Krishnadevaraya of the Tuluva dynasty of Vijayanager empire was the most popular and successful ruler. He ruled from 1509 to 1529. This was the golden period for the Vijayanagar Empire and during its zenith the empire extended its influence on its neighboring rulers too. He defeated the Bahamani Sultans of Deccan and annexed Bijapur, Gulbarga and Bidar. He subdued the local rulers and extended his kingdom to Krishna, Godavari and Kaveri rivers. He defeated the Gajapatis of Orissa to control much of Andhra including Telangana region. The defeated Gajapati King offered his daughter in marriage, who became Krishnadevraya’s third queen. His relations with the Portuguese were friendly. The Portuguese had established them selves in Goa. He used their expertise to improve the water distribution in Vijayanaager city. During its time Vijayanagar was the best provided city in the world.
Kannada and Telugu were the official languages of the court. He considered the ruler should always have an eye on the dharma and this reflected in his extensive annual tours of the kingdom where he tried to assess the situation himself. Art and literature flourished under his rule. His contribution to architecture can be viewed in the beautiful ruins of Hampi even today.. He was fluent in several languages including his mother tongue Tulu. His reign was a golden period for Telugu literature. Kannada, Sanskrit and Tamil literature was also patronized by Krishnadevraya.
Eight poets known as Astadiggajalu (eight elephants in the eight cardinal points) were part of his court. His court was known as Bhuvana-vijayamu. According to the Vaishnavite religion there are eight elephants in eight corners in space and hold the earth in its place. Similarly these eight poets were the eight pillars of his literary assembly. These eight poets were Allasani Peddana, Nandi Thimmana, Madayyagari Mallana, Dhurjati, Ayyala-raju Rama-Bhadrudu, Pingali Surana, Ramaraju Bhushanudu and Tenali Rama Krishna. Allasani Peddana was considered the greatest poet of them all and is known as the Andhra Kavita Pitamaha (the father of Telugu poetry). Tenali RamaKrishna or Tenali Rama is the most popular of them all and has many folk stories portraying his quick wit. Krishnadevaraya also wrote Amuktamalyada in Telugu.
Mallanarya, Chatu Vittalanatha, Timmanna Kavi and Vyasatirtha were the Kannada poets patronized by Krishnadevaraya. Vyasatirtha was also a Sanskrit scholar and produced works of literature in both Kannada and Sanskrit. Tamil poet Haridasa was also patronized by the king.
He was a Vaishnavite but was very tolerant towards other sects of Hinduism. He lavished the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple with diamond studded crowns and swords. He commissioned his statue along with his two wives in the temple complex.