During 1336 AD, there used to be a big and glorious empire in South India,namely Vijayanagara. Krishna Devaraya was a very famous king of Vijayanagara empire. Krishna Devaraya brought Vijayanagara Empire to the zenith of its glory. Under his rule, Vijayanagara empire flourished in all aspects of the life such as the law and order, arts, spiritualism, and secularism.
Hampi was the capital of Vijayanagara empire. It was chosen as capital because of its strategic location bounded by torrential Tungabhadra River on one side and defensible hills on other three sides. Hampi with its marvelous architecture has always been a subject of awe for historians as well as those who are interested in ancient architecture. The city was formed by Harihara-Bukka who were predecessors of the Krishna Devaraya.
Krishna Devaraya – A Warrior
Krishna Devaraya was a very clever and strategist. In warfare strategies, he was second to none! While fighting wars he led his army to success everywhere. There are many incidents where losing battles turned into a great victory under his leadership. During battles, he not only led from the front, but also attended the wounded in the battlefield. This shows how astute and caring he was for hisown countrymen.
During his time, some parts of Southern India were under the control of Islamic rulers. They used to attack the villages of Vijayanagara. They used to loot and plunder these villages, break Hindu temples and run away with the wealth and money. Krishna Devaraya put an end to this. His army attacked and defeated the Commander (namely Sultan Mahmud) of Bijapur province of Southern India. He captured Golconda (a prestigious fort) which was under Islamic rulers. He also captured the fortress of Raichur from the Islamic Sultan of Bijapur. Even though 16,000 soldiers of Krishna Devaraya’s army were killed in the battle, as a result of this campaign, aggression of Islamic Sultans of Deccan region was put to an end.
It is said that the bloody Islamic invasion which swept Northern part of Bharat couldn’t make any inroads in the Southern region until the Vijayanagara Empire was standing. As a result of which Hindutva strived and flourished in the South without any hindrance for a very long duration.
Art loving Krishnadevaraya
Krishna Devaraya’s period is also considered as a golden period for literature. Many poets of Telugu, Sanskrit, Kannada and Tamil enjoyed the patronage in his Kingdom. Vyasatirtha, a Saint from Mysore was Krishna Devaraya’s guide.Krishna Devaraya, himself was a great scholar and has compiled, many literary works such as Madalasa Charita and Rasamanjari.
There were 8 famous poets in Krishna Devaraya’s court who were called as Ashta Diggajas. (relates to 8 cardinal corners or directions). Paintings, Sculpture, dance and music were greatly encouraged by him and his Successors.
Krishna Devaraya endeared himself to the people by his personal charm, kindness and an ideal administration. Under his rule, even the foreign visitors wandered freely. He himself followed a personal discipline in the form of daily exercises and rituals. He encouraged trade with the Western Countries. He had cordial relationship with Portuguese who had at that time established trade centres on the West Coast of India.
Like all other Hindu Kings, he also respected all the sects of Hinduism. He himself was a great devotee of Sri Balaji. He offered objects of priceless value to world famous Tirupati temple of Sri Balaji ranging from diamonds to golden swords.
Last Days of the Vijayanagara Unfortunately, because of constant Islamic invasions, Vijayanagara fell down to muslim invaders in the battle of Talikota in the year 1565. Muslims looted Hampi for five months systematically. The fall of Vijayanagara and Hampi opened doors for the Muslim invasions in Southern India.