In Mughal times, Court rank was based on the military commands held by individuals.
This would change from time to time as they were promoted, demoted, executed or expired.
The system was fluid and arbitrary, no defined order of precedence prevailing. British rule united India into one political unit for the first time in history.
Communications expanded, international contacts grew, and interaction between the rulers, as well as, between the rulers and the central government increased enormously. The need for a universal order of precedence became necessary, so a system based on gun salutes gradually came into vogue.
The more important rulers received salutes ranging from 21 guns, for the largest territorial rulers, to 3 guns for some minor sheikhs on the Arabian coast.
Each descending step being two guns less than the preceding rank:
etc. Rank was loosely based on the "prestige" of the state or ruler concerned; this could be territorial size, military might, or lineage. Some princes, who were personally influential or important beyond the size or prestige of their individual states, could be granted additional guns as a personal distinction
. This privilege was also granted to certain princes who were not necessarily territorial rulers, such as, the Aga Khan.
Other rulers, particularly those with widely recognised ancient lineage, were be granted additional guns on a local basis, within their own territories only.
Army and naval units throughout the British Empire fired these salutes on all formal occasions.The gun salutes enjoyed by the states that eventually acceded to the Dominion of India as they stood on the eve of independence on 14th of August 1947, were:
Hereditary salutes of 21-guns
:H.E.H. the Nizam of Hyderabad and BerarH.H. the Maharaja of MysoreH.H. the Maharaja of Jammu and KashmirH.H. the Maharaja Gaekwar of BarodaH.H. the Maharaja Scindia of GwaliorHereditary salutes of 19-guns (21-guns local):H.H. the Nawab of BhopalH.H. the Maharaja Holkar of IndoreH.H. the Maharana of UdaipurHereditary salutes of 19-guns:H.H. the Maharaja of KolhapurH.H. the Maharaja of TravancoreHereditary salutes of 17-guns (19-guns personal):H.H. the Maharaja of KotahHereditary salutes of 17-guns (19-guns local):H.H. the Maharaja of BharatpurH.H. the Maharaja of BikanerH.H. the Maharao of CutchH.H. the Maharaja of JaipurH.H. the Maharaja of JodhpurH.H. the Maharaja of Patiala
Hereditary salutes of 17-guns
:H.H. the Maharao of BundiH.H. the Maharaja of CochinH.H. the Maharaja of KarauliH.H. the Maharaja of RewaH.H. the Nawab of TonkHereditary salutes of 15-guns (17-guns personal):H.H. the Maharaj Rana of Dholpur
Hereditary salutes of 15-guns (17-guns local):
H.H. the Maharaja of AlwarHereditary salutes of 15-guns:H.H. the Maharawal of BanswaraH.H. the Maharaja of DatiaH.H. the Maharaja of Dewas - SeniorH.H. the Maharaja of Dewas - JuniorH.H. the Maharaja of DharH.H. the Maharawal of DungarpurH.H. the Maharaja of IdarH.H. the Maharaja of JaisalmerH.H. the Maharaja of KishangarhH.H. the Maharaja of OrchhaH.H. the Maharawat of PartabgarhH.H. the Nawab of RampurH.H. the Maharaja of SikkimH.H. the Maharao of Sirohi
Hereditary salutes of 13-guns (15-guns personal and local)
:H.H. the Maharaja of JindH.H. the Nawab of JunagadhH.H. the Maharaja of Kapurthala
Hereditary salutes of 13-guns (15-guns local)
:H.H. the Maharaja of BenaresH.H. the Maharaja of BhavnagarH.H. the Maharaja of NabhaH.H. the Maharaja Jam Sahib of NawanagarH.H. the Maharaja of Ratlam
Hereditary salutes of 13-guns:H.H. the Maharaja of Cooch BeharH.H. the Maharaja Raj Sahib of Dhrangadhra-HalvadH.H. the Nawab of JaoraH.H. the Maharaj Rana of JhalawarH.H. the Nawab of PalanpurH.H. the Maharaja Rana Sahib of PorbandarH.H. the Maharaja of RajpiplaH.H. the Maharaja of Tripura
Hereditary salutes of 11-guns (13-guns local)
:H.H. the Nawab of JanjiraHereditary salutes of 11-guns:H.H. the Maharaja of AjaigarhH.H. the Raja of Ali RajpurH.H. the Nawab of BaoniH.H. the Maharana of BarwaniH.H. the Maharaja of BijawarH.H. the Nawab of CambayH.H. the Raja of ChambaH.H. the Maharaja of CharkhariH.H. the Maharaja of ChhatarpurH.H. the Raja of FaridkotH.H. the Maharaja of GondalH.H. the Raja of JhabuaH.H. the Raja of BilaspurH.H. the Nawab of Maler KotlaH.H. the Raja of MandiH.H. the Raja of ManipurH.H. the Maharaja of MorviH.H. the Raja of NarsinghgarhH.H. the Maharaja of PannaH.H. the Raja of PudukkottaiH.H. the Nawab of RadhanpurH.H. the Raja of RajgarhH.H. the Raja of SailanaH.H. the Raja of SamtharH.H. the Maharaja of SirmurH.H. the Raja of SitamauH.H. the Raja of SuketH.H. the Maharaja of Tehri GarhwalH.H. the Maharana Raj Sahib of Wankaner
Hereditary salutes of 9-guns (11-guns personal)
:H.H. the Maharaol of BariaH.H. the Raja of DharampurH.H. the Raja of SangliPersonal salute of 11-guns:H.H. the Aga Khan
Hereditary salute of 9-guns (11-guns local)
:H.H. the Raja of Savantwadi
Hereditary salutes of 9-guns:
The Nawab of BalasinorThe Nawab of BanganapalleThe Maharaja of BansdaThe Raja of BaraundhaThe Raja of BhorThe Raja of Chhota UdepurThe Maharana of DantaThe Thakore Sahib of DhrolThe Maharaja of JawharThe Maharaja of KalahandiThe Raja of KhilchipurThe Thakore Sahib of LimbdiThe Nawab of LoharuThe Maharana of LunawadaThe Raja of MaiharThe Maharaja of MayurbhanjThe Raja of MudholThe Raja of NagodThe Thakore Sahib of PalitanaThe Maharaja of PatnaThe Thakore Sahib of RajkotThe Nawab of SachinThe Raja of SantThe Raja of ShahpuraThe Maharaja of SonepurThe Maharana of WadhwanPersonal salute of 9-guns:The Raja of Bashahr
Some of the rulers listed here were granted increased gun salutes in 1948. The Hindu Maharana of Udaipur was raised to first place in the Order of Precedence, displacing the Muslim Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar, and the 9-gun states were granted the hereditary style of Highness. However, it has not been possible to obtain complete details for all the rulers from sources available in England.
Arcot appears at the head of the list since the Prince of Arcot is the only prince "officially recognised" by the Government of India.
JAMMU & KASHMIR