The devotional or bhakti literature was introduced in south India during Chola era, and is followed by North India later on. During this period many well known devotional literatures were scripted in South India. E.g.
- Kamba Ramayanam by Kambar,
- Periyapuranam by Sekkizhar,
- Thiruvasagam by Manikkavasakar
- Nalayira Divya Prabandham compiled by Nathamuni (Written by 12 Azhwars)
- Devaram compiled by Nambiyandar Nambi (Written by Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar).
- Gita Govindam by Jayadeva
During the 15th century, a mystic poet Kabir Das followed-up the Bhakti Movement in North India.
It is a type of literature which doesn’t deal with religious practices, ideals, and traditions. The poems like Madura Vijayam by Gangadevi, and Amuktamalyatha by Krishnadevaraya throw lights on Vijayanagara Empire.
There was no write up available by Indian Authors on the account of Turkish Invasion of India. Luckily we can get information about pre-Islamic periods from the book Rajtarangini written by Kalhana.
Valour’s of Rajput kings can be retrieved from Chand Bardai’s Prithiviraj Raso
Books, Biographies and Autobiographies
- Tabakat-i-Nasiri written by Minhaj-us-Sira explains very detailed information about the period from the conquest of Muhammad Ghori to A.D. (CE) 1260.
- The information about Qutb-uddin Aibak is well documented in Taj-ul-Ma’asir written by Hasan Nizami. This book is considered as the first official history of Delhi Sultanate.
- Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi written by Zia-ud-Barni, a courtier of Muhammad Tughluq dealt with history of Delhi Sultanate from Ghiyas-ud-din Balban to the early years of the reign of Firoz Shah Tughluq.
- Emperor Babur’s Babur Nama, Abul Fazal’s Ain-i-Akbari and Akbar Nama provided enough details about Babur and Akbar respectively.
- Tarikh-i-Frishta written by Ferishta explains the history of the rise of the Mughal power in India
- In 1595 Tarikh-i-Badauni (Badauni's History) was written by Badauni, in three volumes which describe Akbar’s administration, and his policy matters on various aspects including religious aspects.
- Jahangir’s Tuzk-i-Jahangiri provides more information about the 17th century period.
- Nizam-ud-din Ahmad - Tabakat-i-Akbari provided the factual account of information about Akbar.
Travellers and Travelogues
India is a country with a glorious past and was enraptured by various travellers who visited India to see its scenic and religious beauty. The most popular travelers are Marco Polo, Al-Beruni, Ibn Battuta, Abdur-Razzaq, and Domingo Paes.
Marco Polo (13th Century) was one of the earliest foreign travellers from Venice. He visited Coromandel Coast in South India towards the end of the 13th Century and had given an account of the Pandya Kingdom in his book Travels of Marco Polo [1271 - 1295]. On his return journey from China to Venice in 1292 CE, he reached Kayal Harbor of Kayalpattinam which is a Municipality in today’s Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. He elaborated that the harbour was criss-crossed by ships from Arabia and China. He also wrote that South India imported thousands of horses from Arabia and Persia by Sea route.
Al-Beruni (11th century) was a Persian (Iran) scholar; he came to India with Mahmud of Ghazni during one of his campaigns. During his stay, he travelled across India to understand India’s cultural and social aspect, he learned Sanskrit, and studied Indian philosophy. He stayed about 10 years in India.
Tahqiq-i-Hind is written by Alberuni, in it, he wrote about cultural, religious values, prevailing conditions, and system of knowledge of India apart from the wars and battles. The Ghazni Campaign on Somnath was documented in a very detailed manner by Alberuni.
Ibn Battuta (14th Century) was an Arab born Morocco scholar who widely travelled during the medieval period. Over a period of thirty years, he visited from North Africa to Egypt and then to Central Asia and India.
He wrote about the people and the countries that he visited in the book titled “The Travels (Rihla)”. He thought that Egypt was rich because most of India’s trade to the west was passed through Egypt.
He also wrote about Social systems and practices of and the exercise of sati. He describes about Indian merchant’s brisk trading skills on foreign soil and in the seas. He describes the metropolis of Delhi, a huge and wonderful city.
There were many visitors who visited South India during the medieval period. Vijayanagar Empire was visited by many travellers and scholars from European and Central Asian countries. The important ones are given below:
- Nicolo Conti from Italy came in 1420.
- Abdur-Razzaq came from Heart (the court of Great Khan in Central Asia) in 1443,
- Domingo Paes from Portuguese in 1522 (he was a merchant, writer and explorer and he gave a very detailed information of Hampi ruled by Krishna Devaraya).