Rama Deva Raya

Rama Deva Raya (or Vira Rama Deva Raya) (1617–1632 CE) ascended the throne after a gruesome war in 1617 as the King of Vijayanagara Empire. In 1614 his father, Sriranga II the preceding King and his family were gruesomely murdered by rival factions headed by Jagga Raya, who was one of their kins. Rama Deva himself was smuggled out of the prison by Yachama Naidu, a faithful commander and the viceroy of earlier king Venkata II.

Rama Deva Raya
Vijayanagara Empire
Sangama dynasty
Harihara I 1336–1356
Bukka Raya I 1356–1377
Harihara Raya II 1377–1404
Virupaksha Raya 1404–1405
Bukka Raya II 1405–1406
Deva Raya I 1406–1422
Ramachandra Raya 1422
Vira Vijaya Bukka Raya 1422–1424
Deva Raya II 1424–1446
Mallikarjuna Raya 1446–1465
Virupaksha Raya II 1465–1485
Praudha Raya 1485
Saluva dynasty
Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya 1485–1491
Thimma Bhupala 1491
Narasimha Raya II 1491–1505
Tuluva dynasty
Tuluva Narasa Nayaka 1491–1503
Vira Narasimha Raya 1503–1509
Krishna Deva Raya 1509–1529
Achyuta Deva Raya 1529–1542
Venkata I 1542
Sadasiva Raya 1542–1570
Aravidu dynasty
Aliya Rama Raya 1542–1565
Tirumala Deva Raya 1565–1572
Sriranga I 1572–1586
Venkata II 1586–1614
Sriranga II 1614
Rama Deva Raya 1617–1632
Venkata III 1632–1642
Sriranga III 1642–1646

Civil War

Jagga Raya made a claim of a putative son of Venkata II’s queens as the King, which was strongly challenged by Yachama Naidu the leading general in the imperial army and the Nayak of Kalahasti, who claimed the throne for Rama Deva, the rightful heir. In a long drawn battle between the two factions in which the whole of the kingdom took part, Jagga Raya was in slain and his Gobburi estates in south west of Nellore in the present day Chennai, Chengelpet was seized by Yachama Naidu.

Battle of Toppur

The defeated Jagga Raya sought refuge in the jungle but bounced back and sought help from the Nayaks of Gingee and Madurai, both eager to get out of the Vijayanagara bond, to attack Yachama Naidu and Rama Deva. Yachama Naidu and Ramadeva sought support from the Tanjore Nayaks, who still treated the Vijayanagar as their authority.


Jagga Raya and his allies, the Nayaks of Madurai, Gingee and Chera ruler, chieftains of Madurai, and some Portuguese from the coast assembled a large army near Tiruchirapalli. Yachama led his forces from Vellore and was joined in midway by Tanjore forces headed by the Tanjore King Raghunatha Nayaka. Yachama - Tanjore forces were further strengthened by nobles from Karnataka and (according to some accounts) Dutch and Jaffna armies.

Both the Armies met at the Toppur, at an open field on the northern banks of River Cauvery, between Tiruchirapalli and Grand Anicut in late months of 1616. The huge assembly of forces on either side is estimated to be as many as a Million soldiers (according to Dr. Barradas in Sewell’s Book) and considered to be one of the biggest battles in the Southern India.


In the Battle Jagga Raya's troops could not withstand the aggression generated by the imperial forces. Yachama and Raghunatha, the generals of the Imperial camp led their forces with great discipline. Jagga Raya was in slain by Yachama, and his army broke the ranks and took flight. Yethiraja, the brother of Jagga Raya, had to run for his life. The Nayaka chieftain of Madurai tried to escape, he was pursued by Yachama's general Rao Dama Nayani who captured him near Tiruchirapalli. The Nayak of Gingee in the encounter lost all his forts except Gingee Fort and the putative son of Venkata II, cause of all trouble was captured. The victory was celebrated by the imperial armies headed by Thanjavur Nayak and Yachamanedu, who planted pillars of victory and crowned Rama Deva as Rama Deva Raya, in early months of 1617. Rama Deva Raya was barely 15 years old when he ascended the throne.

Continued Hostilities

Yethiraja, the brother of Jagga Raya, after losing the Toppur Battle, aligned with the Gingee Nayak and attacked Tanjore, but was defeated with the later ending as captive. Yethiraja waged on, until he reconciled with Rama Deva Raya, after giving his daughter in marriage. Things settled for the king after the death of the putative son in 1619.

Loss of Kurnool

The Bijapur Sultan, taking advantage of the ravaging civil wars attacked Kurnool in 1620, but was defeated and sent back only to return in 1624 and taking that region completely.


Yachama Naidu, now the military governor of the kingdom opposed the marriage of Rama Deva to Yethirajs's daughter. The king was reprimanded but he went on to marry the daughter of Yethiraja. Yachama felt the humiliation and requested Rama Deva to remove him from the royal service with the pretext of age. Yethiraja, now father-in-law of Rama Deva Raya broke into a conflict with Yachama when he demanded the Gobburi lands, and by 1629 with help from Tanjore and Gingee forces, Yachama's territories were attacked by the imperial army. Yachama's forces though inferior in number, put up a stiff fight. After a prolonged siege, Yachama agreed to return the Gobburi lands to Yethiraja. The regions of Pulicat, Chengalpattu and Maduranthakam was completely brought under control of Vellore. Yachama was allowed to rule Venkatagiri but he chose to spend his life in the protection of Udaiyarpalaiyam chieftain.


Rama Deva Raya, with no brothers and sons nominated Peda Venkata Raya (Venkata III), grandson of Aliya Rama Raya, now governing Anekonda as successor and died on 1632, aged 30 after a troublesome rule of 15 years.


  • Rao, Velcheru Narayana, and David Shulman, Sanjay Subrahmanyam. Symbols of substance : court and state in Nayaka period Tamilnadu (Delhi ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 1998) ; xix, 349 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 22 cm. ; Oxford India paperbacks ; Includes bibliographical references and index ; ISBN 0-19-564399-2.
  • Sathianathaier, R. History of the Nayaks of Madura [microform] by R. Sathyanatha Aiyar ; edited for the University, with introduction and notes by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar ([Madras] : Oxford University Press, 1924) ; see also ([London] : H. Milford, Oxford university press, 1924) ; xvi, 403 p. ; 21 cm. ; SAMP early 20th-century Indian books project item 10819.
  • K.A. Nilakanta Sastry, History of South India, From Prehistoric times to fall of Vijayanagar, 1955, OUP, (Reprinted 2002) ISBN 0-19-560686-8.
Preceded by
Sriranga II
Vijayanagar empire
Succeeded by
Venkata III
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