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The Abrupt fall of Vijayanagara Empire – Causes and Consequences

The Bahmani rulers realised their constant fighting against each other was going to be beneficial to the Vijayanagara Empire. They realised the other thing also. On their own they could not defeat the Vijayanagara Empire. On their own, none of them could defeat the Vijayanagara Empire. So, they decided to form the alliances. And that lead to the down fall. So here what he did was Adil shah, the Bijapur ruler, he negotiated with Qutub Shah, the ruler of Golconda. So what Qutub Shah, he did was he negotiated with Adil Shah and Hussain Shah. Mind you, Hussain Shah and Adil Shah were bitter rivals. But they still agreed to ally together for a common purpose that was against Vijayanagara. So the three main kingdoms, Bijapur, Golconda and Ahmednagar, three main kingdoms came together, found a common friend to defeat the Vijayanagara empire. And of course, they took the help of Bidar and Berar.

So, the five kingdoms alliance against Vijayanagara. The first time in life ever they fighting came together. And they met at a place called Talikota, which is lying currently in the Bijapur district. So here again, the second thing, Bahmani rulers were busy they were planning their strategies, they sending spies and all that. Aliya Rama Raya took it for granted. They were just relaxing. I mean, they felt that these people attacked us so many times, what can they do to us? So they took it for granted and nothing is going to happen. They were pretty indifferent and I mean that took it to him. So, like Rama Raya what he did was though he got reports enemy movements were coming towards Vijayanagara, he just dismissed them saying that nothing is going to happen, they attacked us so many times, what will they do? And that was going to be a disaster. Nevertheless, he put his brother Tirumala Raya in control of the Krishna River, to ensure the Bahmanis were blocked.

What the Bahmanis did was they saw that the Vijayanagara army was blocking the Krishna River at one point. So they deliberately tricked them to believe that they were attacking from some other point. So, the Vijayanagara army fell for the trick, they went to that particular point where they thought the Bahmanis would attack and what this Bahmani ruler did was they crossed that particular point.

And then January 23, 1565 the Battle of Talikota bought an end to Vijayanagara Empire. So, on one side you had the Vijayanagara forces and the other side five front, the Bahmani forces which consists of Bijapur, Ahmednagar, Golconda and Bidar and Berar. At the back forces three layers of artillery, I mean they were pretty much equipped at artillery. So actually, for initially for some time the Vijayanagara forces initially were under heavy fire. But after sometime what happen was Venkatadri Raya the brother roof Aliya Rama Raya, he attacked the Bahmani forces heavily. Rama Raya, in spite he was pretty much old he was almost in his 70s in spite of that he still fought bravely against Bahmani rulers.

Unfortunately, this is why I told that getting the Muslim archers in the army was going to be a disaster it happened here. There was a couple of contingent of Muslim officers. They switch sides. Just at the crucial point in battle they switch sides. That’s why I told you before, getting Muslim archers in the army was like good in the short term and long run its going to be a disaster, and it was proved here. So what happened was the entire contingent of Muslim forces, they switched sides to the Bahmani forces, 5000 members of the Vijayanagara army was surrounded and killed and it was over.

Rama Raya himself was struck by a cannon shot. I mean the elephant was stuck, he fell own and he was taken as prisoner. So a very tragic ending. He was taken to Nizam Shah. So, he was given a choice of whether converting to Islam or not. Rama Raya refuse to convert and he was beheaded. The man who beheaded him was Ibrahim Quli Qutub Shah, another irony here. Quli Qutub Shah had a bitter succession battle with his brother. So he escaped from Golconda and when he came, he took refuge in Vijayanagara, the person who gave refuge to him was Rama Raya himself. But when it came to the final reckoning he was the one who beheaded. I mean very bitter and tragic irony. For there was one. And with the death of Rama Raya, the Vijayanagara forces became demoralised. They retreated from the battle field and soon it became a total rout.

So, it was apparent that Hampi would be falling. So what Thirumala Raya did was, he took the royal treasure on 1500 elephants and he carried that to a place called Penukonda its in Anantapur district, the second capital and most of the soldiers and chieftains abandoned Hampi. But even then also people felt that nothing would be happening to Hampi. So out of the three days, the date on which the Bahmani forces entered Vijayanagara, just see the irony of it- January 26th and after 3 days they entered it, soon the destruction started. One of the greatest empires in the world, temples and the buildings were broken, its treasures were looted, people were captured, prisoners were taken, there were endless massacre.

For three to four days, the entire Hampi was ransacked, burnt, looted, blazed. After that it never rose again. So one of the greatest empires in the world, greatest empires in the civilisation in the world, came to an end in such a brutal and tragic manner.

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