Maharaja Ram Singh II (1835-1880) was one of the most remarkable rulers of Jaipur. He was a minor when got the responsibility of the throne. Maharaja Ram Singh II of Jaipur differed from his ancestors. He was an enlightened ruler and owned a number of talents. He was a great patron of art and learning, a great ballroom dancer, a photographer and an able admin
istrator. In fact he use to wander in the streets of the city at night in disguise to be ware of the condition of his people. His administrative reforms and contribution to the state is remembered even today. Forty –five years of his rule are famous as the golden age of Jaipur. In that period he built many of the public buildings, set offices for better education, facilitated road lights and water supply. Some of these public buildings are the Town Hall, Ram Niwas Garden, Ram Prakash Theatre, and Albert hall Museum, Maharaja School of Arts and Crafts.
He was perhaps the ‘first great prince’ to master ballroom dancing and cut a handsome figure as the vicereine’s partner at dances. He was fond of dancing and was a great ballroom dancer.
Maharaja Ram Singh’s other hobby was photography that he persued with royal zeal. His studio was filled with the best equipment of his time. A collection of his cameras fitted with lenses and diaphragms, dark room equipment, bottles of chemicals, manuals, framed enlarge
ments etc. are carefully preserved in the photography room and are on view in the city museum. He bought his first camera in 1864 and became the first Rajasthani “Photographer Prince”. Even Prince of Wales remarked that ‘many of the Princes of India took to Photography but the Maharaja is a master in the art’. Louis Rousselet who himself was a photographer says that he is not only an admirer of this art but is himself a skilled photographer. In the same sequence Maharaja opened the School of Arts in 1866. Among these photographs, a self- portrait of the Maharaja is the most memorable one.
Maharaja Ram Singh built a unique hall of paintings called the Ram Niwas in the specially laid out g
ardens, for educating his subjects on arts. The wall had copies of Greek, Roman, Persian, and Chinese Paintings. Even today the Ram Niwas is a tourist attraction of Jaipur. He was a great connoisseur of music and was adept at playing the veena. He founded Ram Prakash theatre, which was rated the most modern theatre of its time. It delighted audiences with a series of backdrops, which transformed the stage from a palace into garden where fairies and aeroplanes could fly in from the sky and god and demons appears from under the stage to heighten the drama.
It is also said that the pink city has the pink colored buildings due to his choice only. In 1876 when the Prince of Wales planned to visit the city, Maharaja wanted the city to look clean. Thus to welcome the guest various shades were experimented in different streets and finally the terracotta pink was selected for the main shopping area. This color stayed and the city got its name as The Pink City. The visitor could find different shades of pink ranging from ice cream pink to terracotta red.