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NCERT Solutions for Class 12 History Chapter 7 An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara

Class 12 History Chapter 7 An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara Question Answer

The Name “an imperial capital Vijayanagara” of class 12 History chapter 7 gives students comprehensive knowledge about the greatest empires of southern India, the Vijayanagara Empire. We highlight various dynasties and all the developments that happened during their regime, as well as the architectural wisdom of the empire and some of the greatest temples.

This chapter was the first choice of examiner for your class’s 12th board exam in the past year questions where many questions came from this chapter. Memorysclub history team of teachers provides the most suitable exam-oriented for class 12 history an imperial capital Vijayanagara of question answer.

1. What have been the methods used to study the ruins of Hampi over the last two centuries? In what way do you think they would have complemented the information provided by the priests of the Virupaksha temple?

Answer 1 

The ruins of Hampi were brought to light by Colonel Colin Mackenzie, an engineer and antiquarian, in 1800.  An employee of the English East India Company, he prepared the first survey map of the site. He relied on the memories of the priests of the Virupaksha temple and the shrine of Pampadevi for his initial information. Photographers started documenting the monuments in 1856, aiding scholars in their study. 

Inscriptions were collected from the Virupaksha temple and other nearby temples, while historians utilized accounts of foreign travellers and literature in Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Sanskrit languages. These methods complemented the priests’ information, enabling the reconstruction of Hampi’s history. The collaborative approach between different sources has provided a comprehensive understanding of the site.


Who is credited with bringing the ruins of Hampi to light?

  1. A) Lord Hampi
  2. B) Colonel Colin Mackenzie
  3. C) The Virupaksha temple priests
  4. D) English East India Company

Answer: B) Colonel Colin Mackenzie

What methods were used to reconstruct the history of Hampi?

  1. A) Inscriptions and literature in multiple languages
  2. B) Photographs and foreign travellers’ accounts
  3. C) Memories of the priests and archaeological surveys
  4. D) All of the above

Answer: D) All of the above

2. How were the water requirements of Vijayanagara met? (or) Explain how the people of Vijayanagara obtained water for their needs.

Answer 2

The people of Vijayanagara obtained water for their needs through a well-organized and elaborate water management system. The natural basin formed by the river Tungabhadra, flowing in a north-easterly direction, played a crucial role in the city’s water supply. Surrounding the city were stunning granite hills that seemed to encircle it, with streams flowing down from these rocky outcrops to the river. Embankments were constructed along these streams to create reservoirs of varying sizes, as the region was relatively arid. The Kamalapuram tank, constructed in the fifteenth century, served as a crucial water source.

  • The water from the tank was used to irrigate the nearby fields.
  • The water tank fulfilled the need of the royal center
  • Another notable waterwork was the Hiriya canal, built by the Sangama dynasty, drawing water from a dam across the Tungabhadra to irrigate the cultivated valley between the “sacred centre” and the “urban core.


What played a crucial role in the water supply of Vijayanagara?

  1. A) Wells scattered throughout the city
  2. B) Canals and irrigation channels
  3. C) River Tungabhadra
  4. D) Underground aquifers

Answer: C) River Tungabhadra

How did streams contribute to the water supply of Vijayanagara?

  1. A) They were used for irrigation purposes
  2. B) They provided drinking water through wells
  3. C) They flowed into the river Tungabhadra
  4. D) They were diverted into canals surrounding the city

Answer: C) They flowed into the river Tungabhadra

3. What do you think were the advantages and disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified area of the city?

Answer 3

During the medieval period, the objective of sieges was to starve the defenders into submission. These sieges could last for a long period. 

There are advantages and disadvantages 


  • Protection during sieges: Enclosing agricultural land within the fortified areas ensured the protection of the agricultural belt during sieges. By having the farmland within the fortified boundaries, the defenders could maintain a steady food supply, preventing starvation and maintaining the city’s resilience.
  • Financial security for peasants: The peasants cultivating the land within the fortified area did not face disruptions or financial difficulties due to war or other factors. Their agricultural activities remained undisturbed, providing them with stability and a consistent source of income.
  • Regular income from land revenue: Land revenue was a significant source of income for the state. By safeguarding the agricultural tract within the fortified area, the rulers ensured a consistent flow of revenue, contributing to the financial stability and administration of the city.


  • High cost of fortifications: Constructing and maintaining extensive fortifications around the agricultural land within the city incurred significant expenses. The resources allocated for fortifications could have been utilized for other developmental purposes.
  • Maintenance of a large army: Protecting a larger fortified area required a substantial military force. The state had to bear the costs of maintaining a large army, which could strain the financial resources and potentially affect other aspects of governance and development.
  • Challenges in land allocation: Determining the appropriate extent of land to be included within the fortified area could have been a complex decision. Balancing the need for agricultural expansion with limited space within the fortifications required careful planning and decision-making.

In conclusion, enclosing agricultural land within the fortified areas of the city provided advantages such as protection during sieges, financial security for peasants, regular land revenue, and efficient irrigation. However, it also presented challenges such as the high costs of fortifications, the need to maintain a large army, and difficulties in land allocation.


What was one of the advantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified areas during sieges?

A) Protection from natural disasters

B) Availability of skilled laborers

C) Steady food supply

D) Access to advanced technology

Answer: C) Steady food supply

What was one of the disadvantages of enclosing agricultural land within the fortified areas?

A) Decreased security during sieges

B) Limited water resources

C) High costs of fortifications

D) Increased agricultural productivity

Answer: C) High costs of fortifications

4. What do you think was the significance of the rituals associated with the mahanavami Dibba?

Answer 4

The Mahanavami Dibba is an ancient structure located within the royal enclosure of the historical site of Hampi in India. It was built during the Vijayanagara Empire, Which flourished from the 14th to the 16th centuries. It a made of a beautiful wooden structure with a base of the platform covered with relief carvings. 

The Mahanavami Dibba had a very impressive platform known as “the audience hall”. It was surrounded by high double walls a street running between them. The significance of the rituals associated with the Mahanavami Dibba lies in its connection to the religious and cultural practices of the Vijayanagara Empire. 

The Mahanavami Dibba served as a ceremonial platform or stage for royal events and festivities, particularly during the grand Navaratri (Mahanavami) celebrations. Navaratri is a major Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of the goddess Durga. It spans nine nights and is marked by elaborate rituals and celebrations.

During the Navaratri festival, the rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire showcased their power, prestige, and suzerainty. Several ceremonies were performed on this occasion, including the worship of different gods and goddesses, the worship of the state horse, and the sacrifice of buffaloes and other animals.

The rituals associated with the Mahanavami Dibba were significant for several reasons:

  • Religious Significance: The Vijayanagara Empire was a staunch patron of Hinduism, and the rituals performed on the Mahanavami Dibba had deep religious significance. The worship of goddess Durga during Navaratri was believed to invoke her blessings and protection for the kingdom and its people.
  • Political Symbolism: The elaborate ceremonies performed on the Mahanavami Dibba were not only religious but also had political symbolism. The ruler’s presence on the platform and the performance of rituals showcased the king’s authority and connection to divine power, reinforcing his legitimacy and the empire’s strength.


The Mahanavami Dibba served as a ceremonial platform during which festival?

  1. A) Diwali
  2. B) Holi
  3. C) Navaratri
  4. D) Makar Sankranti

Answer: C) Navaratri

What is the significance of the rituals associated with the Mahanavami Dibba?

  1. A) Cultural entertainment
  2. B) Religious and political symbolism
  3. C) Agricultural harvest celebrations
  4. D) Trade and commerce promotion

Answer: B) Religious and political symbolism

6. Discuss whether the term “royal centre” is an appropriate description for the part of the city for which it is used.

Answer 6

The term “royal centre” is not an appropriate description for the part of the city in question due to several reasons. 

  • Although designated as a royal centre, the area encompassed over 60 temples, indicating that it had a significant religious character rather than solely being focused on political power.
  • The “king’s palace” is the largest enclosure but it has not yet yielded definitive evidence of being a royal residence. It has two impressive platforms – the “audience hall” and the Mahanavami Dibba. It is not clear what “audience hall” was used for. Similarly, the space surrounding the structure of the Mahanavami Dibba does not seem to have adequate elaborate functions.
  • There was another beautiful building of the Lotus Mahal. However, the purpose for which this Lotus Mahal is used is not exactly clear.

Overall, the combination of temples and palaces within the royal centre highlights the dual strategy employed by the rulers to consolidate their authority. They not only patronized and associated themselves with religious institutions to gain divine legitimacy but also established palaces as symbols of secular power and administrative control. This multi-faceted approach aimed to create a comprehensive framework for the rulers’ authority and influence, encompassing both the spiritual and worldly domains.


The presence of over 60 temples in the so-called “royal centre” indicates:

  1. A) Strong political influence
  2. B) Focus on religious activities
  3. C) Exclusive royal residences
  4. D) Lack of architectural planning

Answer: B) Focus on religious activities

The purpose of the Lotus Mahal within the royal centre is:

  1. A) Residential use
  2. B) Administrative control
  3. C) Religious rituals
  4. D) Unclear

Answer: D) Unclear

7. What does the architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables tell us about the rulers who commissioned them? (or) Attempt a brief note on the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables. (or) What does the architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables tell us about the rulers who commissioned them? (or) Give a brief description of Lotus Mahal, situated in the Royal centres of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Answer 7

The architecture of buildings like the Lotus Mahal and elephant stables provides insights into the rulers who commissioned them during the Vijayanagara Empire. These structures reflect the artistic and cultural sensibilities, as well as the political and social aspirations of the rulers. Here’s what we can learn from the architecture of these buildings:

  1.  Lotus Mahal – The Lotus Mahal, a prominent structure in the royal centre of the Vijayanagara Empire, was named as such by British travellers in the 19th century. Historians have varying opinions about its purpose and use. Some suggest that it served as a council chamber where the king would meet his advisors. Evidence in support of this theory includes a map drawn by Colonel Colin Mackenzie. The architectural style combines Indo-Islamic influences, with Muslim-style pillars and arches and Indian-style wood and stone construction. Although the building has undergone substantial deterioration, remnants of its decorative engravings hint at its former beauty and ornate design.
Lotus Mahal

Elephant stables – The elephant stables were functional structures characterized by large size, arched openings, and a row-like layout. They symbolize the rulers’ power, military aspirations, and regal lifestyle, showcasing the importance of elephants in warfare and the grandeur of the empire’s elephant corps.

Elephant temple

8. What are the architectural traditions that inspired the architects of Vijayanagara? How did they transform these traditions?

Answer 8

The rulers of Vijayanagara showcased their architectural skills through the construction of numerous temples, incorporating innovative features like gopurams and royal gateways. These towering structures, visible from afar, symbolized the rulers’ authority and resourcefulness. Other notable features included mandapas, pillared corridors, and renowned temples like Virupaksha and Vittala. Overall, their architectural innovations left a lasting legacy, highlighting their keen interest in temple construction.

9. What impression of the lives of the ordinary people of Vijayanagara can you cull from the various descriptions in the chapter?

Answer 9

The ordinary people of Vijayanagara represented a diverse cross-section of society. They included small traders, local merchants, peasants, workers, and individuals from marginalized low-caste groups. These ordinary people inhabited cities, towns, and villages, engaging in various economic activities such as trade, agriculture, and craftsmanship.

Merchant communities like the kudirai chettis played a significant role in economic exchanges and trade networks. The presence of skilled craftsmen such as ironsmiths, goldsmiths, carpenters, sculpture-makers, and weavers (Kaikkol) contributed to the cultural and economic fabric of Vijayanagara.

Social hierarchies were apparent, with certain groups holding more influence and landownership, such as the orthodox reddis. However, there were also marginalized communities like Domber, Marva, Jogi, Paraiyan, and Boi Kallaar who faced social disadvantages.

Unique customs and practices were observed among different communities. The Gadarias, known as Kambalattar, practised polyandry with elder wives. Additionally, the influence of the Portuguese led to the conversion of some low-caste individuals to Christianity.

Overall, the lives of ordinary people were shaped by their economic roles, social standing, and cultural practices. Their contributions to trade, agriculture, craftsmanship, and their resilience in the face of social challenges highlight their significance in the vibrant society of Vijayanagara.

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