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Thursday, April 8, 2010

500TH ANNIVERSARY OF CORONOATION OF SAMRAT --------------------- ???

Dear (s)

History teaches us many things. For us in Tamilnadu, the ancient empires were those of Chera, Chozha, Pandya and Pallavars. Together they ruled this land with unique culture and language contributing to the growth of some of the oldest extant literature in the world. Chera dynasty is traced to Sangam era of 300 BC. Early Cheras ruled Kerala, Kongu nadu, Salem, Dharmapuri. The longest ruling dynasty was that of Choazha who ruled from the heartland of fertile kaveri valley. Pandyas ruled from Madurai and the Pallava dynasty ruled the northern tamilnadu region and Andhra Pradesh with capital being Kanchi.

Though we quite often talk of heritage, not much is remembered of them – recently the 500th anniversary of the coronation of a mighty kingdom was celebrated with much fanfare by our neighbouring state. Do you know the facts about this and can you connect this to the holy temple of Thirumala – the Seven hills.

Well the worthy celebration was in commemoration of the e 500th Anniversary of the coronation of Samrat Krishna Deva Raya at Hampi was conducted by the Karnataka Govt. during Jan 2010 in a really befitting manner at Hampi which was the capital of the dynasty.  Hailed as the 'golden era' of prosperity, pomp and glory, the 16th century Vijayanagara empire was an epoch-making event in Indian history, as the illustrious emperor -- a valiant warrior, great general and master military strategist -- had also sown the seeds of democratic administration. Krishna Deva Raya was the son of Nagala Devi and Tuluva Narasa Nayaka, an army commander under Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya, who later took control of the empire to prevent its disintegration. The king's coronation took place on the birthday of Lord Krishna, and his earliest inscription is from July 26, 1509 CE. He built a beautiful suburb near Vijayanagara called Nagalapura in memory of his mother. After a 21-year glorious rule from 1509-1529, Krishnadevaraya left behind a rich legacy of artefacts, treasury troves, temples, palaces, exquisite monuments and a royal city that was declared in 1986 a world heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco).
The city of Hampi was decked up around 15 km from Hospet in Bellary. Though not much reported, a three day utsav has been celebrated each year at the Vijaya nagar (the city of Victory). The pompous procession starts from the main temple of the town – the Virupakasha temple. This year lakhs flocked to Hampi and witnessed the musical extravaganza depicting the King’s coronation. The function was attended by Pujya Shri Shri Ravi Shankar, Head of the Art of Living Organisation and LK Advani who released a research volume titled “Hampi – a story in stone” produced by American scholars John M. Fritz and George Michell.
Progeny needs to know the exploits of Shri Krishna Deva Raya and the epoch making founding of the great Vijaya Nagar . Krishna Deva Raya was a formidable warrior and a brilliant military strategist. When the Deccan Sultanate rulers invaded the Vijayanagara kingdom in 1565, the empire's suzerainty extended from Nellore to Udayagiri and from Kanyakumari in the southern coast to Kalinga in the east and up to Goa in the west. These parts of the country were earlier ruled by feuding chieftains, the four prominent among them being the Kakatiyas of Warangal, the Hoysalas of the Central Deccan plateau, the Yadavas of Devagiri and the Pandyas in the deep south. In the 21 years of his rule (1509-1530) he waged 14 major wars and won all of them. His most notable war was the war against the combined armies of the three Sultans of Bijapur, Ahmednagar and Golkanda.

The King is known for his literary prowess also and his composition in telegu Amuktamaalyada is highly acclaimed. Known for administrative reforms, he drew heavily from the traditional principles and from the teachings of Kautilya, Shukra, Bhishma, Vidura and others. The site of Hampi proved to be a natural citadel having supplementary ramparts and was well watered by the Tungabhadra river. The famed emperor Tuluva Sri Krishna Deva Raya earned the titles Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana, Mooru Rayara Ganda (meaning King of three kings) and Andhra Bhoja. The accounts of Portuguese travellers Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz chronicles the facets of his administration.

Geographically, Hampi is located in northern Karnataka in the ruins of Vijayanagar. Garlapati Tenali Ramakrishna popularly known as Tenali Rama and Vikata Kavi, was a court-poet of the Vijayanagar Empire. He was one of the Ashtadiggajas . Legend has it that Hampi is identified with the historical Kishkindha, the Vanara (monkey) kingdom mentioned in the Ramayana.

We have had darshan at Sri Thirumala. After passing through the Padi Kavali Maha Dwara, one can find an open mandapam known as pratima mandapam. This name is derived from the pratimas or bronze portrait icons of the emperor and his consorts Tirumaladevi & Chinnadevi. The icons stand facing the main Shrine with hands joined in supplication. This exquisitely beautiful mandapam is believed to have been built in later Vijayanagara times.

With regards – Sampathkumar S

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