He ascended the throne on 8th August 1509, on the eve of Krishnashtami. At the time of coronation he was just twentyfive. Though there were marks of small pox on his face he was handsome.
He was hospitable to foreigners. He was an embodiment of politeness. He was a just and able ruler. He was well built and of moderate height. He was well versed in the art of horse riding and fensing.
There was instability in the kingdom at time of his coronation. So he stayed in the capital and studied the social and political conditions of the state. At this time Mohammad Sha and Usuf Adil Khan united with a view to defeating the newking. || In the ensuing battle the army of Vijayanagara || decimated the enemy. Usuf Adil Khan died and || Bijapur became weak.
Krishnadevaraya conquered Raichur in 1512 and then annexed Gulbarga easily. Being ashrehid man Krishnadevaraya set free Sultan ff Mohammed and reinstated him as king. So the Sultan become his friend. All internal feuds || stopped and the chieftains and tributary kings buried their hatchets. He got the title “Yavanarajya Sthapanacharya”, which means the founder of the Muslim Kingdom. The sultans of Bahamani kingdom had annexed Goa to their kingdom. Krishnadevaraya took it back in 1510. Then he defeated and killed Gangaraja of Ummatur and annexed Penugonda to his kingdom. Afterwards he invaded Shivasamudra and Srirangapattana. He consolidated all these territories with Srirangapattana as the capital.
He led the army himself and conquered many forts. Some of them are Udayagiri, Kondavidu, Vijayavada, Kondapalli and Rajamahendri. Though these forts were formidable they could not withstand the on slaught of the army of Vijayanagara. Further, Katak was over whelmed and king prataparudra entered into a treaty with Krishnadevaraya who married Prataparudra’s daughter Jaganmohini, While Krishnadevaraya was absorbed in his Conquests, Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur seized
Raichur. On hearing this Krishnadevaraya returned and took back Raichur. Adil shah suffered
heavy losses in this war. Krishnadevaraya could win easily because of his well organised army and fmetuned techniques of attack. He led from the front and rewarded brave fighters. He took good care of the injured soldiers. Naturally, all were loyal to him.
He had divided the income of the state into four parts. Two parts were for the army, one for religious gifts and rituals and one for the welfare of his subjects. He travelled all over the kingdom to findout the grivances of his subjects and redress them. He implemented plans for the development of agriculture and commerce. The prices of commodities were low. Many foreign travellers like Paes and Nueniz have described in glowing terms the wealth of the kingdom, the splendour of the royal court, the army and the peaceful and happy life of people.
Krishnadevaraya had an able and loyal adviser in Timmarasa whom he called “Appaji” (Revered Father). It was Timmarasa who had once saved Krishnadevaraya. In 1509 Viranarasimha, who wanted to enthrone his eight year old son, had asked Timmarasa to remove the eye balls of Krishnadevaraya. Then Timmarasa hid Krishnadevaraya and showed Narasimha the eye balls of a Lamb. This trick saved the state.
Krishnadevaraya was a genius in many respects, he was a scholar in Telgu and Saskrit languages, he composed “Amukta Malyada” and “Jambuvati Kalyana”. “Amukta-Malyada”, which is in Telgu, comprises of Mahabr arata, Dharmashastra, and political science based on shukraniti. His court was graced by Brahmin, Shaiva and Jain Poets. He had the little “Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana”.
He was a pious man. he made magnanimous gifts and donations for the renovation of old temples and for building new ones. In memory of his caronation he built an auditorium in Virupaksha Temple and a towers at its gate. He built temples of Krishnaswamy and Vijaya Vittala also. In memory of his mother Nagaladevi he constructed Nagalapuri, now known as Hospet.
The reign of twenty years was unique in the history of southern India. By his expeditions he strengthened the remote comers of his kingdom. Before he could buildan unshakable kingdom he died of illness, the year was 1529. After his death the decline of the empire began.
For administrative convenience the kingdom was divided into four parts as Rajya, Mandala, Seema and Sthala. Each Rajya was under a chieftain. Each division had separate officers for revenue, defence and taxes. Though different taxes were levied, land revenue was the main source of income. The defence force was well organised and it was under the control of a chieftain. Newniz has described the defene force as follows ; “The defence force consisted of soldiers, cavalry, elephants and artillery. Nearly one lakh soldiers, cavalry of one thousand knights and five hundred elephants were engaged in the war of Raichur. He had six thousand watchmen for the palace, twenty thousand shields men, three thousand elephant drivers, three hundrd horse trainers and two hundred potters, carpenters and washermen. There were judicial courts and judges in each state. The governors and ministers also worked as judges. Generally, rigid rules were followed. Death punishments were given for serious crimes. Police system was in practice. Police officers like swords men, watchmen and state watchmen looked after law and order. Chieftains protected the borders.
Paes has made the following observation : The sight of the royal court was splendid. Wrestling competition, the evening torch exhibition, mock battles of cavalry, the sight of different colours of light of gunpowder, the procession of governors coming in chariots, rear guard with royal horses, beautiful ladies bearing light stands, elephants paying homage to the king, and the rest made me feel I was dreaming.
During Krishnadevaraya’s reign women were well versed in archery, wrestling, astrology, music and dance. In addition, they worked as body guards, Judges and even watch women. Poligamy was in vogue among the rich. Child marriage was common, as was dowry.
He was not a fanatic. Though he was a Vaishnava he encouraged and patronized different religions. He had patronised both Vyasarayamath and Sringerimath. All castes and communities lived in harmony. He had appointed many Muslims as Officers. People of different religions could follow their religions undeterred.