India has been, from as early as 3000 B.C.E., defined by Hinduism. The system of belief that today is called Hinduism had for thousands of years no such name. The belief system emerged from the Indian landscape much like Greek philosophy emerged from the diverse city states of the Greek peninsula. The southern region of India, the area that became the Vijayanagar empire during the fourteenth to sixteenth century C.E., had been a strong hold for Hinduism since the earliest years.
Throughout the onslaught of invading armies of Muslims, Mughals, and Christians, the Hinduism of southern India remained strong and resilient. Even after Muslim sultanates defeated the armies of the Vijayanagar empire in the 1560s C.E., devastating the royal city and sacred sites, Hinduism remained the strongest religion of the Indian continent.
The ancient city of Vijayanagara had been a marvel to behold. One of the great cities of its time in the world, the city's planners created a fortress like city complete with hundreds of religious structures. The people of Hampi, the core of the ancient city of Vijayanagara, centered their daily life around religious devotion. The land surrounding provided fertile soil for farming, rich iron deposits, and natural outlying fortress sites. Those resources contributed to the creation of a highly developed civilization, protected by the military might of the empire.
Why the Vijayanagara empire, possessed for such military power, vigorous economy, powerful religious traditions, and natural defensive features, fell to the Muslim sultanates after only two centuries is puzzling. The Battle of Talikota, in which the Muslim sultanates demolished the armies of Vijayanagar, may hold the key to explaining the fall.
The rulers of the Vijayanagar empire, seated in Vijayanagara, had become complacent and over confident. They had mistreated their Muslim neighbors who finally joined a league against them. Although out numbering the Muslim army 150,000 to 110,000, the Vijayanagar empire fell in a short, intense battle. The Muslim calvary, and younger leaders, proved superior to the Vijayanagar foot soldier based army with elderly generals. Overconfidence and arrogance may have been the reason for the down fall of the Vijayanagar empire and the sack of Vijayanagara.