Rama Deva Raya
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Rama Deva Raya, (a.k.a.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 Yachamanedu, a faithful commander and the viceroy of earlier king Venkata II.
Jagga Raya’s claim of a putative son of Venkata II’s queens as the King was strongly challenged by Yachamanedu, 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 was seized by Yachamanedu.
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 Yachamanedu and Rama Deva. Yachamanedu and Ramadeva sought support from the Tanjore Nayaks, who still treated the VijayNagar 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. Yacchama -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.
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
Yachama, now the military governor of the kingdom opposed the marriage of Rama Deva. 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, Chengulpet and Mathurantagam was completely brought under control of Vellore. Yachama was allowed to rule Venkatagiri but he chose to spent his life in the protection of Udaiyarpalaiyam chieftain.
Rama Deva Raya, with no brothers and sons nominated his cousin Peda Venkata (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.
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