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The establishment of the Vijayanagara empire in 1336 A. D. w. is a I uming point in the religious and cultural history of south India. I In- temples and gods of this region passed through critical days during  the first three decades of the fourteenth century on account  of frequent Muslim invasions. The new Hindu empire offered them all the needed protection and extended to them zealous patronage. The Sri Venkatesvara temple of Tirumala received the devoted attention of the various royal families that ruled over the empire and entered upon a phase of unprecedented glory.