Indian History Part 75 The Tuluva Dynasty Section V: Krishna Deva Raya – King, Warrior, Satesman

Canberra, 15 September 2019

Krishna Deva Raya is reported to have been endowed with a firm belief in following high ideals of honour and duty from an early age. Further, he was carefully groomed by the gifted and sagacious Prime Minster Timmaraya about the duties and responsibilities of a king during the early years of his rule. It is not surprising that all his decisions and actions through a majority part of his reign was based on the actions of mythical and legendary heroes of antiquity such as Vikramaditya and Raja Bhoj. Other than for the aberrations in his behaviour during the last part of his rule, Krishna Deva could be considered the embodiment of ideal kingship. [Even so, endorsing his status as the pre-eminent king amongst the entire list of Vijayanagara rulers seems to be a contestable decision. The relative merit and stature of an individual king among a long list of rulers should only be determined by comparing all aspects of that individual’s rule. In such an assessment, even factors outside the control of the individual like the resources available at the time of his accession; and other interlinked factors—the manner in which power was transferred when he came to power and at the time of his handing over; the support system in terms of nobles, courtiers and advisers available to the king and the manner in which their advice and guidance were accepted; and myriad other factors, some of them even trivial—must be considered.]

In his personal appearance Krishna Deva is described as having been of medium height, fair and with a ‘good’ figure, being on the plump side rather than thin and/or muscular. He is reported to have been a good wrestler, rider and swordsman and garnered a high military reputation even in his youth. The military reputation was built on his extreme personal bravery, shrewd tactical manoeuvres in battle and the soundness of his strategic thinking in the planning and execution of campaigns. He was unusually daring and self-confident in moments of personal danger, a factor that further embellished his reputation as a warrior-king. Krishna Deva was remarkably restrained in victory in the early days, although this character trait gradually gave way to demonstrated haughty arrogance in later life. Even though magnanimous in victory, especially during the earlier campaigns, the Raya did not take kindly to slights or threats, which was demonstrated in his dealings with the Shahi kings to the north of Vijayanagara.

There is no doubt that Krishna Deva Raya was able to achieve uninterrupted success across both political and military spheres of activity, especially since one supports the other in a cyclical manner. The reasons for this unmatched success are many and interconnected.

Military Forces. The Vijayanagara army had been continually improved since the reign of Deva Raya II, even during the years of uncertainty and turmoil in the royal succession and changes of dynasties. There was focused application of improvements in training, tactics and techniques for a number of years, with successive commanders attempting to maintain the winning edge on their side at all times. In terms of recruitment, the Vijayanagara kings engaged both Muslim and the Portuguese, purely based on merit and without any bias of religion. The Hindu soldiers, who formed the bulk of the force, were trained to perfection. By the time of Krishna Deva’s accession, the Vijayanagara army was not a rabble assembled when needed, but a professional force that could be favourably compared to any other medieval army in the sub-continent. The commanders were continually engaged in updating concepts of operations and also ensuring that the raise, train and sustain functions were carried out optimally at all times.

The General

Krishna Deva Raya was famous for his personal valour and for the astute tactics that he employed in conflict. He believed that as the king and commander-in-chief, his proper position was at the centre of the army, leading his soldiers into battle from the front at critical moments in a battle. His impressive warfighting skills and self-confidence contributed directly to victories in battles, at times even salvaging situations that were considered most discouraging. Under his dedicated leadership, the victorious Vijayanagara army planted the ‘Boar Standard’, the war flag of the Empire, far and wide, and in the capitals of the vanquished enemies.

As a fighting General, Krishna Deva ensured that the soldiers remained personally loyal to him through his demonstrated personal bravery and skilful personnel management. It is reliably reported that after each battle, he personally went to the battlefield to supervise the care being given to wounded soldiers. He took personal interest in ensuring that the wounded received long-term medical treatment and monitored their being nursed back to full health and return to the frontline. This was a great morale boosting factor and the soldiers and officers paid back the king’s concern for them by being personally loyal to him at all times.

Political Sphere. Krishna Deva was lucky to have come to power at a time when the political circumstances, both domestic and external, were somewhat tranquil and could be considered to have been favourable to establishing stability. This situation was ably converted to an advantage by Timmaraya, a gifted and committed Prime Minister. Further, when Krishna Deva came to the throne and took stock of the situation, he was pleasantly surprised to find that the state treasury had not been depleted by his predecessors. There is no doubt that the few kings who ruled before him had been ineffective. However, branding them as bad rulers would perhaps be incorrect since it is clear that they understood the need to retain the fundamental strengths of the kingdom and therefore did not plunder the treasury or deplete the military forces. These kings could be classified as weak and incompetent but not self-serving individuals without any care for the welfare of the kingdom. From a purely political point of view, the continuous internecine wars being fought by the Shahi successor states to the Bahmani kingdom and the arrival of the Portuguese, eager to intervene and interfere in local affairs, were also important and influential developments.

Religious Activities

There was a great deal of religious activity throughout Krishna Deva’s reign. He was personally a pious and devout Hindu, practising the Vaishnava tenets of worship, while being extremely tolerant and respectful of other forms and faiths of worship, such as Shaivism. He was prone to visiting holy shrines and making liberal gifts to temples during his travels, even while he was on military expeditions. After each military victory he visited and worshipped at nearby pilgrim centres as a mode of giving thanks and to celebrate God’s blessings. It could be said that he considered Sri Venkateswara of the temple in Tirumala as his guardian deity, visiting it seven times during his reign and showering wealth for the upkeep of the temple.

Since the king was a staunch follower of Vaishnavism, it is not surprising that it was the most popular faith in the Empire. The Ramanuja School was thriving and the Dvaita School was gradually becoming influential, while the Advaita School founded by Sri Sankara was also gaining in popularity. Even though Vaishnavism was undoubtedly the dominant sect, Shaivism and the Siddhanta School of thought also continued to be popular—a clear indication of the Raya’s welcoming attitude to other faiths and practices. Krishna Deva was unquestionably a practising member of the Vaishnava sect, but there is also no doubt that he was extremely tolerant of all other sects and faiths, even supporting them through grants and the gift of villages for the upkeep of their places of worship and study.

All denominations of religious faiths were permitted to build their own ‘Maths’ (a term that could be very loosely translated as monasteries) and also propagate their own philosophies without any hindrance. Some of these ‘Maths’ had jurisdiction across the entire sub-continent for their individual faiths and were the seats of power for them. Jainism thrived under the Vijayanagara kings, especially in the Karnataka region. It is also noteworthy that both Muslims and Christians were given freedom of worship and permitted to build mosques and churches for the purpose.

Krishna Deva Raya was a devoted pupil/follower of Vyasatirtha, a great and famous religious scholar. He initially studied under Govinda Dikshita and then Tatacharaya before becoming a student of Vyasatirtha.


Vyasatirtha, also called Vyasaraya in some texts, was a scholar and dialectician of the Dvaita School of Vedanta. He was born in 1447 in Gosala and initially studied under Brahmanyatirtha and then joined Sripadaraya of Mulbagal as a resident pupil. Vyasatirtha subsequently moved to Chandragiri and established himself as a religious scholar of repute. He was honoured by kings of both the Saluva and Tuluva dynasties.

Krishna Deva Raya became acquainted with Vyasatirtha in Chandragiri and persuaded him to move to Vijayanagara. Thereafter Vyasatirtha became the adviser/consultant to generations of Vijayanagara kings. He was acknowledged as the ‘Kulaguru’, the family/dynastic teacher, of the Tuluva dynasty by Krishna Deva Raya. Vyasatirtha also interacted with renowned contemporary religious thinkers from across the sub-continent, such as Vallabhacharya and Chaitanya.

There is a story, which cannot be corroborated accurately, that goes: the later part of Krishna Deva Raya’s reign was beset by an inauspicious combination of planetary positions according to the court astrologers. In order to overcome this unfortunate situation, Vyasatirtha was placed on the throne and the Empire officially gifted to him, making him king for a short period of time. The event was commemorated by conferring the titles Vyasaraya and Karnataka-Simha-Sanadhisvara on Vyasatirtha. These titles can be verified from inscriptions and therefore, the story seems to have some truth to it.

Dasa-Kutas. Krishna Deva Raya’s reign also witnessed the origin of a religious movement of the followers of the Dvaita Philosophy who called themselves ‘Dasa-Kutas’. This group expressed the philosophical truths of the Dvaita movement in simple Kannada language for the consumption of the lay person and also composed a large number of songs elaborating the philosophy. Many sages and teachers assisted in the formation and development of this group. Many popular poets and musicians were members of the Dasa-Kuta group, working towards the enlightenment of the masses. Purandaradasa is considered the greatest devotee of the group and credited with having composed thousands of poems and songs. Another well-known ‘dasa’ was Kanakadasa who is said to have composed the three epic poems Mohanatarangini, Nalacharita and Haribhaktisara.

The entire reign of Krishan Deva was marked by remarkably high levels of religious activities, which was exemplified by the underlying concept of enlightened toleration, and an extremely liberal outlook.

Literature and the Arts

Krishna Deva Raya’s rule was a splendid epoch of cultural and artistic progress in South India that also spread its influence into North India across the Vindhya ranges. Viewed in a very broad manner the era could be considered the acme of an evolving South Indian culture.


Krishna Deva Raya was very considerate towards men and women of letters, encouraging them through liberal patronage. Sanskrit poets and scholars flourished at this time, with some renowned scholars moving from the Gajapati court in Orissa to Vijayanagara to take advantage of the abundant patronage that was offered by Krishna Deva. There were two famous scholars who moved from Orissa to Vijayanagara—Lakshmidhara, the author of an acknowledged treatise on astrology and philosophy; and Divakara, who wrote the grand epic poem, or ‘mahakavya’, called Bharatamitra.

Other than the great strides achieved in Sanskrit literature, the period saw valuable literary contributions also being made in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil. Some historians have gone to the extent of calling this period as the ‘Augustan Age of Telugu Literature’, comparing it the zenith of literary accomplishments in the Roman Empire. [Augustan Age, was one of the most illustrious periods in Latin literary history that ran from approximately 43 B.C to 18 A,D during the reign of Emperor Augustus. Together with the preceding Ciceronian period, it is considered to form the Golden Age of Latin literature.] Krishna Deva’s queen, Tukka Devi, who was the daughter of Pratapa Rudra Gajapati of Orissa, was herself a renowned poet and is believed to have written the Tukka-Panchakam.

Telugu literature thrived during Krishna Deva Raya’s reign, soaring to heights that it had so far not achieved. The Raya’s poet laureate, Allasani Peddanta, wrote many important works dedicated to the king and held the title of ‘Andhra-Kavita-Pitamaha’, roughly translatable as ‘the progenitor/grandsire of Andhra poetry’. A great number of books and commentaries were written by very famous, and not so famous, Telugu authors, the volume of work thus being enormous. A number of devotional songs and poems written in Telugu during this period survive to this day.

The Ashtadiggajas

In a similar fashion to the ‘Nava Ratnas’ or ‘nine gems’ in the legendary Vikramaditya’s court (the Vikramaditya of folklore is usually identified as the Gupta Emperor Chandragupta II, who reigned approximately 375 – 415 A.D), there were eight great Telugu poets in Krishna Deva Raya’s court who were collectively called the ‘Ashtadiggajas’. The term can be broken etymologically to ‘ashta+dik+gaja’, meaning elephants in eight directions, alluding to the old Hindu belief that the Earth is held together by eight celestial elephants pulling in eight different cardinal and sub-cardinal directions. The group was also referred to as ‘Bhuvana Vijayam’, meaning Conquest of the World.

The eight poets in the group were: Allasani Peddanna, Nandi Timmanna, Ayyaparaju Rambhadrudu, Dhurjati, Mddayagiri Mallana, Pingali Surana, Tenali Ramakrishna and Ramarajabhushanudu.

The Ashtadiggajas started a new style of poetry in Telugu called Prabandha and initiated the beginning of the Prabandha Age/Era (1540-1600) in the development of Telugu poetry. In this poetic style, these great poets deviated from the so-far accepted direct translations of Sanskrit works. They picked stories from the Puranas, sometime obscure ones, and elaborated upon them, at times with embellishments, taking recourse to artistic licence. All eight wrote at least one Prabandha Kavyamu, giving the Prabandha Era its currently accepted form.

The major works of the eight poets are—Peddanna–Swaarochissa Manucharitamu; Timmanna–Kavya Parijatapaharanam; Ramabhadrudu–Ramaabhyudayamu; Dhurjati–Kalahasti Mahatyamu; Mallana–Rajasekharacharitamu; Surana–Raghavapandaveeyamu; Ramakrishna–Udbhataradhyacharitramu; and Ramrajabhushanadu–Harishchandranalopakhyanamu.

Timmanna also wrote in Kannada and completed the version of Mahabharata left half-finished by Kumara Vyasa. The Kannada version of the Valmiki Ramayana was also brought out during this time of great literary activity. Tamil literature and poetry also flourished with a number of Tamil poems being written in praise of Krishna Deva Raya—the most notable being Manjarippa by Jnanaprakasha, who was patronised by the Raya.

Fine Arts

Krishna Deva Raya himself is reported to have been a fine musician who played the Veena at the ‘expert’ level of competence. It is not surprising that the fine arts also received sufficient royal patronage and therefore flourished during his reign. Painting was a popular decorative art form and adorned the walls of the palace and other buildings. The paintings in the palace have been described in great detail by the Portuguese visitor Paes, in his narrative of his visit to Vijayanagara Empire.

Murals were also popular and particularly encouraged as temple decorations. The famous murals of the Virabhadra Temple of Lepakshi and the Kesava Temple at Sompalli are great examples of this art form as practised during the time. Sculpture was another popular art form and the temples of the time abounded in fine sculptors. They depicted mythological scenes as well as contemporary events. It is noteworthy that even though the sculptures were mainly in the temples, most of the contemporary scenes depicted were secular in nature with no overt religious bias. Krishna Deva was also a liberal patron of classical dance forms and had appointed Bandaru Lakshminarayana as the ‘Natyacharya’, or dance teacher, of the court. The palace had a separate dance hall, where the young princesses of the royal house were taught dance by him.

There is no doubt that Krishna Deva Raya’s reign witnessed a great resurgence of cultural, literary and artistic activities. This is all the more praiseworthy since the Empire was in a state of war almost throughout his rule. The more aesthetic and evolved artistic pursuits need assured freedom of the nation in order to flourish—this is a historically proven fact. Therefore, the cultural developments that took place in Vijayanagara during Krishna Deva’s rule must be put in perspective. In an indirect manner, the exemplary literary and artistic developments that ran parallel to the victorious military campaigns of the Empire was the result of the fact that Vijayanagara itself was never physically threatened. The reason for this situations could have been because the kingdom was almost always on the offensive. The population at home were at peace and benefitted from the spoils of victory that was repatriated regularly. The ebullience of literature and fine arts added colour and splendour to Krishna Deva Raya’s rule and made it appear more brilliant than it would otherwise have seemed.

The Art of State-Craft

At the time of his accession, the administration of the Empire was weak, faltering, and inefficient for obvious reasons. From the beginning of his reign, Krishna Deva was an astute student of state-craft, being tutored by his learned Prime Minister Timmaraya, and also engaging in self-study of ancient texts on polity. He was matured for his age and had closely watched the administrations of both his father and brother, imbibing the good traits while also distinguishing between the good and bad practices of governance. He combined the lessons gathered from his observations and studies, along with the concepts that he developed on his own regarding governance, and placed them into a book that he wrote, called Amuktamalyada.

The Amuktamalyada is a celebrated ‘Mahakavya’ in Telugu and considered Krishna Deva Raya’s magnum opus. It is still ranked as a principle work in Telugu and demonstrates not only the Raya’s mastery of Sanskrit and Telugu, but also his deep knowledge of the Dvaita philosophy and state-craft. The book leaves no doubts about Krishna Deva having formulated his own views and tenets of ‘Rajniti’, a term that could very broadly be considered to mean the practice of politics in a holistic manner.


Roughly translated as ‘a garland of pearls’, ‘Amukta Malya Da’ meaning ‘one who wears and gives away garlands’, is considered a masterpiece in Telugu literature. The epic poem narrates the story of the wedding of Andal, the daughter of Periyalvar and the Hindu God, Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Andal used to wear the garlands intended for the Lord Ranganatha before they were offered to the deity, from which practice the title has been derived.

Krishna Deva Raya very cleverly inserted his own views on ‘Rajniti’ into the book by introducing a sub-story into the main narrative. The sub-story deals with the story of the celebrated Vaishnava teacher Yamunacharya, with some minor alterations made by Krishna Deva Raya himself.

Krishna Deva Raya’s version of the story goes:

When Yamuna was still a young bachelor, he went to the Pandyan king’s court. The king was a staunch Shaivite, whereas his queen was a great devotee of Vishnu. Yamuna engaged in religious discussions and debates with the king’s teacher who was a renowned exponent of Shaivism. The king promised his wife that if Yamuna won the debate, he would gift Yamuna half his kingdom. Yamuna won the debate and the king was forced to give him half the kingdom and at the behest of his wife, also gave his sister in marriage to him.

The king subsequently send Yamuna on an expedition. Gradually Yamuna succumbed to the pleasures associated with royal living and started to ignore his expeditionary commitments. The story goes that Rama Misra, a disciple of a disciple of Nathamuni who was Yamuna’s grandfather and a great Vaishnava teacher, took Yamuna to Srirangam. There he showed him the feet of the god Ranganatha and reminded him of the stature and greatness of his grandfather.

Yamuna realised his mistake and installed his son as the king in preparation for renouncing the world. However, before doing so, he taught the young prince the essence of Rajniti. These teachings, as espoused in the book, were Krishna Deva Raya’s own views and understanding of state-craft.

Krishna Deva Raya provided many directions, injunctions and tenets to kings regarding the manner in which they should live, the way of life that they should follow in effectively discharging their duties and the correct manner in which they should prosecute the fine art of state-craft. The various aspects that form the essence of his teachings are reproduced below in simple form.

On delivering justice in war and peace:

  • Always be vigilant. Continually monitor both internal and external foes—even in the midst of celebrations and also while pursuing pleasure.
  • Spot and neutralise all secret enemies of the kingdom, arresting and punishing them expeditiously.
  • Offenders deserving capital punishment must be excused twice after which they should be hanged immediately to avoid their becoming more dangerous.
  • A king must never display anger against offender(s) till such times that he is able to initiate concerted and effective action against them.
  • The following common mistakes must be avoided:
    • Delivering unusually harsh judgements and punishments;
    • Not distinguishing the truth and falsehoods during the trial and the subsequent sentencing;
    • Keeping opponents in prison for long periods of time since it could lead to their escape, the guards substituting them with innocent people to avoid the wrath of the king, in turn leading to the punishment of innocents, which will damage the reputation of the king; and
    • Not conceding peace when an enemy has appealed for peace during a conflict.
  • Unsocial elements must be eliminated.

On the economy:

  • The places where precious metals are available should be discovered and these places should be safeguarded to ensure that the kingdom’s wealth is increased.
  • Taxes should be minimal but levied at a level to ensure sufficiency of funds for the central administration.
  • Agriculture is one of the mainstays of the overall economic strength of the kingdom. Therefore, farmers must not be permitted to go into debt since it would then lead to their migration, resulting in loss to the state.
  • The expenditure of the kingdom as whole must always be carefully monitored and measures instituted to balance income and expenditure.
  • Trade must be encouraged since it brings revenue to the state and thus prosperity to its citizens. Traders in military wares such as guns, horses and elephants must be encouraged to stay in the country so that they would not be able to deal with potential adversaries.
  • Treasure expended on the maintenance of a sufficiently large army should not be considered wasteful.
  • A king must lay down and enforce a viable economic policy ensuring that income always exceeds expenditure.

On the welfare of the kingdom and its subjects:

  • The primary responsibility of the king is the happiness of his people. If the welfare of the people is always maintained as the highest priority, the people will reciprocate by ensuring the king’s welfare.
  • It is the king’s responsibility to ensure that his people do not live in overcrowded areas, by making available vacant ground for habitation when required.
  • Krishna Deva Raya believed that there was a natural order in life which must be followed and not violated—women follow husbands; men and women do not transgress their duties; ascetics observe self-restraint; lower castes obey higher castes; and servants are loyal to their masters. The natural order is followed by the population for fear of the wrath of the king if these are violated. [The list might seem archaic and politically incorrect in the current modern world, but were very ‘correct’ and acceptable in medieval times.]
  • ‘Brahmins’ are the most loyal and trustworthy people and therefore subordinate officials and junior commanders in the military should be recruited from amongst them. These officials can also be of high birth and learned men of other castes.

On the general conduct of the king:

  • A king must appoint good, capable and incorruptible ministers, but must not be fully dependent on them for the administration of the kingdom. Even so, it must be appreciated that:
    • Without good ministers, even if the kingdom has a full treasury and great military strength, it will eventually crumble from the inside.
    • On the other hand, bad ministers will instigate rebellion, try to usurp the throne, and/or make the king a puppet.
  • A king should provide grants to learned men (and women) in order to ensure that they continue their scholarship, necessary for the spiritual, cultural and educational upliftment of the greater society.
  • Temples must be provided sufficient upkeep.
  • Soldiers must always be honoured.
  • A king must personally monitor and supervise the foreign policy of the State.
    • Ambassadors from both friendly and adversarial countries must be treated cautiously.
    • Diplomacy is a fine art that must be assiduously studied and cultivated.
    • Military invasion of a foreign kingdom is the last resort and must be well-planned and executed at all levels to ensure victory.
  • The ideal daily routine for a king was laid down as:
    • Conferring with his personal doctors in the early morning, followed by discussions with ministers and other officials on matters of state;
    • Giving instructions regarding his own food for the day;
    • Exercising and having the body massaged;
    • Worshipping the Gods before mid-day;
    • Spending time with elders, sages and ascetics in discussion;
    • Some time to be laid aside to spend with clowns, poets etc. for personal entertainment; and
    • Analysing reports from the spies and other sources in the evening, followed by listening to music or playing musical instruments before retiring to the ladies.
  • A king should not be addicted to any vice.

The list of dos and don’ts are exhaustive and the above is only the core of the exhortations that Krishna Deva put forward as part of a illustrative story, but are definitely his own views. They resonate with the tenets that the great Chanakya espoused in his seminal treatise, Arthashastra. It has been difficult to establish whether or not Krishna Deva Raya had access to the book or whether he was influenced by its contents, which could have been passed on by word of mouth. However, it is highly likely that the Raya was influenced in some manner by the book, especially since some of the injunctions to ruling righteously rhymes with the injunctions in the Arthashastra. Almost as a footnote, it has to be mentioned that Krishna Deva Raya himself failed to adhere to some of his own concepts regarding the correct manner of ruling a kingdom, especially during the wars towards the end of his reign that he fought against the Muslim kingdoms to the north.

Temples and Public Works

Krishna Deva Raya carried out a large number of construction projects, especially in and around the capital. At the very start of his rule, he reconstructed a temple that had been constructed earlier by the founding kings of the Empire in honour of Madhavacharya, but had since fallen into disrepair. He also added a ‘gopura’, a tower, to the existing Hampi temple. He then went on to build the great Krishnaswamy Temple and commenced the construction of the Hazara Ramaswamy Temple, within the palace grounds. Architects believe that this temple was completed at a later period and only remained under construction during Krishna Deva’s rule.

He began the construction of the Temple of Vithalaswamy on the river bank and planned it to be the most ornate religious building in the kingdom. The construction was continued by his successors, but it would seem that the temple was never fully completed. In 1528, he commissioned the construction of an enormous statue of Nara-Simha, the man-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu, hewn out of a single boulder of granite. The sculptor was badly damaged during the sacking of Vijayanagara at a later time, but can still be seen in its damaged state—it is a most striking object.

In order to improve the irrigation of dry lands, in 1521 Krishna Deva commissioned the construction of a great dam and channels at Korragal, a system that continues to be used even today. He also had the Basvanna Channel built for the same purpose. He also built an enormous tank near the capital with the assistance of Portuguese engineers, which became a dammed up lake, unfortunately dried up now.

Perhaps his biggest construction project undertaken by Krishna Deva was the creation of a ‘new city’ outside the capital, which was named called Nagalapura in honour of his favourite queen, Nagala Devi. The new city was Krishna Deva Raya’s residence from around 1520. [Nagala Devi is described by Sewell as the ‘quondam courtesan’, meaning an erstwhile courtesan. This is a fact almost never mentioned in Vijayanagara chronicles and can be considered an early attempt at selective reporting to ensure that unsavoury facts were brushed aside and kept hidden, to be forgotten over a period of time.]


Krishna Deva Raya came to power when the Empire was in great difficulty, at a low ebb and going through a period of uncertainty. He was mature for his age, courageous and self-confident, becoming over a short period of time a consummate practitioner of state-craft. His first achievement was to neutralise and subsequently humble the Gajapati king of Orissa, who had become the biggest threat to the Vijayanagara Empire. Krishna Deva was a versatile individual, bordering on being a genius, being able to establish his personal stature as a victorious general in the battlefield as well as a gifted artiste and a man of letters and the arts. For the major part of his reign he was favourably compared to the great ancient emperors—Samudragupta, Chandragupta II and Harsha Vardhana. His rule was the embodiment of toleration, liberalism and magnanimity, functioning within a happy blend of secular and spiritual ideals.

The actions that he initiated towards the end of his rule to ensure the succession of his young son to the throne and the manner in which he treated his wise and loyal Prime Minister marred what would otherwise have been a perfect rule.

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About Sanu Kainikara

Sainik School Kazhakuttam (Kerala), National Defence Academy 39/A, 108 Pilot's Course IAF, fighter pilot, QFI, FCL, psc, HACC, Voluntary Retirement as Wing Commander. Canberra-based Political and Defence Analyst specialising in military strategy, national security, and international politics. PhD in International Politics from University of Adelaide Executive Masters in Public Adminsitration (ANZSOG) Adjunct Professor, University of New South Wales, Distinguished Fellow Institute For Regional Security (IFRS) Distinguished Fellow Centre for Air Power Studies (CAPS)

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