Age of Vijayanagaram
The Age of Vijayanagaram was a period of great cultural and economic prosperity in South India. It lasted from the 14th to the 17th centuries and was marked by the rise of the Vijayanagara Empire, which was the dominant power in the region for over 200 years.
The Vijayanagara Empire was founded in 1336 by Harihara I and Bukka Raya I, two brothers. The empire quickly expanded to cover much of South India, and its capital, Hampi, became a major centre of trade, commerce, and culture.
The Age of Vijayanagaram was a time of great artistic and architectural achievement. The empire was home to some of the most beautiful temples, palaces, and other structures in India. The empire also supported a thriving tradition of literature, music, and dance.
The empire’s economy was based on agriculture, trade, and commerce. The empire was a major producer of rice, cotton, and other agricultural products. It was also a major trading centre, with goods from all over India and the world being traded in its markets.
The Age of Vijayanagaram came to an end in the 17th century, when the empire was conquered by a coalition of Muslim sultanates. However, the legacy of the empire continues to be felt in South India today.
Major achievements of the Age of Vijayanagaram:
- Political stability: The Vijayanagara Empire provided a period of political stability in South India, which allowed for economic and cultural development.
- Economic prosperity: The empire was a major centre of trade and commerce, which led to economic prosperity for the region.
- Cultural flowering: The empire was a major centre of art, architecture, literature, music, and dance.
Some of the most famous works of art and architecture from the Age of Vijayanagaram include:
- Hampi: The ruins of Hampi, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Virupaksha Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva. It is located in Hampi.
- Vittala Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is located in Hampi.
The Age of Vijayanagaram was a golden age for South India. It was a time of great cultural and economic prosperity, and its legacy continues to be felt today.
Vijayanagar empire History
The four dynasties such as Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Aravidu, ruled Vijayanagar from A.D. 1336 to 1672. The sources of history and other details about the Vijayanagar Kingdom are found in the works of Krishnadevaraya’s Amukthamalyada, Gangadevi’s Maduravijayam and Allasani Peddanna’s Manucharitam.
The Moroccan traveller, Ibn Battuta, Venetian traveller Nicolo de Conti, Persian traveller Abdur Razzak and the Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes left some details of life in Vijayanagar in their works.
The achievements of Vijayanagar rulers were known from copper inscriptions such as Srirangam copper platers of Devaraya II.
Hampi and other monuments provide great evidence of their cultural contributions and coins issued are the major source of information.
The Vijayanagar empire was founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka of the Sangama Dynasty. Harihara and Bukka were originally served under the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal. Then they went to Kampili and they were imprisoned and were converted to Islam.
Later by the advice of saint Vidyaranya, they were converted back to Shaivism (Hindu Religion). Then they proclaimed independence and founded a new city on the southern banks of the river Tungabhadra and named the new city Vijayanagar.
They expanded the empire as the Hoysala Kingdom was declining. By 1346, they brought the Hoysala kingdom under their control.
War and Conflict
There was a struggle between the Vijayanagar Empire and the Sultanate of Madurai, which lasted for about four decades.
Kumarakampana destroyed the Madurai Sultans and the whole of South India, that is up to Rameswaram went into the hands of the Vijayanagar empire. This expedition to Madurai was described in Maduravijayam.
The conflict between Vijayanagara and the Bahmani Kingdom lasted for many years. This is due to a dispute over Raichur Doab, the region between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra, and the fertile Krishna-Godavari delta.
The greatest ruler of the Sangama dynasty was Deva Raya II. Even he could not have any clear win against Bahmani Sultans.
After the death of Deva Raya II, the Sangama dynasty became weak and the next dynasty Saluva Dynasty founded Saluva Narasimha reigned for only a short period (1486-1509).
Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1530)
Krishna Deva Raya belonged to the Tuluva Dynasty. This dynasty was founded by Vira Narasimha.
Krishna Deva Raya possessed great military skills, an imposing personality and with high intellectual quality. As soon as he came into power, his first task was to check the Bahmani Kingdom. But by the time he came into the Bahmani Kingdom was went into control of the powerful Delhi Sultanates.
Now ruling Bahmani armies were defeated in the battle of Diwani. Then Krishna Deva Raya invaded the Raichur Doah. This resulted in a fight with the Sultan of Bijapur – Ismail Adil Shah. Krishna Deva Raya won and captured Raichur city in 1520 and captured Bidar in the battle.
Then he defeated Gajapathi ruler Prataparudra in Orissa and conquered the whole of Telungana.
He maintained friendly relations with the Portuguese and Portuguese governor for India’s possession, Albuquerque sent his ambassadors to Krishna Deva Raya.
Krishna Deva Raya was Vaishnavaite and he respected all religions and was a great patron of literature and art and was known as Andra Bhoja.
Eight eminent scholars known as Ashtadiggajas were at his royal court.
Allasani Peddanna was the greatest and he was called Andrakavita Pitamaga his greatest works include Manucharitam and Harikathasaram. Pingali Suranna and Tenali Ramakrishna were other important scholars.
Krishna Deva Raya himself authored Telugu work, Amukthamalyadha and Sanskrit work Jambavati Kalyanam and Ushaparinayam.
Krishna Deva Raya built the famous Vittalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy temples at Vijayanagar and also built a new city called Nagalapuram in memory of his queen Nagaladevi and also built several large Rayagopurams.
Final Days of the Dynasty
After the death of Krishna Deva Raya, Achutadeva and Venkata succeeded to the throne. Then Rama Raya came to power.
The combined forces of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golkonda and Bidar defeated Rama Raya at the Battle of Talaikotta in 1565. This battle is known as Raksasa Thangadi. Rama Raya was imprisoned and executed and then the city of Vijayanagara was destroyed.
However, the Vijayanagar Kingdom existed under the Aravidu Dynasty for about another century. Thirumala, Sri Ranga and Venkata II were important rulers of this dynasty.
The last ruler of the Vijayanagar kingdom was Sri Ranga III.
The throne was hereditary, the king enjoyed absolute authority in executive, judicial and legislative matters and the king was the highest court of appeal.
The King was assisted by a council of ministers and the empire was divided into different administrative units called Mandalams, Nadus, Sthalas and Gramas.
The governor of Mandalam was called Mandaleswara or Nayak. Besides land revenue, tributes and gifts from vassals and feudal chiefs, customs collected at the ports, and taxes on various professions were other sources of income.
Land Revenue was fixed generally one-sixth of the produce. The top-grade officers of the army were known as Nayaks or Poligars and they were given granted land in place of their services and these granted lands were called Amaram.
Soldiers were usually paid in cash.
Sometimes usurpation to the throne took place as Saluva Narasimha came to power by ending the Sangama Dynasty.
Their style of temple building is called as Vijayanagar style and it is characterized by the Dravida Style with unique features.
In the pillars of their temple, horses were the most common animal found and the temple had an open pavilion called Mandapam over a raised platform which is meant for deity seating on special occasions.
Vijayanagar temples also have Kalyana Mandapam with carved pillars. The important temples are Hampi, Vitthalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy are fine examples.
The presence of Raya Gopuram, or towers in different corners of the empire and as usual, Garbhagriha was the central part, where the main deity was placed.
Vijayanagar Empire literature was composed in many languages such as Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. Their literature reached a zenith during the Krishna Deva Raja period.
For his contribution to the literature, he was called Andhra Bhoja.
Famous scholars are Srinatha, Pothana, Jakkama and Duggana, who translated Sanskrit and Prakrit works into Telugu.
Gangadevi wrote MaduraVijayam, during Bukka-I. Mahantaka Sudhanidhi and a commentary on the Brahmasutras of Badrayana are Sanskrit works of Devraya-II.
Point to Remember
- Manucharitam – It is written by Allasani Peddana, who was one of eight poets of Krishnadevaraya court, commonly referred to as Ashtadiggajalu. Manucharitam is one of the greatest works of Allasani Peddana, which provides us with an account of the caste system of the Vijayanagar empire.
- Jambavati Kalyanam – It is a Sanskrit written by the king Krishna Deva Raya, is based on Jambavti daughter of Jambavan. Jambavan was a bear king who helped Lord Ram in the war against Tamil King Ravana.
- Vijayanagar dynasty rulers
- Harihara I (1336-1356 AD)
- Bukka I (1356 AD- 1377 AD)
- Harihara Raya II (1377-1404 AD)
- Virupaksha Raya (1404-1405 AD)
- Deva Raya I (1406-1422 AD)
- Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya (1422-1424 AD)
- Deva Raya II (1424-1446 AD)
- Praudha Raya (1485 AD)
In this article, we have discussed the History of the Vijayanagar Empire, their religion, culture, and their art and architecture.