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Last Nepal king plans further India visit

world Updated: Aug 04, 2009 16:35 IST

For the second time this year, Nepal's last king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah is planning a visit to India, this time to attend not one but two weddings in the family.

The back-to-back double wedding of two nieces in December will see the congregation of former royalties from both India and Nepal.

The first wedding, to be held in the first week of December, will take place in the `love temple' town of Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh state, famed for its temples with intricate erotic sculptures.

It is the wedding of a niece belonging to the former royal state of Charkhari, founded by the Bundela kings in Bihar in 1765.

The second wedding has been fixed for Dec 10 in another temple town in eastern India.

The second niece is the granddaughter of Gyanendra's aunt Bharati, now the queen mother of the former principality of Mayurbhanj. The wedding will be held in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa.

The 62-year-old former king will be accompanied by his wife, Komal, and other family members.

In February, the last king of Nepal had gone to Bhopal in India to attend the wedding of another niece.

It was followed by nearly a month-long stay in India, during which they visited famous Hindu temples and met Indian politicians.

The February visit was Gyanendra's first trip abroad since the tumultuous days of 2006 when a pro-democratic movement compelled him to surrender the absolute power he had seized a year before with the help of the army.

It was also his first visit abroad as a commoner.

The former royal couple's India visit had created distrust among Nepal's Maoists, whose 10-year insurgency had been instrumental in the abolition of monarchy in the world's only Hindu kingdom.

The former guerrillas claimed it was a ploy by the former king to enlist India's help for the restoration of monarchy in Nepal and have his grandson, schoolboy Hridayendra, enthroned as the new king of Nepal.