Maharao Mangal Singh

Maharao Mangal Singh (1859, r.1874-1892)
Maharao Raja of Alwar

Albumen print on carte-de-visite, c. 1875
Size: 4 x 2.5 in. (10.2 x 6.4 cm)

Inscription: HH the Rajah of Ulwar

Mangal Singh was born on 1859 and adopted by Maharaja Shivdan Singh from Thikana Thana. He succeeded to the throne as a minor on 14th December 1874, in preference to Kunwar Lakhdir Singh of Bijwar. He married twice.

Mangal Singh used to disregard Hindu cultures and traditions and would spend most of his time in the company of westerners and other luxuries. His conversation with Swami Vivekanand is of a historical significance and has been discussed and analysed by various scholars and biographers. He built a modern residence, modelled on Scottish Castles, atop Moti Doongari hill and named it Lansdowne Palace after the then current Viceroy.

However, all was not well with rule of Mangal Singh. The British Political Department imposed a Diwan in his court, who was assassinated. Mangal Singh was accused of the conspiracy and in a high-level trial all the accomplices were punished. He died at the age of 34 years, on May 22, 1892 at Nainital, owing to excess dose of liquor. He was succeeded by his minor son, Jai Singh.

In this portrait we see the young Maharaja wearing heavily embroidered clothes and multiple pieces of jewellery, and also has a sword around his waist. He is looking to his left and wearing a pearl encrusted headgear He resembles a westerner wearing princely clothes.