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Indian Maharajas and Their Royalty

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Indian Royalty has always been revered due to its quirky style and fascinating cultural history. From stunning architecture to interior marvels and wonderful jewellery, Indian Maharajas have crafted their path in the history of the nation. However, when it comes to indulgence, these uber-rich Kings and Queens also enjoyed certain eccentricities which may have set them back a few million even back in those days. After all, when you have more money than can feed an entire nation, you have to put it to some kind of use! Here, in the Indian Maharajas and Their Royalty blog post, we take a look at some of the weird and indulgent eccentricities of Indian Maharajas that can make even the rich of today question their bank balance.

King Jai Singh, Alwar

Indian Maharajas Reenaahluwalia Jai Singh

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One thing that can be found through all ancient times is the immense ego and pride of the Maharajas. An inappropriate statement or behaviour was enough to start a war sometimes, so it is no surprise that a snub by a car salesman was not going to be ignored. The King is said to have visited a Rolls Royce showroom where a car salesman had the audacity to treat him disrespectfully. However, a classy man, the King did not create a scene there but made sure he answered back in a way that the world and every member of Rolls Royce will never forget.

He ordered a fleet of Rolls Royce cars and used them in place of garbage trucks to transport and dispose of the city’s waste. At a time when the luxury car maker was highly revered for being one of the world’s finest luxury vehicles, King Jai Singh proved that when it comes to Indian royalty, even the world’s topmost luxury benchmark is not at par.

Mir Usman Ali Khan, Nizam of Hyderabad

He may have been the last Nizam of Hyderabad, but his eccentricities ensured that he is not likely to be forgotten any time soon. It is said that at one point, he had over 14,000 servants to cater to his and his residence’s needs! Almost 28 servants were exclusively retained to serve him water as and when he pleased. However, that wasn’t his most eccentric behaviour. The Nizam used the famous Jacob diamond, the world’s fifth-largest diamond, as a paperweight! And that wasn’t the only precious stone in his possession as he allegedly was believed to own pearls that could light up an entire street.

Muhammad Mahabat Khan III, Nawab of Junagarh

They say a dog is a man’s best friend, and for the Nawab of Junagarh, this was definitely true. His love for dogs is said to have surpassed normal behaviour as he had over 800 dogs under his care. And if that wasn’t insane enough, every dog was said to have his or her personal attendant that tended to them. Now people may have heard of Maharajas spending millions on their kids’ weddings, but for this Nawab, his dogs were his family. When two of his favourite dogs mated, he spent about 30 lakhs in a dog wedding celebrations and even had that day declared a state holiday!

Maharani Indira Devi, Cooch Behar

Indian Maharajas Maharani

The Maharajas may have had their share of eccentricities and luxuriant indulgences, but the Maharanis were no less. Maharani Indira Devi had a love for shoes (like most women) but took her passion quite seriously. She owned over 100 pairs of shoes designed by the Italian designer, Salvatore Ferragamo. To add some sparkle to her footwear, a lot of these pairs were believed to have diamonds studded on them! In addition, the Maharani was a firm believer in a luck token, which was her tortoise. Her pet tortoise was said to always accompany her and was covered with emeralds, diamonds and rubies on its shell. Should the tortoise go dangerously near the edge of the table she was sitting at, she would always be quick enough to pull it back.

Saddiq Muhammed Khan Abassi IV, Nawab of Bahawalpur

Indian Maharajas Saddiq Muhammed Khan Abassi IV

This Nawab was all about comfort and the company of women which he created to his specifications. He ordered a bed from Paris that had 290 kgs of silver along with four naked women surrounding it. These women were painted in flesh tones and adorned with lifelike features. What’s more they were created to be moveable and each one held a fan. The Nawab could set these women in motion as he desired, resulting in them fanning him while also making some flirtatious gestures in a continuous manner. The women were also designed to depict different nationalities, namely Greece, France, Italy and Spain.

Jagatjit Singh, Maharaja of Kapurthala

Indian Maharajas Jagatjit Singh

When it comes to travelling in style, no one did it better than Jagatjit Singh. While a few suitcases these days are all one can travel with, the Maharaja was known to have custom-designed Louis Vuitton trunks for his travel that were almost 60 in number. Each trunk would contain his personal effects ranging from clothes and shoes to even his swords and turbans.

Thus, when it comes to Indian royalty, nothing was deemed to be off-limits. From jewels to multiple staff attendants to even cars, these Maharajas and Maharanis sure knew the true meaning of luxurious indulgence.

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