The Wodeyar Dynasty is known to rule the Kingdom of Mysore in India between1399 -1947.This dynasty ruled the Indian subcontinent till the independence of India from the British Rule after which all the monarchies and the princely states were unified into the Republic of India.
Origin of Wodeyar Dynasty
The first ruler of the dynasty was Vijaya who ruled in Mysore from 1399 CE to 1423 CE. However, the dynasty was under the domination of the Vijayanagara Empire at this time. It was only after the Vijayanagara Empire’s fall that the kingdom of Wodeyar emerged as a dominant dynasty till the British came to India and held control of the Kingdom of Mysore along with other princely states. The fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565 proved to be a high point for the dynasty.
The Best Period for the Wodeyar Dynasty
Raja Wodeyar was one of the first independent kings to expand the territories of the Wodeyar Kingdom. The 17th century saw the Wodeyar Dynasty emerging as a dominant power in the Southern India. The rule of Raja Wodeyar -2(1637-1638) , Narasaraja Wodeyar-1 (1638-1659) and the Chikka Devraja Wodeyar (1673-1704) was the period that show much of the development under all the independent Wodeyar Kings. Several Administrative and military reforms were introduced by the reigning kings including the division of the empire into 18 departments and introducing a better taxation system. From 1760-1799, the Wodeyar Dynasty was ruled by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan, the commanders-in-chiefs at the time and they proved very vital in expanding the kingdom. However, the clash with the British led Tipu Sultan to his death in 1799 and the British took hold of large parts of the Kingdom of Mysore but let the rulers of Mysore continue their rule till the independence of India through a subsidiary alliance.
The British Rule and the Wodeyar Dynasty
The first step that the British took was to shift the capital of back to the city of Mysore from Srirangapatna. Krishna Raja Wodeyar III, the four year old son of King Khasa Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII. This could not continue for a very long time and the British commissioners were appointed in charge of the kingdom on account of non payment of the subsidy amount. This continued for around fifty years and on request from the kings of Mysore, the power was transferred given once again to the Wodeyars and Chamaraja Wodeyar IX was the reigning Wodeyar King at this time. It was during this time that some significant advancement in the fields of music, literature and painting were made in Mysore and it went on to become the cultural capital of Karnataka.
The Independence of India and the end of the Wodeyar Dynasty
Jayachamaraja Wodeyar was the last of the Wodeyar Kings. His rule in India started in 1940 and he continued to rule as a king even after the independence of the country in 1947. After India was declared a republican nation in 1950, Jayachamaraja was declared the head of the state of Mysore and he was later appointed as the position of the governor of the integrated Mysore State (present Karnataka state) in 1956 and later he was appointed as the governor of Madras for two years. The title of Maharaja was separated from his name in 1971 along with 560 other maharajas in different parts of the country. He died in 1974.