Who wouldn’t like to be born with a silver spoon? Royalty is known for its opulence and grandeur. Besides the king size lifestyle, royalty is associated with eccentricity and quirkiness. Here are 21 facts about Indian royalty that definitely makes them a class apart.
1. When going to battle Indian kings would make their horses wear trunks. The other side’s elephants would refuse to attack the horses thinking that the horses were baby elephants.
2. Tipu Sultan used Rockets with Swords fixed in the front against the British in the Anglo-Mysore Wars.
3. It is said King Ashoka had 100 brothers and Ashoka killed his 99 brothers leaving only one brother Tissa to become the king.
4. The Marathas led by Shivaji chopped the hands of 24 prisoners during the first raid of Surat, after a murder attempt was made on his life.
5. Akbar didn’t experience the child hood of a royal prince. At the time of his birth, his parents were in exile.
6. King Jai Singh of Alwar city, on his visit to London Rolls Royce showroom was insulted by the salesman. Then the king ordered for a fleet of Rolls Royce and ordered municipal department to use all those cars for cleaning and transporting city’s waste. He stopped only when the Rolls Royce offered an apology.
7. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is the only known person of royal lineage in modern India to have publicly revealed he is gay. His family disowned him accusing him of bringing dishonour to the clan.
8. In the harem of Mughal kings in India, ladies of royal blood changed their garments several times a day and never put them on again. The once-used costumes were given to the slaves.
9. The sixteenth-century Indian emperor Akbar often used real dancing girls as chess pieces and an entire garden as a chessboard. Akbar sat high in a marble tower calling each move from his throne and watching the beautiful living pieces whirl from square to square.
10. The fourth Moghul Emperor, Jahangir, who ruled from 1605 to 1627, had a harem of 300 royal wives, 5,000 additional women, and 1,000 young men. His stables contained 12,000 elephants, 10,000 oxen, 2,000 camels, 3,000 deer, 4,000 dogs, 100 tame lions, 500 buffalo, and 10,000 carrier pigeons.
11. Indian royalty became huge patrons of some of the major European fashion and luxury houses in the British era. Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Christofle, Van Cleef and Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Mauboussin, Rolls Royce are just a few of them who served royal families and the aristocracy.
12. A 100-year-old Rolls-Royce built for an Indian prince went under the hammer for £400,000. It was ordered by Krishna Raja Wodeyar IV, Maharaja of Mysore, to shield his servants from the sun.
13. The Udaipur royal family were fascinated with crystals, the palace was full of chairs, thrones, beds, tables and punkah poles in crystal.
14. In 1926, Cartier received a trunk full of precious stones and jewellery belonging to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, who wanted his stones remounted in Parisian style. The creation that emerged is famous the world over: the Patiala necklace, it remains one of the grandest pieces ever made by Cartier, perhaps even by any other jeweller.
15. The Vuitton Company took pride in filling the special orders of Jagatjit Singh, the Maharaja of Kapurthala in Punjab, who was an avid traveller. He owned over 60 large Louis Vuitton trunks that would hold his clothes, paraphernalia, swords, turbans, suits, shoes and elaborate traditional dresses.
16. Saddiq Muhammad Khan Abassi IV, the Nawab of Bahawalpur ordered 290 kilos of chased and engraved sterling silver in the form of garlands in leaf and foliage in relief. Ingenious mechanics allowed the statues to wave.
17. It is said that there is Rani Alamelamma’s curse on the Wodeyars of Mysore that turned the Talakad into a land of sanddunes, village Malangi into a deadly whirlpool and left generations of Wodeyars childless.
18. Raja Wodeyar, the Wodeyar ruler of Mysore, who was supposed to have been cursed by Rani Alamelamma in 1610 AD.
19. Prisoners of wars and slaves were castrated and made eunuchs. These eunuchs made for dependable guards and guardians of the harem. They were posted at the doors and saw to it that no unauthorised person entered and the King also felt safe that there was no other man close to his women.
20. The Nizam of Hyderabd had a sparkling Jacob diamond, the size of an ostrich egg that weighs 184.79 carats and is worth £50m. The Nizam wrapped it in newspaper and used it as a paperweight.
21. Nawab of Junagarh was said to have owned 800 dogs, each with its individual human attendant. When two of his favourite dogs mated, he is said to have spent Rs. 20-30 lakhs in “wedding” celebrations, and proclaimed the day as State holiday.
22. There was the time when the Nizam of Hyderabad wanted a new blanket to keep him warm and ordered a servant to buy him a new one – with strict orders not to spend more than 25 rupees (32p at today’s rates).The aide came back empty-handed because a new blanket cost 35 rupees (45p). So the Nizam made do with his threadbare old blanket.