KRISHNADEVARAYA OF VIJAYANAGARA

Krishnadevaraya who ruler the kingdom of Vijayanagara in between 1509-1529 was one of the greatest statesmen which medieval South India had produced. Called variously as ‘Kannadaraya’, ‘Sri Karnata Mahisa’ and ‘Kannada Rajya Ramaramana’, his rule saw all round prosperity of South India, culturally and materialistically. He was the son of Tuluva Narasanayaka and after the death of his brother Vira Narasimha ascended the throne of Vijayanagara in 1509. C.Hayavadana Rao opines that Krishnadevaraya was possibly ruling simultaneously with Vira Narasimha long before his coronation in August 1509.At the time of Krishnadevaraya’s accession to the throne, the condition of the empire was unstable. Not only he had to deal with rebellious subordinates but also the aggression of the Gajapatis of Orissa and the Muslim kingdoms in the north. But he came out successfully against all his adversaries.

His war against the Bahamanis: Though the Bahamani kingdom had split up into five separate states, the sultans of these kingdoms used to organize annual jihad against Vijayanagar. Soon after his accession to the throne, Krishnadevaraya had to face the combined army of the Bahamani Sultan and the Adilshah of Bijapur. Krishnadevaraya defeated them at a place called Doni and pursued them up to Kovilakonda where they were again defeated. The sultan of Bijapur, Yusuf Adil Khan lost his life in the battle. For the first time the Muslim kingdoms realized that they could no longer plunder and ravage Vijayanagar at will. In 1512, Krishnadevaraya re-conquered Raichur, which was in the hands of Bijapur for nearly 20 years. Then he marched towards Gulbarga, the capital of the Bahamini kingdom and freed the Bahamani sultan Mahmud II from his minister, Kasim Barid, reinstated him back to the throne and took the title ‘Establisher of the Yavana (Muslim) kingdom’. But later taking advantage of Krishnadevaraya’s preoccupation with the Orissa campaign, Ismail Adil Khan, the successor of Yusuf recaptured Raichur. Krishnadevaraya marched against him with an army consisting of one million men and defeated the Bijapur army at Kembavi and Surapur. Raichur was re-conquered in 1522. Then once again he marched to Gulbarga and liberated the sons of Mahmud II from Ali Barid, the son of Kasim Barid, made the eldest of them sultan and brought the others with him to Vijayanagar and treated them with much consideration.

His campaign against the Gajapatis: In 1512, Krishnadevaraya turned his attention to the east and conquered the fort of Udayagiri from the Gajapati in 1513 after a long a siege of one and a half years. Prataparudra’s attempt to raise the siege of Udayagir resulted in his defeat and the fleeing Gajapati army was pursued by the Vijayanagara army up to Kondavidu. Forts like Kandukur, Addanki, Vinukonda, Bellamakonda, Nagarjunakonda and Ketavaram was conquered and in June 1515 Kondavidu was caputured. Next he captured Rajamahendri and proceeded as far as Simhachalam. He established a pillar of victory at Potnur. Finally he invested Cuttack, the capital of the Gajapatis and Gajapati Prataparudra was forced to sue for peace in 1518. The Gajapati gave his daughter, Tukkadevi or Jaganmohini in marriage to Krishnadevaraya. In turn Krishnadevaraya returned all the territory north of Krishna to Prataparudra. Taking advantage of the Krishnadevaraya’s preoccupation in his Orian war, the sultan of Golkonda marched against Kondavidu and besieged it. Krishnadevaraya immediately dispatched a huge army of 200000 men under Saluva Timma, who defeated the Golkonda army and captured its commander Madarul Mulk and several officers.

Suppression of Internal revolts: The chieftain of Ummatur, Gangaraya had been in revolt since the last days of Vira Narasimha’s reign. In 1512, Krishnadevaraya marched against him and captured Sivanasamudra, the headquarters of Gangaraya. Gangaraya fled and was drowned in the river Kaveri. The conquered territory became a new province with Srirangapatana as capital. The same year Mangalore was also captured.

As a Warrior: Krishnadevaraya used to personally lead his army against adversaries in the battlefield and showed amazing resourceful ness in overcoming obstacles in his path. During the siege of the Udayagiri fort, he got boulders and rocks smashed to make passage wider and smoother for the movement of his troops. He showed extraordinary courage even in the face of gravest danger. For instance during the siege of the fort of Raichur, when the first line of defense was broken by the artillery fire from the enemy, Krishnadevaraya who was in charge of the second line stood firm and exhorted his men to fight without caring for their lives. Motivated by his call his men fought heroically and won the battle. Krishnadevaraya loved and cared his men and on the conclusion of a battle used to go to the battlefield looking for the wounded, making arrangement to pick them and treat.

 His personality: According to Domingo Paes, the Portuguese traveler who visited Vijayanagara in 1520, Krishnadevaraya was of medium height and of fair complexion and with a good figure, rather fat than thin and had the signs of smallpox on his face. Paes records that Krishnadevaraya used to do exercises daily in the morning by applying oil on his body and used to work out till all the oil came out in the form of sweat. This was followed by a long ride over his horse. Then he used to take his bath, offer worship to gods and began his official work. “He is the most feared king, but very cheerful and merciful”- he adds.

Scholar and Patron of Arts: Krishnadevaraya was a great patron of literature and was know as Abhinava Bhoja. Himself being a scholar, he wrote the Telugu work Amuktamalyada and a Sanskrit play, Jambavati Kalyana. He had eight great scholars called Ashtadiggajas in his court. They included Allasani Peddana often described as the Andhrakavitapitamaha. His famous work was Manucharitamu, Another famous poet was Nandi Timmanna, the author of Parijathapaharanamu. Others eminent literary luminaries were Tenali Ramakrishna, Kumara Dhurjati and Rama Raja Bhushana. He asked the Kannada poet Timmanna to complete the Kannada Mahabharatha started by Kumara Vyasa. Telugu poet Peddanna was personally honoured by him for his proficiency in Telugu and Sanskrit and taken in a palanquin borne by Krishnadevaraya himself. According to Nidatavolu Venkata Rao, the reign of Krishnadevaraya is a glorious chapter in the South Indian literary history. The imperial court had representatives of Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil poets, who contributed largely to their respective literatures.

His religious beliefs: Krishnadevaraya patronized all religious sects and was a devotee of Lord Venkateshwara of Tirupati and even now we can see the images of Krishnadevaraya along with his two queens standing with folded hands in the Tirupati temple. The images have their names written in Kannada. Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the renowned saints of the bhakti movement visited his court. Krishnadevaraya honoured the former by performing Kanakabhisheka (showering gold coins on him). Krishnadevaraya held the Madhwa saint Vyasatirtha in much reverence and had left his throne vacant for the saint to occupy for some time. Krishnadevaraya expanded the temple of Ramaswamy at Vijayanagara and added a kalyanamantapa and tower to the temple of Virupaksha. He also constructed the Krishnaswamy and Vithalaswamy temples in the imperial capital.

As an Administrator: Krishnadevaraya toured the remote corners of his empire and heard the grievances of the people and redressed them then and there. He set up an excellent administrative system. The empire was divided into Mandalas, Nadus and Seeme. For the purpose of assessment and fixation of revenue, Krishnadevaraya had the whole of his empire surveyed. The unit of land for assessment was known as Rayarekhe or the royal line and which measured roughly about seven feet and nine inches. Twenty of these units made a bigha and 36 bigha’s, a mar or plot of 16 to 18 acres. Land revenue was fixed based on the yield, normally 1/3rd of the produce. Krishnadevaraya provided irrigation facilities to the dry regions around Vijayanagara with the help of a Portuguese engineer. The friendly relations with the Portuguese helped him obtain the highbred Arabian horses and the expansion of the overseas trade of the empire. He helped the Portuguese to conquer Goa from the Bijapur rulers in 1510. Krishnadevaraya built two new suburbs in the capital and called it Nagalapura and Tirumala Deviyarapattana in honour of his mother, Nagala Devi and queen Tirumalamba. Portuguese travelers Domingo Paes and Durate Barbosa visted his court and have left accounts of their experience there. According to the former Vijayanagar was very prosperous with abundance of foodstuffs, vegetables, fruits and animals being sold in profusion in the markets of the city at cheap rates. Barbosa speaks of the trade in jewels, diamonds, pearls and silk brocades, which were in plenty on its streets. “The city of Vijayanagar is constantly filled with an innumerable crowd of all nations and creeds”, he adds.

The End: It is said that Krishnadevaraya in his own lifetime had made his six year old son prince Tirumalaraya as the king and himself took up the post of minister. But Tirumalaraya fell ill and died possibly poisoned by the son of Saluva Timma (chief minister). When Krishnadevaraya came to know of it, he sent for the chief minister, accused him in open court and cast him and his whole family into prison. Meanwhile Krishnadevaraya was preparing for an attack on Belgaum, then in the Adil Shah’s possession when he took seriously ill and died soon after in 1529. Before his death, he nominated his brother, Achyutaraya to be his successor. The rule of Krishnadevaraya was a glorious chapter in the history of Vijayanagara Empire.

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Comments

  • Krishnasamy Narayanan  On February 27, 2009 at 4:31 am

    Well written article. We can hardly find any parallell in Indian history to the glrious reign of Emperor Krishna Raya. There was no one like him who combined so many admirable qualities needed in a great monarch- matchless warrior who led his armies personally and cared for them, statesman who srounded himself with wise ministers, supporter of literature and fine arts-himself a great poet, romantic and witty witty but also a stern law enforcer, truly secular though himself a practicing vaishnavite and above all had the capacity to show the Muslim Sultans their place. All his achievements were attained in a span of just nineteen years! Alas, India never saw another ruler like the magnificent Krishna Raya either before or after him.. .

  • neelath hally prasadr  On January 10, 2010 at 10:39 am

    it was golden era of indian history and part of this world. He was able administrator prajaloving king who made southindia in world famous. True rajendra people of south india should always remeember and salute him for his good deeds. At this juncture of 500 years time goverment has woken up to do something to remeember him.

  • mahesh  On January 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    good article but not in chronological order

    • GOPAL  On July 19, 2011 at 10:02 am

      ITS VERY VERY INTESTING

  • chotu  On July 5, 2010 at 7:38 am

    the king ofvijayanagara was really great

  • usha  On July 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    its good but it needs more information

  • oooooooooo  On October 20, 2010 at 11:29 am

    good

  • sai  On November 11, 2010 at 8:59 am

    i need mare information about it pls

  • RAGHAVAN  On November 18, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    GOOD ARTICLE CAN UNDERSTAND CLEARLY

  • vinodkumar  On January 7, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    hi this is vinod i belive srikrishnadavarayalu is the grestest administrater and good king in south india and vijayanagaram. he is one of good portyer and good humanbeing.

  • S. Krishnamoorthy  On February 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    A tight and information packed article. Today, I heard Dr. Chitra Madhavan, a historian and archeologist of repute talk on Krishnadevaraya. A neat presentation with slides. The entire talk was almost similar to the contents of this article. Krishnadevaraya’s contribution to Srirangam and Chidambaram temples in Tamilnadu is a notable omission in this article. Kalahasti temple (the gopuram built by him which fell down due monumental negligence of the temple authorities) does not find mention in this article. The article should be expanded to post Krishnadevaraya period and his representatives in Madurai.

  • gopal gondhia  On July 19, 2011 at 10:15 am

    ITS VERY VERY INTESTING

  • Ajit kumar  On September 20, 2011 at 8:36 am

    But Again, Main Reason for Vijayanagar destruction was that after Victories in War, Great Krishna Deva Raya used to nominate one of bahmanis for the throne and used to come back. Had he destroyed those armies and included those areas also, Vijayanagar’s work woulc well have joined alliance with Shivaji later and fight together against Moghuls. But that unity was lacking among ourselves, the main reason why the most wealthiest and educated country at that time lost to invaders

    • Joyoti Sen  On March 13, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      @ Ajit Kumar- Krishnadeva Raya should have razed the Bahamani kingodms to the ground- it would have been a case of good riddance to bad rubbish.

  • devang  On October 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    good, but less information

  • roushan  On November 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    i want the cultural achievements separately of krishna devaraya

    • ithihas  On December 10, 2011 at 5:36 am

      Whatever limited information I had on Krishnadevaraya is in the article including the cultural achievements during his rule.

  • Mohan Kumar  On November 30, 2011 at 3:48 am

    The foreign ambassadors who visited during Krishnadevaraya’s reign has vividly mentioned and described in their books that “THE EYES OF THE PUPILS WERE NOT SUFFICIENT TO SEE THE GLORY OF VIJAYNAGAR EMPIRE AND THE EARS HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SUCH A PLACE THAT EXISTED ON EARTH” So many precious stones DIAMONDS, RUBYS, GOLD SILVER SAPPHIRES, CORAL, ALL KINDS OF PRECIOUS STONES have been solded in the open market WITH OUT ANY FEAR. No other civilization in the world can match or not even equal to Vijaynagar Empire.

  • c.m.reddy  On November 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    i am sorry to here that, the Governament of India, did not accept the wish of the public, of release the two rupee coin, in the memory of great rular Sri Krishnadevaraya on accasion of 500th year of his pattabhishekamahotsava.

  • mamatha  On December 15, 2011 at 5:57 am

    superb……………………..

  • ganga  On December 31, 2011 at 9:22 am

    Quite Interesting needs still more details .

  • saiperumallu naidu,varanasi  On January 6, 2012 at 4:52 am

    Iam very very happy

  • Dr K Prabhakar Rao  On March 8, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Mr Reddy. It is shameful to hear that the Indian Govt did not accept releasing a coin of Rs 2 in the memory of Krishna DevaRaya. Is it because he was a south Indian? They will do for, Baber, Shahejahan, Jalaluddin Akbar or even Aurangzeb to appease a section of Indians.What goes on in India is pure pseudo secualrism.

    • Prabhakar's Father  On May 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

      Non-Sense, enemy of nation

  • NgaaSravanRoyal  On May 17, 2012 at 6:45 am

    very nice i need in detail about Sri Krishnadevaraya… can anyone give….

  • Manish GS  On May 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    JAI VIRUPAKSHA JAI KANNADA

  • Shakeel Ahamed  On June 4, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    quite good. but collect some more info….

  • CHARAN  On July 13, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    dear author,
    very nice write up i we a group of like minded people launched a magazine if u wish on ur name we would like to take ur research work in to people.. i will be waiting to take this master WORK IN TO PEOPLE..

    WITH PRAYERS
    CHARAN

    • ithihas  On July 18, 2012 at 8:16 am

      Dear Charan,
      You can use this article.

  • Ramesh  On August 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

    very good article . but more information gather.

  • Nityadeep Shetty  On September 17, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    very gud information

  • Anushka  On September 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    very interesting and beautifully written!

  • Manasa  On October 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    People who need more information please go through the book a forgotten empire written by Robert c . Well .

  • kolla jagan  On October 8, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Krishna devaraya ending life was not clarify above this article

  • SUBHARAMANI  On November 1, 2012 at 6:43 am

    WE NEED WAT HAPPENED FOR KRISHNADEVARAYA FAMILY AFTER THE DEATH OF KRISHNADEVARAYA

    • ithihas  On November 7, 2012 at 2:27 am

      Krishnadevaraya had lost his only son during his lifetime and hence was succeeded by his step-brother Achyutaraya. Krishnadevaraya had two daughters who were married to Ramaraya and Tirumala, the former fought and died during the battle of Rakkasa-Tangadi in 1565 A.D.

  • karuna varadaraj  On December 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    its too good but if there is more information it will be more good

  • gowri shankar  On January 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I LIKE HIS RULE – ADMINISTRATION , KNOWLEDGE

  • krishna  On February 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    very nice information frm rk

  • osxguru  On May 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    The End is wrong: It is said that Krishnadevaraya in his own lifetime had made his six year old son prince Tirumalaraya as the king and himself took up the post of minister. But Tirumalaraya fell ill and died possibly poisoned by the son of Saluva Timma (chief minister). When Krishnadevaraya came to know of it, he sent for the chief minister, accused him in open court and cast him and his whole family into prison. Meanwhile Krishnadevaraya was preparing for an attack on Belgaum, then in the Adil Shah’s possession when he took seriously ill and died soon after in 1529. Before his death, he nominated his brother, Achyutaraya to be his successor. The rule of Krishnadevaraya was a glorious chapter in the history of Vijayanagara Empire.

    The story is that Sri Krishnadevaraya leaves Vijayanagara for a brief period of time during which Saluva Timma is punished by his dayadis or half-brothers. Saluva Timma was a father figure to Sri Krishnadevaraya and always looked upto him. The legend says that when Sage Vyasatirtha left vijayanagara then it collapsed for he was also the advisor/guardian of vijayanagara.

  • Deekshiit Suresh  On August 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    NICE ARTICLE. BUT NEED SOME MORE INFORMATION

  • srivani  On August 20, 2013 at 10:52 am

    nice information,i need more information

  • vikas  On October 29, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    krishna deva raya is really great for india

  • Naveen  On November 3, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    He is good ruler and also good human being, he is good in Telugu literature and also in Kannada,he knows Tamil also. He belongs to Telugu family and settled in Karnataka.

  • seetaram m  On January 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    nice descriiption of krishna devaraya.

  • krithika deva raya  On March 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    i am krishnadevaraya family . i know you will not believe my words.
    i have a proof. and my jathi is rajus.

  • Ujwala  On April 1, 2014 at 4:15 am

    Ujwala
    good Artical

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