DEFINITION OF ETERNAL MEWAR
The House of Mewar, acknowledged as the world's oldest-serving dynasty, has faced challenges, which have tested the maintenance of the Custodianship form of governance and the Custodian's commitment to carry on serving as The Diwan of Shree Eklingnath ji. In 1947 with India's Independence and again in 1971, with the abolition of Princely Privileges, the office of the Custodian necessitated reinventions. In 1984 the mantle of 76th Custodian devolved upon Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur. The original status of Custodian, as provided in the Constitution of India, ceased to exist. The challenge, therefore, for Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur was to bring the different identities of inheritance under one umbrella. Eternal Mewar is conceptualized to provide the vision for the 21st century, it expresses, embodies and encompasses the core values, principles and the legacy of the House of Mewar. Eternal Mewar covers all the activities of the House of Mewar. Eternal Mewar has also emerged as a unique heritage brand exemplifying hospitality, cultural preservation, philanthropy, education, sports & spirituality for global audiences.
The Evolution of an Institution
Under the leadership of the 76th Custodian, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, 'Focus Areas' for the Eternal Mewar initiatives have been defined. In consultation with leading global and Indian architects, conservationists, environmentalists, artists and educationists, these 'Focus Areas' have become the thrust of the Eternal Mewar initiatives in the twenty-first century.
Eternal Mewar is an expression of the value of Custodianship, which is a role model of governance and sustenance for this century. Numerous initiatives have been adopted as a driving force while enduring inherited responsibilities.
A Joint Co-operation Programme (JCP) was signed between Indian Heritage Cities Network Foundation, UNESCO India Office, New Delhi; Udaipur Municipal Council; The City of Strasbourg (Municipalite de Strasbourg), France and Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur for three years 2011-2013 to strengthen Udaipur's knowledge base, develop a framework and undertake activities to preserve its heritage and develop international collaboration and partnerships for heritage-based projects in Udaipur. A signing ceremony was held at The City of Strasbourg, France on the 2nd October 2011.
The purpose of the JCP is to establish a decentralized programme for a period of initially 3 years between the cities of Udaipur and Strasbourg to work together on heritage related projects at State-level. The JCP will provide the opportunity for a long-term relationship between the Government of Rajasthan, IHCN-F, UMC, MS and MMCF to develop a technical exchange in heritage-sensitive urban development.
Tripoliya, 'The Triple Arched' Gate built with white marble procured from Rajnagar, Rajasthan by Rana Sangram Singh II, the 61st Custodian of House of Mewar in A.D. 1711 stands at the northern end of The City Palace. Only the Maharana used to enter through the middle arch while other subjects and visitors used the two side arched entries of Tripoliya. The gate was a symbol of sovereignty and an independent state. The gate was further adorned by adding the first story of Hawa Mahal during the reign of Maharana Swaroop Singh r. 1842-61, which was restored in 2005 by Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur. However, no previous Maharana had installed the traditional wooden gates in Tripoliya despite the fact that provision was kept on the sides of each arch for such an installation by Rana Sangram Singh II. Now, after a long gap of 300 years and 15 Custodians, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur the present 76th Custodian of House of Mewar and Chairman and Managing Trustee of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur took the initiative of installing three massive wooden gates at the 'The Triple Arched' gate Tripoliya in 2010 as a way of completing his obligations to his forefathers.
Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation supported the project of Ecological Restoration of Ahar River and Ecological Improvement of Udai Sagar Lake through Bio Techniques. The aim is to create a pollution free environment and habitat and to rejuvenate the Ahar River and Udai Sagar Lake with echo-technology and ecological engineering.
Installation of the statue of Maharana Pratap at Pratap Prangan, Maharana Pratap Airport, Dabok, Udaipur
The Ststue is seen as a fitting tribute to the spirit of Mewar and its valour. The location of the statue makes it a central focus of attention from the moment of arrival at the airport, and is also visible for departing passengers. This unique statue of Maharana Pratap, a hero of freedom and self-respect depicts the undefeated eternal values of Mewar.
An Audio Tour Guide is launched to enhance the experience of visitors to The City Palace Museum and Crystal Gallery.
A heritage motor launch Ford 17+1 seater and heritage motor launch Crysler 24+1 seater are restored to meet today's stringent environmental standards. Both the launch restored to its former glory, 100 years old, are now propelling in Lake Pichola.
Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation pioneered a complete explosive detection in the entire Palace premises under a risk management plan.
Mewar Sabha Shiromani is a forum developed to unite the people and friends of Mewar spread globally, with an objective to rekindle and revitalise our heritage and to become an integral part of 'The Strength of Mewar'.
The first Museum to carry out a Photogrammetry survey for a Conservation Master plan of The City Palace, Udaipur.
A collection of Flora Danica porcelain is exhibited at The Gallery Restaurant, Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur.
India's first privately financed and produced Son et Lumiere The Mewar Sound and Light Show is shown at The City Palace in English and Hindi.
Eurosolar awarded Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation the European Solar Prize 2005 in the category 'One world co-operation' for the development of solar projects in India.
The first prototypes of vehicle powered by solar panels are designed and tested during a series of international rallies in Rajasthan.
The Palace The Vintage & Classic Car Collection is open to the public.
The first solar powered boat is built. It is now used commercially at Gajner Lake, Gajner Palace, Gajner (near Bikaner).
Considered to be the world's largest private collection of crystal furniture and objects is displayed at Crystal Gallery, Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur.
Time-honoured traditions dating to 17th century if not earlier in the shape of Regal Festivals are revived. These festivals of Holika Dahan, Ashwa Poojan, and Kartik Poornima vehicle the values and history of Eternal Mewar; and their perpetuation, promoting also alongside contemporary cultural expression in a spirit of innovation and creativity are meant to stimulate the intangible cultural heritage of the land, while offering something truly original and authentic to a tourist in Udaipur.
Historic Resort Hotels Pvt. Ltd. is instituted. The first heritage property converted into a hotel is The Lake Palace in 1963 followed by Shikarbadi in 1976 and Shiv Niwas Palace in 1982. Nine properties are now under the flagship of HRH Group of Hotels, the only chain of heritage palace-Hotels and resorts in Rajasthan and India.
The Palace Band is revived. The Band's history can be traced back to Maharana Shambhu Singhji (1861-74 AD).
The first Maharana Mewar Foundation Annual Awards Distribution Ceremony is held to honour individuals for their achievements of permanent value rendered to society.
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House of Mewar
The House of Mewar in the twenty-first century is represented by its 76th Custodian, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar and his family. Leading by example, Shriji (as he is reverentially and traditionally addressed) has been personally involved and associated with every activity emanating from The City Palace. His hands-on management style has motivated and encouraged every member of the family to be similarly associated with key initiatives of Eternal Mewar. Conscious of the responsibilities of Custodianship, the family members have demonstrated their committment to the 'living heritage' of Mewar as enshrined in The City Palace of Udaipur and through the Mewar region of Rajasthan and India.
SHRIJI ARVIND SINGH MEWAR OF UDAIPUR
Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur is the 76th Custodian of the House of Mewar. A multifaceted personality, Shriji has been preserving a vibrant cultural heritage enshrined in The City Palace, Udaipur in Rajasthan. As the Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), Udaipur, Shriji is managing a spectrum of philanthropic and charitable activities emanating from the City Palace in Udaipur. Several non profit and commercial organisations are seamlessly networked to exemplify ‘Eternal Mewar’ for global and indian audiences.
A multifaceted personality, Shriji has been preserving a vibrant cultural heritage enshrined in The City Palace, Udaipur in Rajasthan. As the Chairman and Managing Trustee of the Maharana Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF), Udaipur, Shriji is managing a spectrum of philanthropic and charitable activities emanating from the City Palace in Udaipur. Several non profit and commercial organisations are seamlessly networked to exemplify ‘Eternal Mewar’ for global and indian audiences. The Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Vidyadan Trust, Maharana Mewar Historical Publications Trust, and Rajmata Gulab Kunwar Charitable Trust have emerged as the public charitable trusts responsible for more than 50 developmental projects in and around Udaipur. The City Palace Museum, Maharana Mewar Special Library, Maharana Mewar Research Institute, the publications division and educational institutes are some of the key projects being managed and developed by the Trusts.
HRH Group of Hotels, Udaipur, is the flagship commercial venture of the House of Mewar. HRH Group of Hotels is India’s largest and only chain of heritage palace-hotels and resorts under private ownership that offers regal experiences in island-palaces, museums, galleries, car collections, and much more.
Shriji was bestowed with the VIII Annual Gala WT Institution Award 2012 for ‘Contribution to Universal Culture’ at the General Assembly of United Nations Headquarters in New York for his leadership and work through the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation, Udaipur. WT is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. He was awarded the HIFI Hall of Fame Award by Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) on January 2012 for his exemplifying outstanding business practices, leadership and achievements in the hospitality industry. In recognition of his contribution for the promotion of tourism in the country, Shriji has been conferred the prestigious 'Agastya Award' by the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) for the year 2001. Shriji has been an active member of the prestigious World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) which is the global forum for business leaders in the travel and tourism trade. With the Government of Rajasthan, Shriji has been the advisor to the Rajiv Gandhi Tourism Development Mission; he has also been an Executive Member of The Rajasthan Foundation, dedicated to the promotion of Rajasthan Tourism worldwide.
Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur was educated at the prestigious Mayo College, Ajmer from where he completed his school certificate conducted by the Cambridge University. He obtained his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Udaipur. He studied English literature, economics and political science at the Maharana Bhupal College in Udaipur.
To polish his business acumen, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur undertook a hotel management course from The Metropolitan College, St Albans in the UK. Later, he gained invaluable on-job training in hospitality services in the United States.
Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur is a keen sportsman and aviator.
An avid cricketer, he has represented his school, university and Rajasthan State in cricket tournaments in India. Till date he remains a patron of the game and a member of the Rajasthan Cricket Association, the Cricket Club of India, Bombay Cricket Association and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), London.
He has been instrumental in the transforming polo in India through the establishment of Mewar Polo. Shriji established Ramgarh Resort & Polo Club in Jaipur as India’s first ‘polo destination’. He has been patronising polo in the UK through the Cambridge & New Market Polo Club.
Shikarbadi Hotel in Udaipur now has a private airport where Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur has been developing his passion for aviation and sports. Microlite aircraft and smaller airplanes are available for personal use and special guests; he is working towards converting the Shikarbadi private airport into a commercial one to be developed as a 'city airport'.
SMT. VIJAYARAJ KUMARI MEWAR OF UDAIPUR
Smt. Vijayraj Kumari Mewar of Udaipur has been a pillar of strength and support, encouraging various philanthropic activities emanating from The City Palace, Udaipur.
Smt. Vijayraj Kumari Mewar of Udaipur had been associated with the development of the Maharana Mewar Public School in the 1980s. She spent productive years helping the school professionalise its outlook and educational commitment to the people of Udaipur. Education, and the ensuing benefits for society, is a subject that is close to her heart.
Hailing from the Royal Family of Kutch, Smt. Vijayraj Kumari Mewar of Udaipur is the younger daughter of Maharaj Fateh Singhji of Kutch and the grand-daughter of Maharao of Kutch. Educated in Ooty, in a Franciscan convent, she realised the importance of education and discipline at a very early age. In the 1960s, she had the opportunity of travelling overseas and being witness to vast social and economic changes being brought about in Europe and America. Her belief in indian values and spirituality was further strengthened through these travels.
Having settled down in Udaipur, after her marriage to Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, Smt. Vijayraj Kumari Mewar of Udaipur continued her quest for personal growth and spiritual upliftment.
She has been associated with the public and private charitable trusts that are maintaining the ancient temples of Mewar, including the Shree Eklingji Trust. She has always lent her gracious support to the ongoing developmental activities of these trusts. Her gracious presence, during the royal festivals, is a source of motivation and encouragement. In her personal capacity, she has been a devout member of the famous Bihar School of Yoga and has made significant contributions for the perpetuation of the School and the teachings of its learned Gurus.
She is the Joint Managing Director of the flagship company Historic Resorts Hotels Pvt Ltd.
For her three children – Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur, Ms. Padmaja Kumari Mewar of Udaipur and Mr. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar of Udaipur – Smt. Vijayraj Kumari Mewar of Udaipur has ensured a liberal education, a deeply spiritual outlook towards life, and the strength to uphold the responsibilities that come with their unique status as family-members of the House of Mewar.
MS. BHARGAVI KUMARI MEWAR OF UDAIPUR
Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur – Executive Director of the HRH Group of Hotels – completed her education in the United Kingdom where she studied at the Isle of Man. She had spent formative years in school at Udaipur. She came back to the heritage-city and has been involved in various developmental activities underway at HRH Group of Hotels since the late 1980s. She assisted her father, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur, in the revitalisation plans of The Durbar Hall, renovations at Shiv Niwas Palace and Fateh Prakash Palace in those years when the organisation was slowly taking corporate shape. Her hands-on approach and on-the-job training gave her confidence to expand the ambit of her expertise.
With the emergence of ‘Mewar Polo’ in India, UK and Europe, as one of the first private professional polo teams, Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur was instrumental in popularising the sport. Her marriage to Thakur Lokendra Singh Rathore, one of the finest polo-players of India today and a former captain of the India team to the World Cup, has cemented her love and relationship with the sport. Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur gave shape to Shriji’s dreams of developing Ramgarh Resort & Polo Complex as one of India’s first polo-destinations. Ramgarh Resort & Polo Complex is located near Jaipur, on the edge of the Ramgarh Lake with rugged mountains ringing it.
‘Aashka – the lifestyle boutique’ has been conceptualised and created by Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur. Her endeavour has been to popularise and revitalise the handicraft and handloom traditions of the Mewar region. Aashka today contains the finest collection of handicrafts in metal, glass, marble, stone, wood, silver and gold that reflect the width and depth of Mewar’s crafts. Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur has ensured that the master-craftsmen and their artisans are able to benefit most as they translate the designs into reality for visitors to take back mementoes from Udaipur.
Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur is now drawing up elaborate plans to give Aashka its due place in the retail world where the emphasis is on authentic designs and textures.
Ms. Bhargavi Kumari Mewar of Udaipur lives in Jaipur with her polo-playing husband, Lokendra, and her two daughters.
MS. PADMAJA KUMARI PARMAR
Padmaja Kumari Parmar represents the third generation of heritage-hoteliers at the Historic Resort Hotels, often referred to as the HRH Group of Hotels. It is India's only chain of heritage palace-hotels under private ownership. Headquartered in Udaipur, a city founded in 1559 on the banks of Lake Pichola, the HRH Group is preserving royal palaces as 'heritage grand hotels' and offering authentic regal experiences on island-palaces and historic venues. Shiv Niwas Palace, Fateh Prakash Palace and Jagmandir Island Palace in Udaipur are the flagship palace-hotels of the Group.
Padmaja, 33, is the Executive Director-Business Development of the HRH Group. The Chairman and Managing Director of the Group is her father, Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar whose illustrious family are the Custodians of the former State of Mewar since 734 A.D. Padmaja, is now living in Boston, after her marriage to Dr Kush Parmar. She is enhancing the business presence of the HRH Group in the United States, Latin American countries, and in the European Union through active participation in global travel marts and trade shows.
Padmaja is a member of the advisory board for The Bvlgari Hotel and Resorts, London the Italian luxury label, which is co-managed by UK-based Prime Hotels.
Since 2006, Padmaja has been invited to attend the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summits held every year in the US. She has utilized the opportunity to meaningfully interact with global celebrities, thought-leaders, chairpersons of multinational corporations and media persons during the Summits.
In November 2009, she attended Maharaja - Representation and Reality, a seminar at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London that covered a number of issues on how heritage has been used as an asset in today's India and how it is being re-presented and re-packaged by the tourism industry. In June 2013, Padmaja was invited by Dell as one of the top Global Women Entrepreneurs to participate in the Fourth Annual Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event in Istanbul. The event was held to share the positive impact that women-owned businesses are having on the global economy. As a panelist in the session on 'Lessons from Legacy Businesses', Padmaja shared the experiences of her family business and its strategy to work towards sustainable growth through heritage tourism.
Padmaja's interviews and photo-features have been published in leading newspapers and magazines such as the New York Times, National Geographic (Russia), Vogue Italy, India and Latin America, Hello, The Times of India, DNA, Beautiful People, and Express Travel & Hospitality. Elected as an independent member, in the first batch of 47 independent women-members, Padmaja is a member of the famous Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, where her grandfather and father have been illustrious members. She loves to travel and spends her leisure time reading and viewing cinema from all over the world. She is a keen swimmer, tennis enthusiast and horse-rider.
Padmaja Kumari Parmar began her career in the hospitality industry as a 'special services representative' at the iconic Four Seasons Hotel in New York. Through October 2004 to March 2006 she coordinated the hospitality for its top 100 guests. Since then, she has been giving HRH Group the benefit of her learning experience in the United States. "It was an enormous learning experience at the Four Seasons, coordinating critical activities between all the departments. For me, there was a sense of permanence in what I was learning, for I knew I would be utilizing it at a later date back home. I am happy that at HRH Group I am slowly implementing what I learnt at Four Seasons in New York," she said. Attending global travel marts at London, Berlin, Madrid, Moscow and Greece, through 2006 to 2010, Padmaja has been building new business alliances and getting first-hand knowledge of the hospitality industry and its growing demands and expectations. She has led the participation of HRH Group at major travel shows in India such as IATO, SATTE and GITB. In 2007, Padmaja received the SATTE-INTACH Award for the pioneering achievements of HRH Group in heritage tourism.
In May 2007, she addressed the OSS Network conference of foreign and Indian delegates in New Delhi.
Padmaja attended the three-day conference during the XXVI IATO Annual Convention held in September 2010 at Udaipur. The convention was focused on 'Tourism in the New World Order'. She addressed the audience, as a panelist, on the topic 'Bollywood and Tourism'. She hosted a dinner for Sr. Vice President, IATO; Addl. Director General, Tourism, Government of India; Commissioner cum Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Rajasthan and discussed the framing of new policies and developments in tourism sector at The Durbar Hall, Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur. She played a vital role in the IATO convention and organised a memorable farewell dinner for the 1500 IATO delegates from all over the country at The Manek Chowk.
In 2006-07, as part of HRH's corporate social responsibility, the Amity Polo Cup was supported in its endeavor to help the girl-child. In Kolkata, Padmaja attended the 'Samman Samaroh' organized by the Rajasthan Foundation during September 2006.
As a young business leader, Padmaja has been regularly and extensively profiled in leading magazines and newspapers in India and overseas.
Padmaja Kumari Parmar is a Trustee on the Board of Alakh Nayan Mandir, an Udaipur-based public charitable trust and medical institution dedicated to eye-care. She has also been a member of the Advisory Committee of a society at Seva Mandir, Udaipur which works for the upliftment of women.
She has been lending support to educational organizations and chambers of commerce and trade who are keen to develop and build human resources.
She was the co-patron of the 'multidisciplinary international conference on emerging issues' that was organized in August 2009 by the Udaipur-based Aishwarya Education Society, and North England Business Administration Association, USA.
Padmaja visited Jaipur on October 1, 2009 to meet a team of doctors, technicians and nursing staff from Orbis International as well as the India Office whose DC10 flying hospital was stationed at Jaipur for a 12-day visit as a part of their global program to both treat patients and train medical staff. During her interactions, Padmaja spoke about diabetes and retinopathy. She also attended the Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Camp the next day at Odhan, Nathdwara.
During October 2009, she was in New York City to attend an annual gala fund raising dinner in aid of Children's Hope for India.
Padmaja attended a seminar organized by Alakh Nayan Mandir (ANM), Udaipur as their Special Guest at The Durbar Hall, Fateh Prakash Palace, The City Palace, Udaipur on September 29, 2010. The objective of the seminar was to create awareness amongst like-minded individuals and friends of ANM to encourage them to join hands with ANM and support its new projects and activities at Udaipur to eradicate blindness in Southern Rajasthan. Around 50 couples attended the seminar.
She attended the Mind and Life XXII Conference held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from November 20-23, 2010 where His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India and Prof. Wolf Singer discussed the importance of scientific findings on the secular benefits of contemplative practices, especially those practices that have been originated and developed in India.
MR. LAKSHYARAJ SINGH MEWAR OF UDAIPUR
Mr. Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar of Udaipur is the youngest child of Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar of Udaipur and Smt Vijayraj Kumari Mewar of Udaipur. Belonging to the royal family of Mewar, he is a direct descendant of such luminaries in Indian history such as Maharana Sanga and Maharana Pratap.
Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar was schooled at Mayo College, Ajmer and later at the Blue Mountains Hotel Management School in Australia. Here he obtained a bachelor of commerce degree and also gained hands-on experience in the hospitality industry, serving at all levels of the business, including as a barista and a waiter. He later studied management at the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
He returned to Udaipur to join the family hospitality and heritage hotels business. His first charge was the redevelopment of the Jagmandir Island Palace, which he transformed from an abandoned ruin to one of the world's most exclusive wedding destinations. He has recently been promoted to the position of Executive Director of several companies, including the HRH Group of Hotels. He is also a trustee of the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation set up by his grandfather, HlH Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar of Udaipur. He is especially involved in the running of the Foundation's educational trust, and takes particular interest in the day to day running of the schools under the trust.
He gave up a promising career in cricket to concentrate on sports administration. Presently he is the President of the Udaipur District Cricket Association and has had a remarkable run of success in every facet of the game. At State level, he is a Special Invitee of the Rajasthan Cricket Association along with Chairman – Technical Committee and Special Invitee for World Class Stadium Committee (Jaipur and Udaipur); he is also an Advisor to The President of Rajasthan Cricket Association.
He is also the Vice - President of the Maharana Pratap Smarak Samiti, Udaipur and is extremely active in the conservation of Mewar's cultural and historic heritage.
Lakshyaraj uses his public profile to create awareness about issues relevant to the urban and rural societies in the region and campaigns for health, environmental and youth causes. The love and trust accrued over 76 generations by his family allow him to take a leading role in social causes close to his heart.
In his personal life Mr. Mewar enjoys playing music, painting and aeromodelling. He encourages fresh talent in the creative fields by giving them opportunities to exhibit and perform in the group's properties. He is active and connected to all the networking services with 21000 connections and if you like to link up then connect to facebook, he is sociable to all at large extent.