Important sources for the medieval History of South India may be categorized broadly under the following three heads:
1. Persian chronicles
2. Indigenous works
3. Foreign traveller’s accounts
1. Persian chronicles:
Among the most significant sources, following deserve mention:
(i) ‘Burhan-i-Maiser’ by Syed Ali Tabatabai. It deals with the Bahmanis of Gulbarga, Bahmanis of Bidar and the Sultans of Ahmednagar.
(ii) ‘Tuzkirat ul Mulk’ by Rafi-ud-din Ibrahim. It is primarily a chronicle of Adil Shahis of Bijapur.
(iii) ‘Maasir-i-Qutab Shahi’ by an anonymous author. It provides a detailed account of the Bahmanis, Adil Shahis, Nizam Shahis and Qutb Shahis.
(iv) ‘Riyaz-ul-Insha’ by Mahmud Gawan. It is a valuable source for the Bahmanis of Gulbarga.
(v) ‘ Tazkirat ul Malik’ by Rafi-ud-din Shirazi. It deals with the affairs of Adil Shahis of Bijapur.
(vi) ‘Gulshani-i-Ibrahim’ better known as Tarik-i-Firishta by Muhammad Quasin Hindu Shah alias Firishta. It is considered as a monumental work on Deccan Kingdoms.
2. Indigenous Works:
(i) Madhura-Vijaya by Gangadevi:
The author has mostly dealt with the military exploits of her husband Prince Kampana of Vijayanagar. It is perhaps the only historical work written by a woman.
(ii) ‘Ramappayyan Ammanai’:
It is a Tamil work which gives an account of the exploits of Ramappayyan on behalf of the rulers of Vijayanagar.
(iii) ‘Keladinpa Vijaya:
It is written in Kannada. It describes the foundation of Vijayanagar Kingdom.
(iv) ‘Rayavachaka” by Visvanatha Nayaka:
Written in Telugu it throws light on the period of Krishnadevarya of Vijayanagar.
Vijayam’ by Chinna Venkata. It is also in Telugu dealing with the affairs of Vijayanagar Kingdom.
(vi) ‘Kerala Palma’:
It is a Malayalam work which describes the conquests of Devaraya-II of the Vijayanagar Kingdom.
3. Accounts of Foreign Travellers:
Important accounts are given below:
(i) Account given by Nicolo Conti, a Venetian merchant who spent some time in Vijayanagar in the beginning of the fifteenth century A.D.
(ii) Account given by Abdur Razzak (A.D. 1413-82). Abdur Razzak was an envoy from Persia. He visited Vijayanagar in 1453. He provides a grdphic picture of the city of Vijayanagar with its fortification, palaces, temples and other public buildings.
(iii) Account given by Athanasius Nikitin, a Russian traveller who visited South India in 1470. He has left a valuable account of the Bahmani Kingdom.
(iv) Account given by Durate Barbosa an employee of the Portuguese Government. His account throws adequate light on the Vijaynagara kingdom during the period A.D. 1509 to A.D. 1514.