Its agricultural wealth was supplemented by numerous industries, the most
important of which were textiles, mining and metallurgy. Another important
industry was perfumery. Industries and crafts were regulated by guilds. It was
common practice for people of the same trade to live in one and the same
quarter of the city. Abdur Razzak, the Persian diplomat and traveller,
remarks: ‘The tradesmen of each separate guild or craft have their shops close
to another.’
Trade and Commerce
There was flourishing inland, coastal and overseas trade which was an
important source of general prosperity. Domingo Paes, the Portuguese
traveller, writes: Its king has much treasure and many soldiers and many
elephants ... In this city (Vijayanagar) one will find men belonging to every
nation and people, because of the great trade which it has and the many
precious stones there, principally diamonds ... This is the best provided city
in the world and is stocked with provisions, such as rice, wheat, grains, corn,
barley, beans, pulses, horses, etc... The streets and markets are full of laden
oxen without count ... ‘For inland trade the chief means of transport were
kavadis, carts, asses and pack-horses.
    The kingdom, according to Abdur Razzak, had 300 sea ports. The most
important commercial area on the west coast was Malabar, with its important
port of Cannanore. It had commercial relations with the islands of the Indian
Ocean, Burma, the Malay Archipelago and China in the East, and Arabia,
Persia, South Africa, Abyssinia and Portugal on the West. Among the
exports, the main items were cloth, spices, rice, iron, saltpetre, sugar, etc. The
main imports consisted of horses, elephants, pearls, copper, coral, mercury,
China silks and velvets. Barbosa says that the city of Vijayanagar is ‘of great
extent, highly populous and the seat of an active commerce in country
diamonds, rubies from Pegu, silk of China and Alexandria, and cinnabar,
camphor, musk, pepper and sandal from Malabar.’
    Ships were used for coastal and overseas trade. Vijayanagar had its own
ships; the art of ship-building was known, but we do not know if ocean-going
ships were built. Barbosa, another   Portuguese traveller, says that south India