(Last Updated on : 31-01-2009)
Rama Raya fondly known as Rama Raja was one of the greatest monarchs of South India. He was the last emperor of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire before the fateful and decisive battle of Talikota (Rakshasi Tangadi) in 1565 A.D. Rama Raya was the son-in-law of Krishnadeva Raya and stepped into the politics of this empire after the death of his father-in-law. Following the death of Achyuta Raya, Krishnadeva's half-brother Rama Raya took up the case of Sadasiva Raya, a nephew of Achyuta Raya and installed him on the throne in 1543 A.D. Sadasiva was the ruler only in name and actual power was in the hands of Rama Raya till 1552 when the former was forced to recognize Rama Raya as his co-ruler.
Rama Raya waged many wars to revive the prestige of Vijayanagara, which had waned in the years following the death of the illustrious Krishnadeva Raya, and also succeeded in keeping this great empire together. A diplomat by nature, he came to a political and commercial treaty with the Portuguese the master navigators. Subsequently, Rama Raya took severe action against them and sent two successful expeditions against the Portuguese.
Rama Raya is believed to have interfered in the affairs of the five Sultans of the Deccan (Golconda, Berar, Bidar, Ahmadnagar and Bijapur) by joining one or the other and thereby weakening them, but this policy did not succeeded for a long time. The Sultans finally joined together, afraid of the growing might of Rama Raya and met the Vijayanagara army at the battle of Rakshasi Tangadi and defeated Rama Raya who was killed in this war. This brought an end to one of the most glorious reigns in South Indian history.