Monday, 25 May 2015

Rolls-Royce and fabulously rich Indian Maharajahs!!

This is an ex-maharajah Rolls 20/25 having residence in Switzerland.www.prewarcar.com
Bonhams Rolls Royce. Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, Mysore's maharajah from 1902 - 1940 and (then) one of the wealthiest men in the world, owned this iconic Silver .royce165.rssing.com
Indian Maharajahs  were  fabulously so  rich that it may stagger your mind, not withstanding the fact that  the  British had already  laid their hands deep in to the Maharajahs' treasure troves.

Before 1947,  roughly  900 Rolls-Royce cars were sold to the Indian  princes for  ready cash in one payment. In addition to RRs, they also had numerous  cars in tens and hundreds. Most of  the  Indian rulers maintained a vast building - garage for their cars and lots of employees for daily routing work - cleaning, changing of tyres, car-washing, etc.

The royal tour Maharaja Gaj Singh.luxpresso.com
Some  Maharajas  bought Rolls-Royce  cars  in batches. Mysore Maharajah, used to be second richest man in the world, bought RR in batches of seven or fourteen for liquid cash. The fabulously rich ruler was so well known“Doing a Mysore” became a popular expression in the  famous car company.  So was  Bharatpur Maharajah in batches of three.

After the First World War, when  cars  became popular in the USA, Indian rulers  made a beeline  to  America and bought  catchy Cadillac, Buick, Lincoln, etc to maintain their social status and to entertain British Bobs.   

Among  the  rulers, some were eccentric, The Arcot Nawob  of S. India, though he had RRs,  preferred noisy cars to draw the attention of the people while he was  making a royal visit. He considered RR unfit  for his ego trips because the engine did not make any noise to get people's attention. Like wise the Nizam of Hyderabad  liked just ordinary cars for his personal use in the city. He was a  known miser but  had  a vast garage full of cars, mostly expensive ones.

Maharaja Pratap Singh Gaekward of Baroda was the  proud owner of  first RR that came off  the factory soon after world war..


Popularity of RR had just begun when  the Maharajah of Gwalior in 1908 made a trans-India non-stop  trip and attracted the attention of the media. For the RR company in England, it was a blessing in disguise because  it was a free publicity bonanza that helped their sale  move upward.They did have to spend extra money for their sales pitch. It  all proved to the world  the sustained quality of RR, its engine and the adaptability to different terrains in the subcontinent.

It is just amazing that the Nizam of Hyderabad had a fleet of 50 RR. Silver Ghost was the first to arrive  in the garage of  Nizam in 1913. He also spent huge money for extra work,  better upholstery, curtains wheel hubs, interior decoration, seats, etc.

The motor company always had a few mechanics on duty to attend to the needs  of Indian rulers, When Bharatpur Maharajah's RR  remained idle because of mechanical  fault, the late dispatch of mechanics from the car company angered him. He made threats to convert the RR into garage car.


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Extravagantly Armed Rolls-Royce Hunting Cars. oldphotosbombay.blogspot.com
Tiger hunting was a major sports event for many Maharajahs in the colonial period. The guests included  many British dignitaries. So, the Indian rulers  had their RR fitted with extra parts - foot boards for servants (when chasing animals), high power lights with special light screen to blind  the animal  so that it will be an easy target.    
Cars for Tiger hunting. www.guruprasad.net
The Maharajah  of  Patiala, was yet another car  freak.  Once he had 27 RR besides other cars in hundreds. Unlike other rulers, he had to have  extra security  guards  while his RRs  went for tune-up or overhauling  because they were decorated with (hold your breath!!) precious stones and diamonds.

That we are living  in a transient world is quite true. every thing is changing, nothing is permanent. Too much obsession is bad. To day's luxury may not be there to-morrow to enjoy it. This is quite true of many Indian rulers who wallowed in money and luxury.  Indian rulers' vast wealth has declined  with the passage of time and India's freedom saw further decline of Indian rulers' fortune. They had no money either to maintain  or to  buy spares for RRs.  In the garages of many rulers, expensive cars  were rusting away; Bentleys, Jaguars and a fleet of other expensive cars remained unused and unattended. for.  After independence  and abolition of annual dole to them by the Indian governments  decades  ago, the former rulers  have adopted their life-style to the new situation.

Now the Indian rulers  converted their rich palaces into  five star hotels. Many have become directors of companies.

Lesson'"Do not ever indulge in excesses. Moderation in every thing  and  self-contentment will make your life enjoyable, meaningful and worth-living"
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Ref: 

http://guruprasad.net/posts/rolls-royce-the-indian-maharajas-motor-car/

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2001/20011201/windows/main3.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Motor_Cars

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