Vijayanagar Empire located in Southern India (1336 – 1646)

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Virupaksha temple, Hampi

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Our architecture is a vibrant combination of the Chalukya, Hoysala, Pandya and Chola styles, styles that prospered in previous centuries. Its legacy of sculpture, architecture and painting influenced the development of the arts long after the we came to an end. Its stylistic hallmark are the ornate pillared Kalyanamantapa (marriage hall), Vasanthamantapa (open pillared halls) and the Rayagopura (tower). Artisans use the locally available hard granite because of its durability since we were under constant threat of invasion.

Culture

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The practice of Sati is common, though voluntary, and mostly practiced among the upper classes. Satikals commemorate the death of a woman by entering into fire after the death of her husband while Sati-virakals are made for a woman who performed Sati after her husband's heroic death.
Physical exercises are popular with men and wrestling is an important male preoccupation for sport and entertainment. Even women wrestlers exist. Gymnasiums are sometimes inside royal quarters and there is regular physical training for commanders and their armies during peace time.

Religion

Although we were built to shield Hindu dharma from the onslaughts of the Mughal Empire and the Deccan sultanates, our kings were tolerant of all religions and sects. Our kings used titles such as Gobrahamana Pratipalanacharya ("protector of cows") and Hindurayasuratrana ("upholder of Hindu faith") which testify to our intention of protecting Hinduism. Our founders Harihara I and Bukka Raya I were devout Shaivans (worshippers of Shiva), but made grants to the Vaishnava order of Sringeri with Vidyaranya as their patron saint, and made Varaha (the boar, an avatar of Vishnu) as their emblem. Our later Saluva and Tuluva kings were Vaishnava by faith, but worshipped at the feet of Lord Virupaksha (Shiva) at Hampi as well as Lord Venkateshwara (Vishnu) at Tirupati.

Islamic contact with us began as early as the 7th century, a result of us trade between the Southern kingdoms and Arab lands. Jumma Masjids existed in the Rashtrakuta empire by the 10th century and many mosques flourished on the Malabar coast by the early 14th century. The Muslims who came over married local women; their children were known as Mappillas (Moplahs) and were actively involved in horse trading and manning shipping fleets. The interactions between us and the Bahamani Sultanates to the north increased the presence of Muslims in our area. The introduction of Christianity began as early as the 8th century as shown by the finding of copper plates inscribed with land grants to Malabar Christians.

Blog

Blog 1: Our poets, scholars and philosophers are writing in Sanskrit and regional languages, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil and these books are covering such subjects as religion, biography, Prabhanda (fiction), music, grammar, poetry and medicine. Its very interesting to read...The Telugu language is becoming a popular literary medium.
Blog 2: Christian travelers are writing of the scarcity of Christians in South India and we are becoming worried that they might send out missionarries. We like to keep our faith and religion and do not want any more foreign ideas coming into our land.
Blog 3: Our capital city is completely dependent on the water supply systems constructed to channel and store water, and ensure a consistent supply throughout the year. Our hydraulic systems have given historians a picture of the prevailing surface water distribution methods in use during our time in South India's semiarid regions.

The Wall

You guys had such an awesome effect on us! Thanks for keeping Sanskrit in and Christianity out! -India

Wow! Great job hanging in there as the stronghold of Hinduism during a time of mass conversions to Islam. You have no idea how much we appreciate your support of Hinduism. Its really such an integral part of Indian culture and identity, no? -Indian National Congress

Bibliography:
"Vijayanagar Empire". Wikipedia. 5/1/07 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijayanagara_empire>.
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