Devyani returns to Nepal as Indian bride
Mar 28, 2007 - 1:18:05 PM

Kathmandu, March 28 - Devyani Singh nee Rana is ready to start a new chapter in her life, exorcising past ghosts and burying her former identity as the girl over whom Nepal's crown prince Dipendra reportedly killed his royal parents and siblings before turning the gun on himself.

The 34-year-old, whose wedding in New Delhi last month to an Indian minister's grandson generated almost as much public interest as the massacre in Nepal's royal palace six years ago, will finally return to Kathmandu Thursday - albeit only for three days.

Devyani, daughter of Pashupati Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana, grandson of Nepal's all-powerful last Rana prime minister, is returning to her parents' home for the brief stay for a reception for friends, family members and acquaintances who were not able to attend the fairy-tale wedding.

After her arrival from New Delhi Thursday, Devyani and her husband Aishwarya Singh, grandson of India's Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, will attend a reception Friday in the capital.

Over 6,000 guests, including the Ranas' friends, politicians, the Who's Who of Nepali society and journalists, have been invited to the reception to be held at the army club in Kathmandu.

'With such a large number of guests, we decided to choose the army club that has extensive grounds instead of any of the hotels,' one of the staffers overseeing the reception told IANS.

It will be a tough moment for Devyani, who has been living outside Nepal since the palace massacre, initially blamed on the then crown prince Dipendra.

Preliminary reports said the heir to Nepal's throne was angered by his parents' opposition to his desire to marry Devyani, and while in a drugs and drinks-induced stupor, fired at a family gathering, killing nine royal relatives.

The dead included then king Birendra, queen Aishwarya and Dipendra's siblings, princess Shruti and prince Nirajan.

However, Nepal has been largely sympathetic to the traumatised Devyani, with her wedding last month creating no negative publicity.

So stoical and dignified has been her and her family's behaviour since the national tragedy that last month a reader wrote in Kantipur, Nepal's biggest daily, declaring Devyani to be the role model for Nepal's young generation.

Friday's reception will be followed by an intimate family lunch Saturday at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza hotel in the capital, after which the newly weds will be returning to New Delhi.

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