Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV

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Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV
Maharaja of Mysore
Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, portrait by K. Keshavayya (c. 1906)
24th Maharaja of Mysore
Reign1902 – 1940
Coronation1 February 1895, Mysore Palace
PredecessorChamarajendra Wadiyar X (father)
SuccessorJayachamarajendra Wadiyar (nephew)
Born(1884-06-04)4 June 1884
Mysore Palace, Mysore, Kingdom of Mysore
Died3 August 1940(1940-08-03) (aged 56)
Bangalore Palace, Bangalore, Kingdom of Mysore
SpouseSoubhagyavati Maharani Lakshmivilas Sannidhana Sri Pratapa Kumaribai Devi Ammani Avaru
Rajarshi Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar Bahadur
HouseWadiyar dynasty
FatherChamarajendra Wadiyar X
MotherKempananjammani Devi

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (Kannada: ಶ್ರೀ ನಾಲ್ವಡಿ ಕೃಷ್ಣರಾಜ ಒಡೆಯರು; 4 June 1884 – 3 August 1940) was the twenty-fourth Maharaja of Mysore, reigning from 1902 until his death in 1940.

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV is popularly deemed a rajarshi, or 'saintly king', a moniker with which Mahatma Gandhi revered the king in 1925 for his administrative reforms and achievements.[1][2] He was a philosopher king, seen by Paul Brunton as living the ideal expressed in Plato's Republic.[3] Viscount Herbert Samuel compared him to Emperor Ashoka. Acknowledging the maharaja's noble and efficient kingship, Viscount John Sankey declared in 1930 at the first Round Table Conference in London, "Mysore is the best administered state in the world".[citation needed] He is often regarded as the "father of modern Mysore" (not to be confused with the sobriquet "maker of modern Mysore", which refers to his famous prime minister Sir M. Visvesvaraya) and his reign the "golden age of Mysore".[4] Pundit Madan Mohan Malaviya described the maharaja as "dharmic" (virtuous in conduct). John Gunther, the American author, heaped praise on the king. In an obituary, The Times called him "a ruling prince second to none in esteem and affection inspired by both his impressive administration and his attractive personality".[5]

At the time of his death, Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was one of the world's wealthiest men, with a personal fortune estimated in 1940 to be worth US$400 million, equivalent to $7 billion in 2018 prices.[6] He was the second-wealthiest Indian, after Nizam Osman Ali Khan.

Early years[edit]

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV aged 11 c.1895

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was born on 4 June 1884 in Mysore Palace[7] as the son of Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar X and Maharani Kempananjammanni Devi. After the sudden death of his father in Calcutta in 1894, the widowed queen mother Kempananjammanni Devi ruled the state as regent from 1895 to 1902, until Krishnaraja Wadiyar reached the age of majority on 8 August 1902. Upon accession to the throne, he became the fourth king of Mysore by the name, hence known in the vernacular language Kannada as Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar (the qualifying prefix nālvaḍi means "the fourth").

The maharaja had his early education and training at Lokaranjan Palace in Mysore under the direction of P. Raghavendra Rao. In addition to Western studies, he was instructed in Kannada and Sanskrit. He was taught horse-riding and Indian and Western classical music. 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 was supplemented by extensive tours of the state during which he gained immense knowledge of the nature of the country which he was later to govern.

Marriage of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV and Yuvarani Pratapa Kumaribai of Kathiawar



Shortly after the death of his father Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar X on 28 December 1894, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV, still a boy of eleven, ascended the throne on 1 February 1895. His mother Maharani Kemparajammanni Devi ruled as queen regent until Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV took over on 8 February 1902.[8] The yuvaraja was invested as the Maharaja of Mysore, with full ruling powers, by Marquess George Curzon, the Governor-General of India, on 8 August 1902 at a ceremony at Jaganmohana Palace.[9]


Mysore became the first Indian state to have a representative assembly, Mysore Representative Assembly, a democratic forum in 1881. During the maharaja's reign, the assembly was enlarged and became bicameral in 1907 with the creation of the Mysore Legislative Council, a house of elders which introduced much new legislation for the state.

During the maharaja's reign, the Kingdom of Mysore witnessed development in a range of fields. Mysore became the first Indian state to generate hydroelectric power in Asia, and Bangalore was the first Asian city to have street lights, first lit on 5 August 1905. Princes from other sections of India were sent to Mysore for administrative training.


The maharaja worked towards alleviating poverty and improving rural reconstruction, public health, industry and economic regeneration, education and the fine arts. He abolished child marriage (for girls below the age 8), gave special importance for girls' education, and offered scholarship for widowed women.

At a time when support for domestic products was pivotal for India's self-reliance and eventual independence from British India, the maharaja encouraged spinning at scale, for which Gandhi greatly praised him.[1][10]

Education and arts[edit]

Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar

Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV set up numerous educational infrastructures and institutions.[11] Krishnaraja Wadiyar was the first chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (whose co-founder he also was)[citation needed] and the University of Mysore (whose founder he was). The latter was the first university chartered by an Indian province. The Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore, which was initiated during his mother's tenure as regent, functionally started during his reign in 1911 with a gift of 371 acres (1.5 km2) of land and a donation of funds.[citation needed]

The maharaja was a patron of Indian, both Carnatic and Hindustani, and Western classical music. He was an accomplished musician and, like his predecessors, patronised fine arts.[12] The maharaja was a connoisseur of Carnatic and Hindustani music himself. He played eight musical instruments: flute, violin, saxophone, piano, mridangam, nadaswara, sitar, and veena.[citation needed] Members of the Agra Gharana, including Nattan Khan and Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, were guests of the maharajah at Mysore, as were Abdul Karim Khan and Gauhar Jan. Barkatullah Khan was a palace musician from 1919 until his death in 1940.

Asthana Vidwan Kadagathur Seshacharya has written various works and is famous for his contributions towards Sanskrit and Kannada literature. The maharaja also composed many poems in Kannada himself.


A list of major developments during the reign and under the patronage of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV
Year Notes
1902 Hydroelectric project at Shivanasamudra Falls is founded
1903 Minto Eye Hospital built at Bangalore; one among the world's oldest specialised ophthalmology hospitals
1905 Bangalore becomes the first city in Asia to get electric street lights
1907 Vani Vilasa Sagara at Chitradurga completed; the first dam in Karnataka
Mysore Legislative Council is established with a view to associate certain number of non-official persons having practical experience and knowledge to assist the Government in making laws and regulations
1909 Indian Institute of Science is established at Bangalore
Mysore Boy Scouts is established; the first of its kind in India
1913 State Bank of Mysore is established
Mysore Agricultural Residential School is established at Bangalore; it was initially established in 1899 by Maharani Kempananjammanni Devi with an initial grant of 30 acres as an experimental agricultural station
1915 Kannada Sahitya Parishat at Bangalore established
Formation of Mysore Social Progress Association to empower weaker sections of society[13]
1916 University of Mysore is established
Bangalore Printing and Publishing Company is established[14]
Yuvaraja's College at Mysore is established[15]
Mysore Chamber of Commerce is established[16]
Government Sandalwood Oil Factory is established at Bangalore[17]
1917 School of Engineering is established at Bangalore
Maharani's Science College for Women is established at Mysore[18]
1918 First leg of Mysore State Railways (MSR) finished; opened 232 miles of railway to traffic. By 1938 MSR had 740 miles of railway track
Wood Distillation Factory is found at Bhadravathi[16]
Mysore Chrome and Tanning Factory is established[16]
Sir Lesley Miller is appointed to analyse problems of backward classes[19] (the Miller Report later recommend a reservation of 25% of jobs in the government to non-Brahmans)
1921 Lalitha Mahal Palace finished
Government Science College at Bangalore found[20]
1923 Mysore Iron Works founded at Bhadravathi
Women enfranchisement; first Indian state to do so[13]
1924 Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) dam is finished
Mysore Medical College is established
1925 More than 100 acres of land is donated for the establishment of National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) [21]
Kadhara Sahakara Sangha is established at Tagdhur, helping villagers earn a living[13]
1927 Krishna Rajendra Hospital at Mysore is established (now part of Mysore Medical College)
1928 K.R. Market at Bangalore is established; the main wholesale market dealing with commodities
1930 Marakonahalli dam in Tumkur district is completed (the dam has an automatic siphon system, first of its kind in Asia)[22]
Krishnarajanagara township was finished (after a flood by the Kaveri damaged the nearby town of Yedatore)
1933 St. Philomena's Cathedral at Mysore is inaugurated
Bangalore Town Hall is built
Mysore Sugar Mills is established at Mandya[23]
KR Mills at Mysore is established
1934 Vanivilas Women and Children Hospital established at Bangalore
10 acres of land at Bangalore gifted to Sir C. V. Raman for what is now Raman Research Institute (RRI)[24]
1936 Mysore Paper Mills established at Bhadravati[25]
Mysore Lamps at Bangalore established
1937 Mysore Chemical and Fertilisers Factory at Belagola established[16]
Mysore Paints and Varnish Limited is established
1938 Maharani's College for Women is established at Bangalore[26]
1939 Mandya district formed
Hassan district formed
Glass and Porcelain Factory is established at Bangalore[16] (electrical insulators for high voltage lines were manufactured). The factory later became part of BHEL
Hirebhaskara dam (now Mahatma Gandhi Hydroelectric Project) across the Sharavathi began functioning to ensure steady water supply for the 120MW Krishnarajendra Hydroelectric Power Station[27]

Personal life[edit]

Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV was wedded on 6 June 1900 at Jaganmohan Palace to Maharani Pratapa Kumari Devi of Kathiawar, the youngest daughter of Rana Bane Singh of Vana, Kathiawar (present-day Gujarat State). He died of heart attack on 3 August 1940. He was succeeded by his nephew Jayachamaraja Wadiyar as Maharaja.


Honorary doctorates[edit]



  1. ^ a b "The Rajarshi of Mysore". Bangalore Mirror. 6 June 2009. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  2. ^ Puttaswamaiah, K., 1980. Economic development of Karnataka. A treatise in continuity and change. New Delhi: Oxford & IBH, p. 3
  3. ^ "Notebooks of Paul Brunton, Category 15: The Orient", Chapter 2, p.453
  4. ^ "[Group portrait of] the Maharaja [of Mysore] & his brothers and sisters". British Library. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
  5. ^ "Times' Tribute To Mysore Ruler". Morning Tribune. 6 August 1940. p. 2. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
  6. ^ Current Biography 1940, p833
  7. ^ T O, Aswathy (4 June 2020). "Remembering Maharaja Krishna Raja Wadiyar, the iconic Mysuru ruler on his 136th birth anniversary". International Business Times India. Retrieved 14 November 2021.
  8. ^ Jois, Rama (2004) [1984]. Legal and Constitutional History of India: Ancient Legal, Judicial and Constitutional System. Delhi: Universal Law Publishing. p. 597. ISBN 978-81-7534-206-4.
  9. ^ "The Maharajah of Mysore". The Times. No. 36843. London. 11 August 1902. p. 15.
  10. ^ Navajivan, 8 February 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."
  11. ^ "The Mysore duo Krishnaraja Wodeya IV & M. Visvesvaraya". India Today. Archived from the original on 24 October 2008. Retrieved 23 October 2007.
  12. ^ Pranesh (2003), p. 162
  13. ^ a b c Raj, Nirmal (March 2015). "Distribution of Social Justice by Rajashri Krishnaraj Wodeyar IV" (PDF). EPRA International Journal of Economic and Business Review. ISSN 2349-0187. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Bangalore Press website".
  15. ^ "Yuvaraja College". Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  16. ^ a b c d e "Hand Book of Karnataka" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Mysore Sandal Soap". Archived from the original on 21 January 2014. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  18. ^ "MSCWM website".
  19. ^ "Millers report". 18 June 2015.
  20. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 16 July 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  21. ^ "NIMHANS".
  22. ^ "Marakonahalli Dam". 31 August 2013.
  23. ^ "Mysore Sugar Co". Archived from the original on 14 July 2016. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  24. ^ "RRI website".
  25. ^ "MPM website".
  26. ^ "Maharani's College website".
  27. ^ Mellegatti, Pramod (9 June 2003). "Hirebhaskara Dam surfaces as Sharavathy recedes". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2003.

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]

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