Secular Indian Kings and Maharajahs - Servants of God

Rani Mangammal's deity. Meenashi
Rani Mangammal, Madurai. A devotee of Meenashi
Goddess Bhavani giving the sword to Chatrapathy Shivaji,atTuljapur.en

Centuries ago, India's  kings and Maharajahs were deeply religious and devout Hindus in every aspect, strictly following the Hindu scriptures and Sastras, upholding dharma and rules of law at any cost regardless of circumstances.  Faith in God burns with an immortal light throughout history. To them, the origin of duties is in God. Our conscience invokes Him the most solemn moments of grief and of joy. Our 99.99% of perspiration will go waste if we lack one percent of God's blessings, which one may call luck. That is the main reason why India did not produce any despotic kings. Nor did it produce maniacs like Hitler. Though religious, the Hindu rulers did respect other religions and never stood in their way of preaching. Hence, they were secular in attitude and never stood in the way of religious freedom.

Veera Pandya Kattabomman's deity.Thiruchendur Murugan.

The rulers of India took great pride in building huge towering temples in their kingdoms to express their gratitude to the almighty and conducted important temple rituals and festivals by way of forming endowments and allotting a vast stretch of cultivable lands to the temples. The income from the lands was spent on temple maintenance, puja rituals, etc. So, it is quite obvious that they  had every reason to rule their kingdom in the name of their family deity or deities, so that they would not go off the path of righteousness and  would remain steadfast  in carrying on their duties as a king with fairness and justice, thus safeguarding the tradition and legacy of their forefathers. ''The rulers considered themselves the servants of God and the Lord  was the guiding spirit to lead the nation through trials and tribulations.''

Following are mentioned a few rulers' name and their presiding deity:

The great Vikramadithya -  Goddess Kali

Raja Raja Chola of Chola Dynasty, Thanjavur  -  Lord Brgadeshwara shiva)

Pandya kings of Pandya Dynasty Of Madurai  - Meenakshi and Sundareswarar.

Maratha king Chatrapathi Shivaji - Goddess Bhavani

Pallava and Nayak kings of Tamil Nadu - Vishnu or Thirumalai.

Mysore Maharajah  - Chamundiswari (Parasakthi)

Maharaja of Travancore  - Padmanabhaswami (Vishnu).

Mysore Maharajah's deity.Chamundiswari (Parasakthi)
   There is none second to It, neither third not even fourth.
   There is none fifth to It, neither sixth not even seventh.
   There is none eighth to It, neither ninth not even tenth.
   It is the only Supreme. This is to be known.

                                                ........ Atharva Veda                                                                       
As the land was God's gift, and the king being simply His servant, it had been a custom in those days to place the royal scepter (senkol in Tamil) reverentially before the deity. After the priest had completed the puja rituals and other religious formalities, the royal  scepter then would be placed on the God for a day.

Tirumalai Nayak of ''Nayak Dynasty'' was ruling Madurai in a similar manner. On all ''Royal Celebrations,'' the royal scepter (senkol) used to be placed before Goddess Meenakshi who was supposed to be the ruler of the land. This old practice continued even during the period of Rani Mangammal, as evidenced by a painting in the Meenakshi temple. It shows the priest of Meenakshi temple handing over the royal scepter to the Queen. 

Rani Mangammal instituted the famous Unjal (swing) festival (Unjal Sevvai) in the temple of Meenakshi to be performed in the Tamil month of Aani (part June and July). This festival takes place every year in the Unjal Mandabam (Hall of Swing).
India's earliest freedom fighter, a great warrior and chieftain of Palaiyakarar Veera Pandya Kattabomman (of Panchlamkuruchi, Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu) whenever he went out on a good mission or war expedition, he never failed to pray to invoke Thiruchendur Murugan (Lord Karthikaya) and get His blessings. Most of the Indian rulers were god-fearing hence despotic Indian kings were rare.