June 3

Saluva Dynasty

Saluva Dynasty

Sharqi Dynasty and patronage

The Saluva Dynasty was one of the early ruling dynasties of the Vijayanagara Empire, which existed in the southern part of India from the 14th to the 16th century. The dynasty was named after its founder, Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya, who served as a minister and commander under the previous Sangama Dynasty.

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya came to power in 1485 when he overthrew the last Sangama king and established his own dynasty. He became the first king of the Saluva Dynasty and ruled until his death in 1491. He was succeeded by his brother, Saluva Narasimha Raya II, who continued the dynasty's rule.

Under the Saluva Dynasty, the Vijayanagara Empire witnessed a period of stability and growth. The rulers implemented administrative reforms, encouraged trade and commerce, and patronized the arts and literature. They also successfully defended the empire against external invasions, particularly from the Bahmani Sultanate.

However, the Saluva Dynasty faced internal conflicts and rivalries, which weakened their hold on power. In 1505, another nobleman named Thimmarasu, belonging to the Tuluva Dynasty, overthrew the last Saluva ruler and established his own dynasty.

Despite its relatively short reign, the Saluva Dynasty played a significant role in the early development and consolidation of the Vijayanagara Empire. It set the stage for the subsequent dynasties that would rule the empire and left a lasting impact on its administration, culture, and military strategies.

Important Characteristics of Saluva Dynasty:

  • Expansion of Territories: Under the Saluva Dynasty, the Vijayanagara Empire expanded its territories through military campaigns and diplomatic alliances. The rulers undertook successful military expeditions against neighboring kingdoms and sultanates, expanding the empire's influence and control.
  • Administrative Reforms: The Saluva Dynasty introduced several administrative reforms to enhance governance and strengthen the empire. They established a system of efficient administration, improved revenue collection, and implemented policies to promote agriculture and trade.
  • Patronage of the Arts: Like their predecessors, the Saluva rulers were great patrons of art, architecture, and literature. They continued to sponsor the construction of magnificent temples, palaces, and other architectural marvels. The Vijayanagara style of architecture reached new heights during this period, with notable examples being the Vittala Temple and the Hazara Rama Temple.
  • Literature and Culture: The Saluva Dynasty supported and encouraged the growth of literature, poetry, and other forms of artistic expression. They patronized scholars, poets, and musicians, contributing to the development of Telugu and Sanskrit literature during the Vijayanagara period.
  • Relationship with Foreign Powers: The Saluva rulers maintained diplomatic relations with various foreign powers. They established alliances with neighboring kingdoms and maintained cordial relationships with the rulers of other regions in South India.
  • Internal Conflicts: Despite their achievements, the Saluva Dynasty faced internal conflicts and rivalries for power. These power struggles weakened their grip on the empire and ultimately led to their overthrow by the Tuluva Dynasty.

It's important to note that the Vijayanagara Empire's history is complex and spans over several centuries. The Saluva Dynasty, though significant, was just one of the ruling dynasties that contributed to the empire's overall development and legacy.

Rulers of Saluva Dynasty:

  1. Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya:

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya, was the founder and first ruler of the Saluva Dynasty in the Vijayanagara Empire. He played a pivotal role in the empire's history and left a lasting impact during his reign.

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya rose to prominence as a minister and commander under the previous Sangama Dynasty. In 1485, he seized power and established the Saluva Dynasty by overthrowing the last Sangama king. He became the first king of the Saluva Dynasty and ruled from 1485 to 1491. 

During his reign, Saluva Narasimha focused on consolidating the empire's territories and strengthening its administration. He implemented various administrative reforms aimed at improving governance, revenue collection, and the welfare of his subjects. These reforms contributed to the stability and growth of the Vijayanagara Empire. 

Saluva Narasimha was known for his military prowess and successfully defended the empire against external invasions. He faced challenges from the Bahmani Sultanate, a powerful Islamic kingdom in the Deccan region. However, through strategic military campaigns and alliances, he managed to repel their attacks and maintain the empire's territorial integrity. 

Additionally, Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya was a patron of art and culture. He continued the tradition of supporting literature, poetry, and the arts that flourished during the Vijayanagara period. Many temples and architectural marvels were constructed under his patronage, contributing to the grandeur of the empire's capital city, Vijayanagara. 

Despite his achievements, Saluva Narasimha's reign was relatively short. He passed away in 1491, and his brother, Saluva Narasimha Raya II, succeeded him to the throne. However, Saluva Narasimha's contributions to the Vijayanagara Empire, both in terms of governance and military leadership, were significant and laid the foundation for the subsequent rulers of the Saluva Dynasty.

  1. Thimma Bhupala:

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya, the ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, had an older son named Thimma Bhupala who passed away in 1441. He held the position of Yuvaraja throughout his father's rule. In 1491, Prince Thimma succeeded his father, but shortly after, during a time of political upheaval in Vijayanagara, he was killed by an army commander. His younger brother Narasimha Raya II took over as his successor.

  1. Narasimha Raya II:

Narasimha Raya II, also known as Saluva Narasimha Raya II, was a ruler of the Saluva Dynasty in the Vijayanagara Empire. He succeeded his brother, Saluva Narasimha, and ruled from 1491 to 1505.

Narasimha Raya II ascended the throne after the death of his brother, Saluva Narasimha. During his reign, he faced various challenges, including internal conflicts and external threats to the empire. The Bahmani Sultanate, in particular, posed a significant challenge to the Vijayanagara Empire.

Narasimha Raya II worked to maintain stability and protect the empire from external invasions. He undertook military campaigns against the Bahmani Sultanate and achieved some success in defending the empire's borders. However, the empire faced continued pressure from the Sultanate, and internal rivalries further weakened the Saluva Dynasty's hold on power.

In 1505, Thimmarasu, a nobleman from the Tuluva Dynasty, orchestrated a successful coup and overthrew Narasimha Raya II. Thimmarasu became the founder of the subsequent ruling dynasty, the Tuluva Dynasty, while Narasimha Raya II was deposed and removed from power.

Despite the challenges and ultimate loss of power, Narasimha Raya II contributed to the administration and defense of the Vijayanagara Empire during his reign. His rule marked the end of the Saluva Dynasty and set the stage for the rise of the Tuluva Dynasty, which would go on to leave a significant impact on the Vijayanagara Empire's history.

Architecture during the Saluva Dynasty:

During the Saluva Dynasty in the Vijayanagara Empire, there were significant architectural developments and the construction of magnificent structures. The Saluva rulers, like their successors, were great patrons of art and architecture. They continued the tradition of temple construction and architectural grandeur that characterized the Vijayanagara Empire. Here are some notable architectural features and styles during the Saluva Dynasty:

  • Vijayanagara Style: The Saluva Dynasty rulers followed the Vijayanagara architectural style, characterized by grandeur, intricate carvings, and elaborate ornamentation. The style blended elements of Dravidian and Hoysala architecture, resulting in unique and impressive structures.
  • Temple Architecture: Temples remained a focal point of architectural patronage during the Saluva Dynasty. Temples were constructed with ornate entrances, tall gopurams (tower gateways), and intricately carved sculptures. They featured pillared halls, sanctuaries, and various mandapas (assembly halls) for religious rituals and gatherings.
  • Monuments and Palaces: The Saluva rulers also constructed monuments and palaces, contributing to the overall architectural splendor of the empire. These structures showcased a blend of architectural elements and artistic motifs. They were often built with decorative pillars, sculpted walls, and spacious courtyards.


  • Hazara Rama Temple: The Hazara Rama Temple in Hampi is a significant architectural masterpiece from the Saluva Dynasty era. It was dedicated to Lord Rama and served as a royal temple. The temple is known for its finely carved bas-reliefs that depict episodes from the epic Ramayana.
  • Vittala Temple: The Vittala Temple is another remarkable architectural marvel from the Saluva Dynasty period. It is dedicated to Lord Vittala, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is renowned for its iconic stone chariot, musical pillars that produce melodic sounds when struck, and the intricately carved halls and sculptures.

These are just a few examples of the architectural legacy of the Saluva Dynasty during the Vijayanagara Empire. The rulers of this dynasty contributed to the construction of numerous temples, palaces, and monuments that showcased their patronage of art, craftsmanship, and architectural excellence.


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