Who was Sri Krishna Deva Raya?
Sri Krishnadeva Raya was the greatest King of the Vijayanagar Empire. The period of his reign is from 1509 to 1530 A.D. He defeated the Sultans of Berar and Bijapur and regained Raichur doab. He also compelled the ruler of Orissa to restore to Vijayanagar all the territories up to the river Krishna. Thus, under Krishna Deva, Vijayanagar emerged as the strongest military power in the South.
The condition of Vijayanagar Empire during the reign of Krishna Deva Raya has been described by a number of foreign travelers.
King Krishna Deva Raya was a great ruler and a man of much justice. He cherished his subjects and his solitude for their welfare became proverbial. Paes writes that Vijayanagar is the best provided city in the world.
Krishnadeva Raya distinguished himself both in war and peace. An eminent warrior and a military strategist he was also a noted administrator, a shrewd statesman, and a great patron of art and letters. His reign marked a new era in Telegu literature. Imitation of Sanskrit works gave place to independent works. His court was adorned by eight brilliant authors in Telugu known as Astadiggajas. He extended his patronage to Telegu, Kannada and Tamil poets alike. He himself was a scholar and a poet.
Amuktamalyada, a book written in Telugu by Krishna Deva deserves special mention. He followed policy of religious toleration. He granted complete freedom of worship to his subjects irrespective of caste and creed.
Krishna Deva Raya was also a great builder. He built a new town near Vijayanagara and dug an enormous tank which was also used for irrigation purpose.
After the death of Krishna Deva Raya, Vijayanagara Kingdom gradually became weak. The real power was concentrated in the hands of the chief minister Rama Raja who was able to play off the various neighboring Muslim powers against one another. This ultimately made these powers angry. And at last the Sultans of Bijapur, Golkonda and Ahmadnagar combined together and inflicted a crushing defeat on Vijayanagara Empire at Talikota in 1565. This defeat marked the end of the greatness of Vijayanagara Kingdom. After this the Aravidu rulers continued to rule a small portion of the Vijayanagara Empire for about 100 years.