Traditional India welcome for Gyanendra in Bhopal (Lead)

February 27th, 2009 - 12:50 am ICT by IANS  

Bhopal, Feb 26 (IANS) Nepal’s former King Gyanendra was accorded a traditional Indian welcome at a luxury hotel on his arrival in the city late Thursday to attend the marriage ceremony of his niece.
“The former king was accorded a grand welcome at the hotel. Tilak was applied on his forehead and he was garlanded,” an eye witnesses said of the ceremony at the Hotel Nor-us-Sabha that Gyanendra and his entourage drove to straight from the airport.

Asked by reporters at the airport about the political situation in his country, he replied: “Better ask this question from the people of Nepal”.

“The ex-monarch was accompanied by his wife Komal, sister Sobha Singh and other family members. The wedding is scheduled (Friday) at (Bhopal’s) Jehanuma Hotel, where important leaders including (Madhya Pradesh) Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan are likely to be present,” sources close to the royal family said.

Citing security reasons, state government officials kept the visit of the ex-royals to the state capital a closely guarded secret. The officials remained tightlipped throughout the day, saying: “We are not aware of the programme, including his arrival.”

The former king is visiting India for the first time after being dethroned following the abolition in 2008 of the 240-year-old monarchy in Nepal.

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