The chronicling of southern India would be incomplete without the Wodeyars, the royal family which ruled the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore. Spanning over 5 centuries, the rule of the Wodeyar dynasty was headed by as many as 25 kings.
No other Indian dynasty has ruled over a kingdom for an elongated time period of more than 500 years, a feat exclusively attained by the Wodeyars. They ruled the Mysore Kingdom, which is present-day Karnataka, almost uninterruptedly between 1399 and 1947.
History of the Wodeyars
The Wodeyar dynasty was founded as a feudatory principality by Yaduraya Wodeyar in 1399. For more than 150 years between 1399 to 1565, the Wodeyars ruled as vassals of the Vijayanagara Empire. Then, for almost 200 years between 1565 to 1761, they remained independent rulers.
There was a brief interruption in the rule from 1761 to 1796 when the control of the kingdom was seized by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan and the Wodeyars exercised limited power. However, after the death of Tipu Sultan at the hands of the British rulers in 1799, the Wodeyar dynasty ruled as allies of the Englishmen till 1947.
Subsequently, the kingdom was incorporated into the Dominion of India after its independence from the British crown.
Some of the famous rulers of the Wodeyar dynasty, besides Yaduraya Wodeyar, include Raja Wadiyar, who ruled Mysuru from 1578 to 1617 and Kanthirava Narasaraja I, who expanded the frontiers of the Mysuru Kingdom to Trichy in Tamil Nadu.
Under Chikka Devaraja, the Wodeyar dynasty reached its peak as he brought about massive reforms in the administration of the empire.
Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, the 24th king of the kingdom, earned Mysore the title of the best-administered realm in the world. Also, the unwavering growth of the state of Karnataka is attributed to him.
Present heir of the Wodeyar dynasty
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar is the present Maharaja of Mysore and head of the former ruling Wodeyar dynasty. Grand-nephew of the last titular king Srikantadatta Narasimha Raja, he was adopted as the heir in 2015.
The Wodeyars, back in 1612, were cast with a curse that they will never have a natural heir to the throne. The curse ended after a long wait of 400 years when Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wodeyar and his wife Trishika Kumari welcomed a baby boy in 2017.