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Wodeyar

Wodeyar

Overview

The Wodeyar dynasty was an India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n royal dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 from 1399 to 1947, until the independence of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 from British rule
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 and the subsequent unification of the Indian dominion and princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

s into the Republic of India.

The spelling Wodeyar/Wadiyar is found in most records and is used by the royal family members themselves. However, the spelling by modern transliteration rules from Kannada would be Odeyar
Odeyar
Odeyar/Wodeyar is a surname in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.The word oDeyar is more popularly associated with the Royal Family of Mysore better spelled among English speaking as Wodeyers. However, it would be wrong to assume that this word is popular and typical to communities descended from or...

.
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Encyclopedia

The Wodeyar dynasty was an India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n royal dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore
Kingdom of Mysore
The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

 from 1399 to 1947, until the independence of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 from British rule
British Raj
British Raj was the British rule in the Indian subcontinent between 1858 and 1947; The term can also refer to the period of dominion...

 and the subsequent unification of the Indian dominion and princely state
Princely state
A Princely State was a nominally sovereign entitity of British rule in India that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy.-British relationship with the Princely States:India under the British Raj ...

s into the Republic of India.

The spelling Wodeyar/Wadiyar is found in most records and is used by the royal family members themselves. However, the spelling by modern transliteration rules from Kannada would be Odeyar
Odeyar
Odeyar/Wodeyar is a surname in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.The word oDeyar is more popularly associated with the Royal Family of Mysore better spelled among English speaking as Wodeyers. However, it would be wrong to assume that this word is popular and typical to communities descended from or...

. The word is pronounced to start with a vowel sound and not with a consonant. Odeyar in Kannada means the king or the owner. Wodeyar is a surname of a community in South India who are from the Potters (Kumbhar) community; a six foot potter's wheel, stick, etc., which is completely made of pure gold, can be seen in the Mysore palace.

History



The dynasty was established by Vijaya. Vijaya took on the name and ruled Mysore, then a small town, from 1399 CE to 1423 CE.
The Mysore kingdom was ruled by a succession of Wodeyar rulers for the next couple of centuries. However, the kingdom remained fairly small during this early period and was a part of the Vijayanagara Empire
Vijayanagara Empire
The Vijayanagara Empire , referred as the Kingdom of Bisnaga by the Portuguese, was an empire based in South Indian in the Deccan Plateau region. It was established in 1336 by Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Yadava lineage. The empire rose to prominence as a culmination of attempts...

. Later, after the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, the Kingdom of Mysore became independent and remained so until 1799. The Kingdom of Mysore came under the British during the reign of King Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799-1868). His successors changed the English spelling of their royal name to Wadiyar, and took the title of Bahadur. The last two monarchs also accepted the British decoration G.B.E.

Expansion


The Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated in 1565. The power vacuum created soon after was utilized by Raja Wodeyar, who ruled Mysore from 1578 to 1617. He expanded the borders of the Mysore kingdom and also shifted the capital from the city of Mysore in 1610 to Srirangapatna, a rare island formed by the river Cauvery , which provided natural protection against military attacks.

Subsequent famous rulers of the dynasty include Kanthirava Narasaraja I (ruled 1638-1659) who expanded the frontiers of the Mysore Kingdom to Trichy in Tamil Nadu. The dynasty reached its peak under Chikka Devaraja (ruled 1673-1704), who widely reformed the administration of the empire by dividing it into 18 departments (called Chavadis) and also introduced a coherent system of taxation.

From 1760 to 1799 the rule of the dynasty was essentially nominal, with real power in the hands of the successive dalwai, or commanders-in-chief, Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali
Hyder Ali was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in southern India. Born Hyder Naik, he distinguished himself militarily, eventually drawing the attention of Mysore's rulers...

 and his son Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan , also known as the Tiger of Mysore, was the de facto ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. He was the son of Hyder Ali, at that time an officer in the Mysorean army, and his second wife, Fatima or Fakhr-un-Nissa...

, who expanded the kingdom agressively, but clashed with the East India Company
East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. After Tipu Sultan was killed when the British stormed Seringapatam
Battle of Seringapatam
The Siege of Seringapatam was the final confrontation of the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War between the British East India Company and the Kingdom of Mysore. The British achieved a decisive victory after breaching the walls of the fortress at Seringapatam and storming the citadel. Tippu Sultan, Mysore's...

 in 1799, the Wodeyars were restored to a reduced kingdom.

British Rule




After restoring the Wodeyars to the throne of Mysore the British shifted the capital back to the city of Mysore from Srirangapatna. The four year old boy (Mummudi) Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, son of the last Wodeyar King Khasa Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII, was anointed as the King of Mysore. Wodeyars were now subsidiaries of the British Raj and had to pay annual subsidy to the British. However British took over the administration of the Kingdom on a specious plea of non-payment of subsidy amount from Mummudi Krishna Raja Wodeyar in 1831 and British appointed commissioners were in charge of the Kingdom.

British Commissioners administered Mysore from 1831 to 1881. Mark Cubbon
Mark Cubbon
Lieutenant-General Sir Mark Cubbon KCB was a British army officer with the East India Company who became the British Commissioner of Mysore state in 1834. He retained this office until 1860. He moved the capital from Mysore to Bangalore, helped reform the finances of Mysore, and created a...

 (1834-1861) and L. B. Bowring (1861-1870) are among the well-known Commissioners of the period.

But in 1868, the British Parliament upheld the King's plea and decided to restore the Kingdom back to his adopted son Chamaraja Wodeyar IX. In 1881, transfer of power back to the Wodeyars heralded an important phase in the making of modern Mysore. For the first time in India, democratic experiments were introduced by the constitution of the representative assembly. His son Nalvadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar earned great fame as a saintly King-Rajarishi and his Kingdom was hailed as Ramarajya by Mahatma Gandhi; an ideal kingdom comparable to the one ruled by the historical hero Lord Rama.

Under British hegemony, the Wodeyars, freed from security concerns, shifted attention to the patronage of the fine arts. Under their patronage, Mysore became a cultural centre of Karnataka, fostering a number of famous musicians, writers and painters.

The last king of the Wodeyar dynasty was Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, who ruled from 1940 until Indian independence from British rule. In the year 1947, after India attained independence, he acceded his Kingdom to the dominion of India, but continued as the Maharaja until India became a Republic in 1950. He became the Raja Pramukh—a constitutional position—as the head of Mysore State within the Republic of India from 1950-1956. After the re-organization of Indian States on linguistic basis, he was appointed as the Governor of the integrated Mysore State (present Karnataka state) in 1956, which post he held until 1964. After that he was Governor of Madras state (now Tamil Nadu) for two years. But the Indian Constitution continued to recognize him as the Maharaja of Mysore until 1971, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India abolished the titles and Privy Purse of well over 560 Maharajas spread over different parts of India. The Maharaja died in 1974. His only son Srikanta Datta Narasimha Raja Wodeyar (b. 1953) was a member of the Indian Parliament for many years.

Wodeyar Rulers of Mysore

  • Yaduraya (1399–1423)
  • Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar I (1423–1459)
  • Thimmaraja Wodeyar I (1459–1478)
  • Hiriya Chamaraja Wodeyar II (1478–1513)
  • Hiriya bettada Chamaraja III Wodeyar (1513–1553)
  • Thimmaraja Wodeyar II (1553–1572)
  • Bola Chamaraja Wodeyar IV (1572–1576)
  • Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar V(1576–1578)
  • Raja Wodeyar I (1578–1617)
  • Chamaraja Wodeyar VI (1617–1637).
  • Raja Wodeyar II (1637–1638)
  • (Ranadhira Kantheerava) Narasaraja Wodeyar I (1638–1659)
  • Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659–1673)
  • Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar
    Chikka Devaraja
    Chikka Devaraja was the wodeyar ruler of Mysore from 1673 to 1704. During this time, Mysore saw significant expansion and also recognition by the Mughal empire as a tributary state...

     (1673–1704)
  • Narasaraja Wodeyar II
    Narasaraja Wodeyar II
    Kanthirava Narasaraja II , was the Wodeyar ruler of the Indian state of Mysore from 1704 to 1714 CE. He was born both mute and deaf and came to be called Múk-arasu . He succeeded to the throne through the influence of the chief minister, Tirumalaiyangar...

     (1704–1714)
  • Dodda Krishnaraja Wodeyar I (1714–1732)
  • Chamaraja Wodeyar VII (1732–1734)
  • (Immadi) Krishnaraja Wodeyar II
    Krishnaraja Wodeyar II
    Krishna Raja Wodeyar II,, was also known popularly as Immadi Krishna Raja Wadeyar.He was the titular ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1734 to 1766...

     (1734–1766)
  • Nanajaraja Wodeyar (1766–1770)
  • Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII(1770–1776)
  • Khasa Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1766–1796)
  • (Mummudi) Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799–1868)
  • Chamaraja Wodeyar X
    Chamaraja Wodeyar
    Chamaraja Wadiyar X was the ruling Maharaja of Mysore between 1881 and 1894.-Adoption and accession:Chamaraja was born at the old palace in Mysore on February 22, 1863, as the third son of Sardar Chikka Krishnaraj Urs, of the Bettada-Kote branch of the ruling clan. His father died about a week...

     (1868–1894)
  • Vani Vilas Sannidhana
    Maharani Kempa Nanjammani Vani Vilasa Sannidhana
    Maharani Kempa Nanjammani Vani Vilasa Sannidhana was the wife of Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar IX and mother of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.Maharani Kempananjammanni of Vani Vilasa Sannidhana [in full] occupies as high a place as any in the annals of Mysore history...

    , queen of Chamaraja Wodeyar X
    Chamaraja Wodeyar
    Chamaraja Wadiyar X was the ruling Maharaja of Mysore between 1881 and 1894.-Adoption and accession:Chamaraja was born at the old palace in Mysore on February 22, 1863, as the third son of Sardar Chikka Krishnaraj Urs, of the Bettada-Kote branch of the ruling clan. His father died about a week...

    , was Regent from 1894–1902.
  • (Nalvadi) Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1894–1940)
  • Jayachamaraja Wodeyar
    Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur
    Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur was the 25th and the last Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore from 1940 to 1950. He was a noted philosopher, musicologist, political thinker and philanthropist.-Biography:...

     (1940 - 1950)
    • Rajpramukh
      Rajpramukh
      Rajpramukh was an administrative title in India which existed from India's independence in 1947 until 1956. Rajpramukhs were the appointed governors of certain of India's provinces and states....

       of Mysore state
      Mysore State
      The Kingdom of Mysore was one of the three largest princely states within the erstwhile British Empire of India. Upon India gaining its independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Mysore merged his realm with the Union of India...

      , (1950–1956)
    • Governor of Mysore state
      Mysore State
      The Kingdom of Mysore was one of the three largest princely states within the erstwhile British Empire of India. Upon India gaining its independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Mysore merged his realm with the Union of India...

       (present-day Karnataka), (1956–1964)
    • Governor of Madras State
      Madras State
      Madras State was the name by which the Indian districts in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Northern Kerala, Bellary and Dakshina Kannada were collectively known as from 1950 to 1953....

       (present-day Tamil Nadu), (1964–1966)
    • De-recognized as Maharaja of Mysore by the 26th Amendment to the constitution in 1971.
    • Died on 23-9-1974.
  • Srikanta Datta Narsimharaja Wadiyar, (b-1953, ascended the throne in 1974- though a private affair)

Arjun Wodeyar is the current Wodeyar and currently lives in India

Curse on Wodeyars


The Mysore kingdom, founded by Yaduraya in the year 1399, consisted of only the areas surrounding the Present Mysore City and in fact the original fort was supposed to have been at a place known as haDadana - an extant small village on the southern side of Chamundi Hill. Wodeyars, like all others at that time were under the suzerainty of the Vijayanagar Empire. The viceroy of the Vijayanagar kingdom headquartered at Srirangapatna. Wodeyars after Yaduraya slowly and steadily increased their influence and territory over the next 200 years. Raja Wodeyar the ninth Ruler of the dynasty was a remarkable man known for his valor and patronage of art and culture. He Ruled from 1578 to 1617. In the year 1610, he conquered the fort of Srirangapatna from Tirumala –the then Viceroy of Vijayanagar. Tirumala is said to have retired to Talakad along with his two wives. One of them Alamelamma was known to be a staunch devotee of Sri Ranganayaki- consort of Sri Ranganatha the presiding deity of the famous Adi-Ranga temple in the island fortress of Srirangapatna.

Tirumala was afflicted with some deadly disease on his back which was also known as the disease of the Kings. But the condition of Srirangaraya deteriorated and he died. Alamelamma had large amount of precious jewellery. Of them was a fine nose ring studded with a big pearl. As Alamelamma was a widow now, she had no use of these jewels for her anymore. Since she was known to be a staunch devotee of Sri Ranganayaki, every Friday and Tuesday, Sri Ranaganayaki was being decorated with a big pearl studded nose ring and other precious jewelry. These jewels were in the safe custody of Alamelamma otherwise. Temple authorities requested Raja Wodeyar to provide them with the custody of these jewels as was the practice hitherto. Treasury officials informed the king about truth. Raja Wodeyar thought that what is the use of these jewels for Alamelamma as she is a widow now and she no longer needs these jewelry. Raja Wodeyar sent emissaries to malangi where Alamelamma was staying, with a request to return the jewels. Alamelamma returned only the Pearl studded nose ring. Then Raja Wodeyar sent his army to Talakad to request her once again and if she still refuses to get them by force. To escape the wrath of the Mysore Army, Alamelamma uttered the legendary curse on Raja Wodeyar and jumped into the whirlpool in the river Cauvery at Talakadu, with the rest of the jewels and escaped unscathed. The curse goes thus:

The curse which has survived the folklore of last four hundred years is known thus:
Hearing of this extreme step taken by Alamelamma, Raja Wodeyar was truly repentant. All he wanted to do was to return the jewelry to the temple and not confiscate them for his own use. In grief, he had an idol of Alamelamma made in gold, installed it in the Palace and worshiped it as a deity. Some remnants of her hair is also preserved in a box.

Even to this day, Alamelamma’s idol can be found inside the Mysore Palace and is worshipped by the Royal Family. One can see the same huge pearl nose-stud adorning both Goddess Ranganayaki and Alamelamma even today. (You can see this at www.royalsplendourofmysore.com, video clip no: 25. That portion of the clip with the archaka’s having a white scarf tied around their mouth and food spread in front of the idol)

Dasara Festivities inside the Palace ends on the evening of Navarathri with a formal pooja to Alamelamma and the Kankana worn by the Royal Couple is removed there after paving way for the Vijaya Dashami – Sami pooja the next day. For these nine days the Royal Couple are bound inside the precincts of the Palace.

Another very interesting part of the story is that this Alamelamma Temple is under the care of the legal heirs of Alamelamma herself and they still stay inside the Mysore Palace fort. Strangely even these priests/caretakers appears to be cursed and even they do not beget children and follow the same pattern afflicting the Wodeyars!

Here is a brief sketch of Raja Wodeyar which is necessary to get a historical perspective:

Raja Wodeyar after shifting to Srirangapatna is credited with starting the famous Dasara Festivities for the first time in 1610. But his only son died (effect of the curse !) just a day before the commencement of Navaratri, but the king after consulting experts has laid down the rule that the celebration of the ceremonies will not be interfered even due to the death of Royal members.

Raja Wodeyar was a devout of Vaishnavaite and he donated the famous bejeweled crown to the Lord Cheluvarayasvami of Melkote, which is celebrated as the Raja Mudi car festival even today. Even this Crown was confiscated by the Karnataka Government from the Royal Family during Emergency!

Legend has it that, Raja Wodeyar having entered the garbha–griha of Cheluvarayasvami Temple on June 20, 1617, became one with the deity (aikya). Even today one can find a Bhakthi Vigraha of the King inside the Temple. Another Bhakthi Vigraha of the King can be found inside the Lakshmi-Narayanasvami Temple inside the Mysore Palace Fort.

Malangi and Talakad are two small towns near T Narasipur on the banks of Cauvery where the river takes a bend. Talakad's temples lie buried in the vast expanse of sand and are dug up and exposed every 12 years. On the other hand, at Malangi, the river is at its deepest. Whether these phenomena started only after Alamelamma's curse in AD 1610 is a matter of conjecture.

What can be stated with certainty is the fact that the curse on the royal family seems to have come true.

After Raja Wodeyar’s death in 1617 to Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar in 1704 (there were four rulers in between), Kingdom was ruled by the surviving progenies of Yaduraya, but none could beget legal heirs! Incidentally Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar is credited with the composition Gita Gopala – an opera in Kannada.

The sole exception was Chikka Devaraja's deaf and dumb son Kantheerava Narasaraja Wodeyar II - also known as mookarasu.

He was succeeded by his son Dodda Krishna Raja Wodeyar who Ruled from 1714 to 1732. With him Yaduraya’s direct lineage came to an end.

What followed was a succession of nominal rulers adopted by the surviving queens to continue the tradition. Traditional Army commanders known as Dalvoy’s virtually Ruled the Kingdom and paved the way for the ascendancy of a foot soldier like Hyder Ali by 1762. After the famous Mysore War IV and the resultant death of Tipu Sultan, the legendary Arthur Wellesley (also Known as Iron Duke) conquered Srirangapatna in 1799. There were five Rulers from 1732 to 1796. In this period a definite pattern emerged wherein none of the natural heir to the throne born to a King (adopted or otherwise) could beget children, whereas one who became a King by virtue of adoption or otherwise was blessed with a legal heir. Even Hyder and Tipu continued with the tradition of having a nominal Wodeyar King on the throne and even the Dasara Celebrations continued as usual.

It is notable that the conditions of the curse, barring the exception noted above, has survived from the year 1610 until today, for almost 400 years spanning 17 Maharajas.

A recent research, which was conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in collaboration with the state archaeology department, Karnataka, found a well-developed canal system extending a few kilo metres from Talakad to Cauvery. They analyzed the site through geospatial maps recorded by a satellite using infrared and radar technology. A GPS survey was also done on the site for more accuracy.

See also

  • Kingdom of Mysore
    Kingdom of Mysore
    The Kingdom of Mysore was a kingdom of southern India, traditionally believed to have been founded in 1399 in the vicinity of the modern city of Mysore. The kingdom, which was ruled by the Wodeyar family, initially served as a vassal state of the Vijayanagara Empire...

  • Mysore State
    Mysore State
    The Kingdom of Mysore was one of the three largest princely states within the erstwhile British Empire of India. Upon India gaining its independence in 1947, the Maharaja of Mysore merged his realm with the Union of India...

  • Maharaja of Mysore
    Maharaja of Mysore
    Maharaja of Mysore was the principal title of the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in India.The Wodeyar dynasty founded a feudatory principality in 1399, which grew into the Kingdom of Mysore...

  • Karnataka
    Karnataka
    Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

  • Mysore
  • Talakad
    Talakad
    Talakad is a desert-like town on the left bank of the Kaveri river at a spot where the river makes a sharp bend. It is 45 km from Mysore and 133 km from Bangalore in Karnataka, India. A historic site, Talakad once had over 30 temples that today are buried in sand. Now it is a scenic...

  • Srirangapatna
    Srirangapatna
    Srirangapatna is a town in Mandya district of the Indian state of Karnataka...


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