The Wodeyar dynasty was an Indian Hindu dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 to 1947. The kingdom was incorporated into the Dominion of India after its independence from British rule.

The dynasty was established in 1399 by Yaduraya Wodeyar. He ruled Mysore under the Vijayanagara Empire until 1423.

After Yaduraya Wodeyar, the Mysore kingdom was succeeded by the Wodeyar rulers. The kingdom remained fairly small during this early period and was a part of the Vijayanagara Empire. After the fall of the Vijayanagara Empire in 1565, the Kingdom of Mysore became independent and remained so until 1799.

During the reign of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799–1868), the region came under the control of the British Empire. His successors changed the English spelling of their royal name to Wodeyar and took the title of Bahadur. The last two monarchs of the dynasty, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV and Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, also accepted the British decoration Knight Grand Cross of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE).

Expansion

The Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated in 1565. The power vacuum created soon after was exploited by Raja Wodeyar (ruled 1578-1617). He expanded the borders of the Mysore kingdom and in 1610 changed the capital city from Mysore to Srirangapatna; a rare island formed by the river Kaveri, which provided natural protection against military attacks.

Later famous rulers of the dynasty included 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 reformed the administration of the empire by dividing it into 18 departments (called Chavadis) and he 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 dalwai, or commanders-in-chief,Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan, who expanded the kingdom aggressively, but clashed with the East India Company. After Tipu Sultan was killed by the British in the Battle of Srirangapatna 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 an annual subsidy to the British. However the British took over the administration of the kingdom on a specious plea of non-payment of the subsidy by Mummudi Krishna Raja Wodeyar in 1831, and British-appointed commissioners were then in charge of the kingdom.

British commissioners administered Mysore from 1831-1881. Mark Cubbon (1834–1861) and L. B. Bowring (1861–1870) are among the well-known commissioners of the period.
In 1868, the British Parliament heeded the king’s plea and decided to restore the kingdom to his adopted son Chamaraja Wodeyar IX. In 1881, the 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 establishment of a representative assembly. The next king, Nalvadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar, earned great fame as a saintly King-Rajarishi, and his kingdom was hailed as Ramarajya by Mahatma Gandhi as an ideal kingdom comparable to the one ruled by the historical hero Lord Rama

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

The last king of the Wodeyar dynasty was Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, who ruled from 1940 until Indian independence from British rule. In the year 1947, after India attained independence, he ceded his kingdom to the Dominion of India, but continued as the Maharajah until India became a Republic in 1950. He became the Raja Pramukh—a constitutional position—as the head of Mysore State in the Republic of India from 1950-1956. After the reorganization of the Indian states on a linguistic basis, he was appointed Governor of the integrated Mysore State (present Karnataka State) in 1956 and held the post until 1964.

Then he was Governor of Madras state (now Tamil Nadu) for two years. The Indian Constitution continued to recognize him as the Maharajah of Mysore, until 1971, when Mrs. Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, abolished the titles and Privy Purse of over 560 Maharajahs. The Maharajah died in 1974. His only son, Srikanta Datta Narasimha Raja Wodeyar (1953-2013), 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)[1]
  • 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 (1673–1704)
  • Narasaraja Wodeyar II (1704–1714)
  • Dodda Krishnaraja Wodeyar I (1714–1732)
  • Chamaraja Wodeyar VII (1732–1734)
  • (Immadi) Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734–1766)
  • Nanajaraja Wodeyar (1766–1770)
  • Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII (1770–1776)
  • Khasa Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1766–1796)
  • Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799–1868)
  • Chamarajendra Wodeyar X (1868–1894)
  • Vani Vilas Sannidhana, queen of Chamarajendra Wodeyar X, was Regent from 1894–1902.
  • Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (1894–1940)
  • Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar (1940–1950) [2]
  • Rajpramukh of Mysore state (1950–1956)
  • Governor of Mysore state (present-day Karnataka) (1956–1964)
  • Governor of Madras State (present-day Tamil Nadu) (1964–1966)
  • De-recognized as Maharajah of Mysore by the 26th Amendment to the constitution in 1971.
  • Died on 23-9-1974.
  • Prince Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar (1974-2013)