Vijayanagara - Sangama

The Vijayanagara Empire was a kingdom in South India founded by brothers, Harihara and Bukka in 1336 CE. It was ruled by four different families of the Sangam Dynasty and is named after its capital, Vijayanagara, located in Karnataka. Its ruins surround present-day Hampi. The empire came to an end by 1646 CE when it was conquered by the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda.

The rulers of Vijayanagara were patrons of literature. Many of them have authored classics in Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu. Krishna Deva Raya has composed works in all three languages. Amuktamalyada described the pain of separation faced by Sri Andal (incarnation of Mother Goddess Sri Mahalakshmi venerated as Sri Bhoomi Devi) for Lord Vishnu in Telugu. The Bhakti and Lingayat movements have been known to take place during this era. The kings were known to have been tolerant towards all religions.

The Vijayanagara Empire is noted for its architecture and literature which was refined under the patronage of the kings. Many palaces and temples were built. Although the palaces no longer stand today, the temples provide us with an insight into the architectural culture of the empire. The ruins around Hampi showcase the architectural style of the Vijayanagara Empire.

The economy of the empire was based on agriculture. Various crops were grown throughout the year for export purposes. Vijayanagara maintained trade relations with China and Europe and many famous ports located on the coast of the empire are still in use today.

The empire minted various coins for daily use mostly in Copper, and Silver. Gold coins were minted for special occasions and was used mostly exclusively by the nobility. Mints were located in multiple regions of the empire. Coins of various denominations were minted for both, Silver and Gold Coins. Copper coins were mostly of the Jital denomination. They bore various images of Hindu deities.

The empire went into decline after 1632 CE and began to disintegrate into small independent kingdoms. The territory that remained after the disintegration was finally absorbed by the Sultanates of Bijapur and Golconda bringing about the end of the Vijayanagara Empire.

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