Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts Multimedia Tour Podcast

Asian Art Museum

Put together in 2011 by the Asian Art Museum.  On any reproductions found in the downloads, I have good news and bad news.  They do have photos, but it consists only of a promotional poster.  Only one, A Ruler At Worship, has a different picture.

So, this former acoustiguide recounts and celebrates the good and sumptuous life of India’s royalty.  I watched one video podcast that showed one of the carriages and it did look pretty luxurious.  In short, this revolves around the furniture that represented their wealth.  The podcast also explained their purpose, function, and what it symbolized.   When it came to the royal court fashion, have their own section too, particularly the fashion styles found in bridal wear.  They even devoted a podcast to pistols.  When it came to photography, Man Ray shows up and they talk about aristocrats he took photos of.  The occasional portrait shows up in the series too.  Explains how rulers exerted and looked in India as an ideal.  Not to mention the off time of royalty courtesy of board games.  The art that glorified the Maharaja felt no different from most art depicting rulers at their most powerful and ideal.  On any background music, the sitar permeates occasionally, giving this podcast this heavy and luxurious atmosphere.

Seems a little light on the history, for this series rarely puts these pieces in any era except in one part dealing with British and Mughal contact.  In fact, British involvement plays heavily in this acoustiguide.  They do give dates to show gender roles, such as the active life of Queen Chand Bibi.  The advances of women in India by powerful people mentioned in the acoustiguide.  I enjoyed the tidbit about how in the maharaja’s room, they would spray the guests with perfume as they entered the space.  I plan on doing that when somebody enters my space.  Near the end of the podcast, did the prime minister Indira Ghandhi’s decisions of stripping away the power of the Indian Royalty did financial realities of class systems show up.

As usual, a nice and informative podcast one should take time to listen.

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