Dodda Vira Rajendra

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Dodda Vira Rajendra was the ruler of the Kingdom of Coorg From 1780 to 1809. He is regarded as a Coorg historical hero for liberating the kingdom from Tipu Sultan, the king of Mysore. He later fought alongside the British against Tipu Sultan.

Dodda Vira Rajendra's childhood is largely unknown. While Dodda Vira Rajendra was still a child, his father, Linga Raja, the ruler of the Coorg Kingdom, died in 1780. The king of Mysore, Hyder Ali, viewed this as a chance and took control of the Coorg Kingdom until "the princes (Dodda Vira Rajendra and his brother) came of age," as he put it. The princes were deported to Garuru in September 1782. Enraged at the unjust treatment of their princes, the Coorgs revolted and declared independence. Soon after, Hyder Ali died in December 1782 owing to a malignant growth in his back, and his son Tipu succeeded him as King.

Tipu sent the Coorg royal family to Periyapatna and then annexed Coorg and the surrounding territories. Dodda Vira Rajendra escaped Periyapatna in December 1788 and reclaimed power in Coorg by 1790.

Dodda Vira Rajendra drove the Mysore occupying army from Bisli Ghat to Manantody and conducted looting raids into the Mysore Kingdom's domains. Tipu Sultan despatched soldiers against him, led by Tipu Sultan's Generals Golam Ali and Buran-ud-Din, but Dodda Vira Rajendra defeated them both. He sacked and burned the fort of Kushalanagar in June 1789, and he demolished the fort of Beppunad in August. Following that, the fort of Bhagamandala was captured. He then captured Amara Sulya.

In October 1790, the British East India Company offered Dodda Vira Rajendra an alliance against Tipu Sultan after noticing his successes against Tipu. Faced with a stronger opponent in the Kingdom of Mysore, Dodda Vira Rajendra accepted the offer and joined in an alliance with the British.

Tipu was alarmed, so he ordered another army, this time led by General Khadar Khan, which was destroyed as well. The fort of Mercara surrendered to Dodda Vira Rajendra without a struggle after that.

On its way to Tipu Sultan's capital, [[Srirangapatna], Dodda Vira Rajendra enabled the British Bombay Army to pass through Coorg. Until Tipu Sultan's death on 4 May 1799, he also supported the British in their war against him.

In 1809, Dodda Vira Rajendra passed away. His grave can be seen at Mercara (Madikeri). He was deified, and his tomb is still revered today.

"Rajendraname," a literary work by Dodda Vira Rajendra, chronicles the history of the Coorg monarchs from 1633 to 1807.

In 1792, he founded the settlement of Virajpet.

Sources

  • Coorg District Gazetteer, Government of Karnataka[1]
  • Coorg Memoirs, by Herrmann Mögling[2]
  • Mysore and Coorg, a gazetteer[3]