Royalty has returned to the city of palaces. Tripura House, on Ballygunge Circular Road, will roll out the red carpet and Rig Vedic rituals on Wednesday evening as the who’s-who of Indian royalty troops in.
The occasion: the wedding of the second daughter of Maharaja Kirit Bikram Manikya and Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi of Tripura. The bride: Kumari Kriti Devi, 30, currently engaged in rural development projects in Panna, Madhya Pradesh. The groom: Yuvraj Yogeshwar Singh, 35, a Congress MLA of Kawardha, Chhattisgarh, who owns a palace hotel.
The guests of honour: Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, the royals of Gwalior, Kutch, Baroda, Burdwan, Mayurbhanj, Panna, Narsingarh, Baria, Tikamgarh, Charkhari, Ramnagar, Rampur, Tiloi, Pandariya, Mallepur, Malethu, Chainpur, Dumraon, Daspalla, Sarila, Khairigarh and Jubbal, the Ranas of Nepal, Governor Lt-Gen. K.M. Seth of Tripura, Governor Viren J. Shah, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh, Chhattisgarh CM Ajit Jogi, Congress veteran Arjun Singh and friends of the family.
“This indigenous wedding will be something our guests have not seen before. The last time we had such a ceremony in this house was in 1956, when my younger sister, now Maharani Priti Devi of Kutch, got married. That had been a much-talked-about event,” recounts Maharaja Kirit Bikram, father of the bride and 107th descendant of Tripura’s first family.
Tuesday evening found the stately pale yellow mansion (into which the present incumbent’s father, Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya, had moved in the early 1930s), all decked up for the grand union between this over-800-year-old tribal royal family of the Northeast and the around 500-year-old Rajgond royals.
The 250 guests, and 70-odd baraatis, will be greeted with colourful ethnicity as the marriage will be solemnised according to Tripuri laws, royal customs and Rig Vedic norms. For this, artisans have been flown in from Tripura to construct the bedi, a special feature of Tripuri weddings, for the kanyadaan.
Next to this quaint cane-and-bamboo structure, draped with 19 coloured chandowas, is another similar round platform for the saatpaak and the flower-sprinkling ceremony.
“The Tripuri head priest, ochai, along with his assistant priests, the galims, will perform the rituals and the indigenous lampra puja, while the Rajpurohit will simultaneously conduct the Vedic ceremony,” says Pragya, the Maharaja’s eldest daughter, overseeing the arrangements.
“Before the rituals, Tripuri performers in traditional garb will enchant the guests with ethnic dance and music. We also included the mehendi ceremony on the request of some of our friends,” she adds.
While the manicured rooftop, with tiny pools, will host the cocktails and snacks, dinner on the lawns will be a mixed fare of continental, Indian, Chinese and tribal food. The bride will wear a brocade ghagra of Tripuri weave, designed by her grandmother, Maharani Bibhu Kumari Devi’s mother.