Sriranga Deva Raya
Sriranga I (a.k.a. Sriranga Deva Raya) (r. 1572–1586 CE) was the eldest son of Tirumala Deva Raya and the king of Vijayanagara empire. He carried the restoration of the Vijayanagara empire, but his reign was marred with repeated attacks and loss of territories from his Muslim neighbours.
In 1576, Ali Adil Shah lay siege to his fort in Penukonda for three months, but at the end Sriranga I bought out the Adil Shah’s Hindu lieutenants which helped his commanders defeat the Sultan’s army.
In 1579, Sultan’s new commander Murari Rao, a Maratha Brahmin, launched a sudden plundering operation heading a large Muslim army. His hordes began systematically ravaging the territory south of the River Krishna with great ferocity. In late 1579, he ransacked the Ahobilam temple and laid waste to it. He uprooted an ancient ruby-studded idol of Vishnu made out of pure gold and sent it to the Sultan as gift.
Damarla Chennappa Nayaka, a general of Recherla Velama dynasty was sent to defeat the Golkonda raiders but the magnitude of atrocities committed by the invaders alerted Sriranga I who also hurried to parry the attack. Murari Rao and his Golkonda raiders were defeated, Murari Rao was pursued by Chennappa who captured and imprisoned him in a cage. By 1580, Sriranga I turned the tide and started chasing the Golkonda army northwards recovering the territory they had seized. Sriranga I generously spared the life of Murari Rao because of his brahminical origins.
Ibrahim Qutb Shah, the new Sultan was furious and decided to settle the matters himself and invaded Kondavidu with the rest of his army and took the Udayagiri fort. Then he launched a massive raid on Udayagiri and slaughtered the locals, but Sriranga I kept the fight on and repulsed Sultan’s army from Udayagiri after an initial retreat. Unfazed, Qutb Shah struck at Vinukonda and seized the fort. Sriranga I, along with Chennappa and Kasturiranga, rushed to Vinukonda and after a fierce battle the Sultan’s army was defeated and sent back. Later, Sriranga I’s troops, under Chennappa, stormed the fort of Kondavidu while the later died fighting even as he forced the Sultans army to retreat.
Despite the loss of territories, which was higher this time, Sriranga I also had a difficult time with his uncooperative brothers and noble men and continued to resist with limited resources as the Nayaks of Madurai and Gingee evaded on paying annual tributes.
Sriranga I died in 1586, without an heir and was succeeded by his youngest brother Venkata II.
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Tirumala Deva Raya