The Tuluvas came to power when the Tuluva general , Narasa Nayaka, imprisoned Immadi Narasimha in 1492 and usurped power. Vira Narasimha , son of Narasa Nayaka , was the first king of the Tulva dynasty.
After a short reign, Krishnadeva Raya succeeded his step brother Vira Narsimha. Later Krishnadeva Raya became one of the greatest rulers of the Vijayanagar empire. His reign is known as the golden age of Vijayanagara. Not only did he inflict crushing defeats on the Bahamani sultans , he conquered the coveted Raichur , Doab and Telangana, carrying his campaigns to as far north as Orissa.
Krishnadeva Raya was a genius in many respects. He was a scholar in Telugu and sanskrit. A patron of the arts and letters, he was a pious man. He made magnanimous donations and gifts for the renovation of old temples and for building new ones. He built an auditorium in Virupaksha Temple and a tower at its gate. In memory of his mother Nagaladevi he constructed Nagalapuri, now known as Hospet. He also initiated irrigation projects and built a large reservoir near Hospet.
During his reign, the portuguese travellers Nuniz and Paes Visited the kingdom and mentioned the glory of the empire in their accounts.He died in 1529 and with it began a period of decline of the empire. His brother, Achyuta Raya (1529-42) struggled against enemies. He built the Achyuta Raya Temple at Hampi and made additions to many temples including the Vitthala.