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The Royal Houses Of Punjab

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Gurfateh !

The Royal Houses of Punjab with their rich history and Lavish lifestyles have have always fascinated me.The Five Sikh Houses of Patiala, Jind, Nabha, Kapurthala and Faridkot along with the Muslim state of Malerkotla all carry the Blessings of the Guru Sahiban.

The Phulkian states of Patiala, Jind, and Nabha all descend from Phul of the Brar Bans, born AD 1627 .After the Battle of Gurusar (AD1631), Phul came to Guru Hargobind Sahib with his brother Sandaali and his 'chacha' , Uncle, Kala. In the diwan of Guru Sahib, Phul began to beat his belly to indicate he was hungry. Guru Hargobind Sahib gave Phul the blessing that Guru Nanak would bless Phul with the capacity to feed thousands and he would one day have a kingdom. Guru Har Rai Sahib also blessed Phul on his travels in Malva (AD 1646)

The sons of Phul - Tilokh Singh and Ram Singh were blessed with Khande di Amrit from Guru Gobind Singh at Damdama Sahib - They were blessed with the 'Apaar kirpa' of Guru Gobind Singh - evidence of this can be seen in the Patiala Hukumnama sent by Guru Sahib in 1696

Text of the Hukumnama ;

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੂ ਜੀ । ਸ੍ਰੀ ਗੁਰੂ ਜੀਉ ਕੀ ਆਗਿਆ ਹੈ ਭਾਈ ਤੇਲੋਕਾ ਭਾਈ ਰਾਮਾ ਸਰਬਤ ਸੰਗਤ ਗੁਰੂ ਰਖੈਗਾ ਤੁਧ ਜਮੀਅਤ ਲੈਕੇ ਅਸਾਡੇ ਹਜੂਰ ਆਵਣਾ ਮੇਰੀ ਤੇਰੇ ਉਪਰਿ ਬਹੁਤ ਖੁਸੀ ਹੈ ਤੇਰਾ ਘਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਹੈ ਤੁਥੁ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਦੇਖਦਿਆ ਹੀ ਛੇਤੀ ਅਸਾਡੇ ਹਜੂਰ ਆਵਣਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਘਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਅਸੈ¹ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਿਤਾਬੀ ਹੁਕਮ ਦੇਖਦਿਆ ਹੀ ਆਵਣਾ ਤੁਸਾਂ ਅਸਵਾਰ ਲੈਕੇ ਆਵਣਾ ਜਰੂਰ ਆਵਣਾ ਤੇਰੇ ਉਤੈ ਅਸਾਡੀ ਭਾਰੀ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨਗੀ ਅਸੈ ਤੈ ਆਵਣਾ ਇਕ ਜੋੜਾ ਭੇਜਾ ਹੈ ਰਖਾਵਣਾ ਭਾਦੋਂ ੨. ਸੰਮਤ ੫੩।” (੧੭੫੩)

Translation (from the 2003 Dix Noonan Webb sale catalogue for the Sale of the 'Nishan-i-Phul')

There is one God. The Guru is great. It is the order of the Guru. Bhai Rama and

Bhai Tilokha, the Guru will protect all. You are required to come with your contingent. I am much pleased with you. Your house is my refuge. On seeing this letter you should come in my presence. Your house is my refuge. You should come to me immediately. On seeing this letter you should arrive with horsemen. Do come. I have sent one robe of honour. Keep it with you.

Written order, hukamnama, from Guru Gobind Singh to the brothers Rama and Tilokha, dated 2 August 1696.

In the Hukumnama the brothers are asked to come to Anandpur with Soldiers, arms and horses ( as all Sikhs were ordered to ) to help Guru Sahib in his Battles with the Hill Rajas - Guru Sahib states that "Your house is my refuge" - 'Tera Ghar Mera Asey' - This has become the Patiala motto - seen on the 'order of Phul' and other medals and decorations. It is said that it is because of this blessing from Guru Sahib that the 11 Missals never attacked the Phulkian States despite some 'dubious' behaviour on their part.

Ram Singh went on to form the House of Patiala and Tilokh Singh the Houses of Nabha and Jind. These Houses are from the Brar Bans , Patiala being Sidhu-Brars, the house of Faridkot is also Brar - In the Zafar Nama Guru Gobind Singh states to Aurangzeb that

" ਹਮਹ ਕ਼ੌਮ ਬੈਰਾੜ ਹੁਕਮੇ ਮਰਾਸ੍ਤ " - 'The Brars are with me and are under my command' - evidence of the special blessing of Guru Gobind Singh.

The House of Kapurthala descends from Sardar Jassa Singh Ahluwalia born AD 1718 - the Sardar of the Ahluwalia Missal - leader of the Dal Khalsa. He was brought up by and received the "Ashirwaad" - Blessing, of Mata Sundari Ji (Wife of Guru Gobind Singh ji) in Delhi. On his return to Punjab he received a 'Gurj' - Mace , sword, a shield, a bow and a quiver full of arrows, a dress and a silver staff from Mata Ji - predicting that he would rise to eminence. Jassa Singh Alhuwalia succeeded Nawab Kapoor Singh - who had adopted him as a son and taught him Shastar vidia - Kapoor Singh gave him the sword of Guru Gobind Singh Ji - now kept in the Kapurthala treasury. Jassa Singh was well respected by all - it is he who blessed the Maharaja of Patiala - Amar Singh with Khande di Amrit.

Jassa Singh had no heir and was succeded by Bhag Singh his cousin.

The House of Faridkot was founded by Bhallan - who had helped Guru Hargobind Sahib at the battle of Mehraj. His descendent Kapura declined to help Guru Gobind Singh by not allowing the use of his fort at KotKapura - because he feared angering the Mughals - however he did help in a covert fashion at the battle of Muktsar in 1705.

The House of Malerkotla - is a Pathan Muslim state - The Nawab of Malerkotla,Sher Mohammed Khan, was present when the Cchote Sahibzadas were sentenced to death by his relative Wazir Khan in Sirhind - he lodged his protest saying it was against the tenets of Islam and walked out of the Durbar in protest. When Guru Gobind Singh Ji came to hear of this, he blessed the nawab with a hukumnama and a sword . It is because of this blessing that Malerkotla saw no sectarian violence during Partition in 1947 and still remains a predominately muslim area in East Punjab.

Here is a collection of Photographs - some of my favourite images - that document the Lavish Lifestyle of the Maharajas of Punjab. They are beautiful images captured by some of the worlds finest photographers.

I'll start with the Blessings of the Guru Sahiban

Phul at the Durbar of Guru Hargobind Sahib - beats his belly and receives a bountiful Blessing - which took the form of the Phulkian Kingdoms

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The Patiala Hukumnama

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The Nisan of Guru Gobind Singh Ji

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Details

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The 'Patiala Motto' the words of Guru Sahib - "Your house is my refuge" - 'Tera Ghar Mera Asey'

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The 'Nishan-i-Phul' or Order of Phul - with the 'Patiala motto'

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Here are the Royal Houses of Punjab

PATIALA

Ala Singh - Founder of Patiala

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Maharaja Mohindar Singh of Patiala (died 1876)

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Maharaja Rajindar Singh Patiala

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The visit of the Viceroy Lord Ripon in 1884 - Patiala ( Maharaja Rajindar Singh)

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The Maharaja Bhupindar Singh as a boy - note the dwarf - a lucky mascot - on the left

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as a boy

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Bhupindar Singh hunting with the Prince of Wales ( later to abdicate in the Wallace Simpson crisis)

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On horseback

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Bhupindar Singh on the roof of the Savoy Hotel, London

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Bhupinder Singh wearing the 'Nishan-i-Phul' and medals

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The Patiala Cricket team - the Patiala XI at Chail - the highest crickect ground in the world

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The Patiala Palace - Motibagh

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Bhupinder Singh in all his finery

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The Patiala Necklace made by Cartier - their biggest ever commission - a total of 962.25 carats - including the De Beers 'yellow' 234.65 carat diamond

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Bhupinder Singh and the ladies of his family - photo by Van Dyke

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one is wearing a Cartier Ruby necklace

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An informal sitting - Bhupinder Singh without his trademark Turban , a pair of glasses perched on his forehead- sitting with his daughters - photo by Van Dyke

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The Patiala Children - including Yadvinder Singh - Father of Amrinder Singh - the Current Maharaja

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Note the Torch / Flashlight - a new toy !

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The Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Patiala with the Maharaja of Kapurthala Jagatjit Singh

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Maharaja Yadvinder Singh

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wearing the Cartier necklace

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The wedding of Captain Amrinder Singh and Preneet Kaur

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Captain Amrinder Singh - the current Maharaja

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Amrinder Singh with Giani Zail Singh

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The Tikka Sahib - the heir of Patiala - Raninder Singh

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NABHA

Maharaja Hira Singh with his heir Ripudaman Singh

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KAPURTHALA

The Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala - as a pampered chubby child - he shows no signs of the cultured 'Francophile' he became in later life - note the stripey socks and ill fitting 'mojey' shoes.

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Jagatjit Singh playing tennis

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Jagatjit Singh in Europe 1893 - with his wife - said to have been smuggled out dressed as a man - as women were not allowed out of the palace or travel !

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The Kapurthala Palace modelled on Versailles

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Jagatjit Singh on a Tricycle - it is said that he was too large to mount or dis mount without help - when he drove around Kapurthala - the sweet shop vendors would tease him by saying come inside and have some sweets - knowing he couldn't get off the tricycle - even if he wanted to !

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The Kapurthala Princes

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the princes dressed in European clothes

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Kapurthala was known for it's taste and extravagance - and also it's glamour - here is a collection highlighting the Lavish and glamourous 1920s and 1930s

Amrit Kaur - daughter of Jagatjit Singh and Rani of Mandi

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Amrit Kaur and children

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Rani Sita Devi of Kapurthala - by Andre Durst 1934

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Sita Devi by Cecil Beaton 1937

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Sita Devi 1935

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by Cecil Beaton 1940

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1940s

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Maharani Brinda Devi of Kapurthala - oil by Laszlo

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The Current Maharaja - Brig. Sukhjit Singh

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Sukhjit Singh with Tikka , heir Shatrujit Singh

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JIND

The maharaja Ranbir Singh and his Romanian wife Olive

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The marriage of Yuvraj Rajbir Singh of Jind 1939 - with 'Chhattar' above his head to ward off the 'evil eye'

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FARIDKOT

The Maharaja Balbir Singh of Faridkot

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Maharaja Brijinder Singh of Faridkot

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MALERKOTLA

The current Nawab of Malerkotla standing infront of a portrait of Nawab Ahmad Ali Khan of Malerkotla

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****Pictures and References from :

The Sikhs Images of a Heritage - T S Randhawa - Prakash Books - 2000

The Maharaja - Sharada Dwivedi - Roli Books - 1999

The Unforgettable Maharajas - E Jaiwant Paul & Pramod Kapoor - 2003

Made for Maharajas - Amin Jaffer - New Holland - 2006

Indian Princely Medals - Tony McClenaghan - Lancer - 1996

Gurdwaras - Patwant Singh - Himalayan - 1992

The Illustrated History of the Sikhs (1947-1978) - Gur Rattan Pal Singh - 1979

Sikh Shrines in West Pakistan - Khan Mohammed Waliullah Khan - Govt of Pakistan - 1962

The Maharajas - John lord - Random House - 1971

Khalsa Panth - Khushwant Singh Raghu Rai - Tricolour - 1984

Gurshabad Rattanakar Mahan Kosh - Kahn Singh Nabha

Sale Catalogue - Dix Noonan Webb - 'Nishan-i- Phul' - July 2003

Hope you enjoyed the photographs !

Bhul Chuk Maaf

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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Thanks for pictures (some of them never seen before) :)

I think we only have Mahraja Ranjit who was the best of all in terms of sikhi.. even though he was married to few ladies, used to drink but he was in some way very un-selfish type person who was awesome social helper kinda king. As i see... Nobody can top him in anyway.. I read Passion India (must read) book and it reveals how lusty royal kings of Kapurthala and Patiala were.. one having over 100 wives and other having more than 300 wives (bhupinder).. and also read that how raja of patiala doesn't want industry to come to town because he had fear that he might get shortage of workers at his palace of 1000 rooms.. Things like that makes us wonder.. how good or bad they were.. somethings are just too much to digest, maybe these stuff were norm at that era.. Just my views on Royal kings of punjab.. sorry for taking this thread in a negative/off topic way...

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Very great posting, a real insight!!!

One of the few worthwhile posts on here!!!!!

I loved the chubby kid photo!!!!

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Interesting pictures, but I see a sense of sadnesses in the pictures. All though these kingdoms came from Guru Ji's bakshish, the pictures seem to tell a story of Sikhi diminishing within those royal households as the next generations came.

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So true, those families were blessed with Raaj by maharaj. What did they do with all their power? - invite the British into Punjab then help them in all their battles against the Sikhs.

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Very nice photo's. It is interesting thought that these so called Maharaj's have no place in todays society, for the most part nobody cares who they are and they have no real role/contribution in todays society. Capt Amrinder is only known because he is a political leader, and I do agree they have all gone very far from Sikhi. Mostly today they kids are eating the fruit of there forefathers..........

All that aside these royal families were smart in some sense, they always believed and paid respect to Pooran Mahapursh's.Bhupinder of patiala was a devout follower of Sant Nand Singh and so were his forefathers. It is written he died a terrible death and when his relatives went to Sant Nand Singh for help Baba ji said it was due to the alcohol, women and lifestyle he had. He had surpassed his puns and was running deficit.......but "Jo saran avaey tis kanth lavai"

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Great pictures. As my grandparents used to live in Patiala, therefore I love the pictures of Kings of Patiala especially His Highness Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, pictures of other kings are also equally good. Thanks for sharing.

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It is interesting thought that these so called Maharaj's have no place in todays society, for the most part nobody cares who they are and they have no real role/contribution in todays society.

This is mainly down to their roles in new india being reduced to merely decorative titles. They dont have the power they once had, and like most of us have had probably had to get jobs. But to deny their contribution to our community is foolish. After the 1946 Hazara and 1947 Rawalpindi anti-sikh riots, it was these Sikh Maharajas that provided support and refuge to the affected Sikhs. who were coming into their terrorities in their thousands and thousands.

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I would like to use pictures of Sita Devi of Kaputhala for editorial purpose. Please let me know where i can source this from. Pl reply to dias.sam@gmail.com

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Thanks for the wonderful historical photographs of the Royal Houses of Punjab. Having just seen the exhibition, "Maharaja-The Splendor of India's Royal Courts", at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, I would like to congratulate you for compiling the old photographs of the Royal Houses of Punjab. Such work is an inspiration to all those interested in the wonderful history of the Sikhs.

Best Wishes.....

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This is mainly down to their roles in new india being reduced to merely decorative titles. They dont have the power they once had, and like most of us have had probably had to get jobs. But to deny their contribution to our community is foolish. After the 1946 Hazara and 1947 Rawalpindi anti-sikh riots, it was these Sikh Maharajas that provided support and refuge to the affected Sikhs. who were coming into their terrorities in their thousands and thousands.

Where was their power for 1984? Who helped those people? Their power should have used to unite all the Sikhs world wide regardless of their cast and clan etc.as Maharaja Ranjit Singh ji did!

They could have used the power in a most political sophisticated and positive way to form a forward thinking (but true to their Sikhi values)society. Where we should had our own identity with being living at the mercy of other governments!

But that's only possible being non-"selfish" and being a DAS for your PARJA.........as our Maharaj Ranjit Singh did!!!

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