Veera Ballala III

Veera Ballala III was the last great king of the Hoysala dynasty. He ruled between 1291 A.D. and 1343 A.D. He succeeded his father Narasimha III.

Ballala III has influence on Tamil country as was his father. In 1311, he appointed Sundara Pandya as the Pandya king as opposed to his competitor, Vira Pandya. While he was busy in Tamil affairs, the northern boundaries of his empire were targeted by the invasion of Malik Kafur, commander of All-ud-din-Khilji. Halebidu was attacked and plundered. Veera Ballala had to accept defeat and had to send his son Veera Virupaksha Ballala to Delhi as an act of peace. He was returned in 1313.

In 1327 A.D., Delhi Sultan Muhammad Tughlaq shifted his capital to Devagiri from Delhi. This put Muslim armies very close to the Hoysala capital of Dvarasamudra. Delhi Sultan attacked Halebidu in 1327. Kakatiyas of Warangal, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Pandyas of Madurai were occupied by the Delhi Sultanate. The only Hindu kingdom left was the Hoysala kingdom under Veera Ballala III. The Madurai Sultanate was also formed with Tiruvannamalai as its capital. To encounter the Muslim invasion, Veera Ballala founded a second capital Hosapattna on the banks of Tungabhadra River, which was later renamed as Vijayanagara (present day Hampi).

Veera Ballala entrusted the task of defending the northern border of the Hoysala Empire from Muslim invasion to the five Sangama brothers. Sangama was custodian of parts of the Hoysala empire around the present day Hampi. The eldest of Sangama's sons, Harihara I (popularly known as Hakka), was appointed as Mahamandaleshwara, chief of several smaller rulers, in the northern part of the Hoysala empire. In 1336, Hakka and Bukka were able to repulse the attacks of the Delhi Sultan in the north. Veera Ballala himself lead a military expedition to Madhurai. After the Hoysala victory over the Delhi Sultanate, Bukka was appointed Crown Prince of the Kingdom.

The Hoysala empire along with the new territories occupied during the battle in 1336 came to be known as the Vijayanagara Empire. After the founding of the new empire, Veera Ballala III returned to Madhurai to counter the attacks by the Delhi Sultan. He was killed in one of the series of skirmishes against them in 1343.