Krishnadeva Raya: The Brave King

- January 8, 2022

By Srinidhi Murthy

Krishnadeva Raya was the King of Vijayanagara from 1509 to 1529. During his reign, Vijayanagara reached the zenith of its prosperity. He won many important battles and defeated the Sultans of Bijapur and Golconda. He was considered one of the most powerful rulers of his time when the north witnessed the rise of the Mughal Emperor Babur. Read on to know more about his life.

Brotherly Betrayal

In 1509, Vira Narasimha, the King of Vijayanagara, fell seriously ill. Due to the severity of his condition, there was much discussion about succession after his death. People wondered whether the throne would go to Vira Narasimha’s young son or his brother, Krishnadeva Raya. Vira Narasimha desperately wanted his son to succeed him. The king, blinded by affection, saw his younger brother as a threat to his son. Taking drastic measures, he ordered his trusted minister Timmarasu (known fondly as ‘Appaji’) to kill Krishnadeva Raya to secure the throne for his young son. Appaji was shocked at this order, since he had witnessed how devoted Krishnadeva Raya was to his elder brother.

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Illustration: G.R. Naik | Script: Subba Rao

In an attempt to save his life, Appaji arranged for Krishnadeva Raya to be exiled in secret. Appaji then brought Vira Narasimha the eyes of a goat as proof of his younger brother’s death.

The Succession

The news of Vira Narasimha’s illness and the disappearance of Krishnadeva Raya reached Mahmood Shah, the Bahmani king. He decided to take advantage of this opportunity and planned an attack on Vijayanagara. Upon hearing this, Vira Narasimha panicked. He realized that his son was too young to defend the kingdom and he, in his foolishness, had ordered the death of his brother without thinking about the grave consequences. But soon, Appaji revealed the truth. Vira Narasimha was overjoyed. He immediately summoned Krishnadeva Raya to apologise for his actions. Krishnadeva Raya was crowned King of Vijayanagara after the death of Vira Narasimha, with the full support of the council. Mahmood Shah retreated after learning about the coronation. 

Illustration: G.R. Naik | Script: Subba Rao
Defeat of Kalinga

After ascending the throne, Krishnadeva Raya decided to attack his enemies, Pratapa Rudra of Kalinga and Adil Khan of Bijapur, to secure the stability of Vijayanagara. Pratapa Rudra planned his defence well, but Krishnadeva Raya’s army was ferocious. After capturing the forts of Udayagiri and Kondavidu, Krishnadeva Raya marched on to Potanur. There, Appaji found out that as long as  Pratapa Rudra had the support of his sixteen loyal chieftains, Krishnadeva Raya would not be victorious. With the help of his secret agents, Appaji created friction and doubt in the mind of Pratapa Rudra about the loyalty of these chieftains. When the chieftains learnt about the king’s suspicions, they quietly slipped away to save themselves from the wrath of Pratapa Rudra. With no barriers to stop him, Krishnadeva Raya triumphantly marched into the city. Pratapa Rudra, now helpless, was unable to stop him from entering the city. Later, peace was declared between the kingdoms of Vijayanagara and Kalinga with Krishnadeva Raya marrying Jaganmohini, the Princess of Kalinga.

Adil Khan’s Takedown

Krishnadeva Raya soon turned his attention towards Bijapur. After the death of Mahmood Shah, the Bahmani King Ismail Adil Khan, had declared himself as the independent ruler of Bijapur. He had imprisoned the sons of Mahmood Shah and seized Raichur, when Krishnadeva Raya was busy with the battle of Kalinga. On his return, Krishnadeva Raya and his army laid siege to Raichur. Even though Adil Khan had the upper hand initially, the soldiers of Vijayanagara fought fearlessly. Adil Khan and his army had to retreat. When Krishnadeva Raya entered Raichur, Adil Khan sent his ambassador to request Krishnadeva Raya to give him back his territories. Krishnadeva Raya promised to return his territories, with the condition of the personal surrender of Adil Khan. When Adil Khan didn’t turn up, Krishnadeva Raya captured Gulbarga and made the first son of Mahmood Shah, the Bahmani King of Deccan.

Illustration: G.R. Naik | Script: Subba Rao

In the span of twenty years, Krishnadeva Raya defeated his enemies and made Vijayanagara a strong and prosperous kingdom. 

Read more about Krishnadeva Raya in our title Krishnadeva Raya. Now available on the ACK Comics App, Kindle, Amazon, Flipkart, and other major e-tailers. 

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