Narasimha had left two minor sons in the charge of his able general Naras Nayaka. He had asked him to act as regent and hand over the state to the fittest of them after they attained ‘majority’. Naras Nayaka placed Timmabhupala, the eldest son, on the throne. But as he happened to be too young, the real authority was exercised by him.
He was called the ‘protector’ (rakshakarta). He had to face old enemies of the state, the Bahmanis and the Gajapati. He proved his mettle by subduing the Chera, Chola, and Pandyas and captured many localities in South India. He even defeated the Gajapati.
Mahmud Shah, the Bahmani king, was a mere tool in the hands of his Prime Minister Qasim Barid who had assumed complete power. This aroused the jealousy of other nobles, particularly Adil Khan who had become independent in Bijapur.
Qasim Barid entered into an alliance with the ruler of Konkan and Narasa Nayaka who made a simultaneous attack on Bijapur. Narasa Nayaka captured the forts of Raichur and Mudgal and this fulfilled the wish of his late master.
Adil Khan now resorted to treachery. He invited Narasa, the king and the other nobles and officers to a meeting at his palace. He killed many of them but Narasa was able to escape with his king. Adil Khan’s attempt to recover Raichur ended in failure. In fact, he was taken prisoner but later on released.
Narasa had to contend with internal enemies who were jealous of his growing power. One of the ministers manipulated the murder of the young king Timma. It was proclaimed that Narasa had been responsible for it as he wanted to enthrone himself.
Narasa immediately placed Immadi Narasimha or Dhamma Tammaraya, younger son of Narasimha on the throne. But as the new king turned against Narasa due to the machinations of his enemies, he left for Penugonda where he gathered his forces and invested the capital. The king Immadi now sued for peace. The king was kept under protective custody and Narasa became the real ruler of the kingdom.
Narasa Nayaka was de facto ruler of the kingdom from 1490 to 1503. He tried to fulfil the last wishes of his master to recover all the lost fortresses of the empire. He suppressed rebellious chiefs who had raised their head during the last days of Sangama dynasty.
Barasa Nayaka led successful campaign against the chief of the Chola and Pandya Kingdoms. He also thwarted the designs of the Gajapati ruler, Prataparudra to advance towards the South.
However, he could not throw out the Portuguese who had landed at Calicut in 1498 under Vasco da Gama and imposed certain trade restrictions on Vijayanagar officer at Bhatkal. Later on, even a Vijayanagar officer, the Chief of Honavar was obliged to accept the suzerainty of the King of Portugal.
In spite of his pre-occupations with wars, he found time to spend in the company of the learned. He was a great patron of Telugu literature and encouraged poets to compose verses and write books in that language. He rewarded them profusely and granted them land and money.