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History of Karnataka
Krishnadevaraya (1509 – 1529)

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As a Warrior and General:
Krishnadevaraya was always successful in the wars that he waged almost throughout his reign. He became famous both as a warrior and general. He firmly believed that the proper place of a monarch on the battlefield was at the head of his forces. Therefore, he used to lead his armies personally.

As a general, Krishnadevaraya knew how to win glorious victories under the most difficult and discouraging circumstances. The triumphant forces of Vijayanagara entered even the capitals of his enemies and planted the boar standard on the battlements of Cuttack, Bidar, Gulbarga and Bijapur. The uniform success of the Raya was due to his tremendous capacity for organisation.

“He showed amazing resourcefulness in the overcoming obstacles besetting his path. He smashed rocks and boulders for making a road for his soldiers to reach the fort of Udayagiri, set up movable wooden platforms around Kondavidu to enable his men to fight on an equal footing with garrison defending the fort and put to the sword his own soldiers who turned their backs on the enemy at Raichur and converted a disaster into a brilliant victory”.

According to Dr. N. Venkataramanayya, “Krishnadevaraya was accustomed, after the conclusion of every battle, to go to the battlefield, looking for the wounded; he would pick them up and make arrangements for their recovery. Those that specially distinguished themselves in the fight were placed directly under his supervision so that he might bestow particular attention on them and help them regain their health as quickly as possible”.

As a result of this kind and friendly treatment the military officers and soldiers were prepared to throw themselves into the jaws of death in executing his commands”.

As an Administrator:
Sewe I remarks that Krishnadevaraya was not only a monarch de – jure, but he was also a de – facto sovereign with extensive powers and strong personal influence. With the active co – operation of Saluva Thimmarasa he administered the Kingdom well, maintained peace in the land and increased the prosperity of the people.

The administration of the empire was carried on along the lines indicated in his Amuktamalyada. He was the opinion that the King should always rule with an eye towards dharma. His concern for the welfare of the people is amply proved by his extensive annual tours all over the empire, during which he studied everything personally and tried to redress the grievances of the people and to punish the evil doers.

The Portuguese Chronicler Domingo Paes praises Krishnadevaraya as, “the most feared and perfect King… a great ruler and a man of much justice”. Though a staunch follower of Vaishnavism he showed respect all sects and petty religious prejudices never influenced him either in granting gifts or in his choice of companions and officers. According to Barbosa, “The King allows such freedom that every man may come and go live according to his own creed, without suffering any annoyance”.

As patron of Arts and Letters:
The reign of Krishnadevaraya was also remarkable for the encouragement and development of arts and letters. He constructed the famous Vittalaswami and Hazara Ramaswamy temples. A gopuram was added to the Virupaksha temple on the occasion of his coronation. He restored many shrines throughout South India.

A number of towns, dams and public buildings were also constructed. Many festivals and ceremonies were held during the period of Krishnadevaraya who encouraged many arts like sculpture, painting, dancing and music.

The Raya was known as Andhra Bhoja and true to his name; he took a keen interest in literary activities. Being himself a great Sanskrit scholar he wrote Madalasa Charita, Jambavati Parinaya and Rasamanjari. Amuktamalyada was his masterpiece in Telugu.

Eight poets called the Ashta Diggajas adorned the court of Krishnadevaraya. According to tradition these poets were Allasani Peddanna, Nandi Timmanna, Madayyagari Mallanna, Pingali Sooranna, Ayyalaraju Ramabhadra, Ramaraja Bhooshana, Tenali Ramakrishna and Dhoorjati.

Besides, many other Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada poets enjoyed the patronage of the emperor.

“Skilled and successful as a general, courageous and chivalrous as a soldier, benevolent and constructive as an administrator, Zealous and tolerant as a religious man, elegant and profound as author, refined and critical as a lover of art, Krishnadevaraya has few parallels”.

to be continued....

Arthikaje,
Mangalore

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