Chandragiri: The Last Capital of the Vijayanagara Empire
The Battle of Talikota in 1565 CE is seen as a watershed of sorts in the history of Southern India. The devastating defeat of the great Vijayanagara kingdom, by the armies of the Deccan Sultanates, changed the course of history. While most of us left it there, what is rarely spoken about is that a small part of the grand Vijayanagara empire continued to exist for another 81 years after this battle. Centered further east, the only point of reference to this chapter of southern history is the fort of Chandragiri, in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
After the destruction of Vijayanagara’s imperial capital Hampi and the death of Emperor Aliya Rama Raya on the Talikota battlefield, his brother, Tirumala Deva Raya the Regent, fled with the court to the town of Penukonda, where he died. Since the city of Hampi was close to Vijayanagara’s border with Bijapur and constantly under attack, it was decided that the capital should shift south, where it would be relatively safe from the invaders. The attacks didn’t stop entirely. In 1596 CE, it was decided that the capital would be shifted further afield to the highly fortified and well-protected city of Chandragiri in the Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh.