Gadwal is one of the popular historical places to visit in the premises of Hyderabad. Gadwal town is situated between the rivers Tungabhadra and Krishna over an area of about 800 sq. miles. One can reach Gadwal by traveling on the National Highway No. 44 between Hyderabad and Kurnool which is only 16 Km away from Erravelli Junction.
Gadwal is located at a distance of 1 km from Gadwal Bus Station, 78 km from Mahabubnagar Bus Station, and 188 km from Hyderabad. Gadwal Fort is situated in the Mahabubnagar district of Telangana.
Gadwal Fort was built in Gadwal Samsthanam during the Nizam of Hyderabad.
In the 14th century, after the fall of the Warangal, Kakatiya dynasty, Gadwal transferred its capital to the new Bahmani kingdom. Gadwal was under the rule long before the foundation of the Hyderabad State. Let us look at the hierarchy of the rule of Gadwal in detail.
1553 – 1704 AD :
This is a list of rulers who ruled Gadwal from 1553 A.D. to 1704 A.D.
- Peddanna Veera Reddy
- Peddanna Bhupaludu
- Sarga Reddy
- Veera Reddy
- Kumara Veera Reddy or Pedda Reddy
1696 – 1712 AD : Sri Pedda Soma Bhupala or Nalla Somanadri Raja
Somashekar Ananda Reddy also known by the name Somanadri hails from Poodoor village. He was awarded by Aurangzeb with the title of raja in 1696 for his honorable work.
In 1663 – 1713 AD, Raja Somanadri constructed the fort. He constructed the fort with huge walls and moats making the Gadwal Fort very strong and impregnable. Even after the completion of 300 years of its construction, the strength of the Fort is not lost.
Inside the fort, there are many temples with deities like Sri Chennakesava Swamy Temple, Sri Venugopala Swamy temple, Sri Ramalayam, and Water Body (Koneru). A 32 feet Cannon, the biggest cannon in the country was brought by Raja after defeating the Nawab of Kurnool.
This Gadwal Samsthanam was ruled and protected by Mallichetti vamshiyulu. The Ayngarashakulu of Gadwal samsthanam was Nagi Reddy also commonly known as Nagappa. In a war with fanatic sultans, Nagi Reddy died. Nagappa’s son Narsappa succeeded his father as Gadwal Samsthanam Ayngarashakulu.
According to their traditions, only certain people belonging to specific families present vastrams to God. The Gadwal weavers’ presenting vastrams to Lord Venkateswara began during the reign of Nala Somanadri Raja of Gadwal Samstan.
The weaver was a friend of Nellore Venkatagiri Rajus. He traveled to Tirumala along with the Venkatagiri Raju family. Then by recalling the family members, Somanadri Raja promised to offer ‘Sesha Vastrams’ to the Lord on the first day of the Brahmotsavam.
People who weave ‘Sesha Vastrams’ in the Mahbubnagar district are the ones from the Konkani family. Their family has been weaving ‘Sesha Vastrams’ for the past 10 generations on a decree from the Gadwal royal family.
The vastrams are prepared from superior-quality cotton from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu and Chirala in Andhra Pradesh. The weavers spend around 6 hours a day on average weaving the vastrams. Vastrams are the dhoti that is five-meter-long with a maroon color silk border. It takes more than six weeks for a select group of five handloom weavers to produce the white vastrams (dhoti).
Only the raw materials would cost around 15,000 /- to purchase. And, by the time, the vastrams are presented to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, it would cost around 40,000 /-
1712 AD : Raja Tirumal Rao
During this period, Ammakkamba wife of Pedda Soma Bhupla was seated on the throne. This caused serious dissatisfaction among the people during the Tirumala Raya’s rule.
1712 – 1742 AD : Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma
Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma ruled as vassals of Nizam. Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma, coadministered affairs at Gadwal until their adopted heir came of age.
Gadwal was among the prominent Hindu feudatories or Samasthans whose allegiance was eventually secured by the first Nizam – the Mughal governor of the region. Gadwal’s military and economic relationships with other parts of the country and the ruling princely states had historical precedents
Nizam ul Mulk Asaf Jah I, the writer of the first decade of the rule of the first Nizam, has written about the consolidation of the uncertain ground that he had only just occupied through imperial legitimacy in 1724 CE (after the death of Mubariz Khan).
Over the course of a year, Nizam has seeked their military support from two women, Rani Ammakka and Rani Lingamma of Gadwal. The ‘urgent’ request, ‘an earnest requisition’ by the Nizam made on 3 September 1727 was ignored by the two women.
1742 – 1743 AD : Rani Mangamma, Rani Lingamma
1743 – 1747 AD: Rani Chukamma
1747 – 1762 AD: Rama Reddy (Brother of Thirumala Raya)
1762 – 1793 AD: Chinna Soma Bhupala
1793 – 1844 AD : Sri Rama Rayalu
1844 – 1902 AD : Raja Rama Bhupala
Raja Rama Bhupala was said to be one of the best rulers of Samsthana. After his death in 1902, the samsthana came under the contour of court wards for 10 years as his son was a minor.
1902 – 1924 AD : Raja Sitaram Bhupala
Nizam VII bestowed on him the title of “Maharaja” and he died in 1924. Raja Sitaram Bhupala was survived by his widow and two daughters.
1924 – 1949 AD : Maharani Adi Lakshmi Devamma
Queen Sri Aadi Lakshmi Devamma has revived the glory of the samsthana with her tactics and knowledge.
Sri Krishna Rama Bhupala
Gadwal is popularly known for its handloom jari sarees (Gadwal sarees). The Gadwal sarees are weaved for 5.5 meters of saree fabric. Another interesting fact about the Gadwal sarees is that they can be folded down to the size of a small matchbox.
Gadwal sarees became famous throughout India and people started wearing them in the 1930s. Gadwal sarees are basically made out of premium cotton fabric with an attached silk border and silk pallow. Lord Venkateswara during the TTD Brahmotsavam is decorated with Gadwal weaved Gadwal saree every year.
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