Krishnaraja Wadiyar III

14 Jul 1794
27 Mar 1868
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Sriman Rajadhiraja Raja Paramesvara Praudha-pratapa Apratima-vira Narapati Birud-antembara-ganda Maharaja Sir Krishnaraja Wadiyar III Bahadur (14 July 1794 – 27 March 1868) or Krishnaraja wadiyar III (Kannada: ಮುಮ್ಮಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರ್) was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore in India. Also known as Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, he belonged to the Wadiyar dynasty and ruled his state for nearly seventy years, from 30 June 1799 to 19 October 1831. He is known for his contribution and patronage to different arts and music during his reign. He was succeeded by his adopted son, Chamarajendra Wadiyar X.

Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, who was born at Srirangapatna, was the son of Khasa Chamaraja Wadiyar IX {who was born at Arokottara (now Chamarajanagar) and his first wife, Maharani Kempa Nanja Ammani Avaru. Chamaraja Wadiyar IX was the adopted son of Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi, the widow of Krishnaraja Wadiyar II. Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi played a major role in the development of her adopted grandson, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, and was instrumental in his ascendancy to the Mysore throne. The Wadiyars had lost the throne of Mysore to Hyder Ali in the year 1766. Maharani Lakshmi Ammani Devi was waiting for a chance to unseat Hyder Ali and later his son Tipu Sultan, and had sent numerous feelers to the British to unseat them and hand over the kingdom to the Wadiyars. She also informed the British about the treaty between Tipu Sultan and the French.When Tipu Sultan died at the hands of the British in 1799, she discussed about the handover of the Mysore throne, which finally led to the installation of the five-year-old Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, as the Maharaja of Mysore on 30 June 1799The ceremony took place in a special pavilion constructed near the Lakshmiramana Swamy temple in Mysore.being led to it by the Duke of Wellington on his right. Dewan Purnaiah was selected as the Dewan of Mysore with an indication that he should be loyal to the king till the king himself attains an age of discretion.

Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar attained the age of 16 in early 1810 and hence attained the age of discretion. After discussing with the British Resident, A. H. Cole, the reins of the state were transferred from Dewan Purnaiah to the king. But the king lost the services of his grandmother, who died in 1810, and also of Purnaiah, who died in 1812.

The years that followed witnessed cordial relations between Mysore and the British until things began to sour in the 1820s. Even though the Governor of Madras, Thomas Munro determined after a personal investigation in 1825 that there was no substance to the allegations of financial impropriety made by A. H. Cole, the incumbent Resident of Mysore, the civil insurrection which broke out towards the end of the decade changed things considerably. In 1831, close on the heels of the insurrection and citing mal-administration, the British took direct control of the princely state.For the next fifty years, Mysore passed under the rule of successive British Commissioners; Lieutenant-General Sir Mark Cubbon KCB, renowned for his statesmanship, served from 1834 until 1861 and put into place an efficient and successful administrative system which left Mysore a well-developed state.

Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar was responsible for the cultural growth of the Mysore state. He was himself a writer, having written Kannada books like Sritattvanidhi and Sougandhikaparinaya. He also has a number of writers in his court who together contributed to the development of modern Kannada prose; which had a style different from the Champu style of prose which was followed till then. Other important writings that emerged during his rule include Mudramanjusha by Kempu Narayana, Kalavati Parinaya by Yadava and Vachana Kadamabari.The king was well versed in many languages and could play the musical instrument, veena.He was an expert player of board games and is credited to have revived the Ganjifa game. He was also a collector and an inventor of board games.

Krishnaraja Wadiyar III was a ruler who gave a lot of importance to the development of art during his period. He patronised many scholars in his court and he himself was a great Kannada and Sanskrit Scholar, and has composed more than 50 works. The Yakshagana form of Literature, its growth and survival are all due to his efforts. Parti Subba from South Canara, a famous Yakshagana writer flourished during his period. Devachandra, Venkatarama Shastri, Basavappa Shastri, Aliya Lingaraja, Kempu Narayana, Srinivasa Kavisarvabhouma, Thammaya Kavi, Nanjunda Kavi, Shantaraja Pandita were all patronised by him and thus they flourished.

Devachandra wrote Rajavali Katha which is of great historical importance and also Ramakathavathara, a work in Champu style. Kempu Narayana wrote Mudra Manjusha, which is a Kannada Prose. Asthana Vidwan Basavappa Shastri has written various works. He composed Kannada poems such as Shakuntala, Vikramorvasiya, Rathnavali, Chandakousika and Uttara Ramacharita. He has also translated the famous work of Shakespeare, Othello into Kannada and it is known as ‘Shurasena Charita’. He has also written Damayanti in Champu style, Savitri Charita in Shatpadi, Sri Raghavendra swamy ashtottara stotram and numerous other works in Sanskrit. Krishnaraja Wadiyar III has composed many works like Dasharatha Nandana Charita, Grahana Darpana, Sankya Ratna Kosha, Chaturanga Sara Sarvasva, Sri Tatvanidhi, Saugandhika Parinaya, Sri Krishna Katha Sangraha, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Surya Chandra Vamsavali, etc. He was called Bhoja Raja in Kannada. The Wadiyar’s Surya Chandra Vamsavali narrates a hundred episodes from Ramyana and Mahabharata and the adventures of Yaduraya and Krishnaraya, the founders of the Wadiyar Dynasty.

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