NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 7: An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara

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Chapter7. An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara
TextbookThemes in Indian History-II
CategoryNCERT Solutions for Class 12

It is important to use NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History as they can give students a clear understanding of the syllabus. Class 12 History has fifteen chapters, and our NCERT Solutions are a detailed guide that covers each of them. It provides step-by-step solutions to all the questions in the textbook. On this page, we have provided you with complete Solution of Chapter 7 – An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara.

NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 7

An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara Solutions

1) What have been the methods used to study the ruins of Hampi over the last two centuries? In what way do you think they would have complemented the information provided by the priests of the Virupaksha temple?

Answer) The engineer and antiquarian Colonel Colin Mackenzie brought the ruins of Hampi to light in 1800. He worked for many years in East India Company and prepared the first Survey maps of this site. His earlier information were based on the memories of priest of the Virupaksha temple and shrine of Pampadevi. From 1856 onwards, photographers started to record the pictures of monuments. The picture of the sites helped the scholars to study them. Dozens of inscription were collected from Virupaksha temples and other temples situated around temples.

Historians collected information from these sources other sources such as accounts of foreign travellers and literature composed in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit languages used by the historians so that the History of the city could be reconstructed. These functions complemented the information given priests of Virupaksha temple.

2) How were the water requirements of Vijayanagara met?
Or, Explain how the people of Vijavanagara obtained water for their needs.

Answer) The water requirements of Vijayanagara were met in the following ways:

  • Its location is the natural basin formed by the river Tungabhadra which flows in a north-easterly direction. The stunning granite hills form a girdle around the city. A number of streams flow down to the river from these rocky outcrops.
  • The embankments were built along these streams to create reservoirs of varying sizes.
  • Tanks were built to store rainwater and conduct it to the city. The most important tank built is now called Kamalapuram tank. Water from this tank irrigated fields nearby as well as was also conducted through a channel to the “royal centre”.
  • The Hiriya canal drew water from a dam across the Tungabhadra and irrigated the cultivated valley that separated the “sacred centre” from the “urban core”.

Q3) What do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified area of the city?

Answer) The advantages and disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified areas of the city were as follows:


  • During the medieval period, the objective of sieges was to starve the defenders into submission. These sieges could last for a long period. Normally, rulers tried to be prepared for such situations by building large granaries with the fortified areas. The rulers of Vijayanagara adopted a more elaborate strategy of protecting the agricultural belt itself.
  • As the agricultural tract was within fortified area, the peasants did not face any problems in cultivating the land due to war or any other reason. The peasants, therefore, did not face any financial difficulty.
  • Land revenue was one of the main source of income of the state. Thus, with the protection of agricultural tract, there was regular income from this source.
  • There was an agricultural tract between the sacred centre and the urban core. This tract had an elaborate canal system drawing water from the Tungabhadra. So, there was no problem of irrigation too.


  • Such an elaborate system of fortification was very expensive.
  • The state has to maintain a large army for the protection of a bigger fortified area.
  • Sometimes it could have been difficult to decide how much land be included within the fortified area.

Q4) What do you think was the significance of the rituals associated with the mahanavami dibba?

Answer) The mahanavami dibba was one of the most impressive platforms in the “king’s palace”. It was located on one of the highest points in the city. Rituals associated with the structure probably coincided with mahanavami (literally the great ninth day) of the ten day Hindu festival during the autumn months of September and October, known variously as Dusehra (northern India), Durga Puja (in Bengal) and Navaratri or Mahanavami (in peninsular India). The Vijayanagara kings displayed their prestige, power and suzerainty on this occasion.

The ceremonies such as worship of the image, worship of the state horse, the sacrifice of buffaloes and other animals were performed on this occasion. Dances, wrestling matches, processions of caparisoned horses, elephants, chariots, soldiers and ritual presentations were held before the kings, guests, the chief nayakas were held. On the last day, the king inspected his army and the armies of the nayakas who brought rich gifts for the king as well as the stipulated tribute. Thus, there was great significance of the rituals associated with the mahanavami dibba.

Q5) Fig. 7.33 is an illustration of another pillar from the Virupaksha temple. Do you notice any floral motifs? What are the animals shown? Why do you think they are depicted? Describe the human figures shown.

Answer) Given illustration of the pillar from the Virupaksha temple has pictures of plants bearing flowers and different animals-birds. Animals, birds include peacock, horse, duck, etc. These pictures were probably carved out on gateways to attract people. These pictures also express devotion, religiousness and-love for art of patronage ruler. Except this various kinds of animals and birds were associated with different gods and goddesses.

That was why they were also worshipped. Human pictures include both deities and their worshippers respectively. A god is shown wearing malas and crown. He also has gadda in his hands. Probably he was the destroyer of Rakshashas. In another picture devotee is shown near the ‘Shivlinga’ His method of worship is also strange which is not applicable in any form.

Q6) Discuss whether the term “royal centre” is an appropriate description for the part of the city for which it is used.

Answer) The term “royal centre” is not an appropriate description for the part of the city for which it is used due to following reasons:

  • It included over 60 temples. On the other hand, there were only thirty building complexes that have been identified as palaces. These structures were made of perishable materials.
  • The “king’s palace” is the largest enclosures but it has not yet yielded definitive evidence of being a royal residence. It has two impressive platforms – “audience hall” and the mahanavami dibba. It is not clear what “audience hall” was used for. Similarly space surrounding the structure of mahanavami dibba does not seem to have been adequate elaborate functions.
  • Another beautiful building is Lotus Mahal. But again the historians are not clear for what this building was used. It may be a council chamber.

Thus, the terms “royal centre” is not proper to be used for this part of the city.

Q7) What does the architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables tell us about the rulers who commissioned them?

Answer) The Lotus Mahal had nine towers – a high central one, and eight along the sides. Although it is not clear for what the building was used for but according to Mackenzie, it may have been a council chamber, place where the king met his advisers. Elephant stables were located close to the Lotus Mahal.

The architecture of Lotus Mahal tells us that the rulers used to consult their advisers on various issues and problems and meetings were held in the council chamber i.e., Lotus Mahal. The construction of “elephant stables” shows that the rulers took interest in the trade of elephants as well as in keeping them properly because elephants were very important factor in the warfare. It is perhaps one of reasons that elephants and horses have been depicted on the panels of the Hazara Rama temple.

Q8) What are the architectural traditions that inspired the architects of Vijayanagara? How did they transform these traditions?

Answer) The rulers of Vijayanagara were known for their many innovations in the sphere of architectural traditions. They built many new temples which presented their architectural skills. They also added many new features in the temple architecture. For example, they built gopurams and royal gateways. The towers of the central shrines signalled the presence of the temple from a great distance. But the royal gateways surpassed the kings. They showed that the kings had full command over the resources, techniques and skills.

Other distinctive features of architectural style includes the constructions of mandapas or pavilions and pillared corridors that ran around the shrines. There were two main temples. The Virupaksha temple and the Vitthala Temple.

The Virupaksha temple was constructed in the 9th-10th centuries. But after the establishment of Vijayanagara Empire, it was substantially enlarged. Krishnadeva Raya built one of the most powerful ruler of the empire, built a hall in front of the main shrine to mark his accession to the throne. It was decorated with delicately carved pillars. Many temple complexes had chariot streets. These streets extended from the temple gopuram in a straight line. They were paved with slabs of stone and lied with pillared pavilions. In which merchants have set up their shops. In other words, the rulers of Vijayanagara built impressive buildings.

Q9) What impression of the lives of the ordinary people of Vijayanagara can you cull from the various descriptions in the chapter?

Answer) The various descriptions in this chapter give the following impression of the lives of the ordinary people of Vijayanagara:

  • Horses were imported from Arabia and Central Asia. This trade was done by the traders and local communities of merchants i.e., kudirai chettis or horse merchants.
  • There were markets dealing in spices, textiles and precious stones.
  • Vijayanagara boasted of a wealthy population that demanded high-value exotic goods.
  • Portuguese traveller Barbosa described the houses of ordinary people, which have not survived as “the other houses of the people are thatched, but nonetheless well-built and arranged according to occupations, in long streets with many open places”. Besides this there is little archaeological evidence of the houses of ordinary people.
  • There were numerous shrines and small temples which implies that there were variety of cults, supported by different communities.
  • There were wells, rainwater tanks, temple tanks which may have served as sources of water to the ordinary town dwellers.
  • Paes gives us a vivid description of a bazaar. He states that the provisions, such as rice, wheat, barley, etc. were available cheaply and abundantly. This means that the life of the ordinary people was good and they did not suffer for want of essential things.

Q10) On an outline map of the world, mark approximately Italy, Portugal, Iran and Russia.

Answer) Followed by routes to reach Vijayanagara from Italy and Portugal:

The travellers crossed the Red Sea, Arabian Sea and then, they taken land route to reach South India.

Atlantic Ocean touching the Cape of Good Hope and then Indian Ocean to reach Malabar of India. From here they took land route to reach Vijayanagara.

The Italian travellers crossed the Arabian Sea and then Indian Ocean and through Malabar coast they reached Vijayanagara. From Iran via Afghanistan and modern Pakistan they would have taken land route upto Karnataka, India.

That’s it. These were the solutions of NCERT Class 12 History Chapter 7 – An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara. Our team hopes that you have found these solutions helpful for you. If you have any doubt related to this chapter then feel free to comment your doubts below. Our team will try their best to help you with your doubts.

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