After the fall of the Kadambas, Goa became a pawn in the game between the Bahamani Sultanate and Vijayanagar Rajya.
1 THE BAHAMANI SULTANATE
First, the founder of the Bahamani Sultanate, Alla-ud-din Hasan Gangu I, dealt a severe blow to the Hindu kingdoms of the West Coast, including Goa in 1356 AD. Goa remained under the Bahamanis for ten years till 1366.1 Bahamanis conquered Goa again in 1472, as we shall see later.
Islamic pottery of different hues, one of them the upper portion of a wine decanter to be served at table, were found in the Pilar Tank and also behind the Pilar Monastery in a dump, 7 feet deep, below the normal level. It may have belonged to the times of the Nawab of Honavar or of the Bahamani Sultans (of the first or second occupation. Different coins of the Bahamani Sultanate (figure 61b) were also found in the Pilar Tank.
2. VIJAYANAGAR’S RULE OF A CENTURY
From the Bahamanis, Goa came under Vijayanagar’s sway for over 100 years from 1366 to 1472 due to Madhavmantri, Governor of the Konkan and able Minister of his suzerain Marappa, king of Vijayanagar.2 This Madhavmantri put up a dam at Govali-Moula in memory of his mother Mochambika, by constructing a bund between Moula and Talaulim to separate the sweet spring water coming from the Govali hillock and the salt water coming from the Siridao river, locally known as Manchala Samudra,3 and going up to that hillock. (Figure 62)
There was a Sanskrit and Kannada stone inscription at Batim, which spoke of this Madhavmantri describing how he had built this bund and dam; the inscription also said that Gopaka was his capital. The date corresponds to1380 AD.
(ii) Brass Bell and other artefacts
A beautiful brassbell of the Vijayanagar period, showing the 10 avatars of Vishnu and 5 other mythological figures, embossed on it, in two circles all around was gifted to the Museum. Figure 63 shows the bell and one of
Avatars embossed on it. A dancing Shiva (Nataraj), a 15th century head of a Ganesh idol and other artefacts were gifted to the Museum. They all testify to the revival of art and trade of Gavapuri during the Vijayanagar period.
An unusual piece of a stoneware dish either from China or Thailand, found in a dump behind Pilar Monastery at a depth of 7 feet; a Chinese coin (Figure 65a) and Ming pottery bits (Figure 65 b) found in the Pilar tank also testify to the continuous foreign trade links of Govapuri through the Gopakapattana port during the Vijayanagar period. The Ming dynasty ruled China from 1368 to 1644. The beautiful Chinese cup in this collection has a symbol of the Ming dynasty at its base.
Gopakapattana port lies at the mouth of the River Zuari and as such is prone to heavy siltation, as especially during the monsoons, the River, which starts from the Western Ghats, brings along with it heavy silt and mud as it flows down. When it meets the Arabian Sea, the mud or silt is deposited at the mouth. In footnote 3 of our Introduction to this book, we have quoted NIO scientist Rajiv Nigam, who in his Press Note to the newspapers released on 16th July 2015, under the caption “Remnants of one of India’s ports found in Goa” has affirmed that this port was 4500 years old, frequented by ships of different nations.
3. SILTATION AND ABANDONMENT OF GOPAKAPATTANA
In Chapter 3 we have seen that Ventuvallabha Sendreka had de-silted and fortified the Gopakapattana port in the 7th century. Since then it had served Goa and its hinterland for almost 8 centuries. But during the time of Madhavmantri of Vijayanagar, his capital might have continued at Govapuri till around 1380 AD. After that the port capital was abandoned because of the siltation, and shifted to the banks of the River Mandovi. The village known as Ribandar gets its name from the Konkani RAI BONDR, meaning the port of the Raias (or Rajas as the Rulers of Vijayanagar called themselves.
Ibn Batuta also says that even as far back as 1342 AD, the Muslims were already building their city at Ela, present Old Goa (Velha Goa4). Thus Govapuri came to be abandoned and dwindled into oblivion.
Perhaps, Bahamani coins were also in circulation in Goa, in the late Vijayanagar period. A small silver coin, two centimetres in diameter of Ahmad Shah II (1435-1457) was found by the Hostel boys in the compound of the present Fr. Agnel Higher Secondary School in 1973 while digging the ground for planting banana trees. It can be seen in the Museum and is enlarged three times here.
4. MAHMUD GAWAN
In 1472 AD, Goa again passed under the Bahamani Sultanate, when Mahmud Gawan, the able minister of the Bahamani Sultan, Mohammad Shah III (1463-82), attacked it by land and sea and the Vijayanagar governor fled without a fight.5 Mahmud Gawan describes Goa as the envy of the islands and ports of India and famed for is fine climate, its coconuts and betel nuts as well as for its springs, canals and plenty of sugar cane and betel-leaf. He says that owing to the abundance of its trees and springs it is like the mirror of the Grove of the Genii and a copy of Cistern of Plenty6.
The Bahamani Sultans are known for their destruction of temples and buildings. Thus it was that after the conquest by Mahmud Gawan, Govapuri was completely destroyed with its palaces and temples in order to wipe out the memory of the Kadambas. The great city of the Kadambas was reduced to an insignificant village of Vhoddlem- Goem or Thorllem-Goem (Goa-Velha). Mahmud Gawan was executed on false charges by the Sultan in 1481. Goa remained under the Bahamanis from 1472 to 1501 AD. Vijayanagar made two attempts to recapture Goa in 1472 and 1481 AD but in vain. In 1493, Bahadur Khan Gilani, a Bahamani rebel, tried to capture Goa, but was slain.
5. BREAK UP OF BAHAMANI SULTANATE
The Sultan Mohammad Shah III died in 1482. His successor Muhammad Shah IV led a loose life and the Sultanate became weak and there were revolts on all sides.
Intense fighting among the generals marked this reign. Thus, the Bahamani Sultanate did not thrive for long as one united entity. It slowly broke up after 1498 AD7.
In 1501 the Governor of Bijapur Yusuf Adil Shah declared himself independent. By 1518, the other Provinces also declared themselves independent and the erstwhile one Bahamani Sultanate broke up into five Sultanates, namely: Bidar, Golkonda, Berar, Ahmednagar and Bijapur. Goa became part of the Adil Shahi of Bijapur8. In the next Chapter we will see who Adil Shah was, and how he became master of Bijapur and Goa.
Yet surprisingly, a few coins of this confused period are found in the Pilar tank too. One of them was found in the Pilar Monastery in an old drawer. It is enlarged here (figure 65e). It corresponds to the reign of the above mentioned Bahamani Sultan Muhammad Shah IV (1482–1518 AD).
1 P. B. Dessai, A History of Karnataka, op cit. p. 394
2 Ibid p.341
3 Nandakumar Kamat, The Kadamba capital of Gopaka (Goa-Velha) and the Story of the Goddess Chamunda.
4 G. M . Moraes op cit. pp. 215-216
5 G.A. Pereira, op cit pp. 76, 91-92
6 Haroon Khan Shervani, Th Bahamanis of the Deccan, pp. 218-19
7 P.B. Dessai, op cit. p 398
8 G. A. Pereira, op cit. Pp 85-87.