(Revision or Short Notes)



  • Four dynasties – Sangama, Saluva,Tuluva and Aravidu – ruled Vijayanagar from A.D. 1336 to 1672
  • Krishnadevaraya’s Amukthamalyada, Gangadevi’s Maduravijayam and Allasani Peddanna’s Manucharitam are some of the indigenous literature of this period
  • The Moroccan traveler, Ibn Battuta,Venetian traveler Nicolo de Conti, Persian traveler Abdur Razzak and the Portuguese traveler Domingo Paes were among them who left valuable accounts on the socio -conomic conditions of the Vijayanagar Empire.
  • Hampi ruins and other monuments of Vijayanagar provide information on the cultural contributions of the Vijayanagar rulers.

Political History

  • Vijayanagar was founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka of the Sangama dynasty. They were originally served under the Kakatiya rulers of Warangal.
  • Then they went to Kampili where they were imprisoned and converted to Islam. Later, they returned to the Hindu fold at the initiative of the saint Vidyaranya.
  • They also proclaimed their independence and founded a new city on the south bank of the Tungabhadra river. It was called Vijayanagar meaning city of victory.
  • The decline of the Hoysala kingdom enabled Harihara and Bukka to expand their newly founded kingdom.
  • Vijayanagar Empire comprised the whole of South India up to Rameswaram. The conflict between Vijayanagar Empire and the Bahmani kingdom lasted for many years.
  • The dispute over Raichur Doab, the region between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra and also over the fertile areas of Krishna-Godavari delta led to this long drawn conflict. The greatest ruler of the Sangama dynasty was Deva Raya II.
  • The next dynasty, Saluva dynasty founded by Saluva Narasimha reigned only for a brief period (1486-1509

Krishna Deva Raya (1509 – 1530)

  • The Tuluva dynasty was founded by Vira Narasimha. The greatest of the Vijayanagar rulers, Krishna Deva Raya belonged to the Tuluva dynasty.
  • The Muslim armies were decisively defeated in the battle of Diwani by Krishna Deva Raya.
  • He defeated the Gajapathi ruler Prataparudra and conquered the whole of Telungana. He maintained friendly relations with the Portuguese
  • Albuquerque sent his ambassadors to Krishna Deva Raya.
  • Though a Vaishnavaite, he respected all religions. He was a great patron of literature and art and he was known as Andhra Bhoja. Eight eminent scholars known as Ashtadiggajas were at his royal court.
  • Allasani Peddanna was the greatest and he was called Andhrakavita Pitamaga. His important works include Manucharitam and Harikathasaram
  • Krishna Deva Raya himself authored a Telugu work, Amukthamalyadha and Sanskrit works, Jambavati Kalyanam and Ushaparinayam.
  • He also built the famous Vittalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy temples at Vijayanagar. He also built a new city called Nagalapuram in memory of his queen Nagaladevi.
  • During the reign of Rama Raya, the combined forces of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar, Golkonda and Bidar defeated him at the Battle of Talaikotta in 1565. This battle is also known as Raksasa Thangadi.
  • Rama Raya was imprisoned and executed. The city of Vijayanagar was destroyed. This battle was generally considered to mark the end of the Vijayanagar Empire.
  • However, the Vijayanagar kingdom existed under the Aravidu dynasty for about another century.
  • The last ruler of Vijayanagar kingdom was Sri Ranga III.


  • The administration under the Vijayanagar Empire was well organized. The king enjoyed absolute authority in executive, judicial and legislative matters. He was the highest court of appeal.
  • The succession to the throne was on the principle of hereditary. Sometimes usurpation to the throne took place as Saluva Narasimha came to power by ending the Sangama dynasty. The king was assisted by a council of ministers in his day to day
  • The Empire was divided into different administrative units called Mandalams, Nadus, sthalas and finally into gramas. The governor of Mandalam was called Mandaleswara or Nayak
  • Land revenue was fixed generally one sixth of the produce. The expenditure of the government includes personal expenses of
  • Vijayanagar army was well-organized and efficient
  • top-grade officers of the army were known as Nayaks or Poligars. They were granted land in lieu of their services. These lands were called amaram.Soldiers were usually paid in cash.

Social Life

  • Allasani Peddanna in his Manucharitam refers the existence of four castes – Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas and Sudras – in the Vijayanagar society.
  • Silk and cotton clothes were mainly used for dress.
  • Paes mentions of the beautiful houses of the rich and the large number of their household servants. Nicolo Conti refers to the prevalence of slavery
  • Sangama rulers were chiefly Saivaites and Virupaksha was their family deity
  • But all kings were tolerant towards other religions. Borbosa referred to the religious freedom enjoyed by everyone. Muslims were employed in the administration and they were freely allowed to build mosques and worship.
  • The position of women had not improved. However, some of them were learned. Gangadevi, wife of Kumarakampana authored the famous work Maduravijayam. Hannamma and Thirumalamma were famous poets of this period.
  • According to Nuniz, a large number of women were employed in royal palaces as dancers, domestic servants and palanquin bearers.
  • Paes refers to the flourishing devadasi system. Polygamy was prevalent among the royal families. Sati was honoured and Nuniz gives a description of it.

Economic Condition

  • According to the accounts of the foreign travelers, the Vijayanagar Empire was one of the wealthiest parts of the world at that time.
  • Nuniz refers to the excavation of canals
  • Diamond mines were located in Kurnool and Anantapur
  • There were a number of seaports on the Malabar coast,the chief being Cannanore. Commercial contacts with Arabia, Persia,South Africa and Portugal on the west and with Burma, Malay peninsula and China on the east flourished.
  • The art of ship building had developed

Cultural Contributions

  • The chief characteristics of the Vijayanagara architecture were the construction of tall Raya Gopurams or gateways and the Kalyanamandapam with carved pillars in the temple premises.
  • The horse was the most common animal found in these pillars.
  • The most important temples of the Vijayanagar style were found in the Hampi ruins or the city of Vijayanagar.
  • Vittalaswamy and Hazara Ramaswamy temples were the best examples of this style. The Varadharaja and Ekamparanatha temples at Kanchipuram stand as examples for the magnificence of the Vijayanagara style of temple architecture.
  • Chidambaram speak the glorious epoch of Vijayanagar
  • The metal images of Krishna Deva Raya and his queens at Tirupati are examples for casting of metal images
  • Different languages such as Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada and Tamil flourished in the regions.
  • The peak of literary achievement was reached during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya. He himself was a scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu. His famous court poet Allasani Peddanna was distinguished in Telugu literature.

Bahmani Kingdom

  • The founder of the Bahmani kingdom was Alauddin Bahman Shah also known as Hasan Gangu in 1347. Its capital was Gulbarga.
  • power of the Bahmani kingdom reached its Gulbarga to Bidar. The power of the Bahmani kingdom reached its peak under the rule of Muhammad Shah III. It extended from the Arabian sea to the Bay of Bengal.
  • On the west it extended from Goat to Bombay. On the east, it extended from Kakinada to the mouth of the river Krishna.

Mahmud Gawan

  • The Bahmani kingdom reached its peak under the guidance of Mahmud Gawan. He was a Persian merchant
  • He was also a learned person. He possessed a great knowledge of was also a learned person. He possessed a great knowledge of mathematics.
  • He made endowments to build a college at Bidar which was built in the Persian style of architecture. He was also a military genius
  • Thus he expanded the Bahmani Empire through his conquests.
  • His administrative reforms were also important. They were aimed officers were appointed in each province for this purpose. Most of the officers were appointed in each province for this purpose.
  • Allowances were reduced to the nobles who shirked their responsibility. This was disliked by the nobles.
  • So, the against Gawan. They induced the Sultan to punish him with death Sultan to punish him with death sentence. After the execution of Gawan, the Bahmani kingdom began to decline.
  • By the year 1526, the Bahmani kingdom had disintegrated into five independent sultanates. They were Ahmadnagar, Bijapur, Berar, Golkonda and Bidar and known as Deccan Sultanates

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