Sunday, December 6, 2009

Krishnadeva Raya

“A perfect king...a great ruler and a man of much justice,” recorded Domingos Paes, a Portuguese traveller of the 16th century. The king was Krishnadeva Raya, who ascended the Vijayanagara throne in 1509 and died, of unknown natural causes, in his forties. But it is for very good reason that these encomiums were showered on him, and his coronation is being celebrated half a millennium after the event. He was a great warrior but also an able administrator, a tolerant statesman, and a learned patron of the arts. In a relatively short reign of 20 years, Krishnadeva Raya expanded the Vijayanagara kingdom into a vast empire.

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1 comment:

Tinkoo said...

For a counterpoint - in fact the only really scathing criticism I've seen so far of Vijayanagar empire & its rulers - see, V S Naipaul's "India: A Wounded Civilization" (1977).

He's essentially arguing, after visiting the site that was once Vijaynagar empire's capital & lies grossly neglected today, that these rulers were so enamored by India's glorious remote past that they built nothing essentially new that will survive to future & will be remembered as Vijaynagar's contribution - & that they did have opportunity to do this.

He doesn't name any specific ruler for special criticism, however.