At many times my naive mind used to wonder, especially when I was not such a keen history student how did some people in the desert become so wealthy, why did their subjects stick around those kings in those deserted plains where growing anything for self was tough, where water was scarce, where the sun was harsh and the terrain unforgiving. Over a period of time after reading a lot on wikipedia and the internet I have understood how the silk route used to work and how the people who lived in the desert benefited.
Eventually many Rajput kings also joined forces with the Mughals, where in after a war the territory would be owned by the Mughals but all the loots would be given to the Rajput’s who would many a times be the leader of the armies. No wonder the Rajput’s are still so proud about their weapons and their bravery. No, I am not judging anyone, I am sure the Rajputs did need the gold as their territory was not very fertile and they had to arrange for things that only wealth would buy.
Another very important thing I have noticed is that since the Kings were above their subjects and no one could actually question them, they lived life as per their whims. Not one king we heard about on the trip had less than 8 wives. If some king actually had one I guess he was not important enough for the guides to mention him! We even came across one guy Takhat Singh who had 58 queens and 59 children! Still no where near the Dhritrashtra figure though! 😛 lol
Some of the stories, anecdotes and ways of life of those ages are …well… lets say of another era… I guess we at times cannot comprehend some things.
Above is a shot of the Umaid Bhavan Palace, now a luxury hotel managed by Taj, though the king still stays there using some 20% of the property with the rest being converted into a pretty mean and expensive hotel. The shot was taken from Mehrangarh Fort, the Umaid Bhavan Palace is one of the last built palaces among the royal complexes in India. The king’s palace simply outsizes the houses of the subjects!