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Maharaja Teachers' Resource

Welcome to the AGO’s interactive site for Maharaja: The Splendours of India’s Royal Courts.

Visit each page, and scroll over the artworks to zoom in on details and ponder questions that will lead to an understanding of the themes of the show. 

The pages on this site lead to the Maharaja Online Tumblr, where students’ thoughts, reactions and extrapolations can live. Students can post text, images, sounds or videos to add to a growing commentary on what it means to be powerful in today’s day and age. For a description of what Tumblr is and how to use it, click here.

Teachers – we invite you to use this resource in part or in its entirety, in any number of ways.

  • If you are planning a visit to the AGO to see Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, use this resource to familiarize your students with some of the artworks and themes they will explore.
  • If your class has seen the exhibition, use it a follow-up activity where students can post their reactions.
  • If you are not able to visit the AGO to see the Maharaja exhibition, this resource is a way to delve into the works and themes of the show in a rich and interactive way.


This colourful and dynamic painting of the Procession of Raja Ram Singh II and his son at Kota captures the festive spirit, splendour and excitement that surrounded the spectacle of a royal procession.

Procession of Raja Ram Singh II of Kota and his son at Kota

Click on each work below to learn more

Power Relationships

The time of the Maharajas saw many shifting alliances and power relationships – explore a depiction of one such power-shift...

A Sword with a Story

This is the personal sword of the Maharaja of Indore of the Holkar family. The blade of the sword is made of steel and the hilt or handle is covered in diamonds, emeralds and rubies set in gold...

A Portrait of a King

In this portrait, the Nawab (another name for an Indian ruler) is looking directly at you - a significant change from how Maharajas were traditionally depicted in India. This type of representation reflects the changing tastes and power relationships taking place in India in the early 19th Century.

Carrying a King

It's not an elephant, but this ornate silver carriage certainly conforms to many peoples' ideas of royal rides. Take a close look to see both the Indian and British contributions to its construction.

An Impressive Ride

Maharajas began travelling to Europe more and they began to commission portraits, jewellery, clothes and cars from European designers and companies. This car was commissioned by the Thakore Sahib of Rajkot to replace his 20-year-old Rolls-Royce...

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