|Founder of Vijayanagara Empire|
|Predecessor||Hoysala emperor Veera Ballala III|
|Successor||Bukka Raya I|
Harihara I, also called Hakka and Vira Harihara I, was the founder of the Vijayanagara empire, which he ruled from 1336 to 1356 CE He and his successors form the Sangama dynasty, the first of four dynasties to rule the empire.
He was Bhavana Sangama’s eldest son.
The early life of Hakka and his brother Bukka is relatively unknown and most accounts are based on various theories. Ballappa Dandanayaka, a nephew of the Hoysala emperor Veera Ballala III, had married a daughter of Harihara. This shows that Harihara was associated with the Hoysala Court. Immediately after coming to power, he built a fort at Barkuru, on the west coast of present-day Karnataka. It appears from inscriptions that he was administering the northern parts of present-day Karnataka from his seat at Gutti, Ananthpur district in 1339. He initially controlled the northern portions of the Hoysala Empire before taking full control over its entire range after the death of Hoysala Veera Ballala III in 1343. Kannada inscriptions of his time call him Karnataka Vidya Vilas ("master of great knowledge and skills"), Bhashegetappuvarayaraganda ("punisher of those feudatories who don't keep their promise"), and Arirayavibhada ("fire to enemy kings"). Among his brothers, Kampana governed the Nellur region, Muddppa administered the Mulabagalu region, Marappa oversaw Chandragutti and Bukka Raya was his second in command.
His initial military exploits established his control over the valley of Tungabhadra River, and gradually he expanded his control to certain regions of Konkan and Malabar Coast. By that time, the Hoysala ruler Veera Ballala III had died fighting the Sultan of Madurai, and the vacuum thus created allowed Harihara to emerge as a sovereign power with all the Hoysala territories under his rule.
An inscription dated 1346 regarding a grant to the Sringeri matha describes Harihara I as the ruler of "whole country between the eastern and the western seas" and describes Vidya Nagara (that is, the city of learning) as his capital.
Harihara I was succeeded by his brother Bukka I who emerged as the most distinguished amongst the five rulers (Panchasangamas) of the Sangama dynasty.
Veera Ballala III
| ruler of the Vijayanagar Empire