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Maheshwar set for royal nuptials after 200 yrs

MAHESHWAR, THE erstwhile capital of Devi Ahilyabai Holkar, is once again set to grab both headlines and limelight after nearly two centuries on the sidelines.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2006 15:50 IST

MAHESHWAR, THE erstwhile capital of Devi Ahilyabai Holkar, is once again set to grab both headlines and limelight after nearly two centuries on the sidelines.

The temple town will witness Sabrina Sanyogita Holkar, a twelfth generation descendant of the queen venerated as Goddess incarnate, enter into holy matrimony with Ari Kanakdari Ellis, a Manhattan-based realtor of mixed Indian and Jewish-American parentage.

The wedding, to be performed according to Hindu rites at Maheshwar Fort on February 23, will be followed by functions in Mumbai, Goa and New York. At least two bluebloods, the Maharaja of Jodhpur and filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, have confirmed participation in what is being billed as the biggest Holkar family event since the bride’s father Richard (Shivajirao) Holkar tied the knot.

The soon-to-be-married couple met in New York where the light-eyed princess was working for an NGO after graduation. Ellis, whose middle name comes from his Goa-born mother, runs a real estate business in Manhattan. Although Holkar senior insists that the wedding would be a ‘private affair for family and friends’, insiders insist that the ceremony will make up in style what it lacks in extravagance.

“It’s a back to the basics kind of wedding,” revealed a Holkar aide. Perhaps a form of noblesse oblige necessitated by the ultra-expensive, tacky weddings hosted by the noveau riche.

And so, electricity has been given the go-by, being replaced by thousands of handcrafted diyas and especially designed mashaals (torches). Again, preference has been accorded to floral arrangements, (roses, rajnigandha and marigold) and Rangoli for aesthetics. The accent is clearly to be on Holkar, read Marathi, tradition.

The bride, for instance, will be decked up in traditional bridal finery and sport the nav-wari (nine-yard) sari. Ellis is also likely to go ethnic although his attire is more likely to be of the northern variety, a churidar-sherwani combination topped by Maratha headgear.

The food, too, would be mostly with a Maharashtrian flavour, although concessions have been made for the Continental tastes of the groom and his family.

According to information gleaned from tight-lipped organisers, the baraat party consisting of the groom’s parents, sisters and close relatives would arrive in Mumbai around a week before D-day.

After a ‘haldi’ and ‘sangeet’ ceremony to be held at the Intercontinental at Marine Drive on February 19-20 the party will leave for Maheshwar via Indore. Upon reaching the temple town the ‘baraat’ would be housed in 30 camps to be erected on the banks of the Narmada opposite Maheshwar Fort.

After being welcomed with ‘mogra sherbet’ specially flown in from Delhi, immediate members of the groom’s family would be escorted by Maharani Usha Raje, her husband Satish Malhotra and the bride’s parents to the Maheshwar Fort.
Sabrina and Ary will tie the knot at the Ahilyeshwar Temple on the banks of the Narmada and depart for Goa the following day where receptions for the newly-weds would be hosted on February 24-25.

First Published: Feb 19, 2006 15:50 IST