Testimony to Mysore's royal past

Of the many tanks and temples in Mysore, a tank now dead and a temple that still stands assume significance for being synonymous with the history of the Wodeyars who ruled Mysore for several centuries.

Kodi Kala Bhyraveshwara Swamy temple in Mysore.  The tank is Doddakere, earlier known as Devaraya sagara, and the temple is Kodi Kala Bhyraveshwara Swamy temple.

The history of the Wodeyars dates back to 1399 AD. Yaduraya and Krishnaraya brothers were reclining on the banks of the tank. The afore-mentioned temple was also close to the banks. The brothers had come from faraway Gujarat (though there aren’t relevant documents to say whether they were really from Gujarat or pilgrims from Vijayanagar).

They were besotted by the environs of Mahishanadu (earlier name of Mysore) and also visited Chamundi hill.

According to historian P V Nanjaraj Urs’ book ‘Mysooru Noorinnooru Varshagala Hinde’, the brothers were theists. They dreamt that someone would come to them seeking their help. The following day, Yaduraya and Krishnaraya were waiting for the person, when they overheard a conversation among women washing clothes. The women were sharing the plight of the princess Devarajammanni.

Devarajammanni was the daughter of King Chamaraja who ruled Mahishanaadu from Hadinaru, a village situated 16 km from the place.

Devarajammanni and her mother were in distress after the king’s death. Maranayaka, a dalvoy (representative) of King Chamaraja at Karuganahalli near Hadinaru wanted to take advantage of the situation.

He threatened the queen to arrange for the marriage of the princess with him. On failing to do so, Maranayaka threatened to create anarchy and take over the reins of the kingdom.

Meanwhile, the queen had also dreamt of finding help in the form of two youths near the temple and sent her priest (raja purohit) to the shrine. The priest went to the temple and met Yaduraya and Krishnaraya. The brothers, along with the priest, hatched a plan to get rid of Maranayaka. They formed an army of loyalists of King Chamaraja and were waiting for an opportunity to strike.

Reign of Yaduvamsha

Maranayaka, who was oblivious to all these developments, was in a celebratory mood in anticipation of his marriage, when an army led by Yaduraya and Krishnaraya pounced on Maranayaka and his men. Maranayaka was slayed and much trouble was nipped in the bud. Impressed, the queen decided to hand over the kingdom to Yaduraya. The newly-coronated king also married Devarajammanni. Thus began the reign of Yaduvamsha.The temple was on the outskirts of the palace, on the banks of Devaraya sagara. When Raja Wodeyar decided to construct a vast fort, the area of the temple was also included under the fort premises. That was how the temple became a part of the palace and stands intact.

Saved from demolition

Mention must be made of an incident when the temple was all set to be razed.
Had not the then ruler Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar interfered, the temple would have been relegated to the pages of history.

The palace fort also had a small town in its womb at the time of Nalwadi’s rule. When plague claimed many a life, it was decided to raze several structures inside the fort and the Bhyraveshwara Swamy temple was also marked to be demolished. The king who learnt about this rushed to the site and prevented the demolition.

The temple, which has undergone restoration, now belongs to the Muzrai department and prayers are offered regularly to the deity here. However, Devaraya sagara wasn’t lucky to survive. Following the plague, it was decided to divert water from the Devaraya sagara to Dalvoy lake on Mysore-Nanjangud road. Devaraya sagara stretched across 160 acres up to Mysore Race Club (MRC) area. A part of the tank bund still exists as it is connected to the Nanjangud road. The stones on either side of the bund, earlier acting like barriers, still stand, as a testimony to Mysore’s rich past.

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