Sri Krishnadevaraya Biography – 1509-1529 CE

by Jan 11, 2020

Hello friends, today I am going to share the most popular Emperor of Southern India. He ruled over largest territory of south India during Medieval period. Yes, you guessed it, right? He is none other than Sri Krishnadevaraya.

Brief Information about Sri Krishnadevaraya

IdentityPowerful Emperor of glorious Vijayanagara Empire.
Reign26 July 1509–17 October 1529
WivesTirumala Devi, Chinna Devi
ParentsFather: Tuluva Narasa Nayaka, Mother: Nagamba
PredecessorViranarasimha Raya
SuccessorAchyuta Deva Raya
SonsRamachandra (from Tirumala Devi, born in 1509 but died in 1510)
Tirumala Raya (from Chinna Devi, Crowned in 1524 at the age of 6 years, but died on 1525)
DaughtersTirumalumba (from Tirumala Devi, born in 1502)
Vengalamba (from Chinna Devi, born in 1503)

Brief Facts About Sri Krishnadevaraya

  • Sri Krishnadevaraya was an emperor of 16th century with great magnificence and charisma.
  • The king of Vijayanagar Empire reigned in the 16th century over most of South India.
  • Still, his rule over parts of present-day Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is extended.
  • He was over the opponent to the Badami kings and the Portuguese, who were in their quest to expand their empire.
  • He was the person to rule his Empire over 500 years ago.
  • During his Era Vijaynagar proved to be custodian of Indian culture.
  • That time Vijaynagar started a new era by including services of modern city like drainage system, irrigation system, canals and many more. These things are even functional till date.
  • People believe that he, in order to wander the streets of his capital, sometimes dressed in commoners’ garb while he sat enthroned in fine court, always resplendent.
  • Since he was one of the greatest rulers of his age panegyrist sang praises of him and a clock of mythology of itself around his Charishma and reputation for whatever he was.
  • As he engaged with men of diverse philosophical patients and spiritual learning in conquest, he was formidable.
  • Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar, preceded the padshah, by two generations.
  • To everyone’s surprise it has taken so long for any good research and accessible book to be available in English for such a fascinating personality. The same thing has been stated in Raya: Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar, by Sreenivasa Reddy.
  • Srinivasa Reddy drew on his previous expertise with literary sources about the physical evidence that was left in arts and architecture.
  • This piece of him is thoroughly enjoyable, intelligent and altogether combines sophistication with good writing.
  • There are many threads for a text of 232 pages that the author draws in inclusive of notes.
  • The first half of Reddy’s piece includes the Sri Krishnadevaraya story, where his entire succession of battles and conquests is included.
  • A certain sort of tension is featuring repeatedly in the book.
  • It includes not only political dynamics of the time but also cast and kinship of Hindus legitimization.
  • I have put a very interesting line forth to display his argument for viewing Deccan Muslim sultan’s with hatred.
  • Maharaj Krishnadevaraya was more affected by his enmity with The King of Odisha, Gajapati.
  • The second half of a book includes cultural contributions of Sri Krishnadevaraya.
  • It also includes temple patronage in Tirupati the development of structures of governance and intellectual exploration.
  • Raya Also includes poet and thinkers.
  • To conclude, we can say that what Reddy wants to achieve in his book called Raya is both delightful and original.
  • Though there are a few of the minor errors but it is still a find volume on 16th century of Vijaynagar in the bibliography.
  • This book of Reddy no doubt deserves a widely read.
  • Till date there are over 2,000 inscriptions and epigraphs of Sri Krishnadevaraya.

Reasons behind Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagar as the Greatest King ever of South India

  • There was a royal blooded king Prataparudra of the solar lineage, but Krishnadevaraya was a shudra and of low caste general.
  • At his time, in his own locality, Maharaj Krishnadevaraya was the only low caste peasant.
  • Being a low caste general, he was looked down upon by Prataparudra Deva.
  • Prataparudra Deva was of the opinion that it was below his stature, to include in his Kingdom, a son of servant of a low class with no social standing.
  • He considered Raja Krishnadevaraya as a Dasi Putra on the basis of home he was granted the royal Lunar lineage.
  • To contradict this thinking of Prataparudra Deva, Maharaj Krishnadevaraya worked really hard to live up to the ideals of a right Hindu King regardless of his origins.
  • Both of them were supporting state patronage of various religious movements.
  • They both even supported traditions of Vaishnava theology.
  • Raja Krishnadevaraya, as the follower of Tamil Saint Ramanuja, was a Shri Vaishnava.
  • Prataparudra Deva after having converted himself to this new faith of the Bengali Saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was an ardent Gaudiya.
  • It will only be after looking closely at the royal culture that will be better able to understand the publicly perceive the identities of them.
  • Brahman Pandit praised in their speeches and writings about these patron kings exaggeratedly. They referred them as the King of kings.
  • Sri Krishnadevaraya was considered as the king of Karnataka, and Prataprudra Deva was considered as the king of Kalinga.
  • In both the cases, the kings were placed, and they were even worshipped as gods on earth.
  • The Brahman Pandit at Court was considered to have done mastery in poetry and languages.
  • These brought the kings to their life and committed their life to write down the memory of historical importance to the palm leaves.
  • Both Raja Krishnadevaraya and Prataprudra Deva were considered holding educational importance as they were considered to be scholars and accomplished poets in whatever fields he wrote.
  • The same thing was considered to be in line with the most important theme of Indian kingship, which was poet king or the ideal of Kavi Raja.
  • According to a good Hindu monarch, in order to be a philosopher, holding both might and wisdom one has to master both mind and body.
  • We can consider one such example of an enlightened monarch as Bojha, who was a legendary philosopher king in the Malwa country, having ruled half a millennium earlier.
  • Bojha even set standard for the model Kavi Raja. Sri Krishnadevaraya was considered being Abhinav Bojha, that is the new Bojha, other words are said as Bojha in all arts.
  • Keeping in mind this belief, a balance need to exist between body and mind of king.
  • Prataparudradeva was considered to be higher caste Kshatriya who wrote classical Sanskrit while Raja Krishnadevaraya was considered to be a low caste- Shudra who wrote in vernacular.
  • They both were different because of their poetic productions.
  • Maharaj Krishnadevaraya produced the most important and original text of Telugu literature.
  • The major composition of Prataprudra Dev was the Sanskrit Vilasam, which was a Sanskrit work on Dharma Shastra, which included the entire range of religious morals and civil laws of Hindus.

Kingdom of Vijayanagar

Historical City of Vijaynagar

Vijayanagar empire was one of the most glorious and prosperous empires in history. Therefore, history lovers like you must read about the Vijayanagar Empire once. The hero of the vast realm of this great Emperor, Sri Krishnadevaraya.

Today’s new generation is going to forget about such a great ruler. Most people know great personalities only after Bollywood, Hollywood released films on them. Today I’m going to tell you about this great Emperor.

Fame of Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya

Emperor Krishnadevaraya ruled Vijaynagar from 1509 C.E. to 1592C.E.. He was the third ruler of the great Tuluva dynasty in South India. Many great Indian rulers like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj were considered him as ideal.

During his lifetime, he received titles like Kannada state Ram Raman (God of Kannad Empire), Andhra Bhoj (Banquet for Telugu Literature) and Muru Raira Ganda (King of Three Kings).

In his career, he had defeated powerful states like Bijapur, Golconda, Bahamani Sultanate, Gajpati Sultan of Odisha.

When Babar was beginning the Mughal rule in the North, during that time, Emperor Krishnadevaraya was the most powerful ruler in India. His kingdom Vijayanagara was the most outstretched Empire in India.

Foreign Traveller who Visited Vijaynagar

Many foreign tourists, such as Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz, visited Vijaynagar. Timirusu was the Prime Minister in the court of Sri Krishnadevaraya. Timmarusu helped Maharaj Krishnadevaraya to see the kingdom.

The history of Emperor Krishnadevaraya behind becoming King of Vijaynagar: Tuluva Narsa Nayaka was the father of Sri Krishnadevaraya. Tuluva Narsa Nayak was also the army commander of Suluva Narasinghadevaraya.

At that time, a competent king was needed to prevent the disintegration of the kingdom & even to unite and strengthen the country. Therefore, Sri Krishnadevaraya takes Vijayanagara into his control.

Coronation of Sri Krishnadevaraya performed on the festival of Krishna Janmastami (Birthday or Appearance day of Lord Krishna) with the help Timmarusu.

Samrat Krishnadevaraya gives Timmurusu the status of his father, and due to his worthiness, he declares Timmurusu as the Prime Minister of the state.

Sri Krishnadevaraya Statue Image
Image Credits: Srikar Kashyap

Sri Krishnadevaraya’s personality

Emperor Krishnadevaraya had great respect for the foreign pilgrims coming to the state. It is also strict in terms of legislation. He was irritated with the rebellions, treasons and thefts in the country.

According to the travel details of pilgrims visiting Vijaynagar, Sri Krishnadevaraya was an excellent judicial patron, as well as a great warrior.

In every battle, he was the leader of the army, in many battles, he found in travelogue describing his leadership despite being injured.

Military Success of Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya

Maharaj Krishnadevaraya achieved the highest military achievement in the history of Vijayanagar. He was known to change the war strategy at the last minute.

This strategy does not give enough time to the enemy to take action to understand the new plan. Because of such war strategy, he did not lose any war in his career.

Valiantness of Sri Krishnadevaraya in Deccan

Sultan of Deccan sent his army to loot the people of Vijayanagara. Therefore, the villages of Vijaynagar were in trouble. The robberies were stopped entirely, during the reign of Emperor Krishnadevaraya.

The Emperor Shri Krishnadevaraya defeated Sultan Mahmud Shah by invading Vijapur in 1509 AD. Therefore, Bidar, Gulbarga and Vijapur are once part of Vijayanagar kingdom, again reunited to the kingdom.

People gave a title to Maharaj Krishnadevaraya as “founder of Bijapur.” After giving the throne of Bijapur to Mahmud Shah, he also titled as “founder of the Yavan kingdom.” Prime Minister Timmarusu defeated Sultan Kuli Qutub Shah of Golconda.

Fight of Sri Krishnadevaraya Against the Rebel Rulers

Maharaj Krishnadevaraya had defeated many rebel local rulers, such as Dharanikota Kamas, Ummatur’s head. Raja Krishnadevaraya had passed the Godavari river in the year 1516-1517.

Siege of Udayagiri and Victory

During the time of Sri Krishnadevaraya, Kalinga ruled by Odisha and Andhra Pradesh’s Gajapati Prataprudra. In Ummatur’s campaign, he had a lot of help in attacking the Andhra region.

Maharaj Krishnadevaraya surrounded the fort of Udayagiri in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh for 18 months.

Gazapati Pratapraudra’s army has to retreat due to hunger, after cutting the food supply to the fort. After the success of Udaygiri, Emperor Krishnadevaraya worshipped with his wives in the temple of Tirupati.

Battle at Kondavidu

There was a bloody battle at the Kondavidu between King of Kaling Pratapradrude and Raja Krishnadevaraya. After seizing Kondavidu fort, Vijaynagar army has to retreat for some time due to accidents and significant losses.

After, minister Timmarsu finds the secret path to the east gate of the Kondavidu fort. The army of Vijayanagara suddenly invades the Kondavidu fort during a night attack with that secret entrance. The son of Gajapati Prataprudra, Yuvraj Virabhadra was imprisoned from the fort.

Kondaveedu Fort Image

Kondaveedu Fort Image
Image Credits: Abdaal

Victory of Sri Krishnadevaraya over Kalinga

Some Wanderer people from Andhra Pradesh who previously serviced to Prataparudra, betrayed the Gajapati Pratap Rudra.

Timiruusu successfully persuade them provding wealth & gets all the details of the plan of Pratap Rudra. When the army of Vijayanagara invades Kalinga, Pratap Rudra ran away to the Cuttak.

At that time, Cuttack was the capital of the kingdom of Gajapati Pratap Rudra. After that, soon Gajapati Pratap Rudra surrendered, and give his daughter, Jagan Mohini to the emperor Krishnadevaraya.

Maharaj Krishnadevaraya accepted the deal of Gajapati Pratap Rudra, hence Krishna River becomes the border of Gajapati and Vijayanagara.

Battle of Raichur

Raichur Fort won by King Sri krishnadevaraya
Image Credits: Madhu B M

Raichur’s battle is considered to be important. In this battle on 15th May 1520, about 16,000 soldiers of Vijaynagar were killed. Later, Vijaynagar soldiers, led by Pamasan Ramalinga Naidu, conquered Raichur fort.

Thereafter, the emperor appreciated Pamaszan Ramalinga Naidu very much. There was terrible bloodshed in this war. Along with Vijayanagar, there were about 800,000 infantry, 35,000 cavalries, and 600 elephants in this battle.

After this war, Vijaynagar’s army siege to the previous capital of Bahamani Sultanate that fort of Gulbarga and conquered it.

After this campaign, the Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya was ruled over the whole of South India.

Foreign relations of Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya

Emperor Krishnadevaraya established a very good relationship with the Portuguese. In 1510, the emperors established the Portuguese Dominion of India in Goa. So, foreign trade gets encouraged.

Emperor Krishnadevaraya included Portuguese guns in his defense system, and also Portuguese horses in his horse barn. Raja Krishnadevaraya adopted Portuguese’s improved water supply system in the Vijayanagara with the help of Portuguese experts.

Death of Crown Prince- Tirumala Rai

In 1524, Emperor Krishnadevaraya declared his son Tirumala Rai as the Crown Prince of Vijaynagar. However, Tirumala Rai was poisoned and died due to the same reason.

Maharaj Krishnadevaraya suspected that the most trustworthy advisor and father figure Timiruusu and his son may include in this conspiracy. Therefore, he gave a penalty of blinding them.

Death of Sri Krishnadevaraya

After that, while preparing for the attack on the fort of Belgaum, Sri Krishnadevaraya became seriously ill. He declared his brother Achyut Dev Rai as his successor. Later, soon after 1529, he died.

Golden Age of Literature

It is said that the period of emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya was called the golden age of literature. Because, during his time, there was a large creation of literature in different languages. Emperors had given shelter to poets of different languages like Tamil, Kannada, Sanskrit, Telugu, etc.

Controversy of Sri Krishnadevaraya’s Dynasty

Some historians believe that the Raja Krishnadevaraya belongs to Tuluva dynasty, some believe Telugu, others believe that he belonged to Kannadiga.

What was the dynasty of Maharaj Krishnadevaraya? is a controversial question. However, most historians are agreed that he belonged to the Tuluva dynasty.

Eight Legends Appointed by Sri Krishnadevaraya in Vijayanagara Empire

The eight poets who were the backbone of Telugu literature in the court of Sri Krishnadevaraya were called “Ashtadiggajas” (Eight Legends).

Apart from the Vijayanagar court, these eight legends were responsible for running Vijayanagar uninterruptedly. Due to those great legends, the historical Telugu literature of Vijayanagar reached the summit.

The period from 1540 to 1600 is called “Prabandha Kaal.” In the court of Emperor Krishnadevaraya, in the “Poet Literature Assembly,” those legends considered as eight pillars. Seems that, The eighth legend believed to have appointed in the seventeenth century.

Sr. No.AshtadiggajasInformation
1.Allasani PeddanaIdentity:
Name of Allasani Peddana comes first in the Ashtadigagas. As he recognized as the most important gem of Vijaynagar durbar.
Place of Living- Village:
Somanandapalli, Anantapur was then transferred to Pandanpasu, Yeraguntla, Kadapa district.
Important events of his life:
It’s believed that Peddana was the senior and highest of all poets. According to references, Maharaj Krishnadevaraya himself lifted his palanquin in his honor.
Sri Krishnadevaraya conferred the title of “Kanakabhishekam” to Peddana.
He was the only poet to receive the honor of sitting on the royal elephant of the dynasty.
On the death of Sri Krishnadevaraya, Peddana expressed his grief with this poem “Ati Krishna Rayala Thotti Dvikengaleka Braithiki Undithi Jeevatchawambu Nagachu”.
It’s believed that he was born in the house of Singanna and Thimmamamba.
2.Nandi ThimmanaIdentity:
Famous writer and poet in Vijayanagar court. His poems was famous among Telugu literature.
Place of Living- Village:
He was also considered the residents of Anantapur.
Important events of his life:
It is said that Nandi Thimmana was the head of a sub-kingdom in the Vijayanagara Empire. His daughter was Princess named Tirumala Devi.
He had dedicated his work to Maharaja Sri Krishnadevaraya. This work of his literature completed under the name “Parijatpaharnamu.”
He was a disciple of Acharya Aghora Shiva. Although he was from the Shaiva sect, some of his work also based on the Vaishnava sect. In those days the Vaishnava sect had a royal asylum in Vijayanagara.
At that time his poems were published in Telugu on the beautiful nose, which became very popular. In Telugu, the nose is called mukku. As a result, he was also known as “Mukku Thimmana”.
Nandi Thimmana completed the incomplete Mahabharata of the poet Kumaraswamy. Kumaraswamy was the famous poet in Kannada literature. Nandi Thimmana presented that work in the durbar which called “Karnataka Krishnadevaraya Bharatha Kathamanjari.”
3.Tenali RamakrishnaIdentity:
Tenali Ramakrishna was also known as Vikatkavi (Hindi: Vidushak, English: clown). He was a famous Telugu poet. He was also quick-witted of Vijaynagar durbar.
Place of Living- Village:
Tenali Ramakrishna was from Tenali village in Vijaynagar Empire.
Important events of his life:
A man of brilliant intelligence, he gained a prominent position in the court due to his humorous nature and quick-wittedness. During the reign of Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya, he played an essential role in the court.
4.Madayyagari MallanaIdentity:
Telugu poet of 16th century.
Rayalaseema was the birthplace of Madayyagari Mallana under the rule of Vijaynagar.
Important events of his life:
It is said that, he was one of companion during military campaigns of Maharaj Sir Kirshnadevraya.
Popular Works:
“Rajasekara Charitram”: It based on the military success of Rajasekara who was king of Avanti.
He dedicated his work to Appaji or Nadendla Appana who was the governor of Kondavidu. Nadendla Appana was also nephew of minister Saluava Timmana in Vijaynagar court.
Telugu poet of 16th century. Jakkayya was grandfather of Dhurjati.
He was from holy town of Sri Kalahasti.
Popular Works:
As he was great devotee of lord Shiva, his work based on his praise.
“Sri Kalahasteeshwara Mahatyam” (miracles and praise of God Shiva) and “Sri Kalahasteeshwara Satakam” (includes 100+ poems)are few of his popular work.
In his work we find devotional fiction which includes local myths.
6.Ayyalaraju RamabhadruduIdentity:
Popular Telugu poet of 16th century.
Cuddapah (Kadapa) city in Andhra Pradesh was acknowledged as his birthplace. It is located in the Rayalseema region.
Popular Works:
Ramabhyudayamu was his famous work and he dedicated it to Narasaraya. Sri Krishnadevara requested to translate his work in to Telugu language. So, Ayyalaraju Ramabhadrudu translated it with name “Sakala Katha Sara Sangraham.”
7.Pingali SurannaIdentity:
Famous Telugu poet of 16th century. In Kanala village there is his tomb and Potter community also celebrates his Jayanti every year.
Though his birthplace was unknown, he lived in Kanala village near Nandyala city and Koilakuntla Road of Kurnool district.
Popular works:
Garuda Puranam, Prabhavatee Pradyumnamu, Raghava Pandaveeyam and Kalapurnodayamu.
He dedicated Garuda Puranam to his father Amarana and Kalapurnodayam to Nandyal King.
8.Ramarajbhushanu/ Bhattu MurtiIdentity:
Magnificent Telugu poet and exceptional musician of 16th century.
Popular works:
Kavyalankarasangrahamu, Vasucaritramu, Hariscandra Nalopakhyanamu, and Narasabhupaleeyamu.
He dedicated his work Vasucaritramu to Tirumala Deva Raya. Tirumala Deva Raya was son-in-law of Sri Krishnadevaraya.
His poetic compositions had a unique musical flow and rhythm.

Image Credits: Chavakiran

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