Cover Story: Princesses Diya And Gauravi Kumari Of Jaipur Get Candid

by | September 18, 2020, 15:58 IST

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From exquisite beauty to unmatched class, royal India has always been the enigmatic front of the country. PRINCESS DIYA KUMARI and her daughter PRINCESS GAURAVI KUMARI of Jaipur exemplify this and much more.

Conceptualisation: Ruchika Mehta; Text: Anshu Khanna; Photographs: Abhishek Khandelwal; Styling: Radhika Gattani
Hair and Makeup: Natasha Singh and the team of Tangerine

Princess Diaries

Regal, royal India has historically been the true custodian of all things fine. The most natural and refined practices of living emerged inside royal palaces, chalets and havelis. Self-care and beauty practices helming this quest towards using nature’s bounty for self-healing and adornment.

Folklore of hamams filled with rose petals, the practice of solah shringaar, and the endearing smoke of a lubaan, gently adding fragrance to the Maharani’s cascading hair. Or even the ritual of lining her eyes with kohl, to not just make them a river of expression but also free of the evil eye.

Not just beautiful, but also brave, women of princely India were legendary figures. Those who defined history through their pristine beauty and strength of character and grit to live life queen-size, besides being the crowned angel who transformed the lives of their people, their praja. However, in 21st century democratic India, it is rare to see royal scions who continue to be leaders in their own right, living by their principles and bettering the life of the many who look up to them in reverence.

Femina catches up with two such women, Princess Diya Kumari and her young daughter Princess Gauravi Kumari of Jaipur, who are graciously taking the tradition of royal patronage forward, the care and protection, which their ancestors were known for. One of the few 19-gun salute states, Jaipur’s rulers were known to rule through their heart, making the pink city emerge as a culture and craft centre of Northern India.
Princess Diaries

This mother-daughter duo is true blue beauties, naturally so. Their porcelain perfect skin, aquiline features and sharp, brave eyes amply giving away their royal lineage. While Diya exudes a sense of character crafted through a life full of experience, Gauravi, even at her young age, personifies the phrase ‘chip off the old block’. Add to that the aura of the grandmother, Rajmata Padmini Devi of Jaipur and you have a fable of beauty that is further enhanced by heritage and a precious upbringing.

Princess Diya wears many hats, admitting that she enjoys each one thoroughly. “With every role comes a greater sense of responsibility and the need to give back to society, which is my biggest motivation in life.” And one that bears fruit most in her primary role as a Samand as well as BJP General Secretary, Rajasthan Pradesh Samiti. She thanks her loving father, Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh, for grooming her with a sense of discipline that she imbibed observing him at work, a Maharaja and a Brigadier in the army. “My father taught me to always respect time. To create a routine which you follow day after day. Hence, I reach five minutes before any public function, a practice that goes a long way in building people’s trust,” she says.

The other important thing that she thanks her parents for is the “careful inculcation of knowing what is right and what is wrong and always standing for the right values.” Which she does, vociferously so, speaking with such conviction on all forums. Otherwise a soft-spoken, gentle lady, Diya is often seen raising issues in parliament and speaking with gusto. “It is not tough to speak out if you are backing your beliefs. And I must say that I totally resonate with the egalitarian and democratic cadre-based beliefs of my party.”
Princess Diaries

A rising star in the BJP state cadre who will surely play a pivotal role for her party in times to come, especially at the State level, above all she wants to play the role of a positive opposition. “Rajasthan is a state where everyone knows me and my family. Historically, we have played an important role in the development of Jaipur’s people and now, when in opposition, I never let the inner voice down. More than ever, I feel like a custodian of the common man’s fundamental rights that must be respected,” Diya says.

She adds that her time today is mostly invested in politics. “Now, as an MP, I am not just a voice for my constituency, Raj Samand, but, I like to back national and global issues concerning every Indian. For me, it is important that the right issues must be raised in parliament.”
Princess Diaries
A true custodian of her regal lineage, and a nurturer of history and heritage, Diya has used the lockdown to upgrade the museum experience within the City Palace. Heritage seekers are stumped with the élan with which visitors to her home, the City Palace, cannot just revel in the costumes, armaments, art and craft heritage of the erstwhile rulers, but also relive that era. To the various museums, she is now adding The Transport Museum. “It will showcase every means of transport that is archived as our collection, be it a palanquin used by the women of the jenana, a chariot that carried the Maharaja to war or a vintage car collected by our ancestors,” she informs. As trustee of the Sawai Man Singh Museum Trust, she is grooming her son Maharaja Padmanabh Singh to turn into the role of custodianship. “He takes an avid interest in the legacy and now that he is home from college, he is investing most of his time in working on the museums.” The work on starting a virtual gallery experience is underway. “The youngsters are much more adept at creating online experiences and now through the virtual gallery we can reach out to experts globally and host talks, webinars and demos with them,” she informs.

Ask her of the beauty regimen she follows, and the gritty, beautiful woman smiles, “More than beauty today what we need is immunity. Women need to eat healthily and fight the virus.” Ask her of the beauty legacy of Rajasthan and she smiles again, “Our women have to thank the sun for giving us enough vitamin D and keeping us radiant.” She herself loves using the kohl her mother makes. She also keeps consulting her daughter on creams to use. Other than that, she feels rose water and a few natural therapies are enough.
Princess Diaries
Diya Kumari’s dress sense is a reflection of her leader’s call to go vocal for local. She is mostly seen wearing the legendary leheriyas of Rajasthan or block prints from Sanganer, a school nurtured historically by her family. Her embroidered saris too are from small, craft-based home-grown brands.

A proud mother of three kids, Padmanabh, Lakshya Raj and Gauravi Kumari, Diya is grooming her daughter to work with her craft-based NGO, Princess Diya Kumari Foundation (PDKF). A sustenance project that empowers women craftsmen, the Foundation has grown today to also employ women in two newly developed centres in her constituency. This craft project is engaging the interest of her beautiful daughter Princess Gauravi who is currently doing her graduation in media (major) and fashion business studies (minor) at New York University. “I am so happy that Gauravi is working while she is here to develop products that are young and fashionable and also use her sense of business in creating a retail story with the products.”

She hopes that Gauravi turns into a legacy keeper like her. But what if Gauravi steers eventually more towards media, her major subject in graduation? “I am happy to support my children in whichever career path they adopt,” shares this liberal mother who bonds with her daughter over the usual girlie things. “She is my go-to for beauty advice. We shop together on holidays. We do Pilates together and most importantly, we share a relationship of camaraderie where we can discuss just about anything.”

Back home and taking online classes, Gauravi is excited with her role in PDKF. “The women are making such exquisite products. Their mastery over their craft is remarkable. All they need is to nudge their design sensibility in the right direction and turn PDKF into a great, rooted, craft-based, globally relevant brand.” Hence, Gauravi is busy designing bags, accessories, fashion knick-knacks and dresses with the craftswomen.
Princess Diaries


Gauravi, who looks like a spitting image of her mother, smiles and says, “People also say I look like my nani which is an equally big compliment. Both mom and nani are the biggest role models for me. I respect the dignity with which my mother has led her life. How she has been a backbone to all three of us. Nani, on the other hand, is my pal, our nurturer. She fills us up with so many stories of 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 big brother Padmanabh who is a friend today more than anything else. “We can confide in each other,
share our issues.” Thanks to him, she is also learning to love horses. A natural beauty, she insists, “I prefer to use minimal makeup, especially during the day. But when I do wear it, I like to keep it radiant and fresh.”

“Something I’m very particular about is my sunscreen. My go-to makeup look is a little bit of concealer, a mascara, bronzer or blush and kajal, occasionally. We make it at home, I’ve been wearing it since I was a child. My favourite makeup item is the Dior Addict Lip Glow. I also love some of the NARS blushes.” For skincare, she relies on rose water and natural face masks. “Both mom and I use them for hydration and nourishment.”

Gauravi likes to wear offbeat brands like Jaquemus, Alice and Olivia, and Reformation. “I also love mixing pieces from brands like Chanel and Gucci with Zara and Aritzia.” Once home, she loves to dress up in her poshaks, chiffon saris and Indian wear. She loves her legacy and admits, “Rajasthan is where I truly feel I belong.”

Nature has given us all another chance to admire all things beautiful, and we all appreciate that. In this beauty special issue, we also feature all things beautiful across all our different sections. Our cover story is on India’s 20 Most Beautiful Women, and leading the pack is the stunning mother-daughter duo of Princess Diya Kumari and Princess Gauravi Kumari, from the royal family of Jaipur. Get set for all the festival season ahead! Download your free copy now.


Also read: Meet These Gorgeous Indian Women Who Broke All Stereotypes

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