Vijayanagara Empire – The forgotten Glory

I was long thinking to write about Vijayanagara Empire, that was cowardly left out of indian history book.  IT was one of the golden periods of Hindu Civilization, that existed for around 250 years, finally devastated and destroyed by the Muslim Invaders.

The entire south india has to pay the tribute to the vijayanaga samrajyam, because, without them, the whole of south India would have lost its culture, religion, and even its soul.  And not only that, the culture and religion, got a major boost by the patronage of the vijayanagara kings, which we had inherited now.  Not to say, that we are again losing it, NOT because of enemy now, but because of the voluntary ignorance.

Kindly read the history of vijayanagara empire, from the below article of Retired Coloner Prabhakar Rao.

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DESTINY DID NOT SMILE ON VIJAYNAGAR EMPIRE AT ITS FOUNDATION DAY CEREMONY

Prof Dr Col (Retd) K Prabhakar Rao

Link: http://www.sanghparivar.org/blog/dr-k-prabhakar-rao/destiny-did-not-smile-on-vijaynagar-empire-at-its-foundation-day-ceremony

Harihara Raya and his brother Bukka Raya found Vijaynagar Empire on the banks of Tungabhadra River in Bellary District of Karnataka in the 14 Th century. It is learnt these brothers served as commanders in the Army of Prataparudra Deva II, the Last King of Kakateeya Kingdom that ruled at Warangal in the Present Telangana region. After the fall of Kakateeya Kingdom due to the invasion by Mohd Bin Tughlaq, the Delhi sultan in 1324, these brothers escaped to the court of Jambukeswar at Anegondi which is close by to Vijaynagar. Mohd Bin Tughlaq subsequently attacked Anegondi in 1328 as the king Jambukeswara (Kampili Deva) gave asylum to Bahauddin Malik, rebel ruler at Gulbarga and a close relative of sultan. The king defended his land bravely and fell on the battlefield and the Sultan annexed Anegondi and he captured and carried away Harihara and Bukka Raya to Delhi and they were forced to embrace Islam. Subsequently, the brothers were sent back to Anegondi to administer the region as the representatives of Sultan as local rebellion broke due to cruel administration of Governor Malik Naeeb who let loose a reign of terror.
Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya though were forced to embrace Islam, were Hindus to core at heart and they came in contact with Prolaya Naika, Kapayya Naika and his followers Prolaya Vema Reddy, Singama Naika and Veera Ballala of Karnataka. Kapayya Naika was responsible to drive away Muslim commander Malik Maqbool from Warangal after prolonged Guerilla fight of ten years amply supported by his worthy friends. The like minded warriors thus made up their mind to establish a force of reckoning to defend the Hindu faith and protect Hindu culture, heritage, temples, women and children with whom the invading muslim armies played havoc in those eventful years. The invading Muslims destroyed temples, looted and destroyed houses, raped scores of Hindu women, killed children and carried away women, children and men as slaves.  Entire South India faced cultural turmoil and genocide during the successive invasions of cruel and wretched Allauddin Khilji, Malik Kafur, Gayasuddin and Mohd Bin Tughlaq who were nothing short of devil incarnates. In a course of time. The Raya brothers met Saint Vidyaranya Swamy an eminent scholor in Vedas and Hindu scriptures and their association changed entire course of history in Southern India. Sensing the turmoil in Delhi Sultanate in the Tughlaq dynasty, the Raya brothers threw away the yoke of loyalty to the Delhi throne and were soon got converted into Hinduism on the advice of the Saint Vidyaranya Swamy. Harihara and Bukka Raya brothers were administering Anegondi areas when Kapayya Naika gained power in Telangana after his victory over the Muslim Governor at Warangal during 1335-36.At Daulatabad (subsequently at Gulbarga) Bahamani Sultanate was established by Allauddin Hassan Bahman Shah revolting against the rule of Tughlaq that became the arch rival and enemy of Vijayanagar empire.

The capital of Vijaynagar appears to have been established on 18 April 1336, equivalent to Salivahana Saka 1127 Prabhava Chaitra Pournami, Sthiravaram Ratri (night) where all activities of Sankalpa were completed and the foundation stone was laid in Bahula Paksha Amavasya at Midnight.This is confirmed by Raya vachakam which is a contemporary document.

It is learnt that saint Vidyaranya Swamy made all the arrangements for the foundation laying ceremony. The saint by himself conducted mahasankalpam, invoked the deity of Vastu, determined the directions of North and South with the help of Dhruva Star and the Trisanku was erected. On East and Western directions Sankhas (conches) were arranged and molten gold of sixteen shades were poured in the foundation pit in large quantities. Sri Samrajya Lakshmi yantram was then placed and opposite to the site a reservoir was dug where his disciples were asked to wait and watch for his signal of most auspicious time for laying the foundation stone. The Saint conveyed to them that he would give an indication by ringing a bell and would blow a conch shell. A brick was tied to the end of a thin string, along with Vastu yantramu, Diamonds and Mercury and arrangement was made such that by slicing the thread, the brick would fall into the foundation pit at the auspicious moment. Making all these arrangements and instructing Harihara and Bukka Raya the Saint went over to the top of the hill and was engrossed in the astronomical calculations and was waiting for the auspicious moment. The Saint planned the time and state of various planets such that the capital and the Empire that was likely to be established would flourish for 3600 glorious years.

To the misfortune of Hindus, a Tantrik was worshipping lord Shiva at a place down the hill and after completing his worship rang the bronze bell and blew his conch shell loudly. Harihara Raya who was at the foundation pit awaiting the indication from the Saint immediately sliced the thread and the brick fell into the foundation pit before the auspicious moment arrived. Within a short time another sound of the bell and and blowing of conch shell was heard. Harihara and Bukka Raya ran to the top of the hill to enquire abount the two sounds at different moments. Vidyaranya Swamy lamented that the foundation stone was laid much before the auspicious time. He after examination of the time and planetary position at the instant of dropping of the foundation stone predicted that the empire would lost for 260 years and would be destroyed by the enemies due to inauspicious time of the ceremonial event. He also said that the prediction of sage Vyasa to him at Kashi has come true. It appears Sage Vyasa stated that the empire would last 300 years. The Vijaynagar city was thus established and the empire flourished for nearly three centuries from 1336 to 1646.

The empire was ruled by successive dynasties of Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva and Arveedu. The rulers successfully blocked islamisation of South India by the Bahmani Sultans and then by the Deccani Sultans of Golconda, Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Bidar and Berar that became independent after Bahmani Kingdom collapsed. The rulers extinguished the Sultanate at Madhura that existed for nearly 70 years in heart of South India after the invasion by Malik Kafur. Great rulers established their sway over entire South India and Hindu culture, art, sculpture, music and literature flourished. The empire reached its zenith at time of Sri Krishna Deva Raya who ruled from 1509 to 1529 who was a contemporary of emperor Baber of Mughal Dynasty. The empire received severe setback at Tallikota Battle on 23 Jan 1565. Araveeti or Aliya Ramaraya the defacto emperor of Vijaya nagar who gloriously ruled for 25 years after the death of Srikrishna Deva Raya faced the Muslim Confederation army of Deccani Sultans with a large force. Unfortunately, his Muslim generals and their troops betrayed him and went over to the enemy. Rama Raya lost the battle and was captured. Hussain Nizam Shah, the Sultan of Ahmednagar who had a personal grudge against him, killed him by cutting off his head with his sword. . The Muslim army entered Vijaynagar and stayed for five long months. They destroyed every monument, sculptures, every building, every idol and the town was burnt and defaced to fullest extent. Such was the fury and hatred of Muslim army over the Hindu Vijaynagar. However the empire was not destroyed fully. Tirumala Raya the brother of Rama Raya escaped to Penukonda where they tried to revive the empire. With suspected murder of Sadasivarayalu, the emperor, the Tuluva dynasty rule ceased and Araveeti Dynasty of Ramaraya ruled the empire. The empire however could not regain its past glory although it still commanded great respect. At Tallikota Battle, the prestige of its Army received great jolt. Subsequent rulers like Venkatapathirayalu II at Chadragiri revived the empire to a great extent. The empire slowly weakened due to in- fights of its chieftains and betrayal of local subordinate rulers of Madhura, Chenji, Tanjavur and finally the empire vanished into pages of history in 1646. The last ruler Sri Ranga III is known to have survived till 1659 devoid of an empire.

The glorious empire established with the blessings of Saint Vidyaranya Swamy in 1336 lasted for 310 years. However, it lost its glory after Tallikota Battle in 1565. The glory of the empire lasted for 229 years that is very close to the predictions of the saint. Although the saint took all precautions and planned for an empire to last 3600 years, the destiny did not smile at the foundation ceremony and the foundation stone fell at an inauspicious moment and destiny came out victorious. The truth is that no one escapes destiny whoever he may be and how great he may be. The entire empire and its long history were forgotten till the arrival of European Sewell’s book Forgotten Empire. Vijayanagar and Hampi are now in ruins and forms worlds heritage.

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32 Responses to Vijayanagara Empire – The forgotten Glory

  1. Thanks for refering and publishing my article on your blog

    Dr K Prabhakar Rao

  2. really we pay our respect to the kings of vijayanagara its really true without them we lost everything in our life,if we stand with our culture by them only,we first bow TO HARIHARAR AND BUKKAR, which one was burnt in my mind till i knew the dynasty from my 5th std now i am 55 yrs.

  3. nandurisomaya says:

    When will another HariHara raya and Bukka Raya be borne to
    bring cultural revolution in our country?

  4. ramachandrappa t s says:

    muslim invasion was only a cause but the empire was destroyed by insiders as well, and it was tussal between two major indian faiths.we can infer this through our historical records.

  5. Dr K Prabhakar Rao says:

    Vijaynagar empire although lost its glory after Talikota battle survived for another 100 years. It was plagued by the quarrels over succession particularly after Venkata II. SriRanga ii was murdered along with his family by Jagga Ray who did not accept Sri ranga II. This led to Topur battle that was more devastating than Tallikota for fortunes of Vijayanagr empire. There was no recovery after this battle although Jagga Ray was killed and Ramadeva was made the emperor. The last emperor Sri Ranga was betrayed by the chierf tains of Madhura , jingi and some more. At this time Muslim sultans no doubt played their cards. Sri Ranga was helpless with his chieftains deserting except te Tnajavur chieftains. But the damage was already dome. sri Ranga lived for some time after the empire disintegrated and died in harness. The effect of Muslim interference was much less than the own betrayal by Hindu chieftains. In fcat vijayanagae empire suffered palace conspiracies right from the days of inception of Saluva dynasty. Every dynasty came up with blod shed and some or other conspiracies. But this was common in those days. To days political scene in India is no different. We have seen how Chaudhri Charan singhs governmnet , Bajpais govt. Morarjis govt and many more were destabilised by the politicians and we have not become mature as a nation. So we continue to suffer and get screwed by Pakistanis and every outfit of terrorists.We have become alaughing stock democracy in the world athough we claim as the second largest democracy in the word. So there ends the story.

    • senthil says:

      @Prabakar,

      Can you cite any kingdom in the world which does not have internal strifes? These are natural occurences, that when there is more than one contender there always going to be a fight.. this happened among mughal rulers, bahmani sultanates, and among many european dynasties..

      But the problem is the level of damage.. The vijayanagara empire are NOT a perfect one.. but they are one of the golden periods of hindu empires where they withstood the onslaught of islamic invasion, and thus ensuring the promotion of hindu arts, music, architecture, temples etc..

      Do you know why almost all small kings of the south rallied behind vijayanagara empire? Many tamil kings accepted the supremacy of vijayanara kings without fight.. the reason is the memory of the brutalities of the malikafur who went as south as madurai..

      Later when vijayanagara king got weakened, many rebelled and the rest was history..

      So, we cannot accuse ourselves for the brutalities unleashed by the muslim kings..

  6. What you said is true. We have to blame ourselves
    Dr K Prabhakar Rao

  7. Muthu says:

    The Poligars
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaiyakkarar
    Soon after the Vijayanagara kingdom was formed, it started expanding. The formation was in 1336 AD. By 1378 AD, Kumara Kampana, the prince of Vijayanagaram had conquered the Madurai country. After that the whole of Tamil Nadu and then KeraLa followed. By the end of the century, the whole of South India, south of the Krishna-Tungabadra rivers were under its rule. Vijayanagaram was a military state. The country was divided into small territories under military governors called AmaraNayakkars. The territorial divisions were called ‘Amara Nayakka Thaanam’s. Later on this system gave place to the Palayam system. Dalavaay Ariyanatha Mudhaliar, the minister/general of Visvanatha Nayakkar of Madurai established 72 PaaLayams in the Madurai country. They were placed under the care of the PaaLayakkaarars. This system outlasted the Madurai Nayakkars. PaLayams like Sethu Nadu became kingdoms.

    In the Vijayanagara empire, local chieftains called “palegar’s” were allowed to rule with limited autonomy by their overlords. They had powers to collect revenue, maintain a small army and impose punishments. They numbered up to 200 during this period. However, they are supposed to have refused to come to the rescue of the empire at the Battle of Tallikota in 1565 CE, which marked the downfall of the Vijayanagara empire ( WHICH WAS A GREAT TACTICAL ERROR) — I feel)

    When the Vijayanagara Empire of southern India weakened after the mid-16th century, the Vijayanagara Nayaks, or governors, became the independent rulers of large tracts of southern India. Of the prominent Nayaks were the Nayaks of Madurai (1549 – 1736), ruling from Madurai and Tiruchirapalli. The Tanjore Naickers opted for a conventional system of administration, while the other Vijaynagar offshoots, namely the Nayaks of Gingee, and other territories under the Aravidu line of later Vijayanagara Kings based in Chandragiri – Vellore Fort, followed the Palayam or Palegallu system of administration.

    Thevars are a part of the Poligars . Please read the wiki post in total. The steroetyping of Thevars by British as goblins and as Maravars and the complete reduction of their soldier like qualities , resulted in their decline, till the arrival of Pasumpon , whose Forward bloc was a follower of Subhash Chandra Bose. Many were called Kallars ( theives) by British becuase they fought against the British. Unfortunately , the stereotyping still continues in TN , with films following the lead which the British left. When will we think on our own, the right way and not on the history written by colonialists.

    • senthil says:

      Thanks muthu.. Any army when it loses power, becomes unmanageable.. same with devar community.. force without power becomes hostile to the community.. devars carried the traits of a soldiers, but became illegal under british constitution..

      Its time this community awakens and develops the quality of kshatriya.. (force with responsibility and dharma)

  8. Muthu says:

    The British Bishop Caldwell relied on Silapadikaram to describe Maravars. Agreed in those days they were not civilised. But the advent of Vijayanagara Empire , which included the whole of South India , made the Maravars very civilized and thus they joined in as Poligars. Then as Poligars they became the soliders and even good builders of infrastructure. This aspect the British ignored and they wrote nasty things about the Poligars relying on old literature. They were some who remained uncivilised as they could not make the standards required by the Vijayanagara kingdom. Then in 1760 , we saw Puli Thevar who had militaristic ability to challenge the British , followed by Kattabomman. It is because they were thorn to the British they stereotyped them . This was ably done by Caldwell.

    All credit must go to the Vijayanagara kingdom for making Thevars what they are today. If not for the Vijayanagara Kingdom , I do not know what would have happened.

    • senthil says:

      We have to note that the entire europeans were barbarians till 16th century and it is an irony that they call our people as uncivilized..

      The context and meaning of the word civilize is different in europe and india.. In europe, the one who builds big house, acquires assets and properties and has political power are called civilized.. in india, its based on life we live.. One may live in a hut, but can be the most civilized..

  9. VBNK. says:

    Vijayanagara empire was the asylum to the sufferers in the Kali Age.
    It is a grave sin to have destroyed the very branch upon which the South Indian and perhaps the Indian Civilization found a seating and shelter.

    I do believe in the “Human Rights.”
    However, the “Human Rights” devoid of the family values are the quickest road to human destruction.

    The Islamic commanders and kings took away the wives and children of their enemies and even of their own friends and allies “At Will.”
    It is this Inhuman culture against which the Vijayanagara empire has fought against.

    Although the Sultans and Nawabs got a foothold in South India after the Vijayanagara empire, they could not easily touch the wives and daughters of others unless those wives and daughters were greedy.

    No doubt the Islamic onslaught and the modern concepts of “Liberty” and “Human Rights” have increased the sense of Greed among many women.

    Now is the time we need a true Kshatriya force and the Brahminical Value system to firmly establish the Dharma and Karma among the humankind.

    • senthil says:

      the human rights is highly a hyped up terms.. FOr the western society, where the entire society is suppressed & enslaved by catholic church, they needed to fight for the rights..

      But in india, people are bound only by cultures and NOT by any institutional oppression..

  10. VBNK says:

    You are right sir. We need to start the cultural reforms from the school age.

  11. Krishnasamy Narayanan says:

    As usual an excellent aricle by Col. Prabhakar Rao. We owe a lot of thanks to him for his series of articles on this subject and like ones.

    Getting to the past kingdoms and empires of India.

    It is true the Hindu monarchs resorted to conquests and enforcement of their suzrainity through wars. But two things they made it a point to avoid. These are avoidance of indiscriminate killing of people especially the children, women and the elderly in the conquered territory and enforcement of their religious belief(s) and
    faith(s) on the vanquished people. It was even usual for the invading monarchs to well publicise the impending arrival of their armies into their rival’s land so that except for the fighting men all others could get away in time! Further the victorious monarch used to be considerate to the vanquished ruler when the latter submitted and in majority of the instances allowed the latter to rule the lands unmolested as their subordinates .

    Not so with these Islamic invaders beginning with Mohammed Quasim from Arabia and early Portuguese that landed in Calicut and Goa. They were used to and did unhesitatingly practice violence in a scale that was virtually unknown in our land and at the same time forcing their faith on the local population with their swords.

    Thus the Hindu monarchs, their armies and the population were not simply accustomed and hence not prepared to meet the gory violence and the religious zelotry practiced by the Islamic or early Christian invaders. The Hindu elephant cavalry and military hardware (guns) were not a fitting match to those of the invaders that came with superior Arabian horses and European gunnery. In the military field this situation progressively improved for the Hindu’s as they learnt their lessons. For example Vijayangara monarchs like Deva Raya II initiated actions to improve their military capability and in the reign of the great Vijayanagara monarch Sri Krishnadeva Raya this situation became largely better.

    In spite of this the Achilles heel of the Hindus always remained (as it exists even to the present day in a different system) to be the intercinine quarrels in the ruling families, the mistrust and disunity of the neighbouring Hindu rulers, the practice of constant treachery by the subordinate chieftains towards their suzerains and the failure of these people to perceive a common danger to the nation even when they saw one staring at them.
    Thus it became possible to counter the threat only and only when there arose a super man ruler that had sudied past history to benefit, planned in time for the remedial steps required, assembled a wise council of advisors, instilled a sense of purpose and pride in their subjects, brought their recalcitrant subordinates in line, showed his inimical neighbours their place with show of grit and force as needed and make the potential invaders aware that there will be no tomorrow for them if they dare to come in.

    As we all know in the medieval times all this happened once in the person of the great Vijayanagara emperor Sri Krishndeva Raya. We all know what he did and what his achievements are. But alas- His reign lasted for only twenty years (1509 -1529). This statesman -emperor tried his best to have the neighbouring Hindu Gajapati king of Orissa for a friend by various strategems including marrying the Gajapati’s daughter Jaganmohini and giving back to the Orissan lruler the lands conquered from him. But the relationship at best remained only non hostile. Just imagine; had the two great kingdoms of Vijayanagara and Orissa joined hands the neighbouring hostile Islamic kingdoms would not have been so successful in the post Krishna Raya period.
    Alas that was not to be. This malice of constant spite and back biting between the Hindu rulers continued and worsened progressively so much so that the so called great Tirumalai Nayaka of Madurai invited the Bijapur muslim ruler to invade the territories of (by then) truncated Vijayangara Empire because he wanted to spite
    his suzerain (Sriranga III then ruling from Chandragiri ) instead of rendering help to him. Little he gave thought of the consequence of his treachery- in a few years after him most of Southern India came under Islamic rule including Tirumalai’s own kingdom.

    We all should remember that the achievements of emperor Krishna Raya- all effected
    in a brief period of tenty years only stood and guarded Soutth India from total annihilation of the rich culture and tradition of the land.

    All the above should daylight to us the need of the present and need of all time to come. That is a willing spirit of give & take amongst us and Unity, Unity and UNITY between us all in India.

    .

  12. rahul says:

    Very rightly stated above that India got several defeats at the hands of the invaders for its limited resources of artilary and warship. Since Bharat has always been a country that was proud of its culture, it looked down upon warring people. Even for a just cause, one was required to pay penance after killing someone. such binding ethics moulded our minds against any cruel and barbaric preparations for wars. Mass genocide during and especially after wars in the territories of enemy land was not generally aloud. Symbolic wars were also popular in Bharat where one was satisfied with his horse if it was able to move across others’ land and kingdoms. Even the opponent kings would try to avoid wars.
    These are only a few reasons of Bharat’s defeats in battle field, other will be discussed some other time

  13. Nagaraja says:

    Pemmasani family of Gandikota is not finding place in your article. This family is trusted lieutenants of Krishna Deva Raya

  14. prasad says:

    I think you may find about pemmasani ramalinga nayaka and other lieutenants in wikipedia under vijayanagara empire

  15. Ramesh says:

    Hindus never learned their lesson. They always beleived others, than their own neighbours. You can see the same attitude even today. Of course now we don’t beleive our own brothers and sisters. The onslaught of other religions on Hinduism is much dangerous than ever. I couldn’t stop my tears every time I visited the great Vijayanagaram (Unfortunately we call it Hampi) I am in a different universe every time I visited. Hindus owe a lot to those great emperors.

  16. goodness says:

    as though the pemmasani clans were the only warriors in the Vijayanagar army…kammas are at it again…they are already claiming the royal lineage of other Naidus/Naickers

  17. Shri says:

    The history presented in this article is erroneous. There is no proof of Hariahra and Bukka being in the employment of Kakateeya Kings. That history has been propagated by Telugu historians using Kalajnana books. That is like saying my astrologer told me Kakateeyas were Tamilians and I take it as a fact and want you to consider as a fact also.

    Please do some research of current historical studies before putting it out there on the internet.

  18. A.S.S.Rao says:

    Prabhakar sir,
    If we read the ancient hisory right from vedic period the foundation laid for our ancestor is really unimaginable.Because of their foundation still hinduisim surving many culture invasion.

  19. meeshoo says:

    ets realli fascinating . . .d glorious history defined ez reali awesome. . .luvd et nd hope to read more lines further!

  20. srinivas says:

    Truly great Hindu empire that protected our faith and culture. Need such dedicated devoted sincereskilled and ferocious warriors to defend our country and uphold our hinduism.

    Need to make vijayanagara history as part of school sylabus in india .
    Excellent article
    Thanks. Prabhakar

  21. Vijay says:

    Hi Fellow Brothers….Please wait for another 3 to 5 Years…huge proof of the empire will merge. Many around the world are doing their research with more scientific evidence….Vijayanagar Empire created an everlasting culture in this country. Majority of the temples of south India are either built, protected or re-structured by Vijayanagara Emperors. After Talikotta the Empire has split but the purpose of defeat was not acheived by the sultans of Deccan. The empire split into smaller kingdoms. So technically the empire lasted until Indias Independence…

  22. Details about Pemmasani Nayaks can be found in my article on my blog kuntamukkalaprabhakar.blogspot.com ot at sanghparivar.org

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