Hoihnu Hauzel witnesses an uncommon meeting of tradition and food
I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. I was excited when my husband asked me if I wanted to accompany him for a royal wedding in Rajasthan. After all, it wasn’t going to be just any other wedding. And this, I was sure would be a grand display of royalty and culture.
And royal weddings have always fascinated me. I watched the entire live telecast of Prince Charles and late Lady Diana’s wedding on a Beltek television back then as a curious little girl. And the thought of a royal wedding in Rajasthan was thrilling enough as I was driven by pure greed.
What came to mind immediately was the lavish Mewari platter that I would get to sample. I have heard of some special sweet dishes that are only served during occasions like weddings.
Like lapsi which is even said to be the food for goddess. It is usually made by villagers in Rajasthan for any household celebrations. Or the thought of other sweet dishes like Garam ghewar or Husn-e-ara simply watered my mouth. And who would forget the traditional laal maas? How many times have I been disappointed trying out laal maas at many restaurants in Delhi. Something was always missing in the dish.
The thought that I was going to have all that and more and witness the wedding of princess Baisa Padmaja Kumari Mewar, younger daughter of Maharana Shreeji Arvind Singh Mewar, with Khush Singh Parmar, son of Mahendra Singh Parmar of Santrampur Gujarat thrilled me enough.
The countdown to the event began with anticipation and excitement, perhaps the semi-invite or let’s says, an announcement letter, arrived months in advance with a request to block the dates. Just days before the D-day approached a thick red envelope that resembled a little booklet arrived. Inside were cards in rich red, yellow, lavender and maroon with attractive motifs on each of them. There were different cards for five days with description of the programmes.
And there I was in Udaipur for the first time ever. Charmed by the city, I began to slowly seep in the aroma of the place. Soon I began to understand why people referred to Udaipur as the Venice of the East. I set my heart on everything I saw. Be it the vibrantly dressed women in villages carrying shiny copper pitchers clutched to their waists to fetch water. And the sight of the city that sits delicately on the banks of Pichola Lake, seemed ethereal.
What added to the romantic appeal was being ferried by boats to the wedding venues on all days and nights. Boats in frilly laces and flowers would wait for guests and ferry them across to the venue. On the night of the engagement, we were ferried from our hotel to the venue at Jag Mandir Island. From a distance, the island looked nothing less than a house of emerald. On the wedding night, the City Palace, the venue of the function, looked like a ball of glittering diamond.
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