He is king who is better known in history as the one who brought the curse of a pious woman on the royal household of the Wodeyars.
It is due to him, as the curse says, that Talakad became a city drowned in sand, the town of
went underwater and heirs were born to the Wodeyar Kings only during alternate generations. Malangi
The curse is too well known and it is told an retold many tines over every time a tourist visits the sand filled temples of Talakad.
Though this king contributed a lot to bringing the Wodeyars to the centre stage of Karnataka in the early year of the 17th century, he is today remembered only as the unfortunate man who got himself cursed along with his dynasty.
Yes, this King is Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617), the man who completely drove out the Vijayanagars from Srirangapatna and established the
Wodeyar Kingdom in province with Srirangapatna as the capital. Mysore
The Viceroy of Srirangapatna was Tirumala Raya, a distant relative of the Emperor of Vijayanagar, Venkatapathi Deva Raya. Both Tirumala and Raja Wodeyar were vying with each other for getting a toe hold over south Karnataka.
It dawned on Tirumala Raya that he had to bump off Raja Wodeyar if he wanted to wrest control of the Srirangapatna-Mysore-province. He hit upon an easy plan to eliminate his rival.
He invited Raja Wodeyar to a parade of his forces in 1610 and planned to have him killed there.
The function was supposed to be held at Kesare near
Mysore and this is today’s N. R. Mohalla in . Tirumala Raya was defeated in the battle and killed. Raja Wodeyar perused the Raya’s wife Alemelu who flung herself into the raging Cauvery near Talakad. Mysore
She uttered the curse,
There are many stories on why she jumped into the Cauvery. One story says Raja Wodeyar desired to have her, Another says he wanted her jewels The third says a priest of the Ranganatha Temple in Srirangapatna wanted the jewels of the Lord back. The jewels were with Alamelu.
Whatever the reason, we know two things for sure. Talakad was soon submerged in sand and the Wodeyars had heirs only on alternate generations. Even today, several temples of Talakad are buried in sand and the Wodeyars have this recurring problem of heirs and this has been continuing since the time of Raja Wodeyar.
Now it was the turn of Raja Wodeyar to strengthen his kingdom. He shifted the capital from
to Srirangapatna and also introduced the Dasara. He also strengthened the fort at Srirangapatna. Mysore
He then handed over the reigns of the kingdom to Chamaraja Wodeyar and retired to Melkote along with his close supporters and friends near Mandya where he became a Srivaishnava.
He became an ardent devotee of Chaluvanarayana Swamy of Melkote. He also donated all his private estate to the temple and the Brahmins at Melkote. This estate had been endowed on him by the Vijayanagar Emperor, Venkatapathi, after the death of his Viceroy of Srirangapatna, Tirumula, whom he had secretly detested.
Not a day passed without Raja Wodeyar visiting the
and praying to the deity. It appears that Raja Wodeyar stayed on in Melkote for several years, an extremely happy and contended man, a person at peace with himself. temple of Cheluvaranarayana Swamy
Even today, we can see in the Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple, a pillar in the navaranga or inner hall, a bas relief about one and a half feet high, of Raja Wodeyar, standing with folded hands, with his name inscribed on the base.
He also presented a gold crown set with precious jewels to the temple. This crown is known as the Raja-mudi after his name
It is believed that Raja Wodeyar spent the last days of his life in prayer and meditation at the
. Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
One day, on June 20, 1671m, the priests and some of his followers and visitors to the temple saw Raja Wodeyar walking into the sanctum sanctorum of the
. Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple
Nobody thought it unusual as it was a daily ritual of Raja Wodeyar to walk into the sanctum, pray to the God and then walk back.
Several minutes passed and the minutes turned into hours and there was no sign of the former King coming out of the sanctum. The priests and everyone searched for the King but did not find him.
They also searched the small but beautiful house neat the temple where he had stayed for years but to no avail. It was only much later that they realized that the King had walked into the sanctum never to return. He had become one with the deity that he so loved, worshipped and prayed to.
The priests then sent word to the royal family which came to Melkote. The erstwhile’s King’s last rites were performed according to Hindu tradition.
exists to this day and so does the legend of the King who disappeared into the sanctum. Unfortunately, this story is not as well known as the story of the curse. Cheluvanarayanaswamy Temple