Kamakshi Devi Wadiyar gets candid about her fond childhood memories of Mysuru, her love for pearls and what she watches to relax

Kamakshi Devi Wadiyar unveils C Krishniah Chetty’s latest jewellery collection The Durbar Assemblage
Kamakshi Devi Wadiyar
Kamakshi Devi Wadiyar

AS THE FESTIVAL of Dolls and Devis looms around the corner, our gaze is drawn to the captivating city of Mysuru in anticipation of the yearly grand procession of Dasara festivities. Although the procession today has evolved from what it used to be earlier, we were granted an exclusive audience with none other than Kamakshi Devi Wadiyar — third daughter of the late king Jayachamaraja Wadiyar — who made a quick pit stop in Bengaluru to unveil C Krishniah Chetty’s latest jewellery collection The Durbar Assemblage. In a candid interview, the princess takes us all back in time with her childhood anecdotes of what Dasara used to be during the Wadiyar dynasty, her favourite foods and more…

The Durbar Assemblage seems to be a significant tribute to the royal legacy of Mysuru Palace. Can you tell us more about this exquisite jewellery collection?
Anyone who goes to Mysuru is inspired by what you see; the beautiful silver door, the darbar hall, the domes and the pillars. The first thing that I noticed in the collection was the beautiful domes of the palace, which they’ve captured into their pieces. It’s wonderful how they have showcased the pillars
of the palace and those little windows too. If I had to pick a piece, it would be the necklace with the façade of Mysuru Palace on it, which seems like you are wearing the whole palace around your neck.

What kind of changes have Dasara celebrations undergone over the years?

Earlier during my father Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar’s reign, the Dasara festivities were very opulent and it was a splendid display across Mysuru. Everything was conducted on a very grand scale and it was amazing how every activity or event was scheduled like clockwork because those days they didn’t have walkie-talkies or any communication devices and yet everything was on time. On the last day of Dasara, a torchlight parade was held and it was something beautiful. My father would go to the Bannimantap as a part of the horse procession where he would receive salutations. This took place during the dark hours  and the torch-lit parade looked very splendid.

With great festivities comes great food! What are some of the special dishes and desserts that you look forward to every Dasara?
I always look forward to savouring basundi and obbattu when it comes to Karnataka’s traditional festive dishes but of course, my favorite local food is masala dosa like everybody else. 

In a world that’s rapidly changing, how do you see the role of royalty evolving and what values do you believe are essential to preserve for future generations?
As a child, one of the most important things we were taught was to always remain grounded and humble and I hope the future generations will carry these on as well. I also advice everybody to lead a disciplined life because discipline really makes you what you are.

What comes first to your mind when someone says Mysuru?
Chamundi betta (hill)! When people say Mysuru, I always think of Chamundi betta because seeing
it gives me a sense of comfort and it’s the first thing you see when you are entering the city. 

How has your identity as a member of the royal family influenced your personal style and fashion choices?
I have a preference for Mysuru silk and saris which are traditional and with jewellery I love paring my saris with pearls and beads — those are my favourites. 

What are your personal pursuits and interests outside of your royal duties?
I’ve always been fond of reading, although, now I have moved towards more spiritual subjects. Back in the day, my favorites were Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. Then there’s binge-watching Turkish series which are very good and I recommend What is Fatmagül’s Fault?

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