The Vijayanagar Empire


  • The Vijayanagar Empire was one of the most significant empires of Deccan India, founded by Harihara and Bukka on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in modern-day Karnataka
  •  The Vijayanagar state was created in 1336 by two brothers named Harihara and Bukka who had previously served in Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq's army. 

  • They proclaimed their independence from the Delhi Sultanate in 1336. 

  • Vidyaranya, a modern scholar and saint, aided and inspired Harihara and Bukka in the creation of their empire.

Origin of the Vijayanagar Empire:

  • On what is now the Indian state of Karnataka, on the southern banks of the Tungabhadra River, the Vijayanagar Empire, also known as the Karnata Kingdom, was established in 1336 CE.
  • The capital of the Vijayanagar Empire was Hampi, which is now in Karnataka.
  • Geographically, it is close to the Deccan Plateau in South India.
  • The brothers Harihara and Bukka of the Sangama Dynasty built the Vijayanagar Empire.
  • The pastoralist community that Harihara and Bukka belonged to claimed Kuruba origin.
  • Vira Ballala III, the Hoysala King, had previously employed both Bukka and Harihara.

Dynasties of the Vijayanagar Empire:

Four prominent dynasties dominated the Vijayanagara Empire. The Sangama, Saluva, Tuluva, and Aravidu dynasties were among them.

1. Sangama Dynasty

With Harihara Raya I as its first king (1336–1356 AD), it was the first dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire.
The dynasty was headed by a number of individuals, including Bukka Raya, Virupaksha Raya, Deva Raya, Ramachandra Raya, Mallikarjuna Raya, and Praudha Raya.

2. Saluva Dynasty

With Narasimhadeva Raya as its first ruler (1485–1491), it was the second dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire. His son Thimma Bhupala took over as successor.
As the final head of the Saluva Dynasty, Narasimha Raya II succeeded his father Thimma Bhupala.

3. Tuluva Dynasty

The third dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire was the Tuluva Dynasty.
Narasa Nayaka, Viranarasimha Raya, Krishnadeva Raya, Achyutadeva Raya, and Sadasiva Raya were among the Tuluva Dynasty's kings.
The Vijayanagar Empire's most powerful emperor was Krishnadeva Raya. He was in charge of the empire from 1509 to 1529.During his rule, the empire is thought to have reached its height.

4. Aravidu Dynasty

The Vijayanagara Empire's fourth and last dynasty was the Aravidu Dynasty.
After the Battle of Talikota, the empire started to fall apart, and Muslim nations like Bijapur gained power.

The Vijayanagar Empire's geographic range included:

  • At its height, the Vijayanagar Empire held sway over nearly all of South India's ruling families.
  • The Deccan Sultans were expelled by the Vijayanagar Empire's rulers beyond the Tungabhadra-Krishna River Doab region as well.
  • The Gajapati Kingdom of Kalinga was likewise subjugated by the Vijaynagar Empire, which also absorbed modern-day Odisha (formerly Kalinga).

Vijayanagar Empire Administration:

  • A structured governmental framework existed in Vijayanagar. A central administration and a provincial government each controlled a portion of the Vijayanagar empire.
  • The King was the most influential person in the state and had the last say in all matters.
  • There was also a Council of Ministers in place to help the King with his administrative duties.
  • The Vijayanagar Empire was made up of six provinces. A governor known as a "Naik" was in charge of running each province.
  • Districts were also created inside the provinces. The communities that were created from these districts' subsequent subdivisions were smaller ones.
  • Lawbreakers received the just punishment of penalties levied against them.
  • The empire fell because the provincial rulers abused their excessive power.
  • The army's organizational structure was ineffective and riddled with serious problems.
  • Such settlements were governed by a number of hereditary authorities, including accountants, watchmen, weights men, and officers in charge of the forced labor department.
  • A "Mahanayakacharya" officer was also present, acting as a conduit between the villages and the administration and central government.

Economy of the Vijayanagar Empire:

  • The economy of the empire was mainly reliant on agriculture.
  • Favorable agricultural policies had been enacted by all of the monarchs in different regions of Vijayanagar.
  • The majority of the rural area was farmed due to the fertile terrain.
  • A number of enterprises augmented agricultural wealth.
  • The most prevalent sectors supported by the monarchs' government are metallurgy, mining, textile, and fragrance.
  • The main driver of overall prosperity was the robust inland, coastal, and international trade.
  • Doth, spices, rice, iron, saltpeter, sugar, and other goods were the principal exports.
  • The most significant imports included velvets, China silks, horses, elephants, pearls, copper, coral, mercury, and pearl jewelry.
  • Coins from the Vijayanagar empire were minted in gold, copper, and silver. They wore numerous god and animal emblems.
  • The King ordered that the coin's emblem be modified. As a result, Krishna Dev Raya employed Venkatesh and Balkrishna images, while Harihara and Bukka I used an engraving of the Hindu god Hanuman.

Vijayanagar Empire's social and cultural life included:

  • With community representatives for each caste, starting from the lowest to the highest, the Vijayanagar Empire upheld a stringent caste system or cultural hierarchy. Muslims were given the chance to speak as well.
  • The highest caste in India was the Brahmin, who were frequently authors and instructors of religion. They worked as judges as well.
  • The four castes are Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras.
  • The family god of the predominantly Saiva monarchs of Sangama, Virupaksha, was. However, there were Vaishnavite dynasties as well.
  • There were, in fact, writers of low caste who created works of popular literature. People born into lower castes had the chance to become famous in the empire's service because the caste structure did permit military promotion.
  • Both wealthy men and wealthy women wore anklets, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.
  • They also scented themselves with musk and rosewater. Men wore silk turbans that were occasionally embellished with gold.
  • Nobles had sumptuous lifestyles, lavish clothes, and large staffs to pamper them.
  • Men and women both played sports at this time, and the culture put a high value on physical fitness.
  • Gymnasiums were built expressly for troops to keep in condition, where men and women would wrestle against one another.
  • Cockfighting was a well-liked amusement activity.
  • Indian women had some freedom at this time and could work in government administration as well as other industries like trade. Women may express themselves through writing and art as well.

Bahmani Kingdom dispute:

  • A major point of contention between the Bahmani and Vijayanagar kingdoms was possession over Raichur doab (the region between the rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra).
  • The Bahmani Kingdom's southern border and the northern borders of the Vijayanagar Empire were both touched by the lush Raichur Doab region.
  • This area is fertile and abundant in natural resources.
  • The legendary Golconda diamond mines were located in the eastern part of the doab region, and both kingdoms coveted control over them.
  • Other elements include the terrain of both kingdoms and the restricted potential for growth into the Deccan region of Tungabhadra.
  • The other centers of conflict were the Krishna-Godavari delta and the Marathwada area.
  • Both areas had sizable ports that controlled trade with neighboring countries and productive land.
  • One important area for trade, for instance, was the Konkan belt, which contained the port of Goa.
  • A fertile area in the Marathwada region, this port was used for export and import, particularly the import of horses from Iran and Iraq.
  • It is also possible to attribute the battle between the Bahmani and Vijayanagar states to Hindu-Muslim tensions.
  • Nevertheless, territorial and commercial concerns were the main drivers of the conflict.


The rise and fall of the Vijayanagara Empire is essentially a history of endless wars and conflicts. The Vijayanagar empire had excellent administration, strong laws, and women had the opportunity to freely express their emotions and produce literature. Krishnadeva Raya was this empire's most well-known ruler. Following the Talikota war, the Vijayanagar empire was overthrown.