Sriranga III (1642–1678/1681 CE) was the last ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, who came to power in 1642 following the death of his uncle Venkata III. He was also a great grandson of Aliya Rama Raya.
|Predecessor||Peda Venkata Raya|
Before his accession to the throne, Sriranga III was in rebellion against his uncle Venkata III. He sought help from the Bijapur Sultan and attacked Venkata III in Chandragiri – Vellore in 1638. Another invasion of these two in 1642 was defeated by Venkata III’s army, who were also facing Golkonda armies near Madras. Under this troublesome circumstances Venkata III died, and Sriranga III who was with the Bijapur army deserted them and returned to Vellore and made himself the King of Vijayanagara.
Many of his nobles like the Nayaka of Gingee and Damarla Venkatadri Nayaka, the chieftain of Madras, had a dislike for him for his mischief in rebelling against the former King. Squabbles among the Sultans of Bijapur and Golkonda helped Sriranga III for a while. In 1644 the Sultan of Golkonda appeared with a vast army, but was defeated by Sriranga III. Sriranga III, now feeling strong enough to demand money from the Southern Nayaks, marched south . He granted site of Fort St. George (Madras) to British agents of East India Company in 1640s at Raja Mahal of Chandragiri fort, present day Tirupathi.
Battle of Virinchipuram
The Muslim forces were losing, but later advanced, when consolidated by additional armies from the Deccan. The war went on till 1652. In 1649 Thirumalai Nayaka sent his forces supporting the Bijapur ruler, but upon converging at the Gingee Fort, the Madurai forces created a chaos and took sides with the Gingee army, when the Bijapur and Golkonda entered into their agreements. This led to the banishment of Gingee Nayak rule in 1649.
By 1652, Sriranga III was left with only Vellore Fort, which was finally seized by the Golkonda forces. By now he had only the support of Mysore, while Tanjore had submitted to the Muslim forces and the Madurai Nayak ended up paying huge sums to Muslim forces, but all three retaining their kingdoms.
Sriranga III spent his last years under the support of one of his vassal chieftains, Shivappa Nayaka of Ikkeri, and was still hoping to retrieve Vellore from the Muslim forces. Thirumalai Nayak's treachery to Sriranga III made the Mysore ruler Kanthirava Narasaraja I wage a series of ravaging wars with Madurai, later capturing the territories of Coimbatore and Salem, regions which were retained by Mysore till 1800.
The Mysore ruler Kanthirava Narasaraja I still recognised Sriranga as a namesake emperor. Sriranga died in 1678/1681 as an emperor without an empire, putting an end to over three centuries of Vijayanagara rule in India.
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