[part 1]





of Maharaja Pratapsingh Gaekwad of Baroda 


Lakshmi Vilas Palace-Vadodara[BARODA]
               A state banquet at the Laxmi Vilas Palace at Baroda.

in which sparkled the famous Star of the South and The Star of Dresden;--the largest in the world; the 27 Rolls Royces owned by the Maharaja of Patiala; the dog kennels Royces owned by the Maharaja of Patiala; the dog kennels in Harasar which were fitted with electricity and telephones; the car collection in Udaipur which was used for ceremonial processions and collection

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh,  12 October 1891, Patiala–23 March 1938,Patiala) was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Patiala from 1900 to 1938.[
Bhupendra Singh Patiala.jpg

Bhupinder Singh was born in a Jat family and married at least 10 times and had numerous consorts besides. From those unions, he sired an estimated 88 children of whom at least 53 survived him (citation?). He was the proud owner of the world famous necklace "The Patiala Necklace" manufactured by the famous brand Cartier SA. His wife Maharani Bakhtawar Kaur presented Queen Mary a magnificent tiara called Delhi Durbar Tiara in the Delhi Durbar of 1911 to mark the first visit to India by any Queen Empress.
He was regarded as a political and spiritual symbol of the sikhs in the twentieth century.On 23 March 1938 His Highness "drifted out of the harbour on a silent tide"

Wives and Consorts
1. Her Highness Maharani Sri Bakhtawar Kaur Sahiba (1892–1960). Daughter of Sardar Gurnam Singh, Sardar Bahadur of Sangrur, . Married Bhupinder Singh 1908.

The Maharaja married 10 times. As well, he had numerous consorts and concubines.
Of the 10 wives (as opposed to the numerous concubines) the most notable were the 4 princesses from a Himalayan Kingdom who were sisters and were said to be his favourite Ranis.It was Bakhtawar Kaur Sahiba however, who took part in the official ceremonies as the Maharani.
There are many interesting tales told by the courtiers at the time, of the fierce rivalry for the affection of the Maharaja and of the way the Maharaja used his considerable diplomatic abilities in order to keep them all happy and content.
One such story relates to the legend of the Patiala Watch.The old Maharaja had purchased a beautiful Gold Pocket Watch with Moon Phase at the time of the Delhi Durbar of 1911, for Maharani Bakhtawar Kaur.It is said that as a result there was a lot of discord in the Palace specially from the four Rani Sisters.n order to placate the four Rani Sister, the Maharaja ordered four unique Gold Pocket watches, with very ornate and beautiful Gold cases in 22 carat Gold and added features of a day and month calender as well as the phases of the moon, to be more grand than the Maharani's watch.The Maharaja used the services of a Swiss based Jeweller called F.Russer who was a jeweller to several members of the Royal family of Kapurthala.

The British liked their maharajas to dazzle. Pomp and pageantry kept them happy. And, under the blinding sun, weighed down by diamonds the size of duck eggs and gems like gobstoppers, dazzling came easy to India’s royal families. The Crown Prince of Indore could be relied upon to bring out his magnificent necklace of Golconda diamonds, the Maharani of Baroda her seven-strand rope of pearls. Once a year the Maharaja of Bikaner distributed his weight in gold to the poor. Even their animals were adorned: rubies dripped from elephants’ tusks; emeralds encircled horses’ girths.
Such images of the Raj, the century or so of British rule in India, are lodged deep within our psyche, shaping our view of our colonising past. Of Victoria, for example, who declared herself Empress of India and learnt Hindi, but never bothered to visit what she called the “jewel in the crown” of her empire

“The British needed Indian royalty to appear as rich and potent rulers of their own peoples, despite the fact that they wielded little power. They ensured that Indian majesties conformed to a cultural stereotype, displaying all the trappings of kingship with none of its reality
 When Lord Curzon, viceroy of India from 1898 to 1905, described them as “a set of unruly and ignorant and rather undisciplined schoolboys”, he was echoing the prevailing view that they were spoilt brats, Indo-trash addicted to sex and shopping. With their concubines and raids on Cartier and Chaumet, they couldn’t possibly govern themselves

While paying lip service to its British masters, many of the country’s most important dynasties were active in the nationalist movement. Some of those swearing allegiance to George V in the last great durbar, or regal assembly, of 1911 were at the same time fighting for a free India — an objective not achieved until 1947.
Gandhi, whose independence movement gained currency in the late 1930s and ’40s, dismissed them as “puppets, created or tolerated for the upkeep and prestige of the British power”. One Indian commentator, writing in 1930, went further: “We all have different ways of beginning the day… The Englishman begins on bacon and eggs, the German on sausages, the American on grape nuts. His Highness prefers a virgin.” Cole Porter’s song
Historians such as Lucy Moore, author of Maharanis, a study of three generations of 19th- and 20th-century Indian princesses, and Ahlawat have sought out stories of their courage and political might.
 These Suffragette Sahibas were often strong, often obstreperous, and hardly ever subservient.
Their achievements were all the more extraordinary given the tenor of traditional teaching. An ancient Indian text, the Padmadurana, dating from AD750, prescribes: “There is no other god on earth for a woman than her husband… The most excellent of all the good works she can do is seek to please him by manifesting perfect obedience to him.” Learning in females was traditionally associated with sexual licence. Another myth held that if a woman touched a book, her husband would die — a terrible fate, since widows enjoyed the lowliest status. Outliving your husband showed that you had not looked after him properly.

The 17th-century Mughal empress Nur Jahan was an excellent shot who rode into battle on an elephant. She also wrote poetry and studied architecture — all this from behind purdah. In the state of Rajasthan bravery among women belonging to the Rajput tribe was legendary. In the 14th century, Padmini, a princess from the city of Chittor, led her courtly ladies to a mass suicide, called jauhur, rather than surrender to an enemy king from Delhi. Two hundred years later, when Chittor was besieged by the Mughal emperor Akbar, 8,000 of its warriors charged out to their certain deaths. As they did so, nine Rajput queens, five princesses and the wives and daughters of several chieftains threw themselves into a fire.
By far the most famous warrior queen is the Rani of Jhansi, a 19th-century freedom fighter. Like Boudicca and Joan of Arc before her, Lakshmibai, as she is known, died fighting against the occupying power. The daughter of a courtier, she married the king of Jhansi, a small state in central India, when she was 14. Groomed to make a good match, she had studied archery, horsemanship and self-defence
FaridkotMaharaja Brijindar Singh (Left and top) with the British Political Agent on an Elephant]
Prince Jagatsingh of Kapurthala 
went to Madrid to attend King Alfonso XII’s wedding in 1906 and went for a Spanish Thetre..He saw Anita Delgado and her sister(Anita was only 16)who were engaged to raise the curtains during the show.

Maharaja Jagatjit Singh with his courtiers
The King of Kapurthala fell in Love..Madly..He chased this Street Tea Vendor’s daughter and ultimately married her,though he already was officially married to the daughter of Mian Ranjit Singh of Guleria in 1886!Anita was renamed Prem Kaur and became his sixth wife..apart from the mistress from France,Germain Pelligreno,for this great Prince met at a fashion show and arranged a separate Ocean Liner for her to be shipped to Bombay where a special Train was waiting  the arrival of the important mistress from Europe,to be transported to Kapurthala!..
spanish wife of maharaja

 Amrit kaur daughter of Rani premkaur(spanish wife)
His Exalted Highness Mir Osman Ali Khan, 7th Nizam of Hyderabad, and grandfather of Prince Mukarram Jah[THE PRESENT NIZAM

Historical moment Major General J. N. Chowdhary and His Exalted Highness the Nizam at the King Kothi Palace[The moment, the word of Hyderabad’s fall became certain there was an eruption of joy. Not so in some localities where the writ and rumour of Razakars ran. It was fear. Only after Major General Chowdhary broadcast the word of peace did the mood in the city change.]
@ Chow-Mohalla Palace
                                                                   Chow-Mohalla Palace
@ Chow-Mohalla Palace
@ Chow-Mohalla Palace

On April 14, 1906, Osman Ali married Dulhan Pasha Begum (1889-1955), daughter of Nawab Jahangir Jung, at Eden Bagh at the age 21. She was the first of his seven wives and 42 concubines, and the mother of two eldest of his sons Azam Jah and Moazzam Jah. His second wife was Iqbal Begum daughter of Nawab Nazir Jung Bahadur (Mirza Nazir Beg)n total, Osman Ali Khan sired at least 100 children
In his 72 years, he ruled a state of 18 million people, bossed a brilliantly uniformed army of 22,000 men, had a fortune estimated at $2 billion. In his sprawling King Kothi palace, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, pearls and lesser gems are stored in $3 steel trunks fastened with "English-made padlocks."(JACOB DIAMOND)
William Dalrymple:-{latest book is The Last Mughal: }
sixty years ago, four months after British rule had come to an end in India, the Nizam of Hyderabad, then the richest man in the world, was still refusing to join the new Indian union. Sir Osman Ali Khan saw no reason why Hyderabad should be forced to join either India or Pakistan. His state, which had remained semi-independent within the framework of the Raj, had an economy the size of Belgium's, and his personal fortune was more remarkable still -according to one contemporary estimate, it amounted to at least £100m in gold and silver bullion and £400m in jewels. Many of these came from the Nizam's own mines, source of the Koh-i-Noor and the Great Mogul diamond, at the time the largest ever discovered. He also owned one of the Islamic world's great art collections -libraries full of priceless Mughal and Deccani miniatures, illuminated Qur'ans and the rarest and most esoteric Indo-Islamic manuscripts.

partly because of this extraordinary wealth, the Nizam was always feted by the British as the most senior prince in India, and given precedence over his rivals. For more than three centuries, his ancestors had ruled a state the size of Italy as absolute monarch, answerable - in internal matters at least - to no one but themselves, and claiming the allegiance of up to 15 million subjects.

In the years leading up to the second world war, the Nizam was regarded by many as the leading Muslim ruler in the world. In 1921, his two sons had been sent to Nice where they married the daughter and the niece of Abdul Majid II, the last Caliph of Turkey. The Caliph had recently been expelled from the Topkapi palace by Atatürk, and sent into exile in France. As part of the marriage arrangements, the Caliph had nominated the Nizam's son as heir to the Caliphate, so uniting the supreme spiritual authority of the Muslim world with its greatest concentration of riches. The dynasty seemed unassailable.

yet by the late 30s, more far-sighted observers realised that the Nizam's world could not last. "He was as mad as a coot and his chief wife was raving," I was told by Iris Portal, sister of the British politician Rab Butler. She had worked in Hyderabad before independence: "It was like living in France on the eve of the revolution. All the power was in the hands of the Muslim nobility. They spent money like water, and were terrible, irresponsible landlords, but they could be very charming and sophisticated as well. They would take us shooting, 

Portal became friends with Princess Niloufer, the Nizam's daughter-in-law and niece of the Caliph.

 One day, the princess took her to see some of the Nizam's treasure which was hidden in one of the palaces. They went down a flight of stairs, past a group of Bedouin guards, and there at the bottom was a huge underground vault, full of trucks and haulage lorries. The trucks were dusty and neglected, their tyres flat, but when the women pulled back a tarpaulin, they found that they were full of gems, pearls and gold coins. The Nizam, fearful of either a revolution or an Indian takeover of his state, had made plans to get some of his wealth out of the country if the need came. But then he lost interest and left the lorries to rot.The View All Photos | Havelock House - Prince Mukarram Jahs luxury West Perth mansion in Australia. He lived here with his Australian wife and their two sons | Nizam of Hyderabad, Prince Mukarram JahHavelock House - Prince Mukarram Jah's luxury West Perth mansion in Australia. He lived here with his Australian wife and their two sons

late Princess Ayesha Jah (aka Helen Simmons), Australian wife of Prince Mukarram Jah

View All Photos | Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad.  It still belongs to Prince Mukarram Jah. | Nizam of Hyderabad, Prince Mukarram Jah
Chowmahalla Palace in Hyderabad. It still belongs to Prince Mukarram Jah.

View All Photos | Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, still owned by Prince Mukarram Jah. It will open as a luxury hotel at the end of 2008. | Nizam of Hyderabad, Prince Mukarram Jah
Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, still owned by Prince Mukarram Jah

View All Photos | Prince Mukarram Jah, 8th Nizam of Hyderabad, in his home in Turkey | Nizam of Hyderabad, Prince Mukarram Jah

Prince Mukarram Jah, 8th Nizam of Hyderabad, in his home[FLAT] in Turkey

The disintegration of the state, and the dispersal of the wealth of the Nizam, the seventh in his line, is one of the 20th century's most dramatic reversals of fortune. After months of failed negotiations, India invaded Hyderabad in 1948, replacing the Nizam's autocratic rule with parliamentary democracy. Twenty-six years later, in 1974, India abolished the Nizam's title - along with those of all the other princes - removed their princely state pensions and made them subject to crippling new taxes and land acts, forcing them to sell most of their property.

When the seventh Nizam died in February 1967, his grandson, Mukarram Jah, succeeded him, quickly finding himself enmeshed in debts and financial chaos. He had inherited a ridiculously inflated army of retainers: 14,718 staff and dependants, including 42 of his grandfather's concubines and their 100-plus offspring. The principal palace, the Chowmahalla, alone had 6,000 employees; there were around 3,000 Arab bodyguards, 28 people whose only job was to fetch drinking water and 38 more to dust chandeliers; several others were retained specifically to grind the Nizam's walnuts. Everything was in disarray: the Nizam's garages, for example, cost £45,000 a year to keep in petrol and spare parts for 60 cars, yet only four were in working condition, and the limousine supposed to carry the new Nizam from his coronation broke down.

Most debilitating was the legal wrangling initiated by the several thousand descendants of the different Nizams, almost all of whom claimed part of Jah's inheritance. Jah's father, who had been passed over in the will, and his aunt led the legal challenge. Even securing the smallest sum to live on proved difficult for the new Nizam: his vast inheritance had been distributed among 54 trusts, the control of which was disputed. From the beginning, he was reduced to selling jewellery and heirlooms to keep solvent.

Eventually, in 1973, disgusted by the weight of litigation and the bitterness of the family in-fighting, Jah relocated to a sheep farm in Perth, Australia. There, he donned blue overalls and spent his days

Jah sacked most of the 14,000 staff he left behind in India, and divorced his first wife, the sophisticated Turkish princess Esra, who saw no reason why she should move to a remote Australian sheep station. Over the following two decades he married four more times. One of his wives, a secretary named Helen Simmons, died of an Aids-related illness in 1989, which led to intimate details of the marriage being splashed across Australian tabloids. All five of the marriages added to Jah's growing pile of litigation, as each successive wife demanded fabulous sums in alimony.

n his absence, Jah's unsupervised Hyderabad properties were looted and his possessions dispersed by a succession of incompetent, dishonest or unscrupulous advisers. When Jackie Kennedy came to Hyderabad on a private visit a few years later, she recorded her impressions of this collapsing and leaderless remnant 

In 1997, when I first visited Hyderabad, the plundering of the Nizam's property was nearly complete. The drawing rooms of the city were still buzzing with stories of how precious jewels, manuscripts, Louis XIV furniture and chandeliers from the Nizam's palaces were available on the market, for a price.
Meanwhile, his various palaces were decaying - some sealed by order of court, some sold off or encroached upon. Between 1967 and 2001, the Chowmahalla estate shrank from 54 acres to 12, as courtyard after courtyard, ballrooms and stable blocks - even the famous "mile-long" banqueting hall - were acquired by developers, who demolished the 18th-century buildings and erected concrete apartments in their place.
I visited the huge Victorian pile of the Falaknuma Palace, just to the south of the city. The complex, which stood above the town on its own acropolis, was falling into ruin, with every window and doorway sealed by red wax. Wiping the windows, I could see cobwebs the size of bedsheets hanging from the corners of the rooms. The skeletons of outsized Victorian sofas and armchairs lay dotted around the parquet floors, their chintz upholstery eaten away by white ants. Outside, the gardens had given way to scrub flats, waterless fountains, and paint-flaking flagpoles at crazy angles. It was a truly melancholy sight: a derelict Ruritania.
In 2001, on another research trip to Hyderabad, I received a phone call from a friend. The first wife of the present Nizam, Princess Esra, had unexpectedly appeared in the city after an absence of three decades. With her, she had brought the celebrated Indian lawyer Vijay Shankardass. Esra, it seemed, had recently met her ex-husband at the wedding of their son, Azmet, in London. She was shocked to hear of the state of Jah's affairs: he had been forced to sell his beloved sheep farm and flee his creditors. A partial reconciliation followed, and Esra was given the authority by Jah to try to save something for their son and daughter before what little remained in Hyderabad disappeared, too. It was her intention to settle the many outstanding law cases, open the palaces and lease Falaknuma to a hotel chain. She planned to turn Chowmahalla into a museum.
Chowmahalla, dating from 1751, was one of the finest royal residences in India. After some negotiation, I was allowed to accompany the princess on her visit, and so was there at the breaking of the seals of some rooms that had not been opened since the death of the previous Nizam in 1967.
What we saw was extraordinary, as if we were in the palace of Sleeping Beauty. In one underground storeroom, thousands of ancient scimitars, swords, helmets, maces, daggers, archery equipment and suits of armour lay rusted into a single metallic mass on a line of trestle tables. In another, album after album of around 8,000 Victorian and Edwardian photographs of the Nizam's household was covered in a thick cladding of dust. A unique set of 160 harem photographs, dating from 1915, lay loose in a box. On the walls, dynastic portraits were falling out of their frames. In one room were great mountains of princely dresses, patkas, chaugoshia and salvars, drawers of Kanchipuram silk saris, and one huge trunk containing nothing but bow ties. There were long lines of court uniforms as well as sets of harem clothes once worn by the Nizam's favourite wives. Almost 8,000 dinner services survived, one of which alone had 2,600 pieces.
In the King Kothi palace, the Nizam's dynasty's complete correspondence since the mid-18th century filled three rooms floor to ceiling. When the archivists had been sacked in 1972, the archive, all 10 and a half tonnes of it, had been stuffed into the rooms and sealed. Other rooms were stacked with crates of French champagne.
It looked an impossible task even to begin to sort out the mess and dilapidation. Yet remarkably, six years later, the Chowmahalla is now open to the public and 1,000 visitors a day are streaming through. A massive conservation project, unique in India, has restored and catalogued the best of what remains. The result is little short of incredible.
In the story of how the Nizam's inheritance was saved, Esra's lawyer, Vijay Shankardass, plays the most extraordinary role. An urbane figure, Shankardass is the only lawyer who has both chambers in Lincoln's Inn and a practice in Delhi. He is renowned for being as clever as he is honest and, as the man who represents Salman Rushdie, he is also celebrated for his courage and tenacity.


I met him in the largest suite of Hyderabad's grandest hotel, which he has
 occupied intermittently since beginning work on the Nizam's estate in 1996: "I was contacted by Princess Esra's lawyers in England," he told me, "and asked if I could intervene in trying to sort out the jewellery trusts which the last Nizam had set up." His initial response had been: " 'No way - it sounds like a snake pit.' No other Indian royal family had this level of indebtedness and financial chaos..." Then he met Esra and decided she was a remarkable woman - "upright, straight, clear-headed and trustworthy. So I agreed to help."
It was Shankardass's amazing achievement to have persuaded all 2,740 claimants - legitimate and illegitimate descendants of the different Nizams - to agree to a settlement of the jewel issue. In the process he was regularly blackmailed and threatened, both by the Hyderabadi mafia and the claimants them-selves. Several threatened to shoot him; on one occasion his car was hijacked as he drove to the airport. "There were some extremely rough men among the sahibzadas [princes]," he said. "Undesirable characters - hollow, shallow and proud. I had to have a full-time guard for two years."
In the end, the Indian government banned the export and public auction of the jewels, which they rightly regarded as a national treasure, but instead agreed to pay around £40m for them - less than a quarter of the market value, but much more than anyone had expected from the government. Of this, just under half was to go to the Nizam.
 [govt of India bought from the Nizam's trust sometime back for about 217 crores. It has some 176 pieces, one of which is the Jacob diamond the size of a gear knob.The Govt of India had displayed this jewelery both in Delhi and Hyderabad for a limited period a few years back. It remains locked in the Reserve Bank as far as I know.]
Next, the 130-odd legal cases still outstanding against the Nizam were settled, and debts, then standing at around £3m, were paid off.
All this still left a considerable fund for Esra to invest in the restoration of the Nizam's properties. She has the same talent for picking honest and effective people to work for her as her husband once proved to have for employing crooks. To supervise the restoration of Chowmahalla she chose Martand Singh, chairman and one of the founders of Intach, the Indian National Trust: "The first time I saw the state the palace was in, I thought it would be impossible to save," Singh remembers. "I thought it was hopeless. After the Nizam sacked his 14,000 staff, it had gone to the dogs. Decomposition can set in very quickly in India - one monsoon can do it - and these properties had been neglected for 30 years. Most of the decay was actually cosmetic. From the start, Esra was completely positive. She asked, 'How long is this going to take?' 'Three to four years,' she was told. 'Too long,' she replied. 'I want it done in two.' And Rahul succeeded in two and a half."

Princess Shekyar WITH HER FATHER Prince Mukkarram Jah OF Hyderabad
The first task was to restore a service wing of the palace, which was turned into a scholars' retreat, where architects, urban designers, art and ceramic consultants, conservators, specialist carpenters, photographic experts, textile restorers, antique upholsterers and historians could be lodged while they worked on the different collections. A conservation laboratory and museum store area followed. By 2002, the largest team of restorers ever employed on an Indian restoration project was at work. The collection of arms, along with the best of the textiles, carriages and photographic records - including the harem pictures, published here for the first time - were ready for the recent grand opening of the Chowmahalla palacec.
Fifteen Urdu and Persian scholars are currently sifting through the Nizam's vast archives. Already they have stumbled across a major historical discovery: the Nizam's negotiations in the early 40s with the Portuguese to buy Goa and so provide his state with a port, and with it a real hope - never realised, perhaps thankfully - of remaining independent from India once the British finally quit India.
The late Princess Durru Shehvar, mother of Prince Mukarram Jah, seen here in 1990's in Chicago (she died in London in 2006)

Last month, Princess Esra returned to Hyderabad from her base on an island off Istanbul, to oversee progress. She swept in, sari-clad, imperious, a flurry of energy, and as ever, everyone stood to attention. Long lines of unframed canvases were laid out along the corridors and she walked past them, giving an instant decision. "No, not that one. It's Venetian - I don't like it. Not that, either. Now look at that - the sixth Nizam out riding with the Kaiser - yes, send that off for restoration immediately."
Princess Esra Jah (ex-wife), with Prince Mukarram Jah

I asked if, looking back, she had any regrets. "Many," she said. "If I had the head on my shoulders I have now a few years ago, I would never have let things get into the state they did. But I was too young. At the time it all seemed impossible - the law suits, the huge taxes, debts accumulating, criminal cases, people abusing the trust we had put in them. We had no ready cash, and the palaces seemed like white elephants. So we fled, and then terrible things happened. So much just disappeared - jades, miniatures, furniture, chandeliers..."
"And the Nizam?"
 Today he keeps to himself in Turkey. Lives simply, doesn't love extravagance. Lives in a two-room flat in Antalya, and spends his time exploring Roman ruins, going swimming... He's upset,  that he didn't achieve what he had hoped, . He wishes he had done things differently
Prince Mukarram Jah with two of his sons, Prince Azmet Jah (from 1st marriage) & Prince Azam Jah (from 2nd marriage) in Chiraan Palace

Esra's 47-year-old son Azmet, heir to the eighth Nizam, Mukarram Jah, hopes to come back to Hyderabad and take on what remains of the family role in the city. "I am planning to spend much more time here," Azmet told me. "The death threats and law suits that kept us away are cleared up now, and I have great affection for this place." He paused: "I am determined to maintain what has been saved. We'll not make the same mistakes

Maharaja Sir Vijaysinhji Chhatrasinhji of Rajpipla





Maharaja of Rajpipla

the fabulous car collection of the Holkar maharajahs
Dussenbergh car (now sold in usa)

lagonda car

maharaja kameswar singh of darbhanga[1907-1962]and the great moghul emerald

moti bagh palace of patiala and the maybach car presented by Hitler

The Kowdiar Palace of the Maharajas of Trivandrum, in Kerela, South India, is a grand edifice with a mix of Indian and European styles; the present "Maharaja" still lives here.

The Jai Vilas Palace of Gwalior, built in a European style, resembles the Winter Palace in St Petersburg, Russia 

The Jaisalmer Fort, the Maharaja has a palace inside and is his residence when in Jaisalmer; there are hotels and the whole fort can be toured.

Senior Princes during the Delhi Durbar (royal reception) for King George V, in 1911.

The City Palace complex, Udaipur, seat of the Maharanas of Udaipur- Mewar, now a residence of Maharana Arvind Singh and partly a museum and hotels. The Lake Palace in the foreground in Lake Pichola is also a hotel.

The Black Orlov Diamond.The magnificent Black Orlov, also known as The Eye of Brahma, was discovered in India in the early 1800's. As legend has it; the 195-carat diamond in the rough was set in a Hindu Idol at a shrine near Pondicherry, India and it was stolen from The Eye of Brahma idol

The Arcots Diamonds.rulers of Great Britain amassed a large collection of personal jewelry and Queen Charlotte, the consort of King George III, was surely no excpetion. She received many jewels, the most notable being the diamonds she was given by the Nawab of Arcot, a town near Madras.

 It once belonged to the Begum Hazrat Mahal, the wife King Wajid Ali Shah of Oudh. 
The Ahmadabad Diamond .

The story of the Agra Diamond begins in 1526 when Babur the first Mogul emperor (1483-1530) took possession of Agra after defeating the Rajah of Gwailor in battle. Their lives were spared. It is said that as an expression of their gratitude they presented their captors with jewels and precious stones. Since it is recorded that Babur wore the Agra Diamond in his turban, the stone was probably one of those jewels. It is likely that the Agra remained in the ownership of following Mogul emperors because Akbar, was said to have worn the diamond in his headdress and Aurangzeb had the stone safely lodged in his treasury. 

This spectacular turban ornament (sarpech) consists of a jigha, a feather- shaped upper part worn vertically, and a sarpati, worn horizontally. At the Mughal court, a turban ornament was bestowed as a symbol of favour

A popular pastime in royal India, chaupar was played by four people, individually or in pairs. These extraordinary pieces are richly enamelled and jewelled, with the different players identified by colour and gemstone: diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire. The enamelled dice are set with diamonds to indicate the numbers. The cloth board could be easily rolled and transported.




The Kapurthala Princes

Diviya Kumari of Jubbal

Jayachamaraja Wodeyar Bahadur OF MYSORE AND PALACE BELOW

The World Famous Patiala Necklace Created by Cartier for Maharaja PATIALA

Maharani Diya Kumari 

Maharani Sita Devi 2 of Baroda

The 128.48-carat Star of the South is one of the world's most famous diamonds. Discovered in 1853, it became the first Brazilian diamond to receive international acclaim

Maharani Brinda Devi

Maharani Sita Devi 

Maharani Gayatri Devi OF JAIPUR
Maharani Catherine, Bamba & Sophia Duleep Singh 

Maharani Pooradam Thirunal Sethu Lakshmi BayiCI (1895 – 1985) 

was the ruler ofTravancore as regent for her nephew, Chithira Tirunal from 1924 until late 1931. She is known for continuing the progressive tradition of the Travancore rulers preceding her with many social and economic reforms.

Maharani Sethu Lakshmi Bayi (1924)
1924 - 1931

Soon after in 1925 the Maharani was visited by Mahatma Gandhi. Their meeting resulted in a royal proclamation by which all the public roads and streets in Travancore were thrown open to all Hindus irrespective of caste. Mahatma Gandhi called it a "bedrock of freedom" in his Young India (26 March 1925) magazine while describing the Maharani thus:
My visit to Her Highness was an agreeable surprise for me. Instead of being ushered into the presence of an over decorated woman sporting diamond pendants and necklaces, I found myself in the presence of a modest young woman who relied not upon jewels or gaudy dresses for beauty but on her own naturally well formed features and exactness of manners. Her room was as plainly furnished as she was dressed. Her severe simplicity became an object of my envy. She seemed to me an object lesson for many a prince and many a millionaire whose loud ornamentation, ugly looking diamonds, rings and studs and still more loud and almost vulgar furniture offend the taste and present a terrible and sad contrast between them and the masses from whom they derive their wealth.
                                                                                       Mahatma Gandhi

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