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- Cover Story: Princesses Diya and Gauravi Kumari of Jaipur get candid
From exquisite beauty to unparalleled class, Royal India has always been the country's enigmatic front.Princess DIYA Kumariand her daughterPRINCESSIN GAURAVI KUMARIof Jaipur illustrate this and much more.
Conception:Ruchika Mehta; Text:Anshu Khanna;Photos:Abhishek Khandelwal; Styling:Radhika Gattani
Hair and Makeup:Natasha Singh and the Tangerine team
Royal, royal India has historically been the true custodian of all things beautiful. The most natural and refined living practices emerged in royal palaces, chalets andHavelis. Self-care and beauty practices that guide this quest to harness nature's bounty for self-healing and beautification.
Folklore vonHammamsfilled with rose petals, the practice ofsolah Schringer, and the lovable smoke of athe priestby gently adding fragrance to the Maharani's cascading hair. Or even the ritual of lining their eyes with kohl to make them not only a flow of expression but also free from the evil eye.
Not only beautiful, but also courageous women of princely India were legendary figures. Those who made history through their flawless beauty and strength of character and courage to live life queen-sized, besides being the crowned angel who changed the lives of their people, theirspraja. In 21st century democratic India, however, it is rare to see royal offspring who continue to be leaders in their own right, living by their principles and improving the lives of the many who look up to them in awe.
Femina catches up with two of these women, Princess Diya Kumari and her infant daughter Princess Gauravi Kumari of Jaipur, who graciously carry on the tradition of royal patronage, the care and protection their ancestors were known for. One of the few states with a 19-gun salute, Jaipur's rulers were known for ruling with their hearts, making the pink city a cultural and handicraft center of northern India.
This mother-daughter duo is of course a true beauty. Her flawless china skin, eagle features and sharp, courageous eyes betray her royalty. While Diya exudes a sense of character created through a lifetime of experience, Gauravi embodies the phrase "chip off the old block" even at her young age. Add to this the aura of Jaipur grandmother Rajmata Padmini Devi and you have a fable of beauty enhanced by heritage and a valuable upbringing.
Princess Diya wears many hats and admits that she enjoys each one immensely. “With every role comes a growing sense of responsibility and the need to give back to society, which is my biggest motivation in life.” And one that bears the most fruit in her starring role as Samand as well as General Secretary of the BJP, Rajasthan Pradesh Samiti. She thanks her loving father, Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, for nurturing her with a sense of discipline she picked up watching him at work, a Maharaja and a brigadier in the army. “My father taught me to always respect the time. Create a routine that you follow every day. So I reach five minutes before any public event, a practice that goes a long way to building people's trust," she says.
The other important thing she thanks her parents for is "the careful teaching of knowing what is right and what is wrong, and always standing up for the right values." What she does, speaks loudly and with such conviction in all forums. Otherwise, Diya is a soft-spoken, gentle lady who is often seen addressing issues in Parliament and speaking with enthusiasm. "It's not hard to speak out when you support your beliefs. And I must say that I fully agree with my party's egalitarian and democratic cadre-based beliefs.”
As a rising star in the BJP state roster, which is sure to play a pivotal role for her party in the future, especially at the state level, she wants above all to play the role of positive opposition. “Rajasthan is a state where everyone knows me and my family. Historically we have played an important role in the development of the people of Jaipur and now when I am in opposition I never let my inner voice down. More than ever, I feel like a guardian of the basic rights of ordinary people, which must be respected,” says Diya.
She adds that her time is now mainly invested in politics. “Now as an MP, I am not just a voice for my constituency Raj Samand, I enjoy supporting national and global causes that affect every Indian. It is important to me that the right issues are discussed in Parliament.”
A true custodian of her royal lineage and nurturer of history and heritage, Diya has used the lockdown to enhance the museum experience at the City Palace. Cultural visitors are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm with which visitors to their home, the city palace, not only indulge in the costumes, armour, art and craft heritage of the former rulers, but can also relive this era. The Transport Museum has now been added to the various museums. "It will feature every means of transport archived in our collection, be it a sedan chair used by the women of the Jenana, a chariot that carried the Maharaja to war, or an antique car collected by our ancestors" , she informs. As trustee of the Sawai Man Singh Museum Trust, she is preparing her son Maharaja Padmanabh Singh to assume the role of guardian. "He's very interested in the legacy and now that he's home from college he spends most of his time working on the museums." Work is underway to launch a virtual gallery experience. “Young people are much more adept at creating online experiences, and now we can use the virtual gallery to reach out to experts around the world and host talks, webinars and demos with them,” she says.
Ask her about the beauty regimen she follows, and the robust, beautiful woman smiles: "More than beauty, today we need immunity. Women need to eat healthy and fight the virus.” Ask her about Rajasthan's beauty heritage and she smiles again: “Our women have to thank the sun for giving us enough vitamin D and keeping us glowing.” She herself likes to use kohl that her mother makes. She also advises her daughter on creams again and again. Otherwise, rose water and a few natural therapies will suffice.
Diya Kumari's dress sense reflects her leader's reputation for standing up for the local people. She usually wears the legendary leheriyas of Rajasthan or block prints from Sanganer, a school historically nurtured by her family. Her embroidered saris also come from small, artisanal brands that she grows herself.
A proud mother of three children, Padmanabh, Lakshya Raj and Gauravi Kumari, Diya is preparing her daughter to work with her artisanal NGO, the Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF). The foundation is a service project that empowers women artisans and has grown to include women in two newly developed centers in her constituency. This craft project piques the interest of her beautiful daughter, Princess Gauravi, who is currently pursuing a degree in Media (major) and Fashion Economics (minor) from New York University. "I'm so happy that Gauravi works while she's here to create products that are young and fashionable and also uses her business acumen to create a retail story with the products."
She hopes Gauravi will become a legacy holder like her. But what if Gauravi eventually veers more towards media, her major in graduation? "I'm excited to support my kids in their careers," shares this liberal mom, who connects with her daughter over standard girl things. “She is my go-to place for beauty advice. We shop together on public holidays. We do Pilates together and most importantly we share a camaraderie where we can discuss just about anything.”
Back home and taking online classes, Gauravi is excited about her role at PDKF. “The women make such exquisite products. Her mastery of her craft is remarkable. All they need is to direct their design sensibility in the right direction and make PDKF a great, rooted, artisanal and globally relevant brand.” Thus, Gauravi diligently designs bags, accessories, fashion jewelry and dresses with the artisans.
Gauravi, who looks like her mother's spitting image, smiles and says, “People also say that I look like my Nani, which is an equally great compliment. Both Mama and Nani are the greatest role models for me. I respect the dignity with which my mother lived her life. How she was a backbone for all three of us. Nani, on the other hand, is my buddy, our teacher. She fills us with so many stories from the past. So many important nuggets of history that shape us in our role as people who will keep our legacy alive.”
Gauravi also looks up to his big brother Padmanabh, who is now more than anything a friend. "We can trust
share our problems.” Thanks to him, she also learns to love horses. As a natural beauty, she emphasizes, "I prefer to use minimal makeup, especially during the day. But when I wear it, I want it to stay bright and fresh."
“What is very important to me is my sunscreen. My favorite makeup look is the occasional bit of concealer, mascara, bronzer or blush and kohl. We make it at home, I've been wearing it since I was a child. My favorite makeup item is the Dior Addict Lip Glow. I also love some of the NARS blushes.” For skincare, she uses rose water and natural face masks. "Both Mom and I use them for hydration and nutrition."
Gauravi likes to wear fancy brands like Jaquemus, Alice and Olivia and Reformation. "I also love mixing pieces from brands like Chanel and Gucci with Zara and Aritzia." When she's at home, she loves to dress up in her poshaks, chiffon sarees and Indian attire. Loving her legacy, she admits, "Rajasthan is where I really feel like I belong."
Nature has given us all another chance to admire all things beautiful and we all appreciate that. In this beauty special we also present everything beautiful in all our different sections. Our cover story is about India's 20 most beautiful women, and at the top of the list is the stunning mother-daughter duo of Princess Diya Kumari and Princess Gauravi Kumari of the Jaipur royal family. Get ready for the upcoming festival season!Download your free copy now.
Also read:Meet these gorgeous Indian women who have broken all stereotypes
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