This section is from the book "Some Contributions Of South India To Indian Culture", by S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar. Also available from Amazon: Some Contributions of South India to Indian Culture.
Coming into existence from out of the ashes of the last powerful Southern kingdom, that of the Hoysalas, Vijnyanagar stood out for all that was worth preserving in Hindu religion and culture. As a necessary concomitant therefor, it pitted itself on the south bank of the river Tungabadra in a position of advantage wherefrom it satisfactorily kept the Muslim tide from advancing farther south, and thus saved South India as the home for the undisturbed further development of Hinduism, such as it had come to be under the great Cholas of the South. The movement was national, a nationalism which was infused through and through with the sentiments of religion. In the actual circumstances of the origin and growth of Vijayanagar anything like an attachment to a particular form of Hinduism was out of the question. The object of Vijayanagar, and those that were responsible for it was to preserve all that was Hindu, irrespective of the multifarious minor differences that went to constitute the Hinduism of those days as they do that of these days. It was a comprehensive movement and adopted a policy of comprehension, so as to take into its fold all forms of the Hindu faith, including in it to a great extent even the prevalent form of Jainism of the locality. The one object was the preservation of Hindu independence in South India, with all the multiplicity of its religions, Hindu and Jain, perhaps even to a very slight extent Buddhist, and providing, for the further development of these on peaceful lines, a home in the country, south of the river Krishna. The whole organisation of the forces of Vijayanagar had this object in view.