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Power wedding, not a peek

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By RAKHEE ROY TALUKDAR
  • Published 19.11.10
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The baraat of Jodhpur prince Shivraj Singh at Rambagh Palace in Jaipur on Thursday. Picture by Surendra Jain Paras

Jaipur, Nov. 18: Fireworks lit up the sky above Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace around 7.30pm today, signalling that Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur had wed Gayatri Kumari of Askot.

Sources later confirmed that the wedding was solemnised at 7pm.

The palace, spread over 47 acres, had been festooned and adorned with marigold flowers for the royal wedding that was as closely guarded as it was grand. Not even a peek was allowed inside, but sources said Moon Moon Sen and her daughters Raima and Riya were on the guest list and so was Judi Dench, who is shooting in Jaipur.

Around 5.30pm, a procession led by the royal elephant started from the gate towards the mandap. Manganiyar and Langa folk musicians, horses and the Lavajma — the royal flag and the royal insignia of Jodhpur — were part of the procession. Walking right behind the Lavajma was Gaj Singh, the father of the groom and the erstwhile maharaja of Jodhpur.

Shivraj rode the buggy that had also been used by his father, and was seen waving at and acknowledging the guests. He wore a saffron turban and the traditional achkan tailored from custom-made Benarasi fabric.

Many erstwhile royal family members from Marwar had especially ordered cummerbunds for themselves for the wedding celebrations of “their” yuvraj.

The bride’s father Bhanuraj Singh Pal of Askot in Uttarakhand greeted the guests. After the milnee (reception) and the dwar pooja, the baraat was led into the zenana lawns where the mandap had been set up.

Once all the 800-900 guests had arrived and been formally received, they were treated to high tea and cocktails and then a lavish spread of Marwari and Uttarakhandi delicacies prepared by the royal cooks. Rajasthani favourites lal maas and lapsi (a dessert) were on the menu.

Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh and former Union minister Jaswant Singh were among the invitees. So were industrialists Kumar Mangalam Birla, the Singhanias of Raymonds and Anil Agarwal of Vedanta. Royalty was represented by the king and the princess of Bhutan, Prince Paras of Nepal and representatives from Kapurthala, Patiala, Alwar and Jaipur.

Shivraj, 35, who had a near-fatal accident in 2005 while playing polo, had arrived in Jaipur by a chartered flight yesterday. The Jodhpur family spokesperson, Prithviraj Singh Khandela, said Shivraj was fit, but sources said he had been brought in a day before to ensure he was rested. A car was waiting on the tarmac to whisk him away and dodge photographers.