India • 33 • Vijayanagara dynasty

  • Dates : 1336 / 1646

The Vijayanagara Dynasty: A Pillar of South Indian History 



The Vijayanagara dynasty occupies an important place in the history of South India, especially between the 14th and 16th centuries. Established in the region of present-day Karnataka, the Vijayanagara Empire flourished and developed as a major center of political, economic and cultural power. This article explores the place and role of the Vijayanagara dynasty in Indian history. 


I. Foundation of the Vijayanagara Dynasty: 

The Vijayanagara dynasty was founded in 1336 by Harihara I and Bukka Raya I. These two brothers established their kingdom in the region of Hampi, which later became the capital of the Vijayanagara empire. Under their reigns and those of their successors, the Vijayanagara Empire expanded to include much of southern India, including the regions of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. 


II. Governance and Administration: 

The Vijayanagara dynasty established a centralized and efficient system of governance. The Vijayanagara rulers were powerful kings, but they also delegated some authority to regional lords and local officials. The administration of the empire was organized into provinces, headed by governors appointed by the king. Justice was meted out impartially and fairly, and the empire enjoyed a period of peace and relative stability. 


III. Economic Prosperity: 

The Vijayanagara Empire was a major economic center of medieval India. It prospered through agriculture, trade and mining. The Vijayanagara set up advanced irrigation systems to support agriculture and encouraged internal and external trade. Hampi, the capital, was an important commercial center and a crossroads of exchanges with foreign merchants, in particular the Portuguese. 


IV. Cultural and Artistic Advances: 

The Vijayanagara dynasty was a period of cultural and artistic flourishing. It fostered the development of the arts, literature, music, dance and architecture. Vijayanagara temples such as Virupaksha Temple, Achyutaraya Temple and Vittala Temple are magnificent examples of Dravidian architecture. The Vijayanagara kings were also great patrons of the arts and supported renowned poets, scholars and artists. 


V. Conflicts and Decline: 

Despite their period of prosperity, the Vijayanagara also faced challenges and conflicts. They faced foreign invasions, especially from the Bahmani Empire and the Deccan sultanates. The battles between the Vijayanagara and these outside forces were fierce, with varying results. Eventually, at the Battle of Talikota in 1565, the allied forces of the Deccan sultanates managed to inflict a major defeat on the Vijayanagara, marking the beginning of the decline of the empire. 


VI. Legacy and Influence: 

Despite the decline of the Vijayanagara Empire, its legacy endured. The dynasty left a lasting impact on the culture, architecture and arts of South India. The magnificent temples and architectural monuments of Hampi testify to the past grandeur of the empire. The cultural and religious traditions that emerged during the Vijayanagara period continue to influence life in the region. 



The Vijayanagara dynasty occupies an important place in the history of South India. It flourished as a major political, economic and cultural center, leaving a lasting legacy in the region. The dynasty fostered the development of art, architecture, literature, and music, and its reign was marked by significant advances in all of these areas. Although faced with conflicts and challenges, the Vijayanagara dynasty left an indelible imprint on the history and culture of South India.


India • 27 • Vijayanagara dynasty: map

This map illustrates the maximum territory that the Vijayanagara Dynasty had reached at its height, covering the current regions of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu in India. Its main purpose is to provide a visual aid to understand the geographical extent of this dynasty. However, it's important to note that the contemporary borders of these regions may not necessarily coincide with the historical territories.

Geographical extension

The Vijayanagara dynasty experienced significant geographical expansion, covering a vast area of southern India. Founded in the 14th century, it established its power in the Deccan and gradually expanded to form an empire that encompassed much of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. 

The Vijayanagara Empire stretched from the Western Ghats in the west to the east coast of the Indian peninsula, and from the Deccan plateau in the north to the coastal regions in the south. It included important cities such as Hampi, the imperial capital, as well as Vijayanagara, Penukonda, Kanchipuram, Madurai, Warangal and many more. 

Control of vast territories allowed the Vijayanagara dynasty to take advantage of the region's agricultural, mining and trading resources. The empire was prosperous through internal and external trade, especially with Arab, Persian and European merchants. 

The geographical extension of the Vijayanagara Empire also allowed it to maintain diplomatic relations with other kingdoms of the time, resist foreign invasions and consolidate its power in the region. 

However, it is important to note that the geographic stability of the empire has fluctuated throughout its history. Military conflicts, foreign invasions and internal rivalries have sometimes led to border changes and territorial losses. 

Ultimately, the Vijayanagara dynasty left a significant geographical imprint in southern India. Its considerable territorial extension and control over key regions contributed to its status as a major empire at the time, with significant political, economic and cultural influence over the southern Indian peninsula.

list of rulers

Harihara I (1336-1356 CE)

Bukka Raya I (1356-1377 CE)

Harihara II (1377-1404 CE)

Virupaksha Raya I (1404-1405 CE)

Bukka Raya II (1405-1406 CE)

Deva Raya I (1406-1422 CE)

Ramachandra Raya (1422-1423 CE)

Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya (1423-1424 CE)

Deva Raya II (1424-1446 CE)

Mallikarjuna Raya (1446-1465 CE)

Virupaksha Raya II (1465-1485 CE)

Praudha Raya (1485-1503 CE)

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya (1503-1509 CE)

Thimma Bhupala (1509-1522 CE)

Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529 CE)

Achyuta Deva Raya (1529-1542 CE)

Venkata I (1542-1546 CE)

Sadasiva Raya (1546-1570 CE)

Aliya Rama Raya (1570-1572 CE)

Tirumala Deva Raya (1572-1576 CE)

Sriranga I (1576-1586 CE)

Venkata II (1586-1614 CE)

Sriranga II (1614-1614 CE)

Rama Deva Raya (1617-1632 CE)

Venkata III (1632-1642 CE)

Sriranga III (1642-1646 CE)

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