Ever wondered who’s the wealthiest of them all? We’ve got the goods: Sir Yeshwant Holkar, The Maharaja of Indore, whose fortress stands proudly in Floral Park. Wait, let’s backtrack – What/who the hell is The Maharaja of Indore, in the first place? The Maharaja of Indore were members of The Holkar dynasty which was a Hindu Maratha royal house in India. The Holkars ruled as Maratha Rajas, and later as Maharajas of Indore in Central India as an independent member of the Maratha Empire until 1818. In other words, this dude was a king.
It is said that during this time, he could plunge his arm up to his elbow into several chests full of precious jewels. His treasure chests had an estimated value of $20 million in 1937. Today, taking inflation into account, that is equal to $344,902,857.14 down to the penny. Yowza! I think it’s safe to say that he was ballin’.
As the story goes, he chose to build his 18th home in Santa Ana because he wanted a safe place to raise his daughter, 5-year-old, Princess Usha. They loved the beauty and tranquility offered by Santa Ana. The home is located at the corner on Heliotrope and Santa Clara at 2221 North Heliotrope Drive and was built by the then most prominent building contractor in Orange County, Allison Horner. At the time, Allison Horner lived across the street and he then hired Donald Kirby of Balboa Island to design the house.
The Santa Ana Register stated, “A man’s home is his castle, and the castle being built for the world richest man, the Maharajah of Indore, in Santa Ana is not only a castle; it is literally a fortress. It will guard that which is more dear to him than all of his income-it will guard the safety and continued well-being of his daughter, Princess Usha.” According to this publication, this is the only castle in Western America to house a foreign ruler and his family.
At the time, the cost to build was only $50,000, however, over $150,000 was spent to furnish the entire home with the most exotic rugs and finishes. Every night, a servant slept in the hallway directly outside Princess Usha’s bedroom.
When the home was fully built, the Prince and his family moved in. His small circle of friends included his builder, Allison Horner, and attorney Dave Howell. Only after 1 year of living there, the family decided to move back to India to be of service to his emperor and his country. Princess Usha stayed in the Heliotrope house and attended Hoover Elementary.