Vijayanagara means the ‘city of victory’. Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya founded the Vijayanagara kingdom around 1336 AD on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in Karnataka.
There was a story about framing the name Vijayanagara that Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya were the great devotees of Sage Vidyaranya, so for their new formation of the Kingdom named Vijayanagara with the blessings of Vidyaranya. Hence, kings of different families ruled the Vijayanagara Empire for nearly 250 years. After the family of Harihara Raya and Bukka Raya, Saluva, Tuluva, and Araviti families ruled the Vijayanagara Empire.
The City of Vijayanagara:
The City was built on the banks of Tungabhadra. Many foreign travellers visit this city. They were Nicolo Conti from Italy in 1420 AD, The Persian trader Abdul Razak in 1443 AD. The Portuguese traveller Paes in 1520 AD.
Vijayanagara kingdom in World History:
Almost every visitor wrote about the glory and prosperity of the Vijayanagara kingdom. According to Portuguese travellers, the City has constructed magnificent buildings on both sides of the Vijayanagara streets. The merchants sell rubies, diamonds, emeralds, and pearls on the roads as groceries. Vijayanagara kingdom is a place for a wide variety of clothes, and every evening, the villagers conduct a village fair and sell horses, fruits, vegetables etc. The City is divided into four divisions. The first one was for Temples. The second one was for Crops, where irrigation facilities were arranged sophisticatedly. The third is for Palaces for Royal families and Ministers; the fourth is for ordinary residents.
Vijayanagara Empires gave a lot of importance to the army. They built mighty forts and imported horses from Arabia and Iran. They also adopted newly introduced guns and Cannons. In those days, the military and Cavalry were one of the mighty armies in India. The king had a million fighting troops and 35,000 cavalries. The Captains of the military were called Nayakas. They have many powers and administrate the areas under their control. They had Judicial authorities also. Most of the Nayakas were Telugu, and some Nayakas were very powerful. Among them were Saluva Narasimha or Narasa Nayaka, who could never challenge the Vijayanagara kings and took power in their own hands when the Vijayanagara king died and became king.
Sri Krishna Devaraya:
During the rule of Sri Krishna Devaraya, the Vijayanagara kingdom flourished at its peak stage. He conquested the great Muslim sultans Bahmani and the Gajapatis of Odisha. He oppressed many revolutions of several chiefs in Andhra, Tamil and Karnataka regions.
On every Vijayadashami day, the armies show a massive parade and celebrate the festival with great honour. Krishnadevaraya paid a patron role in cultural activities. He had exceptional attention to the temples, so he visited many famous temples like Tirumala, Sri Sailam, and Ahobilam and constructed prominent temples in his Kingdom.
Krishnadevaraya and Ashtadigaajas:
He was Telugu literature’s great patron and composed Amuktamalyada on the life of Andel, the Tamil Bhakta poetess. Almost his court had eight famous poets, popularly known as Ashtadigaajas. They are Allasani Peddana, Mukku Thimmana, Dhurjati, Ramaraja Bhushana, Tenali Ramakrishna, Pingali Suranna, Ayyalaraju Ramabadhrudu and Madayagari Mallana.
The decline of the Vijayanagara dynasty:
After Sri Krishnadevaraya, Rama Raya enthrones Vijayanagara Empire. Then the five Bahamani rulers Joined together and fought with Rama Raya at tallikota in 1565 AD and defeated Rama Raya. Later the Bahamani Sultans looted and destroyed the magnificent City of Vijayanagara, and the City came under the control of Bahamani Sultans; like this, Vijayanagara declined into history.