Hari Hara I founded the Vijayanagara empire in collaboration with his brother Bukka. Earlier both of them were in the service of Pratap Rudra Deva Kakakitya of Warrangal.
They fled from their place in 1323 when the Muslims captured it. They took up service with the Raja of Anagondi in the Raichur district.
But soon this territory also fell in the hands of the Muslims and both the brothers were taken to Delhi. This led to a Hindu rebellion at their place and they were released. Anagondi was restored to them but they became feudatories of the ruler of Delhi.
In 1335, they founded the imperial city of Vijayanagara on the banks of the river Tungbhadara. The city was named after the name of Vidyaranya, a famous sage and scholar. In 1336, a great and powerful independent Hindu kingdom named as Vijayanagara was founded by them. In 1336 itself Hari Hara accomplished his coronation ceremony according to Hindu rites and assumed the title of ‘Maharajadhiraja’.
Regarding the founding of the Vijayanagara Empire, Dr. V.S. Smith has observed, “There is however no doubt that the new power was the outcome of the efforts made by two brothers, sons of Sanghama to stay the tide of Muslim invasion and preserve the Hindu Dharma in the peninsula”.
Consolidation of the empire:
Before his death, Hari Hara was able to extend his kingdom in the areas along the sea coast east to west and in the north to river Krishna and river Kaveri in the south. His kingdom included the territories of Kanara, Mysore, Trichurapalli, Kanchi and Chingalpat.
Hari Hara established a sound system of administration. His system of civil administration lasted till the last days of the Vijayanagara empire.
Hari Hara encouraged agriculture and strengthened the fortification of several forts.