Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs is new heir of Mysuru Royal Family

A photograph of Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs with Pramoda Devi Wadiyar. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The Mysuru royal family has a new heir in Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs to continue the Dasara traditions of the Wadiyar dynasty and carry forward the protracted legal battle over the acquisition of palace with the State Government.

He is the grandson of Princess Gayatri Devi (the eldest daughter of the last Maharaja Jayachamarendra Wadiyar and the eldest sister of late >Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar) and son of Tripurasundari Devi and Swarup Gopal Raj Urs. His adoption as the heir was announced by Ms. Pramoda Devi Wadiyar at a press conference at Amba Vilas Palace on Thursday.

Yaduveer comes from the Bettada Kote family whose association with the Wadiyars of Mysuru goes back to more than 200 years. Yaduveer studied in Vidya Niketan School, Bengaluru up to standard ten and at Canadian International School, Bengaluru to complete his standard twelve, after which he left for the U.S. He is currently doing his BA, majoring in Economics and English at Boston. His family members described him as having a creative bent of mind.

The adoption ceremony will be held on February 23 and will be an elaborate but private affair. The family members are planning a procession late in the evening. Consequent to his adoption, he will be renamed as Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar.

Ms. Pramoda Devi said “the choice and decision has my beloved husband >Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar's approval and blessings as I feel he is with me in spirit. All the family members of the Wadiyar family were present on the ocassion but Chaduranga Kantharaja Urs who performed the last rites of the late Srikantadatta Wadiyar and stood in for him during the 2014 Dasra was conspicuous by his absence.

When questioned, Ms.Wadiyar said he was informed but he did not respond. Kantharaja Urs had gone public recently that he had been sidelined though members of the family had clarified that it was made clear to him that he could not be the successor as he was already married and had a child and hence could not be adopted.

Speculations over successor

The passing away of Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the last scion of Mysore in December 2013, had given rise to wide speculations on his successor. With the naming of Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs all the speculation has ended. The position will be titular in nature and the issue of succession is purely a family affair. However, public interest on the subject remains high given the association of the Wadiyars with Mysuru region and it’s all round development.

Ms. Wadiyar wanted the issue to be resolved peacefully. Srikantadutta Narasimharaja >Wadiyar's nephew Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs was the preferred choice by the members of the royal family for conducting the last rites of Srikantadutta Narasimharaja Wadiyar as the latter had no issues. This had led to the conjecturing that Kantharaj Urs may as well be named the successor. During the 2014 Dasara he had stepped in for late Wadiyar and completed the traditional rites followed by the family members since generations. This, of course, had reinforced the belief that Mr. Kantharaj Urs would be named the successor.

Apart from Chaduranga Kantharaj the other names that did rounds included Aditya Gurudev Urs, son of Indirakshi Devi -- fourth daughter of the last Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wadiyar. Besides, there were rumours of Varchuswee SS Raje Urs -- son of Meenakshi Devi -- second daughter of Jayachamaraja Wadiyar -- as a possible heir.

Yaduveer Gopal Raj Urs is the son of Leela Tripurasundari Devi, daughter of Srikantadutta Wadiyar's eldest sister Gayatri Devi. Ultimately, it is Pramoda Devi, who has had the last say in the matter.

The new successor will no doubt inherit the cultural practices associated with Dasara followed by the family since 1610 when Raja Wadiya inaugurated the tradition in Srirangapatna near Mysuru.

But more important, he will be saddled with various property related cases pending in the court. This includes the vexed Mysore Palace (Acquisition and Transfer) Act.

Incidentally, the Mysore Palace Acquisition Act 1998 was introduced when Mr. Siddaramaiah was the Deputy Chief Minister in the Janata Dal (Secular) Government. Political observers say it is highly unlikely that Mr. Siddaramaiah as the Chief Minister would abrogate the Act he introduced.

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