Hinduism,Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.

Unsung heroes of Bharat and India

Harihara 1- founder of great vijaynagara empire !

Harihara I (1336–1356 CE), also called Hakka and Vira Harihara I, was the founder of the Vijayanagara empire. He was Bhavana Sangama’s eldest son and was founder of the Sangama dynasty, the first among the four dynasties that ruled Vijayanagara. He hailed from Sangam taluka of Goa. Here in Goa as early as 1300A.D.he was a chieftain or a feudal leader under “Hoyasala Kings”. He was an efficient person. He under the spiritual advice of Vidhyaranya a saint, founded his own royal dynasty in A.D.1336. He named his kingdom by virtuous name “Vijayanagara” His state functioning style was based on his ancestral education and pattern. It was also based on modernity and glamour of the given time.

He revised the knowledge branches of education everywhere in his kingdom. He patronized different languages, its literature. He upheld art culture and technoloy. In science, he never looked behind. He supported medical sphere, doctors, students and even herbal vaidyas. The reason why you can say, Hari- Hara it means evergreen king or lord. He minted his own spectacular coinage there by carving a “boar” as a royal symbol, depicting, his love towards animals and how much he respects them, regardless of its birth and lookouts. Carving a “boar” over his every coinage may have even some other reason. It is strongly even today believed, Lord Universe “Himself” had an incarnation as a “boar” with whose help then “Him”saved this earth from the immoral clutches by sinners. King Harihara was an overwhelming devotee of lord Universe. He also knew very well the meaning of minting coinage in to his kingdom. It passes every hand and heart of his people he wanted to popularise such spiritual boar for devotion. During his optimal rule as a pioneer king of Sangma Dynasty from A.D. 1336 to 1356. This valiant and efficient king the history says, planned and designed a new imperial city for his power of seat. This is the very city that came in to the light as an imperial metropolis as a capital of Vijayanagar and remained in grace for a long period of A.D. 1359 to A.D. 1565 under the Royal Crowns of 1) Sangma 2) Sulu or Salve 3) Tulu or Tulva dynasties.Though planned and resumed the construction work for new Capital City but then otherwise, king Harihara discharged his duty as a king from a small citadel in a small village called “Anagonda” situated very near to this new capital “Hampi”.The pioneer king during his formidable rule constructed many water canals, lakes, wells, tanks, dams, roads and temples. He also brought major portion of his kingdom under agriculture. History also indicates, King Harihara himself laid foundation stone for his dreamed capital.

The city of Vijayanagar is, as already stated, generally supposed to have been founded in the year 1336, and that that date is not far from the truth may be gathered from two facts. Firstly, there is extant an inscription of the earliest real king, Harihara I. or Hariyappa, the “Haraib” of Ibn Batuta,dated in A.D. 1340. Secondly, the account given by that writer of a raid southwards by Muhammad Taghlaq tallies at almost all points with the story given at the beginning of the Chronicle of Nuniz, and this raid took place in 1334.

For if a comparison is made between the narrative of Batuta and the traditional account given by Nuniz as to the events that preceded and led to the foundation of Vijayanagar, little doubt will remain in the mind that both relate to the same event. According to Ibn Batuta, Sultan Muhammad marched southwards against his rebel nephew, Baha-ud-din Gushtasp, who had fled to the protection of the “Rai of Kambila,” or “Kampila” as Firishtah calls the place, in his stronghold amongst the mountains. The title “Rai” unmistakably points to the Kanarese country, where the form “Raya” is used for “Rajah;” while in “Kambila” or “Kampila” we recognise the old town of Kampli, a fortified place about eight miles east of Anegundi, which was the citadel of the predecessors of the kings of Vijayanagar. Though not itself actually “amongst the mountains,” Kampli is backed by the mass of rocky hills in the centre of which the great city was afterwards situated. It is highly natural to suppose that the “Rai,” when attacked by the Sultan, would have quitted Kampli and taken refuge in the fortified heights of Anegundi, where he could defend himself with far greater chance of success than at the former place; and this would account for the difference in the names given by the two chroniclers. Ibn Batuta goes on to say that the Raya sent his guest safely away to a neighbouring chief, probably the Hoysala Ballala, king of Dvarasamudra in Maisur, then residing at Tanur. He caused a huge fire to be lit on which his wives and the wives of his nobles, ministers, and principal men immolated themselves, and this done he sallied forth with his followers to meet the invaders, and was slain. The town was taken, “and eleven sons of the Rai were made prisoners and carried to the Sultan, who made them all Mussalmans.” After the fall of the place the Sultan “treated the king’s sons with great honour, as much for their illustrious birth as for his admiration of the conduct of their father;” and Batuta adds that he himself became intimately acquainted with one of these — “we were companions and friends.”

There are only two substantial points of difference between this story and the traditional Hindu account given by Nuniz. One of these concerns the reason for the Sultan’s attack. According to the Hindus it was a war undertaken from pure greed of conquest; according to Muhammadan story it was a campaign against a rebel. The second is that while the Hindus declare that none of the blood royal escaped, Batuta distinctly mentions the survival of eleven sons, and proves his point incontestably. But this does not vitiate the general resemblance of the two accounts, while the synchronism of the dates renders it impossible to believe that they can refer to two separate events. We may suppose that since the eleven sons became followers of Islam they were for ever blotted out of account to the orthodox Hindu.

After the capture of the fortress the Sultan, according to Ibn Batuta, pursued Baha-ud-din southwards and arrived near the city of the prince with whom he had taken refuge. The chief abandoned his guest to the tender mercies of the tyrant, by whom he was condemned to a death of fiendish barbarity.

“The Sultan ordered the prisoner to be taken to the women his relations, and these insulted him and spat upon him. Then he ordered him to be skinned alive, and as his skin was torn off his flesh was cooked with rice. Some was sent to his children and his wife, and the remainder was put into a great dish and given to the elephants to eat, but they would not touch it. The Sultan ordered his skin to be stuffed with straw, to be placed along with the remains of Bahadur Bura, and to be exhibited through the country.”

To continue briefly the story given by Nuniz. After the capture of Anegundi in 1334 the Sultan left Malik Naib (whom Nuniz calls “Enybiquymelly” in his second chapter, and “Mileque neby,” “Meliquy niby,” and “Melinebiquy” in the third) as his local governor, and retired northwards. The country rose against the usurpers, and after a time the Sultan restored the principality to the Hindus, but made a new departure by raising to be Raya the former chief minister Deva Raya, called “Deorao” or “Dehorao” by Nuniz. He reigned seven years. During his reign this chief was one day hunting amongst the mountains south of the river when a hare, instead of fleeing from his dogs, flew at them and bit them.The king, astonished at this marvel, was returning homewards lost in meditation, when he met on the river-bank the sage Madhavacharya, surnamed VIDYARANYA or “Forest of Learning,” — for so we learn from other sources to name the anchorite alluded to — who advised the chief to found a city on the spot. “And so the king did, and on that very day began work on his houses, and he enclosed the city round about; and that done, he left Nagumdym, and soon filled the new city with people. And he gave it the name VYDIAJUNA, for so the hermit called himself who had bidden him construct it.”

Thus, in or about the year A.D. 1336, sprung into existence the great city which afterwards became so magnificent and of such wide-spread fame.

There are a number of other traditions relating to the birth of the city and empire of Vijayanagar.

One has it that two brothers named Bukka and Harihara, who had been in the service of the king of Warangal at the time of the destruction of that kingdom by the Muhammadans in 1323, escaped with a small body of horse to the hill country about Anegundi, being accompanied in their flight by the Brahman Madhava or Madhavacharya Vidyaranya, and by some means not stated became lords of that tract, afterwards founding the city of Vijayanagar.

Another states that the two brothers were officers in the service of the Muhammadan governor of Warangal subsequent to its first capture in 1309. They were despatched against the Hoysala Ballala sovereign in the expedition under the command of Malik Kafur in 1310, which resulted in the capture of the Hindu capital, Dvarasamudra; but the portion of the force to which the brothers belonged suffered a defeat, and they fled to the mountainous tract near Anegundi. Here they met the holy Madhava, who was living the life of a recluse, and by his aid they established the kingdom and capital city.

A variant of this relates that the two brothers for some reason fled direct from Warangal to Anegundi. This account redounds more to their honour as Hindus. Though compelled first to accept service under their conquerors, their patriotism triumphed in the end, and they abandoned the flesh pots of Egypt to throw in their luck with their co-religionists.

A fourth story avers that the hermit Madhava himself founded the city after the discovery of a hidden treasure, ruled over it himself, and left it after his death to a Kuruba family who established the first regular dynasty.

A fifth, mentioned by Couto,who fixes the date as 1220, states that while Madhava was living his ascetic life amongst the mountains he was supported by meals brought to him by a poor shepherd called Bukka, “and one day the Brahman said to him, ‘Thou shalt be king and emperor of all Industan.’ The other shepherds learned this, and began to treat this shepherd with veneration and made him their head; and he acquired the name of ‘king,’ and began to conquer his neighbours, who were five in number, viz., Canara, Taligas, Canguivarao, Negapatao, and he of the Badagas, and he at last became lord of all and called himself Boca Rao.” He was attacked by the king of Delhi, but the latter was defeated and retired, whereupon Bukka established a city “and called it Visaja Nagar, which we corruptly call Bisnaga; and we call all the kingdom by that name, but the natives amongst themselves always call it the ‘kingdom of Canara.’ ” Couto’s narrative seems to be a mixture of several stories. His wrong date points to his having partly depended upon the original chronicle of Nuniz, or the summary of it published by Barros; while the rest of the tale savours more of Hindu romance than of historical accuracy. He retains, however, the tradition of an attack by the king of Delhi and the latter’s subsequent retirement.

Another authority suggests that Bukka and Harihara may have been feudatories of the Hoysala Ballalas.

Nikitin, the Russian traveller, who was in India in 1474, seems to favour the view that they belonged to the old royal house of the Kadambas of Banavasi, since he speaks of “the Hindoo Sultan Kadam,” who resided at “Bichenegher.”

Here we have a whole bundle of tales and traditions to account for the origin of the great kingdom, and can take our choice. There are many others also. Perhaps the most reasonable account would be one culled from the general drift of the Hindu legends combined with the certainties of historical fact; and from this point of view we may for the present suppose that two brothers, Hindus of the Kuruba caste, who were men of strong religious feeling, serving in the treasury of the king of Warangal, fled from that place on its sack and destruction in 1323 and took service under the petty Rajah of Anegundi. Both they and their chiefs were filled with horror and disgust at the conduct of the marauding Moslems, and pledged themselves to the cause of their country and their religion. The brothers rose to be minister and treasurer respectively at Anegundi. In 1334 the chief gave shelter to Baha-ud-din, nephew of Muhammad of Delhi, and was attacked by the Sultan. Anegundi fell, as narrated by Batuta, and the Sultan retired, leaving Mallik as his deputy to rule the state. Mallik found the people too strong for him, and eventually the Sultan restored the country to the Hindus, raising to be rajah and minister respectively the two brothers who had formerly been minister and treasurer. These were Harihara I. (“Hukka”) and Bukka I.

The first rulers of Vijayanagar, however, did not dare to call themselves kings, nor did even the Brahmans do so who composed the text of their early inscriptions. It is for this reason that I have spoken of Harihara I. and Bukka I. as “Chiefs.” The inscription referred to of Harihara in 1340 calls him “Hariyappa VODEYA,” the former name being less honourable than “Harihara,” and the latter definitely entitling him to rank only as a chieftain. Moreover, the Sanskrit title given him is MAHAMANDALESVARA, which may be translated “great lord” ~~ not king. And the same is the case with his successor, Bukka, in two inscriptions,one of which is dated in 1353. Already in 1340 Harihara is said to have been possessed of very large territories, and he was the acknowledged overlord of villages as far north as the Kaladgi district, north of the Malprabha, a country that had been overrun by Muhammad Taghlaq. That this was not a mere empty boast is shown by the fact that a fort was built in that year at Badami by permission of Harihara.

And thus we see the first chief of Vijayanagar quietly, and perhaps peacefully, acquiring great influence and extensive possessions. These so rapidly increased that Bukka’s successor, Harihara II., styles himself RAJADHIRAJA, “king of kings,” or emperor.

But to revert to the first king Harihara, or, as Nuniz calls him, “Dehorao,” for DEVA RAYA. He reigned, according to our chronicle, seven years, “and did nothing therein but pacify the kingdom, which he left in complete tranquillity.”

At the time when Harihara I, son of Sahgama, declared his independence and celebrated his coronation, he was the master of a kingdom extending from Nellore in the south-east to Dharwar and

Badami in the northern Karnataka. His position, however, was not

yet secure, as he was surrounded by powerful neighbours who were

not well disposed towards him. His kingdom marched in the north¬

east and the north along the frontiers of the nascent Andhra confederacy which Kapaya Nayaka, after his final victory over the army of the Sultan of Delhi, was attempting to convert into a kingdom.

In the north-east, on the further bank of the Krishna, lay the territory, which still remained under the authority of the Sultan of Delhi. Qutlugh Khan, the governor of Devagiri, who was entrusted with the administration of this province, was an able officer; he was naturally expected to make an effort, as soon

as possible, to recover the lost Deccan possessions of the Sultan.

Vijayanagara was not the only fortress built by Harihara. To safeguard the kingdom from any possible attack by the armies of the Delhi Sultan from Devagiri, he strengthened the fortifications of the

old Chalukyan capital Badami, and posted there a strong garrison under a capable officer. He also made the famous fort of Udayagiri in the Nellore district the headquarters of his eastern province,

and entrusted its administration to his younger brother Kampana. He appointed his second younger brother, Bukka, his Yuvaraja and co-regent and placed him in charge of the fortress of Gooty in the

Anantapur district.

Having completed his arrangements for the defence of the realm, Harihara next turned his attention to internal administration. Two important measures

adopted by him to increase the resources of his dominions and improve the character of local administration deserve special notice. He encouraged the farmers to cut down the forest and bring fresh

land under cultivation by leasing it to them on easy terms. He divided the country into sthalas, nddus, and slmas and created a

hierarchy of officials to collect the revenue and carry on the local administration. These measures increased the income of the State and improved the character of local government.

The reign of Harihara I marks the beginning of a great era of conquest and territorial expansion. The small kingdom which at the beginning comprised a few Telugu and Kannada districts had

grown considerably in size and was fast developing into an empire during the last years of his reign. This was due mainly to the conquest of the Hoysala kingdom which seems to have commenced

after A.D. 1338 during the last years of Ballala III. Some time after A.D. 1340, Bukka wrested from Ballala the important fortress of Penugonda in the Anantapur district to which he shifted his headquarters from Gooty.

The success of Bukka was not due to the weakness of the Hoysala military force.

Ballala III . He was already preoccupied with the affairs of the Tamil country. Not satisfied with the liberation of Tondai-mandalam and the establishment of Sambuvaraya on the throne of Kanchi, he set out on an expedition to conquer the entire south and bring it under his hegemony. This naturally involved him in a conflict with the Sultan of Madura (Ma‘bar), and all his attention was absorbed in prosecuting war against him. Ballala, therefore,was not able to take effective steps to check the aggressions of

Vijayanagara, and as a consequence lost some territory along his eastern frontier. What might have happened, had Ballala succeeded in his enterprise against Madura it is not possible to surmise. The

course of events in the south, however, took an unexpected turn, quite favourable to Vijayanagara, by the sudden disappearance of the enemy who was blocking her path of expansion. Though

Ballala was successful at first in his war against the Sultan of Madura, disaster fell upon him towards the close of A.D. 1342. The Sultan of Madura, under the cover of a truce which Ballala granted him, suddenly made a treacherous attack on his camp, destroyed his army, and having taken him prisoner murdered him after extorting from him all his wealth.

This disaster sounded the death-knell of the Hoysaia monarchy. Though Virupaksha Ballala or Ballala IV, the son of Ballala III,

was crowned king in June, 1343, he was utterly helpless and had no power to maintain his authority. The flower of the Hoysaia army was annihilated in the campaign of Malsabar; his treasury was

emptied in the vain hope of purchasing the liberty of his father; and many of the nobles including the commander-in-chief, Ballappa Dandanayaka, deserted him like rats in a sinking ship and joined the king of Vijayanagara. Therefore, when he was attacked by the armies of Vijayanagara, he was unable to offer any effective resist¬ ance, and was obliged to abandon his kingdom and seek safety in flight within three months after his coronation. ld The flight of Ballala IV was not, however, followed by the immediate submission of the Hoysaia dominions to Vijayanagara. Though abandoned by their king and some of the leading nobles, local chieftains in various parts of the kingdom stoutly opposed the invaders; and it was

not until A.D. 1346 that Bukka could reduce them to subjection. The conquest of the Hoysaia kingdom was the most notable military achievement in the reign of Harihara I. There was great jubilation

in Vijayanagara. To commemorate the victory, a grand festival under the aegis of Vidyatirtha was celebrated at Sringeri in 1346, which was attended not only by Harihara and his brothers but also

by all the chief generals and noblemen of his court.

The conquest of the Hoysaia kingdom seems to have involved Harihara I in war with the Sultan of Madura.The circumstances under which Harihara had

to send an army against Madura are not quite clear. It is, however, certain that he embarked on this expedition to rescue the Sarnbuvaraya who seems to have been defeated and taken prisoner by the

Sultan. Two armies were despatched simultaneously in A.D. 1352-3 against the Sultan, one from Udayagiri in the east coast under Prince Savanna, son of Kampa I, and another from Mulbagal in the Kolar

district under Kurnara Kampana, son of Bukka I, with instructions to unite on the frontiers of Madura and compel the Sultan to set the Sambuvaraya at liberty. The Vijayanagara generals successfully accomplished the task with which they were entrusted. The Sultan of Madura was defeated and taken prisoner and the Sambuvaraya was freed from captivity and re-established upon his throne.Though the victory of Vijayanagara was complete and the road to Madura was open and undefended, the Sultanate was perhaps

saved from destruction by the activities of Ala-ud-dln Hasan Gangu or Bahman Shah, the ruler of the newly founded BahmanI kingdom, who was hostile to Vijayanagara from the beginning. The BahmanI Sultan, himself a rebel against Delhi, appears to have claimed some sort of suzerainty over Vijayanagara. His claim was rejected with scorn and as a consequence the relations between the two kingdoms were always strained.

Harihara’s first task was to consolidate his position, and organize his kingdom for effective defence. It was an age when the

security of a kingdom depended on the strength of its forts. Anegondi, his capital, was, no doubt, perched on the top of a hill in a mountainous tract on the northern bank of the Tungabhadra; but it was not impregnable. It fell easily into the hands of the enemy twice within a decade; it was captured by Muhammad bin Tughluq in A.D. 1327, and by the Chalukya chief

Somadeva some four or five years later. Harihara wanted to shift his capital to a place much more inaccessible to an enemy, where he could take refuge in times of danger. Acting upon a suggestion

of Vidyaranya, he selected the opposite bank of the river in the neighbourhood of the temple of Virupaksha, surrounded by the Hemakuta, the Matanga, and Malayavanta hills. He laid the foundations of the new capital which he called Vi jay a or Vidyanagara, on the auspicious occasion on which he celebrated his coronation. The hills were linked together by strong walls of Cyclopean masonry

and a deep ditch surrounded them. According to one of the Kdlajndnas, it took full seven years to complete the construction. Harihara shifted to his new capital, when it was ready for occupation, and administered the kingdom from his palace on the Hemakuta hill.

The bahamani kingdom was formed nearly a dozen year after the foundation of vijaynagara by a rebel named Bahman While studying the history of Vijayanagara, it is pretty much imperative, that we also have an idea of the Bahmani kingdom. Nothing much is known about the origin of the founder Allaudin Bahman Shah, except that his real name was Hassan Gangu, and he worked as a servant in the home of a Brahmin astrologer named Gangadhar Shastri of Delhi. It is believed that Gangadhar Shastri, blessed him, when he returned the wealth he found in his farm. Later Hassan Gangu served as a general in the army of Md.Bin Tughlaq, and received the title of Zafar Khan, after he became a Governor. Later he broke away from the Delhi Sultanate and founded his own kingdom in 1347, under the title of Allauddin Bahman Shah, it is believed that the Bahman could be a corruption of the word Brahman, or after a famous Iranian warrior. Thus the Bahmani and Vijayanagar kingdoms were founded at same time. The initial capital of the Bahmanis was at Gulbarga.

It was only natural that these two kingdoms, established to foster two opposing faiths, should come into conflict with each other sooner or later. As a

matter of fact, Sultan ’Ala- ud -Din took the earliest opportunity to despatch an army against Harihara’s dominions.

There was a rebellion in 1347 A.D. at Sagar which was in the neighbourhood of Harihara’s northern frontier ; the Sultan marched there to put down the rebels. On this occasion he sent Mubarak Khan, one of his officers, with an army to raid Hari

hara’s territory.Mubarak Khan who was very rich and powerful was in that

army. That successful chief, Qutb Malik was made the chief of that army by the king. The plundering army marched (towards Hariyap’s country) sometimes walking and at others cantering or galloping.When they surrounded that lofty fort, the soldiers drew their long swords and made an attack which threw the inhabitants into a state of trembling.

On that day, they fought until the evening and captured every entrenchment during the night. At night, after a parley, the

governor of the fort came down from the citadel, desiring safety ; and having tendered his submission, gave horses and

wealth (to the victors). The soldiers having rested in that fort for some time returned in triumph to Sagar to the king

raising the dust to the summit of atmosphere.

This is the first clash between the two kingdoms. But the Sultan’s army had to retire from Raicur, it may be surmised that their progress into the interior of the Vijayanagara kingdom was obstructed by some obstacle. As a matter of fact, it is

stated in an inscription of A.D. 1356 that Harihara I defeated ‘ the Sultan, who resembled Sutraman (Indra) ’. Therefore, it is not unlikely that the first Bahman attack upon the Vijayangara kingdom was repulsed. According to this inscription, the sultan was forced out from the territory of vijaynagara.

Harihara died in the year 1356 after ruling for 7 years. Hukka then succeded him.


1. A forgotten empire by robert swell.

2. Nilakanth shastri – source of vijaynagara kingdom.

3. History and culture of india volume 6 by rc majumdar.


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