Vijayanagar Empire History Upsc

Source of 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 from 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 theirs 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 numerous and also coins issued is the major source of information.

Political history

The Vijayanagar empire was founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka of the Sangama Dynasty. As 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 has 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 Vijayanagarma and the Bahmani Kingdom laster 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 only 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 was possessed with 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 has 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 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 and 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 in 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.

But 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, 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.

Cultural contribution

Their style of temple building is called as Vijayanagar style and it is characterized by 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 and 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 is placed.


Vijayanagar Empires 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

Vijayanagar Empire
  • 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 work of Allasani Peddana, that 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.

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* * All the Notes in this blog, are referred from Tamil Nadu State Board Books and Samacheer Kalvi Books. Kindly check with the original Tamil Nadu state board books and Ncert Books.
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