As a precursor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit Varanasi on November 7 and 8, Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani celebrated a grand 51st birthday for wife Nita in the PM’s constituency on Saturday.
A liberal sprinkling of religious fervour, comprising a visit to the world-famous Kashi Vishwanath temple to perform Rudrabhishek ceremony and a trip to the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat to see the Ganga aarti, has been packaged with a grand stay at the Nadesar Palace, the erstwhile home of the King of Kashi, which has hosted several royalty, statesmen and celebrities including Britain’s Queen Elizabeth. The palace is now part of the Taj Group of hotels.
While the guest list was a closely guarded secret till late evening, the buzz was afloat that after seeing the Ganga aarti, the entire Ambani family comprising mother Kokilaben, children, close friends and senior Reliance Industries officials, will attend the colourful birthday party that is to be celebrated at Gulab Bagh of the Taj Hotel. There was tight security at the hotel and no outsider was allowed to enter the premises.
“All the employees of Taj Hotel had been asked to deposit their mobiles with the management, so that they are not able to share any details,” said a source at the hotel, adding the hotel and the ghats have been decorated extensively for the event. Earlier in the day, three chartered planes landed at the Varanasi airport carrying the Ambani family and friends who had come to take part in the birthday party. While it could not be confirmed, there were rumours that the Ambani couple is likely to adopt the ghats of Varanasi in its effort to connect with the PM’s Swachch Bharat programme. It may be mentioned that Nita had taken up the Prime Minister’s ‘Clean India’ challenge and joined in a cleanliness drive in Mumbai recently.