An Imperial Capital Vijayanagara notes by Vibha Maam
The Discovery of Hampi
- Vijayanagara (Hampi) Empire was founded by two brothers, Harihar and Bukka in 1336. The people of this Empire spoke different languages and followed different religions.
- Historians collected information about Hampi from accounts of foreign travelers and other literature written in Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Sanskrit. The ruins at Hampi were brought to light in 1800 by an engineer named Colin Mackenzie (the first Surveyor General of India in 1815). Much of the initial information received was based on the memories of priests of the Virupaksha temple and the shrine of Pampadevi.
Rayas, Nayakas and Sultanas
- The rulers of Vijayanagara called themselves Rayas.
- The Vijayanagar Kings competed with the sultans of the Deccan and the Gajapati rulers of Orissa for control over the fertile river valleys and resources.
- Gajapati literally means lord of elephants, name of ‘Orissa rulers’. ‘Deccan sultans’ were termed as ashvapati or lord of horses and the ‘Rayas’ are called narapati or lord of men.
- Some of the areas that were incorporated within the Empire had witnessed the development of powerful States such as Cholas in Tamilnadu and the Hoysalas in Karnataka. Ruling elites in these areas had extended patronage to elaborate temples such as the Brihadeshwara temple at Thanjavur and the Chennakeshava temple at Belur.
Kings and Traders
- The trade was initially controlled by Arab traders. During the warfare, horses were imported from Arabia and Central Asia for rival kingdoms. Kudirai Chettis( local horse merchants) also participated in these exchanges.
- The Portuguese arrived on the West coast of the subcontinent in 1498. They used muskets and attempted to establish trading and military stations.
- Vijayanagara was also noted for its spices, textiles and precious stones. The wealthy population of this city demanded exotic goods. The revenue derived from the trade contributed significantly to the prosperity of the state.
The Culmination (Glory) and Decline of the Empire
- The Sangama dynasty was the first dynasty who exercised control till 1485. They were uprooted by the Saluvas, (military commanders) and they were replaced by the Tuluvas in1503. Krishnadeva Raya belonged to the Tuluvas dynasty.
- Krishnadeva Raya’s rule was characterised by expansion and consolidation. The Raichur doab( the land between Tungbhadra & Krishna rivers) was acquired in 1512, the rulers of Orissa was subdued in 1514, and a gracious victory over the Sultan of Bijapur in 1520.
- Krishnadeva Raya is credited with building some fine temples and adding impressive gopurams to many important South Indian temples. They also founded a suburban town near Vijayanagara called Nagalapuram after his mother.
- In 1529, after the death of Krishnadeva Raya, his successors were troubled by rebellious ‘Nayakas'(military chiefs).
- By 1542 control at the centre had shifted to the Aravidu dynasty, which remained in power till the end of the 17th century.
- In 1565 Rama Raya, the chief minister of Vijayanagara led the army into battle at Rakshasi-Tangadi (talikota) where his forces were defeated by the combined army of Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Golconda. The Victorious armies sacked the city of Vijayanagara. Now the focus of the empire shifted to the east where the Aravidu dynasty ruled the empire from penukonda and later from Chandragiri (near Tirupati).
The Rayas and the Nayakas
- The military chiefs were known as ‘nayakas’. they usually spoke Telugu or Kannada. They usually controlled forts.
- These chiefs often move from one area to another.
- The ‘Amara- Nayaka System’ were derived from the iqta system of the Delhi sultanate. The military commanders were given territories to govern by the ‘Raya’. They collected taxes and other dues from peasants, craftspersons and traders in the area. They used some part of revenue for their personal use and some part of revenue was also used for maintenance of temples and irrigation works.
- The Amara- Nayaka sent tribute to the king annually and personally to express their loyalty. The kings occasionally transfer them from one place to another to show their control over them. However, during the 17th century many of these Nayakas established independent kingdoms and the central imperial structure of Vijayanagara collapsed quickly.
Don’t forget to comment in the comment section below to appreciate the hard work of our author by sharing this notes with your known person you can also Contact us for any query or if you are interested in writing with us.
Use Canva for amazing images.