Royals descend on Pink City for wedding
The much-talked about wedding in the former Jodhpur royal family, taking place at Rambagh Palace Hotel grounds here on Thursday evening, marks the biggest gathering of royals from within the country and abroad in recent times. Shivraj Singh, son of former Jodhpur ruler Gaj Singh and Maharani Hemlata Rajye, is tying the nuptial knot with Gayatri Kumari of Askot, daughter of Rajwar Bhanuraj Singh Pal, in the traditional Rajput style.
The dignitaries who will grace the occasion include the scions of the royal houses of Tripura, Bhutan, Nepal, Her Highness of Oman Virginia Al Said, Sir and Lady Rothschild, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and members of Indian royalty such as the Scindias, the Gaikwads, the Holkers, the family of Patiala, the royals from Kashmir and Mysore, to name a few. The guest list includes author William Dalrymple, business tycoon Arun Nayar, actors Munmun Sen and Ria Sen. Famous musician Sting is also expected.
“We have cautiously avoided making it a celebrity event though the media reports were talking about the whole of Hollywood turning up,” said Prithviraj Singh, a friend of the Jodhpur royals who acted as spokesman for the wedding. “This is a family event and a personal one at that,” he said.
“However, I would term this the biggest gathering of the members of the royal families from India and abroad,” Mr. Prithviraj Singh said. He said this could not be described as a “lavish wedding” — despite 800 guests attending the night's function — as some of the guests are paying for their stay in the five-star hotels. Shivraj Singh flew down to Jaipur in a chartered plane, while the baraatis, the former nobles, family friends and other dignitaries, but only men as is the tradition of Rajput weddings, all 300 of them, travelled to Jaipur by a special train. Family sources said the wedding is being kept in Jaipur as per the request of the bride's family. One connection petite Gayatri Kumari has with Jaipur is that she had been living here till recently.
Yet the old-timers in Jaipur are tempted to compare all this rather “unfavourably” with the baraaat Maharaja Man Singh took to Jodhpur to wed one of his maharanis. “There were 30,000 people in the baraat and they stayed in Jodhpur in all royal splendour for a full month,” said a Sardar of the former Jaipur State. “Interestingly, when the baraatis were getting ready to return, one of the courtiers in Jodhpur, sarcastically asked them why they were leaving so early. “You would not believe it but the remark had serious consequences as Maharaja Man Singh left behind 1,000 men who made merry for a full year in Jodhpur.”
Political leaders who joined the wedding party included Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, Union Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Rajasthan Tourism Minister Bina Kak, the former Union Ministers, Jaswant Singh, Dilip Singh Judeo, K. P. Singh Deo, film star Kabir Bedi and Dame Judi Dench.
Kumar Mangalam Birla, Singhania (Raymonds) and Anil Agarwal of Vedanta were present.
However, the ‘pheras' are meant to be a private affair.