Princess Diya Kumari, born into the illustrious royal family of Jaipur, is one of the most accomplished women of modern India. With admirable dexterity, she manages her numerous business ventures, school, museums and NGOs, while devoting a large part of her time to developing her constituency of Sawai Madhopur (a large area including Sawai Madhopur City and vast stretches of backwards rural areas, along with the Ranthambore National Forest and Tiger Reserve) as an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan.
She was born on 30th January 1971 the only child of H.H. Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh and H.H. Maharani Padmini Devi of Jaipur. Maharani Padmini Devi is the daughter of Their Highnesses Maharaja and Maharani of Sirmour (Himachal Pradesh).In the year of her birth, her father, then a Lt.Col. in the Indian Army and the Commanding Officer of 10 Para Commando, served with distinction in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 that led to the formation of Bangladesh. But shortly after that, her father relinquished his army career to concentrate on the administration of the City Palace and its museum and to promote tourism in Jaipur. So the young Princess Diya grew up seeing how a once opulent royal palace, an imperial abode, could become efficiently managed and be given a new purpose with the general public in mind. That was the role that she was to inherit in the future.
She studied at the Modern School, New Delhi, and at Maharani Gayatri Devi School for Girls in Jaipur, and later did a decorative arts course in London. Princess Diya Kumari is married to Maharaj Narendra Singh and they are blessed with three children. HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh was born on 2nd July 1998. He was later adopted as heir to the throne of Jaipur by his grandfather, His Highness Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur, and succeeded him in April 2011. He has a younger sister Rajkumari Gauravi Kumari, and a brother HH Maharaja Lakshraj Prakash of Sirmour.
In addition to being a doting mother of three children, she is a Secretary of two Trusts, namely the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, the City Palace, and the Jaigarh Charitable Trust, Jaigarh Fort, Amber. She steers both with vision and determination. The museum particularly demands a lot of attention; its continuing success requires planning, forethought, imagination and business acumen. Other family businesses which require the Princess’ attention include the ownership and running of two hotels, the Rajmahal Palace in Jaipur, and Jaipur House in Mt. Abu. She manages the Durga Diya Enterprises, the Palace Cafe, and also looks into the management of the Ashok Club, one of the most exclusive clubs in the country. She also runs two highly prestigious educational institutes of Jaipur – The Palace School and The Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh School. An educationist at heart, she takes a personal interest in managing both the institutes as she feels that education plays a vital role in transforming both individual lives and the society as a whole.
Princess Diya instituted the Young Achiever in Education award in her name to encourage the youth to excel in the field of academics. This award is given during the annual award ceremony organised now in the memory of her father the Late Brig. HH Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur.
A connoisseur of art and culture, Princess Diya Kumari takes an active part in promoting traditional arts, music and dance. She is active, involved in the ‘Friends of Museum’, started by her father His Late Highness Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh of Jaipur. Her main focus is to promote the dying arts of Jaipur and support craftsmen associated with it. Various fairs and festivals are organised within and outside the city to provide an avenue to these craftsmen to demonstrate their skills and sell their products directly to the customer. This has given a much-needed impetus to the arts of Rajasthan, which are on the verge of extinction.
Gunijankhana meaning “a place for people with values” was a 17 th Century tradition of the Royal Family of Jaipur to provide a forum for encouraging singers, musicians and dancers to exhibit their arts. This tradition became defunct in 1949. Princess Diya Kumari revived this royal tradition in 2013 wherein the City Palace would provide a platform for all national and international virtuosos of the performing, literary and visual arts, the Sciences, Film and Media as well as the Culinary Arts to showcase their talents.
Princess Diya Kumari has been actively associated with several NGOs and organisations involved in charity and social works. She is actively involved with the Eye Bank Society of Rajasthan and is also the patron of Rays, an NGO working for HIV+ children. She also monitors the working of Sawai Man Singh Prathmik Chikitsalaya, which aims to provide good medical attention to the common man and to distribute free allopathic medicines to the needy.
In 2013 she established the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (http://www.princessdiyakumarifoundation.org) with an objective of empowering women through Vocational training, education, and livelihood generation. Needy women, in particular, are being taught various artisanal, handicraft and agricultural skills to make them self-reliant, and to help link their products to the market.
Also in 2013 on the assurance of good governance and inclusive development, she was elected a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan from Sawai Madhopur, a town that had been founded by her ancestor Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh Ji. The Princess, with her foundation and her MLA role, is very active in Sawai Madhopur, and facilitates the work of various development agencies, donors, and NGOs and to support and coordinate their work with all stakeholders—local and state authorities, development schemes, and the urban and rural communities for development issues ranging from water and sanitation, women’s empowerment, health, education, employment, environment, agriculture, and rural development. The development
The Princess, with her foundation and her MLA role, is very active in Sawai Madhopur, and facilitates the work of various development agencies, donors, and NGOs and to support and coordinate their work with all stakeholders—local and state authorities, development schemes, and the urban and rural communities for development issues ranging from water and sanitation, women’s empowerment, health, education, employment, environment, agriculture, and rural development. The development challenges in Sawai Madhopur are compounded by the fact that it includes the Ranthambore National Forest and Tiger Reserve, complicating the possibility of investments from many business sectors, due to environmental constraints, but she is determined to catalyse and forge the best possible partnerships and innovative solutions for social and economic development.
In 2014 she was appointed Rajasthan State Government’s Ambassador for the “Save the Girl Child” campaign and was awarded the YFLO Women Achievers Award in Politics by the Young FICCI Ladies Organization(YFLO), New Delhi. Most recently in January 2017, Princess Diya Kumari was conferred upon an honorary doctorate award by the Amity University in Jaipur.The doctorate award(Doctor of Philosophy)has been given to her in recognition of her immense contribution and impact in the field of philanthrophy and playing a lead role in family heritage.