India being a land of Rajas and Maharajas, has a rich cultural heritage endowed with diverse conventions, customs, rituals and ideas culminating in one central core of self-identity. Although most of the royal families in India do not retain their past glories anymore, still a number of royal families bask in the grandeur and oriental magic which have been fascinating the Indians as well as attracting occidental attention. Places like Rajasthan, for example, are known to have a regal legacy of emperors and kings. Imposing architectural structures are associated with royal Indian families.
The Royal Family of Jodhpur (17 Gun Salute)
On a leafy pond, tucked into a shady corner of Jodhpur’s magnificent fifteenth century fortress, Mehrangarh, there stands a tiny temple. Exuding serenity it looks out over the outer walls of the fortress at the bustling old walled city of Jodhpur; that part of it washed blue by her pious Brahmins. Behind it the natural rock-face of Bhakurcheeria, the Mountain of Birds from which the fortress is hewn, rises a hundred and fifty feet high, giving way first to intimidating man-made battlements and then, suddenly, to exquisite palaces.
The temple was raised in honour of an old hermit called Cheeria Nathji, the Lord of the Birds, by the fifteenth Rathore ruler of Marwar, Rao Jodha, in 1459; the same year that he began the construction of Mehrangarh and laid the foundation of the city of Jodhpur.
Indeed, the story of Jodhpur begins with Cheeria Nathji, the city’s first citizen who had lived here in contemplative isolation for many years when Jodha’s masons shattered his tranquil world. Irate, he cursed the Rathore, “Jodha! May your citadel always suffer a scarcity of water!” A terrible curse anywhere, but in this harsh and inhospitable land, on the eastern extremities of the Great Indian Thar Desert, a land still called Marwar, The Land of Death, it heralded doom itself.
For the story of the martial clan, the Rathores, who ruled Marwar from Jodhpur till the Merger of the Princely States with the Dominion of India in 1949, one must travel further back in time to the year 1194. It was in that year, thousands of miles away in eastern India that the Muslim invader, Mohammed Ghori, defeated the mighty Jaichand of Kanauj. It was Jaichand’s great-grandson, Sheoji, who rode out to Marwar in 1226, eager for fresh battlefields and glory all his own. And it is Sheoji’s descendants who proudly bear the name, Rathore. In 1226 the principal cities of Marwar were Mandore, today a fifteen minute drive from Jodhpur and Pali, an hour’s drive south; and it was the latter, a rich commercial centre, that Sheoji first conquered. Over the decades the Rathores expanded steadily but it was only in 1395, in the reign of their twelfth ruler, Rao Chunda, that they acquired – not conquered – Mandore. Mandore is Marwar’s most historic city. Today in ruins, it was the capital of many a great dynasty. Legend has it that Ravana, the Demon King of Lanka who defied Lord Rama himself, married a princess of Mandore, his favourite queen Mandodri. In 1292 the Parihar Rajputs lost Mandore to the Khilji Sultans of Delhi and after that the city remained with the Sultans of Delhi till 1395. In that year their Governor in Mandore, Aibak Khan, demanded fodder as well as the tax on grain, and this eventually proved to be his undoing. The Parihars, tired of this autocratic man, hatched a plan, which, in ingenuity matched the famous Trojan Horse, and in bravery far surpassed it. Five hundred Parihars smuggled themselves into the fortified city in a hundred cart-loads of grass. These carts were checked randomly and prodded with spears.
As the unchallenged rulers of Mandore, Sheoji’s descendants were firmly established as the most powerful clan in the region. And it was left to Chunda’s grandson, Rao Jodha, to secure a place for the Rathores in the annals of India by building one of her most spectacular forts and founding one of her most charming cities. The foundation of this fort was laid on 12 May 1459 by Jodha himself on rocky Bhakurcheeria, only six miles away from Mandore. Perhaps with Cheeria Nathji’s curse ringing in his ears, Jodha had a young man buried alive in it to ensure the new site proved propitious. This man was Rajiya Bambi who was promised that his family and descendants would be looked after by the Rathores. It is a promise that has been honoured and Rajiya’s descendants, who still live in Raj Bagh, Rajiya’s Garden; the estate bequeathed to their ancestor by Jodha, continue to enjoy a special relationship with the Maharaja.
Royal Family of Jaipur (17 Gun Salute)
HH Sri Sawai Maharaja BHAWANI SINGH Bahadur, 11th Maharaja and 39th Head of the Kachhawa Rajputs (1970/-) born 22nd October 1931 in Jaipur, educated in Kashmir, Dehradun and then at Harrow School (UK) 1946/1950, commissioned into Indian Army in the 3rd Cavalry regiments as a Second Lieutenant in 1951, selected for the Presidents bodyguard in 1954, posted to HQ 50 (Indep.)
Para Brigade in 1963, selected and posted as Adjutant, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun 1964/1967, volunteered for the new Para Commando Unit and was posted to 10 Para Commando as 2nd-in-command in June 1967, became the commanding officer he in the following year, awarded the second highest gallantry award “Mahavir Chakra” in 1971, for his part in the Indo-Pak war, took voluntary retirement in 1974, was granted rank of Brigadier for life, served as the first Resident High Commissioner to the State of Brunei from July 1993 to January 1997, married 10th March 1967, HH Maharani Saheba Padmini Devi Prakash and has issue.
Predecessor state of Dhundhar (Dausa) founded in 1093 by DULEH RAI (DULHA RAO). Known as Amber from the 1300’s to 1727 when a new capital called Jayapura was built. The state was then renamed Jaipur. Rulers were….Raja SODH DEV 966/1006, Raja of Dausa, son of Raja Ishwar Das of Gwalior, Raja KANKAL DEV .
Scindia- The Royal Family (21 Gun Salute)
Scindia, anglicized from Shinde, and also spelled as Sindhia, Sindia, is a Maratha family in India which included rulers of the Gwalior State in the 18th and 19th centuries, collaborators of the colonial British government during the 19th and the 20th centuries until India became independent, and politicians in independent India.
The Shinde dynasty was founded by Ranoji Shinde, who was the son of Jankojirao Shinde, the Patil of Kanherkhed, a village in Satara District, Maharashtra. The closing years of Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath’s career saw the strengthening of the Maratha confederacy. Ranoji was in charge of the Maratha conquests in Malwa in 1726.
Ranoji established his capital at Ujjain in 1731. His successors included Jayajirao, Jyotibarao, Dattajirao, Jankojirao, Mahadji and Daulatrao Shinde.
The Sindhia state of Gwalior became a major regional power in the latter half of the 18th century and figured prominently in the three Anglo-Maratha Wars. They held sway over many of the Rajput states, and conquered the state of Ajmer.After the defeat of the allied Maratha states by the British in the Third Anglo-Maratha War of 1818, Daulatrao Scindia was forced to accept local autonomy as a princely state within British India and to give up Ajmer to the British. After the death of Daulatrao, Maharani Baiza Bai ruled the empire, saving it from the British power, till the adopted child Jankoji Rao took over the charge. Jankoji died in 1843, and his widow Tarabai Raje Shinde successfully maintained the position and adopted a child from close lineage named Jayajirao.
The Scindia family ruled Gwalior until India’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, when the Maharaja Jivajirao Scindia acceded to the Government of India. Gwalior was merged with a number of other princely states to become the new Indian state of Madhya Bharat. George Jivajirao served as the state’s rajpramukh, or appointed governor, from 28 May 1948 to 31 October 1956, when Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh.
In 1962, Rajmata Vijayraje Scindia, the widow of Maharaja Jiwajirao, was elected to the Lok Sabha, beginning the family’s career in electoral politics. She was first a member of the Congress Party, and later became an influential member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Her son Madhavrao Scindia was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1971 representing the Congress Party, and served until his death in 2001. His son, Jyotiraditya Scindia, also in the Congress Party, was elected to the seat formerly held by his father in 2004.
The Royal Family of KutleharAs with many ancient dynasties of the World the origin of the Pal dynasty is shrouded in mystery and over the centuries much research has been done on the subject with no real satisfactory result, it is impossible to reject or approve of any one theory.Amongst the many versions of the origin of the dynasty some declare that the Pals are descendents of the Pal Emperors of Bengal while some mention that the original home was near Poona and another idea was put forth by the British after their arrival in Kutlehar was that the originator of the family came from Sambhal. As with the theories of origin there are also many versions of the reason of the need to come to the North, some mention that after losing nearly all of the empire the Monarch came on a pilgrimage, whereas some mention that as the younger brother of the King had taken over the Empire therefore the King left for the hillsWhatever the theories of origin, all agree that the foundation of the dynasty lies in the pre 1000s and the Kutlehar Kingdom was established during the early tenth century.
Darbari- The Royal Family (11 Gun Salute)
The Rajputs (from the Sanskrit tatpurusha compound rājaputra, “son of a king”) are a martial race and the ruling class of northern India . In the Hindi, those belonging to the Kshatriya Varna of Hindus are generally referred to as “Rajputs”. The ruling class of most Indian states from 6th century to 19th century were mostly Rajputs. Most Rajputs claim descent from Shri Ram and Shri Krishna. The rajput clan of Maharaja Ugra Sen and Koar Sen was given the title of “darbari” by emperor Akbar . Among the royal families of modern India Darbari Family is one of the oldest and most respected clan, in India, Darbari Family ruled most of the parts in northern India. The Darbari Family belongs to the Hindu Suryavanshi Lineage,who were presented the title of ” Darbari” by Emperor Akbar as a token of respect and honor. The Darbaris were the traditional royal warrior elite and landowning caste of Northern India, organized by into clans with a ruling head.Raja Birbal (1528-1586) was the Grand Vizier (Wazīr-e Azamof the Mughal court in the administration of the Mughal emperor Akbar and known as the navaratna, a Sanskrit word meaning nine jewels. Maharaja Babu Kishan Das(1548), close friend of Raja Birbal was gifted some more villages, under his rule by Akbar The Great on account of his gallantness and his flair to rule hearts. Impressed by maharaja Babu kishan Das principles and attitude towards subjects, he was honored with the title of “Darbari”- a prominent position among all Maharajas in the Darbar of Akbar-The Great. So all Darbaris belong to the lineage of great Maharaj Koar Sen and Maharaja UgraSen whose triumphs and glories are embossed in the golden pages of history.
Darbaris greet each other by saying-Radhasoami. Radhasoami is a faith, considered by adherents as a true way to r ealize God. It is neither a religion, nor a caste or creed or sect or a division in society. The Radhasoami faith is also referred to as Sant Mat (Path of the Saints) or Religion of Saints. The word ‘Radhasoami’ is actually a combination of two words: ‘Radha’ the Prime Spirit Current, and ‘Soami’ the Prime Sound Current, which intermingled at the beginning of creation and this sound ‘Radhsoami’ has been resounding ever since, and the sound and spirit currents are indistinguishable in the Region of Pure Spirit or Truth also known as Dayal Desh (Region of the Merciful) or Nirmal Chetan Desh.
The Royal Family of TripuraThough lulled to a sequestered life in the backyard of an ancient tribal kingdom, Tripura goes down in the pages of history as a little place almost religiously devoted to fine experiments in arts, crafts and literature. The rulers of this ancient State were not merely patrons of art and culture but a number of them were great exponents in different creative fields. Even the reputed journals of the West mention eloquently their work of art, photography, literature and music. Tripura’s modern era began with Maharaja Birchandra (1862-96) who was a superb painter, an excellent photographer, a great composer of music, a profound scholar of Vaishnav literature and obviously a great connoisseur of all creative activities. This sagacious ruler created a stir in the literary world by conferring upon young Rabindranath Tagore the honour of the ‘best poet” in 1882. The poet was hardly 21 years old then and he had to his credit only one book of verses – Bhagna Hriday – (The Broken Heart). Birchandra, having read ‘Bhagna Hriday’, was so moved that he immediately sent his minister all the way from Agartala to Jorasanko, home of the Tagores at Calcutta just to convey the message that he discerned in the young poet the promise of a great future. Tagore was taken by surprise. Tagore very respectfully mentioned the great event in his autobiography Jiban Smriti and paid great tributes to Birchandra on a number of occasions during his sojourns to Tripura. This was the beginning of an unforgettable tie between the ruling house of an obscure land and a great poet who dominated the literary world. This historic bond lasted for over sixty years till the last days of Tagore. He became the friend, philosopher and guide to the four generations of Tripura rulers. The elderly Birchandra was quick enough to befriend the young poet. Tagore went to Kurseong twice during 1894 and 1896. On both the occasions he invited Tagore to be his guest of honour and the poet gladly obliged. Those were meetings between two great minds that provided a rare opportunity to both of them to know each other more intimately. Tagore was then hardly thirty-three years old and Birchandra almost double his age. Naturally, the young poet felt shy to open up himself. But in all literary discussions he was treated as an equal. Tagore often recalled the sweet memories of those golden days that he spent together with Birchandra at Kurseong.
The Royal Family of BariaDevgadh Baria is located on the bank of Panam River; a town built very articulately in princely style. It is part of Dahod district , formerly Panchmahal District in the state of Gujarat. The town was also the capital of Baria State, a Princely State in the Rewa Kantha Agency of the Bombay Province during the British Raj.This town was established in the year 1782. Two sons of King Patai Rawal of Chapaner escaped from there when the famous Sultan of Gujarat, Mohamad Beghada, conquered Pavagadh. The elder brother Rawal Prithirajsinh established the Princely State of Chhota Udepur, whereas the younger brother Rawal Dungarsinh established the Princely State of Baria. The family of Dungarsinh ruled the Baria State for the twelve generations. The Devgadh Baria was always safe due to the unique geographical location. The Rawals of Baria never gave any monitory compensation to Moslems or Maratha rulers. Internal state affairs were performed independently, without any outside help. Baria State was divided into Sagtala, Rajgadh, Haveli, Dhanpur, Limkheda and Randhikpur sub-divisions. These regions were known as Mahals. Administrators and Thanedars were appointed for the smooth administration of each Mahals. In 1864, after the death of Rawal Dungersinh, a coronation ceremony was held to declare his grandson Mansing as the next Ruler. At the time coronation he was only 9 years old and hence the administration of the state was entrusted to Rewa Kantha Agency. A superintendent was appointed by the Agent to the Governer General from 1865 to 1876. During this time, each town of the Baria State was surveyed and a limit was established. Rawal Mansinh took over the administration back from the Agency on 6 November 1876.Rawal Mansinh was reformer and had a modern outlook. He started some important educational institutions like: A school with English education, Kumar Shala – a school for the Boys, Kanya Shala – a school for the Girls, and a Chhatralaya – a Boarding. He also established the Police Force, Justice and Revenue Departments. In 1892 a proposal was made to start a railroad system from Godhra to Ratlam via Devgadh Baria, but because the town was surrounded by high mountains, the plans were changed and permission was granted to divert railway system from Piplod to Limkheda and so on to Dahod. Later on, Baria-Piplod narrow gauge railway was built by the State itself.
The Vijaynagar FamilyDiffering theories have been proposed regarding the Vijayanagara empire’s origins. Some claim that Harihara I and Bukka Raya I, the founders of the empire, were Kuruba people first associated with the Kakatiya kingdom who took control of the northern parts of the Hoysala Empire during its decline.Other historians propose they were Kannadigas and commanders in the army of the Hoysala Empire stationed in the Tungabhadra region to ward off Muslim invasions from the Northern India.Irrespective of their origin, historians agree the founders were supported and inspired by Vidyaranya, a saint at the Sringeri monastery to fight the Muslim invasion of South India. Writings by foreign travelers during the late medieval era combined with recent excavations in the Vijayanagara principality have uncovered much-needed information about the empire’s history, fortifications, scientific developments and architectural innovations. Before the early 14th century rise of the Vijayanagara empire, the Hindu kingdoms of the Deccan, the Seuna Yadavas of Devagiri, the Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal, the Pandya Kingdom of Madurai, and the tiny kingdom of Kampili had been repeatedly invaded by Muslims from the north, and by 1336 they had all been defeated by Alla-ud-din Khilji and Muhammad bin Tughluq, the Sultans of Delhi. The Hoysala Empire was the sole remaining Hindu kingdom in the path of the Muslim invasion. After the death of Hoysala Veera Ballala III during a battle against the Sultan of Madurai in 1343, the Hoysala empire merged with the growing Vijayanagara empire. In the first two decades after the founding of the empire, Harihara I gained control over most of the area south of the Tungabhadra river and earned the title of Purvapaschima Samudradhishavara (“master of the eastern and western seas”). By 1374 Bukka Raya I, successor to Harihara I, had defeated the chiefdom of Arcot, the Reddy dynasty of Kondavidu, the Sultan of Madurai and gained control over Goa in the west and the Tungabhadra-Krishna River doab in the north.The island of Lanka paid tributes and ambassadors were exchanged with the Ming Dynasty of China.The original capital was in the principality of Anegondi on the northern banks of the Tungabhadra River in today’s Karnataka. It was later moved to nearby Vijayanagara on the river’s southern banks during the reign of Bukka Raya I.
The Tehri Garhwal Family (11 Gun Salute)
“GARHWAL” – the land of many ‘GAHRS’ meaning forts.Tehri was made up of many small forts which were ruled by chieftains. Therefore, the history of Garhwal before the dynastic rule of the ‘Panwar’ rulers was not known. Kanak Pal was the first ruler of the state of Garhwal in 823 AD. He came from what is now called the state of Maharastra. The name ‘PANWAR’ is made up of two words, ‘PAN’ and ‘MAR’ meaning, “He who crushes enemies”.
Kanak Pal came to Northern India in the early 9th century to help Nepal against the uprising of Tibet. He subsequently settled down in Garhwal and started the rule of the Pal dynasty from 823 AD to 1947 AD, a reign of over 1000 years and 60 descendants. Ajay Pal, the 37th descendant, was able to unify a large part of Garhwal and do away with the reign of the chieftains. Ajay Pal established his rule after defeating the chieftains and set up his capital at Shrinagar, Garhwal. In time, the rulers of Garhwal increased their kingdom size and power. Infact, Garhwal was one of the independent kingdoms on which the mighty Mughals of Delhi had neither any influence or supremacy.
The rulers of Garhwal remained independent and repeatedly expelled the attacks of the Mughal rulers of Delhi. During the rule of Shah Jahan, the Emperor of India in the 17th century, Rajamata Karanwati of Garhwal, the mother and regent of her minor son, Prithiviraj Shah, humiliated Emperor Jahangir by not only defeating his forces but also returning the survivors with their noses lopped off. Later when Raja Prithivi Pati Shah became the ruler of Garhwal, he gave shelter to the bothers of Emperor Aurangzeb in the end of the 17th century. The use of the suffix “Shah” after the name came to be used around this time instead of the “Pal”. This was similar to the Mughul rulers use of the title “Shah” to denote their kingly status. The Garhwal rulers assumed the “Shah” title alongside their name indicating their position of being kings over and independent state.