India • 36 • Wodeyar dynasty

  • Dates : 1399 / 1950

The Wodeyar Dynasty: Guardians of Mysore 


The Wodeyar dynasty, also known as the Wadiyar dynasty, is a royal line that ruled the kingdom of Mysore in southern India for more than six centuries, from 1399 to 1950. Over the centuries, the Wodeyar kings left an indelible mark on the history of the region, through political ups and downs, cultural achievements and socio-economic development. 


Origins and Ascension 


The Wodeyar dynasty was founded by Yaduraya in the 14th century. Originally a feudal ruler, Yaduraya rose to power in Mysore during a period of great political instability caused by the collapse of the Hoysala dynasty. Under his rule and that of his successors, the kingdom of Mysore gradually grew and consolidated. 


The Age of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan 


In the mid-18th century, a period of instability allowed Hyder Ali, an ambitious military leader, to become the de facto ruler of Mysore. Although the Wodeyars remained reigning kings, the real power was in the hands of Hyder Ali and his son, Tipu Sultan. This period is marked by significant territorial expansion and fierce resistance against British colonial forces. 


The Restoration of the Wodeyar Dynasty 


After the death of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysoran War in 1799, power was returned to the Wodeyars by the British. Five-year-old Krishnaraja Wodeyar III was placed on the throne under a British administration. Despite this situation, the Wodeyars continued to play an important role in the development of the region. 


Mysore Development 


Under the rule of the Wodeyars, Mysore transformed into a center of art, culture and social progress. The city experienced an architectural boom, with the construction of magnificent palaces and gardens, such as Mysore Palace and Brindavan Gardens. The reign of the Wodeyars also saw the implementation of significant educational and social reforms. Education was promoted, schools and colleges were established, and efforts were made to abolish discriminatory caste practices. 


The End of an Era 


The Wodeyar dynasty came to an end in 1950, with the incorporation of the Kingdom of Mysore into the newly formed Indian Republic. However, the Wodeyar family continues to play a cultural role in Mysore, including maintaining the traditions of the Dasara festival, an important annual event. 




The Wodeyar dynasty played a central role in the history of Mysore, marking the region with its cultural, social and architectural influence. Despite challenges and political changes, the Wodeyars have left a lasting legacy that continues to inspire and shape Mysore and its region.

The Geographical Footprint of the Wodeyar Dynasty 


The Wodeyar dynasty, which ruled the kingdom of Mysore for over six centuries, left a significant geographical imprint in southern India. Their rule shaped the cultural and political topography of the region, with borders that fluctuated with conflicts, alliances and colonial politics. 


The Formation of the Kingdom 


The Wodeyar dynasty was founded by Yaduraya in the 14th century, who established the city of Mysore as its capital. Originally, the territory under the control of the Wodeyars was relatively small, mostly confined to the region around Mysore. 


Expansion under Chikka Devaraja 


The most significant geographical expansion of the kingdom of Mysore took place during the reign of Chikka Devaraja (1673-1704). He not only centralized the administration but also led several successful military campaigns which expanded the territory of Mysore. By the end of his reign, the kingdom extended from present-day Karnataka to parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. 


The Age of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan 


In the middle of the 18th century, power effectively shifted to Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan. Under their rule, the kingdom of Mysore underwent significant territorial expansion, encompassing much of southern India, including parts of present-day states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. 


British Reign and beyond 


After the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the kingdom of Mysore was returned to the Wodeyars, but under British administration. The territory controlled by the Wodeyars was greatly reduced to a small princely state under the British Raj. 


When India gained independence in 1947, the kingdom of Mysore under the last Wodeyar king, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, became a state within the Indian Republic. In 1956, during the restructuring of the states of India on linguistic grounds, the state of Mysore was expanded to include surrounding Kannada-speaking areas, and was finally renamed Karnataka in 1973. 




The geographical footprint of the Wodeyar dynasty had a profound impact on the cultural and political landscape of southern India. From the kingdom's borders initially limited around Mysore, to its expansion across southern India, the influence of the Wodeyars remained a central aspect of the history of this region.

India • 33 • Wodeyar dynasty: map

This map illustrates the maximum territory that the Wodeyar Dynasty had reached at its height, covering the current regions of Karnataka in India. Its main purpose is to provide a visual aid to understand the geographical extent of this dynasty. However, it's important to note that the contemporary borders of these regions may not necessarily coincide with the historical territories.

list of rulers

Yaduraya (1399-1423): Founder of the dynasty, he took control of Mysore during a period of political instability. 

Hiriya Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar I (1423-1459) 

Thimmaraja Wodeyar I (1459-1478) 

Shamaraja Wodeyar II (1478-1513) 

Chamaraja Wodeyar III (1513-1553) 

Timmaraja Wodeyar II (1553-1572) 

Bola Chamaraja Wodeyar IV (1572-1576) 

Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar V (1576-1578) 

Raja Wodeyar I (1578-1617): He moved the capital to Srirangapatna. 

Chamaraja Wodeyar VI (1617-1637) 

Raja Wodeyar II (1637-1638) 

Ranjit Wodeyar (1638-1638) 

Kanthirava Narasaraja Wodeyar I (1638-1659) 

Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659-1673) 

Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673-1704): He extended the territory of Mysore and centralized the administration. 

Narasaraja Wodeyar II (1704-1714) 

Dodda Krishnaraja Wodeyar I (1714-1732) 

Chamaraja Wodeyar VII (1732-1734) 

Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734-1766) 

Nanjaraja Wodeyar (1766-1770) 

Bettada Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII (1770-1776) 

Khasa Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1766-1796) 

Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799-1868): Recognized by the British as the ruler of Mysore after the death of Tipu Sultan. 

Chamaraja Wodeyar X (1868-1894) 

Vani Vilas Sannidhana, Queen Regent (1894-1902): Ruled as regent for her minor son. 

Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (1902-1940): Known for his enlightened rule and the modernization of the state of Mysore. 

Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar (1940-1950): The last reigning ruler of the dynasty; ruled until Mysore became part of the Indian Republic in 1950.