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Residence of a Maharajah: The city palace of Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan

Maharajah ([ mʌɦɑːˈrɑːʤʌ ]; Sanskrit महाराज mahārāja "great ruler / prince / king"; cf. Raja ) is a Hindu Indian title of ruler ; the feminine form is Maharani .


During the decline of the Mughal Empire and the time of British rule in India , there were so-called princely states (princely states) . Even during British rule, these areas enjoyed considerable autonomy under their local princes. When India became independent in 1947, there were 565 princely states, totaling 48% of the area of ​​India and 28% of the population. Hindu princes were called maharajas, rajas or raos, Muslims mostly as nawab .

The Maharajas and the other princes lost their independence with the independence of India in 1947. The constitution of the Republic of India of January 26, 1950 provided that former princely states or associations of princely states should be governed by Rajpramukhs (Maharajas or other princes recognized by the president). These states were Hyderabad , Saurashtra , Mysore , Travancore , Madhya Bharat , Vindhya Pradesh , Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU). Today's state of Rajasthan emerged from the 23 princely states of Rajputana, the "land of the Rajputs " .

On November 1, 1956, however, all principalities were abolished and India was reorganized along the linguistic borders as part of an administrative reorganization. In 1971 the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi abolished all titles of nobility and thus deprived the former rulers of their last privileges. Maharajah is therefore now only a courtesy title for the heads of families of former ruling families. But these mostly still own their lands and palaces; they usually still marry one another.


Individual evidence

  1. The last Maharajah of Jaipur died. In: Der Spiegel . April 18, 2011.


  • Jagdish C. Dua: Illustrated Encyclopaedia & Who's Who of Princely States in Indian Sub-Continent. New Delhi, 2000, ISBN 81-7479-036-5 (English).

Web links

Wiktionary: Maharajah  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations