Early Years


Maharajah Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo was born on the 31st of March 1912, in Seraikela in the district of Singhbum.

The second son to the Maharajah of Seraikela, Aditya Narayan Singh and his wife Rani Padmini Kumar Devi – he inherited the stately lineage of the Rathores’ from his father and the Chauhans’ from his mother. The royals of Seraikela – a family of six brothers and three sisters -  had an especial inclination for the arts and ardently pursued many traditional forms of music and dance. Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo, as a young prince developed a knack for the traditional Chau dance, and excelled in it. His childhood home at Seraikela was idyllic and provided for the young prince a warm and creatively engaging space that in many ways wrought in him his finer sensibilities.

Even while he was very young, Prince Rajendra Narayan was discernibly special –he was empathetic as much as he was brave, and was very deeply spiritual.  It seemed as if he excelled in all that he ever undertook to do, so much so that even his older brothers wondered at his genius. Bhupendra Narayan Singh, the oldest Prince, once remarked “It was my privilege to serve him (Rajendra Narayan Singh Deo). I hero worshipped him and lionized him since my childhood. I followed him as leader.”

Beginning the early 1920’s the heirless Maharaja of the state of Patna- Bolangir, Maharajah Prithviraj Singh Deo found himself in a quandary – he was on the lookout for a successor to his kingdom. In 1922, he was refused the adoption of his nephew by his brother Prince Gopal Chandra Deo, who himself coveted the throne. It was then that the second son of his favorite niece - Rani Padmini Kumari Devi, the young prince Rajendra Narayan caught his eye.

In a ceremony that was almost surreptitiously held at the Sonepur House at Sambalpur, the young prince, ten years of age at the time, was adopted by the Maharajah of Patna State, Prithviraj Singh Deo. 

Immediately after, Prince Rajendra Narayan was sent to the Mayo College at Ajmer to commence his formal education and princely training. Between terms, he would return to the royal home at Seraikela, a time the family spent together amidst much camaraderie.

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