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 Short biography of Vishnuvardhana

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Bankapura



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Join date: 2012-06-04

PostSubject: Short biography of Vishnuvardhana   Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:12 pm

Vishnuvardhana's position in Hoysala history is unique. He reigned from AD 1108 to A.D. 1142. The very reputation which marked his later career is perhaps responsible for the obscurity which covers his early life. His long reign period of 34 years saw the growth of the Hoysala Empire and the development of innumerable peaceful activities all of which were directed by the personal effort of the king.

His reign period could be conveniently divided into two parts, one from AD 1108 to AD 1128 and the second from AD 1128 to AD 1142. The first was marked by significant conquests and and second by hard effort on the part of the king to retain and consolidate the conquests. One of the first moves Vishnuvardhana made was to attack the territory to the north of Gangavadi as far as Kolar.

He was helped by the Gangas and the Nolambas who were related to him by his father's marriage. After successfully bringing that territory under his control he moved south. He hit against the Kadamba territory, the Ratta territory and other neighbouring lands.

For a time it looked as if the Pandyas of Uchchangi, the Kadambas of Banavasi and the Nolambas Came under his control. This campaign does not aim at the extinction of these dynasties but only to compel the rulers of those principalities to accept his hegemony and to pay tribute. The Alupas also were conquered.

Another campaing carried out in AD 1115 and AD 1116 and recorded in a document at Chamrajnagar is dated 1117. According to that record Vishnuvardhana frightened the Cholas, drove the Gangas underground, entered the Nila Mountain and became the master of Kerala. His conquest of the Nilgris is mentioned in more than one inscription. Having finished his southern campaigns thus, he directed his attention to the north. He moved fast and over wide territories.

His army was commanded by one Gangaraja. He captured Talakad which had owed allegiance to the Cholas ever since the days of Rajaraja I. The Tamil viceroy of Gangavadi was considered aliens in Talakad. The campaign was not only well planned but also well timed since the Chola emperor Kulottunga I was busy attending to the affairs in Vengi. The overthrown governor was a member of the Adigaiman family of Tagadur.

The governor seems to have been killed in battle. In the following military actions a number of other Chola officers were defeated and driven out, for example one Damodara who fled to Kanchi and a Narasingavarma who fled south. This significant achievement which included Vishnuvardhana's temporary stay in Kanchi is proudly mentioned in Hoysala records.

It was clear that Vishnuvardhana had contributed to the disruption of the Chola Empire. Kulottunga I had to suffer diminution of his vast empire and one of the territories which he at least temporarily lost was Gangavadi which Vishnuvardhana captured in the course of this campaign.

There are records to show that a few years later Chola inscriptions are again found in the region of Gangavadi and this could mean that the Cholas were successful in recapturing lost territories but of course ultimately to lose them again to the Hoysalas. It is generally supposed that due to Vishnuvardhana's preoccuption in the north, Vikrama Chola, the son of Kulottunga I, was able to regain Gangavadi.

But it seems to be truer to say that Vikrama achieved this even during his father's life time. During the period, as we have stated above, of consolidation during the last decade and a half of this reign Vishnuvardhana bestowed most attention to matters other than aggression and conquest. It had already become evident that the people of South Karnataka were willing to exchange Chalukya government for Hoysala rule.

Vishnuverdhana's first son Ballala was acting as his father's deputy at Dvarasamudra while the king was busy waging battles. It was during this period that imperial titles like Tribhuvanamalla etc. were conferred on him. In fact he was acting for his father. Vishnuvardhana had an other son Narasimha. While the king was preparing for a new suddenly died, perhaps in 1131.

This was a terrible blow to the king who in addition to bearing the personal loss had to keep up the fight in the north and simultaneously look affter government at Dvarasamudra. He had taken the Chalukya and the Kadambas on at the same time. It was only after the death of Ballala that Narasimha was born i.e., in 1133. Vishnuvardhana who was now well past sixty appointed his son crown prince and also constituted a council of regency which could look after this infant prince as well as the government.

The last days of Vishnuvardhana were spent in fighting for the kingdom of the Kadambas, and by and large he succeeded. Till the year of his death i.e., 1142 his activities did not cease. He died away from the capital and his son eight years old was not able to preserve peace in the kingdom. Since the prince was young and the government was in the hands of a regency and since Vishnuvardhana left a large kingdom comprising mostly hard won territories his successor had really a serious problem in managing the affairs of the Hoysala kingdom.

Vishnuvardhana in his days had achieved much and suffered much. He was undoubtedly a great soldier and an ambitious ruler. He began with an attack on the Chola province of Gangavadi and in 1116 had annexed that province to his expanding kingdom. He secured the support of the Kadamba ruler Jayakesi II and won over to his side the Pandya ruler of Uchchangi. His forces had the courage to march up to the Krishna.

These activities of a ruler who was theoretically still a subordinate of the Chalukyan emperor provoked the latter. Vikramaditya VI brought the situation under firm imperial control. Vishnuvardhana was ultimately obliged to give up much that he had gained. Still the time and the energy which Vikramaditya required to deal with Vishnuvardhana show that the Hoysala king had laid the foundation for a power which could not easily be dislodged. By 1122, however, the Hoysala accepted again the Chalukyan supremacy.
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Short biography of Vishnuvardhana

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