May 25

Sangama Dynasty

Sangama Dynasty

The rise of Vijayanagara

Sangama Dynasty

The Vijayanagara Empire, also known as the Kingdom of Vijayanagara, was a powerful South Indian empire that existed from the 14th to the 17th century. It was one of the greatest empires in Indian history and had its capital in the city of Vijayanagara (now known as Hampi) in present-day Karnataka, India.

The empire was founded in 1336 by two brothers, Harihara I and Bukka Raya I, who were originally commanders in the army of the Kakatiya dynasty. They rebelled against the Delhi Sultanate and established an independent kingdom. The early rulers of the empire consolidated their power and expanded their territory through military conquests.

The Sangama dynasty was the founding dynasty of the Vijayanagara Empire. It was established by two brothers, Harihara I and Bukka Raya I, who were born into a noble family of the Kakatiya dynasty. The dynasty is named after Sangama, their ancestral village. This marked the beginning of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1336.

The Sangama dynasty ruled the empire for several generations, with their descendants continuing to hold power and expanding the empire's territory. Notable rulers of the Sangama dynasty include Devaraya I, who is considered one of the empire's greatest kings. He expanded the empire's boundaries and brought about significant administrative and economic reforms.

Important Characteristics of the Sangama Dynasty:

Ø Administration and Governance: The Sangama dynasty implemented a well-organized administrative system in the Vijayanagara Empire. They divided the empire into administrative units called Nadu, which were further divided into smaller units known as Sime or Shasana. The governance structure included ministers, officers, and local administrators who assisted the king in the administration of the empire.


Ø Military Exploits: The rulers of the Sangama dynasty were skilled military strategists and commanders. They led successful military campaigns and expanded the empire's territories through conquests. They often faced threats from neighboring kingdoms and faced numerous battles, both in defense and in expanding their dominion.


Ø Patronage of Art and Culture: The Sangama dynasty was known for its patronage of art, literature, and culture. The rulers supported the growth of regional languages like Kannada and Telugu and encouraged scholars, poets, and artists in their courts. They commissioned the construction of magnificent temples, palaces, and other architectural marvels, many of which still stand as a testament to their patronage.


Ø Religious Tolerance: While the Vijayanagara Empire was predominantly Hindu, the Sangama rulers displayed a remarkable degree of religious tolerance. They allowed the practice of other religions within their territories and patronized the construction of mosques and the support of Islamic scholars and Sufi saints. This policy of religious tolerance helped in maintaining social harmony and cultural diversity within the empire.


Ø Economic Prosperity: The Sangama dynasty oversaw a period of economic growth and prosperity in the Vijayanagara Empire. The empire's geographical location and control over fertile lands facilitated agricultural development, trade, and commerce. The rulers encouraged trade with foreign merchants, and the empire became a major center of trade, attracting merchants from different parts of the world.


Ø Literary and Cultural Contributions: The Sangama dynasty witnessed a vibrant literary and cultural scene. Renowned scholars, poets, and philosophers thrived under their patronage. The court of Krishna Deva Raya, in particular, became a center of literary excellence. The king himself was a proficient poet and composed several literary works in Kannada and Telugu.


The Sangama dynasty played a pivotal role in shaping the Vijayanagara Empire and laying the foundation for its subsequent success. Their governance, military prowess, patronage of art and culture, and religious tolerance contributed to the empire's prominence and enduring legacy.

Rulers of the Sangama Dynasty:

    i.            Harihara I:

Harihara I was one of the founders of the Vijayanagara Empire and the first king of the Sangama dynasty. Harihara I, along with Bukka Raya I, laid the foundation of the Vijayanagara Empire by establishing it as an independent kingdom in 1336 CE. They chose the city of Vijayanagara (Hampi) as their capital.

Harihara I led successful military campaigns to expand the territory of the Vijayanagara Empire. He consolidated his power and expanded the kingdom's boundaries through strategic alliances and military conquests. His early victories included the annexation of territories from the Hoysala Empire and the Kakatiya dynasty.

He had diplomatic relations with the neighboring Muslim sultanates, including the Bahmani Sultanate. He maintained a balance of power by forming alliances and engaging in diplomatic exchanges with them, while also asserting the independence and strength of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Harihara I was a patron of Hinduism and played a significant role in the promotion and restoration of Hindu temples. He undertook the renovation and rebuilding of several temples that had been damaged or destroyed during the previous Muslim invasions. He also patronized religious institutions and scholars, contributing to the revival of Hindu culture and practices.

Harihara I implemented administrative reforms to establish a stable governance system in the Vijayanagara Empire. He appointed ministers, officers, and local administrators to manage the affairs of the empire. The administrative structure he put in place laid the foundation for the efficient administration that would be developed further by subsequent rulers.

Harihara I's reign marked the beginning of the Vijayanagara Empire and set the stage for the empire's subsequent growth and achievements under the Sangama dynasty. His military successes, diplomatic engagements, religious patronage, and administrative reforms established the empire's early foundations and its position as a major power in South India.

     ii.            Bukka Raya I:

Bukka Raya I was one of the founders of the Vijayanagara Empire and the co-founder of the Sangama dynasty. He ruled from 1336 to 1377 CE.

Bukka Raya I undertook numerous military campaigns to expand the territories of the Vijayanagara Empire. He successfully captured and annexed several neighboring territories, including those held by the Hoysala Empire and the Reddy Kingdom. His military exploits contributed to the consolidation and growth of the empire.

 Bukka Raya I implemented administrative reforms to establish a well-organized governance system. He divided the empire into administrative units called Nadu and appointed officials to manage the administration at various levels. These administrative reforms laid the groundwork for an efficient administration that would be further developed by his successors.

He too was a patron of Hinduism and supported the promotion and restoration of Hindu temples.

Bukka Raya I engaged in diplomatic relations with neighboring kingdoms and Muslim Sultanates. He sought to maintain a balance of power and secure alliances to safeguard the Vijayanagara Empire's interests. He skillfully navigated the complex political landscape of the time and ensured the empire's stability.

His rule was instrumental in solidifying the Vijayanagara Empire and establishing its prominence in South India. His military conquests, administrative reforms, religious patronage, and diplomatic engagements laid the foundation for the empire's growth and prosperity under subsequent rulers.

  iii.            Harihara II:

Harihara II was a ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire who reigned from 1377 to 1404 CE. He was the son and successor of Bukka Raya I, the co-founder of the Vijayanagara Empire. He inherited the empire at a crucial time and faced various challenges in maintaining and expanding the kingdom. He continued the empire's expansion into the Tamil regions and successfully annexed territories previously held by the Hoysala Empire and the Pandyan Kingdom.

Harihara II continued the tradition of patronage toward arts, literature, and culture established by his predecessors. He supported poets, scholars, and artists at his court and contributed to the flourishing of literature and the arts during his reign.

Harihara II's reign marked a period of consolidation and growth for the Vijayanagara Empire. His military successes, administrative reforms, and patronage of arts and culture contributed to the empire's stability and prosperity.

   iv.            Deva raya I:

Harihara II was succeeded by Virupaksha Raya and Bukka Raya II. Both of these rulers were not too capable rulers and had a small tenure and succeeded by Deva Raya I.

Deva Raya I, also known as Devaraya I, was a prominent ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire. He ascended to the throne in 1406 CE and reigned until 1422 CE. Deva Raya I played a crucial role in expanding the empire's territories, strengthening its administration, and promoting art and culture. He was an ambitious and successful military leader. He conducted numerous military campaigns and extended the boundaries of the Vijayanagara Empire. His conquests included the regions of Tamil Nadu, Madurai, Konkan, and Tondaimandalam, expanding the empire's influence over a significant part of South India.

He made significant contributions to the architectural landscape of the Vijayanagara Empire. Some notable examples of his patronage include the Hazara Rama Temple and the Mahanavami Dibba in Hampi.

Deva Raya I encouraged trade and commerce, leading to increased economic prosperity within the empire. He actively promoted maritime trade and maintained favorable relations with foreign traders, particularly with the Arab and Chinese merchants.

His military achievements, patronage of arts and literature, architectural contributions, and promotion of trade contributed to the empire's overall growth and influence in South India.

  v.            Deva Raya II:

 Vijaya-Bukka ruled the Vijayanagara Empire after Deva Raya for a few months and then the throne was overtaken by Deva Raya II.

Deva Raya II, was a significant ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire. He ascended to the throne in 1424 CE and ruled until 1446 CE. He had conducted numerous military campaigns to expand the territories of the Vijayanagara Empire. He successfully undertook campaigns against the Reddy Kingdom, the Gajapati Kingdom, and the Bahmani Sultanate, among others. His military victories significantly increased the empire's influence and control over various regions.

Deva Raya II commissioned the construction of several impressive architectural structures. He undertook the expansion and beautification of the Vitthala Temple complex in Hampi, which became a hallmark of Vijayanagara architecture.

Deva Raya II's reign was a period of expansion, cultural renaissance, and administrative reforms for the Vijayanagara Empire. His military successes, administrative achievements, patronage of art and culture, and promotion of trade contributed to the empire's prominence and enduring legacy.

   vi.            Mallikarjuna Raya:

From the Sangama Dynasty, Mallikarjuna Raya (also known as Deva Raya III) ruled the Vijayanagara Empire from 1446 to 1465 CE. He was born in 1420.

Deva Raya II, who had established wealth across the Vijayanagara Empire and a heyday for the Sangama Dynasty, was succeeded by his son Mallikarjuna Raya. In contrast to his father, Mallikarjuna Raya was often a weak and dishonest leader.

He defended the kingdom against the Bahamani Sultan and the Gajapati Emperor of the Hindu empire of Kalinga-Utkal Odisha, which at the time spanned from the Ganges to the Kaveri, during the beginning of his reign, but it was afterward characterised by a run of setbacks. In addition to Rajamahendri, the Gajapatis also took control of Udayagiri and Chandragiri in 1463.

By 1450, the Bahamani kingdoms had seized control of most of the Vijayanagara Empire and were advancing towards the capital. The Sangama Dynasty finally fell due to these events, and Mallikarjuna Raya's nephew Virupaksha Raya II seized the chance to ascend to the throne even though he was not a more capable leader.

vii.            Virupaksha II:

Virupaksha Raya II, also known as Virupaksha II or Veerupaksha II, was a ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire. He ascended to the throne around 1426 CE and ruled until 1442 CE. Virupaksha Raya II succeeded Deva Raya II and continued his predecessors' legacy in the empire. However, historical records regarding his reign are limited, and not much is known about his specific contributions or achievements.

During Virupaksha Raya II's rule, the Vijayanagara Empire faced various challenges, including conflicts with neighboring kingdoms and internal political struggles. The empire's power and influence remained significant during this period, but specific details about the ruler's accomplishments are scarce.

Succession in the Empire:

Harihara II, Bukka's successor, carried on Bukka's expedition in southern India and was successful in capturing coastal Andhra between Nellore and Kalinga, as well as much of the country including the mainland and the region south of the Krishna River. He also conquered the Addanki and Srisailam regions. Additionally, Harihara II was successful in capturing several Indian ports, including Goa, Chaul, and Dabhol.


Following the death of Harihara II, Virupaksha Raya, Bukka Raya II, and Deva Raya fought for control of the kingdom; Deva Raya ultimately prevailed. Deva Raya was able to successfully govern the wide expanse of the kingdom throughout his rule. On the other hand, the succeeding rulers failed to accomplish any notable feats for the country. This lasted up until Deva Raya II, which was brought about in the Sangama Dynasty's heyday. Deva Raya II would lead the empire to complete the conquest of southern India, including the conquest of Kondavidu, the defeat of the ruler of Quilon and other chieftains, the expansion of the empire from Odisha to Malabar and from Ceylon to Gulbarga, as well as the conquest of many important Indian ports. But after Deva Raya II, his inept successors would ultimately contribute to the dynasty's collapse, with the Bahamani Kingdoms repeatedly annexing large portions of the Vijayanagara domain. The final emperor was Virupaksha Raya II.


Ocean Media
© 2024 Ocean Media. All Rights Reserved.