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The Spectacular Heritage of Princely India

Andrew Robinson

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A spectacular collection of images of Princely India, chronicling the extraordinary wealth of the Maharajas and their families


In the annals of world history there are few more striking tales than those of Princely India. The Maharajas became bywords for excess, for lifetimes spent in reckless expenditure and extravagant splendour on an almost unparalleled scale.

Their states were lost to the Indian Union at Independence in 1947, and even their official titles abolished in 1971. But the Princes, their palaces and feudal loyalties have lived on, and the full gorgeous spectacle of their lifestyle is captured here.

The Maharajas were — and are — diverse aristocrats, including in their number both descendants of powerful Maratha chieftains and the most famous princes of all, the Rajputs, living in their fortress palaces in the desert states of western India.

This is very much a visual story, full of gilded ceilings, crystal fountains, peacock mosaics, gold and silver treasures, of weddings, celebrations and festivals, and of the Maharajas themselves and their families, in public and in private.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 29.0 x 24.0 cm

Extent: 160 pp

Illustrations: 100

Publication date: 17 August 2009

ISBN: 9780500288221

Contents List

Introduction: The Picturesqueness of Ancient and Noble Races • 1. Durbar: Ceremonies Fit For a Ruler • 2. The Jewels in their Crowns: Heirs, Heirs Apparent and Heirlooms • 3. By Elephant, Horse or Rolls Royce: The Maharajas at Play • 4. Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Am: The Fortresses and Palaces of the Maharajas

About the Author

Andrew Robinson is the author of twenty-five books in the arts and sciences, nine of them on aspects of Indian history and culture. They include two definitive biographies: Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye, described by V. S. Naipaul as ‘an extraordinarily good, detailed and selfless book’, and the coauthored Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Man. He holds degrees from Oxford University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, has been a Visiting Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and is currently a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Sumio Uchiyama is well known in Japan as a portrait photographer of cinema stars. He travelled throughout the Indian subcontinent in his search for Maharajas who maintain a traditional way of life

List of Contributors

Sumio Uchiyama