Palakkad (Kerala): At about 8.30 am, Shashi Tharoor tied the auspicious `thali` around long-time friend Sunanda Pushkar`s neck, exchanged jasmine garlands with her and presented her with a `podava` or new set of clothes, in a traditional Kerala Hindu wedding solemnised at the MP`s ancestral home near here Sunday.
The wedding is the third for both Tharoor, 54, and Dubai-based Pushkar, a Kashmiri.
Dressed in traditional attire, Tharoor in a white mundu and shirt, and Pushkar, in a white and gold saree with loads of jasmine flowers in her hair - the couple smiled happily throughout the brief ceremony watched by close relatives, including their children from previous marriages.
The flamboyant diplomat-turned-Congress Lok Sabha member got married at his 200-year-old ancestral home in the presence of his 94-year-old maternal grandmother.
Sunday`s marriage was witnessed by the two sons of Tharoor through his first marriage and also Pushkar`s son, besides his mother, two sisters and his relatives who turned up for the event from across the world.
From the bride`s side there were around 15 close relatives, including her father, a retired army man, and brother who had come from Kashmir.
Incidentally, a Keralite businessman settled in Dubai had brought the couple together when they first met in Dubai.
Pushkar was first briefly married to a Kashmiri, then she married a Malayali who worked in an investment-cum-insurance company in Dubai. He died in a road accident in 1997 in Delhi.
Tharoor was first married to a college friend, Tilottama, a Bengali. He has twin sons from her. He later married Christa, a Canadian, and divorced her recently.
"Barring Tharoor`s college mate and fellow Congress politician Mani Shanker Aiyar there was none from the political arena. After a family function here, they leave for Coimbatore to catch a flight to Thiruvananthapuram, where there is a get together tomorrow (Monday) morning for select guests," said Tharoor`s closest aide to IANS who was present at the wedding but did not wish to be identified.
"In all around 300 people were present at the wedding. It was a simple function with no fanfare," said the aide, adding that he has to rush back to the state capital to make arrangements for Monday`s event.
Many policemen were seen outside the gate of the compound.
After staying in Thiruvananthapuram for a few days, the couple head for Dubai where a reception in typical Kashmiri style would be held. From there they fly to Spain for a few days before returning to Delhi to host a dinner reception on Sep 3.
Tharoor is a former UN undersecretary general who was a candidate for the UN secretary general`s job before he lost the election to Ban-ki Moon. He returned to India to join politics and won a seat to parliament from Thiruvananthapuram constituency with a big margin.
He was made minister of state for external affairs, and helped to power India`s outreach to Africa, before he ran into media controversies. First over his perceived political indiscretions, particularly his tweeting where he was seen to say things he should not be saying as a minister, and then in favouring a bidder for an Indian Premier League (IPL) team from Kerala amid insinuations that he had financial stakes that he stoutly denied.
He resigned April 18 this year as minister of state for external affairs following a controversy over the IPL.