ChikkadevarajaWodeyar – Contributions; The Nayakas of Keladi and Chitradurga; Rani Chennamma&SangolliRayanna of Kittur, The YalahankaNadaprabhu; Hyder Ali and Tippu Sultan (1761-1799).  

Much of Karnataka experience immedicable social and political  turmoil in the centuries between the collapse of the Vijayanagara Empire in the late 1500s and the death of Tipu Sultan in 1799. It was an era of dynamic change, during which  inconsiderable rulers and chiefs, variously called “little kings,” nayakas, and poligars in historical accounts, fought war after war against outsiders and each other. Mysore was ultimately the most successful of these upheavels and its glorious history dominates what has been written about this long period. Several smaller kingdoms, most notably Chitradurga and Keladi (Bednur, Bednore), undergone into the middle 1700s and were of considerable territorial importance.

The kingdom of Mysore was founded by the Wodeyar dynasty, who  was feudatories under the Vijayanagar rulers, in 1399 AD  as a vassal states.  The founder of this dynasty was YadurayaWodeyar. The decline of Vijaynagarempire after the battle of Talikota in 1565, the Wodeyars became independent kingdom. During the reigns of NarasarajaWodeyar I and ChikkaDevarajaWodeyar, the territory of the kingdom extended to what is now southern Karnataka and nearby large tracts of Tamil Nadu to become a powerful state in the southern Deccan. This Hindu Royal Dynasty produced great rulers ‘who were not only interested in extending their kingdom but also administered well.

The rule of ChikkaDevarajaWodeyar (1673-1704) is considered as the golden period in Mysore history. His administrative skills were excellent.  Chikkadevaraja assumed the title Karnataka Chakravarthi. He made a few effective campaigns against Madura, Ikkeri, Bijapur, Golconda and the Marathas (1673-1686). The Nayakas of Ikkeri, the QutubShahis of Golconda and the Marathas under Sambhaji, shaped a triple union against him yet they were crushed at Banavara (1682).  It was during this time that the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb annexed Bijapur and Sira was made as the Mughal capital. After Mughal conquest, Mysore became a tributary state. ChikkaDevaraja bought the city of Bangalore from Qasim Khan, the Governor of Sira, in 1687. He procured Avaniperur, Arasaravani, Hoskote, Mannargudi and in 1689, Dharmapuri and Kaveripatnam. After the passing of Qasim Khan, keeping in mind the end goal to get Mughal acknowledgment of his Southern successes, ChikkaDevaraja sent an embassy to Emperor Aurangzeb. The Mughal emperor received it with and bestowed upon Devaraja, the title of Jaga Deva, and permission to sit on an ivory throne. Devaraja was influenced by Aurangzeb’s style of administeration, he reorganized the administration of his empire by dividing it into 18 devisions called Atharkacheri or Chavadis and also introduced a coherent system of taxation. For the first time, regular postal system was developed. Historians believed that the king himself had taken a personal interest in the regular collection of revenues he accumulated in the treasury to 90,000,000 Pagoda (a unit of currency) – earning him the epithet “Nine croreNarayana” (NavakotiNarayana).After his death in 1704 plunged the kingdom into a period of political upheaval.



Nayaks of Keladi (Ikkeri)

After the disintegration of the Vijayanagarempire in the drastic battle of Talikota in 1565, Tirumala Raya accepted the new states of the Nayakas of the south. He maintained the allegiance of Mysore and Keladi.  Tirumala appointed his three sons as governors of the three linguistic regions of the new states—Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil. Then in 1570, he had himself crowned and thus officially founded the Aravidu dynasty, the fourth and last dynasty of Vijayanagarempire. At the same time, the Nayaks of Keladi (Ikkeri) controlled much of Tulu Nadu. Keladi is a temple town in Shimoga district of the state of Karnataka in India. The town Shimoga, on the banks of the Tunga River, was once the home and stronghold of the KeladiNayakas during 16 th century AD. The Shimoga city got an independent identity under the Nayaka of Keladi rule during 16th century, reaching its zenith under the reign of ShivappaNayaka. The Nayakas made Keladi the capital city of their Kingdom.  Earlier they were the feudatories of Vijayanagara Empire. After the disintegration of Vijayanagara Empire in the Battle of Talikota, the KeladiNayakas established an independent kingdom and it remained so until it was conquered to by Hyder Ali. ShimogaKanara was under the rule of the Keladi or IkkeriNayakas, who ruled first from Keladi, then Ikkeri and finally Bednur (modern day Nagar). It has great  temples such as Kenchamma temple, Veerabhadra temple, Mahalingeshvara temple, Ganapati temple and Venkataramana temple belonging to the later Vijayanagara period. Kallianpur had its hey days during the reigns of the KeladiNayakas.


KeladiChennamma was a great and heroic queen who ruled over a small kingdom, Keladi, for twenty five years. KeladiChannammaji (1672-1697) succeeded her husband, SomasekharNayaka. Chennamma ruled wisely and ably and gained the love of her people. A special bond was formed between the Marathas and the Keladi kingdom during her time. She offered political asylum and protection to the son of the famous Maratta warrior Shivaji, Raja Ram in 1685. She tactfully thwarted the rivalries and other enemies  and restored the rule and order. When the British wanted to secede the kingdom to their empire by putting forward the doctrine of lapse as Rani Chennamma’s son was adopted.  The queen bravely refused to secede her kingdom after her husband’s death. Aided by Rayanna, she fought against Britisher bravely but was defeated and imprisoned. Rayanna is considered by many scholars as the pioneer of Guerrilla warfare in India. He continued this struggle until 1829. Finally he was captured by treachery and hanged.


The Nayakas of Chitradurga

Chitradurga was one of numerous central Karnataka provinces governed by local chieftains a long time before the rise of Vijayanagaraempire. By the 15th century, it was mainly administered by Bedar (Valmiki) families who traced their origins to southern Andhra Pradesh ( Srikalahasti region of BedaraKannappa). Like most of the families that rose to power in the 15th century, the Chitradurganayakas associated with the Vijayanagara rulers, who appointed them local governors. The Vijayanagara ruler attracted by their acts of daring and bravery. They were tributaries of the Hoysalas and Vijaynagar rulers for a long time but after the fall of Vijaynagarempire, the nayakas of chitrdurga, like the nayakas of Keladi and Wodeyars of Mysor, established themselves independent rulers of the region.  TimmannaNayaka was earlier a feudatory of Vijayanagarempire and later became the first ruler of independent Chitradurga kingdom. The greatest of the ChitradurgaNayakas was BharamappaNayaka of Bilichodu (1689 – 1721). He became a Maratha ally and fought alongside Marathas in the battle of Dodderi in 1695 but had to pay tribute later to the Mughals for helping the Marathas. He fought many pitched battles against the Mughals and constructed many temples and irrigation tanks. MadakariNayaka V (1758 – 1779) was a brave soldier and a excellent administrator. He aligned himself with Haider Ali of Mysore Kingdom on occasion and at different circumstances with the Marathas. It was amid his chance that Haider Ali attacked the Chitradurga Fort which prompt the heroics of OnakeObavva. Later having been deceived by the Marathas and some local officers, MadakariNayaka was defeated by Hyder Ali, taken prisoner and killed.


Haidar Ali

Chitradurga’s political position became unsustainable in the middle of the 18th century after it was become a sandwich between the Marathas and Haidar Ali of Mysore. Both the kingdoms wanted to control of the region.  But Haidar Ali proved to be more powerful..After three sharp conflicts with Chitradurga in the 1770s, Haidar Ali diplomatically took the The leaders of the Wodeyar dynasty practiced ostensible power from 1761 to 1796 as the genuine power was in the hands of the commanders-in-chief, Hyder Ali and his successor Tipu Sultan. Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan were exceptionally recognized leaders of Southern India. For the extension, consolidation and improvement of the Kingdom of Mysore they made a niche for themselves. Haider Ali assumed a vital part in the development of the Mysore.

Hyder Ali was an incredible warrior. He began his careera as a small officer in the Mysore armed force. He prepared the troops under his summon and seizedt the throne of Mysore. He adopted the policy of religious toleration. Hyder Ali designated individuals on the premise of their ability.  He fought many battles with Marathas, Nizam, Karnataka and the British to extend his kingdom. In the first Anglo-Mysore war he crushed the British. In the second Anglo-Mysore war, Hyder Ali united with the Marathas in 1780 but the war ended with the death of Ali. Peace was made with Hyder Ali’s successor Tippu Sultan by the Treaty of Mangalore 1784.


Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan succeeded in 1782. He was called the Tiger of Mysore who continued the struggle against Britishers. He was a researcher, fighter, and writer. He was the eldest child of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore. He started crusade of successes and pursued consistent wars against the Marathas, the Nizam and the British. He crushed the British and encompassed Madras. Tipu Sultan was capable and gifted ruler. He attempted to change with the circumstances and presented various authoritative developments during his reign. He introduced an improved land revenue system, which led the development of Mysore Silk industry. Tipu tried to improve the trade and commerce and sent missions to different nations to build better trade relations. He also tried to built a modern navy by restructuring his army on western grounds and introduced modern weapon industry.


Sangolli  was the army chief of the Kingdom of Kittur ruled at the time by Rani Chennamma. Rayanna, a famoust freedom, was born in the small village of Sangolli. by putting forward the doctrine of lapse, the Britishers wanted to secede the kingdom to their empire as Rani Chennamma’s son was adopted, the queen refused to secede her kingdom. Aided by Rayanna, she fought British bravely but was defeated and imprisoned.
SangolliRayanna continued to fight the British till his last breath. His land was confiscated and heavily taxed. Rayanna taxed the landlords and built up a strong army from the masses. He used guerrilla tactics of warfare to attack government property; burnt land records and extracted huge amounts of money from notorious landlords and bureaucrats. Rayanna is considered by many scholars as the pioneer of guerrilla warfare in India.
At the end, he was captured by treachery and hanged at Belgaum. His last words are “My last wish is to be born again in the country to fight against the British and drive them away from our sacred soil”.

Rayanna’s mortal remains were buried near Nandaghad. Legend says that a close associate of Rayanna planted a Banyan sapling on his grave. The tree is fully grown and stands to this day. A Asoka Stambawas installed near the tree some years back.


Yelahanka is a suburb area in Bangalore and It is one of the oldest towns in Karnataka. It was becomea part of the Vijayanagara Empire. The constructor of Bangalore KempeGowdaI, was born in Yelahanka. He was the Chieftain and feudatory of the zone amid the rule of King Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara. Yelahanka has a long history more than 500 years as it had become founded under the ageis of Vijaynagar rulers. Chieftain Kempegowda who constructed Bangalore fortress and the Yelahanka Town in 1537 AD, exchanged his capital from Yelahanka to Bangalore after Bangalore city was founded. Yelahanka was called Ilaipakka during the time of Gangas and Cholas and Elahakka at the time of Hoysalas. As time passed Elahakka was supplanted by the current name Yelahanka.





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