Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Vijayanagar Empire - Foundation and Expansion

The First Half of The Fourteenth Century in South India

During the first decade of the century, the Yadava kingdom of Devagiri was the first to experience a Muslim invasion (Alauddin Khilji and Malik Kafur). During the second decade, it became the turn of the kingdoms of the Kakatiyas (of Warrangal), the Hoyasalas (of Dwarasamudra) and the Pandyas (of Madura) for similar experience. By about the middle of the third decade, even Malbar became a province of the Delhi Empire and Muslim rule was established at Madura.

Atrocities were committed by the Muslim rulers and their agents and the country began to groan under alien rule and the people were restive. An organised attempt of the Hindu princes and their peoples popular as the 'Liberation movement' set at liberty Deccan and South India from Muslim rule and a chain of new Hindu kingdoms rose on the ruins of the earlier ones, e.g. the Reddis, the Velamas, and the Rayas by the middle of the third and the fourth decades of the century with the definite object of restoration of Hindu Dharma and protection of Hindu religion.

Vijayanagar Empire was established by Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya under the guidance of Vidyaranya Swami.

With the blessings and guidance of Sri Vidyaranya Swamy, the Jagadguru of the Sri Sarada Peetham, Sringeri, on Saturday, 4th May 1336 (corresponding to S.S. 1258, Dhatri, Vaisakha, Su, 7, Pusya, Hari), Vira Harihara, at Hampi, celebrated his coronation as the king of his just founded kingdom.
( Source:

Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya - What is Their Background

This dynasty hails from the Circars and later settled down in Rayalasima. For, the Gozalavidu
record (Nellore District) dated A.D. 1314 mentions Bukkaraya Odeya as the ruler of the locality and his servant Idumakanti Gangi Reddi. This area was under the Kakatiyas at the time.

Kannada sources tell -us that Harihara and Bukka, sons of Sangamaraya, were treasurers in the
service of Prataparudra (of Warangal), and when the Kakatiya kingdom fell a prey to the Muslims in A.D. 1323, the brothers escaped to Kampili and took service there; when it succumbed in A.D. 1327, they were taken  prisoners to Delhi and were converted to Islam. Anegondi (Hosadurg) became the seat of a Muslim garrison (A, D. 1327) to hold the country

Earani and Nuniz say that the brothers were connected with the royal family of Waranga!, contracted marriage alliances with the Rayas of Kampili; and so they were chosen by Muhammad to restore
peace in the areas where the people had risen in revolt against Malik Muhammad, the Muslim governor. Harihara and Bukka restored order by following a policy of conciliation, to a certain extent. Gooty and its
vicinity came under them. But their Muslim faith set people against them, and they met Vidyaranya, became Hindus, and set up the independent kingdom of Vijayanagar which thus became the heirloom of the kingdom of Kampili.

Kampila Raya was the earlier king of the area.

The Dynasty

Bukka Raya succeeded his brother Harihara Raya. Bukka Raya  was succeeded by Harihara Raya II. The full list of kings of the dynasty is available in ) .

Challenges faced by Vijayanagar

The young kingdom of Vijayanagar faced the attacks of Hoysala ruler of Mysore and Madurai Sultan. The Sultan of Madurai defeated the Hoysala ruler and killed him. The dissolution of Hoysala kingdom gave scope to Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya to expand their kingdom and by 1346, the whole Hoysala kingdom became part of Vijayanagar kingdom. That brought Madurai sultans and Vijayanagar kingdom into direct conflict. The fights between the two lasted four decades and finally in 1377, the Madurai Sultanate was wiped out.

Bukka Raya also fought with Bahmani sultan. He captured fortress at Mudgal. But in the subsequent fight Bukka Raya had to relinquish the control of Mudgal.  Harihara Raya II occupied Belgaum and Goa from the Bahmani territory.

The Reign of Krishna Deva Raya (A.D. 1509 to 1530)

Krishna Deva Raya called Krishna Deva Rayalu in Telugu is the greatest king in Vijayanagar Empire.
Almost all  of Southern India was under Krishna Deva Raya's sway, and several quasi-independent chiefs were his vassals who included the chief of Seringapatam, and those of Bankapur, Garsopa, Calicut, Bhatkal, and Barkur.

Even now, in Andhra Pradesh, India,  the court scenes of poetry reading in Krishna Deva Raya's court are performed under a programme called Bhuvana Vijayam.



A FORGOTTEN EMPIRE: VIJAYANAGAR By Robert Swell  Full view available

Indian History by Krishna Reddy, Chapter 12 (Good brief description of Vijayanagar empire)

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