(Last Updated on : 02/05/2012)
Krishnadeva Raya is regarded as a hero of people of Kannada and Telugu descent and considered to be one of the great kings of South India. He belonged to the Tuluva dynasty of the empire of Vijayanagara which has its capital at present day Hampi. He presided over the empire at its zenith. Ascending the throne in 1509 A.D. on the death his brother Vira Nrisimha, he won war after war to expand the already vast Vijayanagara Empire to cover virtually the whole of South India and also wrested parts of present day Orissa after defeating the Gajapati ruler, Prataparudra in 1513.
In addition to his prowess as a great warrior and general, he was a very great scholar and poet as seen from the numerous works which he has left behind, the most important of which is the Amukta-malya-da, a work in Telugu. This work describes the story of the Vaishnava saint, Periyalvar or Vishnu-chitta, and the marriage of his foster daughter Andal to Lord Sri Ranganatha of Srirangam. The Amukta-malynda is one of the five great poems of Telugu literature. This work was dedicated to God Venkatesha of Tirumala. Krishnadeva Raya honoured many scholars and poets and according to tradition, the ashtadiggajas or the eight great poets flourished in his court.
Many travellers from other countries visited Vijayanagara during his reign and have described him as a king of high order. Krishnadeva Raya was the most feared and perfect king that could possibly be, cheerful of disposition and very merry; he was one that sought to honour foreigners and received them kindly, asking about all their affairs, whatever their condition may be. He was a great ruler and a man of much justice.
Krishnadeva Raya's contribution to art and architecture deserve special cite. Many of the huge towering gopuras in South India, especially in the Tamil country were built during the reign of this king as also many the innumerable mandapas adorning the temples, both big and small. The Krishnaswami temple at Hampi was constructed during the reign of this king and the Hazara Ramasvami, Virupaksha and Vitthala temples in this place witnessed much architectural expansion during his days. Bronze idols of this ruler with his two consorts are seen even today in the temple of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala to which he gave numerous expensive gifts, which are recorded in the inscriptions found in the temple-complex.
Krishnadeva Raya's rein was regarded glorious era in the history of South India, in every sphere of activity, with the result that it is remembered by people as a golden age even today, five hundred years later.