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Prince Wodeyar Celebrates 50th Birthday

Mr. Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wodeyar, scion of the erstwhile Mysore royal family and sitting Member of Parliament, celebrated his 50th birthday in Mysore on March 10. Though the prince, son of Maharaja late Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, was born on February 20, 1953, he celebrated his birthday according to the Hindu almanac. According to the corresponding starts, his birthday this year fell on March 10.

Unlike in the past when the birthday of the Mysore Maharajas or princes were marked with public celebrations and gaiety, the birthday of Mr. Wodeyar, whose family have lost the status of the Maharajas after Independence, was restricted to himself, his family members and chosen invitees. The invitees included a host of dignitaries from across the world - leading industrialists and CEOs from India and abroad, a Swiss delegation and former Maharajas of Baroda, Mewar and Udaipur, who were specially accommodated at the Lalitha Mahala Palace Hotel and other leading guest houses and palaces. They came by special flights to Bangalore and drove down to Mysore. Leading politicians from Mysore were among those who were also invited.

The celebrations began the previous day in the Palace with religious ceremonies under the guidance of the Sri Parakala Mutt Swamiji, the royal pontiff. Attired in his traditional royal dress and accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Pramoda Devi Wodeyar, the prince hosted a grand lunch to the invitees. The sisters of Mr. Wodeyar also attended the celebrations with the members of their families. The four sisters are Meenakshi Devi, Kamakshi Devi, Vishalakshi Devi and Indrakshi Devi. His eldest sister Gayathri Devi died early, during the days of her father, Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, alone.

In the earlier days, the birthday of the Maharaja or the prince was a grand affair, Mysore wearing a festive look. A grand procession of the Maharaja or the prince, with public rejoicement, bursting of crackers and illumination of the Palace used to be some of the highlights.

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