|Sindoor Jatra of Maharajah Dev Shumsher in 1901 A.D.|
In Nepal too we had Coronation celebrations of King Mahendra in 1956 A.D. and of King Birendra in 1975 A.D. Representatives of 15 nations Nepal had established diplomatic relations with attended the coronation ceremony of King Mahendra. The international media came to Shangri-La in a frenzy to cover the virtually unknown country. By the time of King Birendra's Coronation Nepal was a truly established nation introduced to the world as a haven for the Hippy culture and backpackers exploring the high Himalaya. Nepal had established diplomatic relations with 60 nations and many of their representatives came to attend the ceremony including Britain's Prince Charles and Earl Mountbatten and the notorious First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos.
What is less known today is the Coronation ceremonies for the Rana prime ministers of Nepal who inherited together with the high post the title of Maharajah of Kaski and Lamjung. Thus they orchestrated grand "Sindoor Jatra" or Vermilion Festival and went around Kathmandu city in triumphal procession on elaborately caparisoned tusker elephants and accepted tribute from cheering crowds. Denizens of Kathmandu like a "ramita" or a show and irrespective of political leanings everybody has fun whether cheering a Shah king or a Rana maharajah, an elected politician or a recalcitrant Maoist. Why not indeed as a Jatra is a Jatra and merrymaking is in our genes!
|First Rana prime minister Maharajah Jung Bahadur Rana and his 6 brothers|
The following collection of photographs show the Rana Maharajahs participating in elaborate coronation ceremonies. I wanted to collect these old photographs and save it in one place for the history buffs. As Shakespeare wrote in King Henry IV, "uneasy lies the head that wears the crown". The Rana regime is history.
|The first Maharajah of the Shumsher clan Bir Shumsher during investiture ceremony|
|Maharajah Juddha in Coronation robe|
|Coronation of Maharajah Chandra Shumsher, courtesy Ayush SJB Rana|
|Maharajah Juddha Shumsher sitting on his coronation throne|
|Maharajah Dev Shumsher in coronation robe with King Prithivi Bir Bikram Shah in white military uniform|
|Maharajah Padma Shumsher with King Tribhuvan Bir Bikram Shah and his sons|
|Maharajah Mohan's Sindoor Jatra|
|Last Rana prime minister Maharajah Mohan Shumsher|