Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar Bahadur (20 February 1953 – 10 December 2013), also referred to as Prince Srikanta Wadiyar, was the prince of Mysore Kingdom and head of the Wadiyar dynasty that ruled the Kingdom of Mysore between 1399 and 1950. Wadiyar was formerly a member of Indian Parliament from the Mysore constituency. He was a fashion designer and a promoter of Mysore silk saris under his Royal Silk of Mysore brand name. In the second half of the 20th century, silk industry in South India revived, and Mysore State became the top multivoltine silk producer in India.
Born in 1953 as the only son of the last ruling Maharaja of Mysore His Highness, His Excellency Dr. Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar and his second wife, Maharani Tripura Sundari Ammani Avaru, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar succeeded his father as the head of the dynasty after his father’s death on 9 September 1974. He continued the informal and titular rule of the royal family as king from 1974 until his death on 10 December 2013. Wadiyar’s widow Pramoda Devi Wadiyar has now appointed Srikantadatta Wodeyar’s Elder Sister’s Grand son, Yaduveer Datta Chamaraja Wodeyar as his successor.
He studied in the private royal school at the Mysore Palace and completed his secondary school education in 1967. He took horse riding lessons from the Government Riding School, Mysore.
He had a British nanny and an Anglo-Indian nanny who groomed him. Mr. Watsa was a mentor to him during his formative years. Wadiyar joined Maharaja College, Mysore in 1968 to pursue his pre-university course (one year) and studied for a BA degree from 1969-72 majoring in English literature and political science. His minor subject was sociology. His second language was Kannada, tutored by Prof. K. Venkataramappa. He did his master’s in political science at Manasa Gangotri, University of Mysore, from 1972-74. He studied a course in law as an open University student. Throughout his college career, he was an avid cricketer and had a collection of cricket bats signed by international Test cricket players. He also studied Western classical music and Carnatic classical music. In his youth he had studied Vedas as well. He was awarded the Gold Medal as the first rank student in MA Political Science. His wife, Mrs. Pramoda Devi, is a post-graduate in Hindi.
His love of cricket which saw him captain the University team, later prompted his involvement in leading the Karnataka State Cricket Associationin the position of President.
He was married to Maharani Pramoda Devi Avaru, from the Bettada Kote Ursu family of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore. They had no children.Although he was never the official king of Mysore Kingdom but only its prince, people called him with esteems as Maharaja.
Wadiyar was the only brother of 5 sisters – (Princesses) Gayatri Devi Avaru, Meenakshi Devi Avaru, Kamakshi Devi Avaru, Indrakshi Devi Avaru and the youngest, Vishalakshi Devi Avaru.
He celebrated the royal tradition of Mysore Dasara by performing all the rituals which were conducted by his ancestors—the rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Mysore. He conducted a “khasgi” (private) durbar during the festivities, where he ascended the golden throne at the Amba Vilas Hall of the Mysore Palace.
Wadiyar was a longtime member of the Indian National Congress. He participated four times in elections for Member of Parliament representing the Mysore Parliamentary Constituency. Results were that he won twice as the INC member, and lost twice; once as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and more recently as a Congress party candidate.
In 1984, Wadiyar first stood for Lok Shaba elections on a Congress ticket and defeated independent candidate K.P. Shantamurthy. He defected to the BJP in 1991, but lost the elections badly to Chandraprabha Urs of the Congress. He moved back to the Congress Party, and won Lok Shaba elections in 1996 and 1999, but lost the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
On 10 December 2013, Wadiyar died from cardiac arrest aged 60 at Vikram Hospital, Bangalore.He was cremated with state honours at Madhu Vana, the burial ground of the royal family. On the day of his demise, the whole city of Mysore shut its business voluntarily in respects to His Highness. The Government of Karnataka declared a two-day mourning ceremony, and a state government holiday. In addition, lighting of his Ambavilas Palace (Mysore Palace) was halted for thirteen days as a symbol of sorrow. He was survived by his wife Pramoda Devi Avaru.
Wadiyar died without a heir, so during the royal Dussehra celebrations of 2014 his nephew Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs performed the ritualswhile the “khasgi” (private) durbar was conducted by placing the “Pattada Katti” (royal sword) on the throne.
The Karnataka State Cricket Association, of which Wadiyar was elected the President few days before his death, named the Karnataka Premier League tournament after him.The University of Mysore Platinum Jubilee Cricket Stadium (Gangotri Glades Cricket Ground) was named in Wadiyar’s memory.A sand sculpture of Wadiyar was etched. A wax sculpture of Wadiyar was also created by wax-sculptor Shreeji Bhaskaran.
In 2014, India Posts issued a Special Cover depicting the private durbar of Wadiyar.
Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar was declared as Srikanta Wadiyar’s successor and the coronation ceremony took place on 28 May 2015.