Princely States First Part

Princely States Second Part


Princely States











Dewas Jr

Dewas Sr





















Princely States of Madhya Pradesh

Second Part: Indore to Sitamau





The Holkars were one of the three dominant Maratha powers (with the Peshwas and Scindias), with major land holdings in Central India.


Indore State originated in 1728 with a grant of land north of the Narbada river by the Maratha Peshwa of Poona to Malhar Rao Holkar, a cavalry commander in his service. After Holkar’s death (ca. 1765) his daughter in law, Ahalya Bai, assumed the position of Queen Regent. Together with Tukoji Rao she effectively ruled the State until her death thirty years later. But it was left to Tukoji’s son, Jaswant Rao, to challenge the dominance of the Poona Marathas in the Maratha Confederacy, eventually defeating the Peshwa’s army in 1802. But at this point the fortunes of the Holkars suffered a serious reverse. Although Jaswant Rao had initially defeated a small British force under Col. William Monson, he was badly beaten by a contingent under Lord Lake. As a result Holkar was forced to cede a considerable portion of his territory and from this time until India’s independence in 1947, the residual State of Indore was obliged to accept British protection.




Jaswant Rao


Mulhar Rao II


Martand Rao


Hari Rao


Khande Rao


Tukoji Rao II


Shivaji Rao


Tukoji Rao III


Yashwant Rao





Tukoji Rao II




Maharaja Holkar of ....


Arms: Gules, a horseman’s sword point upwards over two lances in saltire Argent, in chief three poppyheads proper, seeded Or.

Crest: On a helmet affrontée, lambrequined Gules and Argent, a bay horse trapped.

Supporters: Bay horses trapped proper.

Motto: Prahomeso labhya sri kartuh prarabdhat (Umesh has said, success attends him who strives).

(T. 38)


Shivaji Rao



Hand struck coins of Shivaji Rao, minted 1888-1890, show a sun radiant above a sword and a spear in saltire. Later coins, minted from 1890 until 1898, show the sun radiant only.



Silver coin of Shivaji Rao dated 1886 

Showing a sun radiant. This is a very rare specimen of a proof of milled coinage  for Indore. [1]





Arms: A field of poppy and wheat over which a Khanda (broadsword) and a spear in saltire. On the dexter a horse rearing and on the sinister a Nandi (sacred bull) couchant, all proper.

Crest: A sun radiant under a Ch’hatri (royal umbrella).

Motto: Prhomesho labhya sri kartuh prarabdhat. (Umesh has said, success attends him who strives).


[The arms of Indore] may be explained as follows: - The Holkars claim descent from Udaipur, of which house, as being the greatest of the Suryavamsi clans, the Sun is the emblem. The umbrella, besides being an emblem of State, also refers to a legend bearing on the early life of Malhar Rao I, the founder of this house, according to which a cobra once sheltered him from the sun, while asleep, by expanding its hood over his head; the bull is sacred to Shiva who is specially adored by the Holkars; the horse and sword being similarly emblematic of the warrior- god Khande Rao, an avatara of Shiva, and the tutelary deity of the family, whose chief temple stands at Jejuri near Poona; the Srear was the favourite weapon of the founder of this dynasty, and wheat and (until recently) poppy, the principal products of the State. [2]


This achievement occurred on coins minted 1899 and was used until 1948.




Mohammed Ismail Ali Khan


Nawab 1865-1895




Nawab of ...


Arms: Vert, three mullets Argent pierced of the field within a bordure compony Argent and Gules.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Vert and Argent, a tiger’s head erased Argent.

Supporters: Two black buck (Antilope cervicapra - Bovidæ).

Motto: Dil o daulat (Heart and wealth).

(T. 47)


Muhammed Iftikhar Ali Khan

Nawab 1895-1947


An achievement for Jaora State was adopted in 1895. It differs from the arms of the ruling family. It shows:




Arms: Two swords in saltire, in chief a crescent and a mullet and in base a balance.

Crest:  A mullet radiant

Supporters: Two lions guardant





Raja Gopal Singh






Raja of ....


Arms: Paly of six Or and Vert, a head couped proper between three spearheads Argent imbrued proper.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Or and Vert, a falcon close.

Supporters: Two boars proper.

Motto: Jhavuvipannah jhavuva sampannah.

(T. 41)

Raja Udai Singh Bahadur





Krishna and Holy Cow.

Indian Painting, 1900ca.


Raja of ....


Arms: Azure, the effigy of Krishna, Or.

Crest: A sun in splendour Or.

Supporters: A ch’hatri and a fan in saltire and two lions guardant each supporting a pennon Tenne charged with the footprints of the Buddha Argent.

Badge: In base an arm swinging a sword proper.



This is the achievement on a red flag in the Mehrangar Museum Fort, Jodhpur. The flags with the footprints are the state flag of Jhabua.




The small princely state of Jigni in the state of Madhya Pradesh was ruled by an unbroken line of four adopted rajas, from 1870:

Rao Lakshman Singh II was the adopted son of Rao Bhopal Singh, and ruled from 1870 to 1892. He adopted:

Rao Bhanu Pratap Singh, who ruled from 1892 to 1920 and was succeeded by his adopted son 

Rao Arimardan Singh, who ruled from 1920 to 1934 and was succeeded by his adopted son

Rao Bhupendra Vijay Pratap Singh, the born-to son of maharajah Punya Pratap Singh of Ajaigarth, who ruled from 1934 to 1947






Bhawani Singh




Maharaja of ...


The family has a white banner (with black silk tassel) bearing the effigy of Hanuman.




Jadvendra Singh


Raja 1874-1922



Raja of ....


Arms: Party per fesse Vert and Gules, a trident (trisal) between four flames Or.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Vert and Gules, a ravine deer’s (Antilope cervicapra - Bovidæ) head erased.

Supporters: Two saras (Ibis leucocephalus - Ciconiidæ).

Motto: Vipatyanikul (Faithful in perilous times).

(T. 60)

Banner: Yellow, a  trisal (sacred trident).

Motto: Faithful in perilous times.




Braja Sundar Harichandan Mahapatra


Raja 1859-1884


The emblem of the Raja of Narsimhapur was a scorpion (Leithbridge)




Pratap Singhji


Raja 1873-1890


Raja of ....


Arms: Barry of six Argent and Gules within a bordure Vert charged with eight cinquefoils Or.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Argent and Gules, two wings endorsed Or ensigned with a flame proper.

Supporters: Two boars proper.

Motto: Makso bhaya narsinhoyam.

(T. 64)




Pratap Singh


Maharaja 1874-1930



Maharaja of ....


Arms: Purpure, a chevron Or gutty de sang between three maces of the second.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Purpure and Or, a hare sejant proper.

Supporters: Two lions.

Motto: Bindu do durgamesha (The giver of the drops of blood has become Lord of the inaccessible region).





A new achievement was adopted about 1900. It is described and explained as follows:





A modern rendering of Devi Vindhyavāsini

Arms: Argent, in chief Devi Vindhyavāsini proper enthroned holding in dexter upper hand a dagger, in sinister upper hand a Khappar or pot for holding sacred fire, two lower hands vacant; in base a man’s head couped regardant proper.

Supporters: two lions rampant regardant proper bearing in one paw a banner, the dexter banner a barry of five vert, or, gules and tenne, charged with the sun in splendour, the sinister a paly of six sable and or charged with Hanumān or. To the staff of each banner is attached a mace.

Motto: Bindu Durgameshah (The giver of the drops of blood has become lord of the inaccessible region).


This achievement is explained thus: The goddess is Devi Vindhyavāsini, the tutelary deity of the clan. Lions are her vāhan, she being often called Sinha-vāhini. The five colours are common to Rājput families, while the sun refers to the Sūrya Vansh descent; black an or are the State colours, while Hanumān is the god of warriors. The head below refers to the sacrifice made by Hema Karan to the Devi, the branches on either side being those of the shami tree (Mimosa suma) which supported the Pāndavas in their wanderings and is always worshipped at the Dasahra. Maces are an emblem of Vishnu and of power generally. [4]




Rudra Pratap Singh


Maharaja 1870 -1893



Maharaja of....


Arms: Purpure, an escarbuncle Or within a bordure compony Argent and Sable, and a chief of the second gutty de sang.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Purpure and Or, a green tree proper.

Supporters: A lion and a bear.

Motto: Praja ch’hatra vajreshah (The Lord of the Thunderbolt of diamonds is the Protector of the People).

(T. 70)


The colour purple is that affected by the Bundelās, while the escarbuncle refers to vajra, a word meaning both thunderbolt and diamonds. The tree is the pipāl (Ficus religiosa) which appears to be the badge of the Pannā house.[5]




Muhammad abd Al-Wasih Khan


Nawab 1871-1880


Nawab of ....


Arms: Or, a saltire Vert charged with five crescents Argent between four flames proper.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Or and Vert, two wings endorsed Vert ensigned with a crescent Argent.

Supporters: Two pigeons proper.

Motto: Ekam advitiyam (Without a Second one).

(T. 73)




“Ratlam was founded about 1650 by Ratan Singh, a great-grandson of Udda Singh, the first Raja of Jodhpur. The Emperor Shah Jehan, desiring to place a feudatory Rajput State on the western side of  Malwa, conferred special directions on Ratan Singh in order to mark his high position. He raised him to the rank of seh hezari (commander of 3000 horse), and conferred him the insignia of the chaur (yak’s tail), morchal (peacock’s plumes), suraj mukhi (representation of the sun and moon on fans), and mahi muratib (insignia of the fish). These insignia are still preserved and are paraded on great occasions when the Raja appears in full  State regalia. The grant of the high honour of the mahi muratib, direct from the Emperor, is an exceptional distinction which no other Chief in Malwa enjoys.” [6]


Ranjit Singh

Maharaja 1864 - 1893



Raja of ....


Arms: Or, semé of poppy heads, Hanuman statant in his dexter a mace and in his sinsiter a kutar proper; and a chief paly of five Tenné, Argent, Gules, Or and Vert.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Tennéand Argent, a hand holding a kutar imbrued proper.

Supporters: Two boars.

Motto: Ratnasya sahasan tad vansa batnam (The Valiance of Rattan is the Jewel of his Family).

(T. 77)


Sajjan Singh bahadur

Maharaja 1893-1947

Maharaja of ....


Arms: Or, Hanuman statant in his dexter a mace and in his sinsiter a kutar proper; and a chief paly of five Tenné, Argent, Gules, Or and Vert.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Tennéand Argent, a hand holding a kutar imbrued proper.

Supporters: Two falcons.

Motto: Ratnasya sahasan tad vansa batnam (The Valiance of Rattan is the Jewel of his Family).







Rewah State is said to be founded ca. 1140. The rulers of Rewa were Baghela Rajputs of the Solanki clan who probably migrated from Anhilwara Patan in Gujarat about the eleventh century. Arriving in Bundelkhand they carved out fopr themselves a substantial kingdom which remained independent until 1597, when they were obliged to become Mughal tributaries under Akbar. With Mughal decline Rewa began to move onde more towards independence, this time under the nominal suzereainty of the Peshwa. In 1812  the raja of Rewa, Jai Sing Deo was coerced into a treaty with the British and, failing to observe its conditions, was forced to yield to British control in 1813-1814. In 1948 Rewa was merged into Vindhya Pradesh.




Anirudh Singh

Raja 1690 - 1700

Avdhut Singh

Raja 1700 - 1755

Ajit Singh

Raja 1755 - 1809

Jai Singh Deo

Raja 1809 - 1835

Vishwanath Singh


Raja 1835 - 1854

Raghuraj Singh

*1834 - †1880

Raja1854 - 1857

Maharaja 1857 -  5 Feb 1880

Venkat Raman Singh

*1876 - †1918

Maharajadhiraja 1880 - 3 Nov 1918

Ghulab Singh

*1903 - †1950

Maharajadhiraja Nov 1918 - 30 Jan 1946

Martand Singh

*1923 - †1995

Maharajadhiraja 30 Jan 1946 - 15 Aug 1947



Raghuraj Singh

1857 -  5 Feb 1880 


Maharaja of ....


Arms: A tiger statant in chief a tilak proper.

Crest: On a helmet affrontée, lambrequined Or and Gules, a dexter hand ensigned with a flame proper, and on a ribbon: Sr Hari Sharnam.

Supporters: Two tigers proper.

Motto: Mrigendra prati dwandwa tamma prayat (Do not fight with tigers).



Venkat Raman Singh



Arms: A kuthar proper

Supporters: Two tigers rampant reguardant upholding a banner.

Motto: Mrigendra prati dwandwa tamma prayat (Don’t fight with tigers). [7]





The seventh raja of the small princely state of Sailana in Madhya Pradesh was Sir Jashwant Singh Bahadur. He was born in 1864, the son of maharaj Bhawani Singhji, the jagirdar of Semila. He was adopted by the heirless raja Duleh Singh and ruled Sailana from 1895 to his death in 1919.



Raja of ....


Arms: Gules, a falcon close Argent within a bordure Tenné

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Gules and Argent, a leopard’s head erased Sable.

Supporters:Boars Argent.

Motto: Na bhayam ishat-mahadāshritam (In the Protection of the Great there is not the Least Fear).

(T. 82)


Red is the colour of the state flag. Tenne was given as showing that they pay tribute to Sindhia. The bird is the Pnkhani Devu, the tutelary goddess of the Rāthors. [8]




In 1905 Surguja with four other Chota Nagpur Tributary Mohals (Jashpur, Udaipur, Korea and Chang Bhahar) was transferred to the Central Provinces.


Maharaja Ramanuj Saran Singh Deo

1917 - 1965



Arms: A deer’s head erased between its antlers the crown of the maharaja.

Crest: A string of flowers and a sun radiant.

Supporters: Two tigers reguardant supporting banners quarterly in dexter chief a crescent.

Motto: virtute et fide.


In base of the achievement two other strings of flowers and a ribbon with the name of the ruler:

maharaja ramanuj saran singh deo  c.b.e. [9]


The flag of Surguja was of two stripes yellow and green, the royal standard showed the royal cypher in red. The colours of the flags in the achievement: quartered and a crescent in the first are not known.




Bhawani Sinh


Raja 1867 - 1885



Raja of ....


Arms: Gules, on a bend Argent, three fleurs de lys Azure, within a bordure Tenné.

Crest: On a helmet to the dexter, lambrequined Gules and Argent, a lion’s face Sable.

Supporters: Boars Argent.

Motto: Devyayatanam raja sadanam (The Temple of the Goddess is the Throne of the King).

(T. 79)






Breschi, Roberto

Bandiere, Passato e Presente


Jaipur, H.H. the Maharadja of

A History of the Indian State Forces. Orient Longmans. Bombay/Cal­cutta/Madras/New Delhi, 1967.


Leithbridge, Sir Roper

The Golden Book of India. With an appendix for Ceylon. Sampson Low & Co.. London, 1900. XX & 366pp.


Soszynski, Henry

Rulers of Indian Princely States


Taylor, Robert M.A. Cantab Bengal Civil Service.

The Princely Armory. Being a display of the arms of the ruling chiefs of India prepared for the Imperial Assembly held at Delhi on the 1st day of January 1877. Printed for the Government of India at the Government Central Printing Office, 8 Hastings Street, Calcutta 1902.




© Hubert de Vries 2009-20-07

Updated 2010-01-20


[2] ) Indore State Gazetteer 1931

[3] )

[4] ) Orchha  State Gazetteer. Newul Kishore Press, Lucknow, 1907.

[5] ) Panna State Gazetteer. Newul Kishore Press. Lucknow, 1907

[6] ) From: Indian States. A Biographical, Historical and Administrative Survey. London, 1922. P. 492.

[7] ) Rewah State Gazetteer. Vol. IV. Newul Kishore Press. Lucknow, 1907.

[8] ) Sailana State Gazetteer. Bombay British India Press. Byculla, 1908

[9] ) Dadimaster, D.D.: History of Sirguja State. Allahabad, 1921.