Radha Anjali (right) and Judit Zeller at a city hotel on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Royal Jharkhand, a red carpet awaits you in one of the most celebrated — not to say scenic — European castles from March till November 2013.
Renaissance Castle in Schallaburg, Austria, a 16th century fairytale that is now one of Europe’s leading tourist destinations, has invited the Seraikela dynasty among India’s five opulent royals to feature in its exhibition The India of the Maharajas.
The Lower Austrian government has chosen Seraikela, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Travancore and Karauli dynasties to feature in the showpiece event from March 23 to November 10, 2013.
On Monday, Schallaburg castle exhibition management head Judit Zeller and Vienna-based Natya Mandir Association for Classical Indian Dance founder Radha Anjali met Seraikela scion Brij Bhan Singh Deo.
Singh Deo, who came with chhau artistes under the Pradeep Kumar Memorial Trust in Seraikela, had been told about his royal family’s inclusion into the fabled five earlier but on Monday got briefed on the details.
Each royal family, it appeared, will present before the world its most unique nuggets. For the Seraikela dynasty, the list includes chhau dance, costumes and masks, craft and cuisine.
Seraikela artisans create brass ornaments and ghoda diyas (earthen lamps shaped like horses). Its royal kitchen has created laddoos found nowhere else. Sublime balls of ground boot dal flavoured with camphor, pepper, sugar and ghee, they burst in the mouth with surprise flavours in every bite.
All this will now go to Austria, said Deo, who would travel with chhau artistes.
“In 2012, we focussed on Byzantine empire. In 2013, it is the turn of Indian maharajas,” said Zeller.
“We are looking forward to it,” said an euphoric Singh Deo. “We will present before a global audience an era of royal grace.”
He added his grandfather Aditya Pratap Singh Deo was the last official monarch of Seraikela, after whom Adityapur was named. He and his father Nripendra Narayan Singh Deo lived like normal citizens.
India abolished privy purses of princely states in 1971, when rulers became citizens. But some continued to rule over their traditions. Ask the Singh Deos of Seraikela.
What is Seraikela’s richest legacy?