Indian royal splendour on display at the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum in London

When it comes to majestic grandeur, few monarchies in the world matched the opulence of India's royal courts in their heyday. The Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum in London has brought some of that splendour to life in a new exhibition featuring more than 250 rarely seen objects, including thrones, gem-encrusted weapons and even a life-sized and bejewelled maharaja's model elephant. Organisers say that Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts is the first display that comprehensively explores the world of these exotic rulers and their rich culture.

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