Aliya Ramaraya, who usurped the throne of Vijayanagara i r.img Sadasiva into prison, played high politics with the contemporary Sultans of the Deccan and exasperated them with his .a lop.nnce and illtreatment. The Sultans combined their armies and m\ adcd the Vijayanagara empire. Ramaraya opposed them between two villages, named Rakkasi andTangadi, in 1565 A.D. In the battle ili.ii ensued Ramaraya was killed by an accidental shot and the \ qayanagara armies ran helter skelter. The Muslims pursued these and routed them. Tirumala, a brother of Ramaraya, escaped
III mi the battle-field and rushed to the capital. There, instead of (Mi I icring fresh forces and offering another resistence to the invaders. In organised an exodus from the capital. He gathered whatever
.doubles he could lay hands upon and taking his own family and the
unfortunate phantom emperor, Sadasiva, with him he fled to Penugonda. The Muslims reached Vijayanagara, camped there for six months and destroyed the great capital city to their heart’s content. Krishnappanayaka, commander of the fortress of Ginjee, and son of Visvanathanayaka, the governor of Tiruvadi-rajya, seized parts of Tondamandalam during this troublesome period and harassed it.
The battle of Rakkas- Tangadi was a turning point not only in the fortunes of the Vijayangara empire but also in the history of the entire Deccan and south India. The unexpected success that fell to their lot in the battle, the prevalence of disorder and confusion in the empire, the recalcitrant attitude and treasonable activity of the leading feudatories and frequent disputes for succession in the Aravidu family, all these encouraged the Sultans of Bijapur and Golconda, whose territories lay across the northern border of the empire, to lead frequent attacks against the empire and appropriate its territory. The orders issued by the Mughal Emperor, Sha Jahan, gave them further encouragement. The Vijayanagara empire came to be known at this as the Carnatic Empire. The Sultans of Bijapur concentrated their attacks on western Carnatic while the Sultans of Golconda chose eastern Carnatic as their target.
Very soon, however, Tirumala assumed the government of the empire and set matters right. He made his eldest son, Sriranga, the viceroy of the Telugu speaking area in the empire with his headquaters at Penugonda and installed two other sons as viceroys over the Kannada and Tamil areas. Venkatapati. the youngest son, became viceroy of the Tamil area with Chandragiri as his headquarters.
Tirumala crowned himself, assuming the title Tirumalaraya and thus began the rule of the Aravidu family in 1570 A.D. His name is associated with part of the Unjal-mantapam, known as the Tirumalaraya-mantapam in the Sri Venkatesvara temple at Tirumala. Muslim attacks started even during the short rule of Tirumalaraya. The armies of Bijapur attacked Anegondi, Adoni and Penugonda
hul I irumala, following the policy of Ramaraya, played the Sultans against each other and averted danger.
Sriranga I (1572-1585) succeeded him. Six inscriptions of this 111 lei’s lime are found in the temples ofTirumala and Tirupati. All of 11 h i n register gifts made by private individuals. Sriranga had a busy lime The Sultans of Bijapur and Golconda, who were two participants in the fatal battle of Rakkas-Tangadi and who were neighbours of the Vijayanagara empire in the north, pursued a policy of consistent aggrandizement and attempted to annex as much of iIk empire as possible. The Bijapur forces invaded Adoni and penugonda during the reign of Sriranga I and the emperor shifted
his capilal to Chandragiri. He could repel this invasion with the help
of the Sultan of Golconda. Later, however, the Sultan of Golconda
changed his attitude and sent two invasions against the empire. The hr.I attack was made in 1579 A.D. and the Muslims plundered the h in i k Mil district and captured the famous temple of Ahobalam. They m n repelled by Kondaraju Venkataraju. Invading again in 1589 \ I) I hey captured many strongholds in the Guntur and Nellore ih n u is including the fortresses of Udayagiri and Kondavidu.To make matters worse, the feudatories and officials of the empire 11 m h 11 iled frequent troubles. Sriranga had to contend against all these in ii11iles and could hardly find any time for peaceful pursuits and \ i Ms lo temples.
Venkatapati (1585-1614) was the next ruler. He was the ) ’11\ i i nor oI Chandragiri during the two preceding reigns and was also in additional charge of Udayagiri and Kondavidu. After his in i ession, he shifted the capital from Penugonda to Chandragiri. I Ii was a great devotee of Sri Venkatesvara and set up in the temple a I ii mnala statues of himself, his father, Tirumala and mother, \ 11 igalan iba. This monarch is mentioned in fourteen inscriptions from l imn tala and Tirupati. Muslim invasions from the north and rebellions
of feudatories continued in this reign also and there was considerable disorder and confusion. Venkatapatiraya had to encounter two invasions. On the first occasion, the Golconda armies took Nandyala, Gutti and Gandikota and invested Penugonda. They were repelled. On the second occasion they were able to come up the Pennar. They were defeated once again and made to acknowledge the Krishna as the boundary.
The next ruler, Sriranga II (1614), was very unfortunate. His wife’s brother, Jaggaraya, imprisoned him and murdered him while in prison.
Ramadevaraya (1614-1630) was the only child of Sriranga that could be rescued from the slaughter perpetrated by Jaggaraya. Yacamanayaka of the Velugoti family of Vijayanagara subordinates rescued hi m by a ruse and took him from place to place and ultimately sought asylum at the court of the Nayaka governor of Tanjore. This Nayaka fought a battle with Jaggaraya at Topur, destroyed him and crowned Ramadevaraya. There is only one record of this king in this king in this region. Ramadevaraya had to contend against Muslim invasions from the north and the determined opposition of the Nayakas of Madura and Ginjee in the south. The Bijapur armies led two invasions into western Carnatic during the reign of Ramadevaraya in 1620 and 1624 A.D. These resulted in the loss of a good part of the Kumool district for the empire. The annies of Golconda marched along the east coast up to Annugam in 1624A.D. and were opposed by the emperor. The Vijayanagara armies were defeated opposed by the emperor. The Vijayanagara armies were defeated and further losses were averted on account of the withdrawal of the Muslim armies due to other circumstances.
Venkata II (1630-1642) the next ruler, also had a bad time. There was a dispute for the succession to the throne and the fight lasted for five long years. There was anarchy and confusion all over
llir empire during this period. The Sultans of Bijapur sent repeated invasions against the Cuddapah, Kurnool, Anantapur and Mysore legion. The emperor’s nephew, Sriranga, created trouble from within.
11 ic Sultans of Golconda sent expeditions which reached as far south a*. 1‘ulicat. Unable to contend against all these odds, the emperor sought refuge in the hills of the Chittoor district. There are two records i >1 Ins reign at Tirupati.
Sriranga III (1642-1681) was not more fortunate. He made tunlendous efforts at restoring peace and order and preserving the empire. But the odds were too many. The armies of Bijapur attacked tin- Mysore area again and again. A powerful feudatory, named I tin icrla Venkatadri, became the sworn enemy of the emperor and caused great loss and worry. The Sultans of Golconda were active appropriating much territory on the east coast. The Nayakas of Ginjee and Madura refused to recognise the great danger that threatened the empire and fought the emperor and resisted all his attempts to rally all the available strength in making one supreme effort at saving iln* empire. Shah Jahan, the contemporary Mughal emperor of northern India, commanded the Sultans of Bijapur and Golconda to annex as much territory of the Hindu empire in the south as possible. Hus led to another spate of Muslim invasions which proved too much and Sriranga escaped to Mysore. With this even the phantom of the Vijayanagara empire disappeared.