The Spectacular Heritage of Princely India

  1. Andrew Robinson
  2. Photographs by Sumio Uchiyama
  • ISBN 9780500288221
  • 29.00 x 24.00 cm
  • Paperback
  • 160pp
  • 100 Illustrations, 100 in colour
  • First published 2009

Now in paperback!

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.

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.
Andrew Robinson is the author of more than fifteen books, including biographies of Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore. Formerly the literary editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement, he is now a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge.