India’s royal families today: Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan manages the Pataudi estate while the Rathores’ palace hosted Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s wedding

by Asif Ali
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  • Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur is a fashion model, polo player, avid traveller and millionaire who listed his palace suite on Airbnb … for US$8,000 per night
  • Tiger Pataudi, former captain of the Indian cricket team, passed his estate to his son, but many palaces have since been turned into luxury heritage hotels

While the Indian monarchy was abolished when India gained independence in 1950, that didn’t mean the upper-class

maharajas that laid claim to the country’s many regal palaces just disappeared overnight. Far from it.

While some of the country’s rich network of family dynasties have lost their fame and status over the years, others have transformed their ancestral assets and wealth into blossoming businesses, managing to stay relevant and live luxuriously.

Probably one of the most notable royal families in Indian history, the Mewar dynasty has seen great kings like Maharana Pratap. Today, its lineage continues with 76th custodian Arvind Singh Mewar, who currently lives in the City Palace, Udaipur, with his family. Besides being a nominal king, Arvind Singh is also a successful businessman. He is the head of HRH Group of Hotels, India’s largest chain of heritage palace-hotels that has around 10 addresses under its portfolio.

The royal family of Jaipur. Photo: @royalfamilyjaipur/Instagram

The royal family of Jaipur. Photo: @royalfamilyjaipur/Instagram

While the Indian monarchy was abolished when India gained independence in 1950, that didn’t mean the upper class maharajas that laid claim to the country’s many regal palaces just disappeared overnight. Far from it.

While some of the country’s rich network of family dynasties have lost their fame and status over the years, others have transformed their ancestral assets and wealth into blossoming businesses, managing to stay relevant and live luxuriously.

The royal family of Jaipur. Photo: @pachojaipur/Instagram

The royal family of Jaipur. Photo: @pachojaipur/Instagram

The Mewar dynasty

Arvind Singh Mewar. Photo: @arvindsinghmewar/Instagram

Arvind Singh Mewar. Photo: @arvindsinghmewar/Instagram

Probably one of the most notable royal families in Indian history, the Mewar dynasty has seen great kings like Maharana Pratap. Today, its lineage continues with 76th custodian Arvind Singh Mewar, who currently lives in the City Palace, Udaipur, with his family. Besides being a nominal king, Arvind Singh is also a successful businessman. He is the head of HRH Group of Hotels, India’s largest chain of heritage palace-hotels that has around 10 addresses under its portfolio.

The next successor to the dynasty, Arvind Singh’s son, Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar, is following in the footsteps of his father. The young prince restored the Jagmandir Island Palace in 2019, the latest addition to the HRH Group of Hotels.

The young king controls a fortune of between US$697 million and US$2.8 billion, according to Business Insider. Some of his notable business contributions include giving Rambagh Palace to Taj Hotels to run, and being one of the first few royals to work with Airbnb. He has listed a suite in his palace to rent – tourists can come, stay and get a taste of the royal life for a mere US$8,000 a night.

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