There is a varied programme of events to complement the exhibition.
Book online or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Special Events

Visual Impairment British Sign Language

Majestic Maharajas

  • Free Art Fun Festival
  • Sunday 1 November
  • Throughout the Museum
  • 10.30-17.00

Experience the life of the maharajas' courts for a day! Dress for the part in turbans and saris. Create beautiful head adornments, join in Indian dance and music workshops and play traditional courtly games. See a Ramayana puppet show and hear a wise tale or two. At the end of the day join our magnificent royal procession through the Museum. Includes BSL interpreted storytelling and audio-described performance.

Free, drop-in

The Sky Below - A Film by Sarah Singh

  • Sunday 15 November
  • Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre
  • 11.00-12.45

This courageous and moving award-winning film on the Partition of India evokes both painful memories and raises powerful issues which continue to trouble the sub-continent. Lyrically shot on both sides of the Indo-Pak border, with a strong local ethos communicated through the music, the language and the people - the film should be watched both by those who care about the legacy of the Partition as well those trying to understand the complexities of fighting wars in those lands. There will be a Q&A with Sarah Singh after the screening.

  • £4, no concessions
  • Book online
  • or call +44 (0) 20 7942 2211

This event has been organised in collaboration with Tongues on Fire, London's Asian Film Festival

Maharanis & Matriarchs - Influencing an Indian Empire

  • Sunday 15 November
  • Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre
  • 14.00-15.00

In this fascinating talk, Mahmood Jamal, a poet and author from Lucknow, traces the lives for three generations of Indian princesses each with their own spirit and courage. As privileged Maharanis, they were part of Indian traditional society, but they changed the world they lived in, shaping the way modern Indian women define themselves by defying the traditions and customs of the day.

  • Free, drop-in

This event has been organised in collaboration with Arts Versa

Music from the Courts of the Maharaja of Rajasthan

  • Friday 18 December
  • Lecture Theatre
  • 19.00-20.30

Discover the music from the courts of the maharajas of Rajasthan performed by the celebrated family of musicians, the Dagars, who played at court before the Partition of India in 1947. The performance will take place in a setting very similar to the style of the Maharajas' courts and the evening will also include readings and discussion.

  • £8, £6 concessions
  • Book online
  • or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Supported by the Darbar of Culture Heritage Trust


Curator Talk

  • Wednesday 4 November
  • Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre
  • 13.15-14.00

A lunchtime talk on Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts with curator, Anna Jackson.

  • Free, drop-in

Lunchtime Talk

  • A King in Every Saddle - The Nihang Singhs of Punjab
  • Wednesday 2 December
  • Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre
  • 13.15-14.00

Photographer Nick Fleming shares his own photographs and experience of living life in Punjab as a Nihang Singh, a nomadic Sikh warrior. These warrior ascetics were instrumental in carving out a Sikh kingdom in 18th century Punjab in the wake of Mughal and Afghan domination.

  • Free, drop-in


  • Indian Painting - Materials and Techniques
  • Wednesday 11 November
  • Seminar Room 2, Sackler Centre
  • 14.00-16.30

Take a closer look at the art of the Indian miniature from the V&A collection and find out more about the materials from which they were made. The V&A's world class conservators will show you how they look at paintings and glean information. There will also be a chance to visit the Paper Conservation Department at the V&A, where a selection of miniature paintings is being prepared for future displays. This afternoon event is aimed at the general public, artists and students of Indian art.

  • £25, £20 concessions

World Cities - Udaipur

  • Saturday 5 December
  • Seminar Room 1, Sackler Centre
  • 14.00-17.30

Udaipur in India is famous for its lakes and palaces which in centuries past served as the homes of royalty. Ranked seventh among the most beautiful cities in the world, it is often referred to as the 'Venice of the East' and is renowned for its 17th and 18th century waterfront temples and palaces and for its enchanting old town set in the heart of the Aravalli Mountains. Coinciding with the Maharaja exhibition, this event explores the architecture and culture of this ancient city with a travel writer, a curator and a historian.

  • £25, £20 concessions
  • Book online
  • or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


  • Maharaja: Representation and Reality
  • Saturday 21st November
  • Hochhauser Auditorium
  • 10.30-17.30

Explore the multiple legacies of India's kings: their impact on the cultural history of the sub-continent; their role as international patrons; explore the creation and continuing prevalence of the stereotype and the present-day identity of the maharaja. Curators and academics will cover various aspects of Indian culture, art and architecture and textiles and dress. The morning session will focus particularly on royal patronage and material culture and the afternoon will examine changing representations of the maharajas. Speakers will include Barbara Ramusack, Rosemary Crill, Susan Stronge and Karni Singh Jasol with HH Maharaj Kumar Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar and HH Rajkumari Padmaja Kumari Mewar.

  • £45, £36 concession, £5 students
  • Book online
  • or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Year Course

  • Arts in Asia: 1500-1900
  • China, South Asia and the Islamic Middle East
  • Mondays, 14 September 2009 - 19 July 2010, over 3 terms
  • 11.00-15.30

Gain an insight into the rich artistic heritage of Asia, from the Ming Chinese to the Ottomans and the Mughals. Learn how artists and craftspeople refined the arts of painting and calligraphy, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and carpets, carving and sculpture long admired in the West. Explore the architectural setting for worship, courtly and domestic life and the shifting relationship between function and form, symbolism and design in shaping objects for ritual and practical use, artistic appreciation and connoisseurship. The artistic patronage of rulers, scholars and merchants was a decisive factor during this period, and direct contact with European nations stimulated a burgeoning export market. Furniture, textiles, ceramics and lacquerware featured alongside staple exports of tea, silk and spices heralding a new era of artistic exchange.

Led by Course Director Helen Glaister, MA. Expert lecturers include V&A Senior Curators Tim Stanley, Rosemary Crill, Susan Stronge, Ming Wilson, Zhang Hongxing and the Director of Collections and Keeper of the Asian Department, Beth McKillop.

  • £1,630 full year, £585 per term, £53 per day, full fee
  • £1,300 full year, £470 per term, £42 per day, concessions
  • More Information
  • or to book, call +44 (0) 20 7942 2211

A carer accompanying a registered disabled person will be offered a free place

Short Course

  • The Silk Road - Asian Textiles
  • Tuesdays, 13 October - 15 December
  • Seminar Room 1, Sackler Centre
  • 14.00-16.30

Discover the rich diversity of textiles and dress from Asia, ranging from Turkey and Iran, to India and Pakistan, to China and Japan. Explore how textiles were used in courtly, religious and domestic life and how the relationship between function, form, symbolism and design influenced the making of these objects. Gain an understanding of the historical context for production and learn how the crafts of weaving, dyeing, printing and embroidery were refined, resulting in textiles that were sought after throughout Asia and in the West. The patronage of rulers, religious institutions, merchants and local consumers has shaped these objects which have been part of global trade for several millennia. Asian textiles were traded along the overland routes of the 'Silk Road' to Europe and were a staple of maritime trade with Africa, the Gulf countries and Europe, and between different parts of Asia itself. Access the V&A's extensive collection that highlights the ingenuity and beauty of these objects. Led by Eiluned Edwards, Research Fellow Asian Textiles, V&A.

  • £280, £224 concessions
  • More Information
  • or to book, call +44 (0) 20 7942 2211

More information or to book, call +44 (0)20 7942 2211


The Splendour of India's Royal Courts: Indian Miniatures

  • Tuesdays, 10 November - 15 December
  • Art Studio, Sackler Centre
  • 18.30-21.00

Learn how to draw and paint in this most seductive and elusive style. Inspired by the Maharaja exhibition and under the guidance of Indian miniaturist Hayley Brown you will use time-honoured techniques including outlining, colour filling and miniature shading and develop your own piece of work in several stages. Demonstrations and a visit to the exhibition as well as an introduction to the history of Indian miniature painting will complement the practical element of the course.

  • £230, no concession (includes materials)

Suitable for beginners but some painting experience would be helpful
More information or to book, call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Indian Style: Dressing Without Seams

  • Monday 30 November & Tuesday 1 December
  • Art Studio, Sackler Centre
  • 10.30-16.30

Make a garment fit for a maharaja or maharani, by learning the art of wrapping a piece of cloth around the body. Fashion designer Julianna Sissons will show you how to create designs cut from a single piece of cloth, perhaps a seam-free top or a slinky skirt. See what you can do with just a pair of scissors!

  • £120, no concessions (includes materials)
  • More Information or to book, call +44 (0) 20 7942 2211

Events for People with Disabilities

British Sign Language

Exhibition Tour

  • BSL Interpreted Event
  • Wednesday 2 December
  • Meeting Point, Grand Entrance
  • 14.30-16.30

An afternoon of comedy and Indian inspired nibbles with Jeff Mirza as well as an introduction to the exhibition.

  • Free, advanced booking is essential
  • Book online
  • or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Visual Impairment

Touch Tour

  • Tuesday 8 December
  • Meeting point, Grand Entrance
  • 16.30-18.30

A touch talk and tasting is followed by a tour of the exhibition.

  • Free, advanced booking is essential
  • Book online
  • or call +44 (0)20 7942 2211

Digital Drop-in Event

Magic Mirror

  • Sunday 1 November
  • Digital Studio, Sackler Centre
  • 11.00-16.00

Look into a virtual mirror and see yourself transformed into Indian royalty. Using the webcams on the computers in our Digital Studio you can see your own image appear as if dressed in the finery of the maharajas.

  • Free, drop-in

Part of Majestic Maharajas' Free Art Fun Festival

Free Art Fun: Activities for Families

Splendour and Sparkle

  • Monday 28 December 2009 - Friday 1 January 2010
  • Lunchroom, Sackler Centre
  • 10.30-12.30
  • 14.00-17.00

Explore the Museum to unearth Indian royal treasures and be inspired by colours, shapes and patterns to create your very own majestic jewelled sari and turban accessories. Dress up in splendour and sparkle and feel like a maharaja for a day.

  • Free, drop-in

Action for Children Display

Art Matters: The Maharaja's Procession

  • Saturday 10 October 2009 - Sunday 10 January 2010
  • Gallery 17A

The V&A is delighted to present 'Art Matters', a joint arts initiative between children's charity Action for Children and professional services firm Ernst & Young and for this year the V&A. Action for Children groups from across the country took part in a series of artist-led workshops to create 'The Maharaja's Procession' on display here. This initiative enables the young people taking part to explore their potential using art as a method of expression and to experience a sense of achievement.

The Art Matters workshops took as their starting point the concept of the Royal Procession, a major focal point of the exhibition Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts, sponsored by Ernst & Young. Some groups chose to focus on the splendour of the processions, which celebrated royal events and religious festivities. Others considered the symbolic meanings of the king's regalia and insignia, collectively known as lawajama, and made prints based on their own aspirations for the world or for their own lives.

  • Free, drop-in

Ernst And Young - Quality in everything we do (logo)Art Matters! (logo)Action for Children (logo)

Events are very occasionally subject to change without warning. We will make every attempt to ensure that those who have booked event tickets are informed of changes but cannot guarantee this for drop-in events.