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History of the Rulers

The Kachchwaha rulers of Amber-Jaipur trace their descent from Kush, the son of Ram, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Ram was the universal monarch, but he divided his entire empire into eight parts amongst his sons and nephews. The offshoots of his second son Kush moved their strongholds from eastern to central India and finally sometime in the11th century Prince Dulha Rai left his patrimony of Narwar for Dausa in Eastern Rajasthan. He was a brave man, married to the daughter of a Chauhan Chief of Moran. With the help of the Moran chief he captured Dausa and Bhandarej and after consolidating his position also annexed Manch (Ramgarh), defeated the Bargujar chief of Deoti (Rajorgarh- Paranagar region). His chivalrous acts are narrated in bardic tales and also in a love lyric originally composed by Kushal Labh, a Jain resident of Jaisalmer in 16th cent. In Dingal entitled- "Dhola Maru Ra Duha", it is an extremely popular theme in the entire Hindi belt. Different versions in regional dialects are sung throughout the year by the bards. His son and successor Kakil Dev was equally brave and established his control over Amber-Bairath region. He made Amber his capital and built the Ambikeshwar Mahadeva Temple. Prince Pajwan Dev was the great- grandson of Kakil. His heroic deeds are amply narrated in "Prithvi Raj Raso" as he was said to be married to a cousin of Prithvi Raj III or Rai Pithora (1178-1192), the famous Chauhan ruler of Sambhar- Ajmer. Pajwan fought bravely on the side of Prithvi Raj in the campaigns against the Chandelas of Mahoha and Jaichand of Kanauj; and also in the battle of Tarain. After Pajwan, his successors Malesi, Jonsi, Udaikaran, Narsingh, Banvir and Chandra Sen ruled over the Kachhwaha State of Amber and the clan multiplied rapidly during this period. A number of offshoots sprang up from Udai Karan, which caused internal feuds. Maharaja Prithvi Raj (1503-1527 AD.) was the disciple of a Vaishnava saint, Krishna Das Payhari, and was a gallant warrior and a farsighted ruler. He formed twelve Kotris of his Kachchwaha State and divided it amongst his sons and kinsmen to remove the chances of a feud in the future. He actively participated in the battle of Khanua (March 1527 AD) and was the major partner of the Rajput confederacy formed under the umbrella of Rana Sanga of Mewar against Babar. The outcome of this war adversely affected the cause of the Rajputs. Rana Sanga and Prithvi Raj Kachchwaha were severely wounded; the latter died in November, 1527.

                     Maharaja Prithvi Raj was succeeded by his son Puranmal, who could rule only for a very short period from 5th November 1527 to 19th January 1534. Bhim Dev (1534- 37), Ratan Singh (1537-48 AD) and Askaran (1548) succeeded him one after the other. Maharaja Bharmal the fourth son of Prithvi Raj and his Rathore queen Apurva Devi or Bala-Bai was crowned on 1st June 1548 A.D. on the Gaddi of Amber. Under the spiritual influence of his teacher (Guru) named Krishna Das he embraced Vaishnavism and was bestowed with idols of Narsingh and Sitaramji. He made pilgrimages to Dwaraka ji and other religious centres. A Mughal General Majnu Khan introduced Maharaja Bharmal to young Akbar at Delhi (Dec. 1556) and subsequently Bharmal's family became a close ally of Akbar and this alliance continued for well over two centuries. This alliance proved to be of great help to both parties. Akbar and his successors continued to gain loyal devotion of the Kachhwahas. To quote Sir Jadunath Sarkar, the famous historian: "The house of Kachchwahas supplied Akbar and his successors the cool penetrating brain power, the unfailing political insight, the great administrative skill and the inborn power of leadership of a Man Singh, a Mirza Raja Jai Singh and a Sawai Jai Singh.”

 

Brigadier H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, MVC of Jaipur (1931 – 2011 A.D.)

 

 

Brig. H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh Ji was the eldest son of late H.H. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur. He was born on 22nd October 1931, received his early education at SheshNag (Kashmir), Doon School (Dehradun) and Harrow (United Kingdom) respectively. Maharaj Kumar Shri Bhawani Singh Ji was married on 10th of March 1967 to the Sirmur Princess, Maharaj Kumari Padmini Devi, the daughter of H.H. Rajendra Prakash Bahadur, a ruler of a large state with its capital town of Nahan considered to be one of the beautiful and most compact cities in India. It is situated on the bank of the river Markunda. This royal couple was blessed with an only child named Princess Diya Kumari. In 1951, H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh was commissioned into the Indian Army in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment as a Second Lieutenant. In 1954, he was selected for the President’s Bodyguard. In 1963 he was posted to HQ 50 (Indep) Para Brigade. From January 1964-1967, he was selected and posted as Adjutant, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. In June 1967, he volunteered for the new Para Commando Unit and was posted to 10 Para commando as 2nd-in-Command. The following year he became the Commanding Officer. In 1970, he helped in training the "Mukti Vahini" before the commencement of the Bangladesh war. In 1971, in the Indo-Pak war, he led his Battalion into action and as a result of his gallantry and exploits he was awarded the second highest gallantry award "Mahavir Chakra". His Battalion also received 10 gallantry awards for their action in these operations. He took voluntary retirement in 1974. When the Indian Army was in action in Sri Lanka under "Operation Pawan", at the request of the then President and Prime Minister, Sawai Bhawani Singh went to Sri Lanka to boost the morale of his old unit (10 Para). He was successful in boosting the morale of the unit and for this success; the President of India bestowed upon him the rank of Brigadier for life. This is a rare offer that a retired Army personnel was given a promotion in rank. Brig Sawai Bhawani Singh also served as the first Resident High Commissioner to the State of Brunei from July 1993 to January 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

 H.H. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II (1911-1970 A.D.)

 

 

His Highness Saramad-i-Rajah-i-Hindustan Raj Rajendra Shri Maharajadhiraj Sir Sawai Man Singh II, G.C.I.E. was born on 21st August, 1911 and was the second son of Thakur Sawai Singhji of Isarda thikana and his childhood name was Shri Mormukut Singh. Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II adopted him as his crown prince and he was duly enthroned on Jaipur Gaddi on 7th Sept. 1922. He was married to Maharani Marudhar Kanwar on 30th January 1924 and she was the daughter of Maharaja Sardar Singhji of Jodhpur. His second wife Maharani Kishor Kanwar daughter of Maharaja Sumer Singhji of Jodhpur was married to him on 24th April 1932. His third wife Maharani Gayatri Devi was married to him on 9th May 1940. She was from Cooch Behar. Maharani Marudhar Kanwar bore him two children- Baiji Raj Prem Kumari  (Mickey Bai Sa) and Maharaj Kumar Shri Bhawani Singhji (Bubbles) in the years 1929 & 1931 respectively. Maharani Kishor Kanwar gave birth to two sons- Maharaj Kumar Shri Jai Singh (1933) and Maharaj Kumar Prithvi Raj Singhji (1935) and his third Maharani Gayatri Devi bore him fourth son Maharaj Kumar Shri Jagat Singhji in the year 1949.


Heir to the military traditions of his house, Sawai Man Singh, to acquire scientific and up-to-date knowledge of modern military science, went to Royal Military Academy at Woolwich. On 14th March, 1931 the young Maharaja was invested with full ruling powers. He had created the New Model Army of Jaipur and became their chief Commandant. On the outbreak of World War II, Man Singh was the first to offer his personal service and the service of his state forces. With his experience from the Royal Military Academy, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II tried to reorganise the Army of Jaipur. As a result two additional battalions of Jaipur Forces were recognized by the Govt. of India as Indian State Forces Units. All these forces rendered meritorious service in different fields of war in 1939. They won several medals and distinctions for their valour. In 1940 he was attached to the 13th Lancers at Risalpur for training and later did service on the North-west frontier. In April 1941, he embarked upon active service abroad and joined his regiment, the Household Cavalry, in the Middle east. After serving for some time in Palestine, he was appointed to the Middle East Head Quarter as Liaison Officer to the Indian State Forces. He was deputed to the Eastern front in February and revisited the Middle East in April 1944. He also went to the Burma front in March 1945 and attended the Victory Parade in London in 1946. The British Govt. conferred upon him the honorary rank of Major General and subsequently Lt. General. After the integration of Jaipur State he was made Raj Pramukh of Rajasthan in the year 1949. He took a keen interest in polo and led the Indian team, which won many matches including the world cup Polo in 1957. He tried to build a modern and developed state and worked for its all round development.

 

 Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II(1880-1922 A.D.)

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II ascended the throne at the age of 19. At this young age he showed remarkable ability and foresight as an administrator. Under him the progressive polices of his predecessor Maharaja Ram Singh II were carried further. Planned economic development and efficient administration nearly doubled the income of the State. Early on in his rule he started collecting articles of fine art and industrial art which formed the nucleus of the Economic and Industrial Museum. His reign witnessed the establishment of a number of industrial units, rapid extension of Railway lines connecting Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur and other towns. In 1899, severe famine spread havoc throughout India and devastated a large portion of the country. The Maharaja donated 25 lacs of rupees towards founding a permanent All India Famine Relief Fund. Irrigation projects started by his predecessors were completed besides those that were of his own initiative, so that the state had 224 irrigation dams with distribution canals. He liberally funded schools and colleges, opened the Zenana hospital, one of the best equipped at the time, provided the Mayo Hospital at Jaipur with modern machines such as X-Ray, and opened free dispensaries in all the major towns of the state. Many Newspapers were started in Hindi, English and Urdu. Medicine, Education, PWD, Forest, Administrative reports etc. were also brought out annually. Many important books were published during his reign and under his patronage. Pt. Madhusudhan Ojha, a distinguished scholar of Sanskrit, was appointed and was asked to classify thousands of Manuscripts preserved in the Pothikhana of the City Palace. “The rulers of India and Chiefs of Rajputana”, “The Architectural Portfolio of Jaipur”, “Asian Carpets”, “Jaipur Museum Hand Book” and “Jaipur Enamels” are a few examples published during his reign. His contribution to the defence of the Empire was not only in the formation of the Jaipur Imperial Service Transportation Corps, but also in the form of liberal donation during the First World War. Maharaja Madho Singh’s benefactions ‘transcended the bounds of his own country or creed’. He contributed to the building of Churches both Catholic and Protestant and Mosques. In 1902, he went to England to participate in the coronation of King Edward VII. He took with him water from the Ganges in large silver urns which are the proud possessions of the City Palace Museum. In the coronation procession, the idols of Radha and Gopalji were carried in his retinue, showing that he could be both progressive and enlightened without disowning ancient traditions and customs. Like his forefathers, this Maharaja was a patron of poets, scholars and artists. He acquired and added to the Pothikhana the valuable Pundarika Collection.


His deep religious devotion and piety made him an ideal Hindu ruler, while his toleration for all sections of his subjects, geniality and liberal heartedness won him the love and admiration of all classes of his subjects.

Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II(1835-1880 A.D.)

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ascended the throne in 1835. A minor at the time, the administration of the State was conducted by the Minority Council. In adulthood he was noted for his intelligence, his arduous application to State affairs and great grasp of details of administration. The modernization of Jaipur was first brought about by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. After Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, he is considered as the most enlightened of the Jaipur rulers.


He was called upon to guide the destiny of this State at a very crucial moment in history, when the country stood at the parting of ways. The great Mughal Empire, after running nearly three centuries, was tottering, while the British statesmen and politicians were engaged in the Herculean task of building a new India on the ruins of the old. The East India Company emerged stronger and more stable and had extended its influence throughout the country.  A shrewd observer of these new changes and developments, the Maharaja realized the importance of keeping abreast with the new tendencies and spirit within which this country had begun to pulsate. He therefore took steps to introduce new measures of reform, improvements and developments. Embellishing Jaipur with amenities of modern life, he made it not only one of the most picturesque capitals of India but also a progressive and modern State. From the 1860s, after establishing peace and tranquillity in the State, Maharaja Ram Singh turned his attention towards the improvement of administration and welfare of his people in which he was equally successful. He used to look into the details of every department of State and kept himself fully informed on what was going on in the different sections of the administration. His habit of roaming the streets incognito to check on state-officials and the wellbeing of the subjects was very effective. 


On works of public utility, he built the Jaipur Water Works (1875), Gas Works (1878), the Mayo Hospital, the Ramniwas Gardens with the Museum, School of Arts, Public Library, Ramprakash Theatre, Maharaja’s College (1844), Sanskrit School (1865), the Noble’s School (1862), the Girls School (1867). The Public Works Department was established in 1860. Roads and highways between Jaipur, Ajmer and Agra were constructed during his reign. Besides these, dams for irrigation purposes, public buildings, and offices were also built.


He was also a social reformist and it was in his reign that slavery, child infanticide, and the cruel custom of sati were officially abolished in the State of Jaipur. In the Literary field, Maharaja Ram Singh’s major contribution was a lithographic press that added many valuable books to the Pothikhana.


Besides being an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, the Maharaja also pursued modern activities such as ballroom dancing, billiards, polo and badminton. He was the first Photographer Prince of India and the only one to start a formal course in Photography in an institution other than a photography studio. His personal studio or ‘photukhana’ was filled with the latest and best equipment of the time. A member of the Bengal Photographic Society, he hired an English photographer, based in Naini Tal, and together they recorded building activities in Jaipur, the people, their costumes and culture.


Maharaja Ram Singh was the most enlightened and progressive ruler of his time. The British Government recognized his outstanding merits by nominating him twice a member of the newly formed Viceroy’s Legislative Council, and by adding four guns to his salute. The title of G.C.S.I. was also conferred upon him.

Maharaja Sawai Jagat Singh(1803-1818 A.D.)

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Jagat Singh ascended to the throne of Jaipur on 3rd August, 1803 at the age of 17. The early years of his reign were comparatively free from Maratha and Mughal inroads but a dispute with Marwar (Jodhpur) on a point of honour brought the two states, which had worked closely during Maharaja Pratap Singh’s time, into confrontation, which however ended in peace and a matrimonial alliance. An important event at the commencement of his reign was the signing of an alliance on 12, December 1803 with the British. This treaty was likely to free Jaipur from Maratha depredations, but after Lord Wellesley’s departure, it was annulled by the Governor General, George Barlow who was an advocate of the policy of non-interference. As a result of this, territories of the state were invaded by the Marathas and by Amir Khan Pindari till the signing of the historic treaty of 1818, signalling ‘defensive alliance, perpetual friendship, protection and subordinate cooperation’  with the British. Barely nine months later, Sawai Jagat Singh died at the young age of 32.  Like his father, Sawai Jagat Singh was also was a patron of the arts and crafts. He was very interested in sports as well as in literature. All the Karkhanas that have long thrived in Jaipur and came down to him as heritage were bursting with activities. Many painters prospered in the Suratkhana, a number of paintings depicting Durbar scenes and Zenana Majlis were painted. Painter Sahib Ram painted a life-size portrait of him.

 

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I(1751-1768 A.D.)

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I was the younger son of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and came to the throne after the sudden death of his elder brother. He freed the Kachchwaha Kingdom from the Marathas, won several important battles and chastised the menacing Jat king Jawahir Singh. He rewarded Holkar for his help in gaining the Jaipur throne by giving him the parganas of Rampura and Bhanpura. Because of his outstanding services the much misunderstood Madho Singh I was awarded the fort of Ranthambhore by the Mughal Emperor. His contributions to the field of art, architecture, town-planning, literature and religion were remarkable. He founded the well planned city of Sawai Madhopur, built several palaces including Madho Niwas in the Chandra Mahal complex of the City Palace, Madho Vilas the leisure palace in the centre of Jai Mahal, the Sisodia Rani ka Bagh (Queen’s gardens) as well as several beautiful temples. The painting atelier (surat khana) was rejuvenated and a variety of court scenes and several portraits were painted there. He patronized sportsmen of his State and even sent them to other places in the country to take part in competitions. Likewise, he sent artists from his State to other places to exhibit their skills. He was found of watching elephant fights, bullfights and other similar sports. He had Shaikh Sadi’s Gulistan translated into Sanskrit. A few Sanskrit works were also attributed to him. Many dramas and poetic works were written under his patronage such as Veli Rukmani, Madhav Natakam, Madahava Vijaikavyama, Rajaritinirupana, and Sataka.

 

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Ishwari Singh(1743-1750 A. D.)

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Ishwari Singh of Jaipur was the elder son of the illustrious Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. However his bright career was cut short due to politics and events of the times. It is not very explicit under what circumstances his father Sawai Jai Singh told the Maharana of Udaipur at the time of his betrothal to the Mewar Princess in 1708 A.D., that her son would succeed to the Kachhwaha throne. It proved fatal for his elder son Ishwari Singh and also for the state of Jaipur. Mewar and Maratha forces took the side of Madho Singh in the war of succession which made Jaipur very weak as vast sums of money had to be paid to Marathas on different pretexts. Even during all this turbulence Sawai Ishwari Singh patronized many literary and artistic works, supervised the building of his father’s elegant marble cenotaph which is amongst the most famous of the chhatris of the Maharajas at Gaitor.  He also built the Moti Burj on the north-west ramparts of the City Palace from where successive Maharajas have watched festivals, lion and elephant fights as well as wrestling matches which took place in the chaugan below. The most striking contribution of his to Jaipur is the Isar Lat, a victory tower on Tripolia Bazar. He was a talented figure and an artist himself, well versed in performing arts and the art of making designs and figures in paper cutting, which was his favourite art and hobby. Like his forefathers, he was a patron of art, crafts, dhruvapada (classical music) and Jaipur Gharana Kathak Dance which owes its development and popularity to him. Sports and other activities also thrived and prospered during his reign.

 

 

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II(1700-1743 A. D.)

 

 

 Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh ascended to the throne of Amber on 25th January, 1700 at the young age of 12, after the death of his father Maharaja Bishan Singh of Amber. In the same year, at the behest of Emperor Aurangzeb, he went to war at Khelna, Panhala and other places in the Deccan. Impressed by the young ruler’s valour the Emperor conferred the title of “Sawai”, meaning he who is a one and a quarter above others in intellect, upon him.  In 1708, following a dispute, the new emperor Bahadur Shah resumed Amber into the Mughal territory and re-named it as Mominabad. Jai Singh with the help of Mewar and Ajit Singh, who too was fighting to regain his patrimony (Jodhpur), drove out the Mughals from Amber and recovered the state by 1710. From this time onwards the Maharaja’s rise to power was uninterrupted, thrice he served as Governor of the strategically important province of Malwa and once of Agra. In 1727 he laid the foundations of a large city, Sawai Jaipur which became the new capital of the state. The Chandra Mahal and entire township of Jaipur were built under his patronage, besides a number of forts on strategic points for the protection of his state. His military assistance was sought many times by the Mughal Emperors against their opponents. Besides being a great builder, he was also a great scholar of Sanskrit as well as Persian and had a deep interest in the field of Astronomy; to fulfil this, he built five ‘Observatories’ at various places namely Varanasi, Mathura, Ujjain, Delhi and Jaipur using masonry instruments of his own design which were as accurate as the brass instruments used by Newton, Flamsteed and other European astronomers at the time. Acknowledged as the spokesmen for Hindu interest; in the Rajput states nothing happened without his knowledge or succeeded without his goodwill. Asvamedh Yajana, a Vedic sacrifice was performed twice during his reign, which had not been done for a thousand years by any ruler. He also persuaded the Mughal emperor to abolish the hated Jazia, and received the title of Maharajadhiraj Raj Rajendra and a rare distinction of ‘Mahi Maratib’. He patronized artists, painters, men of literature and also astrologers and astronomers; with their help he could collect a vast treasure of knowledge, which was to become the proud possession of the City Palace Museum. The Chhattis Karkhana or 36 Workshops for different forms of arts and craft were his initiative.  In later years it came to be an iconic symbol of royal patronage in the Jaipur State. He commanded a huge army consisting of equal number in Infantry and the Cavalry and with its help could annex Shekhawati, Malrna, Amarsar, Bhangarh and Manoharpur respectively into his patrimony. With pious and chivalrous deeds he added lustre and grandeur to the state of Jaipur. This astronomer prince whose contribution was immense would be hailed as a visionary and a progressive ruler for centuries to come.

 

 

 

Mirza Raja Jai Singh (1621-67 AD.)

 

 

Jai Singh I was born on 15th July 1611 AD and at the age of ten ascended the throne of Amber in 1621 AD. His career was of undimmed brilliance and unrivalled eminence. He fought and won many battles for three Mughal emperors- Jehangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb respectively. In his early career he subdued Bijapur, Golconda and also could prevail upon Shivaji to appear in the Mughal Court. He was also posted in Balkh, Kandahar and Kabul to subdue the Afghan Chiefs during the years 1638, 1641, 1647-49, 1653. During 1659-67 he was posted in the Deccan and Emperor Aurangzeb elevated his Mansab rank to 7000 Sawar in June 1665 AD for his successes against Shivaji, against whom so many generals of the Mughal Empire proved utter failures. In the words of Sir J.N. Sarkar a famous historian- "Mirza Raja Jai Singh attained success surpassing even his victories in the field. Wherever there was difficult or delicate work, the emperor always had only to turn to Jai Singh-I" who was a suave speaker and adept in the ceremonious courtesy of the Mughal court. He was an ideal leader of all the contingents of the Mughal army comprising Afghans, Mughals and the Rajputs.

 

 

 

 

Maharaja Man Singh I (1589-1614)

 

 

The prince of Amber, Man Singh was the son of Maharaja Bhagwan Das. From a very young age Man Singh took an active part in various battles along with his father and grandfather (Maharaja Bharmal). During the reign of Akbar, Man Singh achieved great success in Bengal, Orissa and Assam and established Mughal suzerainty in the Northeast. On behalf of the Mughals, Man Singh also fought successfully with the tribal chiefs of Afghanistan. He was posted as commander in chief of the Mughal army in the North-western frontier, Punjab, Kashmir, Afghanistan and also in North-eastern sector including Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Assam to crush the rebellious chiefs. Under his able command the Kachhwahas watered the North-western as well as north-eastern part of India with their blood while assisting Akbar in his vast empire building.

       

 

Raja Bhagwan Das (1574-1589 AD.)

 

 

Son of Raja Bharmal Kachchwaha of Amber, Bhagwant Das or Bhagwan Das was a great general of his times and as an trusted ally of Emperor Akbar. He fought many battles in Gujarat, Punjab and northern frontier. At the behest of Akbar he crossed the river Attock on July 12, 1581 AD; fought and won territory inside Afghanistan. He was also appointed as Governor of Punjab. He maintained his freedom of speech while giving advice to the Emperor on important political matters and could dare refuse to embrace Akbar's new found faith "Din-i-illahi". Abul Fazl rightly remarked about Raja Bhagwan Das that he was endowed with uprightness, weight of counsel and courage.