Achyuta Deva Raya
|Achyuta Deva Raya|
Fernao Nuniz was a Portuguese traveller, chronicler and horse trader who visited India during reign of Achyutaraya and who spent three years in Vijayanagara.
He patronised Kannada poet Chatu Vittalanatha, the great composer and singer Purandaradasa (Father of Carnatic music), and the Sanskrit scholar Rajanatha Dindima II. Upon his death, the succession was disputed. His nephew, (younger brother's son) Sadasiva Raya, finally became king while yet a child, under the regency of Aliya Rama Raya, a son-in-law of Krishnadevaraya.
The time when Achyuta Deva Raya became the king was by no means a favorable one. The peace and prosperity of the halcyon days under Krishnadevaraya were coming to an end. Feudatories and enemies were waiting for an opportunity to bring down the empire. In addition, Achyuta Deva Raya had to contend with the powerful Aliya Rama Raya, who was competing for the throne.
While the works of Nuniz speak very lowly of Achyuta Deva Raya as being a king given to vices and cruelty, there is enough evidence to prove that the king was indeed noteworthy in his own right and fought hard to keep the prosperity of the kingdom alive. He had been handpicked by Krishna Deva Raya himself as an able successor.
Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur invaded and captured the Raichur doab. However the Gajapati's of Orissa and Quli Qutub Shah of Golconda were defeated and pushed back. Now Achyuta Deva Raya along with his general Salakaraju Tirumala went on a southern campaign to bring the chiefs of Travancore and Ummatur under control. This they did successfully. Then they invaded the doab north of Tungabhadra and recaptured the forts of Raichur and Mudgal.
The two Sanskrit works Achyutabhyudayam and Varadambikaparinayam describe the king's life and rule in detail.
Throughout his rule, Achyuta Deva Raya had to contend with the manipulations of Rama Raya who in his powerful capacity had replaced many of the faithful servants of the Kingdom in high ranking positions with men of his own favour. On more than one occasion the Bahamani Sultans were brought in to play the role of mediator between the king and Ailya Rama Raya in the game of power sharing. This would further weaken the kingdom. Around 1540 Aliya Rama Raya imprisoned Achyuta Deva Raya in a coup.
In 1542 Achyuta Deva Raya died, and was succeeded by his young son of Venkata I(Venkata Raya or Venkatadri Raya). But he was soon killed, and Sadasiva Raya became the new king. Aliya Rama Raya became the regent and let very little governance in the hands of Sadasiva Raya.
The Tiruvengalanatha Temple was built at Vijayanagara during his reign. It has become popularly known by his name as Achyutaraya Temple, rather than by the name of the deity Lord Venkateshwara to whom the temple was dedicated.
- Prof K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, History of South India, From Prehistoric times to fall of Vijayanagar, 1955, OUP, New Delhi (Reprinted 2002)