The Kakatiyas were a dynasty that rose to power from the town of Hanumakonda / Orugallu / Warangal / Ekasila Nagaram in the present day Telangana state early in the 12th century and over the next two hundred years eventually gained domain over most of the Telugu lands, covering the present states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, (former Andhra Pradesh). This empire forms the most significant element of the modern Telugu identity, and even more strongly, that of the present day Telangana.
It was the last empire in history that encompassed and unified almost the entire Telugu speaking regions and conducted most of it’s administrative affairs in the Telugu language.
It was a successor to the Chalukyas of both the western and the eastern branches. As the last great imperial powers of Andhra, they left magnificient monuments and large numbers of stone inscriptions across a wide geography of Andhra and Telangana. There was the spectacular flourishing of Telugu literature immediately preceding this empire, during the empire and in the successor states of this empire. In significance for the Andhra/ Telugu identity it is perhaps best compared to the Shatavahanas who ruled a thousand years before them, though the Shatavahanas, in their heyday ruled a much larger region of the Deccan.
The modern day Bhagyanagaram / Hyderabad started as a frontier fort of the Kakatiya empire. It was conceded to the Turks of Devagiri, in a compromise, by Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka, after he had recovered the Kakatiya capital of Orugallu from the invaders.
The origins of the family are shrouded in the unrecorded past. The Kakatiyas claimed Durjaya as their progenitor. No specifics can be set to his life or even his identity. There are inscriptions dating to the 10th century CE tracing their ancient aristocratic status. Under the Chalukyas of Kalyan and possibly even the Rashtrakuta dynasty, their predecessors.
The last of the Kakatiyas to be a subordinate of another was Prola II. An inscription from 1149 records Prola II as a samanta of the Chalukyas of Kalyana. The next of the Kakatiyas was Prataparudra I, recorded as a sovereign in 1163. No intervening record has yet been found.
The next three rulers, Ganapati Deva, Rudrama Devi and Prataparudra II ruled upto 1323, when the dynasty was extinguished by the Turkish invasion under Ulugh Khan (later known as Muhammad Bin Tughluq).
Above all else, the Kakatiyas must be recognized for their extensive irrigation works. It was during their period that the Telangana region particularly was extensively covered by tanks. Agriculture flourished and expanded rapidly. This extensive network of tanks remain to this day. They are a fond memory and pride of the region. The temples of the Kakatiyas are a close parallel of their contemporaries, the Hoysalas, in architecture, scale, finesse and extent.
The establishing of a colony for the preservation of the Vaidika dharma in the Godavari delta was due to the specific efforts of the Musunuri Nayakas, successors to the Kakatiya empire.
The defeat of the Kakatiya empire was quickly avenged by the Andhras. A coalition of Kakatiya noblemen quickly formed under the lead of Musunuri Prolaya Nayaka. Prolaya Nayaka reestablished, though only for a few decades, a Hindu kingdom in Orugallu. Prolaya Vema Reddi established a robust and long lasting Hindu kingdom in Kondaveedu (Guntur district) and the Padma Nayakas established a Hindu kingdom at Rachakonda (Nallagonda disrict), whose boundaries were not far from the Golconda fort. Essentially most of the Kakatiya empire was recovered by the aristocracy of the Kakatiyas.
However the divisions among these successors were too great to contain. Orugallu fell again to the turks in a few decades. But the rest of the Telugu region maintained its autonomy from foreign rule until the fall of the Vijayanagara empire.
Kakatiya Yugamu – https://archive.org/details/kakatiyayugamau020566mbp/mode/2up
The contribution of the Kakatiya Nayakas to the independence of Dakshinapatha – https://ia801600.us.archive.org/21/items/in.ernet.dli.2015.202146/2015.202146.Kakatiya-Nayaks.pdf
An expansive treatise on the golden era of Kakatiyas – https://www.newindianexpress.com/lifestyle/books/2020/aug/31/an-expansive-treatise-on-the-golden-era-of-kakatiyas-2190481.html
P.V. Parabrahma Sastry – A historian who wrote extensively about the Kakatiyas – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._V._Parabrahma_Sastry
The Kakatiyas and their times – https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/107882
Kakatiyas of Warangal – P.V. Parabrahma Sastry – https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.175182/mode/2up