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Tiruchanoor as Vadirajapuram – Part 2

This is in continuation with the previous post (Tiruchanoor as 'Vadirajapuram' that dealt with two inscriptions of Achyutadevaraya and Sadashivaraya of Vijayanagara Empire.

In my search for further references for Vadirajapuram, I have come across with couple of online sources. Amongst them the following text from the said link is of vital importance:

Vadirajapuram in Venkatapatiraya inscription

The above smudged version of webpage from Archive.org shows the name “Vadirajapuram” under the title “Inscriptions of Venkatapathy Raya’s Time Vol 6.” At this juncture, it becomes important for us to understand the timelines of Venkatapathy Raya.

As per the historians Venkatapathy Raya alias Venkata II ruled from Penukonda (now in Andhra) between 1586 – 1614 AD.

As the date of the above inscription cited in Archive.org is unclear at this moment, I am not sure as to which regnal year of Venkata II this inscription belongs to. But for the time being we can be rest assured of the fact that even during the entire reign of Venkata II, Tirchanoor has been referred to as “Vadirajapuram.

Following table gives you the age of “Vadirajapuram” during Vijayanagara period:

 

Inscription date/year Vijayanagara Emperor Remarks
07/01/1537 AD Achyutadevaraya Inscrip. Found in Govindaraja temple, Tirupati.
10/05/1552 AD Sadashivaraya Inscrip. Found in Govindaraja temple, Tirupati.
Undated

Venkatapathy Raya

(Venkata III)

Location seem to be the main temple of Tiruchanoor!

Going by the reign of Venkatapathy Raya this inscription could be placed anytime between 1586 up to 1614 AD. With this, we can understand that; from 1537 and up to 1614 AD i.e. for 77 years, the word “Vadirajapuram” was in vogue in Vijayanagara Empire and it was denoting the present Tirchanoor.

In the intervening period between Sadashivaraya (last emperor of Tuluva dynasty) and Venkata II (3rd emperor from Aravidu dynasty), the following inscription of Tirumaladeva Raya (one of the founding members of Aravidu dynasty) erected in 1571 AD  shows the name of Sri Vadiraja.

Inscription of Tirumala Raya for Vadiraja Tirtha

(Page 18; Epigraphica Carnatica – Inscription in Shimoga Dist. Part 2; 1904)

The above donation of a certain Agrahara in Soraba talluk to Sri Vadiraja and the share give to him (vritti 4 which is 2nd highest after Udupi Krishna’s vritti 5) confirms the respect that Sri Vadiraja was commanding with Tirumaladeva Raya.

In other words, the grace of Sri Vadiraja has not diminished a bit after the demise of  Krishnadeva Raya who too had a great reverence for Sri Vadiraja.

With these historical accounts we can understand that Sri Vadiraja has been respected and revered by all Vijayanagara emperors irrespective of the dynasty that they belong to and their religious faiths.

Now, let us map the Vijayanagara emperors who have come and gone during the 120 years of Sri Vadiraja’s physical appearance on this earth:

Sri Vadiraja’s timelines Vijayanagara emperor Dynasty

Period of Reign

(AD)

 

 

 

 

1480–1600 AD

Virupaksharaya Sangama 1465-85
Praudharaya Sangama 1485
Saluva Narasimhadevaraya Saluva 1485-91
Thimma Bhupala Saluva 1491
Narasimharaya II Saluva 1491-1505
Tuluva Narasa Nayaka Tuluva 1491-1503 (acted as Regent for young Narasimharaya II)
Vira Narasimha Raya Tuluva 1503-09
Krishnadeva Raya Tuluva 1509-29
Achyutadeva Raya Tuluva 1529-42
Venkata I Tuluva 1542 (murdered by maternal uncle Salaka Chinna Tirumala)
Sadashiva Raya Tuluva 1542-70 (puppet emperor under the control of Aliya Ramaraya, son-in-law of Krishnadeva Raya)
Tirumaladeva Raya Aravidu 1570-72
Sriranga I Aravidu 1572-86
Venkata II Aravidu 1586-1614

Sri Vadiraja has seen 14 emperors from 4 dynasties during his lifetime.

Having swayed over all the emperors of Vijayanagara, it should not be a surprise for us to understand that a particular village near Tirupati was named after Sri Vadiraja. But the lack of records from the Madhvaas (both contemporary and subsequent Madhva writers) is shadowing the historical accomplishments achieved by Sri Vadiraja.

SRI VADIRAJA – HIS TRAVELS TO TIRUPATI & SURROUNDINGS

In the absence of authentic records from Madhva insiders, I have left with no option but to piece together whatsoever data presented in the sources available to me to find out any thread that binds Tiruchanoor to Vadirajapuram. I felt that the tracking of Sri Vadiraja’s travels may shed some light w.r.t. to his stay in and around Tirupati/Tirumala.

This article deals with the inputs provided by Dr. Aralumallige Parthasarathy (AP) in his book “Sri Vadiraja Samputa” (3rd Edition:2002) wherein an event that associated Sri Vadiraja with Venkata II has been narrated. I wish to begin from this end and go backward to trace the movements of Sri Vadiraja.

In this book Dr. AP says that that Sri Vadiraja was conferred with some titles and one of them has been conferred to by Venkatapathy Raya. Excerpt from the said book is as under:

Titles conferred on Vadiraja as per Aralumallige

According to Dr. AP, Sri Vadiraja Tirtha has been conferred with 4 title i.e. “Prasangabharanatirtha,” “Shad-darshana-shanmukha,” “Sarvajna-kalpa” and “Kavikula-tilaka.”

Dr. AP provides only one authentic reference for the first title and remaining titles are without any reference. I have tried to find out the remaining titles that lack the scriptural references.

In search of references for other titles, I have come across with an inscription of Western Gangas, cited in Epigraphia Carnatica Vol 8, Inscriptions in the Shimoga Dist Part 2 (Pub: in 1904). In this inscription another Vadiraja, a Jaina scholar, has been praised with two titles similar to Sri Vadiraja’s. Read the text of the inscription hereunder:

Jaina Vadiraja in Rakkasa Malla inscription

(Page 8; Epigraphica Carnatica; Inscriptions in Shimoga Dist Vol 2-1904)

This Jaina Vadiraja was the Guru of Western Ganga king Rachamalla who was also called as Rakkasa Malla (986-999 AD).

NOTE: The above narrative from Epigraphica Carnatica has only a small deviation i.e. Shat-Darshana-Shanmukha quoted by Dr. Aralumallige has been shown as “Shat-Tarkka-Shanmukha.”

As Dr. AP has not provided any footnote or reference for these two titles, it would be difficult for me to understand where from he compiled this information. As of now, the titles of Shad-Darshana-Shanukha and Sarvajna-Kalpa ascribed to Vedic Vadiraja need to be verified.

As regards to the title “PrasangabharaNa Tirtha,” Dr. Aralumallige provides a reference from Vadirajaguruvara Charitamruta:

Prasangabharana title from Vadirajaguruvara Charitamritam

While narrating the prologue of title conferment event, Dr AP writes as below:

“[..]ಮತ್ತೊಮ್ಮೆ ವಾದಿರಾಜರು ವಿಜಯನಗರ ಸಾಮ್ರಾಜ್ಯದ ರಾಜಧಾನಿಗೆ ಬಂದಾಗ ವೀರಪ್ರತಾಪ 

ವೇಂಕಟಪತಿರಾಯನುರಾಜ್ಯವಾಳುತ್ತಿದ್ದನುಶತ್ರುಗಳ ಧಾಳಿಯನ್ನು ಮುರಿದಿಟ್ಟ ಪ್ರಚಂಡ ವಿಕ್ರಮ 

ಪ್ರದರ್ಶಿಸಿದ್ದ ವೀರಪ್ರತಾಪವೇಂಕಟರಾಯನು ತನ್ನ ವಿಜಯೋತ್ಸವಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ವಿಖ್ಯಾತವಿದ್ವಾಂಸರನ್ನೂ,

ಶ್ರೇಷ್ಠಕವಿಗಳನ್ನೂಕಲಾವಿದರನ್ನೂನೃತ್ಯನಾಟ್ಯಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ ವಿಶಾರದರನ್ನು ಆಮಂತ್ರಿಸಿದ್ದನು.

ಈ ಪಂಡಿತಮಂಡಲಿಗೆ ಕಳಸವಿಟ್ಟಂತೇ ವಾದಿರಾಜ ಗುರುಗಳನ್ನೂ ಕರೆಸಿಕೊಂಡ[..]ಎಲ್ಲ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಗಳಲ್ಲೂ

ತಲಸ್ಪರ್ಶಿ ಪಾಂಡಿತ್ಯವನ್ನು ಮೆರೆದು ಅಪೂರ್ವ ಪ್ರೌಢಿಮೆಯನ್ನು ಮೆರೆದ ವಾದಿರಾಜರನ್ನು ಕಂಡ ಎಲ್ಲರೂ

ಸ್ಥಂಭೀಭೂತರಾದರು[..]ವಾದಿರಾಜರ ಪರಮ ಪಾಂಡಿತ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಕೈಮುಗಿದು ಸಾಷ್ಟಾಂಗಮಾಡಿ 

ಸಾಮ್ರಾಟನನ್ನು ಅವರಿಗೆ ಪ್ರಸಂಗಾಭರಣತೀರ್ಥ ಎಂಬ ಪ್ರಶಸ್ತಿಯನ್ನು ಗೌರವಿಸಬೇಕೆಂದು

ಪ್ರಾರ್ಥಿಸಿದರು.”

Now, the challenge that I have is to figure out the near-accurate year of title conferment on Sri Vadiraja by Venkatapathi Raya. The reason behind ascribing the year is to know whether I could find some more information w.r.t. "Vadirajapuram."

In order to fix the year of title conferment by Venkata II, I need to assess the reign of Venkatapathi Raya with the major events of his reign vis-à-vis the age of Sri Vadiraja.

  • Sri V. has completed his 3rd Paryaya at Udupi in 1581 AD i.e. at the age of 101 years. (As told by Sri B. Venkoba Rao in his English translation of Vyasayogicharitam)
  • At the very beginning of the reign of Venkata II, Sri V. was aged 106 years.
  • Sri V’s 4th and last Paryaya came up in 1596.
  • Venkata II ascended the throne of Vijayanagara in 1586.
  • If Sri V traveled to Penukonda when Venkata II was on the throne then it should be anytime between the years 1586 to 1595 AD only.

Following events have occurred in that above said period.

  • In 1586 Nayak of Ginjee rebelled against Venkata II and a battle broke out.
  • Many of the petty chiefs rebelled one after the other against Venkata II. Many inscriptions of early reign of Venkata reveal rebels’ names and places of battles.
  • In 1588 Venkata II sent out army to fight with Golkonda and Bijapur.
  • Before 1592 AD, Venkata II was successful in subduing all the rebellions and had firmly established his sovereignty.
  • In 1592 Bijapur armies attacked the fort of Penukonda.
  • Just before this attack, Venkata II moved his capital to Chandragiri (near to Tirupati), an ancient city that he ruled as Viceroy for many years before becoming the Emperor.
  • I do not think Sri V. would have traveled to Chandragiri which was far away from his main centers i.e. Sonda & Udupi.
  • Sri V. would not have traveled in 1592 particularly under the shadows of Muslim attack on the fort.
  • These major developments are pushing the period of conferment to 1586-91.

With this historical background, if I read the narration given by Dr. Aralumallige, it becomes clear that the title conferment of Sri Vadiraja should have taken place in 1590 or 91 as by 1592 Venkata II has firmed up his position as the undisputed Emperor of Vijayanagara. This should have been the occassion that made him to rejoice with pomp. And on this ecastatic occassion only he should have invited Sri Vadiraja for a felicitation.

The above whole description has been made to understand how much sway Sri Vadiraja was having over Venkata II and now I could understand that he (Sri V.) had a commendable influence over Venkata II.


Having arrived to this extent, I will continue the exploration of “Vadiraja puram” in the next part with more inputs.

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