohd Bin Tughlaq and Warangal was named sultanpur. However the chieftains of Prataparudradeva did not loose heart. Under Prolayanaika a Kamma chieftain at Rekapalli ,they continued to wage guerilla war against the Muslim occupational forces. After Prolaya Naikas death his  cousin Kapayya Naika ( Kapaneedu) took over the command and conducted a long guerilla war and after 10 years   Malik Maqbool was defeated and Muslim armies were driven away and Warangal was liberated. There were 75  chieftains under Prataparudra deva and they elected Kapayya naika as the new ruler  at Warangal and as successor to the Kakateeya kings. Velama scion Singha Bhoopala was one of the powerful scion in Telnagana while Vema reddy was another powerful chieftain in coastal Andhra located at Addanki. While Kapayya Naika was  consolidating at Warangal,A Mulsim chieftain of Mohd Bin Tughlaq at Daulatabad ( Devagiri) revolted against Delhi. Kapayya Naika helped him by sending 1500 cavalry as he thought that a Mulsim kingdom between Delhi and south would be buffer state and that it would be a safe proposition. Probably this step was not liked by Singama Bhoopala.   The Muslim chieftain became successful in his revolt and he was  crowned as Allauddin Hasan Gangu Bhamaniat at Daultabad. As events proved later, this friendship and good relations did not last long as he invaded territories of Kapayya naika and he had to cede Kaulas fort, few elephants and good amount of money.Relations between Kapayya   and  Singama Bhoopala also got strained and Singama Bhoopala established an independent kingdom at Pillala Marri in Nalgonda district revolting against Kapayya Naika.Later the capital was shifted to Rachakonda ( Rajukonda or Rajadri). Singama Bhoopla  had two valiant songs. They were Anapotha Naika and Madav naika.This revolt surely must have annoyed Kapaya who was the ruler.On the other hand Velama king conducted parleys with Bhamani sultans and befriended them.Thus Telugu kings had no unity.

         It is  learnt that the Raju and Reddy Chieftains of the kingdom were jealous of growth of Singama Bhoopala who had large elephant army and troops of 40000 strength. Raju chieftains attacked Velama kingdom when  the sons of Singama bhoopala were away and killed singamanauyudu brother in law of Singama Bhoopala  and the ruler of Chintapalli ( Near Jaggayyapeta).
Poosapati Madhava varma  the king of Vijayawada  at that time was leading the war on kshatriyas side. He sent his childhood friend (king of Srisailam) Thambolla Brahmaji to Singamabhupala for peace  talks, but   Brahmaji stabbed   Singamabhoopala, while he was sleeping in midnight and killed him.  All velama kings  were enraged and they  could not  digest the death of Singamabhupala, who  brought  glory to velama caste The news  reached to the sons of Singamabhupala and  they came back from Kalinga immediatly. Singamabhupala has taken promise from his sons to kill all Kshatriya kings and take revenge.
                 On 7th day of Singamabhupala's death ceremony, all velama kings   promised to kill kshatriyas. Before  embarking on war over Jallepalli  all velamas prayed  to Sun god ( god of Padmanayaka velamas) and  Bhethala(guardian of velama caste) and attacked the Jallepalli fort  shouting Har Har Mahadev.   Anaphotha nayudu killed the commander of kshatriyas kondamalraju and  severed his head from his body and he pierced the head with  his  spear and lifted it up sending shivers among the enemy. Anaphtha nayudu killed all the main kings like Pinnamaraju and Myloore raju. Madava nayudu killed the Obulu raju and chief of Reddy kings "vinukonda maarareddy".

            There is one war custom  among  velamas known as "Bomma kattu", as per  the custom they  make a statue of opponent and they will tie it to their foot and they will tempt the opponent by dragging the statue on earth. All velama kings   followed this custom in Jallipalli war.Velams were victorious in this war and most of the enemy leaders were slain while Poosapati Madhava Verma the ruler of Vijaywada escaped and took shelter with Kalinga Gajapathi.Velamas were not happy winning the war and they performed Pooja of demons called Paisachika Pooja also called Ranamu kudupu.   At midnight they went to war field and chanting all mantras of Bhetala, Bhairava, Shakini and Dhaakini and invited all those kshudra ( evil spirits) shaktis by mixing food and blood in the skulls of their enemies. This was a terrible practice in those days.

                 Velamas  were not  satisfied and they soon attacked Kapayya Naika and a battle was fought at Bheemavaram near Warangal. Kapayya was exhausted  with constant battles with Bahmanis and velamas.His son Vinayaka Deva was earlier killed by Mahmud shah I  the Bahmani sultan very cruelly  at Velamputta and he was under great pain. In the  severely fought battle Kapayya reportedly was killed by deceit by Anapotha naika who was the ruler of Rachakonda. Soon  Devarakonda province was given to his brother to rule and thus Devarakonda became another Velama kingdom. Both Rachakonda and Devarakonda kingdoms always worked together throughout their existence and also vanished together. Velamas occupied Warangal fort and the territories.The velama kings fought always with Reddy kings of  Kondaveedu(  shifted to Kondaveedu from Addanki).Prolaya Vema reddy declared independence after the death of Kapayya Naika of Warangal. Velamas in collusion with Bahmanis sultans fought battles with Vijay nagar empire and slowly lost their independence. Soon Bhamanis sultans, Vijaynagar empire and Gajapathi of Kalinga clashed in Telangana and Andhra and in the events Velamas  lost their power and had to leave the  state and serve  with Vijaynagar empire as  soldiers, commanders and  chieftains at different places.   
















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Dr K Prabhakar Rao said...

Jallepalli isa small town in Khammam district. It is located on the border of Warangal and Khamma districts. It is in Thirupalayapalem mandal. Jallepalli is 15 km from Tuirumalayapalem. Khammam is about 30 km from Jallepalli. There are two forts at Jallepalli on two hills. One is called Gunigutta and another is Khilayigutta . the Hills are about 400 metres high from the base of the hill.Krishna deva raya ruled over Khilayi gutta in 16 century.The Jallepalli battle took place in 14 century after the fall of Kakateeya kingdom.