Tughluq’s First Invasion:
A large army was assembled from the Muslim strongholds of Baduan, Oudh, Kara, Dabmu, Bangarmu, Chanderi etc. This sea of Muslim armies marched towards Warangal in 1321 CE led by Ulugh Khan (later on known as Mohammed Tughlaq). This expedition was clearly with a view of conquering the Kakatiya kingdom, not just looting it. After two months the army reached Deogiri, where they were reinforced by other Muslim amirs and the invasion force rolled on towards Warangal. This was the third full scale invasion of Warangal in a short time of eleven years.
As on previous occasions Prataparudra along with his nobles took shelter in the formidable Warangal fort. Prataparudra was well prepared to withstand a long siege. In any event the siege dragged on for eight months. Roving bands of Kakatiya warriors disrupted the Muslim postal system and harassed the invaders from the rear.
Ibn Battuta says the sultans postal service was of two types:
1. Mounted Couriers: The first type was mounted couriers on horses. There were relays every 4 miles.
2. Runners on foot: – Every third of a mile there was a village outside which three pavilions in which runners sat ready to move off. Each runner had a staff (yard and half long) with bells at the top. When a runner ran he had the message in the fingers of the free hand and the rod in the other. The bells alerted the men sitting in the next village of the runners approach and someone in the next pavilion took over the message. As per Ibn Battuta this was faster than mounted couriers. Fruits and criminals were also transported in this way to the sultan. This seems to have been only used for the sultan’s personal needs/military communications/government communications.
While the siege of Warangal was in progress, dissensions and intrigues broke out in the Muslim camp. Distrustful of Ulugh Khan’s motives, a group of rebels led by Tighin and Timur conducted secret negotiations with Prataparudra. As per their pact with Prataparudra, the rebels would abandon the camp and lift the siege of Warangal, provided Prataparudra allowed them to leave unmolested through his territory. Once assured of their safety the rebel faction rolled up their camp, destroyed the wooden stockades and left Ulugh Khan to face the wrath of the Kakatiya forces.
As soon as Prataparudra was sure that the rebels had left the Muslim camp for good, a ferocious sally issued forth from Warangal fort. This caused great slaughter in Ulugh Khans camp. Ulugh Khan had to depart in haste, all the while being pursued by the avenging Hindus.
Tughluq’s Second Invasion:
When the news of the ignominious defeat reached Delhi, Ghiyath-al-din Tughlaq made sure that the rebels who were responsible for the debacle were executed in the most painful way possible. Barani says, “The Sultán held a public darbár in the plain of Sírí, when ‘Ubaid, the poet, and Káfúr, the seal-keeper, and other rebels, were impaled alive; some of the others, with their wives and children, were thrown under the feet of elephants.”
Within six months a more formidable invasion force was raised and Ulugh Khan swept into the Deccan. This time Prataparudra was taken unawares and was completely unprepared for the attack.
It is difficult to explain this failure in the light of the fact that on every previous occasion he had been well prepared to meet the Muslim attack. The Kakatiya soldiers had been sent back to their villages and the granaries emptied, even Warangal fort was not properly provisioned.
The Muslim force stormed Badrakot (Bidar) and besieged Warangal. The siege went on for five long months, but the breaking point for the brave Hindus came due to lack of food within the fort. Prataparudra surrendered on condition of amnesty.
While being taken as a prisoner to Delhi, Prataparudra committed suicide. Ulugh Khan promptly renamed Warangal as Sultanpur.
Although Prataparudra’s death brought the curtains down on the Kakatiya kingdom it did not extinguish Hindu resistance. In south western Andhra, Jagatapi Gangayadeva resisted the Muslims from his capital at Gutti. But in due course he was forced to submit to Ulugh Khan.
Tughluq’s First Invasion: