History of Wadiyars

The Wadiyar dynasty is 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. In Kannada, the word “Wadiyar” (ಒಡೆಯರ್‌) means “Lord” or “Lordship.” Historical records use the term ″Wodeyar″ when referencing the dynasty’s royal family members; the ″W″ is silent. In more modern Kannada transliteration, the variation ″Odeyar″ is also used.


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 Wadiyar 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 Wadiyar III (1799–1868), the region came under the control of the British Empire. His successors changed the English spelling of their royal name to Wadiyar and took the title of Bahadur. The last two monarchs of the dynasty, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV and Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, also accepted the British decoration Knight Grand Cross of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE). The Vijayanagara Empire disintegrated in 1565. The power vacuum created soon after was exploited by Raja Wadiyar (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 Wadiyars were restored to a reduced kingdom.