Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The kingdom of Vijayanagara was ruled by four dynasties. The first one was Sangama dynasty which was founded by Harihara the first.

It is said that sangama came from warangal. However, the inscriptions do not lend credence to this belief. Sangama belonged to the yadu dynasty and the yadus were kannadigas.

Sangama was a petty chieftain who was highly respected. He had five sons, harihara, bukka, kempanna, marappa and muddappa. Harihara and bukka played a vital role in establishing the Vijayanagara kingdom. Prior to this harihara and Bukka served the Hoysalas whose confidence they enjoyed.

According to shringeri inscription, Harihara founded the Vijayanagara kingdom in the shalivahana saka 1258 during the Dhatunama samvatsara, on the seventh day of vaishaka, i.e. on the 18th of April 1336 A.D. He followed the government rules of the Hoysalas. Virupaxa of Hampi and channakeshava of Belur, the family deities of the Hoysalas, become the family deities of the Sangama dynasty too. There was also a cast relation between the Hoysalas and the sangama dynasty.

It is fact that shri vidyaranya, the religious teacher of the sangama dynasty, took an active part in the establishment of the empire and in fact, was the main cause for the establishment of this kingdom. But the fact that vijayanagara formerly known as Vidyanagar, was named after Shri Vidyaranya supports the role played by the Shri Vidyaranya. That it was named after shri vidyaranya is recorded in some inscriptions.

Many inscriptions reveal that the kings of vijayanagar were devoted to shri vidyaranya, the religious preceptor of shringeri, and had given many gifts in his honour. Hence it could be concluded that Sri vidyaranya himself the actual founder the Vijayanagar kingdom.

It is situated on the southern bank of the river Tungabhadra and is surrounded by rocky mountains, earlier, Anegundi, the nearby ancient city, was the Capital. Later the capital was shifted to Hampi from Anegundi. According to mythology this areas was Pampa Sarovar and the capital of vali mentioned in the Ramayana. It was called Pampa Kshetra. An 11th century inscription and a 7th century Chalukya inscription call it Pampa Kshetra. According to another inscription it was Pampapathi Mahakula. Literary sources and some other inscriptions give it various names Virupaxapura, Hosapattana, Hosa Hampi Pattana, Hastinavathi, Hampi Hastinavati, Kunjarakona, Vidyanagar, Anegundi, etc.
The founders of Vijayanagar were selfless and broad minded. Their aim was to protect culture, increase knowledge and encourage literature. Their royal seal bore the picture of Varaha since it is believed that God Vishnu incarnated as Varaha to destroy the gaint Hiranya who had confiscated the earth. This seal signified their goal.