Raja Wodeyar's Conquest of Srirangapatna

During the viceroyalty of Tirumala, nephew of the illustrious Emperor Venkata II (1586-1614), the Kanarese country was placed under his rule (1585-1610) with his capital at Srirangapatna. 

As the son of Rama, the third son of Tirumala Raya, brother of the renowned Rama Raya, Tirumala was a powerful figure in the Vijayanagar Empire. During his reign, some of the most prominent feudatories of Vijayanagar included the Nayakas of Tanjore, Madura, Vellore, Gingi, Keladi, and the Wodeyars of Mysore, who were under the rule of Raja Wodeyar (1578-1617). This period of Tirumala's rule was a time of great prosperity and stability for the Kanarese country.

Rise of Raja Wodeyar: During the early part of his reign, Raja Wodeyar remained a loyal vassal of emperor Sriranga Raya I (1572-1585). He appears to have maintained friendly relations with Dalavai Remati Venkataiya, who was in charge of Srirangapatna during the minority of Tirumala. 

In the first year of Tirumala's rule, Raja Wodeyar paid his first visit to Tirumala, and when asked for the tribute, he replied that it could not be paid due to the alleged destruction of crops caused by wild cattle. He then got permission from Tirumala to erect a fort-wall in Mysore, allowing him to raise the crops and pay the annual tribute punctually. No sooner was the permission granted than the fort wall was raised and the tax collectors of Srirangapatna were expelled from Mysore. 

In 1590, Raja Wodeyar paid his second visit to Tirumala. An interesting event is associated with Raja Wodeyar's capture of Kembal. Raja Wodeyar proceeded to the court at Srirangapatna accompanied by his usual retinue and music. On his way, he encountered Deparaja Wodeyar of Kembal, who was also accompanied by music. At this, Raja Wodeyar visited Tirumala without music. When asked why he had stopped the music, Raja Wodeyar replied that music is no distinction if his inferiors are also allowed it. He further suggested that the superiority and right to the music could be determined in an open contest. Subsequently, Raja Wodeyar marched against Deparaja, defeated him, and took possession of Kembal in the same year.

Between 1592 and 1595, Tirumala was engaged in a war against Virappa Nayaka of Madura. Taking advantage of Tirumala's absence from Srirangapatna, Raja Wodeyar seized many of the neighbouring districts, posing a threat to Tirumala's power. In 1596, shortly after his return from Madura, Tirumala plotted to capture Raja Wodeyar while he was performing his devotions at the temple of Ranganatha. However, the plot was revealed to the Raja by a faithful adherent, allowing him to escape to Mysore. In response, Tirumala laid siege to the town of Kesare, which was under the kingdom of Mysore, but was defeated by the Mysore forces. Among the spoils there was an elephant, which Raja Wodeyar sent back to Tirumala. 

In 1598, Raja Wodeyar paid another visit to Tirumala, but refused to pay the tribute due to the alleged damage inflicted on his plantations by the officials of Tirumala. In response, Tirumala granted him an additional parcel of land to compensate for the injury.

In the following years, Raja Wodeyar continued to expand his power, taking Arakere in 1600, Sosale in 1606, and Bannur in 1607. Alarmed by these developments, Tirumala made a second attempt on Raja Wodeyar's life, but was unsuccessful. 'History Of Mysore' states that, Tirumala sought the help of his uncle, the emperor Venkata against Raja Wodeyar. 

In 1609, Tirumala was attacked and captured by the local chief Lakshmappa Nayaka at Holenarasipura. He had to seek Raja Wodeyar's help, who marched to Holenarasipura and put Lakshmappa Nayaka to flight. This victory earned Raja Wodeyar great favour with Venkata. Unfortunately, Tirumala's reputation was tarnished by the humiliating circumstance that he had to be rescued by the very person he had sought Venkatas help against. Venkata sent him an order, promising assurance of protection and likely admonishing him to retire from his viceroyalty.

Tirumala's Retreat to Talakadu: After the decisive battle between Tirumala and Raja Wodeyar, Tirumala was forced to retreat to Malangi near Talakadu. On 8th February, 1610, Raja Wodeyar officially took possession of Srirangapatna with the consent of the emperor Venkata II. From that moment on, Srirangapatna became the capital of the kingdom of Mysore, while still acknowledging the sovereignty of Venkata II. In 1612, Raja Wodeyar was granted Srirangapatna by Venkata, thus officially sanctioning his conquest. Raja Wodeyar is considered the true founder of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore.


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