Some 130 miles by sea down the west coast of India, south from Bombay, lies the little district headquarters of Ratnagiri. The name means “the hill of jewels.” On the highest point of land, within the civil station proper, there is an imposing stone residence of some thirty rooms, including a detached section of private quarters. This structure, now utilized as a dwelling by the Collector of Ratnagiri, was for some 25 years the home of King Thebaw and his two Queens. Except for Kipling's famous song, Thebaw and Su Paya Lat and Su Paya Gale (who were sisters to each other and half-sisters to the King) would have been almost forgotten. They were after all but tinsel rulers of an unstable throne.

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