Krishnadeva’s Wars and Temple Donatations

Introduction: Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529) was the most powerful rule of Vijayanagara. He was able to keep at bay the four recently emerged central Indian successor sultanates of the erstwhile powerful Bahmanis whom he re-established as a puppet Sultanate, assuming himself the title Yavana-rajya-sthapana-acharya (“master of the foundation of a Muslim [Yavana] kingdom). In temporary alliance with the meanwhile powerful Portuguese “Estado da India” he called himself “First King of the Eastern, Southern and Western Ocean” (purva-daksina-paschima-samudra-adhiraja). His policy focussed on the permanent war against the competing Hindu kingdom of the Orissan Gajapatis, which was one of the causes of decline and final extinction of both kingdoms in 1565 and 1568 respectively. The quoted temple inscription, a “deed of charity” (dharma-sasana) of the Saka year 1438 (A.D. 1516/7), reports in great details about one of Krishnadeva’s victorious campaigns against Gajapati forts at the east coast, his return to his capital Vijayanagara and the donation of the spoils of war the temple of Tirumalai (Tirupati), an ideal-typical schedule of great Hindu rulers. The temple-city of Tirupati and its deity Vishnu-Venkatesa, Krishnadeva’s new tutelary deity, were the greatest beneficiary of his policy and received dozens of such donations by him. Tirupati is today by far the greatest temple complex of India.

(see also AHOI, ch. 4, section Vijayanagara’s Glory and Doom)

(quoted from Tirumalai-Tirupati Devasthanam Epigraphical Series, Vol. III, Inscriptions of Krishnaraya’s Time 1509-1531 A.D., translated and edited by V. Vijayaraghavacharya, Madras 1935, No. 80, pp. 180-182)


I. May there be prosperity! Hail! Śriman Mahārājādhirāja Rājaparamēṡvara [...] Pūrva-dakshiṇa-paśchima-samudrādhīṡvara Yavanarājya-sthāpanāchārya Gajapati-vibhāta Śrī Virapratāpa Śrī Vīra Kṛishṇadēva Mahārāya,
 2–6. started from his capital Vijayanagara, on an eastern expedition, occupied the fort Udayagiri, took in one single campaign Addaṅki, Vinikoṇḍa, Bellaṁkoṇḍa, Nāgārjunikoṇḍa, Taṅgēḍa, Kētavaram and other forts on hills and plains, next encamped at Koṇḍavīḍu, took the citadel after laying siege to it, captured alive Vīrabhadrarāya, son of Pratāparudra Gajapatirāya, Naraharidēva son of Kumāra-Haṁvīra-Pātra, Rāchūri Mallukhān, Uddaṇḍakhān, Janyāla Kasava-Pātra, Pūsapāṭi Rāchirāja, Srīnātharāja-Lakshmīpatirāja, Paṡchima-bālachandra-Mahāpātra and other Pātra-Sāmantas and Mannēyars, (tributary princes), gave them an assurance of safety for their lives, proceeded to Dharaṇikōṭa-Amarēṡvara, performed the Tulāpurūsha Mahādāna, returned to Vijayanagara, ruled the country, and again proceeded to Bezwada on an expedition against Kaḷiṅgadēṡa, occupied the fortress of Koṇḍapalli, captured alive Prahararājaṡiraṡchandra Mahāpātra, Bhōṭajana-Mahāpātra, Bijilikhān and others who were ruling over the fort, granting them their lives, in one single campaign took possession of Anantagiri, Uṇḍrakoṇḍa, Urlakoṇḍa, Aruvapalli, Jallipalli, Kaṇḍikoṇḍa, Kappaluvāyi, Nallakoṇḍa, Kaṁbhammeṭṭu, Kanakagiri, Saṅkaragiri and other fortresses in Telugu-rājya, went to Siṁhādri-potnūru, planted a triumphal pillar, returned to Rājamahēndravara to perform Mahādānas, had Mahādānas perfqrmed by his queens Chinnādēviamman and Tirumaladēviamman, returned to Vijayanagara and on Friday, the 10th lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Pushya month, in the cyclic year Dhātu, current with the Śaka year 1438, paid a visit to Tirumalai, presented to God Tiruvēṅgaḷanātha (Srī-Vēṅkaṭēṡa) one Kaṇṭhamālai (necklace), one padakam (pendant), 30,000 varāhas for guilding the Vimānam over the Sanctuary, ordered 1000 varāhas of pure gold to be collected (into the Temple-treasury) by the Sthānattār (Trustees) of Tirumalai from the Goḍagarnāḍu (surrounding villages of Tirupati) for the expenses of Puḷikāpu (oblutions) on every Thursday to be performed to God Tiruvēṅgaḷanātha; in this manner this Dharma-ṡāsanam (deed of charity) of Kṛishṇarāya was recorded to be conducted as long as the moon and the sun shine;


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