Maharao Shivdan Singh

Maharao Shivdan Singh (1845, r.1857-1874)
Maharao Raja of Alwar

Albumen print on carte-de-visite, c. 1870
Size: 4 x 2.5 in. (10.2 x 6.4 cm)

Inscription: HH the late Rajah of Ulwar

Shivdan Singh was born in 1845 and was the only son of Maharao Bane Singh of Alwar. In 1857, he succeeded as a minor at the age of 12 to the throne. He reigned from 1863 till he was removed from his ruling powers.

He was a patron of the arts, and commissioned many paintings and manuscripts. He was a believer of the god Shiva. Alwar was one of the first Rajput states to ally itself with the British, however during Shivdan Singh’s reign there was a Rajput uprising against the British. In response, Shivdan Singh was deprived of actual power from 1870 and a council was given ruling power. A fixed allowance and an establishment were granted to the Maharao. The Maharao, being divested of all powers, led a miserable life, fell ill, and soon passed away in October 1874.

In this image, the Maharao is sitting on a chair looking towards the right, as his right hand rests on a table beside him. He is wearing a vest, leggings and a long cape over it. The turban worn by the Maharao is encrusted with jewels and the cape is heavily embroidered, kept in place with a belt and has a sword leaning against his leg.