About Jhalawar


The Jhalawar family, owe their fortune largely to Zalim Singh, a collateral descendant of the Jhala rulers of Wadhwan, in Gujarat. His ancestor, Bhavsinghji, left his native land to seek his fame and fortune. His fourth son, Madho Singh, took employment at Kotah, receiving lands and appointments after he had married his sister to the ruler. At his death in 1758, his younger grandson succeeded to his lands and offices.

A talented and courageous man, Zalim Singh Jhala carved out a distinguished career for himself serving the Kotah Rajas. He quickly rose to the supreme office in the land, becoming Diwan and virtual ruler of the state. On the death of his patron in 1764, his successor was unwilling to leave matters of state entirely in the hands of his minister. The contest for power eventually resulted in military conflict and Zalim was forced to flee to Mewar. Not content to idle away his time, he assumed the role of kingmaker, successfully intriguing and doing battle for his favourite. His efforts did not go unrecognised, for he received high titles and the estate of Chiturkhaira.

The death of Zalim's brother-in-law, Maharaja Guman Singh of Kotah, brought him back to Kotah as guardian to his minor nephew. Although appointed Diwan, thereafter he ruled as virtual regent of the kingdom. He negotiated the Kotah Treaty with the HEIC in 1817, as if he was actual ruler, but was careful to ensure an entrenched position for himself and his successors as hereditary mikados of the state. At his death in 1824, he left behind a strong and prosperous state, the centre of trade in the region.

Zalim's son, Raj Rana Madho Singh, who succeeded him as Diwan and virtual regent, ruled for a decade and died in 1834. He left his office, titles and lands to his only surviving son, Raj Rana Madan Singh.

The continuation of the dual system of government came under increasing strain, Friction and disagreements engulfed the Kotah Royal Family, the state nobles and the British. After many contests and conflicts, the British decided to end the stalemate by separating Kotah into two states. The new state of Jhalawar came into being in 1838, with Madan Singh as independent ruler and Maharaj Rana. He died in 1845, leaving his new state to his only legitimate child, Maharaj Rana Prithviraj Singh, who consolidated his inheritance by building towns and villages, and constructing public buildings. He died without leaving a legitimate male heir in 1875.

Kunwar Shri Vakhatsinghji succeeded as Zalim Singh II, having been adopted by his predecessor, two years before his death. A young prince surrounded by those who catered to his every childish whim and will, he grew up into a bigot and racist. Had he managed to be a good administrator or reformer, his petulant attitude to Europeans may have been forgiven, but his government descended into near chaos within a few years of receiving full ruling powers. After three years, he was suspended for by the British authorities, which then set up a Council of Administration. They deposed him nine years later, on the grounds of mental instability and maladministration, the state abolished and its territories restored to the Kotah Durbar.

In 1899 the Government of India created a new state from the Chaumahala, Patan and the southern portions of Suket tahsils. The childless Zalim II refusing to adopt a successor, they selected Bhawani Singhji, a distant descendant of Zalim Singh I as ruler of the new Jhalawar. Their choice could not have settled on a better ruler. Cultured and refined, with an enquiring mind that embraced scholarship and learning throughout his life, he improved the lot of his subjects profoundly. Schools and educational institutions were established throughout the state for boys and girls. Agricultural improvements and development of the state infrastructure, prison reform, and even light scale industrial development did not escape his interest. His cultural interests and pursuits were never neglected either, for he amassed a fine library, built an opera house, and established societies and associations to spread interest in literature, music and the arts. He died on board ship near Aden in 1929, leaving an only son.

Maharaj Rana Rajendra Singh was imbued with many of the same interests and qualities as his father. He had been carefully educated, and when he ascended the throne, continued his father with great enthusiasm. He had a certain interest in military affairs and enjoyed sports of all kinds, including big-game hunting, shooting, fishing, squash, badminton, croquet, cricket, and motoring. A crack shot, who once killed three tigers in five minutes, he later became a keen conservationist who exchanged his guns for a camera. His literary and scholarly interests were no less keenly held, for he composed poetry and authored several books in Urdu and Hindi.  His early death in 1943 left the throne yet again to an only son.

Maharaj Rana Harishchandra succeeded his father at the age of twenty-two. He had much to live up to, but little time. Within four years of his succession, the Indian sub-continent gained its independence and the princely states of Rajasthan merged with democratic India. He did so willingly and enthusiastically, joining the Indian Foreign Service in 1950 and serving at Rome and Rangoon, before returning to India in 1954. He later entered politics, serving as an elected member of the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in the 1960's, briefly serving as a state cabinet minister. He opposed and defeated the Indian National Congress in 1967, but failed to unseat them as their central government allies imposed presidential rule, then bribed enough of the poorer MLAs to whittle away the majority. He died at the height of the crisis in 1967.

Maharaj Rana Indrajit Singh inherited the gadi at the age of twenty-three, but eschewed his father's political role. For a time, he served in the Indian army, then devoted himself to raising his family and managing his properties. The principal private palace was turned into a hotel serving visitors to the fort and its treasures. He died in New Delhi in 2004, leaving the gadi to his elder son, Maharaj Rana Shri Chandrajit Singh.




Rectangular flag of pink.


Male primogeniture, with the right of adoption by the recognised head of the family, on the failure of legitimate male issue.


The ruling prince: Maharajadhiraj Maharaj Rana Shri (personal name) Singh Dev Bahadur, Maharaja Rana of Jhalawar, with the style of His Highness.

The consort of the ruling prince: Maharani Shrimati (personal name) Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.

The mother of the ruling prince: Rajdadisa Sahiba, with the style of Her Highness.

The sons of the ruling prince: Maharaj Kumar Shri (personal name) Singh.

The daughters of the ruling prince: Maharaj Kumari Shrimati (personal name) Sahiba.

The grandsons and other male descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line: Kumar Shri (personal name) Singh.

The granddaughters and other female descendants of the ruling prince, in the male line: Shrimati (personal name) Kumari Sahiba.

The sons and other male descendants of the ruling prince by secondary wives and concubines: Rao Raja Shri (personal name).


The Rajendra Medal: instituted by Maharajadhiraj Maharaj Rana Shri Sir Bhawani Singhji in honour of his only son and awarded for exceptional and distinsgusihed services to the state and to the person of the ruler. Awarded in three classes (1. gold, 2. silver and 3. copper).

The Rajendra Medal - second class is silver.


CChiefs and Leading Families in Rajputana, Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta, 1894, 1903, 1916 and 1936.

The Rajputana Gazetteer. Volume II. Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, Calcutta, 1879.

The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 1st edition. Rajkot, 1928.

The Ruling Princes, Chiefs and Leading Personages in the Western India States Agency, 2nd Edition, Delhi, 1935. IOR V/27/70/71. Correction slips to 2nd Edition 1936-1946 IOR V/27/70/72. British Library, St Pancras, London.

Thacker's Indian Directory, Thacker's Press & Directories, Ltd., Caltutta 1863-1956.

Stuart Cary Welch (ed.), Gods, Kings and Tigers: The Art of Kotah. Prestel-Verlag, Munich, 1997.

Vadivelu, The Ruling Chiefs, Nobles & Zamindars of India. G.C. Loganadham Bros., Madras, 1915.

Who Was Who, Vol. I to Vol. VII, A&C Black, London, 1915 - 1980.

The Origin of the Jhalas, Internet, 2003.