Sri Krishna Deva Raya - The Emperor Of Vijayanagara!!!

28 Feb 2009, Comments: | Views: 86231 | | Category: Indian Legends, Indian Kings

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Sri Krishna Devaraya Statue
 The Statue Of Sri Krishna Devaraya

Sri Krishna Deva Raya  (1509-1529 CE) was the most famous king of Vijayanagara empire. Presiding over the empire at its zenith, he is regarded as a hero by Kannadigas and Telugu people, and one of the great kings of India. Emperor Krishna Deva Raya also earned the titles Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana Mooru Rayara Ganda  (meaning King of three kings) and Andhra Bhoja. Much of the  information about his reign comes from the accounts of Portuguese travelers Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz. Krishna Deva Raya was assisted in administration by the very able prime minister Timmarusu, who was revered by the king as a father figure and was responsible for his corronation. Krishna Deva Raya was the son of Nagala Devi and Tuluva Narasa Nayakaan army commander under Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya, who later took control of the reign of the empire to prevent it from disintegration. The king's coronation took place on the birthday of Lord Krishna and his earliest inscription is from July 26, 1509 CE. He built a beautiful suburb near Vijayanagara called Nagalapura in memory of his mother.  

The Apogee Of The Empire  

  Krishnadeva Raya’s rule was characterised by expansion and consolidation. This was the time when the land between the Tungabhadra and Krishna rivers (the Raichur doab) was acquired (1512), the rulers of Orissa were subdued (1514) and severe defeats were inflicted on the Sultan of Bijapur (1520). Although the kingdom remained in a constant state of military preparedness, it flourished under conditions of unparalleled peace and prosperity. Krishnadeva Raya is credited with building some fine temples and adding impressive gopurams to many important south Indian temples. He also founded a suburban township near Vijayanagara called Nagalapuram after his mother. Some of the most detailed descriptions of Vijayanagara come from his time or just after.

The Ruler For The People

  Sri Krishna Devaraya Constructed many temples, tanks and encouaged trade with foreign countries. In his reign it was believed that there was no dearth for food, fruits, water. In the Words of foreign visitor Paes on the costruction of a tank --

The king made a tank … at the mouth of two hills so that all the water which comes from either one side or the other collects there; and, besides this, water comes to it from more than three leagues (approximately 15 kilometers) by pipes which run along the lower parts of the range outside. This water is brought from a lake which itself overflows into a little river. The tank has three large pillars handsomely carved with figures; these connect above with certain pipes by which they get water when they have to irrigate their gardens and rice-fields. In order to make this tank the said king broke down a hill … In the tank I saw so many people at work that there must have been fifteen or twenty thousand men, looking like ants …

His Personality

  Paes describes the king:

Of medium height, and of fair complexion and good figure, rather fat than thin; he has on his face signs of smallpox.


 Statues of Srikrishna Devaraya and his wives ChinnamaDevi adn TirumalaDevi at Tirumala

To recapitulate about some of the problems of perspective, the statue of Krishnadevaray's generally differ from the above perspective. It may be the form how the King want to present Himslef. The travellers accounts about him says that he  was known to be respectful to foreign visitors, ruthless in maintaining the law, and prone to fits of anger. He maintained himself to a high level of physical fitness through daily exercises. Travelogues indicate that king was not only an able administrator, but also an excellent army general, leading from the front in battle and even attending to the wounded.


The Decline Of The Empire:

Strain began to show within the imperial structure following Krishnadeva Raya’s death in 1529. His successors were troubled by rebellious nayakas or military chiefs. By 1542 control at the centre had shifted to another ruling lineage, that of the Aravidu, which remained in power till the end of the seventeenth century. During this period, as indeed earlier, the military ambitions of the rulers of Vijayanagara as well as those of the Deccan Sultanates resulted in shifting alignments. Eventually this led to an alliance of the Sultanates against Vijayanagara. In 1565 Rama Raya, the chief minister of Vijayanagara, led the army into battle at Rakshasi-Tangadi (also known as Talikota), where his forces were routed by the combined armies of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar and Golconda. The victorious armies sacked the city of Vijayanagara. The city was totally abandoned within a few years..... So what left over are just ruins... please click here to Know about Hampi the Capital of vijayanagara empire.


  He is not just a King of Wars and Welfare. He had lot of interest in literature and patronized Telugu, Tamil, Kannada literatures.Krishna Deva Raya’s ("Desa bhashalandu telugu Lessa") reign was the golden age of Telugu literature. Eight poets known as Astadiggajalu (eight elephants in the eight cardinal points such as North, South etc.) were part of his court (known as Bhuvana-vijayamu). 

 Sri Krishna Deva Raya being himself well conversant with literature,  wrote the book Amuktamalyada in Telugu, beautifully describing the pangs of separation suffered by Sri Andal (one of the twelve bhakti-era alwars) for her lover Lord Vishnu

One of the main characters is Periyalvar, the father of Andal. Lord Vishnu commands Periyalwar to teach a king of the Pandya dynasty the path of knowledge to moksha. Amuktamalyada is also known by the name Vishnu-chitteeyam, a reference to Vishnu-chittudu, the Telugu name of Vishnuchittar aka Periyalwar. Several other short stories are included in Amuktamalyada in the course of the main story of Godadevi, the Sanskrit name of Kothai Naachiyaar aka Andal, which is used throughout the tome. Krishna Raya was also well-versed in Sanskrit, Tamil and Kannada. Jambavati Kalyanamu is his Sanskrit work. He strove for the welfare and the uplifting of Telugu people.

Importance of Trade

Sri Krishnadevaraya used to place lot of importance to trade. As warfare during these times depended upon effective cavalry, the import of horses from Arabia and Central Asia was very important for rival kingdoms. This trade was initially controlled by Arab traders. Local communities of merchants known as kudirai chettis or horse merchants also participated in these exchanges. From 1498 other actors appeared on the scene. These were the Portuguese, who arrived on the west coast of the subcontinent and attempted to establish trading and military stations. Their superior military technology, especially the use of muskets, enabled them to become important players in the tangled politics of the period.

In fact, Vijayanagara was also noted for its markets dealing in spices, textiles and precious stones. Trade was often regarded as a status symbol for such cities, which boasted of a wealthy population that demanded high-value exotic goods, especially precious stones and jewellery. The revenue derived from trade in turn contributed significantly to the prosperity of the state.

The following extract from Amuktamalyada will clarify how much important trade is in the view of Sri Krishnadevaraya -"A king should improve the harbours of his country and so encourage its commerce that horses, elephants, precious gems, sandalwood, pearls and other articles are freely imported … He should arrange that the foreign sailors who land in his country on account of storms, illness and exhaustion are looked after in a suitable manner … Make the merchants of distant foreign countries who import elephants and good horses be attached to yourself by providing them with daily audience, presents and allowing decent profits. Then those articles will never go to your enemies." 

This is how he could import lots of persian , portugese horses which formed a solid deterrent in Kingdoms' defense. Many travelers wrote in length about the abundance of fruits, meat , pearls , rubies etc. in Markets of Vijayanagara. A small excerpt from Paes travelogue which tells about the prosperity of the City    -

" Going forward, you have a broad and beautiful street … In this street live many merchants, and there you will find all sorts of rubies, and diamonds, and emeralds, and pearls, and seed-pearls, and cloths, and every other sort of thing there is on earth and that you may wish to buy. Then you have there every evening a fair where they sell many common horses and nags, and also many citrons, and limes, and oranges, and grapes, and every other kind of garden stuff, and wood; you have all in this street."


Tenali Ramakrishna Full Length Telugu Movie

Garlapati Ramakrishnacharyulu, popularly known as Tenali Rama and Vikata Kavi, was a court-poet of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th century. He was one of the Ashtadiggajas who belonged to the court of Krishnadevaraya in Vijayanagar. Tenali is the town from where he came and he was refereed to in the Hampi court as the man from Tenali and so the name Tenali Ramakrishna stuck subsequently. The above is a FUll Length telugu Movie on Tenali Ramakrishna which shows most of the story of Sri Krishna Devaraya

 He is the Emperor for people who knows how well to administrate-  who stood against all the tides maintaining a stable and expanding kingdom which received kudos from all the visitors. There is no dearth of prosperity and all writings maintain that people were really really Happy ...............

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