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Exclusive Images: The ShashiTharoor wedding

Last updated on: August 22, 2010 15:03 IST

Exclusive Images: The ShashiTharoor wedding

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Former Union minister Shashi Tharoor wed Sunanda Pushkar at his ancestral home in Kerala.

Jay Mandal/On Assignment, who was the only photographer present at the event, brings you exclusive images of the event for Rediff.com readers.

In a typical Malayali wedding, former Union minister Shashi Tharoor tied the knot with Sunanda Pushkar at his ancestral home at Kollengode village, 40 km from Palakkad on Sunday.

Tharoor, a former United Nations under secretary general and now a member of the Lok Sabha, tied the taali (the Malayali version of the mangalsutra), symbolising the marital bond as per Hindu custom, amid the accompaniment of a percussion and windpipe orchestra, the nadaswaram, shortly before 8.30 am.

While Tharoor wore the traditional Malayali kurta and mundu (dhoti), Sunanda, who hails from Kashmir, wore an off-white veshti-mundu like any Malayali bride would do at her wedding.

Text: PTI, Rediff News Bureau


Image: Shashi Tharoor at his ancestral house before the ceremony
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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The couple sought the elders' blessings

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Before the wedding ceremony, the couple sought the blessings of family elders, who included Tharoor's 94-year-old maternal grandmother Jayasankari Amma.

The tying of the taali was followed by an exchange of garlands and handing over the pudava, a piece of new cloth, to the bride by the bridegroom, a long-followed tradition among the matrilineal Nair families in Kerala.


Image: Sunanda Pushkar prepares for the ceremony
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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Only family and close friends were invited

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The ceremony took place before a nilavilakku (a lit brass lamp) with a para filled with paddy and coconut shoots, symbolising prosperity and plenty.

The invitation to the wedding on the eve of ThiruvOnam was limited to close relatives, friends and well-wishers.

The bridal party included Sunanda's father Colonel Pushkarnath Das (retired) and her brother Colonel Rajesh Pushkar.

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar was the only senior politician present at the marriage.

Tharoor's mother Lily Tharoor and his twin sons, Eshan and Kanishk, and sisters Shobha and Smitha were present.


Image: Tharoor with his grandmother, Jayasankari Amma
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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Mani Shankar Aiyar was the only senior politician present

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Befitting Nair tradition, women members of Tharoor's family walked to the kathir mandapam (the venue of the wedding) carrying thalapoli (a platter laid out with auspicious articles like coconuts and flowers) to invoke the blessings of the mother goddess.

Sunanda was in tears when the ceremony concluded.

When reporters urged him to say a few words before the ceremony, Tharoor quipped, "This is a wedding, no sound byte necessary."

Congress MP Mani Shankar Aiyar, who attended the wedding with his wife Suneet Vir Singh, was among the first to greet the newly wedded couple.

"We are delighted to see Shashi and Sunanda married," Aiyar said. "We thought this is a moment we should share."


Image: Tharoor speaks to Mani Shankar Aiyar before the ceremony
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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Tharoor will host a reception on Monday

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A pandal was erected at the 200-year-old family home, known in local parlance as a Tharavad.

Tharoor's maternal uncle Narayanan Unni and a village elder presided over the ceremony.

Tharoor will host a reception on Monday in Thiruvananthapuram, which he represents in the Lok Sabha.


Image: Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar at the ceremony
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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Tharoor was a good minister

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Tharoor, a former United Nations under secretary general, joined the Congress party shortly before last year's general election.

He won the Lok Sabha election from Thiruvananthapuram easily, was appointed a minister of state for external affairs, where he is reported to have done sterling work. He was among the first world leaders to visit Haiti after the earthquake in January.

However, his ministerial career ended abruptly in April following a controversy over his association with the bid for the Kochi IPL team.

This is his third marriage. His first marriage was to Tilottama Mukherjee, an academic who he knew from his school days in Kolkata. Tharoor recently divorced his second wife, Canadian diplomat Christa Giles.


Image: Tharoor walks to the pandal for the ceremony
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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Delhi reception on September 3

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Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar were recently spotted offering prayers at the revered shrine of Sufi saint Khwaja Garib Nawaz in Ajmer in Rajasthan.

The couple also visited the Shirdi Sai Baba temple and the Shani Shingnapur shrine in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district.

The couple will hold a reception at Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, where Pushkar is a resident, on August 30, which will be followed by a reception in New Delhi on September 3.


Image: Tharoor hugs his father-in-law Colonel P N Das
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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Tharoor's Lok Sabha victory was unprecedented

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Tharoor created history by winning the Lok Sabha seat from Thiruvanathapuram by an unprecedented margin.

Never before has anyone not born in the city or not educated here or not proficient in Malayalam registered an electoral victory in the state.

V K Krishna Menon, the former Union defence minister, and K R Narayanan, who later become India's President, claimed electoral victories on the basis of their accomplishments abroad, but they were both born and educated in Kerala and they spoke reasonable Malayalam.


Image: Sunanda's brother Colonel Rajesh Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor at the ceremony
Photographs: Jay Mandal/On Assignment
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