Thursday, 1 January 2009

Day 15- Nautch Girls

PRESENTING the palace dancing girls who are here in their glorious splendour to celebrate the New Year's Day with you, our most gracious guests:
Made entirely of polyresin including their beautiful costumes, the lead dancer is as tall as Jai. The other girls are about 5 inches high.

The Nautch Girls perform in the Durbar hall (under construction), flanked by its majestic pillars.
I read somewhere that it is not uncommon for the descendants of Maharajahs to inherit the dancing girls on top of their magnificent palaces. The upkeep of these girls can sometime bankrupt their owners.

Quite often too, a Maharajah would fall for one of these girls. One such legend is that of the famous Maharajah Ranjit Singh who fell in love with a very beautiful Muslim dancing girl, Moran, when he saw her dancing at his son's wedding. He eventually married her. She was to exert a great influence over him and money was coined with the inscription "Mor" and a peacock, in commemoration of their union.

This marriage however raised great consternation in the kingdom. The Sikh public was outraged and the Maharajah was summoned to the Akal Takht. Despite gifts and remorse from the Maharajah, he was sentenced to be flogged publicly which the Maharaja bravely accepted. The Panj Pyaras who were touched by the submission of the Maharajah, decided to dispense with the harsh punishment and accepted a fine of RS. 1,25,000 (USD 2851.28 today) instead.

Moran's favoured position was short-lived for she was promptly sent away to Pathankote where she lived for the rest of her life.


Sumaiya Mehreen said...

I never knew the story of Maharajah Ranjit Singh ... so interesting! Beautiful dancing girls by the way ... I will have to make sure Tara and Maya is dressed more grandly :D

San said...

There will be no competition. Your girls will beat these, hands down. :)

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