Vijayanagara Empire

The Vijayanagara Empire was a medieval times civilization which flourished in the Deccan Plateau regions of SouthIndia and was named after its capital city, Vijayanagar. It was referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese. The ruins of this ancient city can be found in the vicinity of the present day’s Hampi, located in Indianstate of Karnataka. For the ruins spread across its vicinity, Hampi has now been proclaimed a World Heritage Site. The archaeological excavations here have revealed the wealth and power of the great Vijayanagara Empire. Also, the literature obtained in local language and the writings of the medieval European travelers such as Niccolò Da Conti, Fernão Nunes and Domingo Paes have revealed sizable information about this medieval Indian Empire.
The Vijayanagara Empire was established as a Hindu kingdom in 1336 AD by Harihara Raya-I and his brother, Bukka Raya-I, on the southern bank of River Tungabhatra, close to Anegundi fortress. After his brother, Bukka Raya-I ruled the kingdom and he is known to be the first ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire to send an embassy to China for the development trade links. The embassy was sent in 1374. In 1377, Bukka Raya-I was succeeded by Harihara Raya-II who expanded this newly formed kingdom to almost whole of South India by his gradual conquests. Harihara Raya-II was the first ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire to be given the title of ‘Maharajadhiraj Rajaparmeshwara’.
In 1486, the Vijayanagara Empire was conquered by the Vir Narasimha of Chandragiri from the Tuluva Dynasty. Later, Vir Narasimha was succeeded by his son Krishanadev Raya who was successful in making a place for himself in the list of greatest rulers in the entire history of India. He was a gallant warrior and succeeded in every war that he waged. He was also a magnanimous and benevolent emperor known for treating his defeated enemies with respect and honor. He successfully captured southern Mysore and Udaigiri in 1511 AD and 1514 AD respectively. In fact, after conquering Vishakhapatnam he was able to completely abolish the authority of the King of Orissa. His victory against Ismail Adil Shah on March 19, 1950 which ended the Muslim dominance in South India is considered his greatest military achievement.
The reign of Krishanadev Raya was also marked with the development of arts, music, literature and culture. Krishanadev Raya was himself an accomplished poet, scholar and musician and was the author of a Telugu book, Amuktamalyada, which is of immense importance from the viewpoint of history as well as religion. It is believed that he was successful in developing and maintaining healthy relations with the Portuguese and offered some great subsidiaries to Governor Albuquerque of the Portugal.
Krishanadev Raya was succeeded by Achyut Raya who soon lost the helm of the Vijayanagara Empire to his brother-in-law Tirumala. Like Achyut Raya, Tirumala also could not rule the kingdom for long and was succeeded by his Prime Minister Ram Raya.
Later, on 23rd January 1565, a brutal battle took place between the troops of Vijayanagara Empire under the leadership of Ram Raya and the coalition force of three Muslim Sultanates (Deccan, Bijapur and Ahmadnagar). TheVijayanagara Empire lost in the battle and the kingdom shattered permanently at once.
During its reign, the Vijayanagara Empire established its own style of architecture by constructing numerous monuments spread all across the southern parts of India. Most famous of their construction is the group at Hampi. They used local granite for constructing Hindu temples and the mingling effect of all faith can be clearly seen in their architectural innovation. The influence of the Northern Deccan Sultanate can also be seen in the secular royal constructions of the empire.
The Vijayanagara Empire was marked by an efficient administration and under its regime vigorous overseas trade took place. New technologies such as the water management system for irrigation were developed and benchmarked as a result of overseas trade. This was one of the highest contributing factors which brought prosperity to the empire.
Under the reign of Vijayanagara Empire new heights were attained in the field of arts and literature in four languages, namely- Tamil, Telugu, Sanskrit and Kannada. Also, it was during this period that the Carnatic music evolved into its present form. The Vijayanagara Empire is still remembered for transcending regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor.

 List of rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire

  • Harihara Raya I (1336 AD to 1356 AD)
  • Bukka Raya I (1356 AD to 1377 AD)
  • Harihara Raya II (1377 AD to 1404 AD)
  • Virupaksha Raya (1404 AD to 1405 AD)
  • Bukka Raya II (1405 AD to 1406 AD)
  • Deva Raya I (1406 AD to 1422 AD)
  • Ramachandra Raya (1422 AD)
  • Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya (1422 AD to 1424 AD)
  • Deva Raya II (1424 AD to 1446 AD)
  • Mallikarjuna Raya (1446 AD to 1465 AD)
  • Virupaksha Raya II (1465 AD to 1485 AD)
  • Praudha Raya (1485 AD)
  • Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya (1485 AD to 1491 AD)
  • Thimma Bhupala (1491 AD)
  • Narasimha Raya II (1491 AD to 1505 AD)
  • Tuluva Narasa Nayaka (1491 AD to 1503 AD)
  • Viranarasimha Raya (1503 AD to 1509 AD)
  • Krishna Deva Raya (1509 AD to 1529 AD)
  • Achyuta Deva Raya (1529 AD to 1542 AD)
  • Sadasiva Raya (1542 AD to 1570 AD)
  • Aliya Rama Raya (1542 AD to 1565 AD)
  • Tirumala Deva Raya (1565 AD to 1572 AD)
  • Sriranga I (1572 AD to 1586 AD)
  • Venkata II (1586 AD to 1614 AD)
  • Sriranga II (1614 AD)
  • Ramadeva (1617 AD to 1632 AD)
  • Venkata III (1632 AD to 1642 AD)
  • Sriranga III (1642 AD to 1646 AD)


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