Madhura Vijayam

Although I was the princess of Eka Shilanagari, my upbringing was purely that of befitting a prince. Wrestling, archery, sword fighting, and horse riding were the main activities in the process of my growing up. Thank God my feminine name... Gangambika was retained.... Well, even the name got altered, albeit slightly, to Ganga Devi, not in Eka Shilanagari but in Vijayanagara after I got married to Prince Kumara Kampana.

The only softer part of my training was learning Sanskrit. Acharya Kavi Vishvanatha was my Guru. When the news of my forthcoming wedding to Bukkaraya's son Kumara Kampana reached him, he was ecstatic..not that he knew much about my future husband, but he knew a lot about Guru Vidyaranya and Sayanacharya who were hailed as Dharmagurus of Vijayanagara empire. I was slightly disappointed, though, for I thought he would narrate to me about the heroics and adventures of Kampana, for which he was well known in our region. Acharya Vishvanatha was very happy about the fact that I would get to read all the great works of these doyens of Sanskrit literature.

'Vyavahara Madhaviya', the handbook of political science written by Vidyaranya, was added to my syllabus!

I love languages, Telugu is my mother tongue, and now I have started learning Kannada but Sanskrit remains my all-time favourite. Based on Kalidasa's 'Raghuvamsa'...I compiled a description of a military campaign undertaken by a prince. My Guru was amazed reading that. He said the description is so vivid, as if I had personally led the campaign, but yes many years later..in a distant land, it came true...I was in the lead of a military campaign along with Kumara Kampana in Madhura... flushing out the evil Muslim forces out of the holy town.. liberating the temple from decades of captivity...We were part of Madhura Vijayam. Fighting it together and recording it for the sake of posterity...The description of the Madhura Vijayam will be later; let me come back to our wedding.

Well, our wedding was celebrated for many days both in Eka Shilanagari and in Vijayanagara. A brief ceremony in Mulubagilu was also held where Kumara Kampana ruled as a chieftain before we headed to Tamil Desha.

I was amazed at the vastness of the kingdom as Kampana explained it to me... Vindhya parvata in the north and Malaya parvata in the south, in the east, is Udayachala and Ashtachala borders the west...I was in perpetual amazement!

When we entered the City of Vijayanagara, we were first greeted by the lineup of scores of elephants and were escorted by the cavalry on either side. Hundreds of dancers danced in front of the procession while we were showered with fragrant flower petals.

Later Kampana's mother, my mother-in-law Rani Devayi took me inside the palace to introduce me to the large gathering of close family members. The children were so curious to meet this sword-fighting, horse-riding new member of the family. There was an instant bond with all of them... Thank you for accepting me into the Vijayanagara Kingdom.

Later, Kumara Kampana led me to receive blessings from Guru Vidyarannya and Sayanacharya. They both knew about my fondness for Sanskrit and presented their joint creation, 'Subhashita Sudhanidhi, ' which became the most treasured book in my collection.

Later I was introduced to the Ministers and Commanders. The Army seemed to be in preparation for an impending campaign.

Later at night, Kampana broached the subject of the forthcoming movement of the Army... Looking at my face closely, he said...It is Bukka Raya's orders for him to lead the campaign. My instant reaction was...

'I am also coming with you..'

Now it was Kampana's turn to be surprised. In fact, he was very proud, and that was clearly visible in his eyes, he embraced me tightly and said

'Let's go...'

It was not easy in the beginning to convince Maharani Devayi, but Kampana assured her that he would keep me safe and I would only write about the temples...!

On the day of departure..we went to bathe in Tungabhadra and performed pooja in Virupaksha temple. The elephants, horses, and soldiers, all headed by their Commanders, lined up in front of Virupaksha temple. The temple elephant garlanded the lead elephant, and priests performed pooja amid the loud cheers…

Jai Virupaksha

Hara Hara Mahadeva..

Kampana gave me his favourite horse, and he mounted another horse. Bukka Raya and Rani Devayi gave us the final blessings..

May you win all the wars...

Uphold Dharma at all cost

The trumpets were blown as we started moving forward...

Our horses were moving slowly till we reached the outskirts of Vijaya Nagara..then Kampana looked at me and winked and.....

I was waiting for this hint..

Horses slow walk became trot...

 Trot became canter..

     Canter became gallop....

We were flying in the air..

the time came to a standstill.

If it wasn't for the shallow river which broke our momentum, we would have continued endlessly. Just on the bank of the river was the advance camp set up to receive the incoming Army and us. After six days of march, we reached Virinchipuram on the bank of the Palar river. This was to be our base camp for some time before advancing deep into Tamilu Desha.

Champaraja was the local ruler of Virinchipuram. A message was sent to him to join us in our endeavour to get rid of evil Muslim forces and send his Army along with our Army to Madhura. He was neither responsive nor responsible for our offer to save Dharma. Instead, he sent his soldiers to attack us at night. That was reason enough to cause anger in our Army, specially Somappa Nayaka and Mangu dalavayi got enraged by his provocative attitude. They urged that we wage war against him. Kumara Kampana conceded with the condition that as soon as Champaraja was either caught or killed, the attack must stop. Immediately our Army got into action. On the third day, Champaraja was killed, and Virinchipuram was added to the Vijayanagara empire. A minor hindrance was thus removed to march further down into southern provinces.

The first thing that Kampana did after this victory was to start a series of welfare measures for the people of the region. Forced collection of revenue was stopped. Ponds and lakes were dug, and canals were built to divert the river water for agricultural purposes. Temples were renovated, and gurukuls were established.

Slowly the reputation of Kumara Kampana was spreading far and wide.

Kings of Malava, Kerala, Severna, Drama, Gauna, and Simhala lined up to meet him, offered to be vassals of Vijaya Nagara Kingdom... offered him the services of their soldiers to fight against evil Muslim forces.

One day a woman came to meet us while we were busy writing the narrative of the victory of our empire. She sought our attention to the misdeeds of Muslims in Tamilu Desha. She wailed that Madhurapuri had actually turned into Vyaghrapuri with wild animals roaming around freely, killing innocent people. The smoke emanating from home and havan is replaced by the stench of the burning meat from the Muslim homes. The river Tamraparni has turned red with the blood of the holy sages flowing in it...

It was a very sad saga of cruelty that she was narrating...I could see the pain and agony Kumara Kampana was suffering listening to this lady.

Suddenly out of nowhere, she produced a sword... Addressing Kampana, she said...

O..Brave king, do not delay anymore... destroy the leader of the muslims immediately. They have destroyed our Dharma and culture. Here take this sword and annihilate him right away and once you are victorious...establish thousands of pillars on the Ramasethu right up the Simhala to commemorate your victory...

'I will most certainly fulfill your wish mother..'

Kampana received the sword from the lady, and he almost fell down trying to hold the sword...

What...! The brave Kampana can't lift the sword that this lady held so lightly?

What is happening...Who is this lady anyway!

I tried to lift it.. No way..It seemed all my training in sword fighting was of no use. I invited Commander Goppana, who stood in complete amusement with what was happening right in front of his eyes.

Kampana cannot lift the sword?

Goppanaraya's head was shaking in disbelief...

Well...it was his turn to lift now...let's see, salvaging the pride, Goppana tried to lift the sword but failed. While all this was happening, the lady disappeared. Kampana shouted to the guards at the gate...

'Stop the lady... Don't let her go.'

The guards were confused... Which lady? No one entered through our door...Where is the question of not letting anyone go?

Around the same time.. Temple bells started ringing.. sounds of which were becoming louder with every passing moment...

Who is ringing the bells..everyone around us wondered, while I kept wondering...

Whose sword is it anyway?

To be continued...

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