India was portrayed as the land populated with monsters, magicians and maharajas; its rulers were immeasurably powerful potentates enthroned in vast citadels surrounded by every conceivable luxury, but Indian courts were not accessible to the gaze of foreign observers and the royal continued to be mysterious and alluring. Indeed, this ‘exotic’ appeal of Indian palaces has proved to be long-lasting; it has survived the colonial experience and exists till today in the Royal residences as fortified citadels, complete with massive walls and defensive gateways, as well as armories, barracks and stables and all the culture and richness developed over centuries still lies here preserved in these palaces.
Divine rights of Royals
The old belief that governed and design the “Divine power of Royals”.
Whether great or small, Indian monarchs never hesitated to style themselves as maharajas, or ‘great kings’, in the belief that their powers were cosmic rather than worldly. They were ‘great kings’ in terms of royal rituals and ceremonies, if not always in authority and influence. To demonstrate regal command over the elements of water and earth. Resplendent with heavenly motifs such as the globe of the sun, the royal throne and furniture was sumptuously ornamented with gold, silver, rubies and diamonds, the treasures of the earth. Sun motifs appear on the walls and ceilings of palace, suggesting the beneficial influence of the heavens. The gleaming sun with radiating spokes as dynastic emblem is placed over the top of the palace.
Forces of Nature
Parades of elephants, horses and other animals were further expressions of the king’s cosmic potency. Only kings were permitted to own elephants, and only kings could import horses and other exotic beasts. Lions and mythical beasts were particularly popular; so too were peacocks, as they were used as symbolic to be used to demonstrate command and power even over them.