The official announcement of 9th edition of 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Cars Rally had an interesting venue and it belongs to the Maharajah of Garhwal – Manujendra Shah.
HH Maharajah Manujendra Shah Sahib is the 61st generation and present Maharaja of Tehri Garhwal.
It was a beautiful, bright afternoon after light showers in the morning that threatened the open set-up in his house garden at Bhagwandas Road, New Delhi. Sun God and clouds looked to be playing hide and seek but finally sunshine prevailed and gave much warmth to an otherwise chilling winter afternoon.
I spoke to Maharajah Manujendra about the importance of such events where vintage cars take centrestage and their importance are highlighted in India for the world to take notice. He also shared about his passion for cars, a small childhood story and whether he will be participating in this year’s rally.
And has the Maharajah mentioned, I was honoured to be invited by him to enter his historic house and the room where he kept his first car presented to him by his mother. It was, indeed, a privilege to get a glimpse of history – portraits on the wall of his room and also meet his grand-daughter Ahana.
Maharajah Manujendra Shah Bahadur Sahib is the son of Maharajah Manabendra Shah, the last Maharajah of Tehri Garhwal before the princely state joined the newly independent India in 1947. Has born in 1948 and studied at Modern School, New Delhi. He graduated from St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi in the year 1969. He took over the reigns on January 7, 2007. He is married to Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, a renowned politician in Uttarakhand, a Member of Parliament elected from Tehri Garhwal constituency and current queen of Tehri Garhwal. She was elected to the 15th Lok Sabha in a bye-election and is a Member, BJP State Parliamentary Board in Uttarakhand.