Krishnadeva Raya, the ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, stands out as a prominent figure in medieval South Indian history. Known by various titles such as ‘Kannadaraya,’ ‘Sri Karnata Mahisa,’ and ‘Kannada Rajya Ramaramana,’ his reign witnessed remarkable cultural and material prosperity in South India.
Patronage of Literature:
- Krishnadeva Raya, also known as Abhinava Bhoja, was not just a ruler but a dedicated patron of literature. His own scholarly pursuits included the creation of the Telugu work ‘Amuktamalyada’ and a Sanskrit play titled ‘Jambavati Kalyana.’
- The king surrounded himself with eight illustrious scholars, collectively referred to as the ‘Ashtadiggajas.’ Among them, Allasani Peddana, often called the ‘Andhra-kavitapitamaha,’ gained prominence through his work ‘Manucharitamu.’
- Nandi Thimmanna, renowned for ‘Parijathapaharanamu,’ and other literary luminaries such as Tenali Ramakrishna and Kumara Dhurjati were cherished members of his court.
- Krishnadeva Raya’s commitment to regional literature extended to the completion of the Kannada Mahabharatha, initiated by Kumara Vyasa, through the assistance of Kannada poet Thimmanna.
Recognition of Literary Achievements:
- The king personally honored Telugu poet Peddanna for his proficiency in both Telugu and Sanskrit. He actively participated in a procession, lending his support to carry the palanquin bearing Peddanna’s book ‘Manucharitamu.’
- Krishnadevaraya’s support for the propagation of literature was evident in his sheltering of musicians like VyasaRaya, a key figure in the Haridasa movement in Karnataka.
Promotion of Performing Arts:
- The Vijayanagara Empire flourished under Krishnadeva Raya’s patronage of classical art forms. He played a pivotal role in fostering Carnatic music, which found refuge and support in his empire.
- Classical dance forms such as Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi reached their zenith during his reign, thanks to his encouragement and sponsorship.
Krishnadevaraya’s reign represents a glorious chapter in the history of South Indian literature. His imperial court boasted a diverse array of Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil poets, each contributing significantly to their respective literary traditions.
Krishnadeva Raya’s legacy as a scholar and patron of the arts continues to be celebrated in South Indian cultural history, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s literary and artistic heritage.