Posted on: 10 December 2013

His Highness Maharaja Sri KRISHNA RAJA WADIYAR IV (Nalwadi Krishna Raja Wadiyar) GCSI, GBE (June 4, 1884 – August 3, 1940, Bangalore Palace) was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Mysore from 1902 until his death in 1940. He is regarded as one of the most celebrated rulers among the Indian States when India was still under British rule. At the time of his death, he was also one of the world's wealthiest men, with a personal fortune estimated in 1940 to be worth $400 million which would be equivalent to $56 billion in 2010 prices.

He was a philosopher-king, who was seen by Paul Brunton as living the ideal expressed in Plato's Republic. He has been compared to the Emperor Ashoka by the English statesman Lord Samuel. Mahatma Gandhi called him Rajarshi, or "saintly king", and his kingdom was described by his followers as Rama Rajya, an ideal kingdom akin to the rule of Lord Rama.

Krishna IV was the 24th ruler of the Wodeyar dynasty of Mysore that ruled over Mysore State from 1399 to 1950.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote in Navajivan dated February 8, 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."

Mahatma Gandhi was a state guest of the Maharaja in 1927 and 1936. He stayed at Nandi Hill to recuperate from ill health. During 1927, the State was celebrating the Silver Jubilee of the coronation of the Maharaja. Gandhi was invited to attend the function. Gandhi sent a letter to the Maharaja on August 5, 1927, in which he wrote: "Dear Friend, It has been a matter of deep joy to me to learn wherever I have gone, nothing but praise of your benevolence and purity. I shall pray on Monday for the due fulfilment of all your noblest wishes."


Portrait of Maharaja Sir Sri Krishnaraja Wodeyar Bahadur - 1906

This painting in oil on canvas backed with card depicts HH the Maharaja Sir Sri Krishnaraja Bahadur, GCSI, GBE, ruler of Mysore, was done in 1906 by the artist K. Keshavayya in Mysore. The maharaja was born in 1884 and became ruler in 1895.

Oil on canvas
Source: Victoria and Albert Museum

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