Stage set for grand royal wedding | india | Hindustan Times
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Stage set for grand royal wedding

?DON?T START anything you can?t stop,? warned a blackboard at Ahilya Devi School adjoining the Maheshwar Fort, where Holkar dynasty scion Sabrina Sangita Holkar is to wed Ari Kanakdari Ellis, a Manhattan-based realtor on Thursday.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 13:36 IST
Saeed Khan

“DON’T START anything you can’t stop,” warned a blackboard at Ahilya Devi School adjoining the Maheshwar Fort, where Holkar dynasty scion Sabrina Sangita Holkar is to wed Ari Kanakdari Ellis, a Manhattan-based realtor on Thursday.

The cautionary note would have struck a chord with the bride’s father Richard Holkar, who by announcing the wedding, seems to have set off a chain of events over which he has no control.

Although Holkar senior has repeatedly made it clear that he wants to keep the ceremony ‘private’, hordes of newsmen and royal faithfuls congregated at Maheshwar Fort today to watch Act-One of the wedding ceremony unfold.

It began at around 11.30 am, when Sabrina, a twelfth generation descendant of Ahilya Devi the queen venerated as a Goddess incarnate, participated in a series of pujas at the Wada, the royals’ private quarters inside Maheshwar Fort.

Clad in a printed silk sari with a red tikka setting off her brilliant blue eyes, the fair, almost porcelain, damsel was led through Ganesh puja followed by obeisance to the Holkars’ family deity Malhari Martand and, finally, a ‘Griha Shanti’ prayer by the royal purohit (priest).

Present on the occasion were father Richard, Maharani Usha Raje, her husband Satish Malhotra and a few close family friends. The bride-to-be, accompanied by her kurta-pyjama clad father, emerged from the private quarters around 1 pm and headed straight for the pandal that had been erected for Maheshwar residents.

After a meal with her father, the bride then left emerging only in the evening for a Kathak performance at Ahilyeshwar temple on the Fort premises by Bhopal-based danseuse Bindu Juneja.

Earlier, the ‘baraat’ procession comprising Ellis and his friends arrived at Maheshwar at 3 pm and camped on the banks of the Narmada across the fort.

After a light continental lunch comprising cold meats, hors d’oeuvres and an assortment of breads they settled down for rest until evening.

At sundown a delegation from the bride’s side led by Maharani Usha Raje crossed the river in special terracotta boats and invited the baraatis for the Kathak recital. After this both sides returned to the tents where a dinner was hosted by the groom’s family.

The ‘baraatis’ were housed in two-bedded air-cooled tents with w/cs and showers each fronted by a verandah boasting a lounge chair, table and an easy chair. The tents have been specially flown in from Jodhpur, courtesy Maharaj Gaj Singh.

‘She’s happy’
REQUESTS BY this reporter to speak to the light-eyed princess was vetoed by Richard Holkar. “All she’ll tell you is that she’s very happy,” said Holkar senior when requested for an interview.