Mysuru Maharaja's wedding rituals begin

Karnataka: Elaborate rituals for the June 27 grand wedding of the Mysuru's titular Maharaja Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraj began on Friday at the Ambi Vilas Palace here amid chanting of Vedic hymns and invocation of Hindu goddess Chamundeshwari, a palace official said. "As per the Wodeyar dynasty's traditions, the palace priests began the rituals in the presence of Yaduveer, queen mother Pramoda Devi and other family members," the official said here, about 150km from Bengaluru. The 23-year-old will tie the nuptial knot with his fiancee Trishika Kumari Singh during the auspicious 'karkataka lagna' and 'savitra' mahurat (time) between 9.05 a.m. and 9.35 a.m. on Monday at the kalyana mantap in the royal palace. Trishika, 22, is the second daughter of Maharaj Kumar Harshavardhan Singh and Rajkumari Maheshri Kumari of the erstwhile princely state of Dungarpur in Rajasthan. An arts graduate from the Massachusetts University in Boston, Yaduveer has been engaged to Trishkika on his return from the US last year. Yaduveer was adopted on February 23, 2015 and crowned as the 27th Maharaja on May 28, 2015. He is the grandson of princess Gayathri Devi, eldest sister of Srikantadatta and eldest daughter of the last reigning maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar. As per the age-old customs, Yaduveer will be given an oil bath at 4 a.m. on Saturday before wearing a sacred cloth smeared with turmeric for the second-day rituals of the five-day royal wedding. "He will also worship the feet (pada puja) of the royal family's raja guru Abhinava Vagheesha Brahmatantra Swatantra swami of Parakala mutt at 8 a.m. before the priests resume the rituals in the palace," the official said. Trishika will enter the palace with her parents and other family members on Sunday for performing 'vara puja' where she will be dressed as a bride and introduced to the Wodeyar family. Due to space constraints and security measures, only 550 people, including family members, relatives, seers, VIPs and special invitees will be allowed to witness the wedding - the first in four decades after then titular prince Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wodeyar married Pramoda in 1976. "The bride's family and her relatives are staying at a five-star hotel and will move into the guest rooms in the palace after the wedding," the official said. On the wedding night, the newlyweds will sit on a decorated swing in the palace's Durbar hall between 7.30-8.30 p.m. to be greeted and wished by extended family members and relatives. Being a fashion designer, Pramoda personally designed the wedding attire of Yaduveer and got it stitched under supervision. About 2,000 VIPs from the state and across the country have been invited for the grand reception on June 28 at the Durbar hall from 7.30-8.30 p.m. Mysuru violinist brothers Nagaraj and Manjunath will perform for the occasion. "The couple will go on a procession on June 29 in a car within the palace precincts for public viewing," the official added. Though the royal wedding is a private event, the palace has been made out of bounds for visitors and tourists for six days from Friday to June 29. A second reception will be held at Bang