has been in the news for the last few
days and much has been written and televised about the golden throne of the Wodeyars. Mysore
An invaluable artifact, which according to legend goes back to the times of the Pandavas, the origin of the throne is shrouded in mystery.
What many do not know is that today, the golden throne is the most magnificent piece of its kind in
. There is
no other throne that even comes remotely near it in terms of heritage, myth, legend
or even beauty. India
Of course, here we are only taking about thrones in
and not those which have been lost forever or destroyed such as the priceless
Peacock throne of the Mughals and the golden throne of Tipu Sultan. India
So let us take a look at some of the thrones of
The Peacock Throne of the Mughals was commissioned by Emperor Shahjahan and it has been described by scores of travelers and visitors to the Mughal Empire as the most magnificent throne of its time.
History tells us that the Peacock Throne was carried away by Nadir Shah after he sacked and looted
in 1739. Delhi
Nadir Shah massacred the entire population of
Delhi and took away the
entire wealth of the Mughals, including the Peacock Throne and the Kohinoor
diamond to . Iran
The throne was destroyed by assassins who murdered Nadir Shah. Today, there is no remnant of this throne but a replica made by Indian craftsmen exists in the Topkapi palace in
. Istanbul, Turkey
This is also a Mughal style throne and it was also supposedly carted away by Nadir Shah, who gifted it to the Ottoman Emperor. This throne too is believed to be only a small part of the
Nadir Shah. Delhi
The throne is on public display and it is in the form of a high-edged table with four legs. The cushion is decorated with pearls and a gold braid.
The Kohinoor, we know, is with the British monarch.
Apart from these two thrones, contemporary texts and accounts say that the Mughals had at least nine other thrones and almost all of them were in the red fort in
and at the fort in .
There was also a throne in the fort at Agra .
Nine of these thrones, including the Peacock Throne, were taken away by Nadir Shah.
After Nadir Shah left
weakened Mughal Empire shrunk considerably in area and extent. The power they
once wielded was almost gone. This is best represented by the throne they sat
on. The throne was a crude replica of the peacock throne and it was almost
entirely made of silver. India
The last Mughal Emperor to sit on this throne was Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857. The British broke it up and carted it away to their homeland after the first war of Indian Independence.
The British also plundered the Red fort and took away rubies, diamonds, gold, silver, jade and all jewels and artifacts that they could lay their hands on.
The 20th century Pahlavi dynasty in
also called their ceremonial seat “the Peacock Throne,” though this throne has
no relation to the original peacock throne. Iran
Another throne that was Indian and held a lot of sentiment was the gold throne of Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler. This throne was made by the goldsmith Hafez Muhammad Multani sometime between 1820 to 1830.
It was made of wood and resin core and then carefully covered with sheets of engraved gold. The base is two tiered and it is crafted with lotus, a symbol of Hindu purity. The throne today is an exhibit at the
Victoria and Albert Museum
in . London
Incidentally, the octagonal shape of the throne is based on courtly furniture of the Mughals. Since Ranjit Singh was renowned for his simplicity and dislike of ceremony, he rarely sat on this throne, preferring to sit cross-legged on carpets.
The throne was taken by the British in 1849 on the annexation of
after the second Anglo-Sikh war.
A throne that the British willfully broke up was the throne with the tiger motif that belonged to Tipu Sultan of
. When Tipu died in
Srirangapatna on May 4, 1799, the British troops looted his treasury, mint,
palace and broke down the throne. Today, only a few tiger motifs-three of the
eight that were crafted on the throne-and the gold Huma bird which was perched
on the umbrella on the throne has survived. The rest have been lost. Mysore
Similarly, it is believed that the Vijayanagar Empire had several thrones. Most of them appear to have been destroyed or broken apart when the Muslim states of the
wantonly destroyed Hampi or Vijayanagar after the battle of Talikota in 1565.
The golden throne of
was one of the
many thrones that the Vijayanagar Emperors sat on. It was unearthed from a
secret pit in Peunkonda by one of the founders of the Vijayanagar empire, Harihara,
in 1348. Mysore
The then Rajguru of Vijayanagar, Vidyaranya, helped Harihara excavate the throne. The throne was at Anegundi when the Muslim armies marched into Vijayanagar in 1565. It then was transported to Srirangapatna and from there it came into the possession of the Wodeyars.
This throne, the Bhavishya Purana says, originally belonged to Indra, the King of Gods. Inbdra gave it to Vikramaditya, the second son of King Gandharvasena of Ujjaini who belonged to the Paramar dynasty.
The Bhavishya Purana also portrays Vikramaditya as the first great Hindu King among the ten great kings. He received the throne from Indra as he settled a dispute between Rambha and Urvasi. In his judgment, Urvasi's dance was superior to Rambha's because Rambha lost confidence and her garland flowers became pale as she worried about victory while dancing.
The throne then passed into the hands of Bhoja Raja and later to the Guptas and finally into the hands of the King of Kampili, Kampiliraja.
Kampili was a tiny kingdom on the banks of the Tungabhadra river in present day Karnataka state during the 13th century. The founder of the kingdom was a Hoysala commander, Singeya Nayaka-III (1280 - 1300) who declared himself independent and created a small chiefdom. He was succeeded by his son Kampiliraja who buried the throne at Penukonda when he was forced to take on Muhammad Bin Tughlaq in 1327.
The throne remained buried in Penukonda till Vidyaranya directed Harihara to excavate it.
Another throne of the Vijayanagar can be seen on festive occasion when the idol of Virupaksha is taken in a procession. Historians believe that the Vijayanagar Emperors gave the throne to the temple in 1565 just before or soon after their defeat in Talikota, which is a small town in Bijapur district.
We have descriptions of the thrones of the Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Chalukyas and even Kadambas but none of them exist. There is also no evidence of the throne of the Adil Shahs and the Bahamani Emperors.
However, we can still see some of the most unique thrones in
The Salar Jung museum in
today has a
golden wooden throne used by the Nizam during the last silver jubilee
(four Palaces), is also a palace of the Nizam of Hyderabad. It was the
seat of the Asaf Jah dynasty and was the official residence of the Nizams of
Hyderabad while they ruled their state. Chowmahalla Palace
The palace is even today held in high esteem by the residents of
as it was the seat of the Asaf Jahs. The grand pillared Durbar Hall has a pure
marble platform on which the Takht-e-Nishan or the royal seat was laid. Here
the Nizams held their durbar and other religious and symbolic ceremonies. Hyderabad
Another unique throne is in the Junagadh fort in
It has the sandalwood throne. There is also a throne set on a swing. The silver
throne of Jaisalmer is an added attraction of the city of Bikaner . Jaisalmer
Similarly, the City palace at Jaipur housed the golden throne in the Diwan-E-Aam (Sabha Niwas) or the Hall of Public Audience.
The Golden throne, called as Takth-e-Rawal, was the seat of the Maharaja during public audience. It was mounted on an elephant or carried by palanquin bearers during the Maharajas’ visit outside the palace.
Indian royals have always set great store by the thrones that they sat on.Today, we can guess what royalty was lie when we see the Durbar hall in the Red fort in Delhi and Agra, the Amba Vilas in the main palace in Mysore, the durbar room of the Marathas in Thanjavur palace, the durbar hall of the Lakshmi Vilas, Jai Vilas palaces and the many palaces in Rajasthan and Gujarat.