Vijaynagar Kingdom

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History of Vijaynagar Kingdom

Founded in 1336 as a result of the political and cultural movement against the Tughluq authority in the south.

The Sangama History (1336 – 1485) :

    • The empire of Vijaynagar was founded by Harihara – I and Bukka, two of the five sons of Sangama. They were originally feudatories of Kakatiyas. Harihara – I was the first ruler. A Bhakti saint Vidyaranya motivated them.
    • The next ruler was Deva Raya – I. He constructed a dam across the river Tungabhadra to bring die canals into die city to relieve die shortage of water.
    • Italian traveler Nicolo Conti visited during his reign (Also a Russian merchant, Nikitin).
    • His court was adorned by the gifted Telegu poet Srinatha, the author of Haravilasam.
    • There was a ‘Pearl Hall’ in the palace where he honored men of eminence.
    • Devaraya – II (1423 – 46) was the greatest Sangama ruler.
    • During his time, Vijaynagar became the most wealthy and powerful state.
    • The commoners believed that he was the in carnation of Indra.
    • The inscriptions speak of his tide ‘Gajabetekara’ i.e., die elephant hunter.
    • He wrote ‘Mahanataka Sudhanidhi’ and a commentary on die Brahma Sutras of Badaryana (Both in Sanskrit).
  • Persian ambassador Abdur Razzaq visited his court.
  • Sangama dynasty was replaced by Saluva dynasty, which lasted for 2 decades. Ultimately, a new dynasty called the Tuluva dynasty (1503 – 69) was founded by Vira Narsimha.

The History of Tuluvas :

    • Krishnadeva Raya (1509 – 29) was their greatest ruler. Portuguese traveller, Domingo! Paes writes high about him. Berbosa also came as a traveler.
    • He was a warrior, an administrator and a patron of art and literature.
    • His political ideas are contained in his Telegu work ‘Amuktamalyada’ (also Jambavati Kalyanam in Sanskrit).
    • As a great patron of literature, he was known as Abhinava Bhoja, Andhra Pitamaha and Andhra Bhoja.
    • Eight great poets of Telegu, known as ‘Ashta Diggaja’ adorned his court. Pedanna wrote Manucharitam, while Tenalirama was the author of Panduranga Mahamatyam.
    • Built a new city ‘Nagalapuram’ and decorated it with Hazura temple and Vithalswamy temple.
    • The successors of Krishnadeva Raya were weak and incompetent rulers. Achyuta Raya followed him. A Portuguese traveler Fernoa Nuniz came during his reign.
    • Sadasiva, the last ruler of the dynasty, was a puppet in the hands of his PM, Rama Raya, who was an able but arrogant man.
    • In 1565, Battle of Talikota was fought between an alliance of Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Golkonda and Bidar on one side and Sadasiva on the other side. Sadashiv was defeated.

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  • After that, Aravidu dynasty was found by Rama Raya’s brother, Thirumala.
  • Aravidu dynasty lingered on for almost 100 Years, but no political influence.
  • Caesor Fredrick (1567 – 68 AD) visited Vijaynagar after the Battle of Talikota.
  • Vina (musical instrument) acquired a prominent place in the Vijayanagar Empire.

The Nayakar and Ayagar Systems : The Nayakar and Ayagar systems were the backbones of the Vijayanagar administration.

The Nayakar System : Under this system, military chiefs were assigned certain pieces of land called amaram. These chiefs, known as nayaks, had revenue and administrative rights on their lands. They were required I to maintain elephants, horses and soldiers in certain numbers which were included in the royal I army during wars.

They also had to pay a sum of money to the central exchequer. In course of time, nayaks began to assert their military, administrative and economic powers which later became a major cause of the decline of the Vijayanagar empire.

The Ayagar System : It involved the constitution of a 12 – member officials group by the Centre to maintain administration at the village level. These officials, called the ayagars, were village functionaries and constituted of groups of families.

They were given, for their service, a portion, of or plot in the village, which were tax – free. The ayagars were hereditary officials and there was to be no sale or purchase of land without their permission.