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A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur
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A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  430 ratings  ·  50 reviews
She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, ...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published January 31st 1998 by Rupa & Co (first published March 28th 1976)
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Digi
Nov 19, 2007 Digi rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
I selected this book because its written by my grandmother .She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar, and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Raised in sprawling palaces. She shot her first panther when she was twelve. Later in her life, she won a seat in the Indian Parliament with the most staggering majority that anyone has ever earned in an election. Much prettier than today’s alleged beauties, in her heydays she, was considered by Vogue to be amongst the Ten Most Beautiful Women i ...more
Marcy
I visited the Pink City of Jaipur as I traveled through the state of Rajasthan in India. The Pink Palace was alive in all its glory as I read this princess' memoirs. The people and rulers I had "heard" about from our guide in Jaipur were introduced by Gayatri as if they were alive and well, for she was the third wife of the adopted Raja, the last raja before the merger of Indian states fell under the new democratic country of India. Gayatri Devi tells about the enchanted lifestyle of a princess ...more
Tamanna  A. Shaikh
It's a wonderful book. Almost like a crumbling fairy-tale. A simple, honest recount of a fading life. And of the princely provinces.

What I liked the most was that it gives a fairly good description of the glory of royal India--the days when most of India was under British Raj and/simultaneously that of the Indian kings and princes. It was a glorious time in the history of India. There was no democracy and yet absolute peace, prosperity and a rapport of trust and love between the ruler and the r
...more
Scot
My elderly aunt picked up a little hardback copy of this book--simple black cover with golden print for the title--in a bookshop when she was wandering in India twentysome years ago. This year she gifted it to me on my birthday with the advice that India is complex and fascinating and I would do well to learn more about the country and visit it someday if possible.

I didn't know exactly where Jaipur was on the subcontinent but I understood who a maharani would be, and when I flipped through the m
...more
Shreya
This is a slow read.. I generally have a fascination of palaces and grandeur described with minute detailing. This is what Maharani does.. I traveled Cooch Behar, Jaipur and Europe with the book. It remains dreamy in three fourth of the book, which I absolutely dig for and takes a political turn in the last part with the Maharani getting involved in post Independence politics.

An absolutely dreamy read.. and all I could say after putting it down is wish I was a Princess :) :)
Audrey
This is a very interesting account of a Princess who was born in British India in an area which now borders Bangladesh. She laters marries the Maharaja of Jaipur.This books reveals the complexities of Indian culture and the changes that had to occur when India became. I highly reccomend this book to anyone fascinated by India.
Reachmrinal
enjoyed reading this book..and also beautiful pictures..
Jodi
I can't say that I thought this book was very good - it was just ok. It lacked substance. Not that I wanted titillating details of someones life but I'd like to have an opinion that wasn't so PC about everything that went on in India during her life. There wasn't anything introspective either just endless descriptions of all their riches. She spends pages and pages on descriptions of finery in their homes, decorating their elephants, clothing, jewelery etc but only a paragraph on the riots after ...more
Marcia Hartsock
This is a fascinating book about a long gone era. Gayatri Devi's memoirs capture the details of a life few people ever led, that of an Indian Maharani, but her experiences before Indian's independence are all the more compelling when contrasted to her life since 1947. Having spent time in Jaipur myself, and now having in-laws there, this account makes me even more interested in Jaipur's history over the last century.
India, like every country with a long history, cannot be understood from one acc
...more
Greet
We bought this book last year while traveling through Rajasthan and having visited Jaipur. The bookshopkeeper in the hotel advised us to read it, to have an idea about life in India before and after Independence, but also to learn about this splendid and remarkable woman, his words. I enjoyed reading it, learning about her life as a princess before her marriage, living in a palace with over 500 servants, the luxury, the way of living, the voyages they made. During our stay in Rajasthan we someti ...more
Simran
It's like magic when words can make your imagination run. It's like escaping into another world. The memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur had the power to spill this magic. The story of her life in her words is a work of immense detailing (which any reader fascinated by royalty & history would love to go through), Beginning from her childhood in the Palace of Cooch Behar and all the details about their stays at Palaces and summer houses all over the world.
Her childhood infatuation turning into
...more
Sherry
A memoir by the Maharani of Jaipur.

She recounts her life growing up as a Princess in India and later her marriage to the Maharajah of Jaipur.

She was raised in a sumptuous palace, traveled the world, and lived and studied in Europe.

In her later years of marriage she became involved in politics, founded a school for girls, and was prominent in the women's movement of India.

The book also shows an informal history of the princely states of India from the height of their power to their present st
...more
Elvira
Such a beautiful book with gold-gilded edges, gold embossed letters and ornaments on black cover pages and a number of beautiful photographs from days long gone.

What a shame that the contents did not live up to the expectations set by the book's design. Naturally, Gayatri Devi was highly educated Maharani and I assume her personality and social status did not allow her to speak freely about her life. Her memoir provides details about the political aspects and history, but provides very little i
...more
Sari Sikstrom
This is the ultimate book about the unknown world of the Maharani. I have bought this book several times - only to lend it out. I am not upset when it is not returned because I know it is in the hands of a new reader.

True compelling writing.
Jo Oehrlein
Fascinating description of life in India in a princely family. She grew up in a palace with 500 people around her and then was married to a Maharajah during the transition to one united Indian democracy. She later was elected to Parliament. She seems like a woman of contradictions to me. She went to secretarial school in London, then became the 3rd wife of a Maharajah. She didn't live in the zenana, but didn't learn Hindi because her husband didn't want her to. It could just be wording, but in s ...more
Sana
I found it taxing to get through the first few chapters, but it got better later. The book could have used some editing as there were lots of typos and grammatical errors in my copy.

"A Princess Remembers" gives you a glimpse into the life of a princess (later a maharani), and also into the political turmoil that was rampant in the years after independence. It was an enjoyable read, with the author sharing little details from her life spent in India and abroad. I was particularly surprised to re
...more
Saritha
Never learnt about the social lives (not the political details) of king's and queen's in India in such detail. A very good read.
Sandy
This marvelous book is written by the Princess of Jaiphur in central(?) India. It is an absolutely fascinating narrative about an opulent world and lifestyle, the Indian Raj, that the vast majority of us have never even imagined. I found the narrator a dynamic, remarkably humble and interesting woman with a conviction to do good in her life and in her role as a princess in a brutally poor country. I remember really liking this book and have kept it all these years..... in fact I know just where ...more
Catherine
An absorbing account of a Maharani's life. The wealth of some Maharajas was staggering and many are still fabulously wealthy although the Indian political, economic and social structure that supported them has changed. Gayatri Devi is curiously unreflective and uncritical about her life and times and apparently saw no contradiction between her extraordinarily privileged lifestyle and the poverty around her. Today's privileged travellers can stay in her former palace in Jaipur. Recommended histor ...more
Catarina
I traveled to India in May, visiting Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur. It was a wonderful experience. Admittedly I wasn't well versed in India's history, but since my return I have aimed to rectify that oversight.

I checked out this book from the library and couldn't put it down. While I wish many of the names had phonetic spellings included, this autobiography gives you a peek into the princely lives of the maharajas, the role of women (and how it has or hasn't changed in modern India), and, briefly, th
...more
Kshama Sengar
A modern day fairy tale
Janine Job
Fascinating. A very entertaining and easily read book. A generous insight into the life and times of a privileged and influential woman living through the very dynamic India of the first half of the 20th century. Also an interesting book for the relationships referred to.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Rachna
At some points it may read like a checklist of royal possessions, but it is a tale of romance during turbulent times, the life of royalty in its prime and after the de-recognition of royalty, and adjusting in a polygamous marriage.

Those unfamiliar with some traditions might find it incomprehensible that someone would agree to be the 3rd wife willingly and co-exist with the older 2, but she explains the agreement and transition for the sake of love nicely.



Devina Dutta
The first chapter was kind of interesting detailing the life of the Maharani as a child. Well written and a kind of page turner, the memoir can be taxing and boring sometimes, but the hilarious scenes make up for it! So go for it if you are in for royal stuff and lavish descriptions of palatial buildings. It was interesting to read about a young princess who grows up to become a young woman living her own fairytale romance....
Jinky Lim
I just got back from my first trip to India, & found the country to be fascinating. I picked up this book at the bookshop in the City Palace in Jaipur. And now that I am back to my regular routine at home, reading & savoring every page slowly of this book brings me again to the wonders & beauty of everything I saw in India. There are lots of typographical errors though, & not enough pictures.
Tara
I visited jaipur recently and was thoroughly impressed by this historic city. even more fascinating are the dynastic rulers of this city. gayatri devi was the third and last wife of one such ruler. i personally loved reading about her early childhood and then the secret courtship. it's sad that currently her grandchildren and stepsons are embroiled in an inheritance battle.
Kris
This is an autobiography.
I bought this book in India and found her story really engaging. I believe we actually stayed in 'her palace' or part of the old palace that they had turned into a hotel. She and the family lived 'off aways' from the main resort.
When reading it, I was transported back in time and as we are very fond of India, loved reading this.
Michelle Heath
This was fascinating to me for the first half of the book as she was sharing the life she was born into and it was extremely extravagant. As her story unfolded I became less interested in her extravagant life and felt that she seemed stuck in it rather than broadening her horizons through the changes and hardships that evolved.
All in all, a good read.
Ancita
I am not a fan of memoirs or biographies, honestly. But it still interests me to know how a famous person's life spanned out.
Maharani Gayatri Devi's charisma oozes out of the inked pages. Her personality was awe-inspiring and the pictures provide ample proof of that.

It is a memorabilia presented through the lattice of Maharani's own words.
Aditi
It is interesting in bits n pieces, she tries to keep u gripped to the book as far as possible but then a few pages is OK to miss.

I loved the way she explains her royal life ,makes me want to live one .


The sad part was when she had to be imprisoned during emergency and series of deaths in her house which tore down her family.


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Gayatri Devi (23 May 1919 − 29 July 2009), often styled as Maharani Gayatri Devi, Rajmata of Jaipur, was born as Princess Gayatri Devi of Cooch Behar. She was the third Maharani of Jaipur from 1939 to 1970 through her marriage to HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II.

Following India's independence and the subsequent abolition of the princely states, she became an extremely successful politician. Gayatri
...more
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