Traders and Craftspersons
Q50. Explain why Surat was the gateway for trade with West.
was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz. The
city was cosmopolitan and people of all castes and creeds lived there. In the
seventeenth century the Portuguese, Dutch and English had their factories and warehouses
at Surat. According to the English chronicler Ovington who wrote an account of
the port in 1689, on average a hundred ships of different countries could be found
anchored at the port at any given time. There were also several
retail and wholesale shops selling cotton textiles. The textiles of Surat were
famous for their gold lace borders (zari) and had a market in West Asia, Africa
and Europe. The state built numerous rest-houses to take care of the needs of
people from all over the world who came to the city.
Q51. How was Hampi in its heyday in the 15-16th centuries? When
did it fall to ruin?
In its heyday in the fifteenth sixteenth centuries, Hampi bustled with
commercial and cultural activities.
Moors (a name used collectively for Muslim
merchants), Chettis and agents of European traders such as the Portuguese,
thronged the markets of Hampi.
Temples were the hub of cultural activities
and devadasis (temple dancers) performed before the deity, royalty and masses
in the many-pillared halls in the Virupaksha (a form of Shiva) temple.
The Mahanavami festival, known today as
Navaratri in the south, was one of the most important festivals celebrated at
fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccani
Sultans – the rulers of Golconda, Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Berar and Bidar.
Q52. Why did Masulipatnam become prosperous and popular?
The town of Masulipatnam or Machlipatnam (literally, fish port town) lay on the
delta of the Krishna river.
In the seventeenth century it was a centre
of intense activity. Both the Dutch and English East India Companies attempted
to control Masulipatnam as it became the most important port on the Andhra
The Qutb Shahi rulers of Golconda imposed
royal monopolies on the sale of textiles, spices and other items to prevent the
trade passing completely into the hands of the various East India Companies.
Fierce competition among various
trading groups – the Golconda nobles, Persian merchants, Telugu Komati Chettis,
and European traders – made the city populous and prosperous.
Q53. Describe the town Thanjavur.
Why do you think people regarded Thanjavur as a great town?
People regarded Thanjavur as a great town because of the following reasons:
Thanjavur was the capital of the Cholas.The
perennial river Kaveri flows near this beautiful town. One hears the bells of
the Rajarajeshvara temple built by King Rajaraja Chola.
The townspeople are all praise for its
architect Kunjaramallan Rajaraja Perunthachchan who has proudly carved his name
on the temple wall. Inside is a massive Shiva linga.
Besides the temple, there are palaces with
mandapas or pavilions. Kings hold court in these mandapas, issuing orders to
their subordinates. There are also barracks for the army.
The town is bustling with markets selling
grain, spices, cloth and jewellery. Water supply for the town comes from wells