Vijayanagar empire

Sources of Vijayanagar empire

Literary works:

  • Krishnadevaraya’s → Amukthamalyada,
  • Gangadevi’s → Maduravijayam & Allasani Peddanna’s → Manucharitam

Foreign travelers visited the Vijayanagar Empire and their accounts:

  • Moroccan traveler → Ibn Battuta,
  • Venetian traveler → Nicolo de Conti,
  • Persian traveler → Abdur Razzak & Portuguese traveler → Domingo Paes.

Other sources:

  • Hampi ruins and other monuments of Vijayanagar provide
  • Numerous coins issued by the Vijayanagar rulers contain figures and legends explaining their tittles and achievements.

vijaynagar empire mapPolitical History

Vijayanagar Empire (1336 – 1565 AD)
  • Vijayanagar city was founded by Hari hara I & Bukka raya, Son’s of Sangama.

  • Both were feudatories of Kakatiya & later became ministers in the court of Kampili.

  • This empire mainly ruled by 4 distinct dynasties viz.. Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva & Aravidu

Sangama dynasty (1336 – 1485 AD)
  • Harihara I & Bukka raya founded the Vijayanagar empire.

  • Vijayanagar & Bahamani frequently got conflicts with each other.

  • They mainly fight on these 3 areas : Raichur doab (Between Krishna & Godavari), Krishna – Godavari delta and Marathawad.

Bukka raya I (1356 – 79)

  • He strengthened the city of Vidyanagar & renamed it as Vijayanagar.

  • He restored harmony between the warring Vaishanavas and the Jains.

Deva Raya I (1406 – 22)

  • His greatest achievement was his irrigation works where a dam was construct across the river Tungabhadra.

  • Nicolo de conti visited vijayanagar during his reign.

Deva Raya II (1423 – 46)

  • Ahmad Shah I invaded Vijayanagar & extracted a war protection.

  • He began the practice of employing Muslim cavalrymen & archers in the army.

  • He was called Praudh Deva Raya.

  • In his inscriptions he has the title of Gajabetekara means Elephants hunter.

  • He was a staunch follower of Shaivism.

  • Dindima & Srinatha were his famous court-poets.

  • Srinatha was given the title of “Kavisarvabhauma”

  • Abdur Razzak, the envoy of Shah Rukh visited Vijayanagar During his reign.

Saluva dynasty (1486 – 1505 AD)

  • Saluva Narasimha (1486 – 91)

  • He was the founder of Saluva dynasty.

Tirumal (1491) & Immadi Narasimha (1491 – 1505)

  • Both were minors during the regency of Narsa Nayaka.

  • Vasco da gama landed in Calicut in 1498 during his reign.

Tuluva dynasty (1505 – 70 AD)

Vira Narasimha (1505 – 09 AD)

  • Son of Narsa nayaka

  • He became king after the assassination of Immadi Narasimha.

  • He was founder of Tuluva dynasty.

Srikrishna devaraya real statues in tirumalaKrishna deva Raya (1509 – 29 AD)

  • He was the greatest ruler of Tuluva dynasty & Vijayanagar empire.

  • He maintained friendly relationship with Albuquerque, the Portuguese governor, whose ambassador Friar Luis resided in Vijayanagar.

  • He won Gajapathi kingdom and Vijayanagar emerged as strongest during his reign.

  • He built the Vijay Mahal (House of Victory ), the Hazara Ramaswamy temple & the Vithal Swami temple.

  • He took the titles of Yavanraja sthapnacharya (restrorer of the Yavana Kingom), Abhinava Bhoja, Andhra Bhoj & Andhra Pitamaha.

  • He wrote “Amuktamalyada” in Telugu & “Jambavati Kalyanam” in Sanskrit.

  • His court was adorned by “Ashtadiggajas.”

  • Tenali Ramakrishna wrote Panduranga Mahatyam & Peddana wrote Manucharitam.

  • Duarte Barbosa & Dominigo Paes, Portuguese travelers visited Vijayanagar during his reign.

  • And also Farnao Nunij, a Portuguese horse trader, visited Vijayanagar during his reign.

Sadashiva Raya (1543 – 76)

  • Real power was exercised by Rama raya & his brothers.

  • The five successor states of the Bahamani empire were divided through his Rama raya’s diplomacy.

  • Battle of Talikota or Battle of Rakshasa – Tangadi fought on 1565.

  • Rama Raja was taken prisoner & executed by Hussain Nizam shah I.

  • Vijayanagar, the pride of medieval world, was mercilessly destroyed.

  • Caesear Fredrick, a Portuguese traveler, Visited Vijayanagar in 1567 – 68 during his reign.

Aravidu Dynasty (1570 – 1650 AD)
  • Tirumala Raya, the brother of Rama Raja, ruled the kingdom in the name of Sadashiva Raya.

  • His shifted his capital Vijanagar to Penugonda.

Administration unit Head
Mandalam (i.e Province) Mandaleswar
Nadu (i.e District) Naaduprabhu
Gram (i.e Village) Gauda

Nayankar system: Special feature of Provincial administration.

Ayangar system: Special feature of Village administration. In which a body of 12 funtionaries, known as ayangars, conducted village affairs.

  • king was assisted by a council of ministers in his day to day administration.
  • They were given granted tax free lands “Manyams”
  • Vijayanagar rulers issued gold coins called Varahas & Pagadas.
  • Perta was half a Varaha & Fanam was one tenth of Varaha.
  • All were of gold mixed alloy.
  • Tar was a silver coin & Jital was a copper coin.
Social Life:

Allasani Peddanna in his Manucharitam refers the existence of 4 castes –

  1. Brahmins,
  2. Kshatriyas,
  3. Vaisyas &
  4. Sudras.
  • Silk and cotton clothes were mainly used for dress. Perfumes, flowers and ornaments were used by the people.
  • Paes mentions of the beautiful houses of the rich and the large number of their household servants. Nicolo Conti refers to the prevalence of slavery.
  • Sangama rulers were chiefly Saivaites and Virupaksha was their family deity.
  • But other dynasties were Vaishnavites. Srivaishnavism of Ramanuja was very popular.
  • But all kings were tolerant towards other religions.
  • Borbosa referred to the religious freedom enjoyed by everyone. Muslims were employed in the administration and they were freely allowed to build mosques and worship.
  • Gangadevi, wife of Kumarakampana authored the famous work Maduravijayam.
  • Hannamma and Thirumalamma were famous poets of this period.
  • Devadasi system, Polygamy & sati were prevalent.
Economic Conditions:
  • According to the accounts of the foreign travelers, the Vijayanagar Empire was one of the wealthiest parts of the world at that time.
  • Agriculture continued to be the chief occupation of the people.
  • New tanks were built and dams were constructed across the rivers like Tunghabadra. Nuniz refers to the excavation of canals.
  • Diamond mines were located in Kurnool and Anantapur district.
  • There were a number of seaports on the Malabar coast, the chief being Cannanore.
  • Commercial contacts with Arabia, Persia, South Africa and Portugal on the west and with Burma, Malay peninsula and China on the east flourished.
vijayanagar empire hampi templeCultural Contributions:vijayanagar empire stone chariot - Hampi
  • Temple building activity further gained momentum during the Vijayanagar rule.
  • The chief characteristics of the Vijayanagara architecture were the construction of tall Raya Gopurams or gateways and the Kalyanamandapam with carved pillars in the temple premises.
  • The sculptures on the pillars were carved with distinctive features & the horse was the most common animal found in these pillars.
  • Large mandapams contain one hundred pillars as well as one thousand pillars in some big temples. These mandapams were used for seating the deity on festival occasions.
  • The most important temples of the Vijayanagar style were found in the Hampi ruins or the city of Vijayanagar.
  • Vittalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy temples were the best examples of this style
  • The Varadharaja and Ekamparanatha temples at Kanchipuram stand as examples for the magnificence of the Vijayanagara style of temple architecture.
  • The Raya Gopurams at Thiruvannamalai and Chidambaram speak the glorious epoch of Vijayanagar.
  • The metal images of Krishna Deva Raya and his queens at Tirupati are examples for casting of metal images.

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