As usual the origin of the dynasty is steeped in mystery
and legendary material. The founders are linked to the lunar lineage
(candravamsha) and they are deemed to be the descendants of the yAdavAs of
dvAraka. However it is more likely they were indigenous chieftains from Karnataka
who rose to become the founders of a dynasty after a series of internal
bickerings with other local chieftains. Vijaya and
YadurAja (vijaya) 1399-1423 A.D.
hiriya beTTada cAmarAja oDeyar 1423-1459 A.D.
timmarAja oDeyar 1459-1478 A.D.
hiriya cAmarAja oDeyar-2 1478-1513 A.D.
hiriya beTTada cAmarAj oDeyar-3 1513-1553 A.D.
timmarAja oDeyar-2 1553-1572 A.D.
bOLa cAmarAj oDeyar 1572-1576 A.D.
beTTada (dEvarAja) oDeyar 1576-1578 A.D.
rAja oDeyar 1578-1617 A.D.
cAmarAj oDeyar-5 1617-1637 A.D.
rAja oDeyar-2 1637-1638 A.D.
kanTIrava narasarAja oDeyar 1638-1659 A.D.
dEvarAj oDeyar (kempa dEvarAja oDeyar) 1659-1673 A.D.
cikkadEvarAja oDeyar 1673-1704 A.D.
After the seventeenth century, a number kings ruled over the state of Mysore with an interruption when the kingdom was taken over by Hyder Ali who of course never claimed kingship and his son Tipu Sultan. There was another short period during which the kingdom was controlled by the British regent. MummaDi kriSNarAja oDeyar,(1799-1831 A.D.) nAlmaDi kriSNarAja oDeyar (1895-1940 A.D) and jayacAmarAjEndra odeyar(1940-1950 A.D.) were the more important ones among these kings. Hyder Ali enjoyed unquestioned power during the period 1761-1782 A.D. and Tipu Sultan was the king from 1782-1799 A.D. The kings of the WoDeyar dynasty lead a subdued existence during the regime of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan.
The longevity of the rein these kings has very little to do with the extent of their kingdom or the power enjoyed by them. They were feudatories of the Vijayanagara kingdom till rAja odeya defeated the functionary of that empire and declared independence during his days in power. RAja oDeya, raNadhIra kanTIrava narasarAja oDeya and cikkadEvarAja oDeya are the most important the kings in this dynasty till the end of seventeenth century.
The kingdom consisted of merely 33 villages when rAja
oDeyar came to power. He defeated tirumala the representative of the
Vijayanagara Empire and negotiated with venkaTa the Vijayanagara king and
gained some degree of freedom. He built a fort at
KanTIravanarasa oDeya has become legendary for his physical prowess and political endeavours. His confrontations with the mighty Mughals, sultans of Bijapur, (raNadullA khAn) mAgaDi kempEgouDa and the chieftains of madurA, ikkEri and nAgamangala were eminently successful and they are well documented. He could conquer many places such as singAnallUru, turuvEkere, piriyApaTTaNa, beTTadapura, ratnagiri, satyamangala, hosUru and yalahanka. He strengthened the forts of Mysore and Srirangapattana and was instrumental for the wealth of the state. He established a mint in SrirangapaTTaNa and built a Narasimhaswamy temple within the fort. bangAradoDDi canal built by him for the kAveri irrigates huge vistas of land even to this day.
CikkadEvarAja is the next and arguably the most important
king of the dynasty till the end of seventeenth century. He is well known for his military ingenuity,
political acumen and administrative innovations. Mysore became an important
kingdom of South India during his regime. He fought and conquered the ShAhi
rulers of Bijapur and Golkonda. He fought off the attack of the great Shivaaji
on the fort of Srirangapattana. (?) He demonstrated his political shrewdness by
entering into an agreement with Aurangazeb the Mughal Emperor. He received many
favours and titles from the Mughal monarch. ‘apratimavIra’ and ‘jagadEva’ were
the titles bestowed on him. He captured the city of Bangalore from the
successors of Shivaji in 1687 A.D. CikkadEvaraja expanded his kingdom to such
an extent that it included the entire region later known as old Mysore state
and a little more. Tumakur and Chikkamagalurr in the North and paLani and
Anemalai in the South were the boundaries of his kingdom. Similarly, it
extended from bElUr and coorg in the west up to
started by this king included the splitting adminserial vistas in 18 separate
categories monitored by different offices. (aTArA kacEri) He encouraged
agriculture, trade and commerce and collected a fair share of the wealth
generated like that in the form of revenues and taxes. He was instrumental in
establishing a postal department in his kingdom, This department functioned
also as the department of espionage. Chikkadevaraja regualrised weights and
measures by making the Royal seal on them mandatory. An earthen fort and the
kOTe venkaTaraaNaswAmi temple in Bangalaore and shvEtavarAhamandira in
Many kings in the Wodeyar dynasty were writers and they encouraged literature and other fine arts. ‘CAmarAjOktivilAsa’ by cAmarAja oDeyar, gItagOpAla and cikadEvarAjabinnapa by cikkadEvaraja are the better known works composed by the kings. Poets and writers such as kaLale vIrarAja, nanjarAja, tirumalArya, singarArya, sanciya honnamma, cikupAdhyAya have written important literary works before the seventeenth century. Many of them have a Srivaishnava orientation. ‘mitravindA gOvindA’ written by singarArya is recognized as the first drama in Kannada.
Contributions of the Wodeyar kings to the fields of fine arts, music, dance, architecture and sculpture are not very noteworthy. However it gained a lot of momentum during the later period particularly in the regimes of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and Nalmadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar.
1. ‘Musical composers during Wodeyar dynasty, 1638-1947 A.D.’ by Meera Rajaram Pranesh, 2003, Vee. Emm. Publishers,
‘History of the Wodeyars of
3. History of Mysore, 1339-1799 A.D. incorporating the latest epigraphical, literary and historical researches, Volume 1 By Conjeeveram Hayavadana Rao, 1948.