The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Elephants & photo session raise suspense
Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar. (AP file picture)

Udaipur, Nov. 6: Elephants and camels, folk dancers and Rajasthani cuisine ' Bedazzled by all things Indian, Elizabeth Hurley and Co chose ethnic over chic today.

But in the backdrop of a clear Udaipur sky, the cloud of confusion over the marriage between model-turned-actor Liz Hurley and her NRI boyfriend Arun Nayar intensified even as the majestic Devigarh Fort Palace shut out prying eyes and prepared for a mega bash.

Fuelling a fresh round of rumour about the celebrity marriage, elephants ' an integral part of traditional royal Rajasthani weddings ' and camels swaggered into the 18th century heritage property in the Aravalli hills this afternoon.

The couple, having chosen the boutique hotel 30 km from Udaipur to celebrate the 40th birthday of Nayar with a select group of friends and relatives, posed for a private photo session with the elephants decked up in silver and fitted with a regal howda, and flanked by camels. Some of the guests occupying the 30-room luxury address joined the two during the 30-minute shoot.

With strict instructions from the couple to keep the media at bay beyond the high walls of the fort-turned-hotel, the hospitality staff remained tight-lipped about Saturday evening's programme and its preparations.

But a source in the hotel hinted at elaborate arrangements for a night to remember, complete with traditional troupes called in from Udaipur and Jodhpur to perform Kalbeliya and Langas, dance forms popular in Rajasthan. Music and dance, of course, are a must in Rajasthani marriages.

During the day, the couple was seen idling around the poolside ' the hotel has two swimming pools ' and on the lawns after a late lunch. Last night's party, one gathers, continued till 2 am. Damien, Hurley's son from a previous relationship, had recovered from last night's fever and spent most of the day with the couple. 'Both Nayar and Hurley were looking relaxed and everyone in the group was chilling out. They looked quite close-knit as the boy was playing with other guests as well,' said the source.

Vintage wine and loud music had set the tone for the party, where the guests danced late into the night. Though the menu for the dinner could not be confirmed, a hotel source said the guests were served according to their preferences.

When asked about celeb circuit talk of businessman Gautam Singhania of Raymond and Jeh and Ness Wadia of Bombay Dyeing being with the star couple, a hotel spokesperson said: 'I can tell you David Beckham and Elton John are not here.'

If their 'I do' is still in doubt, so is the duration of their stay here. 'We don't have their departure plans and detailed itinerary as yet,' said a hotel staff member.

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