Devyani plays matchmaker between India’s Rajputs, Nepal’s Ranas

August 25th, 2008 - 5:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 25 (IANS) After her own marriage to a scion of India’s aristocracy, Devyani Singh nee Rana, once known as the girl for whom Nepal’s crown prince Dipendra allegedly killed his entire family, is now playing matchmaker between India and Nepal.Devyani, who this year hit the headlines again when she took part in the election campaign of her father Pashupati Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana for Nepal’s historic constituent assembly election in April, is now uniting the seniormost Rajput clan of India with the blueblooded Ranas of Nepal, who once ruled the Himalayan nation as hereditary prime ministers.

Preparations are afoot for one of the most spectacular society weddings in the subcontinent in which the groom’s bridal procession would include an elephant, four horses and four camels.

The 27-year-old groom, Virat Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, is the great-great-grandson of Chandra Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, who was the longest ruling Rana prime minister of Nepal.

The 26-year-old bride Himani Katoch, who works for the Deutsche Bank in New Delhi, is the daughter of Col. M. Katoch, who heads India’s seniormost Rajput clan.

“We are expecting about 1,000 guests at the wedding reception,” said Virat’s father Gautam Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, entrepreneur and writer whose recent article in the People magazine blamed former crown prince Paras for the abolition of monarchy in Nepal.

“All the former royal families of India and Nepal would be there.”

Due to the political turmoil in Nepal, the wedding would be held in February at a New Delhi club while the groom’s family will host a sumptuous reception in India’s former princely state of Rajasthan. Two ancient palaces, now converted into opulent hotels, would house the bride and groom’s families.

The Mandawa Haveli Hotel and Narayan Palace Hotel have been shortlisted.

“The bride’s family was known to Devyani, who had earlier received a marriage proposal from them,” Gautam Rana told IANS. “Though she chose to marry (Indian human resource minister) Arjun Singh’s grand son Aishwarya instead, she however became close to the Katochs.

“It was she who arranged this alliance.”

Gautam Rana, who has a special interest in traditional jewellery and costumes, is overseeing the groom’s traditional wedding suit that is being made by a rising Nepali designer.

“Think of the costumes Hrithik Roshan wore in ‘Jodha-Akbar’,” he said. “Bollywood copied them from Rana attire.”

The groom will wear a breathtaking jama - long kurta — that is to be embroidered with gold thread. The embroidery alone will cost nearly Nepali Rs.200,000.

Nepal’s last king Gyanendra, now living in virtual exile, would be asked to grace the wedding.

“My mother is very keen that all members of the family assemble under one roof at least once,” Gautam Rana said.

Perhaps due to the tradition of inter-clan marriages, India-Nepal alliances seem to be haunted by the same fateful names.

Aishwarya was also the name of the queen of Nepal who was killed along with King Birendra in the royal palace massacre in 2001.

Himani is also the name of Paras’ wife, who was formerly the crown princess of Nepal.

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