Marriage of Princess Menaka of Cooch Behar

 Marriage of Maharajkumar Yeaswant Rao pawar Of Dewas

  •  with  
Maharaj Kumari Menaka Devi of Cooch Behar
Dated:- 19-02-1942, Thursday
     It was a whole eight day state celebration at CB.  From  the  17th Feb 1942, morning up to 24th Feb 9pm. Honoured guests and relatives, started pouring in to CB; 2/3days in advance. Your Jaipur mashima and meso landed CB in a private plane. Amongst other dignitaries were  Prince Uday Sing Rao Gakewad,  Prince of Pithpuram, Thakur Saheb of Achral , Raja Yeshwanta Sing, Nawab Nijamuddin ,Lieutenat NawabJada Mustafa Khan, Nawab Jada Ahmmad Khan, Maharaj Kumari Bimala Raje,  princess Usha Raje, Begum Mohammad Umar, Begum Nijamuddin, Miss Abdul Jabbar,Begum Ahammd Khan,and many others from brides side.
The Groom’s party consisted two sisters of groom Srimanta Maharajkumari Alakananda bai sahib Maharaj, Srimanta Maharaj kumara soubhagyabati Indira Raje Maharaj, Srimanta Dhairyashib Rao Pawar of Dhar state, Srimanta Sardar Lakshman Rao Pawar Ghorpade Kapsi, revenue member of Dewas Sardar T.M. Pawar B.A. L.L.B.,judicial member of Dewas and dewan Sardar G.S. Gandhe B.A. L.L.B. Bar et law, Member in charge of commerce, tax and excise D.R.Lahiri M.A.,Sardar Srimanta Joy singh Rao Pawar, Jaigirdar Tryambak Rao Lakshman Supekar with many other high officials of Dewas Raj and honoured Sardars from the state.
17-02-1942:-Maharajkumar(groom) reached CB by train, along with his party, at around 7.00 am ;in CB Rly station. The station area, was filled with CB city dwellers, and subjects from all corners of the state. They rushed to the station, just at the onset of dawn, and it became jam-packed, by the moment the sun threw his first ray of light on the station. Obviously they were pretty crazy and excited to have a glimpse of the groom. There joys knew no bounds, when they first saw the whistling on rushing Train in the horizon. And their spontaneous din and bustle, climbing to higher scales with an opposite harmony with the decelerating advancing train.
`17-02-1942,Tuesday, The first ritual was of ‘Bar Agaman”(arrival of groom) . For this auspicious moment, the whole station was decorated with flowers, garlands, aam pallab(mango shoots),flags of both the states,                                                         numbers of variegated  filled  pitchers and other propitious materials.  Looked more a wedding pandal than a railway Station. To welcome the groom, Maharaja J.D. Narayan ,Maharajkumar Indrajitendra Narayan, Maharaja of Jaipur, Kumar Gautam Narayan, other Rajgons, along with ministers in various colourful attire and other high officials; were present at the station. At the north of the platform the state military and the military band were lined. At the entry stick holding sepoys wearing glittering golden spotted benarasis, were engaged in disciplined manner.  Outside at parking area;. Elephants with gold ornamented litter, with covering cloths worked with gold threads were placed in waiting their royal riders. At the instance of the entry of the train in to platform, cannons fired. The gun salutes were performed. The train stopped. Door of special saloon opened. Before hundreds of curios and excited beholders; the handsome   Yuvaraj Birbikram Sreemanta Yeswanta Rao Pawar, alighted slowly with all royal grace.
Instantly Maharaja of CB facilitated him with big garland. Some others followed. Then he took guard of honour from state force lined there. Maharaja accompanied him to  the royal car outside. Both motored away to Nilkuthi  palace. Which was the sojourn of the  Dewas  party, during marriage ceremony. Boy Scout and general citizens gathered outside station; shouted simultaneous cheers to them. Other baratis also, were equally welcomed and facilitated by ministers and high officials of the state of CB.  All of  grooms party then taken to Nilkuthi palace. This palace was situated a km apart from CB palace.  On the straight road starting from CB palace Singh Darwaja, or the main gate.
After refreshment at twelve –o-clock, on that day the “Tilak utsav” of the groom were performed. It was observed in presence of many royal CB employees and rajgons. At evening the dance troop of Maharaj Basu from Cal. Presented high class musical performances, at Lansdowne hall. It was meant for the honoured guests from Dewas.
18-02-1942:-Wednesday Today at 11am the ‘tilak utsav’ of Maharajkumari, was performed at the durbar hall of CB palace. As it approached to end, already bashful shivering princess Menaka’s   auditory  were flooded with high pitched music’s from royal band. She tried to peep through her bridal veils. Only to found that groom’s party had came. The procession from Nilkuthi  accompanied by boy  scouts, state police force and royal military band. They brought with them the auspicious turmeric preparation, in shining silver pitcher, and other propitious materials.
After tilak utsav the aristocrat  women present in the palace guided the bride to the inner courtyard of the palace. Where  the auspicious ceremony of smearing over that turmeric preparation, on the body of the bride were done in great enthusiasm and joy. Their merry making almost tore apart the boundaries. Suddenly an advance  Holi had set in there. On completion of the ritual all the invited women took their lunch at the palace. They were served with a very long menu of delicious dishes. All silver utensils were used for them.
At  4.00 pm ,the smearing over the propitious turmeric preparation on groom’s body. Was performed at Nilkuthi. Also the “adhibas( the ritual at dawn, performed on the eve of marriage ) was performed, with chandan, garlands, agurus(auspicious perfume).  In the afternoon at 5.30pm famous drama company from Cal. ‘Bholanath Opera” performed their show for general public. Stage was set under a big royal canopy, at the police line field. Just a little far dance troop of Maharaj Basu, repeated their show, at 8.00pm for specially invited durbar guests from both sides. After this show , a talkie was screened at 10.30pm, for general public. Thus the curtain dropped. for the celebrations on the eve of that royal wedding.
19-02-1942:-Thursday The date of marriage. Today since the onset of dawn, one and all of state CB waited  eagerly ;to watch the grooms procession. It was scheduled for 6.00 pm. So the opportunity of daylight was there. Peoples in great number gathered along both side of the scheduled path of the procession. Much before to 6.00pm. Baratis from Nilkuthi started towards CB palace on 6.15 pm. The procession led by armed police, military, boy scouts, elephants, nahabat, bands .spear armed sepoys  etc. With this half a mile long procession, the groom reached Madan Mohan temple for his blessings . Yeshwanta Rao dressed in  priceless attire, wearing jewel studded gold crest, gold and pearl necklaces twined his neck and clad with many other ornaments ,jewels and garlands took the blessings of the Kuldev of Narayana dynasty “Madan Mohan”. He then left his car , and climbed  to the Ambari litter set on “Pat Elephant” ( the main royal elephant), waiting there for him. Started his journey  towards CB palace. To his would be wife princess Menaka. Almost one and half km journey was marked with enthusiastic din and bustle from the peoples  gathered. Numbers of beautiful gates decorated with leaves, shoots, flowers , decorated pitchers, coloured   clothes etc. At last he arrived at palace at 6.30pm(I’ve doubt for the duration of journey).
He was welcomed at the palace by blowing number of conch shells and uttering of festive propitious sounds from women (Ulu dhwani). Now Maharaja and Yuvaraj of Dewas along with their courtiers and relative, entered marriage canopy. The pandal where the wedding arbour was set, was beautifully decorated and illuminated to the core. All the durbaris  honoured  guests and other invitees present there paid their respect marked with standing ovation to Maharaja and to the yuvaraj(groom). They settled themselves in their silver  thrones . Little after priests from both sides stared their wedding rituals. When the ‘varan” concluded. Well dressed princess Menaka accompanied by Maharaja J.D Narayana and Maharaj Kumar I.J. Narayana   entered the wedding arbor, and took her seat. The actual wedding started. The blushing veiled princess decorated with various gems and jewels, wearing countless gold ornaments.  Was looking like a wonderful fairy princess. Maharaja of CB performed the “kanya Daan”.Now  at the direction of priest princess Menaka  put her “bashful offerings” (Lajjanjali),to the auspicious pyre (homagni). Priests tied both with cloths (uttario), and seven rounds were taken. During beholding the brides face(Mukha Chandrika), present royal relatives and ministers showered their blessings on the duo. It was performed by uttering age old sanskrit  hymns  and throwing rice and flower on them. The main marriage ritual thus concluded. And they became husband and wife.
Time for wedding dinner arrived. Maharaja directed his ministers and officials for arrangement of diiner for grooms party and the invitees. The masterful orchestration by  Maharani Indira devi from her mahal ,the entire marriage celebration was concluded with great success. The host, Maharaja of CB entertained all honoured guests, the durbaris and all other invitees, the grooms party with number of delicious dishes. The dinner party started at 10.00pm.After dinner there was a special performance of ‘Mujra” at durbar hall. The general public were also entertained with ‘jatras’(open air theater) at6.15pm again on7.00pm along with dance performance at 7.00pm. In a separate stage. Jatras were performed again at police line field. And last but not the least for that day, there was an exclusive talkie show screened for women at 10.30pm.
20-02-1942;- Friday, At 5.30pm Jatra at police line field. Open to all talkie show screened at 7.00pm Dinner for guests, invited honoured  dignitaries .and women held at CB palace at 8.30pm.
21-02-1942:-Saturday, 3.00pm Feast for have not’s at Madan Mohan Bari. 7.00pm open to all talkie show at police line field.  8.30pm Jatra show for women’s only. 8.3opm dinner for royal relatives and other durbaris at CB palace. 10.00pm again a talkie show for one and all.
22-02-1942:- Sunday, at 1.00pm lunch for workers of marriage at CB palace. 1.30pm Lunch for “Panch Grami Brahmins” atpalace.  7,00pm talkie show for women at the police line field.  8.00pm again a talkie show for women. 9.00pm dinner for palace servants.  10.00pm talkie show for invited guests.
23-02-1942:-Monday,  Following day marriage ceremonies (Basi Vivaha) were performed with great magnificence. On this day the ritual of ‘second leaving’(dwiragaman), took place at 7.00pm. Accompanying a long procession of military, boy scout, bands, elephants, royal officials, relatives etc. The royal couple took their place on the pat hasti(royal elephant). To Nilkuthi palace. The whole town was beautifully illuminated on this occasion. Many peoples gathered to behold that royal procession, alongside roads.
24-02-1942:-Tuesday, Lunch for all students of the town CB.At 3.00 pm. Lastly the newly married yuvaraj and yuvarani left CB at 9.00pm. And the eight day long marriage celebration was over.


Nirupam Ghosh, Cooch Behar, 17-01-2013 3.00am

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