Clintons lead the celebrity rush to India's wedding of the century

Week-long, multimillion-dollar party lures rappers, nymphs and supermodels
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The Independent Online

After a week of unstinting lavishness, one of the biggest and fattest society weddings staged in India was still going strong last night, with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Naomi Campbell and Diddy among those joining the multi-million-pound nuptials.

Around 350 "permanent" guests have been attending the marathon marriage of the hotel tycoon and actor Vikram Chatwal to Priya Sachdev, a model who has been offered her first Bollywood role. The extravag- anza saw them hopping on and off private flights, accepting haute couture clothes and gifts daily, and partying into the night as part of a three-city jaunt. "It has been hectic for us, but we are pleased to keep our guests happy," Daman Chatwal, the bridegroom's mother, said.

The Chatwal family, which owns the Hampshire Hotels and Resorts chain and Bombay Palace restau- rants in the US, is not without influence. Vikram's best man is Lucas White, who inherited the bulk of a £70m estate when his father, Lord ("Gordy") White, died in 1995. The young men share a taste for fine living, music and accumulating expensive cars. Chatwal himself has a penchant for Aston Martins, which he keeps at his homes in Long Island and in Park Lane in London.

Another confidant of the groom is the rap performer Diddy. Latecomers missed most of the fun. It all began with a sumptuous party in Mumbai on Monday night. The wedding caravan then moved on to the Shiv Niwas Palace at Udaipur in Rajasthan, where previous guests have included the Queen, Jackie Kennedy and Roger Moore. Gabriella Wright, the bridegroom's co-star from the movie One Dollar Curry, was among guests showered in white petals by nymphs and diverted by Rajasthani dancers.

The following eve- ning saw a Venice Carnival ball at Jagmandir, the island palace featured in the James Bond movie Octopussy. Revellers were transported across Lake Pichola in boats draped with jasmine and roses, to be entertained by men on stilts, fire-eaters and actors decked in feathers playing waifs and harpies. After a Thursday break, the entourage returned to Delhi. And with celebrations almost at an end, it was on last night to the Maurya Sheraton, Delhi's smartest hotel.

For the grand jaimala ceremony and the exchange of garlands between bride and groom, the dress code was colour only. This morning features the Anand Karaj, the religious ceremony, with a black-tie reception hosted by the groom's parents. The three-week honeymoon will be in the Maldives.

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