Inscriptions The Bagapellsi Copper Plate Inscription of Harihara I tells us
about his achievements. The Bitragunta grant of Sangama II (son of
Kampana) gives us the genealogy of the five Sangama brothers responsible
for the foundation of the Vijayanagar empire. The Channarayapateena
inscription of Harihara II states that Bukka I was successful in conquering
several areas. The Srirangam copper plates of Deva Raya II list the various
achievements of the ruler. The Devulapalli copper plates of Immadi
Narasimha give us the genealogy of the Saluva dynasty.
Numismatics The Vijayanagar emperors issued a large number of gold
coins, called varahas. Some of them were full varahas, some half varahas
and the rest quarter varahas. On the obverse they contain figures of various
Hindu deities and animals like the bull, the elephant and the fabulous
gandaberunda (a double eagle, sometimes holding an elephant in each beak
and claw). On the reverse they contain the king’s name either in Nagari or
Kannada script. Some quarter varahas of Deva Raya II describe him as
‘Gajabentakara’.
Political History
Origin
The Vijayanagar empire was founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka of the
Sangama dynasty who were, at first, in the service of the Kakatiya ruler of
Warangal, Prataparudra II. But after the Muslim conquest of the Kakatjya
kingdom in 1323, they went over to the kingdom of Kampili in modem
Karnataka and became ministers there. When Kampili was also overrun by
Muhammad Tughluq for giving refuge to a Muslim rebel, the two brothers
were imprisoned, converted to Islam, and appointed to deal with the
rebellions in the province of Kampili. After establishing their sway over
Kampili at first for the Sultan, the two Sangama brothers returned to the
Hindu fold at the initiative of saint Vidyaranya, proclaimed their
independence and founded a new city on the south bank of the Tungabhadra
which was called Vijayanagar (city of victory) or Vidyanagar (city of
learning).
Initial Troubles and Expansion