One of the many places that Raghavendra Swamy or Rayaru (1595-1671) stayed in during his sanchara or pilgrimage in south India was Srirangapatna, an island town, just 30 minutes away from the royal city of Mysore.
Srirangapatna in the seventeenth century was a much bigger town than Mysore and it was the capitals of the Wodeyars. It was sometime in 1610 that Raja Wodeyar had defeated Tirumala Raya, the Viceroy of Srirangapatna, and made it his capital.
Since then Srirangapatna had continued to be the capital of the Wodeyars. In 1659 Dodda Deva Raja, also known as Dodda Kempa Deva Raja, ascended the throne in Srirangapatna.
A little after Dodda Deva Raya came to the throne, Raghavendra Swamy decided to take a tour of all the holy places in south India and he set out from Kumbakonam for this purpose. Kumbakonam was the headquarters of the Srimatha that Rayaru headed.
Raghavendra Swamy had taken over as the head of the Sri Matha after his ashrama guru, Sudhindra Thertha had entered Brindavana in Nava Brindavana near Hampi in 1621.
Rayaru started from Kumbakonam and he visited several towns and cities s where he gave discourses, performed innumerable miracles and spread the message of Madhwacharya. He reached Nanjangud, which was part of the Wodeyar Kingdom.
When news of his arrival reached Dodda Deva Raja Wodeyar, the King hurried to Nanjangud with his officials and gave a ceremonial welcome to Rayaru.
Dodda Deva Raja was the fourth son of Prince Devarajendra Wodeyar, by his second wife, Kempamamba Ammani Avaru. He was imprisoned with his father at Hengul Fort in 1638, the year of incumbency of his cousin Kantirava Narsaraja, the first. He was adopted and appointed heir apparent with title Yuvaraja on July 28, 1659. He succeeded his cousin on the latter’s death on July 31, 1659, and was installed on the Mysore throne on August 19, 1659.
Dodda Deva Raja met Raghavendra Swamy and entreated him to come to his capital of Srirangapatna. Rayaru realsied that Vijendra Theertha, his parama guru had visited Srirangapatna. He also recalled that Vibhudendra Theertha had also visited Srirangapatna.
But as it was the month of Ashada, Raghavendra Swamy wanted to stay at one place and observe Chaturmasa Vrata. When King Dodda Deva Raja Wodeyar learnt about it, he repeatedly requested Raghavendra Swamy to come over to Srirangapatna and observe Chaturmasa in the capital.
Raghavendra Swamy agreed to the King’s request and set out for Srirangapatna. Once again, the King gave a magnificent reception to Rayaru and welcomed him into the capital.
The King met Rayaru on the outskirts of Srirangapaatna and escorted him into Srirangapatna. Rayaru then performed pooje at the palace of the King (This palace no longer exists as it was deliberately pulled down by Tipu Sultan).
Since it was Ekadashi (Monday, July 6), Raghavendra Swamy gave theertha to everyone, including the King. He blessed everybody before going to the Ranganathaswamy Temple.
The King then gifted Nallur villge, which is also called as Devarajapura near Sargur to Raghavendra Swamy. He also gifted gold and ornaments to the seer who dedicated them to his beloved Moola Rama.
After completing his Chaturmasa at Srirangapatna, Raghavendra Swamy left for Chitradurga where he gave moksha to one of his disciples.