The Enduring Wealth of India’s Royal Families
Monarchy was abolished in India in 1971. Four decades later, India’s former-royals retain their immense fortune in surprisingly diverse ways.
By far the richest, the Royal Family of Jaipur, has an estimated net worth between $697 million and $2.8 billion, according to Business Insider. Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, is the 22-year-old ‘king’ of Jaipur, a city in the Northwest of India. A national-level polo player, the Maharaja spends much of his time traveling and managing his family’s estate, which includes the City Palace in Jaipur. Last year, the palace’s Gudliya Suite was listed on Airbnb for $8,000 a night.
A few miles away, the Mewar Dynasty of Udaipur have also parlayed their estate into a hospitality empire. His Royal Highness Arvind Singh Mewar, the 76th custodian of the House of Mewar, now oversees 9 hotel properties under the HRH Group of Hotels. The portfolio includes three palaces, two heritage structures and a few properties leased out to the Taj Group.
Real estate isn’t the only haven for India’s royal wealth. This week, India’s Supreme Court upheld the right of Kerala’s royal Travancore family to the assets of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. With its extensive trove of diamonds, gold and jewelry – collectively worth an estimated $20 billion – the temple is considered one of the world’s richest places of worship. Control of the assets would effectively make the Travancore family India’s richest royals.
Other royal families have moved far beyond their family’s heritage wealth. The Nawab of Pataudi, Saif Ali Khan, is a successful movie star earning between ₹642 million (US$9.0 million) and ₹629 million (US$8.8 million) every year. His Highness Abhimanyu Singh of Rajasthan sponsors Magnetic Fields, an electronic dance music festival, while the Wadiyar Dynasty of the Kingdom of Mysore manages a silk manufacturing brand known as ‘Royal Silk of Mysore’.