Vijaynagar and Bahamani Empires declared their independence due to the weakness of central authority under Muhammad bin Tuglaq.
The Vijaynagar kingdoms were ruled by Sangam, Suluvu, Tuluva and Aravidu. The kingdom was initially under influence of Kakatiyas of Warangal.
The decline of Hoysala kingdom enabled them to grow. The kingdom was in conflict with Bahamani kingdoms for Krishna Tungabhadra doab and Krishna Godavari delta.
The Sangama, Saluvu couldn’t win against the Bahamani kingdom. Then came the Tuluvus.
King Krishna dev raya:
He was the most powerful Tuluvu king. He was an able commander. He was the greatest Tuluvu king. He kept the invading Bahamani army in check. The Bahamani were replaced by the Delhi sultanate.
These were defeated by Vijaynagar army. Krishna dev raya also captured the Raichur doab and Bidar. He captured whole of Telangana and maintained friendly relations with Portuguese.
The king was a great patron of literature and encouraged Telugu work. He also was a Vaishnavaite but respected all religions.
He built and repaired many temples. But after his death the forces of Bidar, Golconda, Bijapur and Ahmednagar combined forces and defeated Vijaynagar. The reason for this was that the king Ramaraya tried to pit one sultan against the other. They also destroyed the great city. After this the Aravidu dynasty continued the Empire for another 100 years.
The kingdom extended from Arabian Sea to Bay of Bengal. It extended in west from Bombay to goa and in east from Kakinada to mouth of the river Krishna. The bahamani minister Mahmud Gawain was the reason for the increase in the kingdoms strength. Gawain suggested administrative reforms to improve control of sultan over nobles. The nobles disliked him and convinced the sultan to execute him. After gawans execution, the Empire weakened. The provincial governors declared autonomy. Thus five kingdoms were formed in 1526 viz. Ahmed nagar, Golconda, bidar, bijapur and Berar.
The Vijaynagar empire collected more land tax than its predecessors, helped by a growing monetisation of the economy and an expansion of agricultural production through investment by chiefs and temples. Its core region was large and productive of cotton and livestock. But, with its low rainfall and dependence on tank irrigation, there were limits to its capacity to increase agricultural output. Moreover, the decentralised political and administrative structure restricted the proportion of revenue that reached the centre. Vijayanagara needed the tribute from the richer lands to the east.
There was another source of income. Control of the western seaboard gave Vijayanagara access to the growing Arabian sea trade. sponsored by Islamic power in pepper, textiles, sandalwood and other Indian produce. Customs and commercial dues were collected at ports and in the cities. Vijayanagara itself was noted for its merchant houses and warehouses.
Architecture in Vijaynagar and Bahmani Kingdoms
The capital cities of the Bahmanis, Gulbarga and Bidar boasted of many fine buildings. Some of these continued on the older style of architecture. Others like the Jama Masjid of Gulbarga and Madrasa at Bidar were built on the Persian style. Perhaps the best known of these buildings was to be the Gol Gumbaz at Bijapur the tomb of one of the Bijapur kings. Its dome is said to be one of the largest in the world.
Inside their forts, the kings of the Deccan built magnificent buildings. The forts at Daulatabad and Golconda are examples of this. The new city Vijayanagar, now in ruins, built by its rulers is represented by the well known site of Hampi. What we know about it is from the accounts of foreign travellers, Marlo Polo and Abdur Razzaq.
New elements were introduced in the temple architecture. In addition to the main shrine, a smaller temple was built in the north-west called Amma Shrine where the lord or main deity‘s consort resided.
This practice, which began in the late Chola period now became the rule. The other building was known Kalyanmandap. This was an open pillared-pavilion with a raised platform where the main deity and his consort were shown on important ceremonial ocea- sions. To this was added the with or the temple car, a chariot usually made of stone. A massive wall was built around the shrine as a safeguard against intruders.
The important features of Vijayanagara style of temple architecture are monolithic pillars, ornate bracelets and decoration on the exterior side of the walls. Besides paintings. the outer walls were decorated with images or ﬁgures made out of stone.
Interesting scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and other sacred works were portrayed on the walls. They renovated and rebuilt some of the Chalukyan temples and even constructed the temples of Vitthala and Pattabhirama.