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The illustrious king of Vijayanagara
The kingdom of Vijayanagara (founded in 1336 A.D.) was a stronghold of Hinduism at a time when India was politically dominated by Muslim rulers. The glory of Vijayanagara reached its zenith during the reign of the great Krishnadeva Raya (A.D. 1509 - 1529). Domingos Paes, the Portuguese traveller, described the capital city as 'the best provided city in the world' and found it 'as large as Rome and very beautiful to look at'. Of Krishnadeva Raya, he wrote: 'He is the most perfect king that could be, cheerful of disposition and very merry. He is a great ruler and a man of much justice'.
Krishnadeva Raya succeeded his elder brother Veera Narasimha in the year 1509. According to a legend Veera Narasimha wanted to have Krishnadeva Raya killed, but his is not corroborated by evidence from historical sources.Krishnadeva raya was a shrewd general and an astute statesman. As an accomplished poet and a patron of the arts, his literary court was adorned by eminent poets and scholars in Telegu, Kannda and Sanskrit. Krishnadeva Raya himself wrote a Telegu classic, 'Amukta-Malyada' and a play in Sanskrit, 'Jambavati-Kalyana'. The saint-philosopher Vyasa Tirtha, the saint-composers Purandara Dasa and Kanakadasa, were his contemporaries.
The well-known wit, Tenali Ramakrishna was a favourite of the king. The temples of Rama and Vitthala, the ruins of which are extant in Hampi (near Hospet in karnataka), were contructed during his reign.