The Princes and Princess of Wanaparthi, Andhra Pradesh

LEFT IMAGE – My great grandfather, Raja Janampally Rameshwar Rao II, the Raja of Wanaparthy with sons Krishna Dev Rao (left) and Ram Dev Rao (right) RIGHT IMAGE – Krishna Dev Rao (Left) with sister, Janamma, and brother Ram Dev Roa. Wanaparthi, Andhra Pradesh. Circa 1912

Images and Narrative contributed by Kamini Reddy, USA

My great grandfather Raja Rameshwar Rao II was the ruler and Raja of Wanaparthy, (seated) Hyderabad state, ruled by the Nizam. In 1866, at the request of the Nizam of Hyderabad, my great grandfather fused his army, the Bison Division Battalion with the Nizam of Hyderabad’s army, the Hyderabadi Battalion. He was appointed the Inspector of the Army. Wanaparthi‘s rulers were closely associated with the Qutub Shahi Dynasty. My great grandfather died on November 22,1922 and was survived by two sons, Krishna Dev Rao and Ram Dev Rao.

Ram Dev Rao (the younger boy in the image) was my grandfather. He was the youngest son of the Raja of Wanaparthy, He had an older sister, Janamma, and elder brother Krishna Dev. My grandfather used to say that he didn’t have much interaction with his father – it was quite a formal relationship – and he only replied to him when spoken to.

Raja Rameshwar Rao II and his family strongly believed in education. When his sons were young, they were sent to Hyderabad to attend St. George’s Grammar School (an English medium school). They stayed with a family (the Welingkars) during the school year and would go back to Wanaparthy for their holidays. His daughter Janamma married when she was very young, to the Raja of Sirnapalli. After my great grandfather passed away, his elder son Krishna Dev was still a minor, so the property was managed by the Court of Wards until he came of age. Krishna Dev though passed away when he was only 20 years old and eventually his son Rameshwar Rao III inherited the title.

After the end of the British reign in India, The Nizam wanted to be independent of the Indian government, but the government was determined to have Hyderabad succumb to acceding, with whatever means. Sure enough, the government of India in 1948 launched a police action against Hyderabad, and forced the Nizam to accede to India and surrender. Subsequent to the Hyderabad State’s merger with the Indian Union in 1948, all units of the Hyderabad State Forces were disbanded and only volunteers of the Battalion were absorbed with the Indian Army. Popularly known as the “Hyderabadis” in the Army, the unit had a unique mixed class composition with no rank structure based on class. Troops celebrated both Hindu and Muslim festivals together.


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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Krishna

    I’m working as an Officer in ESIC, whose Regional Office in Adarsh Nagar, Hyderabad, is located adjacent to a regal palatial building, which is barely visible from the outside, called “Wanaparthy House”.

    I’ve always wondered whom Wanaparthy House belonged to, especially since the property opposite to it has quite a story of it’s own, having built in style of Trinity College, Cambridge, by a Nawab Nizamat Jung, ex-Chief Justice in Nizam Govt, who then sold it to the last Nizam, which served as a residence for his son Prince Moazzam Jah (I’m sure you recollect the market named after him).

    My office, and these two regal buildings I speak of are located on top of a hill (Naubat Pahad), and the location must’ve been one of the prime real-estates in the city for many centuries now.

    Then I got to know that, my office, was once an annex-building to the Wanaparthy House, which belongs to the erstwhile King of Wanaparthy, who sold it to our Central Govt. organization around the 60s. That explains the palatial style of architecture of our beautiful office, which is rarely ever seen in any Govt. organizations.

    Googling Aditi Rao Hydari, the actresses’ lineage (her maternal Grandfather was Raja Rameswar Rao III), brought me here. Isn’t history amazing?

    Have a great day folks. Jai Hind!

  2. G.Sudesh Kumar

    Hi I was looking for someone in J. Rameswara Rao’s to whom I can send a copy of my book. The book has references to Wanaparthy royal family and the records of their visits to Sri Parakala Mutt, Mysore. a Sri Vasihnava Matham and they were staunch followers of the Jeers of the mutt. I was also raised in Wanaparthy and have seen J Rameswara Rao during Vijaya dashami celebrations during 1960s

  3. Sunil Reddy (+91) 8390742299

    Stumbled upon this story, while my dad was speaking of his childhood memories with Raja Rameswara Rao 3.

    A few additions from my dad’s memories (he is now 81 and was a student of Wanaparthy Polytechnic.

    1. The current Polytechnic building, spread over 18 acres of campus, was The Royal Family’s contribution to the Education sector (1959). Originally intended to be an Engineering college, had to be established as a Polytechnic because of Central controls over the number of colleges.

    2. The other Polytechnic in the district (Mahabub Nagar Polytechnic), when approved, did not have any infrastructure in place. In order to ensure that the permissions aren’t reverted, The Royal Family’s liquor making facilities in Mahabub Nagar were turned into the initial buildings for the Govt Polytechnic of Mahabub Nagar.

    3. Janam Pet & Kesham Pet villages that we come across on Hyderabad-Bangalore highway, are named after the Jaanamma & Keshavamma of the Royal Family

    4. Vikrant Theatre near Mokam Jahi Market & Jam Bagh properties belonged to the Royal Family (Raja Ram Dev Rao, if I heard it correctly).

    5. Raja Saheb’s love for his wife was widely spoken back in the day. He fell in love with (Rani) Shanta, a Brahmin girl, who was his co-student while studying in Madras.

    When Raja saheb left for the UK for higher studies, Rajamata Sarala Devi ensued that Shanta ji was married to someone else in Raja Saheb’s absence.

    Raja Saheb, upon hearing the news, came back, got her divorced and married her.

    That was nothing less than the Arjun Reddy movie of the current day Tollywood.

    (With utmost respect to everyone in the episode, my dad thinks everyone did his/her duty rightly, from the RajMaatha Sarala Devi to the Raja Saheb Rameswar Rao 3)

  4. Sachin Feshpande

    Proud to see, a great family had contributed many things to man kind. I was astonished to see the temple at Srirangapuram and collection of Ravivarma paintings.. Incredible India..

  5. P SHIVA KUMAR

    Hi I’m from kothakota it’s a great idea to have a museum in wanaparthy hope it happens
    I’m curious to know more about wanaparthy samasthanam if u have know any articles, books, websites please feel free to send to shivas397@gmail.com

  6. Vinod

    iam from wanaparthy…Tq for the information of wanaparthy kingdom…

  7. admin

    Thanks so much for the feedback. Indeed it cannot be satisfying, The website is not manually or precisely translated but is using google translate.

  8. Anuradha

    Raja Rameshwar Rao bought over Orient Longman ( currently Longman Green ) from the British after India’s independence. His descendants run the company today…

  9. Kerry Edwards

    Great to read of the Raja of Wanaparthy, especially the association with St George’s Grammar School where my family were students and educators for over 150 years.I am sure my uncles and father would have known the family and studied with them. Those were the great old days of the Nizam’s Dominions!

    1. hemanth

      I am from Wanaparthy and living in USA last 25 years and accidentally stepped on this page. Nice to know the history of Wanaparthy erstwhile rulers. It will be nice to create a museum in Wanaparthy town depicting the history and also keep the legacy by donating for a social cause in town as the family is rich enough to do both that might help the town now and also its people forver remember the family that took care of the town in the past

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