The devotional or bhakti literature was introduced in south India during the Chola era and followed by North India later. 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 Bhakti Movement in North India.
It is a type of literature that doesn’t deal with religious practices, ideas and traditions. The poems like Madura Vijayam by Gangadevi and Amuktamalyatha by Krishnadevaraya throws lights on Vijayanagara Empire.
There is no written literature available by Indian authors on account of the Turkish Invasion of India. Luckily, get information about the 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
- A book, Tabakat-i-Nasiri, written by Minhaj-us-Sira, explains very detailed information about the period from Muhammad Ghori's conquest 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 the first official history of the Delhi Sultanate.
- Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi, written by Zia-ud-Barni, a courtier of Muhammad Tughluq, dealt with Delhi Sultanate's history 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. It describes Akbar's administration and his policy matters on various aspects, particularly of his religious policy.
- Jahangir’s Tuzk-i-Jahangiri provides more information about the 17th century period.
- Nizam-ud-din Ahmad's Tabakat-i-Akbari provides the factual account of information about Akbar.
Travellers and Travelogues
India is a country with a glorious past and was fascinated 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 ten years in India.
Tahqiq-i-Hind is written by Alberuni. In this work, he wrote about cultural, religious values, prevailing conditions, and the system of knowledge of India apart from the wars and battles. The Ghazni Campaign on Somnath was documented in a very detailed manner by Al-Beruni.
Ibn Battuta (14th Century) was an Arab born Morocco scholar who widely travelled during the medieval period for over thirty years. He visited from North Africa to Egypt and then to Central Asia and India.
He wrote about the people and the countries he visited in the book "The Travels (Rihla)". He assumed Egypt was wealthy since most of India's trade was routed through Egypt to the west.
He also wrote about the social systems and practices of India, such as the exercise of sati. He describes Indian merchant's brisk trading skills on foreign soil and in the seas. He describes the metropolis of Delhi as 'a huge and wonderful city'.
Many visitors 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. He gave very detailed information about Hampi, ruled by Krishna Devaraya.