privacy policy

From the Fields to the Throne: Keḷadi-Ikkeri Rulers and the Culture of Nature


· Lidia Sudyka Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University (Cracow, Poland)


07/29 | 09:40-10:00 UTC+2/CEST


The substantive aim of this paper is to address attitudes towards environment and biotic resources, characteristic of the rule of the Keḷadi-Ikkeri Nāyakas and expressed in the Śivatattvaratnākara. After the decline of Vijayanagara power, some nāyakas established their own kingdoms. That is the case of the Keḷadi-Ikkeri Nāyakas (c. 1499–1763 C.E.), who, first, were intermediaries between the Vijayanagara king and the people of their locality and later became independent rulers of the western strip of Karnataka. Even during the heyday of the Keḷadi-Ikkeri kingdom, all the three consecutive capitals of the state—Keḷadi, Ikkeri and Bidnur—were far from being huge urban centres and perhaps contact with nature and close observation of wild life and domestic animals as well as local flora was a matter of everyday life. The Śivatattvaratnākara is an encyclopaedic work in Sanskrit authored by Keḷadi-Ikkeri king Basavarāja (r.1697–1714). Although it relays heavily on earlier sources, there are passages in it which concern the particular territory which the Ikkeri ruler was responsible for. They are present mainly in book 5 of the Śivatattvaratnākara. Among the passages analysed there will be: -the description of Malnad (malladeśa), -the dynastic myth and history of the Keḷadi-Ikkeri Nāyakas, -the passage concerning the qualities of a king, which should be learnt from certain animals. Also some excerpts from book 6, dealing with horticulture, will be taken into consideration. Indeed, the richness and diversity of regional ecosystem translates into the complexity of the inner landscapes of mind and these traits, invented or inherited, can be seen in the Śivatattvaratnākara