Medieval History of South India
During the medieval period, several empires and kingdoms such as Mughals, Vijayanagara, Nayak and Marathas came into existence.
Medieval period begins with the establishment of Muslim power. The forces of Delhi Sultanate defeated Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal in 1323 CE and Hoysalas in 1333 CE. By the early sixteenth century, the Bahmani empire was divided into five different kingdoms based in Berar, Ahmednagar, Bijapur, Bidar and Golconda. All together these sultanates were referred as Deccan Sultanates.
Vijayanagara empire came into power in early 14th century CE, with the purpose of conquering Mughals. It lasted for three centuries and proved to be a big hindrance in expansion of Islamic powers. The empire reached its zenith of its prosperity and glory during regime of Tuluva King. One of the most renowned Telugu poet and ruler Krishnadevaraya was a great patron of art, dance, literature and music. Vijayanagara empire had well maintained trade relations with Portuguese. Other two outstanding figures who emerged during the reign were Harihara and Bukka. They played an important role in flourishing Hindu religion. The combine forces of Deccan sultanates led to downfall of Vijayanagara Kingdom in 1565.
Several territories of Vijayangara empire were run by administrative and military governors called Nayakas. After the failure of Vijayanagara empire, governors declared their independence and established their own kingdom. The most famous Nayakas included Nayak of Madurai, Keladi Nayakas, Tanjore Nayaks and Nayakas of Chitradurga. Several magnificent temples were built during Nayaks rule. The striking feature of holy shrines with large pillared halls and long gateway towers are marvelous. The Tanjavur Nayak continued to rule until 17th century and the dynasty was put to an end by Madurai rulers. At the same time, Marathas also grabbed an opportunity to establish their dynasty.
The Marathas came into power under the rule of Shivaji. After the death of Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb, Wodeyar kingdom of Mysore took over the control over major territories of south India. North and east part of Mysore was ruled by Asaf Jahis of Hyderabad. Large portion of Karnataka was controlled by Maratha rulers. By the close of medieval period, Marathas witnessed the arrival of Europeans - French and Britishers.