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Updated: April 11, 2010 03:41 IST

A riddle for historians even now

M. Malleswara Rao
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An artist's rendition of Shri Krishnadevaraya, an illustrious king of the Vijayanagara empire.
The Hindu
An artist's rendition of Shri Krishnadevaraya, an illustrious king of the Vijayanagara empire.

As Andhra Pradesh prepares to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the coronation of Sri Krishnadevaraya, his throne remains an unresolved riddle to historians even today.

Where does it lie now? Was it used by Sri Krishnadevaraya's successors after his demise in 1530 AD after a 21-year successful rule which was described as the golden age in the medieval south India ? Or taken away by Bahmani sultans after Aliya Ramaraya, son-in-law of Sri Krishnadevaraya, met with a crushing defeat at their hands in Tallikote battle in 1565?

But here is a something to ponder over. According to Dr K. Krishna Rao, an authority of Sri Krishnadevaraya who made films and wrote books on Vijayanagara empire and recipient of several awards, the throne lies very much at Hampi.

Dr. Rao's years of research into anything connected with the emperor, took him to Hampi where it so happened recently that he “chanced to sight” the throne in the famous Virupaksha temple, the place where, historians say, the coronation took place on August 7, 1509.

The throne, resembling a highly embellished chair used for grooms and brides at marriages of celebrities these days, was made in pure silver full with engravings on it. Now, it is being used by archakas as the peetham to place “ammavarau”, the consort of the presiding deity, Lord Shiva. Dr Rao said the archakas gave him the tip-off with great reluctance.

Unlike all other structures at Hampi which were destroyed with impunity by Bahmanis after the war, Virupaksha temple remained intact. Shaivite soldiers formed a sizeable chunk of the Bahmani army which participated in the Hampi vandalism but they spared Virupaksha temple as it was dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Archaeologists in the State Archaeology Department, however, say the claim is yet to be ascertained.

Dr Rao also stumbled upon the original portrait of the emperor painted by Domingo Paes, Portuguese traveller who visited emperor's court during his heyday and penned down his memories, at Bharat Vidya Samsodhan Mandal, Pune.

In colour painting, Sri Krishnnadevaraya looks exactly like the one projected in Telugu and Kannada films with a long moustache and the familiar turban-like crown.

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