Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Vijayanagara Empire

The Vijayanagara empire (Kannada: ವಿಜಯನಗರ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯ, Telugu: విజయనగర సామ్రాజ్యము) was based in the Deccan, in peninsular and southern India, from 1336 onwards. It was founded by Harihara, also known as Hakka, and his brother Bukka Raya. It is named after its capital city Vijayanagara, whose impressive ruins surround Hampi in modern Karnataka, India. It lasted from about 1336 to perhaps about 1660, though throughout its last century it was in a slow decline due to a massive and catastrophic defeat at the hands of an alliance of the sultanates, and the capital was taken, looted, and razed. Its foundation, and even great part of its history, is obscure; but its power and wealth are attested by more than one European traveller, such as the Portuguese travelers Domingo Paes and Nuniz, and the Venetian Niccolò Da Conti in 1420.

The Vijayanagar era continued the ancient tradition of Kannada literature. In Kannada, famous Jain poets were Madhura (patronised by Harihara II and Deva Raya I), Ratnakaravarni and others. Virashaiva literature saw a renaissance with many famous works by Singiraja, Mallanarya (who was patronised by Krishnadevaraya). Deva Raya II patronised several Virashaivas like Lakkana Dandesa, Chamarasa, Jakkanarya. Tontada Siddesvara was the guru of Virupaksha Raya II. Famous among Vaishnava scholars were, Kumara Vyasa (patronised by Deva Raya II), Chatu Vittalanatha patronised by Krishnadevaraya and Achyuta Raya, Timmanna Kavi (patronised by Krishnadevaraya), Narahari and Kanakadasa. Purandaradasa (who was patronised by Achyuta Raya) and Kanakadasa wrote Dasa Sahithya and Keerthanas sowing the seeds of carnatic music. Nanjunda, Kereya Padmarasa, Mangaraja and Linganna were other famous poets. The Vijayanagar period continued the ancient tradition of Kannada literature.


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