Battle of Raichur

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Battle of Raichur
Raichur Fort 1.jpg
Raichur Fort
Date20 May 1520
Result Vijayanagara Empire victory
Commanders and leaders
Vijayanagara flag.png Krishnadevaraya[1]

Vijayanagara flag.png Kama Nayaka

Flag Portugal (1495).svgCristovão de Figueiredo

Ismail Adil Shah[1]
Modern estimates

Contemporary source

Contemporary source
Casualties and losses
16,000 soldiers killed (contemporary sources) Unknown but heavy

The Battle of Raichur was a battle fought between the Vijayanagar Empire and the Sultanate of Bijapur in 1520 CE[2][3] in the town of Raichur, India. It resulted in a decisive victory for Vijayanagara forces, and the Bijapur ruler was defeated and pushed across the river Krishna.[4]


The fort of Raichur was built by Kakatiya king Rudra in 1284 CE, and passed on to the Vijayanagar Kingdom after the decline of Kakatiyas.[5][failed verification] Ever since, the fort had been under dispute for nearly two centuries. The fort, along with other areas of the northern Deccan, was captured by Muhammad Bin Tughluq in 1323 CE.[6] The Bahmani Sultanate captured the fort in 1347.[7]

Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya attempted to recapture the city of Raichur from the Bahmanis, but failed.[8]

The immediate prelude to the Battle of Raichur began in the year 1520. In that year, Krishnadevaraya sent Seyed Maraikar, a Muslim in his service, to Goa with a large sum of money to buy horses. Maraikar betrayed Krishnadevaraya's cause and went to Adil Khan with the money and offered his services. Krishnadevaraya made a demand that Maraikar be returned along with the money which was duly refused. During the period of peace Krishnadevaraya made extensive preparations for a grand attack on Raichur Doab. After the court decided that Raichur should be attacked, the king invited Military Commander Pemmasani Ramalinga Nayudu (Nayakas) in his service to take part in the battle.[citation needed]


The battle was fought in Raichur between the armies of Krishnadevaraya and the Sultanate of Bijapur.[3] The Vijayanagara Empire had a force consisting of 32,600 cavalry and 551 elephants according to contemporary sources. The Bijapur Sultanate had a force consisting of 7,000 cavalry and 250 elephants. Modern and contemporary writers disagree on the number of infantry personnel that each side had. The contemporary sources say that Krishnadevaraya had an infantry force consisting of a bit over 700,000 soldiers. Moreover, the use of a Portuguese contingent [9] commanded by Cristovão de Figueiredo[10] with the use of fireweapons help to conquer the fortress,[11] there is a high probability that matchlocks, which were obtained through contact with the Portuguese, were used as well by the army of the Vijayanagara Empire.[12] Additionally the Portuguese with their arquebuses picked off the defenders from the walls, and thus enabled the besiegers to approach close to the lines of fortification and pull down the stones. Driven to desperation, and their governor being slain, the garrison surrendered. Portuguese accounts state that cannons were used extensively by the Bijapur Sultanate; the Vijayanagara Empire used them minimally, at best.[13] The Vijayanagara Empire emerged victorious despite the Bijapur Sultanate having superior firepower.[14]

Portuguese Arcabuziers in India _16th century. D João de Castro_ Tapestries


When the city of Raichur surrendered, Krishnadevaraya made a triumphal entry into it.[15] Krishnadevaraya was brutal towards Bahmani Generals of Raichur. Many Bahmani generals lost their lands. The other Muslim kings sent envoys to the emperor on hearing of his success and received a haughty reply.[citation needed]. The king conveyed that if Adil Shah would come to him, do obeisance, and kiss his foot, his lands would be restored to him. The submission never took place. Krishnadevaraya then led his army as far north as Bijapur and occupied it.[16][17] He took prisoner three sons of a former king of the Bahmani dynasty, who had been held captive by the Adil Shah and he proclaimed the eldest as king of the Deccan.[18] This attempt to subvert the rule of the five Sultans who had established themselves on the ruins of the single Deccan sovereignty only resulted in stiffening their hostility towards their common foe.[19] Krishnadevaraya began to make preparations for an attack on Belgaum, which was in Adil Shah's possession. Soon after, he fell seriously ill to carry out his project and died at the age of forty-five years, in the year 1530 CE. He was succeeded by Achyuta Deva Raya.

Political consequences

The battle of Raichur had far-reaching effects. The Vijayanagara victory weakened the power and prestige of the Adil Shah. He turned his attention to making alliances with the other Muslim neighbours. The victory also caused other Sultans in Deccan to form an alliance to defeat the Vijayanagar Empire. The war also affected the fortunes of the Portuguese on the west coast. Goa rose and fell simultaneously with the rise and fall of the Vijayanagar dynasty because their entire trade depended on Hindu support.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Bhat, N. Shyam (2009). "Political Interaction between Portuguese Goa and Karnataka". Portuguese Studies Review, Vol. 16, No. 2. Baywolf Press. p. 27.
  2. Nath, Pratyay (2016). "Warfare in Early Modern South Asia". In Pius Malekandathil (ed.). The Indian Ocean in the Making of Early Modern India. Taylor & Francis. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-351-99746-1. OCLC 960041925. the battles of Raichur (1520)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Roy (2014), p. 68: "In 1520, Battle of Raichur was fought between Krishna Raya of Vijayanagara and Sultan Ismail Adil Shah of Bijapur."
  4. Krishna Reddy (2008). Indian History. Tata McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780070635777.
  5. Eaton (2013), p. 278: "In 1294, a subordinate of the last monarch of the Kakatiya Dynasty seized the Raichur Doab from Yadava control and built the imposing complex of walls and gates that encircle Raichur's present core."
  6. Eaton (2013), p. 278: "After the collapse of the Kakatiya state in 1323, Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq (r. 1325-51) systematically colonized much of the northern Deccan."
  7. Eaton (2013), p. 278: "In the confusion surrounding the expulsion of imperial forces in 1347, the Doab apparently fell to the powers that simultaneously arose on the ashes of Tughluq imperialism in the Deccan, the Bahmani sultanate (1347-1538).
  8. Dodwell, Henry (1958). The Cambridge History of India, Volume 3. Pennsylvania State University. p. 494. [Saluva Narasimha] failed to capture the Raichur Doab, which was retained by the Bahmani Kingdom.
  9. "Ismāʿīl ʿĀdil Shāh - Bijāpur ruler".
  10. "Portuguese Studies Review, Vol. 16, No. 2". 15 December 2009.
  11. "Evolve Back".
  12. Buchanan, Brenda J. (2016), Gunpowder, Explosives and the State: A Technological History, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 978-1-351-93190-8, OCLC 965718764, There is also a strong likelihood of the adoption of European matchlocks in the Vijayanagara Empire at around the same time [1517], through contact with the Portuguese.
  13. Eaton (2013), p. 289: "All of this suggests that by 1520 cannon were being used in the field—extensively by Bijapur, at best minimally by Vijayanagara—but with only limited effect."
  14. Roy (2014), p. 68: "Though Bijapur had superior firepower, Vijayanagara emerged victorious."
  15. Murthy, H. V. Sreenivasa; Ramakrishnan, R. (1977), A History of Karnataka, from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, S. Chand, p. 189, The city of Raichur surrendered and Krishnadevaraya made triumphal entry into it.
  16. Eaton 2013, p. 292.
  17. Vijayanagara, Progress of Research, Directorate of Archaeology & Museums, 1996, p. 200
  18. Sandhu, Gurcharn Singh (2003). Military History of Medieval India. Vision Books. p. 342.
  19. Sewell, Robert; Nunes, Fernão; Paes, Domingos (2000), A Forgotten Empire (Vijayanagar): A Contribution to the History of India, Asian Educational Services, pp. 157–, ISBN 978-81-206-0125-3


Further reading