It was in the summer of AD 1399 that disaster struck a small principality of Southern India. Mahisuru, which later went on to become Mysore, had lost its chieftain and was vulnerable to the machinations of a cunning upstart.

At around the same time, two young aspirants left their ancestral home in Dwaraka, Gujarat and proceeded southwards in search of fame. Yaduraya, the elder of the two aspirants, was destiny’s chosen man, to lead a valiant attack against the vile upstart, rescue the family in distress, wed the princess and assume the lordship of the place. This event marked the birth of the Wodeyar Dynasty, which was among India’s longest reigning royal houses.

Splendours of Royal Mysore: The Untold Story of the Wodeyars, by Vikram Sampath is one of the most definitive accounts of the Wodeyar Dynasty in recent times. It sketches this long and fascinating regime, replete with wars, palace intrigues, romance, valour and deceit.

From the genesis in 1399 to the age of glory under Raja Wodeyar, Ranadhira Kanthirava Narasaraja Wodeyar and Chikkadevaraja Wodeyar, to the eclipse of the dynasty under kings who let the reigns of the kingdom slip into the hands of the powerful ministers, the book revisits the ups and downs of the Dynasty over 600 years.

The brief interlude under Haidar Ali and his heroic son Tipu Sultan saw Mysore emerge as a veritable nightmare for the British East India Company.

With Tipu’s death in 1799, power was restored to the Wodeyars and they continued to hold sway over the region till the time of India’s Independence. The reign of enlightened rulers like ‘Rajarishi’ Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar saw Mysore achieve progress on several fronts.

The growth of Mysore as a cultural capital of Southern India, alongside Tanjore and Travancore, in areas of classical music, dance, folk traditions, painting and literature, has also been traced over these fascinating and delightful six-hundred years.

The book was launched by His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka, Shri Rameshwar Thakur at the Raj Bhavan in Bangalore on 4th March 2008. The launch at this historical venue was attended by Maharajakumari Meenakshi Devi Avaru of the Mysore Royal Family and Dr. Sudha Murthy of the Infosys Foundation, among others.

Launch events and book readings also too place in several other cities in India and abroad including Mysore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, London and Chicago.

The book has been hailed by many eminent personalities like Shri L. K. Advani, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Shri T.N. Chaturvedi, Dr. Vyjayanathimala Bali, Prof. U. R. Ananthamurthy, Smt. Shashi Deshpande, Dr. Bharati Ray, Justice B. N. Srikrishna, Dr. Ramachandra Guha and Dr. Suryanath Kamath among others.

Splendours of Royal Mysore

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Splendours of Royal Mysore nominated for Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2008.

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