The powerful Vijayanagara Empire was founded by two brothers named Harihara (Harihara 1) and Bukka Raya. They were taken as prisoners by Mohammad bin Tughlaq and were converted to Islam. Later they were sent to establish the rule Delhi Sultanate over south India.
But the two brothers had different ambitions and under the influence of a sage named Vidyaranya, they renounced Islam and bring themselves back to Sanatan Dharma which led to the foundation of a powerful Hindu kingdom of Vijayanagara.
At that the time of its formation, the Vijayanagara Empire was surrounded by powerful Sultanates. But under the visionary leadership of their kings, the Empire resisted all the attacks from neighboring kingdoms and emerged as a powerful empire not only of south Indian but also of whole India.
In this article, we will cover the story of a great king who throughout his reign remained undefeated and took the Vijayanagar Empire to new heights. This is the story of Krishnadevaraya (Krishnadeva Raya)
Rise of Krishnadevaraya
The reign of the great Hindu king i.e. Krishnadeva Raya is full of unstoppable conquests over different sultanates.
Born of 1471 CE Krishnadeva Raya was the son of Tuluva Narasa Nayaka and Nagala Devi.
With the accession of Vira Narasimha, the period of the Tuluva Dynasty begins. After the death of Vira Narasimha (1505-1509) his brother i.e. Krishnadevaraya ascended the powerful throne of the Vijayanagara Empire on 8 August 1509 CE.
He was married to Tirumala Devi and Chinnama Devi. To safeguard his empire he initially took the objective of bringing all the chieftains of the Tungabhadra region under his sway.
He was a patron of art and literature too. He was known as Andhra Bhoja and gave patronage to many scholars, artists, philosophers, etc. Amukta-malyada a famous poem in Telugu is also written by him.
Raya built numerous temples like the famous Krishnaswamy temple, Hazara Ramaswamy temple, Vittalaswami temple. He also built huge irrigation reservoirs, tanks, and canals for the peasants.
Conquests of Krishnadevaraya
The Bahmani Kingdom & Vijayanagara Empire
The sultan of the Bahmani Sultanate i.e. Mahmud Shah decided to invade the kingdom of Krishnadeva Raya around 1509 CE. The Bahmani Sultan declared Jihad on the people of Vijayanagara.
He augmented a huge army with the help of several neighboring warlords. The invading army reached Dony and here their path was blocked by the army of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The forces of the Vijayanagara Empire badly defeated the invaders. In this encounter, the leader of the Bahmani army i.e. Sultan Mahmud Shah got injured and retreated back to his dominion after the battle.
But the Krishnadeva Raya was far from satisfied from this victory and he decided to chase the retreating army and another battle was fought when the Bahmani army reached Kovelakonda.
The result of this battle was again comes out in the favour of Krishnadeva Raya. In this second battle, Yusuf Adil Khan of Bijapur was killed. This was a heavy blow to the Bijapur Sultanate and due to this Ismail Adil Shah became the next sultan of this dynasty.
Due to the death of Yusuf Adil Khan, the state of Bijapur became vulnerable, and immediately the king of Vijayanagara decided to march against them.
He captured Raichur (in modern-day Karnataka) in 1512 and also took the fort of Gulbarga.
Ummattur & Vijayanagara Empire
Next, he launched an assault on the Palaigar of Ummattur. This campaign on Ummattur lasted for two years and captured Sivanasamudram.
Gajapati & Vijayanagara Empire
After settling the dispute with most of the neighboring kingdom of the South the charismatic leader of Vijayanagara marched against the Gajapati of Orissa. The main motivation behind this campaign was to recover the territories of the Vijayanagara Empire which were conquered by the Gajapati kingdom.
At this time the ruler of the Gajapati kingdom was Prataparudra.
This was a long campaign in which the powerful Gajapati fought bravely but in the end, they were defeated by Raya.
He attacked the fort of Udayagiri in the year 1513 CE. The garrison defended the fort audaciously. It was due to the military leadership of Raya which made the Vijayanagara’s victory possible.
Later he captured Kondavidu and even took many people including young prince Virabhadra and one of his queens as a prisoner. Later peace was settled by a treaty in which the king of Gajapati gave his daughter in marriage to Raya in return the latter gave the territories from the north of the Krishna to the former.
Quli Qutub Shah of Golconda & Vijayanagara Empire
But the borders of the Krishnadevaraya Empire were far from secure. This time the Qutub Shahis of Golconda decided to march against the undefeated Krishnadevaraya. Quli Qutub shah conquered the forts of Pangal and Guntur when Krishnadeva was busy in the Orissa campaign.
Quli Qutub Shah after capturing several territories of the Vijayanagara Empire marched towards Kondavidu (now in Andhra Pradesh) and laid a siege on the fort.
At this time Nadindla Gopa was in charge of the fort. Quli Qutub Shah’s charge was very vehement and the defender i.e. Nadindla was unable to stop this charge from the invaders. But with the arrival of Krishandeva, he dispatches Saluva Timma with an army of 200,000 men to finish the invaders at Kondavidu.
Saluva Timma defeated the Qutub Shahis and took their commander Madar ul Mulk as a prisoner of war.
Bijapur & Vijayanagara Empire
Ismail Adil Khan reconquered the fort of Raichur and the doab region of Krishna Tungabhadra. In the year 1520 Saluva Timma took a large army to face the tide of Ismail Khan. A fierce battle took place at the village of Gobbur in which the invaders were badly defeated. Many perished while retreating. Many were drowned in the river.
Krishnadevaraya then captured the fort of Raichur whose garrison defended strongly after the flight of the Bijapur army. But with the aid of Portuguese allies (mainly skilled musketeers), the Vijayanagara army won the battle.
But this war didn’t end here and later several battles were fought between Bijapur and Vijayanagara Empire. In which the result remained unchanged and Krishnadeva Raya emerged as a powerful king of South India.
The famous poet Muku Timmana gave Krishnadevaraya the title of “The Destroyer of the Turks”. This shows the military prowess of this great Hindu king.
The glory of this undefeated Hindu king often gets hindered due to his contemporary rulers of northern India (Rana Sanga and Babur). Krishnadeva Raya was a brilliant military tactician and strategist. He always led from the front and always came out victorious in every battle he fought.
After every battle, he immediately makes medical arrangements for the wounded soldiers. Due to this, the soldiers were always prepared to follow his command at any cost.
Furthermore, he was a brilliant leader and diplomat. He established friendly relations with the Portuguese which provided horses for his army. These horses played a vital role in the battles against the powerful sultanates like Bijapur and Bahmani.
All in all Krishnadeva Raya took Vijayanagara Empire to new heights both politically and culturally. He saved the region of South India from repeated onslaughts of the powerful sultanates and defeated them in every battle.
But sadly the story of this great king who was a brilliant military strategist and patron of art and literature remains unheard in modern India.
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