The Palace City mourned the death of Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, whose passing left lakhs of people in the region in deep sorrow on Tuesday. After news spread across the city, traders and other establishments closed business as a mark of respect for the scion of the royal family.
A pall of gloom descended over the city on Tuesday. All entrances to the Mysore Palace were closed and public entry was stopped immediately after 3 pm. Huge crowds, which included tourists, gathering outside on hearing about Wadiyar’s death.
In the private palace, Wadiyar’s wife Pramoda Devi Wadiyar’s face turned pale and she set out immediately for Bangalore at 2.05 pm. The palace attendants immediately guessed something was not alright and soon afterwards, television channels started reporting the death of the scion.
Shivamurthy, the main attendant of the palace, closed the private palace. “Maharaja Wadiyar used to look after us like his own children since our childhood. He took me to many countries, including England, when he was an MP. Dry fruits like pista, badam, dry grapes and cashewnut were his favourites,” he recalled.
Jatti Raju, the supervisor of the palace security personnel, said Pramoda Devi returned to the palace from Bangalore on Monday to inquire about the health of her aged mother who is bedridden. “She left the palace in a hurry on Tuesday afternoon after she was informed that the Maharaja’s condition was serious,” he said.
Lokesh, another attendant, said: “He used to call us ‘Goobe’ when he would be kidding with us. He used the same word to scold us. Sometimes, he would beat us when we committed mistakes— like a parent. Now he has left us orphaned,” he said.
Shishir, a medical practitioner settled in London, said none of the leaders or rulers lived like Wadiyar who lived for the people. “We lost the last link of the Wadiyar dynasty,” he said.
memories Live on
Flower sellers and petty shop owners outside the Palace remember the Prince fondly for treating them equitably without distinctions and enabling them to earn their livelihoods
Wadiyar left the palace for Bangalore after attending the jathra atop Chamundi Hill five days after the Jamboo Savari. Since then, he had not returned as his health was failing. Later, he was admitted to a hospital in Bangalore and discharged before the KSCA elections. On Tuesday, he was again taken to hospital
Swamy, new deputy director of Mysore Palace Board, said he was trying to meet Wadiyar as well as his wife Pramoda Devi after he took over charge. “But I was not able to meet him,” he said
According to the palace staff, people from Gejjagalli village will perform the last rites as they have been doing so for ages. The body will be kept at the palace kalyana mantapa for rituals before the last rites at Madhuvana
multi-faceted, wadiyar lived life king size
‘a good batsman, slip fielder in college’
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar represented the cricket teams of Maharaja’s College and University of Mysore during 1969-70. University physical education director, C Krishna, who was a student then at Yuvaraja’s College, has seen Wadiyar in action and remembers him as a good batsman and a fielder in the slip position. “Wadiyar was a teammate of Rejinald Wesley, a famous cricketer at the university-level at that time. Wesley played for the university team for 4-5 years,” Krishna recollected. Wadiyar played at the Maharaja’s College ground. At that time, the cricket teams of Maharaja’s College, Banumaiah College and Sarada Vilas College were popular. “The presence of Wadiyar in the team used to make the game interesting and attracted huge crowds. He used to arrive at the ground with his servants in tow, carrying the cricket kit,” Krishna said.
Over 30 Phone Numbers Ending with 1953
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar had over 30 mobile phone numbers, all ending with 1953, his birth year, though he used only four of these.
His keen interest in business saw the Prince establishing Hotel Fernhill Palace at Ooty. Wadiyar personally saw to it that items required at the hotel were purchased from stores in Bangalore as he was not one to compromise on quality of food or service.
He also opened a bar and restaurant in Mysore, which closed later.
animal pens in palaces
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar was very passionate about animals to the point of looking after nearly 150 horses, 40 cows, six elephants and seven camels in Mysore and Bangalore.
His last visit to an animal shelter was about two weeks ago before undergoing treatment for fat removal. Sources in the palace said Wadiyar used to enjoy spending time with animals and would visit animal shelters often.
An official said Wadiyar not only enquired about the condition of animals but also the well-being of the staff looking after them.
A Sweet Tooth During Vijayadashami
Besides his well-known passion for cricket and fashion, Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar had a weakness common to all in childhood: chocolates.
Veteran journalist Krishna Vattam recalled that the young Wadiyar indulged in his passion whenever he accompanied his father Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar during the Vijayadashmi procession. His father would feed him foreign chocolates to keep him in good humour during the procession.