Deva Raya

Deva Raya I (reigned 1406–1422 CE) was a king of the Vijayanagara Empire (of the Sangama Dynasty).[1] After Harihara II died there was a dispute between his sons over the throne in which Deva Raya I eventually emerged victor. He was a very capable ruler noted for his military exploits and his support to irrigation works in his kingdom.[2] He modernized the Vijayanagara army by improving the cavalry, employed skilled archers of the Turkish clan and raised the fighting capacity of his bowmen and horses from Arabia and Persia.[3] Of Deva Raya I, the Italian traveler Nicolo Conti, who visited Vijayanagara in c.1420, described thus: "In this city, there are 90,000 men fit to bear arms... their king is more powerful than all the kings of India".[3][4] Conti also noted that the royal city had grown to a circumference of 60 mi.[5] Deva Raya I was a patron of Kannada literature and architecture. Madhura, a noted Jain poet was in his court (and also in the court of his father King Harihara II) and wrote in Kannada the Dharmanathapurana on the life of the fifteenth Jain Tirthankar (Dharmanatha), and a poem in eulogy of Gommateshvara of Shravanabelagola.[6] The noted Hazare Rama temple, an excellent example of Deccan architecture was constructed during his rule.[7] One of Deva Raya's queens Bhima Devi was a disciple of the Jain guru Abhinava Charukirti Panditacharya. She was a devotee of Shantinatha, 16th Jain tirthankara and built a temple at the Mangayi Basti in Shravanabelagola.[8]

Deva Raya
Deva Raya
The Hazara Rama temple built by Deva Raya I in Hampi
Reign1406–1422 CE
Kannada inscription of Deva Raya I at the Hazara Rama temple in Hampi
Vijayanagara Empire
Sangama dynasty
Harihara I 1336–1356
Bukka Raya I 1356–1377
Harihara Raya II 1377–1404
Virupaksha Raya 1404–1405
Bukka Raya II 1405–1406
Deva Raya I 1406–1422
Ramachandra Raya 1422
Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya 1422–1424
Deva Raya II 1424–1446
Mallikarjuna Raya 1446–1465
Virupaksha Raya II 1465–1485
Praudha Raya 1485
Saluva dynasty
Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya 1485–1491
Thimma Bhupala 1491
Narasimha Raya II 1491–1505
Tuluva dynasty
Tuluva Narasa Nayaka 1491–1503
Vira Narasimha Raya 1503–1509
Krishna Deva Raya 1509–1529
Achyuta Deva Raya 1529–1542
Venkata I 1542
Sadasiva Raya 1542–1570
Aravidu dynasty
Aliya Rama Raya 1542–1565
Tirumala Deva Raya 1565–1572
Sriranga I 1572–1586
Venkata II 1586–1614
Sriranga II 1614
Rama Deva Raya 1617–1632
Venkata III 1632–1642
Sriranga III 1642–1646

Irrigation works and general administrationEdit

The credit for making the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire one of the biggest cities in the 15th century goes to Deva Raya I. He realized that the scarcity of water supply, both for drinking and for irrigation, was restricting the growth of the royal capital.[2] In c.1410 he had a barrage constructed across the Tungabhadra river and commissioned a 24 km long aqueduct from the Tungabhadra river to the capital.[9] The account provided by Nuniz gives a details of the projects undertaken by Deva Raya I that brought prosperity to the Kingdom. He maintained a secular attitude in administrative matters. He had a Mosque and a slaughter house constructed for the convenience of the Muslim soldiers in his army.[10] In c. 1413, a dispute over property between the Shanka Jainalya of Lakshmeshwara and the Someshvara temple trust of the palace was settled in favor of the Jains. Deva Raya I had a Muslim bodyguard who built a choultry in honor of the king.[5]

Military campaignsEdit

Throughout his reign, Deva Raya was continually at war with the Velamas of Telangana, the Bahmani Sultan of Gulbarga, the Reddis of Kondavidu, and the traditional rivals of Vijayanagara, the Gajaptis of Kalinga. Deva Raya I was capable of managing the vast territory that he controlled by employing skilled archers of the Turkish clan and raised the fighting capacity of his bowmen. Following a confusion in the Reddi kingdom, Deva Raya I entered into an alliance with Warangal for partitioning the Reddi kingdom between them.[11] The split of Warangal changed the balance of power in the Deccan. In c.1420, Firoz Shah invaded Pangal but the two-year siege at Pangal ended in disease and disaster for Firoz Shah's armies. Deva Raya inflicted a shattering defeat on Firoz Shah.[12] The Sultan had to hand over the southern and eastern districts of his kingdom to Deva Raya I. Consequently, by c.1422, Deva Raya I came to control territory up to the Krishna river - Tungabhadra river doab including Pangal[11][13] In the following days, the distressed Sultan died after leading a life of piety after abdicating power to his brother Ahmad.[5][14] Unable to accept this turn around, the Gajapati King Bhanudeva of Odisha invaded Rajamahendri. When a war with Vijayanagara seemed imminent, some skilful diplomacy by Vijayanagara chief Dodda Alla averted it.[15] Deva Raya was to be succeeded by his sons Ramachandra Raya and shortly thereafter by Vijaya Raya.

Ferishta's accountEdit

Persian writer Ferishta narrates an interesting story, not repeated or supported by any other contemporary source, of the kings' love for a beautiful girl, a daughter of a goldsmith from Mudugal in the Raichur district. Unable to wed her, a frustrated Deva Raya I attacked Mudgal and laid to waste a few villages. Aroused by this provocation, the Bahamani Sultan Taj ud-Din Firuz Shah invaded Vijayanagara leading to defeat of Deva Raya I. Though injured in the conflict, Firuz Shah sent his able commanders who successfully invaded Vijayanagara territory south of Adoni

According to this account, Deva Raya I had to give as tribute, one of his daughters in marriage to the Sultan's prince,[1] several pearls and cash, Bankapura territory, fifty elephants, and 2000 dancers. The goldsmith's daughter who was the reason for the war was wedded to Hassan Khan, a prince in the Sultan's family.[5][16]



  1. ^ a b Sen, Sailendra (2013). A Textbook of Medieval Indian History. Primus Books. pp. 103–108. ISBN 978-9-38060-734-4.
  2. ^ a b Kulakarṇī, Nayeem, De Souza (1996), p.106
  3. ^ a b Bowman,(2013) p.271
  4. ^ Chopra, Ravindran and Subrahmanian (2003), p.31
  5. ^ a b c d Kamath (1980), p.163
  6. ^ Sastri (1955), p.360
  7. ^ Fritz & Michell (2001), p.9
  8. ^ Sangave (1981), p.46
  9. ^ V.K Agnihotri (2007), India History, p.150, Allied Publishers Private Limited, ISBN 8184242999
  10. ^ Chopra, Ravindran and Subrahmanian (2003), pp.30-31
  11. ^ a b Chandra (1997), p.180
  12. ^ Chandra, Satish (1997), p.180, Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals - Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526), Har-Anand Publications Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi
  13. ^ Chaurasia (2002) p.109
  14. ^ Sastri (1955). p.225
  15. ^ Chopra, Ravindran and Subrahmanian (2003), p.30
  16. ^ Sastri (1955), pp.224-225


  • Chandra, Satish (2004) [1997]. Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals-Delhi Sultanat (1206-1526) - Part One. New Delhi: Har-Anand Publications.
  • Chaurasia, Radhey Shyam (2002) [2002]. History of Medieval India: From 1000 A.D. to 1707 A.D. New Delhi: Atlantic Publiushers. ISBN 81-269-0123-3.
  • Nilakanta Sastri, K.A. (2002) [1955]. A history of South India from prehistoric times to the fall of Vijayanagar. New Delhi: Indian Branch, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-560686-8.
  • Kamath, Suryanath U. (2001) [1980]. A concise history of Karnataka: from pre-historic times to the present. Bangalore: Jupiter books. LCCN 80905179. OCLC 7796041.
  • Bowman, John Stewart (2013) [2013]. Columbia Chronologies of Asian History and Culture. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0231-11004-9.
  • Kulakarṇī,Nayeem,De Souza, A. Rā, M. A., Teotonio R. (1996) [1996]. Mediaeval Deccan History: Commemoration Volume in Honour of Purshottam Mahadeo Joshi. Popular Prakashan. ISBN 81-7154-579-3.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • John M. Fritz; George Michell, eds. (2001) [2001]. New Light on Hampi, Recent research in Vijayanagara. Mumbai: Marg. ISBN 81-85026-53-X.
  • Chopra, P.N.; Ravindran, T.K.; Subrahmanian, N (2003) [2003]. History of South India (Ancient, Medieval and Modern) Part 2. New Delhi: Chand Publications. ISBN 81-219-0153-7.
  • Sangave, Vilas Adinath (1981), The Sacred Shravanabelagola (A Socio-Religious Study) (1st ed.), New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Vijayanagar empire
Succeeded by