Monday, 12 October 2009

A Date With The Maharajahs

Would you like to go a date with the royalty of India?

Well. if you are in London between Oct. '09 to Jan ' 10 you can.
I read this in my newspaper sometime back and thought I 'd share with with you and specially my friends in the UK.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s autumn exhibition (10 October 2009 – 17 January 2010 in London),
Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, will be the first to comprehensively explore the world of the maharajas and their extraordinarily rich culture. It will bring together over 250 magnificent objects, many on loan to the UK for the first time from India’s royal collections. The exhibition will include three thrones, a silver gilt howdah, gem-encrusted weapons, court paintings, photographs, a Rolls Royce, Indian turban jewels and jewellery commissioned from Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels in the 20th century.
The exhibition will cover the period from the 18th century when the great era of the maharajas began to the end of British rule in 1947. It will show the changing role of the maharajas in an historical and social context and look at how their patronage of the arts both in India and Europe resulted in splendid and beautiful commissions designed to enhance royal status and identity.Many of the objects have never before been seen in the UK.

The royal collections of Udaipur and Jodhpur are lending several spectacular paintings and objects. The V&A is reuniting four portraits from the 1930s by Bernard Boutet de Monvel depicting the elegant Maharaja and Maharani of Indore. One pair depicts them in Maratha dress and the other in modern Western dress. They will be shown together on public display for the first time.Another object on show in the UK for the first time is the Patiala Necklace, part of the largest single commission that Cartier has ever executed. Completed in 1928 and restored in 2002, this piece of ceremonial jewellery originally contained 2,930 diamonds and weighed almost a thousand carats.The exhibition will begin with a recreation of an Indian royal procession with a life-sized model elephant adorned with animal jewellery, textiles and trappings and surmounted with a silver howdah.The initial displays will explore ideas of kingship in India and the role of the maharaja as religious leader, military and political ruler and artistic patron. Symbols of kingship will include a gaddi (throne) from Udaipur, elaborate turban jewels, ceremonial swords and a gold ankus (elephant goad) set with diamonds.A palanquin from Jodhpur used to carry the Maharaja’s wife will provide a rare glimpse into the lives of ladies at the royal court. The interior of the palanquin contains original framed prints and cushions.The next section of the exhibition will focus on the shifts of power and taste in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The disintegration of the Mughal Empire led to a period of political change in which rival Indian kings laid claim to territory. On display will be the golden throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who united the warring factions of the Punjab into a powerful Sikh state, as well as weapons and armour owned by Tipu Sultan of Mysore and the Maratha ruler Yeshwant Rao Holkar of Indore.This period also witnessed the rapid expansion of the territorial interests of the English East India Company. This led to a new hybrid Anglo-Indian style which will be seen in objects such as a Spode dinner service and an Egyptian-revival style chair designed for the Nawab of Awadh.The exhibition will then look at the grand imperial durbars of the Raj through large-scale paintings and rare archive film footage. This section will include a carpet made of pearls, rubies, emeralds and diamonds made for the Maharaja of Baroda and exhibited at the durbar of 1903.The final section will explore the role of the ‘modern’ maharajas during the Raj and the increasing European influence on their lives. The exhibition will show how they were portrayed in both Indian and European style through portraits of the maharajas and their wives by photographers and artists including Man Ray, Cecil Beaton and Raja Ravi Varma.The maharajas’ patronage of European firms resulted in luxurious commissions. On display will be saris designed by leading French couture houses, a costume by Madeleine Vionnet, a diamond and emerald necklace designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, a Rolls Royce and a Louis Vuitton travelling case.The maharajas were also patrons of the emerging European avant-garde. The exhibition will include modernist furniture commissioned by the Maharaja of Indore for his palace in the 1930s and architectural designs for the Umaid Bhawan palace, an Art Deco style residence commissioned by the Maharaja of Jodhpur.Mark Jones, Director of the V&A, said: “There has never been an exhibition like this before, showing the spectacular treasures of the courts of the maharajas. Many of the objects are leaving India for the first time to come to the V&A. This exhibition will show that India’s rulers were significant patrons of the arts, in India and the West, and will tell the fascinating story of the changing role of the maharaja from the early 18th century to the final days of the Raj.”Tickets: Ł11 (concessions available). For advance telephone and online bookings (booking fee applies) call 0870 906 3883 or visit

There was another king of yore whose wisdom, riches and power

were incomparable.

He was king Solomon, who ruled Israel thousands of years ago and his story is found

in the Old Testament part of the Bible.

Solomon asked God for the gift of wisdom and understanding

and he was granted his request

together with untold riches.

He is known for his sound judgement and intelligence.

The kings of the earth bowed before him.

But what did he think of his elite luxurious life.

Here are excerpts from the book he wrote.

Ecclesiastes 2
Pleasures Are Meaningless

1 I thought in my heart, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good." But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 "Laughter," I said, "is foolish. And what does pleasure accomplish?" 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was worthwhile for men to do under heaven during the few days of their lives.
4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired men and women singers, and a harem [a] as well—the delights of the heart of man. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.
10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.
Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless

12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom, and also madness and folly. What more can the king's successor do than what has already been done?
13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly, just as light is better than darkness.
14 The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness; but I came to realize that the same fate overtakes them both.
15 Then I thought in my heart, "The fate of the fool will overtake me also. What then do I gain by being wise?" I said in my heart, "This too is meaningless."
16 For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten. Like the fool, the wise man too must die!
Toil Is Meaningless

17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then he must leave all he owns to someone who has not worked for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun? 23 All his days his work is pain and grief; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is meaningless.

24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

After experiencing the most elite and luxurious one can every imagine,

what conclusion did King Solomon come to ?

Towards the end of his book he writes -

Chapter 12;1

"Remember your creator in the days of your youth'''

13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
Those are the words of the most richest and wisest man on earth.

What can we learn from his advice?

Let us lay our treasures in heaven ,as our Guru Jesus taught us,

because in heaven our keep safe will not be touched by moth,rust, decay or thieves.

Our treasures of faith, trust and worship for God.

What are your treasure and

where are they?

17 Fertilize my soul:

Charlotte said...

Recently our pastor Andy Stanley (Son of Charles) presented a sermon series from the book of proverbs about DIRECTION. His point was whenever you find yourself going down a path (road) that is litter with wonderful promises of rewards and riches and yes even good intentions and yet all we seem to find is trouble, stumbling blocks and empty promises; then maybe you had better changed directions.

For example if you want to get out debt and yet you keep spending money you don't have, you on the wrong path. Or let's say you want to lose weight but yet you keep buying junk food and eating cookies your will never lose weight! Or maybe you would like to spend more time with your family and yet you take a job that has you working extra hours. That too is the wrong path.

So often our good intentions even those that are well meaning are not necessarily what we think we need or headed in the direction down a road that we were meant to travel. Use caution and look at your life like a road map. Are your results matching up with the directions that you think you are headed? And is this really what God intented for your life?

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

One word...Magnificent...The beauty of India and its people.
XXOO Marie Antionette

David C Brown said...

Perhaps my employer will pay my fare to London and I can give it a visit! But I'll do a little count up and say - how many of my Indian friends don't earn £11 in a week? And it is all vanity - but it could give a bit more understanding of the Indian mind.

"Consider the lilies how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I say unto you, Not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed as one of these."

Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Wow this is a wonderful treatise on the history of the maharajah culture and influence in India especially during the reign of the British Empire. It will surely be a grand show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. People will surely enjoy the exhibits which will last from October 10 to January 17, 2010. Thanks for the educational post. god bless you always.

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

The treasures of India's maharaja period are stunning, but the true jewels of your lovely country are her people.

But I would like to see those treasures! That would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

My son sometimes puts our tiny cat, Hadji, upon his shoulders and walks around the yard. He says he is the lead elephant in a maharaja's household and Hadji is his mahout.

John Cowart said...

You've done a beautiful job of blending the splendor or India's opulent Maharajas with Solomon's wisdom.

Terrific transition.

Simply Shelley said...

Hello Amrita,all the riches in this life are not to compare with what God has laid up in store for his children in his glorious Kingdom...Solomon and all his glory and wisdom knew this to be a absolute truth....There is truly much beauty in this life for our eyes to behold but,oh what treasures God our Father has that our eyes are yet to behold....God bless you dear sister in Christ....

ChrisB said...

It would be wonderful to see that exhibition but I don't think I'll be making it to London.

David Edward said...

good post.
my treasures are my children
my relationships and my contribution to my community.
I also am storing up a tiny treasure in your fellowship, dear sister, greet the saints in Allahlabad for me.

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
I love the V&A exhibitions. They are always thorough, regardless of the theme.
I certainly will tell Serina. She and to friends are going to London in December.
By the way, do you know there's a young girl with exactly the same name as your (Christian and Sir name) living in London.
She appeared on TV in a series about young, posh people from London going to India and take part in clothes production there.
From Felisol

Paresh Palicha said...

Didi, I'd have been interested if it was a date with a Princess. :-)

Amrita said...

Oh I thought I had responded to all yoiur comments but it s not in the comment box.

Dear friends thank you so much for your respones.

I wish we could all see this impressive exhibition. Specially Davil Brown and Chris.Oh how I wiash entry was free or cheaper for you.

Felisol, I hope Serina and her friends cab visit. She is very interested in history abnd world cultures like you are.

Dear brother Paresh, you are absolutely right. I too am waiting for a date with a prince. LOL.But my heavenly Prince of Peace is sufficing.

Dear David Schmidt, praying that you Dove trainbing may give you several oppurtunity to reach out to the hurting and abused people in your community.We are called take a stand against injusc
tice, and saving lives is like saving up treasure in heaven.

Your reflections on eternal treasure are so true friends.THey have added all the missing parts to my post.

Amrita said...

Hi Penni, tell you son to come to India and he can get lots of real elephant rides. I like the name of your cat - sounds Arabic.

madison said...

I would love to go to London to see that!!

Amrita said...

Hi Madison, me too.
Felisol my dear Amrita Singh is an actress too, my namesake - so I think she must be doing this.

Julia Dutta said...

Dear Amrita,
And once again the Brits will have a Royal Treat!!

What is important in the display is that it gives an indications of a way of life - much spent in accumulation and hoarding,royal display et al. But the Bible points to facts that are most important. And the ancient Vedanta in Indian philosophy would say the same - all external displays, including inner illusions are but all false and meaningless. But man always lives in the opposite extreme - there Brits will see it soon.

It is an excellent post and painstakingly constructed. Thank you for guiding me to it. I will most certainly email the post to my friends in England too :)))

David C Brown said...

Hi! I visited Maharaja last week - I've started a new blog called "India"(!) and left a few glimpses of the exhibition there. Its at: