Thursday, March 9, 2017




She was an icon of Beauty and fashion. A princess from Royal House of Cooch Behar Bengal , she was followed  by the paparazzi .Born and educated in West , she was once named by the VOGUE magazine as one among the ten most prettiest faces in the world .

She lived with her parents in the busy  part of London, close to Harrods, the world's most famous department store, which could get anything in the world for its clientele She was raised in a luxurious palace that had 500 servants. In a Royal hunting expedition , and she shot her first panther when she was barely twelve. 

 And then she had her secret six-year courtship with the stylish and internationally  known polo player, Jai the Maharaja of Jaipur whom She finally married and moved to live with him in “ City Palace” .   Post marriage , She had also  to adjust with  two existing  wives  of her husband .  Her own strong personality, took her well ahead of the traditional activities of a Maharani.

                                              ( With her Husband and son Jagat ) )

Post marriage she was also  confronted with purdah and life as a woman in the zenana quarters.  But she lived mostly outside purdah and travelled extensively with her Husband .

She loved Polo , cars , Horse riding , Colorful Chiffon sarees , Pashmina Shawls, Expensive Jewelry , Imported sandals , Hunting expeditions and palace  parties   .

She loved to travel  spending  the summer months in her Knightsbridge Flat in UK and for winters , coming  back to Jaipur. Her husband had built a new house for her ( Lilypool ) after their first home or Rambagh Palace had been transformed into a Luxury Hotel.
At personal level , she faced many troubles . Her only son Jagat singh who had married a Thai Princess , died of Liquor and Drug abuse . His wife sought separation and went back to Thailand along with her two children . Yet Gayatri Devi maintained cordial Relations with her daughter in Law and Grand children. When she died, her Grandson was by her bedside.
                                              (with Jacqueline Kennedy)
                                  (With Queen at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor, 20050

During Emergency , She was imprisoned and lodged Inside Notorious Tihar Jail and made to share space with petty criminals . And she did never lodge a complaint for the political vendetta that was settled through this imprisonment . In Tihar jail, She fell sick and needed surgery but she was unrelenting  and had instructed  Co Bhawani Singh her stepson and Maharaja of jaipur not to make any case for her being given pardon . She would say ;
’Only My body shall be taken out .” Col Bhawani singh was also a fellow prisoner in Tihar During emergency .

And unknown to many , she was a devout Shiva worshiper never missing her daily Puja.

  Educating women was her passion. As a young bride , she started the legendary Maharani Gayatri Devi College. Apart from that ,  She supported several charities and trusts.

I quote from her Memoirs :

“1932 was the year I had a huge crush on Jai (Maharaja Man Singh of Jaipur). I’d first met him when I was 12; he came to Calcutta to play polo and stayed with us. He cut such a dashing figure and although he was eight years older, I felt an instant connection with him. we started dating, going on long drives, mostly when we went to stay in England. I was too young to think of marriage, but I spent hours daydreaming about my prince charming.
My mother (Rajmata Indira Devi of Cooch Behar), concerned that her children’s education shouldn’t suffer while we shuttled between France, England and India, had employed two governesses, to teach us French, German and English, while two local teachers came to teach us all the other subjects.

There was no special training as such in being royalty but we had an excellent role model in our mother, who was a renowned hostess. She excelled in setting up beautiful homes for us. And when I married Jai, it was she who picked my entire trousseau.”

( Autar Mota )

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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