Maharaja of Patiala

July 1, 2011 Sushant Patiala

The ancestor of the Patiala Royal House was Mohan Singh, a smalltime chieftain who was constantly harassed by the neighbouring Bhullars and Dhaliwals (tappedars of the terrirtory). He was a follower of Guru Hargobind who silenced the Bhullars and allowed Mohan to establish the Village of Meharaj in 1627.He fought battles alongside the Guru’s forces against the Moghuls and the Bhatti Rajputs. With the blessings of Sikh Guru Gobind Singh the first Sikh kingdom was formed and by 1714 descendant Ala Singh assumed leadership.

Historians have tried to trace the origin of the name “Patiala” to Rig Vedic literature but in fact the town was founded by Ala Singh who, from a petty zamindari of 30 villages, carved out an independent principality. He is credited with the construction of Qila Mubarak in the year 1763.After the Third Battle of Panipat in 1761, the Marathas were defeated by the Afghans and their writ prevailed through Punjab. The victorious Ahmad Shah Abdali bestowed the title of Maharaja of Patiala on Ala Singh who was succeeded by grandson Amar Singh and he took up the title of Raja-i-Rajaan.

Maharaja of Patiala The extent of Patiala State, touched the Shivaliks in north, Rajasthan in the south and upper courses of the Yamuna and Sutlej rivers. Around the year 1808, the Raja of Patiala became apprehensive of the rising power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the north, who successfully fought the Moghuls, Marathas and the Afghans. Meanwhile, towards the east it was the expanding power of the British. Instinctively, the Raja of Patiala to preserve the glory of his State thought it better to sign a Treaty of amity with the British against Ranjit Singh. He thus became a collaborator in the building up of the British Empire. In return, all subsequent Maharajas of Patiala- Karam Singh to Yadvindra Singh- were treated with great deference by the British. Later, as India gained Independence from the British, the lead was taken by Maharaja Yadvindra Singh to sign the Instrument of Accession. In recognition of his services, the Govt.of India appointed him as “Rajpramukh” of the newly formed State of PEPSU-Patiala &East Punjab States Union.

The Patiala royalty were great patrons of architecture, education, painting, music & culture. With the disintegration of the Moghul empire, artists found rehabilitation here.

Between the years 1900-1938 ie under Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, the royals acquired elitist &intellectual taste. He came to be known for his appetite for everything – wine, women, jewels, sports etc. So were his travels. He was a personal friend of the Kings of England, Spain, Sweden, Norway and many others. As an important member of the Chamber of Princes, he carried a great deal of influence in India as well.

In the field of education, Maharaja Mahendra Singh who was a great patron of modern education, established the first degree college in 1870 for the people of Patiala. Even the present Maharaja of Patiala, Amrinder Singh is a votary of modernization and has always been a man in a hurry. He is joined by his wife in the politics of the State of Punjab and are both great nationalists.

Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Maharaja of Patiala,


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