(Last Updated on : 11/07/2009)
One of the most valiant princes of South India, the son of Bukka I, the emperor of Vijayanagara, Kumara Kampanna lived in the 14th century A.D. Kumara Kampanna distinguished himself from other Bukka's brother Kampanna. Bukka's aim was to destroy the powerful chieftains of South India to make way for the spread of his empire. Having successfully defeated the Sambuvarayas, he appointed his son Kumara Kampanna as the governor of the Tamil districts of the kingdom. The Vijayanagara Empire at this point of time came directly into contact with the Sultanate of Madurai.
In 1370 A.D. Kumara Kampanna was appointed as at the head of a very large army to invade Madurai by hi father Bukka I. This army starting from Ginji (Senji) in the erstwhile South Arcot district in Tamil Nadu defeated the Madurai army at Samayapuram near Tiruchirapalli. The army marched towards Madurai where a battle was fought at a location between Tiruchirapalli and Madurai in which the Sultan of Madurai was defeated and killed. According to some available sources the death of the Sultan did not signal the end of the war since some of his men, having reached Madurai shut themselves up there, not ready to give up so easily. However, Kumara Kampanna laid siege to Madurai and after a short and fierce encounter, the city fell into the hands of the Vijayanagara army. Thus after forty years of rule, the Sultanate of Madurai came to an end.
Later the Vijayanagara Empire stretched up to Kanyakumari. All the Tamil provinces were placed under the charge of Kumara Kampanna who was a great soldier and a brilliant administrator. His inscriptions found at various places describe the administrative organization under him as also his role in the reorganization of temple administration and rituals.
Under Kumara Kampanna's guidance, many temples which had been either closed or in a pathetic state of utter neglect were reopened and repaired. Proper arrangements were made for the conduct of festivals and daily worship for which donations of land and money were made. One of the officials in charge of temple administration was Gopanna, who later was appointed the ruler of Ginji. It was this official of Kumara Kampanna who was responsible for defeating the Muslim ruler of the Srirangam area and bringing the idol of Lord Ranganatha (of the Srirangam temple) from Tirumala (where it had been kept during the Muslim invasion of the Tamil country) back to Srirangam and for the reconsecration of this deity.