Rajmata Gayatri Devi forgotten by her feuding family

Rajmata Gayatri Devi forgotten by her feuding family

The last Queen of Jaipur awaits a cenotaph at her cremation site

Rajmata Gayatri Devi forgotten by her feuding family

The Gaitor Chhatris are a fine blend of the Mughal and Rajasthani architecture. Photo by Surendra Jain Paras

As two of her stepsons and her grandchildren are engaged in a bitter property feud, the royal family seems to have forgotten to build a cenotaph for her even as the city readies to pay tribute to the last Queen of Jaipur on her first death anniversary on Thursday.
Her descendants have been more preoccupied with her properties worth millions of rupees, including palatial hotels in the state capital, than sparing a thought for the cenotaph that could very well turn out to be a tourist spot.

The cenotaphs of two other Maharanis of Sawai Man Singh II—Marudhar Kanwar and Kishore Kanwar—are at Gaitor so are the other memorials for other royals.

Built of marble or sandstone, the Gaitor Chhatris are a fine blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture.

People had expected a unique cenotaph for the popular princess who was once ranked among the world’s top ten beauties by Vogue magazine. Sadly, the inheritance issue issue has clearly pushed her aside.

Old people in the city said that it was a pious duty of the sons to erect a cenotaph. However, Gayatri Devi’s own son Jagat Singh passed away in 1997. It is now the responsibility of her grandson Devraj, who claims himself to be her rightful heir, to fulfil the obligation.

But neither Devraj who is fighting a legal battle with his uncles — Rajmata’s two stepsons — Prithvi Singh and Jai Singh nor the stepsons have so far taken up the initiative to erect the cenotaph.

There is a general feeling among the common people here that Gayatri Devi’s stepsons including the eldest, Brigadier Bhawani Singh, should have come forward to build the memorial.

After her death on July 29 last, no member of the royal family has taken active interest to build the memorial. As a  result, her cremation site remains  a barren lonely spot.

The royals have a tradition of lighting a lamp at the cenotaphs on death anniversaries, which are mostly done by locals. But the city that loved its royals doesn’t know whether to light a lamp in Gayatri’s memory or instead shed a tear for the absolute neglect meted out to her.