Why did the imperial power of Vijayanagara decline after the death of Krishnadeva Raya?

Krishnadeva Raya (1509 -29) belonged to the Tuluva dynasty and was one of its most famous rulers. Expansion and consolidation policies were an integral part of Krishnadeva Raya’s rule. He strengthened the central authority and strictly controlled the Nayakas or military chiefs who in turn had control over forts and armed supporters. In spite of the military preparedness, the kingdom flourished as he was able to maintain peace and prosperity in the region.

Following his death in 1529, the kingdom experienced different tensions. The Nayakas became rebellious. By 1542, the centre of the kingdom became controlled by the Aravidus. It was during this period that the existing alignments between the rulers of Vijayanagara and the Deccan Sultanate also shifted. The military ambitions of the Vijayanagara rulers was opposed by the Deccan Sultanate which aligned itself against Vijayanagara.

1565 can be considered a watershed year in the history of the Vijayanagar empire. The chief minister of Vijayanagara, Rama Raya, led the army into battle at Rakshasi-Tangadi (also known as Talikota). But his army was routed by the combined armies of Bijapur, Ahmadnagar and Golconda. Vijayanagara was sacked by the victorious armies and the city was abandoned after a few years.

There is historical evidence that the Vijayanagara kings were keen to ensure the stability of the Sultanates and vice versa. The relationship between the Rayas and the Sultanate was not always hostile. But the actions of Rama Raya, led the Sultans to unite and defeat him which caused the destruction of the Vijayanagara empire.