Contact Us | Kannada Section| Jobs

Best viewed with
Internet Explorer (IE) 4
and higher.
Site optimized for IE 5.0.

Partner Sites:

Digital Cinema
Newspapers and Magazines
- Hosa Digantha
- Star Of Mysore
- Jai Kannadamma
- Madhva Kalyana
- Pattanga
- Aapthasamvada
- Lokadarshana
- Tippu Express
- Lankesh
-Mr. Kannadiga
-Puzzles (Kannada)
-Puzzles (English)
-Kannada Kootas
-Foto Feature
- Kannada Cross-word
-My Town
-Thoo Nimma
- Jai Kannadamma
- Essay contest 
- Halli Jana
-Vijay Angadi and Organic Agriculture
-Current Affairs
-Narendra Nayak
- Shashidhar Bhat
- Sandeep Shenoy
- AS Murthy
-Sreesha Belakvaadi
-Prof's corner
- Know your law
- Kollegal
- Weekend Special
- Kharabath
-My Days in India
-Rashmi Shenoy
- Leena's Lair
- Tamankar Nidley
- Sarpa Loka
- S Prasad
- V. Lakshmikanth
-Gopinath Rao
- Dr. R.G.Mathapati
- Usha Kattemane
- Prof VKJ
- GV
-MN Venkataramu
- Sathosh Kotnis
- P J Raghavendra
- Ujire Ashok Bhat
Art and Cinema 
- Movies (Eng)
- Movies (Kan)
- Interviews 
-Kannada Lyrics
-Kannada Theatre
-Classical Music
- Yakshagana
-Rebel Star Ambi
- Chitraloka
-Book Reviews
- Poetry (English) 
-Poetry (Kannada)
-Kannada Writers
Akbar and Birbal
- Children's Stories
- Short Stories
- Patriotic Songs
-Wild life
Food and Health
- Health 
-The Geetha
- Islam
-Muslim Traditions
- Hindu Calendar
- Horoscope (Month)
-Horoscope (Week)
-Learn Sanskrit
-Learn Thulu
- Learn Coorgi
- Learn Konkani
Crime World  
- Memoirs of Manja
- Muthappa Rai
- Kothwala
Love and Romance 
Olavina Ole
- Ninagaagi
Your Voice 
- Visitors Feedback
- Our Issues

Weekly News Updates
from Hassan, Mangalore,
Mysore and More

Join Mailing List

Vijayanagara Empire
Literary Activity, Art and Architecture

Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to go to the main page of History of Karnataka.

Literary Activity:
Due to the patronage extended by the Vijayanagara monarchs, some of the finest literary works were produced in Sanskrit, Telugu and Kannada languages. In Sanskrit Sayana wrote his authoritative commentary on the Vedas called Vedartha Prakasha. Besides, he wrote Yajnatantra Sudhanidhi, Prayaschitra Sudhanidhi and Purushartha Sudhanidhi. Madhava Vidyaranya became famous by his Parasara – Madhaviya. Devanna Bhatta’s Smriti Chandrika and Narahari’s Smriti Kaustubha were the other Sanskrit works of the period. Gangadevi, who wrote Madhura Vijayam and Tirumalamba Devi, the authoress of Varadambika Parinayam were the poetesses of the time. Krishnadevaraya wrote Madalasa Charita, Satyavadu Parinaya and Rasamanjari.

Krishnadevaraya was a great Telugu writer and his Amuktamalyada was his famous work. The Astadiggajas or eight well - known Telugu poets adorned his court. According to tradition, they were Allasani Peddanna, Timmanna, Mallanna, Sooranna, Ramabhadra, Ramajara Bhooshana, Tenali Ramakrishna and Dhoorati. Among them Peddanna was the most famous and he wrote Manucharitamu.

The Kannada literature was enriched by many talented writers during the age of Vijayanagara. Kumara Vyasa (Naranappa) wrote Gadugina Bharata and the work begun by him was completed by Timmanna Kavi. Kumara Valmiki (Narahari) wrote his Torave Ramayana. The Bhagavatha was rendered into Kannada by Vittalanatha. Kanakadasa became popular through his Nala Charite, Haribhakthisara, Mohana Tarangini and Ramadhanya Charitre. Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa composed a large number of devotional songs (Keerthanas), which formed a part of Dasa Sahithya, Bharatesha Vaibhava of Ratnakarvarni, Prabhulinga Leele of Chamarasa and Kumara Rama Charita of Nanjunda were the other well – known Kannada works of the period.

Works on philosophy, music, dancing, drama, logic, medicine, poetics, astrologes and cookery received encouragement from the emperors, princes and ministers of Vijayanagara empire, enriching the South Indian languages and the knowledge of the people.

Art and Architecture:
During the Vijayanagara period (1336 – 1646) “South Indian art attained a certain fullness and freedom of rich expression in keeping with the general consciousness of the great task of the empire”. (K. A. N. Sastry). Percy Brown considers this art as “the supremely passionate flowering of the Dravidian style”. The Vijayanagara architecture shows the Chalukya, Hoysala and Dravidian features.

One of the distinct features of Vijayanagara art was the introduction of subordinate structures within the enclosure of the temple. In every important the God’s chief wife was provided with a separate shrine. Another unique addition is the Kalyana – Mantapa, generally put on the left in the courtyard of the temple when we enter it from the east. This is an ornate pillared pavilion with a raised platform, wherein the icons of God and Goddess were ceremonially united on festival days.

The so called “thousand – pillared Mantapa”, a huge hall with many rows pillars, became another feature of the Vijayanagara style. It also marked for the profusion of strong, yet delicate, carving which adorns the pillared halls, the many columns (surrounded by miniature pillars, sometimes giving the seven notes of Indian music) of which are so decorated that they became sculptures in their own right.

According to A. L. Basham, “For brilliancy of decorative imagination the Vijayanagara style of architecture was never surpassed in Hindu India”.

Though the buildings of Vijayanagara style are spread all over South India, the finest examples are found in the ruined city of Vijayanagara now called Hampi, “a vast open air museum of Hindu monuments”. The Vittalaswami Temple, though incomplete and damages, is the best example of ornateness, “the flower of the sculptured art patronized by the Vijayanagara court”. The main temple occupies the centre and compromises three distinct sections – the Maha Mantapa, an open pillared hall in front, an open pillared hall in front, an ardhamantapa, a similar closed hall in the middle and the garbhagriha in the rear. The style of its composite monolithic pillars of granite is the outstanding attraction of the Vittala Swami temple. The Kalyana Mantapa, known for the excellence of its statuary and the ratha or the chariot of the God, a heavy stone car with movable wheels is the other specialities of the temple.

According to Fergusson, “the Vittalaswami temple shows the extreme limit in florid magnificence to which the style advanced”.

The Hazara Ramaswamy temple is a more modest but perfectly finished example of this style. Besides the main shrine, there are other subsidiary structures like a shrine for the Goddess and a Kalyana Mantapa. The walls and pillars of the temple are beautifully adorned with bas – reliefs illustrating the chief episodes of the Ramayana.

The Rameshwara temple at Tadapatri (Ananthapur District) is an excellent specimen of Vijayanagara architecture. Its gopuram is remarkable for its rich and equisite carvings, which according to Fergusson, “are in better taste than anything else in this style”. In the rest of the empire, Velluru, Kumbhakonam, Kanchi and Srirangam are celebrated for their temples in the same style. The temple at Velluru is known for the grace and beauty of the Kalyana Mantapa. The Ekambaranatha and Varada raja temples at Kanchi contain vast pavilions and elaborate statuary. The Sheshagiri Mantapa at Srirangam has a colonnade of furiously fighting horses “in a technique so emphatic as to be not like stone but hardened steel”. (Percy Brown).

According to S. K. Saraswathi, “the sumptuous character of the Vijayanagara style is, however, most evident in its temples. A new resurgence of Hindu minds appears to have taken place, and the temples erected during this period constitute certainly the most eloquent testimonies to this upheavel. The static spell, which seems to have spread over South Indian temple architecture is lifted and a fresh inspiration is noticed not only in additions of new complements to the temple scheme but also in a far greater enrichment of every element and feature”.

Among the secular buildings of the Vijayanagara Empire a few basements have survived. Out of them two masonry platforms give us an idea of the noble structures raised on them the King’s Audience Hall and the Throne Platform. The Kamala Mahal, the Elephant Stables and two tower – like structures have survived in a preserved condition. These buildings elicited the wonder and generous praise of the foreign tourists. Vijayanagara was regarded as a city “of widespread fame, marvelous for its size and prosperity with which for richness and magnificence no western capital could compare”.

In Next Edition: The Bahamanis and the Adil Shahs


Click here if you would like to Contribute or send a feedback.
Click here to go to the main page of History of Karnataka.



1998-00 OurKarnataka.Com,Inc. All rights reserved. Disclaimer