Next time you want to gatecrash that out-of-bounds celeb wedding, sold-out firang concert, haute polo match or a glitterati do, check out the address first.
Chances are you will get directions to a desert town as our who’s who are in love with Rajasthan. In fact, it is also rumoured to be the wedding destination of Aishwarya and Abhishek!
So, why this fixation to go west of India? Says designer Tarun Tahiliani, “It is all about the ambience. The grace and opulence of Rajasthan makes it perfect.”
Fort spots: Celebrity weddings at forts and palaces are becoming the order of the day. The preparations for Liz Hurley-Arun Nayyar’s March wedding are in full swing at the DeviGarh fort. Jag Mandir palace in Udaipur was the venue for the weddings of hotelier Vikram Chatwal and model Priya Sachdeva and Raveena Tandon and Anil Thadani.
Why Udaipur? Raveena says, “I always wanted to get married like a princess so it had to be the beautiful City of Lakes for me.” Wedding planner Vikram Sharma explains, “It began with Delhi’s elite throwing bashes in Rajasthan. Today everybody is doing it.”
Hollywood mania: If the mercury is rising in Rajasthan, it is also courtesy Hollywood celebrities who are coming in droves to the desert state. Leading the pack was Brad Pitt who recently visited Jaipur for a shoot while Ricky Martin was in the city to attend a wedding.
Udaipur also found favour with Mick Jagger and Chelsea Clinton. The former dropped in for a friend’s wedding, while the latter paid a private visit. Hottie Owen Wilson was also in the hot city for a film shoot.
“Foreigners are quite fascinated by the grandeur of Rajasthan. There is no need to build sets to create a royal backdrop. NRIs feel that it also keeps the next generation connected to their roots,” says socialite Queenie Dhody.
Designer Raghavendra Rathore, with a family history of 1,200 years in Jodhpur, has the last word. “It is fantastic to know that the palaces and forts built by people so long ago still hold us in thrall.”