Vijayanagar, (City of Victory) in southern India and also the name of the empire ruled first from that city. On the Tungabhadra River, the village of Hampi and the ruins at Hampi are all that is left. The city and its first dynasty were founded in 1336 by Harihara and Bukka, under the guidance of Vidyranya. By serving as a barrier against invasion by the Muslim sultanates of the north, it fostered the reconstruction of Hindu life. Sanskrit was encouraged as a unifying force, and regional literatures thrived. Behind its frontiers the country flourished in unexampled peace and prosperity.
Vijayanagar empire lasted for more than two centuries as the dominant power in south India. Saluva dynasty was followed by Tuluva dynasty. The outstanding Tuluva king was Krishna Deva Raya. After Rama Raya, Tirumala, founded the Aravidu dynasty, which established a new capital at Penukonda and kept the empire intact for a time.
Krishnadeva Raya was the greatest ruler of Vijayanagar Empire known for his humanity, kind hearted and his judgment. Tenali-Raman” a learned Brahmin also known to be the best poet, quick-witted was his courtier.
The Maratha Empire existed from 1674 to 1818. After a lifetime of exploits and guerrilla warfare with Adilshah of Bijapur and Moghul emperor Aurangzeb, the local lord Shivaji founded an independent Maratha nation in 1674, with Raigad as its capital. Shivaji died in 1680, leaving a large kingdom. Shivaji used the fighting technique “Guerilla Warfare”. He was a pioneer king in the establishment of civil rule and well developed regulated legislation among people.
From its onset, Religious tolerance and religious pluralism were important pillars of the nation-state since they were fundamental beliefs of Shivaji, the founder of the empire. The Maratha Empire was unique in that it did not adhere to the caste system.
Since its start, many people of talent were brought into the leadership of the Maratha Empire which made it one of the most socially mobile regimes. Note that the ruler of Indore was a Dhangar, a Shepherd; the rulers of Gwalior and Baroda were from ordinary peasant families; the Peshwas of the Bhatt family were from ordinary backgrounds; and Shivaji's most trusted secretary Haider Ali Kohari was from an ordinary family. All the groups of the Maharashtrian society such as Vaishyas (merchants), Bhandaris, Brahmins, Kolis, Dhangars, Marathas and Saraswats were well-represented in the Empire.