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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

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  628 Ratings  ·  67 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 2010 by Rupa & Co (first published March 28th 1976)
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Nov 19, 2007 Digi rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 21, 2011 Marcy rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 20, 2008 Scot rated it really liked it
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
Sep 17, 2012 Shreya rated it really liked it
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 :) :)
Tamanna  A. Shaikh
Jul 18, 2012 Tamanna A. Shaikh rated it really liked it
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
Mar 21, 2015 Mugdha rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 02, 2012 Audrey rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 08, 2016 Donnell rated it really liked it
My mother brought this book home for me from a trip to India, where she stopped at the City Palace in Jaipur. I had not really planned to read it but then it turned up on the must-read list of books given to the former porn star who wants to become a member of the highest echelons of Chinese society, in China Rich Girlfriend.

So glad I did read it--it explains so much about India, its history, its politics, how the Gandhis and Nehrus and the Maharajas fit in--not to mention why you ride elephants
enjoyed reading this book..and also beautiful pictures..
Mar 02, 2016 Rahul rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook
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Kathleen S
Sep 26, 2015 Kathleen S rated it liked it
Gayatri Devi grew up as an extremely rich princess of a small state in India. She was born in 1919. As a very young woman she fell in love with an older man, the maharaja of another princely state in India. When they married, she was his third wife, and the only wife that he chose. They lived in sumptuous palaces and spent most of their life frolicking with other wealthy people, mostly in India and London. This book is her memoir. Devi focused her life to pleasing her husband and caring for her ...more
Nov 30, 2009 Jodi rated it it was ok
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
Jan 05, 2013 Marcia Hartsock rated it really liked it
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
Aug 21, 2013 Greet rated it liked it
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
Feb 09, 2013 Simran rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Feb 05, 2016 Dr.J.G. rated it liked it
Love stories are far from unknown to India even from ancient times, and this is one of the modern ones, of one of the most renowned and acknowledged beauties of an era who happened to be a princess, and the prince who fell in love with her.

It is also far more, also, with the life they lived, and she after him, spanning much of the last century and going through years of independance and later through other trials of life and politics.

Worth reading.

Jul 31, 2014 Sherry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Prajakta Talekar
Feb 20, 2016 Prajakta Talekar rated it really liked it
I can't say that life of queen was ideal, we agree with her in every step of her life she described still her contribution is we can't just ignore. Where women were forced to go 'sati' after death of husband ,she actually almost succeeded in stopping 'parda' (veil) tradition. We can come to know politics in time after independence- nehru to Indira Gandhi.
Mar 19, 2012 Elvira rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Shreyans Goenka
Mar 22, 2016 Shreyans Goenka rated it really liked it
A fascinating glimpse into an extraordinary life! The book narrates an expanse of tales from the 'good old days' awash with the luxuries of the royal life (Tiger hunts with Queen Elizabeth!) to the realities of modern India, where she was jailed as a political prisoner. While, all the significant political events play out in the background, the inner private life proves to be much more captivating (baby panthers as pets!). The Maharani does hint at the intricacies of navigating a royal life, fro ...more
Sari Sikstrom
Jun 26, 2014 Sari Sikstrom rated it it was amazing
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.
Punarbasu Roy
Mar 20, 2016 Punarbasu Roy rated it it was amazing
Mesmerizing! The English was lucid yet simple and the journey of her life seemed very beautiful. The extravagant life, her courtship with Jay, and description of Jaipur and her hometown Coochbehar (which is my hometown too) are truly worth a read.
Jo Oehrlein
Aug 11, 2013 Jo Oehrlein rated it really liked it
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
Vamshi KV
May 06, 2015 Vamshi KV rated it really liked it
A deep view into the royal way of living, hardships the princess pass through after being married as X no of wife, the struggle for independence. Good read but at times it might be boring too
May 15, 2015 Arti rated it really liked it
never knew the city has witnessed such a terrific change...from being pampered by a devoted maharaja to being neglected by the democratically elected govt. this book is a great insight into the challenges of our princely states.
Apr 01, 2015 Rosamore marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Dec 20, 2009 Sana rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mar 27, 2014 Saritha rated it really liked it
Shelves: auto-biography
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.
Mary Gayen
Jun 12, 2016 Mary Gayen rated it liked it
Good insight into the abolition of privy purses time. Also good to understand the swantrata party, first real opposition against congress.
Mrs Blair Blair
Mar 22, 2015 Mrs Blair Blair rated it really liked it
A wonderful insight into the life of an Indian princess in the 20th century.
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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 D
More about Gayatri Devi...

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