The Vijayanagar Empire from South India was divided into four dynasties- Sangam dynasty, Saluva dynasty, Tuluva dynasty and Aravidu dynasty. Ruled from 1542 to 1652 A.D. and founded by Tirumala Deva Raya, the Aravidu dynasty was its fourth and last Hindu dynasty. Rama Raya was a regent of the last ruler of Tuluva dynasty and also the eldest brother of Tirumala Deva Raya. Unfortunately, Rama Raya died in the Battle of Raksha Talikota in 1565 that was fought between Vijayanagar Empire and Deccan Sultanate. The defeat eventually weakened the Empire and it collapsed completely because of the combined forces of Bijapur and Deccan Sultanate.
Aravidu kings belonged to the Atreya gotra. Most illustrious king Rama Raya was popularly known as ‘Aliya’, meaning son-in- law in Kannada language. Rama Raya and Tirumala Raya were the sons-in-law of Krishna Deva Raya in Tuluva dynasty. During Krishnadevaraya’s reign, Rama Raya was appointed as an army general. Being an able administrator and a tactful diplomat, Rama Raya led many victorious campaigns.
After Krishna Deva Raya’s demise, his brother Achyuta Deva Raya succeeded to the throne. But Rama Raya imprisoned Achyuta Deva Raya in a coup around 1640 and later he died in 1942. Further, Achyuta Deva Raya’s son Venkata I succeeded power but he was killed soon. Later, minor Sadasiv Raya who was the nephew of Achyuta Deva Raya was made King with regent Rama Raya. When Sadasiv Raya became an able adult, he was kept confined under Rama Raya - the virtual king of the Empire.
Rama Raya replaced many earlier officers and servants with new officers who were loyal to him. Finally, he committed a mistake by appointing Gilani brothers which cost his life at the Battle of Talikota. They had assumed victory of the huge Vijayanagar army, but Gilanis betrayed Rama Raya and he was killed. The Empire was invaded and people were massacred, including the royal family which was left with desolation.