Religious Condition Under Vijayanagar Empire
The Vijaya Nagar
rulers encouraged all religious faiths. Their most favorable religion
was Hinduism. Many areas of Tamilnadu were relieved from Muslim
sultan’s rule and were placed under the Vijaya nagar Hindu
Temples of Madurai, Srirangam. Thiruvarur, Rameswaram, Chidambaram, Tirunelveil. Thiruvannamali. and Sirvilliputhur were repaired and rebuilt. Some of them were enlarged with an additional gopurams, praharas, entrance towers, corridors and mandapas. New temples were built in Kanchipuram, Kumbakonam and Vellore. Sculptures were carved on pillars. Maharasankaranihi, Mahanavami, Ugadi, Deepavali, karthigai and holi were celebrated. Coins issued by Vijaya Nagar kings proclaim their conviction towards Vaishnavism. King Achyutaraya made liberal grants to the Varadaraja and Ekmahareswarar temple at Kanchi. He built the image of Lord Thillai Govindaraja at Chidambaram, Jain temples were built. Muslim dargas were respected. Christian missionaries were functioning in Tuticorin, Vellore and other areas. The early Vijaya Nagar kings were saivites and the later kings were vaishnavites. So both saivism and vaishnavism flourished during this period. This reflected in Tamil country also. Vadaglai and Thengalai: Vadagalai and thengalai groups were there among the vaishnavites. The Vadagali group was led by vedhanta Desikar. They followed Sanskrit vedas. Thengalai group was led by Manavala Mahamuni. The Thengalai group followed Tamil Prabandhams. Vadagalai people believed in caste system but Thengalai people did not believe in caste system.