When Venkata III became the ruler of Vijayanagar, his uncle Timmaraja contested the throne. Though Venkata was supported by the Southern Nayaks, Timmaraja was winning the war when Sriranga III with the Dutch came in support of his uncle Venkata and crushed Timmaraja near Pulicat and forced him to accept his uncle’s rule. Sriranga was the son of Araviti Gopala Raju and grandson of Rangapparaju. However, for reasons unknown, Sriranga rebelled in 1638 and brought an invasion from Bijapur. Venkata had to buy an expensive deal after the fall of Bangalore. In 1641, the army was 12 miles away from Vellore when it was beaten back by the Southern Nayaks.
Seeing the chaos, Golconda invaded of 1641. Golconda armies faced stiff resistance from the royal army and the armies of Gingee and Kalahasti and the Raya then retreated to the jungles of Chittoor, where he died in Oct 1642. Sriranga, abruptly quit the Bijapur camp and came to Vellore to crown himself the king.
The Damerla brothers did not desire his succession and in combination with the other governors, created a considerable amount of discontent, may be because of Sriranga’s treachery to his uncle. They had apparently championed some other claimant ; and he was seized and put in confinement by the new monarch; but his kinsmen raised a large army and hoped to restore him to freedom with the aid of the Muhammadans whom they were hourly expecting or else to ruin the whole kingdom.
Sriranga was not only a pious sovereign, but one endowed with political insight and vigour. He tried alternately to establish a control over the great Nayak chiefs and to use them against the Muslim enemies. He was successful in this attempt, but not completely. Sriranga was a stronger man than his predecessor and was bent upon consolidating the central authority.
Immediately afterwards, Sriranga invaded the dominions of Tirumala Nayaka of Tanjore who was allied with Tanjore and Gingee. When Tanjore Nayak divulged the details, Sriranga marched on Gingee as well. In turn, Tirumala Nayak turned to Golconda for help. But the Raya beat back the invasion. When the northern threat was becoming more serious, he came to terms with the Southern Nayaks and spent more than a year with them. In the meanwhile, the Muslims were encroaching on his dominions.
Soon, vain joys gave place to jealousies and divisions. Rejected again by the Nayaks, Sriranga established his court in the forests of Kalians (lying to the north of Tanjore), where he spent four months, a prey to all discomforts; his courtiers soon abandoned him.
When the Nayak of Gingee was in rebellion, he sent one, Krishnappa Nayak against him and his Golconda allies, who were routed. Mallayya or Chinnanna was sent to subdue the Damerla brothers. Possibly, there was help from the Dutch at Pulicat regarding this. Golconda threatened Pulicat and Mallayya tried to mollify them with bribes, but was unable to. Unexpectedly, Sriranga fell upon them and chased them as far as Udayagiri where he defeated him.
After this, Sriranga fought off another invasion of the empire but in 1645, he lost Vellore and became a refugee at the court of Kanthiravanarasa of Mysore and with the help of the latter recovered a portion of his old territories and defeated the Golconda army which advanced to an attack. In the attack over Vellore, the Raya and the Raja of Kaveripattanam were arrayed on one side, while Bijapur, the Nayaks of Ikkeri and Harpanahalli and the southern Nayaks are arrayed on one side.
Sivappa Nayak of Ikkeri, now came to his aid with 50000 men to recover Vellore possibly because of their common enemity with Ranadulla Khan. Vellore fell after a siege and Sivappa Nayak was honoured with many titles including those of Ramabhana and Paravarana-Varana and presented him the head of the commander of the Muslim armies.
Golconda again attacked in 1646 under Mir Jumla, allied with Bijapur. Udayagiri fell when the Raya escaped from the fort and Mallayya, now the governor of that region surrendered it. Thus fell Udayagiri area, one of the oldest and strongest lands of the Vijayanagar Empire.
Soon afterwards, probably in 1648, Mir Jumla came to be at war with Bijapur. Mir Jumla sought the help of Mysore and Sriranga. he Raya, sensing trouble, sent one, Venkanna Somayaji to Mustafa Khan, the Bijapur general but the parley was rejected. Mustafa Khan was prevailed upon by his deputy Shahaji Bhonsle and sent Mullah Ahmed to Vellore. By that time, the Raya decided to fight. The Bijapur army advanced, first to Penukonda and then to Vellore, took possession of it where the Raya lost 5800 men and paid an indemnity of 50 lakh hons and 150 elephants and left Sriranga stranded, with perhaps Chandragiri for his capital and a few miles of territory dependent thereon. There is also some evidence pointing out that he appealed to Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb to save the kingdom in return of his conversion to Islam. Even from these, the Raya was ultimately driven out by the treachery of the Nayak of Madura and had to finally seek shelter with Sivappa Nayak. The Bijapur commander Shahaji Bhonsle was possibly arrested at this point to forestall a powerful Southern Hindu Confederacy led by Shahji and Sriranga involving all the powerful Southern rulers. The parleys may also be a reason to sow the seed of doubt.
In November 1656 Sriranga had recovered some districts and laid seige to Pulicat as against Mir Jumla, now a Mughal general ,very likely with the support of the king of Golconda, who was angry that Mir Jumla decided the lands he occupied as his and not Golconda’s when he defected. Sriranga took advantage of this attitude of Golconda and called upon his father-in-law to seize the territory of Peddapalayam (Periyapalayam) near Madras and the neighbourhood of Pulicat and see the country rendered obedient to him.
According to the Dutch records of January 1657, Koneri Chetti who was entrusted with the operations on behalf of Sriranga Raya, betrayed his master and made overtures to Mir Jumla’s associate Krishnappa Nayaka. Koneri Chetti then wasted much time in the siege of Poonamallee till the enemy overpowered reassures him. Koneri Chetti gave himself up to the Muhammadans as a prisoner, but was received in state by the commanders with more than accustomed honour in such cases, possibly because of his close relationship with Krishnappa
By the end of January 1657, Sriranga had captured Tirupati and designed the conquest of the districts of Conjeevaram, Chingleput and Pulicat and requested the Dutch either to help him by getting for him Mir Jumla’s treasures stored at Pulicat or at least to stay neutral. The Raya’s army was defeated near Arni. The Raya then appealed to Bijapur who came to his aid when Mir Jumla was not around and Bijapuri armies advanced under Shahaji. In that war, Chokkanatha of Madurai, Vijayaraghava Nayaka of Tanjore, the Recherla clan along with Shahaji and possibly, Sivappa Nayaka of Ikkeri ranged on one side supporting the Emperor while Gingee, Mysore and Mir Jumla opposed the coalition. In these operations, Gingee fell and along with it, it’s Nayak leading his army in a final charge. There is another argument where Chokkanatha of Madurai tried to correct his father’s policy by reinstating both the Raya and Nayak of Gingee but was unsuccessful, though formally, Vijayanagar ended in 1646.
The emperor Sriranga III continued his efforts to recover his lost territories ; and Father Proenza has observed in his letter of 1659 thus : ” Encouraged by the good reception and help of the King of Mysore, he took advantage of the absence of the Bijapuri general in the Deccan and advanced with an army of Mysoreans to expel the army of Golconda.” But the Bijapur invasion and death of Kanthirava Narasa of Mysore ended all the scheming. The last gasp of the empire was through the efforts of Muthu Veerappa, the son of Tirumala Nayaka, in an attempt to correct his father’s mistakes, tried to build a southern coalition to prop up the Raya, but was finally unsuccessful. Sriranga III having failed in his attempts, had to take refuge in Ikkeri where he led the life of a recluse atleast till 1675. Sriranga, then disappeared from the political arena and once he is out, there was a rapid decay of the empire and it’s demise, even in name. There is a grant issued by Sivaji to support the widow and two sons of Sriranga, a clear indication that Sriranga predeceased Sivaji.