Bhupinder Singh was born at the Moti Bagh Palace, Patiala and educated at Aitchison College. At age 9, he succeeded as Maharaja of Patiala state upon death of his father, Maharaja Rajinder Singh, on 9 November 1900. A Council of Regency ruled in his name until he took partial powers shortly before his 18th birthday on 1 October 1909 and was invested with full powers by the Viceroy of India, the 4th Earl of Minto, on 3 November 1910.
Inspecting a BL 12-inch Railway Howitzer in France, August 1918
He served on the General Staff in France, Belgium, Italy and Palestine in the First World War as an honorary lieutenant-colonel, and was promoted honorary major general in 1918 and honorary lieutenant-general in 1931. He represented India at the League of Nations in 1925, and was chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes for 10 years between 1926 and 1938, also being a representative at the Round Table Conference. He married many times and had many children by his wives and concubines.
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh was the first man in India to own aircraft, which he bought from the United Kingdom in 1910. For his aircraft he had an airstrip at Patiala built.
He was well known for the construction of buildings with bold architectural designs in Patiala, including Kali Temple, Patiala, and Chail View Palace in the summer retreat of Kandaghat along with Chail Palace and Oak Over and Cedar Lodge in Shimla which now houses the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab State Guest House respectively. He was known as a sportsman. He was also known for an exceptional collection of medals, believed to be the world's largest at the time. According to legend, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh would be driven in a motorcade of 20 Rolls Royce cars. He had a unique monorail system built in Patiala known as Patiala State Monorail Trainways.