Chapter 6 Towns, Traders, And Craftspersons

1. Fill in the blanks:

  1. The Rajarajeshvara temple was built in ………………..
  2. Ajmer is associated with the Sufi saint…………………
  3. Hampi was the capital of the ………….
  4. The Dutch established a settlement at…………….. in Andhra Pradesh.


  1. (a) early 11th century
  2. (b) Khwaja Muinuddin Chishti
  3. (c) Vijayanagara
  4. (d) Masulipatnam

2. State whether true or false:
(a) We know the name of the architect of the Rajarajeshvara temple from an inscription.
(b) Merchants preferred to travel individually rather than in caravans.
(c) Kabul was a major centre for trade in elephants.
(d) Surat was an important trading port on the Bay of Bengal.
Answer:   (a)—T, (b)—F, (c)—F, (d)—F.

3. How was water supplied, to the city of Thanjavur?
Water from wells and tanks was supplied to the city of Thanjavur through channels.

4. Who lived in the ‘Black Towns’ in cities such as Madras?
Answer:  Merchants, artisans (such as weavers), native traders and craftspersons lived in the ‘Black Towns’.

5. Why do you think towns grew around temples?
Towns grew around temples because of the following reasons:

  1. Priests, workers, artisans, craftspersons settled around temples.
  2. Several shops came up around temples to cater to the needs of pilgrims and priests etc.

6. How important were craftspersons for the building and maintenance of temples?
Craftspersons were very important because of the following reasons:

  1. They carried out inlay work in copper and silver. Craftspersons from Bidar were well-known for Bidri work.
  2. Goldsmiths, bronzesmiths, blacksmiths, masons, carpenters built temples.
  3. They also maintained them.
  4. Weavers also played an important role in cotton textiles.

7. Why did people from distant lands visit Surat?
People from distant lands visited Surat because of the following reasons:

  1. Surat was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz.
  2. Surat has also been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.
  3. There was a big market for cotton textiles. One could find several retail and wholesale shops selling cotton textiles.
  4. The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders, Le. zari and had a market in West Asia, Africa and Europe.
  5. There were ample rest-houses for the visitors. Magnificent buildings and innumerable pleasure parks attracted people of far-off places.

8. In what ways was craft production in cities like Calcutta different from that in cities Wee Thanjavur?
Craft production in Thanjavur was different from that of Kolkata in the following manner:

  1. Craft production in Thanjavur was in the form of inlays work in copper and silver.
  2. In Kolkata, it was in the form of cotton textiles, jute textiles, and silk textiles.
  3. Thanjavur was a temple town and all lived in town.
  4. Calcutta was a trading town and craftsmen lived in “Blacktown” areas.

9. Compare any one of the cities described in this chapter with a town or a village with which you are familiar. Do you notice any similarities or differences?
Comparison between Surat and Delhi



  • Emporium during the Mughal period due to the production of various goods.
  • Gateway to West Asia due to the trade centre.
  • Cosmopolitan city.
  • Factories and warehouses.
  • Known for cotton textiles.
  • It was also an emporium during the Mughal period.
  • Basically administrative town.
  • Cosmopolitan city.
  • Factories and warehouses.
  • Known for business, trade, and commercial pursuits.

Very Short Answer Type Questions

1. What do temple towns represent? [Imp.]
Answer:  Temple towns represent a very important pattern of urbanization.

2. Why did the rulers endow temples with grants of land and money?
Answer:  They did so in order to carry out elaborate rituals, feed pilgrims and priests, and celebrate festivals.

3. How did pilgrims contribute to the temples?
Answer:  They made donations.

4. What is bronze?
Answer:  Bronze is an alloy that contains copper and tin.

5. What is bell metal?
Answer:  Bell metal contains a greater proportion of tin than other kinds of bronze. This produces a bell-like sound,

6. How did temple authorities use their wealth?
Answer:  They used their wealth to finance trade and banking,

7. What did the Indian traders bring from Africa?
Answer:  They brought gold and ivory from Africa.

8. Name a few Indian spices which became an important part of European cooking. Ans. Pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, dried ginger, g. 9. What were craftspersons of Bidar famous for?
Answer:  They were famous for their inlay work in copper and silver,

10. What do the ruins of Hampi reveal?
Answer:  The ruins at the Hampi reveal a well-fortified city.

11. Why has Surat been called the gate to Mecca?[V. Imp.]
Answer:  Surat has been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.

12. What were the textiles of Surat famous for?
Answer:  The textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders Le. zarL

13. What was special with the Surat hundis?                  [V. Imp.]
Answer:  The Surat hundis were honoured in the far-off markets of Cairo in Egypt, Basra in Iraq, and Antwerp in Belgium.

14. Why did the Dutch and English East India Companies attempt to control Masulipatnam?
Answer: Because Masulipatnam became the most important port on the Andhra coast,

15. How did the European Companies gain control of the sea trade?
Answer:  They gained control of the sea trade by using their naval power,

16. What was the system of advances?
Answer:  Under the system of advances the weavers had to weave cloth which was already promised to European agents.

17. Name the residence meant for the white rulers in Madras.
Answer:  Fort St. George.

18 Name the residence meant for the white rulers in Calcutta
Answer:  Fort St. William.

19. Mention some articles of trade on which temple authorities collected taxes.
Answer:  Sugar and jaggery, dyes, thread, and cotton, coconut, salt, areca nuts, butter, sesame oil and cloth.

Short Answer Type Questions

1. What is the ‘lost wax’ technique? [V. Imp.]
Answer: ‘Lost wax’ technique was used to make Chola bronze statues. This technique involved several stages :

2. What purpose did small towns serve? [V. Imp.]
Describe various Junctions of small towns.
  Several small towns came to be seen in the sub-continent from the 8th century onward. These towns usually had a mandapika or mandi where nearby villagers came to sell their produce. These towns also had market streets called halta or hoot lined with shops.

There were also streets for different kinds of artisans such as potters, oil pressers, sugar market, toddy makers etc.
Many traders came from far and near to these towns to buy local articles and sell products of distant places such as salt, camphor, horse, etc.

3. Find out about the present-day taxes on markets. Who collects these taxes? How are they collected and are they used for?

4. Give an account of the architecture of Hampt
Answer: The architecture of Hampi was distinctive in several ways :

5. How was Hampi in its heyday in the 15-16th centuries? When did it fall into ruin?
Answer:  In its heyday in the 15-16th centuries Hampi was an important centre of commercial and cultural activities. Moors, which was a name used collectively for Muslim merchants, Chettis and agents of European traders such as the Portuguese, visited the markets of Hampi.

Temples were the hub of cultural activities. Temple dancers known as devadasis performed before the deities, royalty and masses in the many-pillared halls inthe Virupaksha, a form of Shiva, temple. The Mahanavami festival was one of the most important festivals celebrated at Hampi.

Hampi fell into ruin following the defeat of Vijayanagara in 1565 by the Deccani Sultans.

6. What were the reasons for the decline of Swat? [V. Imp.]
Answer:  Surat, which was an important trade centre during the Mughal period, began to decline towards the end of the seventeenth century. This was because of the following factors:

7. What made the city of Masulipatnam populous and prosperous?
Answer:  The city of Masulipatnam was a centre of intense activity during the 17th century. Both the Dutch and English East India Companies attempted to control this city as it became the most important part of the Andhra coast. Qutb Shah rulers of Golconda imposed royal monopolies on the sale of textiles, spices, and other items to prevent the trade from passing completely into the hands of the various East India Companies. This led to fierce competition among various trading groups such as the Golconda nobles, Persian merchants, Telugu Komati Chettis, and European traders. As a result, the city became populous and prosperous.

8. How did the system of advances snatch the freedom of the weavers?
How did the Indian Crafts persons lose their independence?
Answer:  The Indian textiles were in great demand in the European markets. As a result, the English began to make attempts to control the Indian craftspersons by appointing Indian traders as their agents. They introduced the system of advances under which the weavers had to weave cloth which was already promised to European agents. Weavers no longer had the liberty of selling their cloth or weaving their patterns. Instead, they had to reproduce the designs supplied to them by the company agents. This system snatched the freedom of the Indian weavers. They began to be guided by someone else.

Long Answer Type Questions

1. Describe the trade activities of the big and small traders belonging to the medieval time.

Answer: There were many kinds of traders. These included the Banjaras and several traders especially horse traders.
The traders usually travelled in caravans and formed guilds to protect their interests. There were several such guilds in South India from the eighth century onwards—the most famous being the Manigramam and Nanadesi. These guilds traded extensively both within the peninsula and with Southeast Asia and China. There were also communities like the Chettiyars and the Marwari Oswal who went on to become the major trading groups of the country.

Gujarati traders, including the communities of Hindu Baniyas and Muslim Bohras, traded extensively with the ports of the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, East Africa, Southeast Asia, and China. They sold textiles and spices in these ports and exchange, brought gold and ivory from Africa; and spices, tin, Chinese blue pottery, and silver from Southeast Asia and China.

The towns on the west coast were home to Arab, Persian, Chinese, Jewish, and Syrian Christian traders. Indian spices and cloth sold in the Red seaports were bought by Italian traders and eventually reached European markets, fetching high profits. This ultimately drew European traders to India.

2. Describe Swat as a gateway to the West           [V. Imp.]
Answer:  Surat in Gujarat was the emporium of western trade during the Mughal period along with Cambay (now Khambat) and somewhat later, Ahmedabad. Surat was the gateway for trade with West Asia via the Gulf of Ormuz. Surat has also been called the gate to Mecca because many pilgrim ships set sail from here.

Surat was a cosmopolitan city inhabited by people of all castes and creeds. In the 17th century the Portuguese, Dutch and English had their factories and warehouses at Surat. Several retail and wholesale shops could be found in Surat. These shops sold cotton textiles. Here, it is worth mentioning that the textiles of Surat were famous for their gold lace borders, le. zari and had a market in West Asia, African and Europe.

The state provided all the facilities to the people who came to the city from all over the world. The Kathiawad seths or mahqjaxvs had huge banking houses at Surat. The Surat hundis were honoured in far-off markets of Cairo in Egypt, Basra in Iraq and Antwerp in Belgium.