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Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV

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Subject: List of Hindus, Bangalore, Indian Institute of Science, Malenadu, Vani Vilasa Sagara, University of Mysore, Krishna Raja Sagara, Kemmangundi, Kempa Nanjammani Vani Vilasa Sannidhana, Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar
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Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV

Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
Maharaja of Mysore
Portrait by K. Keshavayya (1906)
Reign 1902–1940
Born June 4, 1884
Birthplace Mysore
Died August 3, 1940
Place of death Bangalore
Predecessor Chamarajendra Wadiyar X
Successor Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar
Consort Lakshmivilasa Sannidhana Sri Pratapa Kumari Ammani Avaru
Royal House Wadiyar dynasty
Father Chamarajendra Wadiyar X
Mother Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana
Religious beliefs Hinduism

His Highness Maharaja Sri Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV (Nalwadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar) GCSI, GBE (June 4, 1884 – August 3, 1940, Bangalore Palace) was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore from 1902 until his death in 1940. He is regarded as one of the most celebrated rulers among the Indian States when India was still under British rule. At the time of his death, he was also one of the world's wealthiest men, with a personal fortune estimated in 1940 to be worth $400 million which would be equivalent to $56 billion in 2010 prices.[1]

He was a philosopher-king, who was seen by Paul Brunton as living the ideal expressed in Plato's Republic. He has been compared to the Emperor Ashoka by the English statesman Lord Samuel. Mahatma Gandhi called him Rajarshi, or "saintly king", and his kingdom was described by his followers as Rama Rajya, an ideal kingdom akin to the rule of Lord Rama.

Krishna IV was the 24th ruler of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore that ruled over Mysore State from 1399 to 1950.

Early years

Krishna was born on June 4, 1884 at the Royal Palace, Mysore. He was the eldest son of Maharaja Chamaraja Wadiyar X and Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana. After the death of his father in Calcutta in 1894, Krishna's mother ruled the state as Regent until Krishna reached the age of majority.

The Maharaja had his early education and training at the Lokaranjan Palace under the direction of P. Raghavendra Rao. In addition to Western studies, the Yuvaraja was instructed in the languages of Kannada and Sanskrit, was taught horse riding, and Indian and western Classical music. He was also sent to Mayo College, Ajmer to study but returned to Mysore due to ill health. His early administrative training was imparted by Sir Stuart Fraser of the Bombay Civil Service. The study of the principles of jurisprudence and methods of revenue administration were supplemented by extensive tours of the state during which he gained extensive knowledge of the nature of the country which he was later to govern.


On June 6, 1900, he wed Rana Prathap Kumari of Kathiawar aka H.H. Maharani Lakshmivilasa Sannidhana Sri Pratapa Kumari Ammani Avaru (b. 1889), youngest daughter of Rana Sri Bane Sinhji Sahib, Rana Sahib of Vana in the Kathiawar region of the present-day Gujarat State.

Rama Rajya

Close on the heels of the 1876-77 famine and the death of Maharaja Chamaraja Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, still a boy of eleven, ascended the throne in 1895. His mother Maharani Kemparajammanniyavaru ruled as regent until Krishnaraja Wodeyar took over the reins on 8 February 1902.[2] Krishna IV was invested as the Maharaja of Mysore, with full ruling powers, by the Viceroy Lord Curzon on August 8, 1902 at a ceremony at Jagan Mohan Palace (now the Jayachamarajendra Art Gallery).

Under his rule, Krishnaraja Wodeyar set about transforming Mysore into one of the most progressive and modern states of the time. Under him, Mysore blazed many trails in industry, education, agriculture and art. Much of the pioneering work in educational infrastructure that was put in place during this period was to serve Karnataka invaluably towards the end of the 20th century in consolidating its position as India's leading technology hub.[3] The king was an accomplished musician, and like his predecessors, avidly patronised the development of the fine arts.[4] For all these reasons, his reign is often described as the 'Golden age of Mysore'.[5]

Mysore Kings


Under Vijayanagara Empire


Yaduraya (1399–1423)
Chamaraja Wodeyar I (1423–1459)
Timmaraja Wodeyar I (1459–1478)
Chamaraja Wodeyar II (1478–1513)
Chamaraja Wodeyar III (1513–1553)
Independent Wodeyar Kings


Timmaraja II (1553–1572)
Chamaraja Wodeyar IV (1572–1576)
Bettada Wodeyar (1576–1578)
Raja Wodeyar I (1578–1617)
Chamaraja Wodeyar V (1617–1637)
Raja Wodeyar II (1637–1638)
Narasaraja Wodeyar I (1638–1659)
Dodda Devaraja Wodeyar (1659–1673)
Chikka Devaraja Wodeyar (1673–1704)
Narasaraja Wodeyar II (1704–1714)
Krishnaraja Wadiyar I (1714–1732)
Chamaraja Wodeyar VI (1732–1734)
Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734–1766)
Under Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan


Krishnaraja Wodeyar II (1734–1766)
Nanjaraja Wodeyar (1766–1772)
Chamaraja Wodeyar VII (1772–1776)
Chamaraja Wodeyar VIII (1776–1796)
Under British Rule


Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (1799–1868)
Chamaraja Wodeyar IX (1881–1894)
Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV (1894–1940)
Jayachamaraja Wodeyar (1940–1950)
C Rajagopalachari
(Governor-General - Republic of India)

Krishna Raja Wadiyar was the first chancellor of Banaras Hindu University and University of Mysore. The latter was the first university chartered by an Indian State. The Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore which was initiated during His mother's tenure as Regent was started during his reign, with the gift, in 1911, of 371 acres (1.5 km²) of land and a donation of funds. He was a patron of Indian (both Carnatic and Hindustani) and Western Classical Music.

Mysore had been the first Indian state to have a Representative Assembly, a democratic forum in 1881. During Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV's reign, the Assembly was enlarged and became bicameral in 1907 with the creation of the Legislative Council, a house of elders which introduced many new legislation for the state. During his reign Mysore became the first Indian state to generate hydroelectric power in Asia and Mysore was the first Asian city to have street lights, which were first lit on August 5, 1905.

During his 39 year reign as Maharaja, Krishna IV had the following Prime Ministers (popularly known as Diwans):

  1. P.N. Krishnamurthy (1901–06)
  2. V.P. Madhava Rao (1906–09)
  3. T. Ananda Rao (1909–1912)
  4. Sir M. Visvesvaraya (1912–19)
  5. Sir M. Kantha Raje Urs (1919–22)
  6. Sir Albion Rajkumar Banerjee, ICS, (1922–26)
  7. Sir Mirza Ismail (1926–41)

During his reign, he worked toward alleviating poverty and improving rural reconstruction, public health, industry and economic regeneration, education and the fine arts. Such were the strides that Mysore made during his period that Gandhiji was moved to remark that the Maharaja was a Rajarishi ("a saintly king").[6] Paul Brunton, the British philosopher and orientalist; John Gunther, the American author; and the British statesman, Lord Samuel, were also among those who heaped praise on the king. Lord Sankey said during the Round table conference that Mysore was "the best administered state in the world". Princes from other sections of India were sent to Mysore for administrative training. The Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya described the Raja as "Dharmic" and Lord Wellington echoed the sentiment by calling Mysore's industrial development "incredible".

Patron of Carnatic Music, the Fine Arts and Yoga

As noted, the Raja was a connoisseur of both Carnatic and Hindustani music, and his reign was described by some as "the golden age of Carnatic classical music".

The learning of Sanskrit language and literature was encouraged as never before. Yoga, through Sri Tirumalai Krishnamacharya prospered, and painting (notably by his protégé, Raja Ravi Varma) was promoted. He was an accomplished player of eight instruments -- flute, violin, saxophone, piano, mridangam, nadaswara, sitar, and veena. In fact, he was instrumental in one Mr Laksminarasimhiah playing carnatic music on saxophone as part of the Palace Band.Kadri Gopalnath was influenced by him to become a virtuoso on saxophone. Many illustrious members of the Agra Gharana including Nattan Khan and Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan were guests of the Maharajah in Mysore. The legendary Abdul Karim Khan and Gauhar Jan were also his guests. Barkatullah Khan, one of India's greatest sitar players was a palace musician from 1919 till his death in 1930. Some of the Great Composers who flourished in his Court were, Veena Shamanna, Veena Sheshanna, 'Vikatakavi",K.R.Venugopal sarma,Mysore Karigiri Rao, Veena Subbanna, Bidaram Krishnappa, Mysore Vasudevacharya, Veena Subramanaya Iyer, Dr Muthiah Bhagavatar, Veena Shivaramiah, Veena Venkatagiriappa, Belakawadi Srinivasa Iyengar, Chikka Rama Rao, Mysore T.Chowdiah, B.Devendrappa, Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar, and Tiruvayyar Subramaya Iyer and others.


  • Philosopher, mystic and traveller, Paul Brunton (1898–1981) spent many years in Mysore under the care of the Maharaja and expressed his gratitude in the dedication of The Quest of the Overself: "You have rescued philosophy from those who would make it a mere refuge from disappointment, and converted it into a dynamic inspiration to higher action for service. If the world's Rulers would emulate Your Highness and bestow but a fragment of their time on pure philosophy, the illumination thereby gained would immensely profit them in wiser policies."
  • Constance E. Parsons in her Book Mysore City (Published in 1930) : Of the present ruler, Colonel His Highness Sir Sri. Krishnarajendra Wadiyar Bahadur, G.C.S.I., G.B.E., much might, but little need, be said. Throughout the length and breadth of India there is no name more honoured. Within his State there is no name more loved.
  • Dr. S. Radhakrishnan Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, who served as professor at Maharaja's College at Mysore during the early days of his career when the Maharaja was the Ruler has this to say: "His late Highness the Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar gave one the impression of a remote but enchanting spirit, who lived on hidden heights, even when dealing with concrete problems of the state. One felt that he was giving to society not more than a fraction of himself."
  • Sir Mirza Ismail a childhood friend of the Maharaja's who became his Private Secretary and later his Diwan (Prime Minister), a Muslim, wrote in his autobiography: "Purity of soul, kindness of heart, generosity of disposition, patience and tolerance, a wise judgment of men and affairs—these are qualities which His Highness possessed to an eminent degree. It was given to him that which is given to few men -— to go through life making only friends, to the exclusion of all enemies. I am sure that history will hold him among the greatest in the history of India."

Mahatma Gandhi and the Maharaja

Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Navajivan dated February 8, 1925: "His Highness the Maharaja of Mysore has taken up spinning. This news cannot but gladden the hearts of those who look upon it as sacred duty ... I congratulate the Maharaja and hope that he will not give up till the end of his life this activity which he has taken up, It will do immense good to him and his subjects."

Mahatma Gandhi was a state guest of the Maharaja in 1927 and 1936. He stayed at Nandi Hill to recuperate from ill health. During 1927, the State was celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of the Maharaja. Gandhi was invited to attend the function. Gandhi sent a letter to the Maharaja on August 5, 1927, in which he wrote: "Dear Friend, It has been a matter of deep joy to me to learn wherever I have gone, nothing but praise of your benevolence and purity. I shall pray on Monday for the due fulfilment of all your noblest wishes."


During the reign of Sri Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar, Mysore State saw an allround development. Assisted with able Dewans' the overall economy of Mysore Kingdom grew and was considered as a model state. A few of the achievements during his reign are

  1. Asia's second Hydro Electric Project at Shivanasamudra Falls in 1902. This station was commissioned by the Diwan of Mysore, K. Seshadri Iyer.
  2. Minto Eye Hospital Banglore, established in 1903, is among the world's oldest Ophthalmology super speciality hospital
  3. Bangalore was the first city in India to get electic street lights in the year 1906
  4. Vani_Vilasa_Sagara Chitradurga, completed in 1907. This is the oldest dam in Karnataka state.
  5. Indian Institute of Science,Bangalore established in 1909
  6. Mysore Boys Scouts, Mysore established in 1909. First of its kind in India
  7. State Bank of Mysore established in 1913
  8. Mysore Agricultural Residential School, Bangalore, established in 1913. University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore was initially established in 1899 by Her Excellency Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana the Regent of Mysore, with an initial grant of 30 acres as an experimental agricultural station.
  9. Kannada Sahitya Parishat, Bangalore, established in 1915
  10. University of Mysore,Mysore, established in 1916
  11. Yuvaraja College, Mysore, established in 1916
  12. School of Engineering, Bangalore, established in 1916: Later renamed as UVCE
  13. Mysore State Railway(MSR) between 1916 and 1918, opened 232 miles of railway to traffic. By 1938 MSR had 740 miles of railway track opened to traffic
  14. Government Sandalwood oil factory, Bangalore, established in 1917
  15. Maharani's Science College for Women, Mysore, established in 1917
  16. Lalitha Mahal palace in 1921
  17. Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant,Bhadravathi was started as Mysore Iron Works in 1923. Later renamed as VISL.
  18. Krishna Raja Sagardam, KRS, established in 1924
  19. Mysore Medical College, Mysore, established in 1924
  20. Krishna Rajendra Hospital, Mysore, established in 1927 is attached to Mysore Medical College
  21. K.R.Market, Bangalore, established in 1928. This is the main wholesale market dealing with commodities in Bangalore.
  22. Marakonahalli dam in Tumkur district completed in 1930. The dam has an automatic siphon system, first of its kind in Asia.
  23. Mysore Sugar Mills, Mandya, established in 1933
  24. KR Mills, Mysore, established in 1933
  25. St. Philomena's Church, Mysore in 1933.
  26. Vanivilas Women and Children Hospital,Bangalore, established in 1934 was named after his mother Maharani Vani Vilas Sannidhana
  27. Mysore Paper Mills, Mysore, established in 1936
  28. Mysore Lamps, Bangalore, established in 1936
  29. Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited, Mysore, established in 1937. It became a public sector in 1947.
  30. Mysore Implements Factory, Hassan, established in 1939 to produce agricultural and garden implements.
  31. Hindusthan Aircraft, Bangalore, established in 1940 later renamed as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
  32. Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, First Chancellor and co-founder
  33. Irwin Canal: Later named as Visveshwariaha Canal
  34. City Improvement Trust Board, first of its kind in India


  • 1884-1894: Yuvaraja Sri Krishnaraja Wadiyar] Bahadur, Yuvaraja of Mysore
  • 1894-1907: His Highness Maharaja Sri Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar (Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV) Bahadur, Maharaja of Mysore
  • 1907-1910: His Highness Maharaja Sri Sir Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar (Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV) Bahadur, Maharaja of Mysore, GCSI
  • 1910-1917: Colonel His Highness Maharaja Sri Sir Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar (Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV) Bahadur, Maharaja of Mysore, GCSI
  • 1917-1940: Colonel His Highness Maharaja Sri Sir Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar (Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV) Bahadur, Maharaja of Mysore, GCSI, GBE


(ribbon bar, as it would look today)

Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV
Born: 4 June 1884 Died: 3 August 1940
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Chamaraja Wodeyar
Maharaja of Mysore
Succeeded by
Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur

External links

  • Rare photographs of HH Nalvadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar


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